WOMEN AND THYROID HEALTH
By Elora Gabriel
Do the following symptoms sound familiar to you?
Cold hands and feet, fatigue, sluggish metabolism, weight gain, slow pulse, depression, dry skin, dry, brittle, and/or thinning hair, low basal temperature, feeling groggy in the morning but more alert at night, constipation, yellowish coloration on skin (particularly on the palms), slow speech, PMS and/or painful menstrual cramps, recurrent respiratory infections, fluid retention and puffiness in face, or ankles.
It is my opinion, after listening to thousands of women speak about their health concerns over the years, that we are experiencing a major epidemic of thyroid dysfunction. For reasons which are not entirely understood, this epidemic affects women far more than men. The ratio is about 8 to 1, according to Gillian Ford, author of “Linking Thyroid and Depression.” This article summarizes some of my thoughts on the thyroid issue, and concludes with several wonderfully potent and effective solutions.
Why do women have more thyroid problems? No one knows for sure, but it is also true that more women suffer from illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Women are also more affected by poisoning from heavy metals such as mercury. Colleagues in my area who work extensively with chronic fatigue and mercury toxic patients, have reported that mercury has a particular affinity for the glandular system in women, especially the thyroid and ovaries.
It is my guess that women are more susceptible to all these conditions partly because our hormonal systems are more complex and delicate than those of men, and also because we are more affected by xeno-estrogens (false estrogens) in the environment. Xeno-estrogens are estrogen-mimicking chemicals found in everything from pesticides to plastics, and they have a great potential for disrupting women’s endocrine systems because of the large numbers of estrogen receptors in our bodies.
I suspect some kind of unholy synergy between heavy metals (particularly mercury) and xeno-estrogens. The effect of mercury poisoning might be greatly amplified in a system that is already overloaded with xeno-estrogens. Women also have more problems with candida, yeast and fungus. These conditions are directly related to heavy metal poisoning. Yeast is such a spongy organism that the body will actually “hold” a chronic yeast condition as a buffer against the heavy metals. However, candida and fungus also cause endocrine imbalances. Therefore we have a complex feed-back-loop of related syndromes to which women are particularly susceptible: hypothyroid, heavy metal/mercury poisoning, yeast/fungus/candida, and CFS/fibromyalgia.
It is strange that, faced with a literal epidemic of hypothyroid patients, the medical profession is still relying almost exclusively on the TSH test for diagnosis. This test fails to detect thyroid problems in a large percentage of cases. To quote an article written by David Derry, M.D., PhD:
“Why are we following a test which has no correlation with clinical presentation? The thyroidologists by consensus have decided that this [TSH] test is the most useful for following treatment when in fact it is unrelated to how the patient feels. What I found [in private practice] was many people would develop classic signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism but the TSH was ever so slow to become abnormal, rise and confirm the clinical diagnosis. Sometimes it never did.”
“One clear case I remember is a lady who started to lose her hair at age 26 and had lost it all by the time she was 35, but the TSH did not turn up until she was 48. Then her TSH rose very high for the first time. So her TSH lagged her symptoms and signs by 22 years. In some cases the TSH appears never to turn up and confirm the clinical diagnosis. The truth is there is no relationship between the TSH and how people feel.” Dr. Derry also explains that even when the TSH does indicate a hypothyroid condition, following the TSH test to determine correct dosage of thyroid medication usually results in giving the patient one half to one fourth as much as needed.
Now that we have outlined the problem, let us take a look at some practical solutions. To boost an underactive thyroid, it can be helpful to obtain a prescription for thyroid medication if you have a sympathetic doctor. Armour Thyroid is usually preferred by holistic doctors over Synthroid. For diagnosis, a new and probably more accurate thyroid test is available from Diagnos-Techs at (425) 251-0596. This is a saliva assay called the Short Thyroid Panel, and does require a doctor’s prescription.
If you cannot obtain a prescription, or wish to try the most natural approach, I am pleased to report that after years of searching, I have discovered a highly effective and low-cost product called Thyodine. While no one product works for every person, Thyodine has been used successfully by thousands of people. Rather than adding hormones to the body, it supports and stimulates the thyroid gland to begin producing normal amounts of thyroid hormone again. Often, after the thyroid has been sufficiently “jump-started,” a transition can be made to 1 tablet of organic iodine per day.
I have personally spoken to many people who have found Thyodine to be as effective or more effective than thyroid prescriptions, including some who were not helped by any other means. This product also appears to support both T-3 and T-4 function. In my files are several interesting case histories, including a gentleman who was tested by his doctor both before and after using Thyodine for 2-1/2 months. In this case, his hypothyroid condition was shown up by the TSH test as well as by T-3 and T-4 levels. After using Thyodine, testing indicated that all of his thyroid levels had normalized, and his symptoms had disappeared. For more information on Thyodine, please contact Tides of Life (see ad on page 46).