Thyroid gland health, vitamins, herbs, natural treatment, supplements, treatment of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, review of glandulars
October 22 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located just below the Adam's apple. It produces hormones that affect the body's metabolism and energy level. Thyroid problems are among the most common medical conditions but, because symptoms often appear gradually, this disease is commonly misdiagnosed. High TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, levels suggest the gland is underactive, a condition known as hypothyroidism. Low TSH levels suggest it is overactive, known as hyperthyroidism. People with low thyroid function may lose hair, gain weight and feel sluggish, while those with overactive thyroids may lose weight, feel their hearts race and have trembling hands. Both can be easily treated with a daily pill.

Obesity as cause of thyroid problems
Obese children damage their thyroids, creating a vicious cycle of metabolism and overweight. Obesity causes inflammation that damages the thyroid. Alterations in thyroid function and structure are common in obese children. Excess fat tissue may have a role in thyroid tissue modification. Obesity does not seem related to Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which T-cells mistakenly attack the thyroid. Obesity does seem to cause a low-grade inflammation state in the thyroid gland. Low thyroid function can be linked to weight gain. Losing weight, however, has been shown to restore thyroid function in some cases.

Chemicals in our environment as cause
Exposure to a class of chemicals used to make a wide range of consumer products can cause changes in thyroid function. People have widespread exposure to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are used to manufacture items such as fabrics, carpets, cosmetics and paper coatings. These chemicals break down very slowly and take a long time to leave the body.

Patients with iodinated contrast media (ICM) exposure have a significantly higher risk of thyroid dysfunction.

Role of foods, diet
I've read that raw foods such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, spinach, broccoli, strawberries and peaches interfere with thyroid function unless cooked. Do these vegetables and fruits have the same negative effect when juiced in a juicer?
   I don't yet have a good understanding on how these vegetables influence thyroid function. I have not seen good studies yet on their role in hormone level influence. There are quite a few web sites that claim that these foods influence the gland's function. I would be interested if anyone could email me actual results of human studies rather than postings on the internet.

Underactive or low thyroid - hypothyroid
Hypothyroidism may occur at any age but is especially common in older individuals. Iodine deficiency is one cause of hypothyroidism but there are many causes: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, as a result of treatment of hyperthyroidism, treatment of thyroid tumor, due to radiation, side effects of some drugs, etc.

Foods that can cause low thyroid problems
J Med Case Rep. 2017. Soy isoflavones inducing overt hypothyroidism in a patient with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis: a case report. Many people have thyroid conditions that make them susceptible to hypothyroidism. Foods they eat may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone, which can lead to development of serious hypothyroidism. A 72-year-old Japanese woman was previously diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis caused by a goiter and had an elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone level (6.5 μIU/ml), a high anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody level (>600 IU/ml), and a high antithyroglobulin level (> 4000 IU/ml) but normal levels of free triiodothyronine (3 pg/ml) and thyroxine (1.1 ng/ml). She presented to our hospital with sudden-onset general malaise, edema, and hoarseness with an elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (373 μIU/ml) level and very low triiodothyronine (< 0.26 pg/ml) and thyroxine (0.10 ng/ml) levels. It was determined that for 6 months she had been consuming a processed, solved health drink ("barley young leaf") in amounts of 9 g/day, which included soybean and kale powder extract. Hypothyroidism might be affected by ingredients of health drinks. She discontinued consumption of the health drink immediately and began taking 12.5 μg of levothyroxine. The amount of levothyroxine was gradually increased every 3 days up to 100 μg. At day 61, her thyroid-stimulating hormone level had decreased (6 μIU/ml), her free triiodothyronine (2.6 pg/ml) and thyroxine (1.5 ng/ml) levels had increased, and her general condition was improved. Among risky foods lowering thyroid function, some experimental studies have revealed that isoflavones reduce thyroid function. Therefore, we measured the presence of isoflavones in the patient's frozen serum. After she discontinued consumption of the health drink, two components quickly disappeared, and the other three components gradually decreased. This case emphasizes that consuming health drinks that include soy isoflavone powder extracts can lead to severe hypothyroidism.

A 2015 British study finds a correlation between the amount of fluoride in public drinking water and a rise in incidence of underactive thyroid.

Q. I am currently taking Synthroid for low thyroid issues. Are there vitamins that I can take to replace the need for the medication?
   A. I am not aware of any dietary supplements that replace the need to take thyroid hormones (except iodine if the cause of the hypothyroidism is due to low iodine intake which is uncommon in the USA).

Symptoms and treatment of hypothyroidism
See low thyroid for treatment suggestions. Symptoms of mild cases are usually subtle and gradual and may be mistaken for symptoms of depression. The following are the most common: fatigue, weight gain, hoarse voice, slow speech, droopy eyelids, puffy and swollen face, constipation, coarse and dry hair, coarse, dry, thickened skin, and slow pulse. The amino acid tyrosine is not an effective supplement to treat this condition.

Q. I just came across your site and am wondering if you have any knowledge of the recent change to the natural desiccated thyroid brands across the board? I am at my wits end and don't know where to turn.
   A. I prefer to use pharmaceutical thyroid medications since I can be more certain of the exact dosages.

Overactive thyroid
In hyperthyroidism the gland is overactive causing symptoms such as excessive sweating, heat intolerance, and nervousness. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which an overactive gland is producing an excessive amount of hormones that circulate in the blood. Thyrotoxicosis is a toxic condition that is caused by an excess of thyroid hormones from excessive intake of thyroid hormone pills or by overproduction of thyroid hormones. Having an overactive thyroid gland is associated with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation. Young adults with overactive thyroids are at increased risk of stroke. Stroke, online April 1, 2010. Grave's disease causes hyperthyroidism.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland and triggers the release of high levels of thyroid hormones. One of the hallmarks of Graves' disease is a visible and uncomfortable swelling behind the eyes. Hyperthyroidism can also result from thyroid nodules. These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones.

Middle-aged and older adults who have high thyroid hormone levels, such as free thyroxine FT4, are at higher risk of heart disease and death, and having hardening of the coronary arteries.

Traditional medical treatment
Three common treatments are used in the management of hyperthyroidism: surgery, anti-thyroid medications, and radioactive iodine. The idea is to reduce or get rid of the excess thyroid hormone and minimize the symptoms and long term consequences of hyperthyroidism. Antithyroid medications approved for treatment of hyperthyroidism in the U.S. include propylthiouracil and methimazole. Both inhibit thyroid synthesis and formation of T4 and T3; however, propylthiouracil also inhibits peripheral conversion of T4 to T3. These drugs are similar in efficacy and adverse effects, but their dosing range differs by 10-fold. Response is generally seen in 4-6 weeks with maximal response in 4-6 months; Treatment is continued for 1-2 years and therapy is monitored by clinical signs and symptoms and by measuring serum levels of TSH and free T4.

Older adults with hypothyroidism who take drugs to treat the problem may be at increased risk for fractures. Thyroid hormone deficiency is common in the elderly, especially women. The drug levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the natural thyroid hormone, is widely prescribed. Many elderly people are likely being treated with doses of the drug that are too high for them and that excessive dosing may increase fracture risk in an already high-risk population.

High levels of free thyroxine (T4) are associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
Is there a natural treatment for people who suffer from overactive thyroid?
At present I am not aware of a natural treatment for hyperthyroidism that has been well studied in humans. Melatonin has been studied in rodents but I am not sure how it would influence thyroid hormone levels in humans and what the right dosage would be. You may consider taking vitamin E, vitamin C, curcumin or other antioxidants to help reduce potential harm from oxidation resulting from excess thyroxine. Passionflower, an herb that induces relaxation, may be used in those who are anxious and tense. One study showed carnitine to be of some benefit. I am not sure if significant soy consumption has an influence. The flavonoid quercetin may interfere with function.

European Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017. A novel treatment for subclinical hyperthyroidism: a pilot study on the beneficial effects of l-carnitine and selenium. The definition itself of subclinical hyperthyroidism and, therefore, the therapeutic approach to patients with are hyperthyroid still remains undefined and controversial. An observational pilot study was performed to assess the effects of l-carnitine and selenium in the management of hyperthyroid symptoms and endocrine profile in patients affected by this disease. Patients with TSH levels between 0.1-0.4 mIU/L and positive antibodies were recruited in this study. Subjects received orally one tablet containing 500 mg of l-carnitine and 83 mcg of selenium (L-Carn + Se), daily for 1 month. After 1-month treatment, the subjective symptomatology significantly dropped. On the other hand, during the following 1-month period without treatment, it increased back. Thyroid hormones and auto-antibodies remained in their normal range. The present pilot study has shown that carnitine and selenium significantly reduced symptoms associated with hyperthyroid issues, improving quality of life of patients, without significant modifications of their endocrine profile. In addition, it is noteworthy that the extension of treatment seems necessary to prevent symptoms reappearance. Prospective randomized controlled trials are needed to address clinicians to define the appropriate treatment-settings for this disorder.

The effect of intraperitoneal melatonin supplementation on the release of thyroid hormones and testosterone in rats with hyperthyroid.
Neuro Endocrinol Letters. 2003.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of melatonin application on total T3, T4 and testosterone in hyperthyroid rats. Results revealed that melatonin supplementation in hyperthyroidism suppress secretion of thyroid hormones and testosterone secretion.

Effects of vitamin E and vitamin C supplementation on plasma lipid peroxidation and on oxidation of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins in experimental hyperthyroidism.
J Med Invest. 1999.
Our finding strongly indicates an increased susceptibility of apo B-containing lipoproteins to oxidation in hyperthyroidism, and that vitamin E as well as vitamin C supplementation protect these lipoproteins from copper-induced oxidation.

Regulation of expression of antioxidant enzymes by vitamin E and curcumin in L: -thyroxine-induced oxidative stress in rat renal cortex.
Mol Biol Rep. 2010.
The results suggest that both vitamin E and curcumin may play an important role in protecting T(4)-induced oxidative stress in rat renal cortex by differentially modulating the activities of antioxidant enzymes and oxidative stress parameters.

Q. I have hyperthyroidism, what can I do with natural herbals, such like food or other things.
   A. The cause of hyperthyroidism needs to be determined and appropriate medical tests and medicines should be used. There are different causes for an overactive thyroid. I am not aware of any specific food or herb to treat an overactive thyroid.

Over the counter products
Thyroid. 2013. Thyroxine and triiodothyronine content in commercially available thyroid health supplements. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Endocrinology, District of Columbia; We examined the thyroid hormone content in readily available dietary health supplements marketed for "thyroid support". Ten commercially available thyroid dietary supplements were purchased. Nine out of ten supplements revealed a detectable amount of T3 (1.3- 25.4 mcg/tablet) and five of ten contained T4 (5.77-22.9 mcg/tablet). Taken at the recommended dose, five supplements delivered T3 quantities of greater than 10 mcg/day, and four delivered T4 quantities ranging from 8.5 to 91 mcg/day. The majority of dietary thyroid supplements studied contained clinically relevant amounts of T4 and T3, some of which exceeded common treatment doses for hypothyroidism. These amounts of thyroid hormone, found in easily accessible dietary supplements, potentially expose patients to the risk of developing iatrogenic thyrotoxicosis.

Hyperthyroid treatment risks
Patients who are treated with radioactive iodine for an over active thyroid have an increased risk of cancer -- especially cancers of the stomach, kidney, and breast. Radioactive iodine has been used as first-line therapy for hyperthyroidism since the 1940s.

Thyroid disorder and sexual health
Thyroid disorders are associated with a variety of sexual symptoms in men. Some have below-normal sexual desire, a few have delayed ejaculation, many have premature ejaculation, and some have erectile dysfunction. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2005.

Enlarged thyroid
Growth or enlargement of the thyroid may be due to a number of different conditions. The majority of patients with thyroid enlargement have benign thyroid disease. In areas of iodine deficiency, thyroid growth, leading to large thyroid glands or ' thyroid goiter' is not uncommon. Defects in the function of the thyroid may lead to thyroid enlargement as the gland tries to compensate and maintain thyroid hormone production at normal levels. Inflammation of the thyroid, as may occur in Hashimoto's thyroiditis, may commonly lead to an enlarged thyroid. Similarly, development of one or more thyroid nodules may be associated with asymmetrical or generalized thyroid enlargement. Finally, thyroid cancer may also be detected as a cause of an enlarged thyroid gland.

Enlargement of the thyroid gland is called goiter. Goiter does not always indicate a disease, since thyroid enlargement can also be caused by physiological conditions such as puberty and pregnancy.

Thyroid nodules
Nodular disease of the thyroid gland is quite common in the United States. The lifetime risk for development of a palpable thyroid nodule is estimated to be 5-10% and is more common in women than in men. Malignancy of the thyroid occurs in only 0.004% of the US population annually. Roughly 1% of thyroid nodules are malignant, whereas the remainder represents a variety of benign diagnoses, including colloid nodule, degenerative cyst, hyperplasia, thyroiditis, or benign neoplasm. Thyroid nodules are typically discovered by palpation in 3% to 7% of cases and by ultrasound examination in 20% to 75%. Although common, few are malignant and require surgical treatment. A systematic approach to their evaluation is important to avoid unnecessary surgery. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy has resulted in substantial improvements in diagnostic accuracy, cost reductions, and higher malignancy yield at time of surgery.

Q. I had a test and they found a 1.4cm nodule on my thyroid. I just had the needle biopsy and it came back benign (not cancer). I was wondering if I should be taking an herb or supplement now as I am not having it removed. I don't know much about thyroid disease. My doctor gave me blood test and my thyroid is perfectly normal.
   A. We are not aware of any supplements or herbs that influence thyroid nodules.

Thyroid cancer
Routinely screening adults for thyroid cancer if they have no symptoms is of no benefit, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF).

There are about 22,000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year in the United States. Females are more likely to have it. Thyroid cancer can occur in any age group, although it is most common after age 30 and its aggressiveness increases significantly in older patients. The majority of patients present with a nodule on their thyroid gland which typically does not cause symptoms. Over 99% of these nodules are not cancer! But, when a cancer does begin to grow within a gland, it almost always does so within a discrete nodule. The steady climb in the incidence of thyroid cancer since the early 1980s has been attributed to an increase in screening in recent years and the diagnosis of more small tumors. However, work by investigators at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta suggests that other factors - such as environmental exposures, dietary changes, or genetic causes - may play a larger role. Obesity is associated with a greater risk. I am not aware of a natural treatment at this time. Most people with thyroid cancer live as long as people who don't have the disease.
   There has been a dramatic increase in  cases seen in the United States over the past three decades,  Oct. 10, 2013, JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, online.

 A surge in the number of thyroid cancer cases in recent decades suggests the disease is being overdiagnosed and overtreated, Feb. 20, 2014, JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, online.

Women who survive breast cancer face an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, especially within 5 years of their breast cancer diagnosis.

Desiccated thyroid
Desiccated thyroid extract is made from dried animal glands. This form of thyroid medication used to be the most common form of treatment for low thyroid problems. After the individual thyroid hormones such as T3 and T4 were made available to doctors during the 1960s, most physicians stopped using desiccated thyroid pills. One major reason was that the potency of desiccated thyroid may vary from one batch to another although it appears to be less of a problem now. Armour Thyroid is made by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Forest Laboratories, Inc and it appears to be very well standardized.

Q. I wanted to review your statement above. The operative word is "was". Batch standardization procedures are, and have been for a long time, incorporated in the production of desiccated thyroid products, e.g. Armour, or in Canada Erfa Thyroid (formerly PD Thyroid). The batch inconsistency theory may have been valid a long time ago, or may have been a canard even then. In any case, the documentation of this standardization procedure is so well known that I can't even be bothered to search the literature, since it was long ago settled (and for example, accepted by e.g. Health Canada in approving the continued production of dessicated thyroid from Erfa / PD Thyroid).
  A. Thanks for your input.

Thyroid Problem and Pregnancy
There is an increased risk of neurological development problems in infants born to mothers who have low levels of thyroid hormone early in pregnancy. Low thyroid hormone levels in the mother, even if they don't cause any symptoms, can have important neurological development consequences in the newborn.

Q. I have a thyroid condition. Please inform me of any herb / drug interaction between ashwagandha and Synthroid.
   A. Human studies are few regarding the interaction between ashwagandha and Synthroid. If you have a thyroid condition and were to take ashwagandha, you may consider using a third of a capsule for a few days to see how this affects you and then base the dosage for future use based on your initial response.

Q. I have hypothyroidism. I an taking Thyroid Caps by Solaray. It has Thyroid substance 150mg (Thyroxin free) in it. Can I also take forskolin? I have read that you should not take Rx thyroid meds with this herb.
   A. We are not familiar with the product you mention. Even so, we are not familiar with any research combining Forskolin and thyroid medications, so we really can't say.

Q. Hi, I've been taking l tyrosine for quite a while due to thyroid condition. (Sluggish Thyroid). My question is can L tyrosine interfere with high blood medication?? I'm also on thyroid medication. Is it safe to take. I'm taking 500mg l-tryosine.
   A. Tyrosine may increase blood pressure and cause heart rhythm abnormalities.

Q. I take thyroid medicine and sometimes it makes me so wired that I need to take alprazolam to calm down. I found out that the dose of the thyroid medicine was too high, and since my doctor lowered the dose, I don't need the Xanax anymore.

Q. I am 28 years old. I was diagnosed with overactive thyroid and currently being treated with medication (Methamazole). I strongly believe in herbal and homeopathic ways of treating diseases so I need some guidance from you on what to take to treat my overactive thyroid. Because of hyperthyroidism, I was having anxiety and difficulty taking deep breaths (tightened breathing) which is really bothering me at this time. I take Valerian root to help me relax but I need more information on treating the primary cause of the anxiety. Please let me know what kinds of herbs I can use to treat hyperthyroidism and the anxiety that resulted from it.
   A. We are not in a position to give individual advice, but you could have some information here on anxiety. There are many herbs besides valerian that could occasionally be used for anxiety, such as kava and passionflower, and nutrients such as 5-htp or tryptophan, but those who have a thyroid problem should be under medical supervision since a high thyroid level can cause anxiety.

Q. What is the equivalent of natural thyroid supplement to 0.125 mg Synthroid?
   A. There are countless natural thyroid supplements marketed over the counter, each different than the other. It is very difficult to make an accurate guess.

Q. I have been taking 5 grams of arabinogalactan powder everyday. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. My doctor said that I do not have to take Synthroid any more. My thyroid levels are normal. My mom was hyperthyroid. She now has normal thyroid levels. I believe strongly that it is due to our taking arabinoglactan every morning. The only thing both of us did similar is that we both took it. I asked my mother in law who has hypothyroid to test it too. I will let you know how that goes. If this really is the reason why our thyroid levels are normal, there is a large population that can benefit from this knowledge. I was hoping to peak your interest. Please give it some thought.
   A. Thank you for feedback regarding arabinogalactan and thyroid disorders. We will wait to see if others provide us with similar results. It makes me slightly suspicious that both hyper and hypothyroid states were corrected, but we'll see.

Q. My wife has a thyroid problem with low thyroid and takes Synthroid, She's 48 and has the start of osteoporosis, would Sam-e help her with minor depression and joint pain? She's also tired all the time. Should she talk to her doctor first?
   A. Yes, she should talk to her doctor who perhaps can take a look at the web page on SAM-e. If your doctor does decide to recommend SAM-e, low dosages, such as 50 to 100 mg should be considered.

Q. I have been on 30mcg of Armour for low thyroid for three weeks now and have gained 8 lbs. My doctor also said that I have very low testosterone levels. I was hoping to order a supplement that would help me with my recent weight gain, and not interfere with what my doctor is trying to do.
   A. You can ask your doctor to read this page on weight loss and recommend some supplements for you.

Q. I'm 55 years old. My thyroid was removed due to papilar cancer and I'm taking Syntroid alternating dose of 125 and 150ml. I developed insomnia and anxiety, probably as a side effects of this hormone. My endocrinologist doesn't agree with  it. I'm taking 5-HTP 50mg, the formula you developed twice daily which eliminates my anxiety but sleep is still deprived.

Q. I am 45 year old female. About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer and right afterwards I was give an complete thyroidectomy. I have always been label as hypo thyroid. Since the surgery, I have had quite a few problems:
1. Some hair loss and breaking badly
2. Menstrual cycles - skip 4 months, then have a cycle for 1 or 2 months and then who knows what the next few months bring,
3. My personality has completely changed (I used to have a little bit of a temper - nothing bad - I feel like part of me is missing, - my blood work does not say I am pre-menapausal...
4. I get what they call a "brain fog" - the word will be on the tip of my tongue - but I cannot say it or I know where I am going in a conversation and I get tongue tied,
5. Also I feel since the thyroid cancer removal there has been some paralization of my vocal cords - at first, speaking above a low tone of voice was very difficult - this has improved, but I cannot project my voice and my speech slurs or words come out funny (I am a teacher - and the kids will make remarks when things do not sound right),
6. I am also suffering from depression and weight gain. I will cry at the drop of a hat, I find myself frustrated and sad about the smallest things. When I do get a cycle - I feel better in my "head". Right now, I feel as though my entire personality has changed, things that would get my emotions up - maybe it makes me mad - now, just makes me sad...due to my speech being altered from the surgery; I am unable to express myself when I am angry - this just makes me sadder, because I cannot express myself.
6. Several years before I found out that I had thyroid cancer, I began gaining weight. I am a dance teacher and exercise pretty regularly....Since the surgery, I am having more of a problem... This really makes me depressed, I used to have a good figure and I get so down on myself.
7. My doctor endocrynologist prescribed me an anti-depressant recently that its side effect is weight loss - she did this to try and help with two things at once depression and weight.
8. I talked with my brother - who is in AA recently... he told me that antidepressants are psychosomatic and that I will find myself needing more and more (I do not want to get addicted)
9. I know that my problems are never going to go away - not having a thyroid has created an entirely different venue for me.
10. I also have MVP and an irregular heart beat - I have read where people with thyroid problems - have these problems as well.
I take Levothyroxine 150mcgs (since I do not have a thyroid). I also take Metorpolol Succ ER 12.5 mgs or (toprol) for my heart. I am taking budeprion SR 100 MG for the depression/weight.

Q. Is there anywhere in the world that I can purchase Sheep Thyroid Supplements? I am not allergic to Sheep or Lamb.
   A. We have not looked into sheep or lamb derived thyroid supplements.

Q. I'm a 35 year old female and had a whole thyriodectomy due to cancer 7 years ago. Since then i have been on Levoxyl as for hormone replacement therapy. The dose is variable however they try to keep it as high as they can so the TSH stays as close as to zero. I also have been diagnosed with severe depression anxiety ADHD. The Depression visibly gets worsened at low doses of Levoxyl. MY doctor believes that I would be apt to depression anyway just due to my log term ADHD. And is not willing to increase the Levoxyl dose just due to other risk factors. I have also reacted severely to many of the prescription anti depressants. I'm interested to try supplements. Which one of the supplements you suggest fits best with a thyroid condition?  
   A. We really can't give individual advice, there are too many variables that involve the use of supplements and what works for one person may not for another, particularly those with a medical condition such as thyroid disease or on hormone treatment such as Levoxyl. One option is to discuss with your doctor, and if you try a supplement you have never taken before, open a capsule and at first use only a third or half the amount.

Q. Can I use 5-HTP if taking Synthroid 0.075 mg for low thyroid?
   A. The dosage of a supplement and the dosage of a medication are the crucial factors when the are combined. There are many other factors that influence how a person responds to a supplement including age, other medicines used, weight, overall health, diet, activity level, etc. As a general rule, your health care provider should guide you, and it is always safer to, at first, take a portion of a capsule when introducing a new supplement just to see how you react. Beyond this we cannot be any more specific.

Q. is it possible for topical forskolin application to enhance thyroid function?
   A. I have no idea what topical forskolin administration would do to thyroid hormone levels.

Q.  My question is in regards to a thyroid problem. I don't have one. I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 1999. The doctors at Ft. Sill, OK army hospital decided that it was best to destroy it. So I was given the radioactive iodine pill. I am taking Levoxyl or whatever thyroid medicine that I need to be on for the rest of my life. My question is, since Ashwagandha is known to stimulate the thyroid, what would it do to me since my thyroid is "dead"? My doctor is no into the herbal thing and I don't know of anyone around where I live who would know about both the pharmaceutical and herbal routes. I am learning how to cope with anxiety so I'm limited on what I can take due to my thyroid problem. Plus the other benefits wouldn't hurt either.
   A. We would think ashwagandha would not have much of an influence in terms of thyroid effect since you don't have an active thyroid gland. It is a good idea to start with smaller doses of ashwagandha, such as a third or half of a capsule. There are many other herbs that are helpful for anxiety, including passion flower and valerian, along with the nutrients 5-HTP or tryptophan, and it is a good idea to alternate their use rather than taking the same herb or supplement all the time.

Q. Iíve read your website many times and find the info and your products very helpful and hope you continue to provide updated info on a regular basis. I am a big supporter of natural and herbal supplements and along with physicians such as yourself Iím confident I will always find natural solutions to my health issues. My primary reason for writing is that I would like you to do info on thyroid concerns. I did not find any info on your website that addresses this health concern aside from tyrosine which I have used in a combined product but not individually. It does not agree with me at all, way too many side effects. I would like to see discussions on metabolism, hair loss, soy products (Iíve been told thyroid patients should not use soy products, true?), Just some of the myths and concerns related to thyroid problems would be helpful, and/or some of the various amino acids, herbs or vitamins that would support thyroid disorders. Thank you again for a wonderful website and newsletter.

Q. is it okay to take phytosterol complex while taking Armour thyroid medicine and estradiol, estrogen? Any known side affects?
   A. Much depends on the dosages and the overall medication condition of the person taking it. There are no simple answers.

Q. I'm trying to find a natural remedy for keeping the thyroid healthy that I can take while breastfeeding. Can the thyroid be high due to breastfeeding and hormones at this time my son is 7 months? My t3 and t4 are normal but my TSH is 6.59 and nurse practitioner wants to put me on synthetic medicine but I told her I am going to do some research before starting anything. She said no your tsh can be high because of your breastfeeding.
   A. I am not aware of breastfeeding causing high TSH levels, but I am not an expert in this particular area.

I came across your website a year or two ago while researching herbs after my father's lung cancer diagnosis. As a scientist myself I was very relieved to find someone who compared traditional / popular uses and evidence from scientific studies to decipher safety and efficacy of the myriad of herbal supplements for which great claims are made. Recently, my wife was diagnosed with hyperthyroid (Grave's disease), so I began researching the conditions and treatments both western and herbal. In my research I discovered that thyroid disease - (hyper or hypothyroid) is far more common than I was aware of in the general population. Your comprehensive index of herbs covers a few of the ones I see recommended for my wife's condition.

I believe that I have hypothyroidism and have visited my doctor and have received my lab order to have my blood tested for this disease. Less than a week ago I started using l-tyrosine since according to my homeopathic book this would be helpful, this being just a short term measure until I can get the test done. Now that I have the order for thyroid tests, how long does taking l-tyrosine influence the tests before I undergo testing. I donít want my test results to be skewed because of this tyrosine supplement.
   Much depends on the dosage of tyrosine used, but it would be safe to say that any effect should be minimal or gone after 4 or 5 days.

I am a 63 year old woman. I take a Multivitamin every day, or two, as well as Natural Vitamin C, and Calcium. Every other day I take 200 units of Vitamin E. I take no prescription medication. Recently, I was examined by a natural medicine doctor, as well as a traditional doctor. The former told me I had a "slightly sluggish thyroid" and the latter indicated blood work "within normal limits", with the exception of Cholesterol at 233. The Thyroid Panel +TSH, 3rd Generation was 3.73, T4 was 8.4, T3 was 28, T4 Free Calculated at 2.4. I was always slim, but weight problems surfaced around the menopause in my early fifties. I exercise and eat a healthy diet, however, I ingest refined sugar daily (I have cut it down). Might it help my energy levels and weight loss to take 100 mcgs of Iodine three days per week?
    Thank you for writing, but we are not in a position to offer individual treatment advice, it requires a review of the whole medical history and a thorough medical exam in order to make proper suggestions and this cannot be done by email.

I am a 55 year old white male. I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and Graves Eye Disease about 5 years ago. I declined the traditional Radioactive Iodine treatment and the suggested surgical removal of my thyroid. I also declined the orbital decompression surgery for my eyes. My Mother-in-law and my neighbor lady both went the surgery route (thyroid and eyes) and neither got very good results. After several Endo changes I found an Endocrinologist that was willing to think outside the Merck Manual. I started on 300 mg of PTU and am now down to 50mg. I also started on 60mg of Prednisone and am now down to 5mg. My thyroid levels are almost back in range and my eyes are 90% back to normal. I have been taking 25mg of DHEA and 10mg of Pregnenolone along with the 5mg of Prednisone and 50mg of PTU for about a year.

One year back I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. My TSH was just a little high (5.7) but my gynecologist put me on a very high dose of Synthriod 100 mcg because of this my TSH became very low and I developed hyperthyroidism. I was asked to stop the medicine. In 1 months time my TSH went up to 41 and I was asked to consult an endocrinologist. She told I have Hashimotto's hypothyroidism and I have to take medicine for the rest of my life. I'm just 28 yrs old and I'm really worried. I want to cure my disease through natural treatment options and I don't want to continue taking medicine for the rest of my life. One year back I was perfectly healthy and now I feel very tired. I find it hard to loose weight. Doctors told that my disease is hereditary but no one in my family has this problem. I have read about people getting cure through natural methods. I just wanted to know is it possible to treat hypothyroidism naturally. I'm over weighted.

I have been diagnoses with hyperthyroidism on three different occasions and typically have elevated TPO and Grave's dz anti-bodies. My episodes have been responsive to PTU and I have had periods of euthyroid x several years between the episodes. I am wondering if there are supplements that can support my immune system (so it does not attack my thyroid) in the long run.
    This is a complicated issue and there are no easy answers. The best option is to lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

My husband is 61 years old and has silent thyroiditis, and he gains weight, fatigued, and etc.. His thyroid level is always in range but suffering from this problem. He has been taking Iodine Plus but this doesn't help much. Could you suggest any kind of supplement or anything else for him to try? He has had this going on four years.
    Thyroid problems are difficult to treat and it requires a full evaluation including medical history, exam, and review of blood studies over time. Not having this information makes it difficult to accurately suggest any kind of treatment.

 I'm vegan and I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Have you heard about N-Acetyl Tyrosine being used for hypothyroidism? Is Is N-Acetyl Tyrosine vegan?
   As far as I know, it is made synthetically. I have not seen good studies regarding its use for hypothyroidism.

I take Armour thyroid 60 mg when arising and am a 68 yr old female in good health with kaiser. After getting off biest hormone replacement therapy for15 years I noticed a change in my mood and sleep habits I started Sam-e 200 mg. four months ago. I buy this with Nature Sunshine herbs and I'm feeling so much better. I take one every morning I half an hour after the thyroid then wait about a half an hour to eat breakfast.


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