Shocking Truths About Thyroid Medicine: What You Need to Know

Are you aware that thyroid disorders affect millions worldwide? Most of them take thyroid medications on a daily basis. But, have you ever wondered about the finer details of these thyroid medications?

Today we are going to talk about exactly that -  the shocking truths about thyroid medicine, particularly Levothyroxine.

Levothyroxine is the most commonly prescribed medication for thyroid disorders worldwide. If you have a thyroid disorder such as hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's disease, chances are you’ve been prescribed Levothyroxine, known by various brand names in different countries.

Before we begin, a disclaimer: this information is meant for you to have a talk with your doctor, not to encourage you to stop or change your medication. 

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Let’s get started with three shocking truths based on recent research studies.

What is Levothyroxine?

Levothyroxine, commonly known as Levothyroxine, stands as the cornerstone medication for managing thyroid disorders globally.

As one of the most prescribed medications for conditions like hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's disease, its widespread use underscores its importance in thyroid care. 

However, beneath its usefulness lies a few hidden complexities and surprising revelations that definitely need closer examination.

Shocking Truth #1: You May Not Need Levothyroxine for Subclinical Hypothyroidism

A new research study reveals that Levothyroxine may not be beneficial for treating subclinical hypothyroidism

Subclinical hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid blood work shows an elevated TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) but normal free T3 and free T4 levels.

For this diagnosis, it is important to ensure you have undergone tests for all TSH, T3, and T4. If your TSH is between 4 and 10, and T3 and T4 are normal, you might not need Levothyroxine. 

The study followed 2,192 patients over more than five years and found no significant improvement in symptoms, mortality, or morbidity with Levothyroxine treatment.

This research study says that TSH can elevate due to various factors:

  • Age: Slight increase in TSH levels is common in your 40s and 50s. As we age, our endocrine system undergoes changes that can affect hormone levels, including TSH. Understanding these changes is crucial for proper thyroid management as we get older.
  • Stress: Emotional, mental, or physical stress can elevate TSH. Stress can impact the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, leading to alterations in hormone production. Managing stress effectively through relaxation techniques can be beneficial.
  • Illness: Viral, parasitic, or bacterial infections, and other diseases, can also increase TSH. The body's immune response to infections and illnesses can cause temporary changes in hormone levels. It's important to monitor your health regularly and be aware of how different conditions can affect your thyroid.

Thus, it’s crucial to check all thyroid hormone levels to get a complete picture. Always discuss your condition with your doctor to determine the best course of action. 

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Proper diagnosis and understanding of your thyroid condition are essential for effective treatment.

Shocking Truth #2: Levothyroxine Doesn't Help with Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition where your body produces antibodies like thyroid peroxidase and thyroid globulin antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. 

Many patients who I have worked with for Hashimoto’s are told that Levothyroxine will help lower thyroid antibodies, but this is not true. 

Levothyroxine does not reduce thyroid antibodies in Hashimoto’s disease.

In fact, Conventional medicine often believes there is no way to lower these antibodies, but Functional Medicine offers protocols to reduce and sometimes even reverse antibody levels.

These protocols often include dietary changes, supplements, and lifestyle modifications designed to reduce inflammation and support immune function. 

Addressing underlying triggers and supporting overall health can be crucial in managing Hashimoto’s disease effectively.

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Living with Hashimoto's can be challenging, but understanding that there are alternative approaches can provide hope and options beyond conventional medicine.

Shocking Truth #3: Levothyroxine's Side Effects and Long-term Risks

Levothyroxine is associated with several side effects.

Anxiety and Irritability

Some patients feel more anxious and experience mood changes. This can be particularly distressing and impact daily life, affecting relationships and overall well-being.

Heart Palpitations

Fast heartbeats or palpitations can occur. These symptoms can be alarming and may lead to further anxiety or concern about heart health.

Stomach Issues

Some experience bloating or stomach discomfort. Digestive issues can interfere with nutrient absorption and overall digestive health, leading to further complications.

Risk of Cancer

A recent study from Sweden involving 8 million long-term Levothyroxine users found an increased risk of cancer. For women, there’s a higher risk of breast and stomach cancer, while men face an increased risk of thyroid cancer. This study highlights the importance of monitoring long-term medication use and considering potential risks.

 

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Links to these research studies are included in the reference section for further reading. Reviewing the original studies can provide more detailed insights and help you discuss these findings with your healthcare provider.

Natural and Safe Approaches to Treat Thyroid Disorders

If you have the question, ‘Is there a natural or safe way to treat thyroid disorders?’, the answer is ‘Yes’.

Functional medicine offers natural approaches to treat thyroid disorders.

  • Diet plays a crucial role, and specific nutrients can help your thyroid function better and recover from antibody damage. For example, selenium, zinc, and iodine are essential for thyroid health, and incorporating foods rich in these nutrients can support thyroid function.
  • Additionally, managing stress through practices like yoga, meditation, and regular physical activity can improve thyroid health.

These holistic approaches aim to support overall well-being and address the root causes of thyroid dysfunction.

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To sum it up,

Understanding the complexities of thyroid medication like Levoxine is crucial for anyone managing thyroid disorders. 

While it remains a widely prescribed treatment, it's important to recognize that it may not be necessary for all conditions and could have significant side effects and risks. Exploring natural and holistic approaches through functional medicine can offer alternative pathways to better health. 

Always engage in open discussions with your healthcare provider to ensure you're on the best path for your thyroid health. 

Check out my other videos on diet and supplements related to thyroid health for more information. These resources provide in-depth guidance on how to implement these natural approaches and improve your thyroid health. 

Taking a proactive approach to your health can lead to significant improvements in how you feel and function daily.