PH: What do you think are the best tests?
BDP: I have found urine and saliva tests that measure T3, T4, TSH, and the T3/T4 ratio to be more useful. Saliva is especially useful because it is a better reflection of what’s happening in the cell itself, rather than the blood. www.thyroiduk.org does a thyroid screen based on saliva, which includes testing for antithyroid antibodies. This can indicate if someone has an autoimmune thyroid problem.
PH: Can you tell me a bit more about autoimmune thyroiditis?
BDP: About 50% of people with thyroid problems have this disorder. Basically, this means their immune system over-stimulates and then attacks the thyroid tissue, leading to hypothyroidism. Ironically, a person with autoimmune thyroiditis may start out being ‘hyperthyroid’, the symptoms of which include wide-eyed staring, shakiness, tremors, feeling warm to the touch, frequent bowel movements, nervousness and irritability. If a person is anti-thyroid antibody positive, it’s very important to check for and eliminate allergies. There is a strong possibility they are gluten sensitive. I’ve found that simply eliminating wheat often stops the symptoms. In most cases, hyperthyroidism will self-correct in a year or two. That’s why I’m not in favour of immediate surgical removal of thyroid tissue or another procedure known as thyroid ablation, which involves swallowing radioactive iodine that ‘nukes’ the thyroid gland. Both procedures are very hit and miss. Too much thyroid tissue can be removed, or too little, requiring more intervention. I prefer the use of one of two drugs that shut down thyroid function – neomercazole or propylthiouracil. If a patient takes these for a year or two, the condition often corrects itself, avoiding the need for irreversible surgery or ablation.
PH: How do you treat an underactive thyroid?
BDP: I usually start with diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. All the usual suspects make thyroid function worse – sugar, refined foods, alcohol and smoking. There is some dispute about the effects of caffeine. In my opinion, if you’re not hooked, it may not be a problem. Fluoride in water is a problem, as fluoride competes with ......
MEMBERS have free access to 100's of Reports, a monthly 100% Health Newsletter, free use of the 100% Health programme with unlimited reassessments and big discounts, up to 30% off books, supplements and foods at HOLFORDirect.com.
Find out more