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Hypothyroidism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Cowan, MD   
Saturday, 30 June 2001 22:20

Question:I am a 51-year-old female who has been recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have recently passed through menopause, and besides a few hot flashes, the hormonal changes do not cause any symptoms. I have gained about 15 pounds in the last few years, feel more tired than a few years ago, especially after exercise, and have occasional trouble with insomnia, constipation and dry skin. My doctor has suggested I go on synthroid for the rest of my life. Is there any natural approach to my problem?

Answer: As you may know, hypothyroidism is a very common problem for women of your age. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women older than 50 have at least some degree of low thyroid function. Hypothyroidism is not a benign disorder, because besides contributing to weight gain and lethargy, hypothyroidism also is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and breast cancer. The reason for this elevated risk is that, rather than being an isolated underproduction of a hormone, hypothyroidism means that your metabolism is slowing down—it is a sign of metabolic aging. Simply adding extra synthetic thyroid medicine does not reverse this metabolic aging; therefore, it is not a thorough treatment. What is needed is stimulation of your metabolism, not only to reverse this premature aging but also to stimulate the thyroid to produce more of its own hormone.

The first step is to adopt a diet based on the principles in Nourishing Traditions and The Schwarzbein Principle. In particular pay attention to the advice in Nourishing Traditions on soaking grains, using only healthy fats and oils and avoiding goitrogens, such as soy foods and raw cabbage. Avoiding excess carbohydrates, as suggested in The Schwarzbein Principle, will also help wake up your metabolism.

In addition, a combination of medicines from Standard Process can be used to successfully treat hypothyroidism. This method is appropriate when the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is under 8.0 (normal is about 0.3 - 4.8). I use organic iodine (1 tablet, two times per day) to supply extra iodine to the thyroid gland. Along with this I use cataplex F tablets (1-2, three times per day). Cataplex F contains extracts of the 2 essential fatty acids (linolenic and linoleic acids) plus arachidonic acid and other polyunsaturated fatty acids that are often low in people with hypothyroidism. The effect of these fats is to help transport the blood calcium (and probably other blood minerals) into the tissues, where it can be used to fuel metabolic and enzymatic processes. The source of these fats are flax seed oil, beef liver lipids and testicular extract. The third medicine I use is Standard Process thyrotrophin, the thyroid protomorphogen. I recommend 1-2 tablets, three times per day. Protomorphogens are specially prepared extracts of the nuclear material of the source gland, in this case bovine thyroid gland. Protomorphogens bind with and neutralize antibodies that can destroy our tissues and organs. In the case of hypothyroidism, often Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is involved, which is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland. Neutralizing these attacking antibodies gives the gland a chance to rebuild itself by sheltering it from the attacking antibodies.

With this treatment, most patients report increased energy and, within a few months, the loss of about ten pounds. In six months your TSH should be back under 5. The treatment should be continued for two years or more.

This treatment is less effective when the TSH reading is over 8.0, in which case thyroid hormone may be required. Most doctors use the synthetic hormone Synthroid, but natural thyroid hormone is available. Such treatment must be carried out under the supervision of a licensed health care professional.


This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2001.

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Comments (15)Add Comment
written by christine, Mar 08 2012
I was started two months ago on synthroid and my hypothyroid isn't severe - thouhh symptoms have been problematic. Should I wean off the med while adopting these interventions of a natural means or try them simultaneously and try to wean once I amfeeling better?
Reply to Viola
written by tjboyd, Jan 26 2012
If it is not cooked, radiated, or chemically processed, it's raw. If it is just fermented, it is still raw.
written by Linda, Jan 21 2012
Hi Everyone, I have Graves disease also has Severe Anaemia for the past 10yrs. Three years ago I was in hospital having blood transfusions and put on all kinds of medication which I used for a few months. I was a real mess.
I came off all the drugs that was supplied, too many for me to remember I couldn’t function properly was totally depressed and just wanted to hide away from the world.
The past 2 years I have not taken any kind of medication. And now struggling once again I cannot concentrate at the moment and get very low I have put on weight but normally very fit. I am very tired and I have sore eyes all the time.

I have lost faith in the many doctors I’ve seen and don’t want to see anyone, anymore.

I need something organic to help me I am not well off, and trying to home school my two beautiful children and need to sort my confused mind right now..
Getting in a mess again!

Any advice
Linda x
Clarification about cabbage
written by Viola, Jan 17 2012
Is fermented cabbage considered raw?
written by Maryanne A, Nov 03 2011
I am having such a difficult time getting info on HYPERthyroidism/Graves Disease! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who is trying to treat this naturally - there is almost no info out there! Anyone else? I am desperate at this point. I've had this for 5 years, and on/off meds all this time.
Postpartum Hypothyroidism
written by S. Sanchez, Oct 14 2011
I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism due to thyroiditis after four months of giving birth to my daughter. My TSH level was higher than 100. I felt exhausted and was even unable to take care of my little daughter. With daily synthetic hormones, my TSH level went down to 4.8 within 3 months. But, my doctor says that I'll have to take those hormone pills everyday for the rest of my life. When I asked what the positive results meant, she replied that they meant the pills were working. Now, my daughter is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, with TSH 5.15. The pediatrician wants to check further and thinks she might recover without getting any medication. I am worried that she got it from me (or due to my medication) through breastfeeding. I am very sad and cannot stop feeling guilty for causing her to get sick.
when you have no thyroid!
written by peggy r., Oct 12 2011
I wish I had had a second opinion or more knowledge when my thyroid was removed for cancer. My health has gone steadily downward and my doctor refuses to discuss better treatment. I take levothyroxine and that is that. I cant lose weight. I have fibromyalgia and sleep issues. I want to feel better. I have a child to raise. Can I get help?
written by Sunny , Feb 17 2011
Where do you get the products you listed helpful for hypothyroid.
Are these products safe to take in pregnancy?
written by Allison Hernandez, Feb 09 2011
What protocal would you do for a 6 year old with a TSH of 7.83? He has also been struggling with food allergies and i have him off wheat and dairy.
6 year old with hypothyroidism?
written by Allison Hernandez, Feb 09 2011
My son has been struggling with food allergies for about 3 years. I just took him to the doctor recently to have some blood work done because he seemed a little more tired than usual. His TSH came back at 7.83. The doctor is somewhat holistic but, is doing more testing-T3,T4 checking for Hashimotos. He wants to do bio-identical hormones with the intent to heal the leaky gut through nutrition...My natropath feels that hormones are not the answer..we have a few weeks til the appt and we are doing Standard Process Thytrophin PMG 2x aday 1 Super EFF and she also gave Drenamin 1xa day( haven't given it yet as it has wheat,should i?)..I don't know which route to go. I am so scared of hormones even bio identical although i want to be safe as he is very young. Help! What should i do? Some people say try the Gaps diet, some say feed the body food that nourish the thyroid. What is your reccomendation?
TSH Levels
written by Karen, Aug 19 2010
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is released to stimulate the thyroid gland when it is underactive (hypo). The higher the TSH level, the more hypothryroid you are. A low level of TSH is better than a high one. I worked for 10 years to figure out how to get my erratic TSH (ranged between 15-600) to stabilize around 0.8-1.0. Info like this helped immensely - the synthroid sure never did!!!
TSH levels
written by Geoffrey Leigh, May 10 2010
Doctor, having been diagnosed Hahimoto's in 1976 and with a daughter Evironmental biologist and ecologist when working in Africa 12 years back also diagnosed Hashimoto's one is in agreement with your protocols.
However one understands that the American Society of Endocrinologists lowered to top TSH level to 3.1 in I think in 2001 estimating that some 20 million Americans were not being treated for Hypothyroidism. Also one believes that a high percentage of Hashimoto's sufferers (over 90%) may be gluten intolerant and/or Celiacs?
thyroid during pregnancy
written by sarah Allen, Mar 23 2010
I am 33 years old, and 21 weeks pregnant. I just found out that my thyroid is borderline low, and I am scheduled to take another test in a couple of weeks. I have been reading online and found that a low thyroid is harmful to a developing baby, and needs to be taken care of immediately. Im concerned because I know the typical solution is to take a synthetic hormone, and I am more of a naturalist. I have always avoided taking pills as long as possible, and the idea of taking one for the rest of my life is leaving me very discouraged and uncertain of its long term effects on me, and my unborn baby. But I understand that time is of the essence when one is pregnant, due to possible developmental problems in the baby caused by hypothyroidism. Would you recommend I take more time and figure out the cause of the problem to correctly diagnose it, or take the hormone now, and try the other route after my baby is born?
written by Rachael R., Mar 08 2010
After reading the above article I think I see where you are confused. 0.3-4.8 is considered a normal thyroid function. If your level is between 5-8 you can follow the steps outlined above to get your thyroid into that normal range. If you currently have a level of over 8 then you should see a health care professional for possible hormone treatment. Hope that helps.
Typo? or?
written by rose, Feb 27 2010
There's a confusing passage in the section that talks about treatment. "This method is appropriate when the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is under 8.0 (normal is about 0.3 - 4.smilies/cool.gif" Obviously, 8.0 is higher, not lower than 0.3 to 4.8. Could you clarify what is meant?

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 01:19