Many patients, most of them women, have symptoms suggestive of underactive thyroid glands, but thyroid blood tests are normal.  They complain of constipation, hair loss, cold intolerance, low body temperature, weight gain, fatigue, depression, dry skin, and changes in menstruation.  Unless blood tests are abnormal, many physicians decline to offer thyroid hormone therapy.

I have seen a number of patients whose symptoms markedly improved with thyroid hormone supplementation, even though thyroid blood tests were normal.  The risk of providing low dose thyroid hormone, starting at 15 mg daily, is quite small, and we have seen no adverse effects at this dose.  Symptoms, however, may improve remarkably.

The thyroid gland is sensitive to toxins, and in particular to gluten.  Dietary restriction and detoxification have been shown to improve thyroid function.  An initial trial of thyroid hormone may offer relief of symptoms while waiting for other changes to be made.

I also suggest a trial of detoxification for anyone with low thyroid.  This involves taking nutrients to enhance hepatic detoxification and the release of toxins from fat cells where they are stored, combined with sauna therapy at 140-180 degrees.  The program is followed daily for several weeks.

Studies were performed in firefighters and rescue workers engaged in the New York City 9/11 cleanup.  Many of them had low thyroid function, which returned to normal after sauna and exercise detoxification.

Allan Sosin MD

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