July 18, 2016
378 Natural Hypothyroid Treatments II [18 July 2016]
This week I will continue my discussion of natural treatments for hypothyroidism. I found a good source of information in an interview with Dr. Jonathan Wright, a practicing natural medicine physician, on mercola.com June 15, 2014.
First, Wright explains why hypothyroidism is so common in North America. One reason is the use of chlorinated and fluoridated water. Chlorine and fluorine are members of the halogen element family and interfere with the utilization of iodine. Bromine added to flour and packaging and in some pesticides is another toxic halogen source.
Another reason is inadequate iodine consumption. I have previously explained why iodized salt is a poor source [#282 August 2014]. The Canadian RDA of 150 mcg per day is barely sufficient to prevent goiters but falls far short of the 2 - 3 mg (2,000 - 3,000 mcg) intake of most Japanese. Wright prescribes iodine intakes of 3 mg per day for men and 6 for women and has shown that up to 14 is safe.
Wright uses symptoms and a physical exam plus the Free T3 (fT3) blood levels to diagnose hypothyroidism. TSH alone is a very poor test for several reasons. It’s the T4 that signals back to regulate TSH production (low TSH indicates normal T4 levels). So if something inhibits conversion of T4 to T3, the active form (fT3) could be low but T4 and TSH show normal. Another (rare) possibility is that the hypothalamus is not producing enough TRH (thyroid releasing hormone) to trigger the pituitary to produce TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). This would result in low TSH (considered normal) even though T4 and T3 could be low.
Another complication is high Reverse T3 (rT3) which is a mirror image of T3. rT3 blocks the T3 receptors but is not active, thereby creating functional hypothyroidism with normal levels of TSH, T4 and T3. Heavy metal toxicity (lead, cadmium, mercury) elevates rT3 production and chelation therapy usually clears it.
Wright uses whole thyroid supplements to treat hypothyroidism when iodine alone is not enough. Whole thyroid contains all 12 iodine containing compounds produced in the thyroid, rather than the conventional treatment of synthetic T4. An exception would be in cases of Hashimoto’s in which he uses T3 and T4 initially while treating the auto-immune component of the disease.
Next week: Hyperthyroidism – the overactive thyroid.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.