A New Treatment Program to Improve Memory Loss

A New Treatment Program to Improve Memory Loss

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy

In spite of hundreds of clinical trials over the past ten years, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has no effective treatment. AD affects 5.4 million Americans, predominately females. It is estimated that women have a greater chance of developing AD than breast cancer.

Research supports the theory that an imbalance in brain nerve cell signals causes this disorder. Specific signals make nerve connections to cement memories while others allow irrelevant memories to be lost. This signaling system becomes imbalanced so that new memory connections are inhibited while more information is forgotten. Reversible metabolic processes may be involved in the early stages of AD.

Dr. Bredeson and his colleagues at UCLA believe that a comprehensive, personalized approach is the best way to treat memory loss. They have developed a program that optimizes diet (no simple carbohydrates, gluten, or processed foods), utilizes meditation and yoga, and emphasizes the importance of sleep, hormones, good oral health, and exercise. Patients may use supplements as well as medium chain triglycerides like coconut oil or Axona.

The researchers believe that free T3 and T4, estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, and cortisol need to be optimized. Nine out of ten patients in this pilot program had cognitive improvement.

Additional Resources:

For more resources from Women’s International Pharmacy, see our Mental Health Resources page.

A New Treatment Program to Improve Memory Loss2018-04-04T15:44:16-05:00

Book Review – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey

Book Review – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

In “computerese,” to hack means to devise or modify a computer program, usually skillfully. Dave Asprey challenges us to use the concept of “biohacking” in his 2014 book, The Bulletproof Diet.

Dave Asprey is an early Silicon Valley computer engineer who made millions with Internet hacking. He describes hacking as needing to make complex systems work even when all the pieces of the puzzle are not available. In that respect, he came to understand that the human body is very much like a complex computer program, with some data that is missing or misunderstood. He speculated that it would be possible to use “biohacking” to solve his own health problems.

At the start of his quest, Dave Asprey writes, he was in miserable shape. He weighed 300 pounds and was unable to lose the extra weight, even though he followed various diets and a strenuous exercise program. Other health issues included chronic sinus infections, strep throat, foggy brain and difficulty maintaining focus. He was always tired and overwhelmed with the stress in his life.

Asprey came to look at his body as a complex system. He engaged in what he calls “biohacking,” or “the art of using technology to change the environment inside and outside of your body to take control and make it what you want.” His endpoints of success would be measures such as how he felt, how he performed, the success of his relationships with others, and overall happiness. Just as programmers look to find potential flaws, he took to “troubleshooting” his environment, evaluating what was working and what was not in a scientific manner.

In the end, he concluded that inflammation, toxins, hormones, neurotransmitters, gut bacteria and more play huge roles in the efforts to nourish our bodies and our brains. He asserts that the strongest variable in achieving top performance is—far and away—our diet.

In his “biohacking” journey, Asprey discovered that he had thyroid (Hashimoto’s), adrenal, testosterone and estrogen problems. Realizing that saturated fats and cholesterol are the building blocks for the sex and adrenal hormones, he deviated from the low-fat philosophy being promulgated and started eating butter from the milk of cows who had been raised eating grass. Magic happened as his focus increased, while his weight and inflammatory markers decreased.

Asprey discovered the importance of a molecule called vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) which, when depleted, disturbs our master glands (pituitary and hypothalamus). This leads to problems with insulin and glucose regulation, causing a craving for sweets. Paying attention to the proper functioning of VIP is one of the cornerstone ideas in The Bulletproof Diet.

Because our medical system prefers to use techniques such as double blind, crossover studies (which tend to limit the variables as much as possible), we are prevented from understanding our human functioning as a system. What usually evolves is something like the conventional treatment for hypothyroidism. Practitioners are taught to test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). If the TSH gets too high because of the effort to stimulate more thyroid hormone production from the thyroid gland, a single thyroid hormone, l-thyroxine (T4), is prescribed. When the TSH level comes down because of the presence of T4, the treatment is considered a success. In truth, for vast numbers of people, the low thyroid symptoms are not relieved. Their practitioners are unable to shift from their linear thinking to a systems analysis, which requires “biohacking” until the other variables are revealed.

It has taken the efforts of an individual who is systems-minded (and who is trained to collect and evaluate data points in a scientific manner) to open our minds to a new approach to optimal health. Practitioners who have embraced using bioidentical hormones in a symphony of hormones have broken away from their linear thinking and learned to “biohack” for their patients. It’s revolutionary and exciting. Dave Asprey presents much more in his book, inviting us all to learn how to “biohack” our way to greater energy, focus and well-being.

  • Asprey D. The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books; 2014.
Book Review – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey2017-12-11T17:42:55-05:00

Book Review – Stop the Thyroid Madness II, ed. Janie A. Bowthorpe

Book Review – Stop the Thyroid Madness II edited by Janie A. Bowthorpe

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Janie Bowthorpe has become a force to be reckoned with. Her first book, Stop the Thyroid Madness, chronicles her return to health after decades of dealing with misdiagnoses and misguided treatments. She describes herself as suddenly becoming more alive after finding out about desiccated whole thyroid and changing from l-thyroxine (T4) treatment only. Her book can be an inspiration to anyone who struggles with reduced energy levels or never feels quite well. Bowthorpe is also the author of a blog, www.stopthethyroidmadness.com, in which she shares the huge amount of thyroid information she has discovered herself and gathered from others who she engaged through social media. Her first book is still the top selling book about thyroid issues on Amazon.

Bowthorpe has taken another direction with Stop the Thyroid Madness II (published by Laughing Grape Publishing, Dolores CO, 2014). In this volume, she serves as the editor of a collection of chapters written by practitioners who have recognized the complexity of thyroid issues. These practitioners have made large changes in their approach to recognizing thyroid dysfunction and assisting their patients to truly turn their health around.

The current standard for treating thyroid issues blessed by the society of endocrinologists is to only use one thyroid test, TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone, and then only to use one thyroid hormone, T4, to treat. After treatment, only the results of dropping serum TSH levels are used as a measure of success. Healthcare practitioners are taught that this standard prevails, while the fact that resolution of symptoms has not happened is dismissed.

Patients with thyroid disorders suffer from the fragmentation of medical care. Since thyroid hormone is needed to be active in every cell in the body, the symptoms of thyroid disease can occur anywhere. Patients can find themselves being shunted from endocrinologists to gastroenterologists, psychiatrists, and more. And when the approach mentioned above with T4 doesn’t pan out, it is assumed that the problems presented are not part of thyroid disease.

This book covers an astonishing amount of material. You will find yourself highlighting and earmarking the pages and rereading chapters to reinforce your understanding. Once you have reviewed this material, you will be armed to advocate for yourself in identifying and treating the underlying problems leading to your thyroid disorder.

To illustrate the scope of this book, here are some of the areas covered:

  • Gluten intolerance and sensitivity leading to thyroid autoimmune disorders
  • Defects in methylation identified with DNA testing
  • Toxic heavy metals that interfere with thyroid functioning and testing and detoxification modalities
  • Shortages of essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for thyroid production and conversions
  • Environmental pollutants that wreak havoc with thyroid and other hormones and how to identify and eliminate
  • The implications and circumstances that will cause the production of an inactive thyroid hormone called reverse T3 and how to return to production of the most active thyroid hormone T3
  • The pitfalls of laboratory testing and introduction of many more parameters to check thyroid activity
  • Foods that are helpful to include in your diet and those that must be eliminated for healthy thyroid function

A favorite chapter of mine is entitled “Why are Doctors Like That?” Reading this chapter can be enormously helpful when preparing to discuss the comprehensive information presented here with your practitioner. This material has not been taught in medical schools; only the practitioners who have challenged themselves to go further to help their patients have mastered it. You may also find practitioners who have studied and understand certain aspects of this topic, but who lack experience in the whole scope of problems affecting thyroid function. A good partner in your search for wellness should facilitate the unraveling of the mysteries underlying your health problems.

Although we live in a time when there are many more challenges to our health, we also have a wealth of information available to us. This enables us to take an active role in partnering with our health care practitioners to solve health care problems. Janie Bowthorpe is proof positive that your health can be regained. We can only admire the energy and determination that she displays by providing this depth of information to everyone.

Book Review – Stop the Thyroid Madness II, ed. Janie A. Bowthorpe2017-12-14T12:25:11-05:00

Hormones and the Aging Voice

Hormones and the Aging Voice

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

We have all heard it. Your aging mother’s voice has changed. It cracks, it quivers, it wobbles, and the tone is lower. The voice you hear over the phone is breathy and lacks the robustness it once had. You suddenly realize, this is the voice of an old person.

Unlike the dramatic changes a young man’s voice goes through at puberty, the changes that happen to a woman’s voice are gradual, often taking years to present.

A woman may use facelifts, tummy tucks and Botox to “stay young” but her voice will still betray her. She will still have an old person’s voice, and it seems there is nothing she can do about it. Or is there?

As it turns out, the voice is extremely sensitive to hormone changes. We know this from an extensive study done with women who depend on their voices for their livelihood: singers. Women at the top of their vocal careers in their 40s and 50s may find that menopause brings it to a dead stop. With menopause, the voice range often deteriorates and those lovely high notes are no longer attainable; or worse, during a performance, the voice cracks and no note comes out at all. Many professional singers have no option but to end their career at this point.

So, what is going on with hormones to affect the voice? The larynx and the vocal cords contained within are extremely sensitive to thyroid and the sex hormones. In fact, cyclical changes occur in women’s voices starting at menarche. In the first part of the cycle (follicular phase), estrogen dominates and progesterone is at lower levels. During this time, there is more fluid build up in the vocal chords and a relaxation of the nasal passages, changing the perception of the voice. During the second half of the cycle (luteal phase), progesterone dominates, causing the larynx epithelium to slough off, and opposing estrogen-induced proliferation. Singers often find that their ability to reach the high notes is compromised during this phase.

In other words, if progesterone is not abundant enough, the singer suffers from estrogen dominance in the luteal phase (or during PMS), and voice clarity or efficiency suffers. Vibratos wobble and it is difficult to sing softly. This condition is known as dysphonia premensturalis.

Researchers Jean Abitbol and his wife Beatrice performed a study that compared slides of swabs obtained from the vocal cords with slides containing cervical smears, both taken at various intervals of the menstrual cycle. The slides were indistinguishable from each other! Their astounding discovery is that vocal chords and vaginal tissue are the same kind of tissue. The vaginal dryness experienced at menopause is similar to the dryness experienced in the vocal chords.

Research has also demonstrated that progesterone, operating as a neurosteroid, protects the myelin sheath. Ian Duncan at the University of Wisconsin illustrated the effect of progesterone on the brain in 1995. With the significant drop in progesterone production that occurs at menopause, nervous tissue is less protected, which leads to a voice that is less controlled.

Testosterone deficits also have an effect on the voice in that the muscles and cartilage that make up the larynx become flaccid and weakened. Not only that, but low testosterone contributes to less muscular strength throughout the body. Singing is hard work and requires good structure and posture, strong abdomen muscles, great breath control, and plenty of endurance. Perversely enough, women who receive too much testosterone replenishment may find that their voices change to a lower timbre, which is thought to be permanent.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism also cause voice disturbances. Low thyroid produces hoarseness and a lack of range. This may be from elevated polysaccharides (think mucin) in the vocal chord folds, leading to fluid retention and thickening of the vocal chords. Treating hypothyroidism generally relieves these symptoms. Too much thyroid hormone also causes hoarseness, which is usually relieved with treatment.

Other chronic diseases that accompany aging can also impair the voice. For example, diabetes sufferers often experience dry mouth, which can be a vocal hindrance. Hearing loss, another hallmark of aging that can also occur with diabetes, can cause difficulties in the quality of the vocal sounds produced.

Does hormone replenishment really make a difference? It seems to. This area certainly warrants further exploration. Keeping oneself in good physical condition with exercise, a healthy diet, and good hydration also goes a long way toward maintaining a youthful voice.

Not surprisingly, there are specific exercise programs that singers use to keep their voices working effectively. Just as they say with regard to sex, “if you don’t use it, you lose it;” yet another parallel between vaginal tissue and the vocal chords.

  • Kadakia S, et al. The Effect of Hormones on the Voice. J Sing. 2013 May/June;69(5):571-4.
  • Benninger MS, Abitbol J. Dysphonia and the Aging Voice. Voice. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Foundation; 2006:67-85.
Hormones and the Aging Voice2017-12-11T16:24:52-05:00

Mitochondrial Dysfunction & Hypothyroidism

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Hypothyroidism

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy


Mitochondria are biological structures that produce energy within cells. They act much like engines that produce energy within cars. Fuel (food) combines with oxygen, which combines with one or more catalysts (vitamins) within each cell to ignite energy production.

Lack of cell energy has been associated with conditions such as autism, chronic fatigue, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis and obesity. Drugs, environmental toxins and insulin resistance may trigger mitochondrial dysfunction, while thyroid hormones are known to enhance energy production in skeletal muscle cells.

Energy production is compromised in people with hypothyroidism. One study found evidence that elevated TSH (an indicator of low thyroid function) resulted in decreased energy production in 34 obese adolescents compared to 32 lean adolescents. Another study found mitochondrial dysfunction in blood cells obtained from persons with subclinical hypothyroidism (elevated TSH, normal T4 and minimal to no physical symptoms). The ratio of T4 to T3 thyroid hormones in these subjects was low when compared with normal subjects.

Vitamins, particularly thiamine (B1), minerals and other nutrients, like Coenzyme Q 10 and L-Carnitine, are also helpful for maintaining healthy energy-producing cells.


  • Marrs C. Why Fatigue Matters in Thyroid Disease. Hormones Matterhttps://www.hormonesmatter.com/fatigue-matters-thyroid-disease/: November 7, 2013.
  • Bloomquist L. Could Autism Be Linked to Mitochondrial Dysfunction? Hormones Matterhttps://www.hormonesmatter.com/autism-linked-mitochondrial-dysfunction-mri-shows-lactate-doublets/: April 14, 2014.
  • Crunkhorn S, Patti ME. Links Between Thyroid Hormone Action, Oxidative Metabolism, and Diabetes Risk? Thyroid. 2008 Feb;18(2):227-37. doi: 10.1089/thy.2007.0249.
  • Kvetny J, et al. Subclinical Hypothyroidism Affects Mitochondrial Function. Horm Metab Res. 2010 May;42(5):324-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1248261. Epub 2010 Feb 22.
  • Wilms L, et al. Evidence of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Obese Adolescents. Acta Paediatr. 2010 Jun;99(6):906-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01635.x. Epub 2009 Dec 15.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction & Hypothyroidism2017-10-19T16:56:51-05:00

Compounded Thyroid Medication Options

Compounded Thyroid Medication Options

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy


People with low thyroid function often turn to compounders in their search for additive-free thyroid medications. Many are sensitive to the fillers and binders used in the manufacturing of compressed thyroid tablet formulations. Patients with autoimmune thyroid problems, for example, may respond better to corn-free thyroid preparations. Others with lactose intolerance will want thyroid medications that are lactose-free.

Women’s International Pharmacy has been compounding thyroid capsules in a variety of oils for years. We are able to compound liothyronine (T3) and levothyroxine (T4) as separate compounds, or in combination with each other. These bioidentical thyroid hormones are synthesized in the laboratory from a non-animal source. They contain T3, T4, or both, compounded with a small amount of oil (usually olive) and encapsulated in gelatin capsules, with vegetarian or dye-free options.

We also compound desiccated porcine thyroid capsules in much the same manner. Desiccated porcine thyroid powder (lactose-free) contains a fixed ratio of T3 to T4. Each powder lot comes with a certificate of analysis for the concentration of T3 and T4.

All compounded medications require a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are interested in compounded thyroid hormone capsules, feel free to call and speak with one of our many knowledgeable pharmacists.

Compounded Thyroid Medication Options2018-04-04T13:10:59-05:00

Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP

Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is considered an autoimmune disease, is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. However, the very simplistic approach taken by the current medical ideology is to use only one form of relatively inactive thyroid, T4 (thyroxine), for treatment, and to rely on a problematic single test, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), to guide treatment. This approach falls extremely short of providing adequate treatment to those who suffer the consequences of Hashimoto’s disease.

Izabella Wentz has put together a remarkable book that documents her own journey, in part, and shares the information and resources that she gained along the way. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause she details her approach to finding the real reasons this disease develops and then identifies steps to remove the causes and/or rebuild the body’s own resources.

The amount of information in this book is astonishing. Wentz uses readable language to explain complicated issues such as the development of “autoimmunity” and what it means with regard to immune system function, inflammation, allergies, and infection.

One particularly interesting and eye-opening section discusses a common laboratory test called alkaline phosphatase. This test is included on standard liver function tests; elevations can indicate liver dysfunction or an infection. Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that removes a phosphate group from a number of different molecules. This enzyme can help control infection by essentially neutralizing bacteria.

Most practitioners only pay attention to elevated levels, and do not consider the implications of low levels. However, in her quest for her own wellness, Wentz obtained copies of her lab results and noticed low levels of alkaline phosphatase, wondering what that might signify. Not being content with being told that everything was “fine,” she dug into the research and found that low levels of alkaline phosphatase were associated with bone reabsorption and malnutrition, especially deficiencies of B6, B12, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc.

Wentz also noted that people with celiac disease have diminished alkaline phosphatase activity in their intestinal mucosa, which can be an indicator of the amount of damage caused by gluten. Levels of alkaline phosphatase normalize with a gluten-free diet, along with improvement to the intestinal mucosa.

Low alkaline phosphatase is also associated with hypothyroidism and with Hashimoto’s disease. Restoring thyroid hormones can increase alkaline phosphatase levels. Thus, having discovered that a low level of alkaline phosphatase was indeed significant in her case, Wentz realized that the health of her gastrointestinal tract was a significant underpinning of Hashimoto’s disease, which led to more tangible information that was helpful in her recovery.

Wentz compiled lists of “dos and don’ts” to help restore this enzyme and to help improve overall health. For example, excessive use of sodas and artificial sweeteners will diminish alkaline phosphatase. She brings together lots of valuable resources that anyone hoping to restore or simply improve their health can access. This book is well-referenced and is a gem for people looking to dig in and improve their ability to recover from the devastation of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

  • Wentz I, Nowosadzka M. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause. White River Junction, VT: Wentz LLC, Chelsea Green Publishing; 2013.
Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP2017-12-12T12:29:56-05:00

Book Review: Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Diabetes by Mark Starr, MD

Book Review – Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment by Mark Starr, MD(H)

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy


Dr. Mark Starr, the author of a classic book titled Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic, recently published a book called Heart Attacks, Heart Failure, and Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment.

You may ask, “Why is this relevant to thyroid disease?” The reason is that Dr. Starr relies heavily on the research of Dr. Broda Barnes, a pioneer in the treatment of thyroid disease, for this new book. Dr. Barnes detailed much of his research in Hypothyroidism, the Unsuspected Illness, a book published in 1976 that continues to be a mind opener for anyone interested in thyroid issues. Dr. Barnes also published a lesser known book that same year called Solved: the Riddle of Heart Attacks. (For more information on Dr. Barnes’ life work, visit https://www.brodabarnes.org/.)

One would think that the field of medicine would have evolved significantly since 1976, providing us with more insight and better treatments. Sadly, this is not the case, and we find ourselves revisiting history for enlightenment.

Dr. Starr’s new book is a touchstone back to the very careful research provided by some of the giants in medical observations and research. He goes back as far as 1918 to Dr. Hermann Zondek’s profound work, which demonstrated that the enlarged heart in congestive heart failure can and does shrink back down to normal size when the underlying hypothyroidism is treated.

Dr. Starr notes that hypothyroidism and diabetes also go hand in hand. In fact, he contends that appropriate thyroid treatment can prevent the development of many of the secondary problems of diabetes, such as blindness, atherosclerosis and neuropathies.

One of the highlights of Dr. Starr’s new book is a thorough discussion of the limitations of using TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) as an indicator of hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland produces 4 thyroid hormones: T1, T2, T3, and T4. The majority of the hormone produced is T4, which has very weak activity. The primary action from thyroid hormones comes from T3. In order to increase the availability of T3, enzymes in the body work to remove an iodine molecule from T4 to create T3.

As it turns out, there are separate enzymes at work in the pituitary gland, where TSH is produced, and the rest of the body. Because of these separate enzyme-producing systems, the amount of active T3 in the pituitary gland can be as much as 1000 times the amount of T3 available to the rest of the body. The production of TSH will stay low until the pituitary T3 is also exhausted. The result is that the body can be in a low thyroid state, with significant symptoms, for a long time before TSH levels are signaled to increase.

There is no better teacher than personal experience. Dr. Starr relates his own health struggle with untreated (at first!) hypothyroidism, and also shares some of his patients’ experiences.

This book serves as a reminder of the fundamental nature of thyroid function in diseases that are of epidemic proportions today. If you happen to start with this book, it will likely whet your appetite for even more of the type of information offered in his first book.

  • Starr M. Heart Attacks, Heart Failure, and Diabetes. Irvine, CA: New Voice Publications; 2014.
  • Starr M. Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic. Columbia, MO: Mark Starr Trust; 2005.
  • Broda BO. Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. New York, NY: Harper; 1976.
  • Broda O. Barnes M.D., Research Foundation Inc. https://www.brodabarnes.org/.
Book Review: Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Diabetes by Mark Starr, MD2017-12-13T12:44:39-05:00

Book Review – Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness by Steven F. Hotze, MD

Book Review – Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed by Steven F. Hotze, MD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

A recent article in Nature Reviews Endocrinology titled “Paradigm shifts in thyroid hormone replacement therapies for hypothyroidism” reviewed studies in which patients received standard thyroxine (T4) therapy or a combination of T4 and l-tyronine (T3). While some studies showed poor resolution of various symptoms with T4 only, and some studies showed that patients prefer the combined therapies, the conclusion the authors came to is that T4 supplementation with TSH monitoring is still the standard course of treatment for hypothyroidism. That’s not much of a paradigm shift.

Dr. Steven Hotze, author of Hypothyroidism, Health and Happiness, tells us that hypothyroidism is epidemic. He is an unabashed fan of treating hypothyroidism with whole glandular thyroid, which doesn’t seem to be up for discussion within the established medical groups.

When a patient presents with signs and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, such as congestive heart failure, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, decreased fertility, depression, impaired immune system, sleeplessness, and digestive disorders, to name just a few of the manifestations, Dr. Hotze notes that it is easy to see why doctors often turn to prescribing a drug to treat the symptoms. He laments the fact that, while well meaning, doctors are no longer taught to understand the underlying causes of these symptoms, but are now taught to simply choose a drug from their armamentarium.

A great deal of difficulty lies with the reliance on testing. Dr. Hotze asks, if we are only going to rely on testing, what is the purpose of seeing the patient? We can save a lot of time and expense if the tests are always going to trump the patient’s signs and symptoms.

The gold standard for testing thyroid function is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is not a thyroid hormone at all, but a pituitary hormone. Theoretically, TSH levels respond to the production of thyroid hormone. However, Dr. Hotze clearly describes the problems with this test and other thyroid testing.

The normal ranges for this test are much too wide. When a lab establishes a standard, they rely on the test results for the previous people they tested. A range is artificially created that deems 95% of the population must be normal. Only if you fall outside of the 95%, will you be recognized to have a thyroid problem. However, nothing outside of agreeing on convention, establishes that the 95% actually have healthy thyroid function. Indeed, when care is taken to understand the symptoms of hypothyroidism, a very large percent of “normal” are really not.

Dr. Hotze notes that the normal range for laboratory tests for thyroxine (T4) has been lowered by 15% between 1991 and 2012. What this means is that a person who would be identified as hypothyroid in 1991 could end up being “normal” today. The clinical presentation of the suffering patients has not changed, only the convention. Healthy people do not generally get their thyroid levels tested, so the data that labs rely on for their “normal” range is primarily from people who are compromised enough that hypothyroidism is suspected.

Lab testing, in and of itself, is also not without error. In a trial with 40 of his patients, Dr. Hotze sent two samples from each patient to separate labs and found variations as high as 50%. Moreover, the amount of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood varies throughout the day, and it is affected by disease, prescription drugs, stress and environmental factors. Finally, thyroid hormone test results can appear perfectly normal, but the problem stems from low pituitary hormones, a fact that is too often overlooked by medical practitioners.

Along with his first book, Hormones, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Medical Formula for Rediscovering Youth with Bioidentical Hormones, which covers issues like diet, treatment of allergies, nutritional and lifestyle support, Dr. Hotze is leading a wellness revolution. Patients become guests in his practice, emulating the customer service offered by the best hotels. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful model to have available for all of us looking for a healthier, happy life?

  • Hotze SF. Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed. Charleston, SC: Advantage Media Group; 2013.
  • Hotze SF, Griffin K. Hormones, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Medical Formula for Rediscovering Youth with Bioidentical Hormones. Charleston, SC: Advantage Media Group; 2005.
Book Review – Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness by Steven F. Hotze, MD2017-12-12T12:31:39-05:00

Medications and Thyroid Function

Medications and Thyroid Function

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy


Many medications can have a negative impact on thyroid function. For example, thyroid dysfunction often accompanies the debilitating brain and muscle side effects that have occurred in women who have received the hormone-suppressing drug Lupron or the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

These side effects are unusually similar to the inflammatory symptoms that accompany multiple sclerosis (MS). Years of animal research have demonstrated an improvement in MS symptoms after triiodothyronine (T3) administration. T3 seems to put the brakes on damage to the nerve sheath and actually promotes healing of the nerve.

People with inflammatory nerve conditions, who are also experiencing hypothyroid symptoms, may benefit from taking T3. Levothyroxine (T4) alone may not be enough, as studies have shown that critically ill patients with low thyroid function do not benefit from taking just T4.

  • Marrs C. Thyroid Dysfunction with Medication or Vaccine Induced Demyelinating Diseases. Hormones Matter. https://www.hormonesmatter.com/thyroid-medication-vaccine-induced-demyelination/: October 26, 2015.
  • Sutton I, et al. CNS demyelination and quadrivalent HPV vaccination. Mult Scler. 2009 Jan;15(1):116-119. Epub 2008 Sep 19.
  • D’Intino G, et al. Triiodothyronine administration ameliorates the demyelination/remyelination ratio in a non-human primate model of multiple sclerosis by correcting  tissue  hypothyroidism. J Neuroendocrinol. 2011 Sep;23(9):778-790.
  • Economidou F, et al. Thyroid function during critical illness. Hormones. 2011;10(2):117-124.
Medications and Thyroid Function2018-04-04T15:39:34-05:00