Any doctor worth his salt knows that as innocent as fatigue may seem it can sometimes be a red flag indicating a more serious problem. But since it's not exclusive to any one disease, figuring out what's at the root of your fatigue can be tricky. It could be the side effect of a drug you're taking, or it could be an indication of something more serious, such as heart disease or cancer. But one of the most commonly overlooked reasons for fatigue is hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated diseases out there. So before you skip ahead, take a look at this list and see if you're suffering from any of these symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Hair loss
- Brain fuzz
- Decreased libido
- Muscle cramps
- Weight gain
- Dry, rough, pale skin
- Inability to tolerate cold temperatures
- Difficulty losing weight
- Coarse, dry hair
Any or all of these symptoms can point to a sluggish thyroid, but here's the worst part of all: Some people with hypothyroidism have no symptoms at all! It's no wonder this disease often suffers from a case of mistaken identity. And whereas these symptoms might not seem so bad on their own, if you don't get your thyroid under control, it can lead to more serious problems, such as confusion and delirium, a life-threatening coma, or heart failure.
Doctors, even the specialists, continue to ignore the main causes of this problem--and to add insult to injury, their idea of a solution is laughable. But there are treatments available that can get your thyroid back in good working order??--you just have to know where to look.
Water and soy--the biggest threats to your thyroid
You probably know that iodine is essential for your thyroid to function properly. Without it, your thyroid can't produce the hormones that control metabolism and provide energy to every cell in the body. Since the government started adding it to everyone's table salt, iodine deficiency hasn't been much of a problem in the U.S.
But, as is often the case with the federal government, for every step forward, there has been two steps back. At the same time the government is loading you up with iodine, it's keeping your body from realizing the full benefits of this important substance. That's because the government is also dousing you with two substances that compete against iodine for the available iodine sites on the thyroxin hormone. Where are those substances found? In your drinking water.
Iodine is part of a family of chemicals, called halogens, that don't get along very well. Too much of one keeps the others out. And thanks to public health authorities, your doctors, and your dentist, you're so overloaded with two of these halogens that iodine barely stands a chance. Any guess as to what those two halogens are? You shouldn't have to think too hard: chlorine and fluorine.
The fluoride that's in your drinking water is a reduced form of fluorine, a substance that, like chlorine, is deadly to man. It's such a ravenous eater of everything that it is difficult to store it. It attacks glass, it causes most metals to burst into flame, and it can cause severe chemical burns if you come into contact with it. Yet compounds of this chemical are included in your toothpaste and, of course, in your drinking water.
But your water (and halogens) aren't the only threats to your thyroid.
Soy contains an isoflavone called genistein that has a powerful anti-thyroid effect, suppressing your thyroid function. Even if you're getting enough iodine, eating too much of this non-food will suppress your thyroid.
It's really no wonder that soy has this effect. As a phytoestrogen, it acts like a hormone and can easily throw off the delicate balance of the thyroid hormonal system.
One of the FDA's own researchers, Daniel R. Doerge, Ph.D., said, "I see substantial risks from taking soy supplements or eating huge amounts of soyfoods for their putative disease preventive value. There is definitely potential for interaction with the thyroid."
Why, given the risks, is soy being forced down our collective throats? It's cheap, it has powerful lobbyists, and there are people who are more interested in the rights of chicken and cattle than in your right to maintain your health.
It's no wonder that thyroid disease is on the rise again.
When to get tested for thyroid disease
My point here is that hypothyroidism is a genuine risk to your health, and if you're experiencing any or all of the symptoms I told you about earlier, it would be a good idea to get your thyroid tested.
Let me be clear: I'm NOT saying you should run to the doctor to get your thyroid tested year after year. As you know, I'm opposed to disease screening 99.9 percent of the time. To put it delicately, screening is a fraud, a futile charade, and a swindle. Do I make myself clear? Screening can be dangerous to your health and leads to "search-and-destroy" medicine. It leads to more testing and ultimately to aggressive treatment that's not guaranteed to improve your life expectancy--and, most often, results in a poorer quality of life.
Even if you do have thyroid disease, there are no convincing studies showing that you will fare better if you get treatment before any symptoms develop. However, once you develop symptoms, it's a different story. If you have any of the symptoms I just told you about, march yourself to your doctor and ask for a TSH blood test.
When your thyroid is sluggish, your pituitary gland produces more thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to compensate. So the higher your level of TSH is, the sicker your thyroid is. If your level is above 2.5, you have a problem.
Getting proper treatment
So, you've noted your symptoms, gotten yourself tested, and your doctor has discovered a thyroid problem. Now, unfortunately, your real problems may begin. Mainstream medicine's "solution" to hypothyroidism is a synthetic drug called levothyroxine. Nine times out of 10, doctors will scrawl out a prescription for this non-solution. I know I used to do the same thing.
There's just one problem: It doesn't work.
I know firsthand just how persuasive drug companies can be. When I opened my practice in Sarasota, Fla. in 1962, the "detail man" from Knoll Pharmaceutical was just about the first one up to the receptionist's counter. Even before I had nailed my shingle on the front door, he was in to give me the gospel according to Knoll on the treatment of hypothyroidism.
I was eager to hear what he had to say. I liked the drug companies. They seemed to love me and want me to succeed. After all, one of them had given me an expensive alligator skin doctor's house-call bag as a graduation present.
The rep explained to me that his company's hypothyroid product, levothyroxine, was a pure synthetic, and that being "pure" made it smoother, easier to control, and safer than natural thyroid derived from animal thyroid glands. It made sense to me.
So I put all of my hypothyroid patients on levothyroxine. The results were disappointing to say the least.
It's no wonder it was such a dismal failure.
Your thyroid produces two hormones. T4 (thyroxine) accounts for 99.9 percent of its total hormonal production, while only 0.1 percent is T3 (triiodothyronine). As you probably expect, levothyroxine is T4. But there's a catch: Your body actually has to convert T4 into T3 in order for it to control metabolism. Many patients don't have the enzymatic capability to make that conversion.
So, for most people, taking levothyroxine is an exercise in futility.
After I found this out, I switched all of my patients to a thyroid product that has a combination of T3 and T4. The majority of these patients experienced an almost immediate improvement.
Even the New England Journal of Medicine supports using T3 and T4 together over just T4 alone to treat cases of hypothyroidism. After studying 33 hypothyroid patients, researchers found that when the patients were taking T3 and T4 together, they experienced dramatic improvements in mental functioning and improved quality of life.
It's not like doctors don't read the New England Journal of Medicine --it's one of the most respected medical journals anywhere. But keep in mind what I just told you a moment ago--odds are, your doctor will put you on a levothyroxine product. It's no secret why--money and brainwashing. Don't let your doc just scribble a script and send you on your way--make sure he gives you treatment options.
Here's what to do:
You shouldn't do anything without talking to your doctor--especially if you're already taking a synthetic thyroid medication. But if you haven't been diagnosed yet and if you suspect that your thyroid isn't up to snuff, get a TSH blood test. If it turns out that an underactive thyroid is at the root of your symptoms, get in touch with a physician who will be able to assist you with natural thyroid treatments.
To find one in your area, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine by calling (800)532-3688, or go online to www.acam.org. You could also get in touch with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at (703)610-9037 or online at www.naturopathic.org.
Make sure you're getting enough iodine in your diet. Some of the best food sources iodine are seafood, milk, and cheese.
And, of course, this last point should go without saying: STOP DRINKING YOUR TAP WATER AND EATING ALL THAT SOY!