Archive for the ‘thyroid’ Category

Is it Mental Illness or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

https://www.holtorfmed.com/mental-illness-hashimotos-disease/?

Is it Mental Illness or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Is it Mental Illness or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a common cause of hypothyroidism that is often misdiagnosed as depression or other mental health conditions.

Updated September 2019

Imagine having all the symptoms of a major mental illness such as manic depression, paranoid schizophrenia, psychotic depression, or even a bipolar disorder. One day you wake up with overflowing physical energy, even feeling severely anxious, with a rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating, trembling hands, and diarrhea, and you can’t stop losing weight. Then soon enough, without warning, your energy plummets. You feel like a slug, are constipated, your hair starts falling out, you gain weight no matter how little you eat, and you are severely depressed. You may have difficulty swallowing, sound hoarse, and feel like you have swallowed something that wont go down. And then, suddenly, your old symptoms return, and you feel anxious, sweaty, trembling, and panicky. This cycle can repeat itself again and again.

While your symptoms resemble a mental health issue, they could be signs of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, one cause of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as autoimmune thyroiditis or simply “Hashimoto’s, is caused by an autoimmune disorder. In this case, the body’s immune system sees the thyroid gland as a foreign body and begins to attack, damaging and killing thyroid cells along the way. As the cells are damaged or destroyed, they release their stored thyroid hormone, causing classic hyperthyroid symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks, shaking hands, sweating, and a racing heart.

Each autoimmune attack causes more and more damage to the thyroid gland until, ultimately, the gland is no longer able to produce adequate thyroid hormones. Every cell in the body needs thyroid hormones, so a deficiency can wreak havoc on the entire system, causing depression, weight gain, severe fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, and even overall body aches.

With such a dramatic swing in symptoms, it’s easy to see how Hashimoto’s disease could be misdiagnosed as a mental illness like manic depression or bipolar disorder.

And it happens much too often. A 1987 study found that as many as 15% of patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital for depression actually were suffering from some level of hypothyroidism.

Learn more about Hashimoto’s here.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s

At first, Hashimoto’s can produce little to no symptoms. But as the disease progresses, the body will cycle between hyperthyroid symptoms and hypothyroid symptoms, until ultimately the patient becomes permanently hypothyroid. Symptoms vary based on whether the thyroid is under attack or at rest, but can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Feeling excessively cold or hot
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Muscle and join pain or achiness
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, confusion, forgetfulness
  • Hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or a tight feeling in the throat

Get the full list of thyroid disease symptoms here.

Getting the Right Diagnosis

Thyroid hormone lab tests such as the TSH, Free T4, Free T3 and Reverse T3 can diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, but to get a clear picture of a potential autoimmune thyroid disease, you must check for increased antibodies that are specific to thyroid proteins. These include thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and antithyroglobulin; however, it’s important to know that these antibodies can be at normal levels and a patient still have hashimoto’s disease. It can also be useful to check levels of thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI), which can be seen in Graves’ disease, another autoimmune thyroid disorder.

Get a FREE downloadable thyroid panel lab slip here.

Proper Treatment for Hashimoto’s

If lab tests or symptoms indicate Hashimoto’s, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible to help avoid further damage to the thyroid gland. In addition to thyroid hormone replacement therapy, the following treatments options should be explored.

  • Supplements such as selenium can help lower antibody levels while strengthening the immune system
  • Treatment of any chronic bacterial or viral infections can also be important in managing autoimmune thyroid disease. Often, these infections can initiate the immune system dysfunction
  • Regulating the immune system can make a very positive difference in autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s. Medications including low-dose Naltrexone and gamma-globulin, can help balance immune system activity and reduce attacks.

Getting the Care You Deserve

The violent swings of Hashimoto’s disease can be very frightening, not only for the patient who has the autoimmune disease, but also for friends and family who watch their loved one struggling, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms of Hashimoto’s can be resolved.

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to properly diagnose and treat your autoimmune thyroid disease, optimize your health and improve your quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but aren’t getting the treatment you need or if you have symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

Resources

1. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Understanding Local Control of Thyroid Hormones: (Deiodinases Function and Activity).” https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/deiodinases/
2. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Thyroid Hormone Transport.” https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/thyroid-hormone-transport/
3. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism: Are we getting what we want from TSH testing?” https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/how-accurate-is-tsh-testing/
4. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Why Doesn’t My Endocrinologist Know All of This?” https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/why-doesnt-my-doctor-know-all-of-this/

5. Dana L. Mincer; Ishwarlal Jialal. “Hashimoto Thyroiditis.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459262/
6. LDN Trust. “Conditions that are helped by Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).” https://www.ldnresearchtrust.org/conditions

How HMG Has Helped Others: Patient Testimonial

After seeing 3 other doctors (over a 5 year period) for Hashimoto thyroid disease treatment, I finally found Dr. Holtorf (thank God!). I could write paragraphs on what I’d been through but the bottom line is that I finally found a doctor that is not only a good listener, compassionate & kind, but one who actually thinks “outside the box”.

For those of us who don’t respond in a conventional manner to medications, old school “by the book” endocrinologists have repeatedly patted us on the back & said, “Your TSH is fine”, just keep doing what you’re doing. In the meantime, I for one, was sleeping 16 hours a day, spent my life in a mind fog & was fatigued beyond belief (I even slept in my car during my lunchbreaks at work).

Dr.Holtorf immediately asked the right questions, patiently waiting through my confusion & tears, and made changes to my medication regime that truly turned things around for me.

I can’t say enough good things about him as a doctor & a caring person. – Ilene G.

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**Comment**

Every Lyme/MSIDS patient I work with has messed up thyroid issues. In fact, one infected patient felt nearly well just by addressing the thyroid.

Notice the article talks about the importance of dealing with bacterial and viral infections. Often, when you deal with the infection(s), your many symptoms can just disappear; however, it’s important you partner with your ILADS-trained doctor to sleuth out your deficiencies and then supplement what your own body isn’t producing.

Most doctors are not privy to appropriate thyroid testing. Within this article there is a printable thyroid panel slip. The link will direct you to a great article explaining all the different elements in the panel as well as a downloadable slip you can take to your doctor. All of the required tests have a black X by them. I highly advise you to take advantage of this if you haven’t addressed your thyroid.

Also, please see another great read by Holtdorf on lies endocrinologists tell patients:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/10/26/5-thyroid-lies-your-endocrinologist-may-try-to-tell-you/  In the comment section I give a trick my doctor uses to determine if you need additional T3 as sometimes our bodies aren’t able to properly convert T4 into T3. Many feel this is a genetic issue.  Conventional medicine states our bodies will do this naturally; however, according to this article, 15% of the population can’t convert.  I’m one of them: https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/thyroid-patients-and-t3  T3 is important because it delivers oxygen and energy to your cells, tissues, glands, and organs. More than 12 studies have shown the benefit of adding T3 to T4.

Many patients upon adding T3 were able to:

  • shed unwanted pounds
  • reduce cholesterol
  • have greater energy
  • have less brain fog
  • have less mood swings
  • be less depressed
  • regain supple skin
  • regain hair loss
  • reduce joint pain
The tiny thyroid hormone shouldn’t be neglected. Many thyroid symptoms look exactly like Lyme/MSIDS. Treat the thyroid and symptoms may disappear entirely.

 

 

 

 

5 Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body & 10 Tips to Reduce Stress

https://www.holtorfmed.com/5-effects-of-stress-on-mind-body/?

5 Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body + 10 Tips to Reduce Stress

5 Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body + 10 Tips to Reduce Stress
We all hear about stress these days and how bad it is for our health. Many people consider stress a part of modern life and learn to live with it, but stress is not normal and it can be overcome! You just need to learn how.

Originally Posted November 2016
Updated October 2019

Knowing the far-reaching effects of stress, not only on our psychological well-being, but also on our entire bodies, can help us remember to prioritize stress management and other self-care practices.

Stress, Cortisol, and Adrenals

You may have heard these terms used together, but are not sure how they are connected. Stress is any kind of outside factor that our body perceives as a threat to our safety or well-being. Many people think this only refers to emotional stress or trauma, but it also includes physiological stress on the body, such as infection, traumatic injury, or a poor diet. Stress can also include environmental factors like exposure to chemicals and other toxins.

Cortisol is one of the hormones that our body releases in response to stress. It is probably the one most commonly associated with stress, even though there are others involved.

The adrenals are two small glands located just above the kidneys that produce and release cortisol and other hormones into the bloodstream – learn everything you need to know about adrenals here. One of the bodily processes that occurs during acute stress is often referred to as “fight or flight.” It is the defense mechanism that kicks in when we are in danger – or think we are. In addition to the adrenals pumping out more hormones, bodily functions that are unnecessary in the moment (such as digestion), are put on hold to preserve energy for the “fight or flight.”

While this can be a very useful and sometimes life-saving response to a threat, problems can begin to occur if stress becomes frequent or chronic. As the adrenal glands become over-worked, they eventually can’t keep up with the body’s demands for the various hormones they’re responsible for.

How Stress Affects the Body

Here are a few of the major ways the mind and body are affected by chronic stress.

Mood

The adrenal glands produce more than just cortisol. They also produce neurotransmitters such as adrenaline (epinephrine), norepinephrine, and dopamine. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help regulate things like mood, performance, weight, pain perception, and sleep. Depending on the degree to which the adrenals have been affected, the neurotransmitters become unbalanced in various ways.

Let’s take dopamine, for example. If dopamine is too high, someone may experience anxiety, hyperactivity, or paranoia. If someone has low dopamine, it can lead to addiction, cravings, or depression.

Hormones

In addition to neurotransmitters and cortisol, the adrenals also produce small amounts of the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone (and their precursors). Along with balancing out hormones based on a person’s gender, sex hormones also help keep the negative effects of too much cortisol in check, acting as an antioxidant. But once the adrenals become chronically over-worked, more and more of the precursor materials (used to make sex hormones) get diverted to make cortisol, resulting in a decrease in sex hormones.

This results in lowered libido and other symptoms related to hormonal imbalances, such as premenstrual syndrome in women or erectile dysfunction in men.

Blood Sugar Regulation

When cortisol is released, the hormone glucagon is signaled and insulin is suppressed. Glucagon controls glucose storage in the liver so that glucose can be released into the blood. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose being taken from the bloodstream into the cells.

During chronic stress, the cells start to become resistant to insulin, leaving blood glucose levels elevated. This is why insulin resistance is the precursor to type II diabetes.

A few symptoms of insulin resistance include inability to lose weight, high cholesterol and triglycerides, cognitive dysfunction, and elevated blood glucose or insulin levels.

Learn more about insulin resistance here.

Thyroid

The adrenal glands are part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid-axis (HPAT), sometimes just referred to as the HPA-axis. Here’s where the thyroid comes into play.

The adrenals are regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. When cortisol is released under stress, the hypothalamus and pituitary, which work in a feedback loop with cortisol, slow down their production of hormones. Unfortunately, this also slows down thyroid function since the hypothalamus and pituitary regulate thyroid hormones as well.

Stress can also negatively affect the enzyme that converts inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3). There are a few other mechanisms involved in the stress/thyroid dysfunction connection as well. Hypothyroid symptoms such as cold extremities, dry skin, depression, and constipation often indicate sub-optimal adrenal function. Most likely, thyroid treatment will be less effective if the adrenals are not addressed as well.

Learn more about the adrenal-thyroid connection here.

Immunity

Stress triggers inflammation. Our body knows that chronic inflammation is damaging, so it compensates by slowing down the immune system in order to keep the inflammation in check. The immune system is also directly suppressed during stress since it is one of those “unnecessary” functions when we’re in “fight or flight” mode. This also affects thyroid health since a suppressed immune system can activate viruses capable of attacking and damaging the thyroid.

As you can see, so many functions in the body are interconnected and related back to adrenal function and the stress response.

10 Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Health

This is only a brief overview of the effects of stress on the body. Chronic stress has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. It is estimated that as much of 80% of the population has weakened adrenal function.

Since there are different stages of adrenal dysfunction that require different treatments, it is a good idea to seek out a knowledgeable health care provider who can test your adrenal function and related hormones. Since many doctors only recognize adrenal disorders such as Cushing’s and Addison’s disease, you may need to search someone out who takes a more in-depth look at adrenal function using functional tests such as a salivary cortisol test.

There are some things you can do to help reduce stress which include:

Take Control of Your Thoughts

Many people have tons of negative thoughts in their head on a daily basis, without even being aware of it. This creates a stressful state and anxiety that keeps fueling your hormonal imbalances. A technique known as “thought‐stopping” can help you halt negative, obsessive thoughts.

The first step is to literally call a halt to this train of thought (like saying the word “Stop!” out loud or to yourself). Next, choose a positive thought on which you’ll focus instead. This way you’re swapping a negative, stress‐inducing thought for a positive one. To increase emotional comfort, it’s imperative to practice reassuring and realistic self‐talk (saying something along the lines of, “I am feeling anxious / irritable now, but I have the power to calm myself down.”).

Apply Self-Soothing Techniques

There are many physiological changes that are triggered, when we are faced with a stressful situation. Our breathing quickens, adrenaline is secreted, and our heart begins to race. This is called the fight or flight response – a natural survival mechanism intended to help us escape danger. However, when the threat is imagined, the fight/flight response is unnecessary and damaging to your health. Many people with chronic stress remain blocked in this state of alert, without being able to snap out of it.

Luckily, there are techniques you can learn to reduce your response to stress, like deep breathing techniques, muscle relaxation exercises and meditation. Deep breathing can help with a rapid heart beat. The most commonly utilized strategy is breathing by contracting the diaphragm, a horizontal muscle in the chest located just above the stomach cavity.

Using muscle relaxation exercises you can induce a relaxed state and physical comfort, by tightening and releasing muscles, beginning with the largest muscle group. Meditation is also a powerful way to bring back a peaceful state to your body and clearing up your mind from erratic and negative thoughts.

Check Your Diet

What does stress have to do with eating? A whole lot! What we eat and drink largely impacts our emotional state. Stimulating foods and drinks like coffee, sodas, chocolate, and alcohol can cause anxiety, trigger panic attacks, and increase feelings of nervousness and irritability, as well as trembling and shaking. Deciding to go “cold turkey” by abruptly eliminating caffeine is not always recommended since it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. You might experience headaches, restlessness, and irritability. So it’s better to decrease caffeine consumption gradually by replacing it with tea for example.

Regular alcohol consumption can also generate a lot of biochemical imbalances in your body, like blood sugar dysregulation, liver problems and dehydration, which add to the stress burden your body needs to handle.

Get Moving

By choosing your appropriate exercise routine you can reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. Be careful not to over exercise, which can actually contribute to your stress level.

It’s a known fact that during exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins and norepinephrine, which interact with receptors in the brain. These chemicals determine euphoric feelings, reduction in physical pain and the ability to deal with stress more efficiently.

Get More Sleep

Losing just a few hours of sleep increases feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion. It’s a vicious cycle since because of stress you might not be able to fall and stay asleep, but lack of sleep is also generating stress.

So try to get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and don’t feel bad about also adding a nap in the afternoon on days when you’re feeling especially drained. Go to sleep before 10 – 11 PM and don’t use the computer or watch TV before it, since these can interfere with your melatonin production and make it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Listen to Music

By choosing a type of relaxing music which you prefer, you can help the body and mind dissipate stress. Research has shown that classical music may help you unwind and improve your mood. You can also experience therapeutic CDs of “binaural beats,” which are meant to calm the mind and body and where different frequencies call forth different moods.

Begin and End the Day Right

In the morning, in order to make intelligent use of your energy for the day, take some time to reflect, meditate, read or better yet take a nature walk, away from computer and TV. You could do the same in the evening, or just simply delight in the rare pleasure of doing nothing. These can ease the stress of too much computer or office time, counteract overstimulation and boost your mood.

Doing Something Fun

Doing something fun always gets postponed due to the avalanche of responsibilities we have during the day. But without a balance in your life, frustration and so stress might arise. It’s been found that creating artwork, crafts or making time for a hobby helps to relax, can be very stress-reducing and takes your focus away from your own thoughts and worries.

Get a Massage

Massage is a great way to loosen the muscles that are habitually affected by stress. Think about all the frowning and scrunching of your face muscles and how relaxing it is to work on these! Essential oils can calm, center, and energize you by reducing the effects of stress and mental fatigue. You can give yourself a massage, while taking small breaks from your work, or you could have a professional massage to benefit your whole body.

Include Adaptogens

A class of herbs called adaptogens help your body to cope more effectively with the demands and stress of everyday life. They provide a sustained sense of calm, and while they increase energy, with the exception of Chinese ginseng, they are non-stimulating. Some of the most used adaptogens are: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, schisandra, shatavari, eleuthero.

Learn more about adaptogens here.

Lowering Stress and Improving Adrenal Function

Because of the great impact stress can have on overall health and well-being, it’s important to implement stress-reducing habits. Additionally, partnering with a knowledgeable physician to help address any underlying adrenal fatigue can prove very beneficial. Your mood, hormones, thyroid, blood sugar, and immune system (among other things) will be much healthier for it!

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing innovative treatments to design a treatment protocol that is personalized to you. If you are experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, give us a call at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

References

1. NIH. “5 Things You Should Know About Stress.” National Institute of Mental Health.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff “Chronic stress puts your health at risk.” Mayo Clinic.
3. APA Staff. “Stress effects on the body.” American Psychological Association.
4. Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. “The Physiology of stress: Cortisol and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.”https://sites.dartmouth.edu/dujs/2011/02/03/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis/
5. Harvard Health. “Understanding the stress response.” Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School.
6. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior.” Mayo Clinic.
7. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS. “7 Adaptogenic Herbs or Adaptogens that Help Reduce Stress.” Dr. Axe.

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**Comment**

This article is one of the best articles I’ve read on how stress affects the body and what you can do about it.

Lyme/MSIDS patients are in a war of epic proportions where nearly every single thing in their bodies is haywire. We need to do all within out power to reduce that stress.

  • The most important step is effective treatment for the infection(s), which is simply in a word antimicrobials. An example:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/
  • The next step is precisely what this article recommends – partnering with an experienced practitioner who will help you uncover your specific imbalances.  This looks differently on everyone but typically involves the thyroid and other hormone and mineral imbalances. I know of one patient who felt nearly well just by addressing the thyroid. People often don’t understand that the thyroid is the body’s thermostat and that if you have hypothyroidism (low amounts of thyroid hormone) your body’s temperature will be low allowing infections to proliferate. Address the thyroid and you’ve effectively made it tougher for pathogens to survive.
  • Taking appropriate supplements. Patients often complain about their Lyme literate doctor requiring them to take copious amounts of supplements. Unfortunately, they are usually right because of damage & imbalances caused by the infection(s).  The goal; however, is to only take what is required. 
  • Diet is key.  This too is very individual, with some only improving by eliminating gluten, dairy, and all sugars.  https://draxe.com/nutrition/elimination-diet/ This step often turns patients around entirely. Remember – food is medicine.
  • All the ideas in the article are very helpful and include listening to calming music.The first thing I do in the morning is turn on a relaxing music channel on Pandora. An example would be the George Winston channel.  For more on binaural beats: https://www.binauralbeatsmeditation.com/the-science/
  •  Binaural Beat demonstration. You need ear phones to listen.
  • If you prefer music: 
  • Regarding essential oil diffusinghttps://thetruthaboutcancer.com/diffusing-essential-oils/  After I turn Pandora on, I set up my essential oil diffuser with whatever blend I’m in the mood for. For a relaxing bedtime blend called “Counting Sheep”:  9 drops lavender, 4 chamomile, 2 frankincense, 2 bergamot. This would be for a large room. Divide in half for a small bedroom.  For a grounding smell try “Peace & Harmony”: 4 drops patchouli, 4 vanilla, 3 orange. 
  • Doing something fun seems frivolous to many patients but is so important. Unfortunately with Lyme/MSIDS, we tend to revolve around our illness.  Doing something to break away from this is so important for our mental health. Whether you enroll in an art class or just buy Play dough to mess around with at home – do it. I’ve found plants relax me. My house has turned into a literal green house through the years.  I love dirt!  Another thing you could simply incorporate into your habits is coloringhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201803/are-adult-coloring-books-actually-helpful
  • Word of warning: It is often the case that when initially starting Lyme/MSIDS treatment patients are extremely sensitive to everything including light, sound, and smells. It’s always important you listen to YOUR body and although the suggestions in this article are good, they may not be good for you at the moment. If you are sensitive it’s a sure sign your body is seriously fighting a war and you need to assist it in anyway you can and often that means sunglasses even in the daytime, and eliminating ALL smells and sounds. The goal is to move past and heal from sensitivities so you can enjoy the suggestions listed here.
  • Final note and the best advice I was given: “Don’t be depressed about feeling depressed.”  I heard this from someone I contacted online who reached the other side of health who was willing to advise me in my desperation upon starting treatment and feeling so incredibly lousy. This advice helped me more than many things as there are some seriously dark days in treatment where you think dying would just be easier. Treating for this monster is unlike anything you’ve ever done before and will require serious dedication on your part. I encourage you to find a local support group for support and ideas on your journey.
Some of the best help through the years for me has come directly from patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Thyroid Lies Your Endocrinologist May Try to Tell You

https://www.holtorfmed.com/5-thyroid-lies-endocrinologist-may-try-tell/?

5 Thyroid Lies Your Endocrinologist May Try to Tell You

By Holtorf Medical Group

Originally Posted January 2015
Updated September 2019

Endocrinologists, whose “specialization” is the endocrine system — which includes the thyroid gland — are sometimes the worst offenders when it comes to providing dubious information about your thyroid diagnosis and treatment.

Get smart, and discover the five lies that your endocrinologist may try to tell you.

1. “Your TSH is Normal.”

Integrative doctors consider the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test to be only one of many tests to diagnose and manage thyroid disease. TSH, however, is considered the “gold standard” test by many endocrinologists. Too bad they don’t even agree on the cutoff points for the reference range for this test.

Learn about what’s in a complete thyroid panel and get a FREE lab slip here.

Some endocrinologists consider any number within the reference range (it’s around .40 to 4.0 at many US labs) “normal,” and others feel that TSH must be as high as 10 for a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. And many endocrinologists don’t test Free T4, and Free T3 — the actual circulating thyroid hormones — or antibodies that detect autoimmune thyroid disease. So, you could have sub-normal levels of T4 and T3, and/or antibodies that show that your thyroid gland is in self-destruct mode, but if your TSH is within the reference range, the endocrinologist may say it’s “normal.”

2. “Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs Aren’t FDA-Regulated, They’re Not Consistent, They’re Not Safe, They’re Off the Market, They’re Made from Cows”

Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) is prescription thyroid hormone replacement, made from the dried thyroid gland of pigs. It’s also known as natural thyroid, thyroid extract, and is available as a generic, or as brands, including Nature-throid, Thyroid WP, Armour, and Erfa.

It’s shocking how many endocrinologists are misinformed about these drugs. Here are the facts:

  • Natural desiccated thyroid drugs ARE regulated by the FDA. All prescription drugs in the US are FDA-regulated.
  • These drugs are regularly checked through rigorous quality-control processes, and are as consistent as other thyroid drugs. Just as with synthetic levothyroxine drugs (like Synthroid), when inconsistent batches are detected, they are recalled.
  • When properly prescribed, NDT drugs are as safe and effective as other thyroid hormone replacement drugs.
  • NDT is not off the market, it’s legally available in the US, Canada, and a number of other countries.
  • NDT brands available in the US are made from pigs — not from cows.

Learn more about NDT here.

3. “Hypothyroidism Doesn’t Cause Weight Gain”

Many endocrinologists claim that the thyroid, despite being the master gland of metabolism, has nothing to do with weight. People with undiagnosed thyroid disease often report substantial weight gain prior to diagnosis, and even after diagnosis, losing weight can become difficult, if not sometimes impossible, for people with hypothyroidism, or after surgery to remove the thyroid gland. Endocrinologists often accuse thyroid patients on restrictive diets of “eating too much” and tell marathon runners with thyroid problems that they need to do even more exercise to lose weight. They simply don’t understand how the complex ways that the thyroid is linked to body weight.

Fact: The thyroid is intricately linked to blood sugar, hunger and satiety, hunger/weight loss hormones like insulin and leptin, energy, basal metabolism, and many other factors that have a firm hold on whether you gain or lose weight. Getting the thyroid diagnosed and optimally treated is required for weight loss — but many thyroid patients may also need to address insulin and leptin resistance, lowered metabolism, and other issues — before successful weight loss.

4. If You Have a Suspicious Nodule, We Need to Take Out Your Thyroid Gland”

Some thyroid patients have nodules — lumps in the gland. A suspicious nodule may be large in size, growing quickly, or have suspicious characteristics in imaging tests like a CT scan or ultrasound, or on a radioactive uptake test. Before recommending surgical removal, however, a nodule should typically undergo a fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, to assess whether the nodule is cancerous. If it is cancerous, then the treatment typically does involve surgical removal. However, a substantial number of these FNA biopsies come back indeterminate or inconclusive.

If you have FNA testing on a suspicious nodule, and the result is that it is indeterminate or inconclusive, ask for a Veracyte Afirma Thyroid Analysis test, before agreeing to surgery. This test is performed on your FNA biopsy results, and can eliminate most inconclusive results, to determine quite accurately whether the nodule is cancerous. Since some inconclusive nodules are benign, this test can help you avoid surgery and a lifetime of hypothyroidism afterwards.

Learn about the different types of thyroid nodules here.

5. “You Need to See a Psychiatrist”

Conventional endocrinology says that if you are a patient with hypothyroidism and you’re receiving levothyroxine treatment (not a T4/T3 treatment or natural thyroid, which they claim is not needed), and you have a TSH anywhere within the reference range, and you still don’t feel well, your endocrinologist should recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist. This is what was disseminated in the 2014 Hypothyroidism Guidelines, created and promoted by the American Thyroid Association (with funding from levothyroxine manufacturers.)

If you are hypothyroid, are taking only levothyroxine (like Synthroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Tirosint, Unithroid), have a TSH within the reference range, and you still don’t feel well — before you head off to a psychiatrist’s couch, it may be time to find a new doctor — typically, an integrative, holistic physician — who can…

  • determine whether your TSH is optimal, and not just within the range.
  • make sure your Free T4 and Free T3 are tested, and optimized with medication (including T3 or natural desiccated thyroid if necessary).
  • look at your Reverse T3 levels, and determine whether or not you may have some thyroid transport or conversion problems that are contributing to symptoms, and treat them.
  • advise you regarding other issues, including adrenal balance, nutritional deficiencies, and hormone imbalances.

Finding a Knowledgeable Thyroid Doctor

If you’ve heard any of these lies, it’s time to find a new doctor! Locating an effective and knowledgeable thyroid physician can seem daunting and unending, but there is hope!

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to properly diagnose and treat your thyroid condition, optimize your health and improve your quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, but aren’t getting the treatment you need or if you have symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

Learn more about thyroid disease and how our practice treats it in this FREE Thyroid 101 e-book.

Click Here to Download Thyroid 101

Resources

1. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Understanding Local Control of Thyroid Hormones: (Deiodinases Function and Activity).”https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/deiodinases/
2. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Thyroid Hormone Transport.” https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/thyroid-hormone-transport/
3. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism: Are we getting what we want from TSH testing?”https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/how-accurate-is-tsh-testing/
4. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Why Doesn’t My Endocrinologist Know All of This?” https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/why-doesnt-my-doctor-know-all-of-this/

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**Comment**

The tiny thyroid gland is the body’s thermostat.  If you find your hands and feet are always cold and your hair lacks luster or falls out – consider your thyroid. Supplementing is inexpensive and can make all the difference in the world to how you feel.  Lyme/MSIDS patients often have issues with their thyroid.

My doctor also uses the following formula to determine if a person needs to supplement with additional T3:

Take Total T3 and divide by Reverse T3. The total should be at least 12. If it is lower than 12 you need to supplement with T3.  Also – Cytomel, the brand name of the prescription drug liothyronine, has many additives that are toxic as well as costs three times the compounded form. I get mine from a compounding pharmacy that uses olive oil as the filler.  Women’s International Pharmacy (WIP) is right here in Madison:  https://www.womensinternational.com