SYMPTOMSFatigue and inability to tolerate cold are the most common symptoms.
Others include: loss of appetite, a slow heart rate, muscle weakness and possible cramps, dry and scaly skin, recurrent infections, water retention (edema) and overweight, brittle nails, constipation, depression, difficulty in concentrating, a yellow-orange coloration of the skin (especially on the palms of the hands). In women, there might be painful menstruation, a milky breast discharge, and fertility problems.
CAUSESThe thyroid gland is the body's thermostat. It tells the rest of the body when to produce more heat or less. Thyroxine is secreted by the thyroid (a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck), and affects several body functions, including the general rate of metabolism. The pituitary, located in the center of the skull, sends out TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), to tell the thyroid to speed up or slow down. When a weak thyroid does not respond, TSH levels remain highand you have hypothyroidism.
The hormone, thyroxine, is almost pure iodine.
First thing in the morning, place a thermometer under your arm for 15 minutes while keeping still. A temperature of 97.6o F. or lower may indicate an underactive thyroid. Write down the result for five days. (Others say that if the test is consistently below 98, you are low thyroid.)
A low thyroid condition generally does not produce goiter (which see). If you had goiter, your thyroid gland would enlarge.
It is thought that Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid. This occurs when the body becomes allergic to its own thyroxine! It is not clear why this happens.
In addition, the immune system can produce antibodies that invade and attack the thyroid, disrupting hormone production. This destruction of the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism, is called myxedema. It is actually a disease of the immune system. It is believed that an excess of chemicals, poisonous fumes, medicinal drugs, tobacco smoke, impure living, etc., disrupts the immune system and starts it on such rampages.
Get away from the chemicals by moving to the country, live a clean life, eat right, use a distiller to make your own water, work out-of-doors part of the time, have peace with God, and you will feel better every day.
Medical treatment includes the taking of thyroxine from animals, or synthroid. This is generally 3-9 grains each morning. An excess will cause increase in heart rate and shaking of the extended arm.
The active ingredient in synthroid and other synthetic thyroid medications, is levothyroxine. It can cause a loss of as much as 13 percent of bone mass. An estimated 19 million people in the U.S. take this drug for thyroid problems or thyroid cancer.
Thyroid supplementation can cause cardiac arrest in those whose hearts are not strong enough for the increased activity the thyroid dosage places upon it.
Thyroid medication can have a similar effect on the adrenals. They may be working poorly, as a result of years of low thyroxine. The medication can cause adrenal insufficiency. Diabetes can be made worse by the thyroid pill. Anticoagulants can be upset.
In newborn infants, synostosis can occur if they are given thyroid. The skull bones close prematurely and the brain does not develop properly.
Thyroid supplementation also increases the need for insulin and, in some, for antidepressants as they become extremely agitated.
Thyroid medication can produce arrhythmia, angina, and tachycardia, or hair loss.
After menopause, a smaller dose of thyroid medication is often needed by women.
The human body needs less thyroid as it gets older, so older folk should try reducing their dose of synthroid. To do this, try reducing the amount you take by one dose a week (example: 5 doses a week, then 4 doses the next week, etc.). When you encounter problems, stay with that amount for 4 weeks to see if the thyroid will adjust itself to this new amount. After a month, try reducing the dosage again, but staying one month at each reduced level.
You need iodine every day, at every meal. But how do you obtain it? Long use of thyroid medication can weaken the bones or result in breast cancer.
Among the seaweeds, Nova Scotia dulse or Norwegian kelp are the best balanced sources of trace minerals. Most other seaweed products also contain iodine, but they are not always as balanced in providing a wide spectrum of other trace minerals. California kelp is not as good.
Here is an address for Nova Scotia dulse: Harry Greene, North Head, Grand Manan, N.B. [New Brunswick], Canada. My last boxful was $12 for 12 ounces. I let it dry, then whiz the leaves, put them in jars, and sprinkle it on my food.
Some nature therapists recommend coating the bottom of your feet with iodine, in order to increase iodine absorption by your body. Others do not recommend it. You really have no certainty as to what substances and quantities you are taking into your body.
Another source of iodine is Lugol's solution. This, of course, should be taken in extremely small doses. Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain. Pharmacies have it, but will not dispense it without a prescription.
Of course, there is also iodized salt. The problem here is that aluminum is in store-bought salt (so it will not cake), and that can lead to Alzheimer's disease (which see).
Some turn to "sea salt," but generally this is nothing more than regular salt, extracted from the ocean rather than from salt mines. It is just regular salt!
Some use rock salt (from salt mines), and grind it up. But this lacks the iodine.
There is a firm in France which produces salt from the ocean which does have all the natural trace minerals, including iodine: The U.S. address is Grain & Salt Society, P.O. Box DD, Magalia, CA 95954 / 916-872-5800. Of the three products (Light Grey, Fine Ground, and Flower of the Ocean), the Fine Ground seems to strike a balance between fine grain and low price. The salt is slightly moist, but this is natural. Dry, free-flowing, salt has always been treated with chemicals.
I recommend that you use both Nova Scotia dulse and this French sea salt at every meal.
For some, thyroid problems can be corrected, but for others it is something to live with, for a lifetime, while doing that which may lessen the problem. In addition to taking added iodine, eat a nutritious diet. The experts say to only eat in moderation the cabbage family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens), for they tend to suppress the thyroid function. The same is said to hold true for peaches and pears.
Chlorine, fluoride, and iodine are chemically related, and block entrance of iodine into the thyroid. So avoid chlorinated water, fluoridated water, and toothpaste.
A thyroid deficiency can result from lack of sunshine and free fats (margarine, butter, mayonnaise, fried foods, cooking fats, salad oils, and peanut butter).
Functions of the thyroid will be increased by more exercise, for it stimulates TSH production by the pituitary. T3 increases slowly in the blood during, and after, vigorous exercise.
Mother's milk is a good treatment for hypothyroid babies, and it helps protect normal babies from developing the problem until weaning.
Vitamin A is necessary for iodine to be properly absorbed; the B vitamins work together, to nourish the thyroid; B6 helps the thyroid use its iodine effectively in hormone production; B12 helps the thyroid work properly.
To stimulate the thyroid: Eat one serving each of oats and bananas daily, take a cool shower each morning and night, and work 3-5 hours out-of-doors every day.
Avoid electric blankets if you can.
Use a salt-free, oil-free, sugar-free diet until the thyroid is under control. But, on the long term, you need a little salt and oil.
In cretins, who are born hypothyroid, try taking them off the thyroid medication after three years of supplementation. Maybe their thyroid will start functioning on its own.
A nature healer in Central America recommends the following procedures:
To go off thyroid supplementation: Go on a fasting, cleansing program of fruit and vegetable juices, followed by a building program of eating simple nourishing foods (especially raw food). Do this for 2-4 weeks. Get back and neck spinal adjustments, and take one kelp tablet daily. He says this always works.
GOITERHe also recommends this:
To eliminate goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland): Follow the above program; and then, after the 2-4 weeks, do one or more of the following four neck applications: (1) Put an Epsom salt compress on the neck every night, and leave it on all night for 10 nights. (2) Use a compress of white oak bark tea over the goiter for better results. (3) Put two hot fomentations around the neck, for 4 minutes each and one cold compress for 4 minutes. Continue alternating this for an hour. Then spend 5-10 minutes doing exercises with the neck in various positions. (4) Put a poultice of ground-up almonds completely around the neck and leave it on all night, for 3-10 nights. This is especially good for harder, more fibrous, goiters.
Nitrates are goitrogenic; that is, they stimulate goiter formation. Nitrates can be found in hot dogs, sausages, luncheon meats, and variously prepared meat products. Nitrates are also found in well water, from fertilizer runoff.
Interestingly enough, many people with Parkinson's disease (which see) tend to have hypothyroidism.
ENCOURAGEMENTThe secret of happiness is to live a life wholly dedicated to God. You are the Lord's, for He created you. Give Him your heart and your plans, obey His Written Word, and He will wonderfully guide your life.
SYMPTOMSFatigue; insomnia; intolerance; irritability; increased perspiration; constantly feeling hot; frequent bowel movements; hair and weight loss; nails separate from nail bed; change in skin thickness; hand tremors; intolerance of heat; rapid heartbeat; goiter; and, sometimes, protruding eyeballs. In women, there may also be less frequent menstruation and decreased flow.
CAUSESHypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid, and results in a slow metabolism and all it brings with it. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite: The thyroid is overactive; metabolism is too fast, and that brings its own problems. The thyroid gland is producing too much thyroxine.
Sometimes called thyrotoxicosis, hyperthyroidism is not a simple problem to deal with. Graves' disease is the most common form of it, which 2.5 million Americans have.
A detailed discussion of the thyroid is found in our article on Hypothyroidism (which see), which is far more common. Both affect women more often than men. When the thyroid does not work properly, a variety of different physical problems can develop.
In fact, the word, "hypochondriac," was coined many years ago, to describe these strange people who have all kinds of things wrong with them, when they do not seem to have anything wrong with them. Surely, it must all be in their heads! Well, it was in their throats. We now know those people had under or overactive thyroids.
Infection of the thyroid or certain prescription drugs can temporarily produce hyperthyroidism.
The eating of kelp helps every type of thyroid problem, including hyperthyroidism. Kelp is a rich source of iodine and thyroxine. The hormone produced by the thyroid is almost pure iodine.
Genuine sea salt is another worthwhile source of iodine (see Hypothyroidism).
Deficiencies of vitamins C and E can result in overproduction of the thyroid hormone.
Eat lots of the cabbage family of foods (broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens), for they tend to suppress the thyroid function. The same is said to hold true for peaches and pears.
Cut down on dairy products and avoid nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, and processed and junk food.
The pituitary, parathyroids, and sexual functions work closely together, and they are affected by the thyroid. Problems in one area can affect them all.
Radioactive sodium iodine (iodine 131, also called I-131) may be recommended, but know that it can cause severe side effects.
Do not be quick to try surgery on your thyroid. You have enough problems without doing that.
For much more, see "Hypothyroidism."
ENCOURAGEMENTIn Christ, the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Go to Him with all your sorrows and cares.