Hypothyroidism is a disease affects 27 million Americans, eight out of ten of them women. 14 million of hypothyroid patients suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition. Additionally, there were 60,000 cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed last year. This is a disease of epidemic proportions, yet it receives little attention in the media.
Most hypothyroidism patients are prescribed thyroid medication, which can have dire consequences. It is true that when a thyroid imbalance is severe, short-term use of a synthetic medication can be helpful. However, over the long-term, synthetic drugs should not be used to replace natural methods of regulating the thyroid. These include nutrition, stress reduction and supplementation, particularly with iodine. Sadly, most doctors simply write a prescription for Synthroid, the synthetic medication, while never testing for the underlying issues, such as iodine deficiency.
Synthroid is now the most prescribed medication in the country, used by 23 million people. Its known side effects include weight loss, tremors, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, insomnia, fever, changes in menstrual cycles, temporary hair loss, chest pain, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Synthroid is quite different in structure and function from thyroxine (T4), the hormone naturally produced by your body. Of course, it must be different in order to have been patented. Natural health experts believe Synthroid’s synthetic version of T4 may actually interfere with the body’s natural use of thyroxine by competing for cellular reception sites.
Additionally, the synthetic medication replaces only T4 hormones. Your body still must convert these to T3, or triiodothyronine, the biologically active form of the hormone.
There is an even more dangerous consequence of long-term use of this medication, however. It has been linked to cancer, and particularly breast cancer.
Jim Howenstine, M.D., a specialist in internal medicine, says:
Nearly every physician in the United States will reach for a prescription pad to order thyroid hormone when he sees a patient with goiter or symptoms of hypothyroidism. This can be exactly the wrong thing to do if the patient has deficient stores of iodine.
According to research conducted by Ferdinand-Sauerbruch Hospital in Wuppertal, Germany, women being treated with thyroid medication were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as women who were not on synthetic thyroid hormone replacement. Furthermore, 20 percent of the women who had taken the medication for 15 years or longer had developed breast cancer, while women who had been on the medication for 5 years had only a 10 percent occurrence of breast cancer.
The German study compared the results of iodine therapy to that of Synthroid for people with goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). After 8 months, both treatments were effective in reducing the size of the goiter. After treatment had been suspended for 4 months, the iodine-therapy group retained their normal-sized thyroid glands, but the glands of the Synthroid-therapy group returned to their pre-treatment sizes.
Low iodine levels, hypothyroidism and breast cancer are directly linked, because the mammary glands have what has been called a “trapping system” for iodine, as does the thyroid gland. The glands in the breast compete with the thyroid for needed iodine.
Nine out of ten people are deficient in iodine. A simple 24-hour Iodine Loading Test can check for iodine deficiency, and guide you in supplementing with the proper levels.