Women's International Pharmacy E-Newsletter

Insulin Resistance: A Weighty Matter

Insulin Resistance: A Weighty MatterInsulin is a hormone involved in the metabolic processes that convert the food we eat into the fuel our bodies need to survive. As the master fuel-supply hormone, insulin’s main functions are to regulate the amount of blood sugar (glucose) that flows into the body’s cells to create energy, and to communicate the need to refuel (that is, to eat or stop eating).

In about 10 percent of the population, cells start to “resist” the influences of the insulin hormone, thereby reducing its effectiveness and causing it to build up in the blood, eventually resulting in a condition known as insulin resistance. Warning signs of insulin resistance include:

  • frequent thirst
  • frequent urination
  • excessive hunger
  • gaining a few pounds and having difficulty losing them
  • unexplained drowsiness or feeling tired most of the time, especially after eating

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Book Review: The Pill Problem: How to Protect Your Health from the Side Effects of Oral Contraceptives
by Ross Pelton, RPh, CCN
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy

The Pill Problem by Ross Pelton, RPh

In 1981, Barbara Seaman published Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones and warned us emphatically about the dangers of using synthetic hormones, particularly in the form of birth control pills. Before oral contraceptives were approved, there were only studies involving small numbers of women and, although the FDA is supposed to give its stamp of approval for safety and efficacy, it was clear from the beginning that oral contraceptives are not safe. Women have died as a result of using oral contraceptives and yet, at the time, it was argued that women also die from pregnancy and delivery.

Fast forward to the present and we find that not only are oral contraceptives still being offered to young women (in fact, over 100 million women, thus making it a very lucrative business), but now women struggling with hormone imbalances at menopause are also being offered oral contraceptives as a solution!

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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 LupronĀ® or the HPV vaccine GardasilĀ®.

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.


"CNS demyelination and quadrivalent HPV vaccination" by I. Sutton, R. Lahoria, et al; Mult Scler; 2009 Jan; 15(1):116-119. Epub 2008 Sep 19.
"Triiodothyronine administration ameliorates the demyelination/remyelination ratio in a non-human primate model of multiple sclerosis by correcting  tissue  hypothyroidism"  by G. D'Intino, L. Lorenzini, et al; J of Neuroendocrinol;  2011 Sep; 23(9):778-790.
"Thyroid function during critical illness" by F. Economidou, E. Douka, et al; Hormones; 2011; 10(2):117-124.



Staff at Women's International Pharmacy



In This Issue
Insulin Resistance: A Weighty Matter
Book Review: The Pill Problem
Medications and Thyroid Function

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