Synthroid Is Never the Answer

Healthcare jumped off a cliff in the 1960s when Big Pharma took over medical schools and insisted on a drugs-only approach; schools teaching nutrition were forced to change. There’s no money in nutrition, at least not the kind of money drugs pull in.

And, lo, all these years later, healthcare is still going downhill, and patients are still at the end of the line. Especially when it comes to the thyroid and other endocrine problems–an area, unfortunately, of great weakness in medicine.

Patients suffer endlessly and needlessly because medicine insists on unreliable thyroid blood tests, followed by the drug, Synthroid, which can’t “cut the mustard,” as they used to say.

While the tests and Synthroid are equally disastrous, let’s look at Synthroid today.

Natural thyroid has five parts, T4 (the amino acid tyrosine plus four iodine molecules), T3 (tyrosine with three iodine molecules), T2 (tyrosine with two iodine molecules), T1 (tyrosine with one iodine molecule) and calcitonin.

(Sadly, simply combining tyrosine and iodine doesn’t replace real thyroid. Taking iodine can help a lot if your body needs it, but if not, yikes! I write about iodine and its supporting cast of supplements in Pep for the Pooped. You need to get iodine right.)

T4 doesn’t do much, while T3 has mucho mojo. When your body needs more of the good juice, it converts some T4 to T3 to keep the party going.

The T4/T3 conversion, which happens mostly in a reasonably healthy liver, can’t happen without adequate vitamins and minerals–Vitamin B, iodine and selenium as three examples–and most of us are deficient.

But this is not necessarily bad news. It means we can help–and sometimes correct–thyroid problems just by building a strong vitamin/mineral program and sticking to it. Did you know, for instance, that a simple copper/zinc imbalance can make you hypo or hyper, depending on which way the imbalance tilts? But I digress.

How did we get into this mess? When we don’t crank out enough thyroid hormone, we spend our days doing beached whale impressions, and all this misery made visions of dollar signs dance in the heads of drug developers. “Let’s make a synthetic thyroid hormone,” they cried, and so Synthroid was born.

But it’s not actually synthetic thyroid hormone; it’s synthetic T4, only one part of the real thing.

Since T4 converts to T3, they skipped the T3 part. And since they decided T2, T1 and calcitonin were unnecessary, they skipped them, too.

But their synthetic T4 doesn’t look much like the real thing, and our bodies really, really don’t like synthetics. Convert it to T3? How? It doesn’t even recognize this stuff.

As a consequence, then, we don’t get T3, which, you’ll remember, is where the mojo is.

And it gets worse. It turns out T2 and T1 do a lot of the stuff T3 gets credit for, and they’re nowhere to be seen in this scenario. And neither is calcitonin.

So Synthroid patients get a synthetic drug their bodies don’t know how to handle, and no T3, T2, T1, or calcitonin. And you wonder why you’re dragging bottom?

But here’s the kicker. While Synthroid doesn’t treat hypothyroidism, it does make the blood tests look normal. You’re still hypothyroid–and at major risk of heart disease, cancer and all sorts of maladies, but the tests say you’re fine.

And still the bad beat goes on. Low thyroid leads to low calcitonin, and low calcitonin leads to osteoporosis.

Doctors say osteoporosis comes only from a thyroid overdose. Fact is, no dose of natural thyroid causes osteoporosis, no matter how high, but any dose of Synthroid does, no matter how low.

Bottom line: While the tests look really good, Synthroid doesn’t treat hypothyroidism; it just causes osteoporosis.

But governments around the world insist it’s the only medicine hypothyroid patients can have.

The UK’s National Health Service allows only Synthroid or one of its ugly, generic cousins. Same with most of the European Union. In the U.S., military doctors are forbidden to prescribe natural thyroid. Same with Medicare. And probably Medicaid.

What are those famous words? “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

To understand how the endocrine system works and how it can lead you to health, stick with me.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette is all about determination. A month before her first birthday, a drunk driver smashed into her parents’ car, which caused a concussion. The concussion put her endocrine system (the thyroid and the rest of the gang) pretty much out of business. Well, that system controls all of health, life was a mess, but doctors didn’t help. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Now she writes about how your body works and what you can do to make it work better. Good, eh?

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