Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum's Column
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011:
What's New in S.H.I.N.E. — Part VII: Treating Stubborn Thyroid Problems
Waking Up in the Middle of the NightWaking Up in the Middle of the NightWaking Up in the Middle of the Night
by Jacob Teitelbaum MD
This week continues my multi-part series on "What's New in the SHINE protocol." Today I'll discuss hormones — the "H" in SHINE — with a focus on underactive thyroid function, or hypothyroidism.
Physicians too often make the mistake of treating a patient's test results instead of treating the actual patient. Because of that, they're unwilling to prescribe them the thyroid hormone they need. Fortunately there are two natural options that can be very helpful — and neither requires a prescription!
These can be taken together and can help you even if you're already on a prescription thyroid hormone.
Step 1: Correct the Iodine Deficiency
Here's a simple and low-cost treatment that offers a powerful breakthrough in healing thyroid imbalances: the mineral iodine. High amounts of iodine can help improve symptoms of thyroid function in many people.
Unfortunately, though many ways of testing iodine levels are discussed, including urinary iodine and speed of skin absorption, the most accurate test is to simply take it for 4-6 weeks and see how you feel. (I recommend taking a daily dose of 6.25-12.5 mg of the supplement Tri-Iodine.)
Interestingly, supplemental iodine may not change your blood thyroid hormone levels. But what people often find is that their energy levels and other symptoms improve considerably! Symptoms such as:
- Fatigue or pain
- Difficulty losing weight
- Occassional "brain fog"
- Breast cysts or tenderness
If you have these symptoms, I would recommend a trial of iodine. Take 12.5 mg once a for 3 months. It could turn your life around …
For more on iodine deficiency, see Iodine Deficiency — An Old Epidemic Is Back.
Step 2: Another Very Helpful Natural Mix — BMR Thyroid Complex
If you are unable to find a physician who will write a prescription thyroid hormone, there are other alternatives. For many people, special natural thyroid glandular supplements can be very helpful. I recommend BMR Complex by Integrative Therapeutics. This natural alternative contains:
- Iodine (as potassium iodide) - 300 mcg
- Zinc (as Zinc Picolinate) - 15 mg
- Copper (as Copper Chelate) - 1 mg
- L-Tyrosine - 300 mg
- Thyroid (thyroxine-free) - 300 mg
The dosing recommendations are to take 1 or 2 capsules three times daily between meals, but after 1 month of "filling the tank," try lowering it to 2-3 capsules each morning only. Thyroid hormone is made of Tyrosine plus iodine. The thyroid glandular supplies the raw materials needed to optimize thyroid function — and often have a dramatic impact.
The Tri-iodine and BMR Complex (only available through health practitioners since it is so potent — but fortunately non-prescription) offer two excellent options that can help optimize your thyroid function (and they can be taken together).
To learn more about hypothyroidism, see Thyroid Disease in the Health A-Z section of this site [Ed: Dr. Teitelbaum's site].
More on Thyroid support
One Size Doesn't Fit All
Another development in our understanding of hypothyroidism is that there is no single treatment that works for everybody!
Some people do best with natural, desiccated thyroid gland, like Armour. Unfortunately, Armour reformulated their product and the new version is not as good as the old one. At this point, I recommend as better alternatives either Nature-Throid or Westhroid.
Other people have an allergic response to the thyroid gland protein itself (the proteins making up the gland are different from the hormone), and a compounded product that doesn't include the glandular — but only includes pure versions of the T3 and T4 hormones — works best at times.
I suggest asking a compounding pharmacy to make both the desiccated thyroid (in place of the Armour) and the pure T4 plus T3 combinations. When treating your thyroid, it is particularly important to use a product that has excellent quality control, and ITC Pharmacy does a very good job with this. They also will fill prescriptions by mail (their phone number is 888-349-5453).
Choosing the right treatment is a little like choosing the right pair of shoes. Working with a holistic physician, you should "try on" different treatments — desiccated; a compounded mix of T3 and T4; or Synthroid — and find the type and the dose that feels best to you.
Try Taking the Thyroid at Night
In another new development, a study suggests that thyroid levels actually start to rise during the night — so the medical tradition of giving thyroid hormone in the morning may not necessarily be the best approach. For the Synthroid (T4 hormone), which stays at a pretty steady level throughout the day, the time of day you take it likely does not matter. But for those taking a T3 containing hormone (like Armour), the blood levels are highest in the four hours after you take it — so time of day can make a big difference. Some patients do better when they take all or some of their daily dose at bedtime — and it also improves the quality of their sleep.
So work with your doctor not only to determine the best type of medication … and the best dose … but the best timing of the dose as well.
Used with permission from Dr Jacob Teitelbaum's free newsletters-available at www.Vitality101.com
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