August 2014

Is your doctor checking your thyroid correctly?  Somewhere between 35% and 40% of Americans are suffering from an underactive thyroid gland, also known as Hypothyroidism.  Autoimmune thyroid disorders are rising rapidly and thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the United States. 

Unfortunately, many early cases of hypothyroidism are going undiagnosed because many family physicians aren’t ordering the correct tests to properly diagnosis an underactive thyroid condition.  In this edition of Healthy Times newsletter, I will share with you the thyroid test that should be performed to properly evaluate thyroid function so you can have an educated discussion with your doctor about how best to determine if your thyroid gland is functioning properly.

I am going to get somewhat technical for just a couple of paragraphs, but just bear with me and I promise it won’t be too painful.

Thyroid hormones are responsible for maintaining proper function of every cell in the body. It does this by producing about one teaspoon of thyroid hormone per year.  That’s right. Only one teaspoon!  The pituitary gland prompts the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone by producing another hormone known as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Once the thyroid is stimulated it will produce thyroxine (T4).  T4 is released into the bloodstream and then is converted in your cells totriiodothyronine (T3), the most active form of thyroid hormone.  T3 is the catalyst responsible for numerous functions such as causing the cells to produce energy and heat (metabolism).

Many doctors only order the TSH tested on your routine lab work. If it is found to be within normal reference range, they declare the thyroid OK even though you may be experiencing numerous symptoms of low thyroid function (see the list below).  This is happening to literally millions of people in our country; so these individuals go on suffering with very unpleasant symptoms until they finally find a doctor that can properly diagnosis and treat their hypothyroidism.  Please trust what I say that this is one of the most under diagnosed health problems in our country today!

Look at this list closely. If you have three or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, I would suggest that you have a THOROUGH thyroid evaluation from a physician that understands how to perform a proper thyroid evaluation (this may need to be an endocrinologist).

If a doctor relies on the TSH test only, he/she will miss many patients suffering early and even more advanced hypothyroidism.  The main problem with the TSH test is that the reference range is much too broad, 0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L.  It includes too many patients that actually have a thyroid disorder.

Years ago, Dr. Broda Barnes was considered the foremost authority on thyroid disorders. He researched and wrote extensively about how to diagnosis and treat thyroid conditions.  Dr. David Brownstein is today, one of the nation’s leading practitioners specializing in natural treatment in all kinds of thyroid disorders (and one of my mentors in the field of nutrition and functional medicine).  Dr. Barnes and Dr. Brownstein both strongly agreed that the reference ranges were too broad and felt T3 and T4 should be tested to properly evaluate the function of the thyroid gland.  Dr. Brownstein flatly states after testing many thousands of patients, the proper reference range forTSH should be 0.5 to 2.0 mIU/L.  Many of you that can identify with symptoms included on the list above may have a copy of your most recent lab results at home.  I would suggest you take a look and see what your TSH levels are. See if your doctor ordered T3, T4, or other thyroid tests the last time you had blood work performed. 

As I stated above, once the thyroid makes T4 (the least active form of thyroid hormone) it must be converted by the body into T3 (the most active form) in order for normal energy production and normal and effective metabolism to occur.  Many people suffer from what is known as “T4conversion block” and this is why you need to test the T4 and T3 levels when properly evaluating thyroid function. 

So, what causes so many people to suffer T4 conversion block?  There are several nutritional causes for this to happen, however, the most common cause is IODINE DEFICIENCY.  Dr. Brownstein states and I concur, “If somebody has hypothyroidism and is deficient in iodine, he or she cannot be treated successfully with thyroid hormone until their iodine is replenished because treating an iodine-deficient patient with thyroid hormone will only make the iodine deficiency worse.”  Why?  Because thyroid hormone boosts the body’s metabolism, and higher metabolism increases the body’s need for iodine.

Other factors that can contribute to T4 conversion block include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin C and D, B vitamins, and magnesium.
  • Common prescribed medications such as antidepressants and beta blockers for blood pressure.
  • Toxins such as fluoride, mercury, lead, and BPA.
  • Cigarette smoke.

Studies have shown that women who take thyroid hormone for more than 15 years have a 50 percent higher risk of breast cancer.  Currently 1 in 7 women have breast cancer that is due, in part, to iodine deficiency. 

Metabolism

Your metabolism, experts say, involves a complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food into fuel, but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel.  "The process of metabolism establishes the rate at which we burn our calories and, ultimately, how quickly we gain or lose weight.  For many the series of pictures below is all too real and many of us have tried almost everything to stop this ongoing process as we get older.  If this is you, could it be your underactive thyroid that is the real key?  Your thyroid gland is your master metabolism gland.  It must work properly for you to ever have any success with maintaining a healthy body weight.

Have your thyroid properly checked! Make sure it is functioning normal (improving metabolism) and then stay on a low carbohydrate diet.  YOU JUST MIGHT STOP THIS WEIGHT GAIN MERRY-GO-ROUND YOU HAVE BEEN ON!!!  
 

If you would like to have a personal discussion about the subject matter of this newsletter, you may reach me at (386) 956-1668.

If you have found this Newsletter helpful in your quest for good health please visit my website at www.drstephenhayman.com where I have all of my previous newsletters archived.  You may find a topic there that may be of help to you, a family member, or a friend.

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Healthy Transformations                                 
820 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL. 32720
 
I am currently accepting new patients for nutritional assessment and dietary coaching. 

Have a Healthy Day!

Dr. Stephen W. Hayman