Archive | September, 2011

Low Thyroid and Iodine Is A BAD Idea

I’m going explain why iodine supplementation is still a bad idea if you have low thyroid symptoms.



Earlier this year a new study was released about iodine supplementation  in Denmark.  Many years ago,  Denmark began fortifying their salt with iodine.

After a few years of salt iodination, the government assessed the results and were unhappy. They passed a rule to increase the amount of iodine put in the salt–a mandatory increase in iodine.

Well, some sharp researchers though..

“Let’s see if there’s a relationship between iodine and antibody production against the thyroid.”

To put it another way:

Does iodine cause Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

So let me back up and explain that.

For years, well-established, credible scientific data have shown that when you give people supplemental iodine —and this may be in a frankly iodine deficient area—you cause an autoimmune attack against the thyroid.

TPO antibodies and thyroglobulin antibodies are how you determine if there is an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland.

The researchers from Denmark ran these exact tests in their quest to determine if iodine caused an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland.

Here’s the citation so you so you can take a look at it.

Clinical Endocrinology (2011) 75, 120–126

(You would be shocked at the hate mail I get when I talk about iodine and it’s possible negative effects. It’s clear by their comments that they are either not actually reading, or they simply dont’ understand my point.)

This is my point about iodine, low thyroid symptoms and Hashimoto’s…

if you have low thyroid symptoms, you need to find out if you have Hashimoto’s or not. Because if you have Hashimoto’s, taking iodine is like taking toxic waste.

Iodine will make you worse.

Let me tell you a quick real life story about iodine…

Recently I had a patient, Kim.  She’s 36 years old and she had been taking iodine for seven years – for seven years—because some well-meaning but totally wrong alternative practitioner told her to take iodine for her low thyroid symptoms.

Quick Review of Low Thyroid Symptoms

  • gain weight easily, even if you exercise and eat “right” (low calorie)
  • hair loss, hair thinning on the scalp, eyebrows
  • dry, flaky skin
  • depression
  • brain fog, slow mental response
  • constipation
  • high cholesterol
  • infertility
  • sleep problems – can’t get enough sleep; sleep is not restorative

Turns out, that in all these years of suffering low thyroid symptoms…and after all these years of seeing doctor after doctor… Kim had never been tested for Hashimoto’s. 

For seven years Kim has felt bad.  In the last year and a half she’s got worse and worse.  Her hair’s been falling out, she’s gaining weight.

And all I did was say, “You know what?  Why don’t we just find out for sure if you’ve got Hashimoto’s?  Let’s find out if you’ve got these antibodies.”

Sure as heck, she’s got them.  It explains why she feels so bad.

See…

Iodine is a huge risk factor for Hashimoto’s. 

In Denmark, where larger amounts of iodine have been put in the salt by law, the researchers  discoverd a shocking increase in elevated thyroid antibodies in the youngest age group of women – 18 to 45.

Denmark passed a law that’s given a huge part of their population Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Hypothyroidism.

This might sound strange, but…

Hashimoto’s is actually the least of your worries. Why?

Because once you have one tissue under attack from your immune system–pay close attention—your entire body is now on the menu. 

You can now attack your cartilage and develop rheumatoid arthritis…

…Or attack myelin and develop multiple sclerosis symptoms.

…Or attack your ovaries and develop infertility and various other polyglandular endocrine symptoms.

This is the new, real information about iodine and Hashimoto’s.

But I will probably still get flooded with hate mail or have people threatening to kill me and calling me a “murderer” because they don’t like what the research shows.  This is the truth, folks.

If you’ve got lot thyroid symptoms such as hair loss, weight gain, constipation…

If you’re taking thyroid medication like Synthroid®, Armour®, Naturethroid®, Levoxyl® or Cytomel® — and you STILL feel bad…

Then, you’ve got to find somebody to do these simple, non-exotic tests for TPO antibodies and thyroglobulin antibodies.

But here’s the catch…

If the results show you do have those elevate antibodies…you have a Hashimoto’s autoimmune attack on your thyroid….

Taking replacement thyroid hormones is only one tiny piece of the solution.

You need to find someone that understands the autoimmune situation. Someone who can help you get your immune system back into balance and slow down the autoimmune process (this can be done).

So to go back where I was at the beginning….low thyroid and iodine is a bad idea.

Yes, iodine is necessary to make thyroid hormones.  But, scientific data AND practical experience have proven again and again that iodine is dangerous.

Until you know whether you’ve got an autoimmune situation, I suggest you do NOT take iodine.

If someone is  telling you to take iodine for low thyroid symptoms (no matter who they are), it’s time they read a recent article with recent information.

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© 2011 Dr David Clark, DC

Just Diagnosed Hypothyroid? You Must Do This Next

If you’ve just been diagnosed with hypothyroidism by your doctor, here’s what you have to do next.



You have to go back to your doctor and demand that he/she run two tests –

  1. TPO antibodies (thyroid peroxidase antibodies)
  2. TGB antibodies (thyroglobulin antibodies)

Why should you yell and scream until your doctor orders these two tests?

Because the most common cause of low thyroid in America is a disease called Hashimoto’s.  It’s an autoimmune condition that can devastate your entire body –not just your thyroid gland.

Elevated TPO antibodies or elevated TGB antibodies indicate that your immune system is targeting and attacking your thyroid gland. Only ONE of the two antibodies needs to be positive to indicate Hashimoto’s.

Low thyroid symptoms are bad enough:

  • hair loss, hair thinning
  • constipation
  • sleep problems – feeling you could sleep 8 hours all over again
  • dry, flaky skin
  • depression
  • brain fog – feeling like your mental responses are slow
  • infertility
  • weight gain -even if you exercise and eat “right”

But, Hashimoto’s can lead to breakdown in the cerebellum, cartilage, nerves, pancreas or stomach.

Most GPs, family practitioners–even endocrinologists–don’t test for Hashimoto’s.  The only reason they ever seem to test for it is to shut up an insistent patient.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system targets your thyroid gland and literally eats it up – chews it up.  You lose pieces of your thyroid gland and you never get them back.

End results is, you can’t make thyroid hormones and you get low thyroid symptoms like depression, thinning hair, dry skin, constipation, brain fog, infertility, high cholesterol, okay?

If you have just got diagnosed with low thyroid, the next thing your must find out – whether your doctor thinks you should or not – is whether or not you have Hashimoto’s.

Hashimoto’s is a whole other ball game.

Sadly, your medical doctor is probably not going be able to help you with the autoimmune process. They really only have one way to work with any thyroid problem: thyroid  hormone replacement.

POINT: Almost all Hashimoto’s patients are going to require some replacement at some point because they are losing pieces of their thyroid gland.

Problem is —There’s at least 24 different ways that your thyroid hormones can go wrong.  Only one of the 24 responds well to thyroid hormone replacement.  That’s why there’s millions of women who still feel lousy even though their lab tests are normal…Even though they’re taking the thyroid medication like they’re supposed to.

They still feel bad because most of them have Hashimoto’s. And the autoimmune part of the problem has been ignored.

I want you to have hope that you can feel better.  If you’ve been newly diagnosed hypothyroid, you need take action.

You’ve got to stand up for yourself and demand those tests: TPO Antibodies and TGB Antibodies.

What to do when the TPO antibodies and TGB antibodies test results come back….

If TPO & TGB antibodies are negative, two things:

  1. 15% of Hashimoto’s patiens are seronegative–meaning they never test positive for the antibodies but have Hashimoto’s anyway. Keep reading below.
  2. There are 23 other reasons why you could have low thyroid symptoms. Find a doctor to investigate these 23 other causes.

If TPO & TGB antibodies are positive…

You must find a doctor that understands how to approach Hashimoto’s from a functional perspective…someone who understands that there’s even more testing that has to be done.

See, there are triggers for Hashimoto’s…factors that perpetuate Hashimoto’s–keep the fire burning—and we have to investigate and uncover them.

You have to put together the whole jigsaw puzzle and figure out…

  • Why your immune system is out of balance.
  • What’s fueling the fire in your body?

Hashimoto’s low thyroid reality check…

Once you have an autoimmune condition (like Hashimoto’s), chances are good that you will end up with another autoimmune condition.

Here’s what I mean by that…

Normally you’re not supposed to attack and kill yourself, right?  That’s called self-tolerance – when you don’t attack yourself.

I mean, we all make a few antibodies to different tissues.  An antibody is like a little strobe light that your immune system makes to tag what it thinks is an invader…or a dead cell that needs to be cleared out…or a cancer cell.

Then your T cells come by – and they see the strobe light and they attack it and kill it.

Well all of us make a little bit of antibodies to various organs and tissues…but we’re not supposed to make a lot of them.

Because when you make a lot of antibodies, then your T cells – your SWAT team – targets your tissue and kills it.

Depending on what tissue is being attacked, you suffer different symptoms .

In Hashimoto’s self-tolerance is broken.  It’s like a taboo’s been broken.  So now your SWAT team – your immune system – can attack anything it wants.

And it will.  Your immune system can now attack your…

  • cartilage — causing joint pain that looks like arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis
  • ovaries — causing female hormone imbalance, infertility
  • pancreas — causing the blood sugar regulation problems, you might even get diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes
  • lining of your stomach — causing inability to absorb B12 that makes you pernicious anemic.
  • cerebellum in your brain –causing vertigo, dizziness, nausea, car sickness

If you have Hashimoto’s, you need to realize that you have a problem bigger than your thyroid. 

You have an autoimmune condition that needs to be slowed down. This has to be managed correctly or you’ll  end up with problems beyond (and worse) than just low thyroid symptoms. And I know those are awful enough by themselves.

But imagine….

…having depression AND no energy because you’re B12 deficient/ Pernicious Anemic

…having fatigue AND peripheral neuropathy because you have autoimmune diabetes. 

…having hair loss AND car sickness-vertigo-nausea so severe you can’t take a trip to the grocery store

Horrible to think about–even for a second.

This is why the first thing you must do if you’re newly diagnosed hypothyroid  is demand your doctor do those tests –or find somebody else to do them.

If those tests come back negative, there’s about 23 other reasons why you could still have low thyroid symptoms.  And you need to  find a doctor that understands this fact.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism,  don’t give up hope.

Don’t get scared into blindly taking thyroid hormones without investigating whether you have Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s can and does lead to other autoimmune conditions that can devastate your quality of life.

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© 2011 Dr. David Clark, DC. All Rights Reserved.

Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroid (low thyroid)

Let’s talk about the connection between fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism.  If you don’t know what fibromyalgia is let me first tell you that  I think it’s a garbage can diagnosis.


I’m not saying Fibromyalgia is not real… but I am saying the diagnosis is lame.

I’ve done a lot of research on this topic and I discovered a dirty little secret about the way millions of women were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia….

The criteria that were originally established for fibromyalgia over 15 years ago were based on a doctor having actual physical contact with the patient (makes sense, right?) Recent published research did a retrospective review of thousands of women diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The reseachers found that doctors who had been busy diagnosing women with Fibromyalgia were not correctly following the established diagnostic critera.

So what were these doctors doing?

An alarming number of doctors had never physically examined the women they diagnosed with fibromyaglia.

This is ridiculous, considering that muscle tenderness was one of the criteria. That means the doctors should have put their hands on these patients to determine if the patients actually had any tender points.

In reality, in a doctor’s office, Fibromyalgia means you have chronic unexplained pain. (among other things).

Here’s the funny thing –using the established criteria, out of the next 50 people that walk by my office, I could diagnose 25 of them with fibromyalgia. That’s why Fibromyalgia is not much of diagnosis.

Why am I talking about Fibromyalgia and Low Thyroid?

Every month, I’m seeing more women coming into my office that are already diagnosed with fibromyalgia– and they also have diagnosed hypothyroidism (low thyroid) or symptoms of low thyroid.

Now what is the connection between the two?  Their symptoms overlap. On the one hand let’s take  hypothyroid. What are your common hypothyroid symptoms?

  • Depression
  • weight gain
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • Feel cold in hands, feet or all over
  • Widespread muscle aches and pain
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Sleep disturbances

And the common symptoms of Fibromyalgia are…

  • Depression
  • Widespread, chronic Muscle pain
  • Low endurance
  • Poor exercise intolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance — non-restful or non-restorative sleep

See the overlap? (Actually, there are a couple of other conditions that can overlap in here as well. A thorough doctor would rule those out).

Here’s the problem…

There’s a popular chain of fibromyalgia and fatigue clinics that–basically–treat every women diagnosed with fibromyalgia as ALSO being hypothyroid.  And they give thyroid hormones to almost everyone who walks through the door. (In fact, they have a nifty handout titled “Are All Fibromyalgia Patients Low Thyroid?” that lays out their case for doing this).

Giving thyroid hormones to all women diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is a mistake.

Granted, yes, some of the  people that have fibromyalgia symptoms are indeed hypothyroid.  Hypothroidism is very common.

But, the number one cause of low thyroid in America is Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition… and giving  thyroid hormones is going to help a little bit, but it not’s going to do squat for the autoimmune attack.

Giving thyroid hormones to every woman who has Fibromyalgia symptoms is just like giving them an energy drink….

She’ll feel good for awhile…maybe she’ll think she’s finally found the ‘right’ thing…

But her pain will return, because either

A. She’s not hypothyroid at all.

B. She actually IS hypothyroid, and it’s caused by Hashimoto’s (autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland), but the thyroid hormones just don’t help. See These Posts.

I don’t like this approach because it’s a cookie cutter way of getting a lot of people to come to a fibromyalgia and fatigue clinic….then charge them a bunch of money….then give them all hormones and see how the cookie crumbles. Some will get better, many won’t.

Probably 25 or 20 percent of those women are going to feel better when you give them some thyroid hormones because they’re on hypothyroid side of the coin.

In my opinion, these doctors are not digging deep enough.  It takes almost no extra effort on the doctor’s part to figure out what’s going on. But it does take having the correct training to know what to look for.

So the connection between fibromyalgia and hypothyroid is that the symptoms overlap. But the “diagnosis” of  fibromyalgia isn’t helpful in the first place. At least with hypothyroid there are some lab tests you can use as evidence.

Does that make sense?

A disturbing number of women with fibromyalgia symptoms actually have some form of an autoimmune attack on one or more of their tissues or organs. 

Many people with fibromyalgia actually have poor firing brains in the frontal lobe and the parietal lobe.

I can guarantee you that any mainstream medical doctor that diagnoses you with fibromyalgia is not investigating whether you’ve got autoimmunity (sure, they may run ANA antibodies).

They’re not investigating to see if you’ve got weakness in your frontal lobe of your brain.

They’re just looking at a checklist, and eventually they decide,

“She’s had this pain for five years. She’s seen a neurologist, orthopedist, physical therapist..and no one really knows what’s causing her pain….  So, she’s  got fibromyalgia.”

Well that doesn’t help us at all, does it?

If you’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, or  you think you have fibromyalgia…I don’t want you to lose hope.

Don’t settle for “Fibromyalgia.” Don’t settle for “Hypothyroid.”

You need to find….

….A doctor that understands that hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia can overlap, but you don’t automatically need hormones.

….A doctor that understands that “Fibromyalgia” is just a label and knows how to discover why you have these symptoms

….A doctor that understands how to check for Hashimoto’s, and knows what to do if you have it.

…A doctor who’s willing to take the necessary time and leave no stone unturned.

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© 2011 Dr. David Clark, DC.. All Rights Reserved.