Newsflash: MedPage Today warns about OTC thyroid supplements

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


I’ve long been asked to write about thyroid issues and I’ve avoided the topic for several reasons, one of which is that it can be quite complicated to distinguish between common perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms such as fatigue, weight changes and hair loss and the very same that may be related to an underactive thyroid. Other symptoms may include changes in cognitive function (memory issues, anyone?) and depression.

A bit of background…

As we age, thyroid disorders become more pervasive. This is due to functional changes in the endocrine system — the collection of glands the produce hormones that control growth, metabolism, sexual development and function (including the thyroid gland) — that result in certain tissues and glands producing less of a certain hormone or producing it at a slower rate. The thyroid in particular, can cause problems because signs are not always readily apparent. And when they are caught, they may be easily confused with the most common complaints of menopause, which is why the involvement of a healthcare professional is so critical.

Yet, MedPage Today is reporting that women who take over the counter supplements to boost thyroid function may actually be placing themselves at risk for severeĀ hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid produces too much hormone, which can lead to rapid weight loss, irritability and nervousness, sweating, fatigue and a rapid heartbeat. The underlying reason for the associated risk in OTCs is that they contain unlabeled levels of two main thyroid hormones — T4 (thyroxine), and T3 (trilodothyronine).

The article also points to other contaminants, such as iodine and heavy metals.

I encourage you to visit MedPage Today (you may need to register) and read the piece. as Staff Writer Kristina Fiore’s expert source points out, it is especially critical for women who are looking for a quick fix for their thyroid issues to avoid supplements at all cost and see a physician who will monitor and measure hormone levels to insure that they are just right. These drugs walk a fine line when it comes to dosing and the gap between an effective dose and a lethal one is quite narrow.

If you are uncertain about your symptoms and you are not finding relief with standard menopause therapy strategies, please see a qualified endocrinologist. You may be mistaking menopause for something more serious but often equally manageable by a health professional.

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