Hypothyroidism has been estimated to affect 5 million people in the United States, 90% who are women. Hyperthyroid condition may affect another 2.5 million Americans. Undiagnosed thyroid problems can be behind many unidentified symptoms of fatigue, many recurring illnesses, and non-responsive health problems. Frequently, blood tests of hormone levels are normal, but body temperature is abnormally low.
Symptoms of underproduction of thyroid hormones include: weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, appetite loss, slow heart rate, low body temperature, sensitivity to cold, hair loss, dry skin, constipation, slow speech, difficulties in concentration, depression, irritability, painful periods, drooping swollen eyes, bumps on eyelids, swollen face, increased allergies, recurrent infections, goiter, and calcium metabolism problems. This condition is often associated with Wilson’s syndrome, physical and emotional stress, and Hashimoto’s disease.
Symptoms of overproduction of thyroid hormone include: weight loss, fatigue, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, tremors, moist skin, excessive sweating, sensitivity to heat, bulging eyes, goiter, diarrhea, other gastrointestinal disturbances and chest pain. This condition is often called Grave’s disease. The thyroid, the body’s thermostat, secrets two hormones that regulate body temperature, energy usage, and calorie burning. The thyroid has many effects on all the cells in the body, including the synthesis of RNA protein and consumption of oxygen by cells, affecting overall body metabolism. Thyroid function influences and is influenced by the pituitary, adrenals, parathyroid and sex glands, all of which work together. The pituitary produces TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) which helps regulate thyroid hormone production. Thyroid malfunctioning is believed to be influenced by abnormal immune responses and the adrenals. People with type O blood are said to be genetically prone to hypothyroidism and low levels of iodine (D’Adamo & Whitney, 1996:53). Many factors influence thyroid function. Commonly unrecognized causes of thyroid underproduction have been attributes to excessive consumption of the brassica (cabbage) family of vegetables that include a biochemical component that binds with iodine preventing the thyroid from synthesizing thyroid hormone. Foods that include this iodine-binding component include: cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, turnips, kale, spinach, peaches and pears. On the other hand, consuming these same foods may benefit hyperthyroid conditions by gently suppressing thyroid hormone production. Fluoride in tap water and toothpastes as well as chlorine in tap water both block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland that result in lowered thyroid hormone production. Sulfa and antihistamine drugs aggravate iodine uptake by the thyroid. Synthroid and other synthetic thyroid drugs can cause as much as a 13% loss of bone mass, according to a study done at the University of Massachusetts (Balch and Balch, 1997:336). Underactive thyroid conditions are said to respond best when supplemented with thyroid glandular and nutrients that nourish the thyroid gland (The Burton Goldberg Group, 1995-:936). Digestive disorders and mal-absorption are known to play roles in thyroid disorders (Balch and Balch, 1997:332). John Brimhall, D.C. and Stephan Cooter, Ph.D.