ThryroidMore Tonic for underactive thyroid
Herbs and underactive thyroid
Dr Michael Mosely of the BBC clearly explains about hypothyroidism:
Hypothyroidism - or an underactive thyroid - affects one in 70 women and one in 1,000 men according to the NHS. But it can be a tricky disease to diagnose and treat. Dr Michael Mosley, of Trust Me I'm a Doctor, asks if sufferers are slipping through the net.
Someone emailed me the other day to ask me if I had ever considered the possibility that I might have hypothyroidism; an underactive thyroid. The reason he contacted me is because he had seen me on television and noticed that I have quite faint eyebrows, which can be a sign of this disorder.
I have none of the other symptoms such as weight gain, tiredness and feeling the cold easily, so I've decided not to go and get myself tested.
But if you do - and you think you could you have it - what should you do about it?
To get some answers I've been talking to Dr Anthony Toft, who is a former president of the British Thyroid Association.
He tells me that the thyroid gland is a bit like the accelerator pedal on your car. It produces hormones which help control the energy balance in your body. If it's underactive, then your metabolic rate will be slower than it should be. This means that you are likely to put on weight. Other symptoms can include feeling too cold or too hot, lacking in energy, being constipated, low mood, poor attention or "brain fog".
The main hormones involved are thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T4 and T3. TSH is released by the pituitary gland and tells your thyroid to get going.
In response, your thyroid should release the hormones T4 and T3. T4 is converted in your body into T3, the active hormone that revs up your cells.
If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism then your GP will probably test your blood. The signs they're looking for are high levels of TSH, together with low levels of T4.
If your TSH is higher than normal this suggests that the gland that produces this hormone - the pituitary gland - is working hard to tell the thyroid gland to produce more hormone, but for some reason the thyroid gland is not listening.
The pituitary then ups its game and produces more and more TSH, but T4 levels stay low.
So if you have a high TSH coupled with a low T4, it's likely that the body is saying "I need more thyroid hormone!" but the thyroid gland isn't doing what it's being told. The result is hypothyroidism.
When this happens patients are often prescribed levothyroxine (T4). Symptoms diminish and patients are happy. Scans can be carried out for more serious thyroid problems.
So if it's so straightforward, why are there so many forums full of dissatisfied patients? Why do we at Trust Me get so many emails about this subject?
One of the issues with the blood tests is that there are no standard international reference ranges. In the UK, for example, we set the bar rather higher than many other countries. Certainly Dr Toft thinks that current UK guidelines are sometimes interpreted too rigidly.
"If the T4 is right down at the lower limit of normal," he says, "and the TSH is at the upper limit of normal, then that is suspicious. It doesn't often arouse suspicion in GPs, but it should."
He is also concerned that when a GP does diagnose an underactive thyroid, then patients are almost always prescribed a synthetic version of T4.
This works most of the time but in some cases the symptoms don't improve. This might be because with some patients the problem is not an underactive thyroid, but the fact that they can't convert enough T4 into the active hormone T3.
One way round this is to take T3 hormone in tablet form, but here price is a problem.
"The cost of T3 has escalated incredibly," says Dr Toft. "It's now about £300 for two months' supply of T3, whereas it costs pennies to make."
So if you have been put on T4 and it doesn't work, what about asking for a trial of T3? Because it is so expensive your GP may well say no.
So instead some patients are going online and buying T3 from foreign websites. But it's important that if you are taking T3 you are being properly monitored, because it can cause serious side effects, including heart problems.
A slightly less expensive hormone supplement taken from the glands of cows and pigs is available. It contains both the T3 and T4 hormones, and there is a growing call to prescribe it for patients who don't respond to T4 alone. So does Dr Toft think patients should be offered this combination?
"I suspect that in time that's what will happen," he says. "The trouble is the evidence base is not as strong as we would wish it to be, and I suspect it will be a long time before we have sufficient evidence."
Dealing with thyroid problems can be complicated. If you've had a blood test and the results have come back normal, then you can ask to look at the actual numbers. But you may also have to accept that medication is not for you and lifestyle changes may be more appropriate.
With thanks to BBC website 8 Feb 2017.
Adult symptoms to look out for:
a soft goitre, apathy, sluggish, sensitivity to cold (below 35.5C or 96F), dry skin, brittle hair, voice low or gravelly, hands and eyelids puffy, finger nails discoloured, muscles feel weak, increased weight, increased bleeding at menstruation, constipation, anaemia, increased cholesterol, low basal metabolic rate. TSH range higher than 1.6; T4 lower than 11 (or 140)
ThyroidMore Tonic for underactive thyroid
Hypothyroidism is caused by reduced activity of the thyroid gland, reduced thyroxin hormone output into the blood stream. Thyroxine is a chemical messanger that tells other organs and systems what to do. Thyroxine has a huge influence on virtually all our bodily functions. A reduction of this hormone in our system causes all our functions to slow down. Deficiency of this hormone can range from barely detectable (subclinical hpothyroidism) to severe (myxedema). Remarkably, up to 4% of adults have some form of thyroid deficiency. Many cases go undetected, as blood tests for thyroxin given in GP surgeries are not part of a standard physical examination.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include depression, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, constipation, fatigue, headache, menstrual problems, recurrent infections, swelling, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, dull or thinning hair, thinning of the eyebrows and brittle nails. The tongue may thicken, and the quality of the voice may change (becomes deeper). Women often suffer from infertility.
Almost all cases of hypothyroidism occur as a sequel to an immune-system malfunction known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid, mistakenly responding to immune system signals, becomes inactive. Fibrous tissue forms, and swelling and inflammation set in. This causes goiter, or an enlarged throid gland, an enlarged neck, Derbyshire Neck. The thyroid continues to function for a long time before the body suffers a thyroxine shortage. As a result, the disease can come on so gradually that the person is at first aware of only vague, low-grade symptoms.
Hypothyroidism can have other causes. Treatment of hyperthyroidism can destroy the thyroid gland. Problems in the pituitary gland can disrupt the supply of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). In some parts of the world, iodine deficiency is a common cause of hypothyroidism (Derbyshire was one such area, hence the associated name).
Conventional treatment requires thyroxin replacement drugs. This must be taken even when you take herbal treatment or desiccated bovine or monkey thyroid tablets.
Avoid too much soya foods, also tofu and miso. Avoid processed and refined foods, including white flour and sugar. Cholesterol (LDL) increases with low thyroid output so herbs and foods to improve lowering cholesterol is important (go to CholesterolLess Tonic).
Avoid the following foods: cabbage, beans, kale, cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts, turnip.
Take extra selenium as it is an essential component of an enzyme required by the thyroid.
Eat more wholegrains and cereals, fish, egg yolks, meats, liver, kidneys, nuts, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, and lots of kelp and seaweed (find this in your health shop or order the kelp herbal tincture from Herbactive).
Take half to 1tsp of ABC Daily Herbal Powder a day (made and exclusively sold by Herbactive).
Herbs to avoid myth
There is a myth being circulated that persons with hypothyroidism should avoid certain immune-stimulating herbs because this is an autoimmune disease. This is a very confused untruth. Herbal immunostimulants do not worsen such illnesses, they support the body to counter the condition. Research verifies this, so do not be misled.
The herbs in this health tonic can help people with their low or underactive thyroid symptoms; to improve energy and brain function, improve digestion and bowel action, to raise the mood, increase their metabolism (to warm you up if you're always feeling cold and to help prevent weight gain), help resist infections, improve their circulation, hair growth, skin tone and colour.
Dear Mr Hopking, I have just got the results of a blood test to check my thyroid again - which has been underactive for at least 2 years. Both TSH and T4 thyroxine levels are now within the normal range, thank you! I'd like to order another 1.1l bottle of ThyroidMore please. Thanks very much for your help.
Best wishes, Muriel
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General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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