Part 3: Distinguish between temporary and permanent hypothyroidism

An example of thyroid science naivety and quackery3

THE SILVER LINING OF TRUTHS

All persuasive claims have a silver lining of logic and common sense, or else they would be too impossible for anyone to believe.

He discusses adrenaline. He gives the example of the body’s response to an impending car accident. Yes, our body secretes hormones like adrenaline at a very irregular rate and very quickly on demand.

Yes, various hormones such as adrenal hormones and sex hormones do interact with each other and thyroid hormones.

Yes, thyroid hormones are very sensitive to all sorts of influences.

Yes, it is possible to temporarily depress thyroid function or interfere with TSH production and therefore reduce T4 and T3 secretion. (11)

Yes it is possible to reduce T4-T3 hormone conversion by taking certain medicines or pursuing certain diets. (12)

Yes, severe depression and many other illnesses can make your body want to lower its metabolic rate by slowing down thyroid hormone conversion and production. That is called “non-thyroidal illness” in the literature, or “low T3 syndrome.” When illness is mild, nonthyroidal illness is mild (mildly reduced T3). (14) When illness is severe, nonthyroidal illness is severe (low T3) and the loss of T3 can be dangerous to health. (15-15c)

“NATURAL” HEALING

Therefore, yes, it is possible for someone with a healthy thyroid gland to recover from temporary thyroid hormone deficiency during illness … as long as their T3 does not go too low or stay too low for too long to prevent recovery from that illness. (15c)

All their body needs to do (if it is not prevented from doing this) is reawaken TSH to stimulate a higher percentage of thyroidal production of T3. Healthy pituitary – thyroid function can overcome a thyroid hormone metabolism that has become dysfunctional during illness, although it is not capable of doing so in extreme cases. (15, 15b)

Also, he doesn’t mention this, but if you only have an iodine deficiency or iodine excess interfering with thyroid hormone production, you may just need to normalize your iodine intake. (16)

If you are just taking a medication that causes a depressed TSH or interferes with T4-T3 conversion, you may be able to get off that medication or do something to compensate for its effects. (13)

If your gland is only slightly damaged, in many cases all you need is a constantly higher TSH (a “reset thyrostat”) to overstimulate your gland to maintain T4 or to compensate for lost T4 with encouragement to secrete a higher percentage of T3 hormone (17). In this case, you might not even be symptomatic anymore if your TSH elevates T3 levels enough for your body’s needs. (18, 18b)

In all the cases above, it is possible that a person may be incorrectly diagnosed and medicated, then stop medication if mild, temporary hypothyroidism is resolved. (19, 19b)

Success with his “natural” therapy has led to overconfidence in his beliefs.

CLAIMED CAUSES OF HYPOTHYROIDISM

Here’s where things go wrong in this man’s reasoning.

He starts to blame all sorts of things as the main “causes” of hypothyroidism and ends up inspiring unnecessary fear and even discrimination.

He seems to think that thyroid disorders are mostly “women’s problems” related to the sex hormones (because 90% with thyroid disorders are women) (06:50). How then does he explain men who have hypothyroidism? Is it because they are too feminine in their lifestyle or eating habits? (19:14 to 19:27). Blaming gender / sex only goes so far.

He also blames tongue piercing, based on the idea that it is a wound that never heals. He claims that 95% of women with tongue piercing get thyroid problems (10:02 to 12:05), but how many women and men did he observe, and did their tongue piercing precede hypothyroidism?

He goes on to blame oral contraceptives (07:28), antibiotics, inflammation (09:30), fungi and parasites not treated properly (21:00), poor liver function (20:43), vegetarian diets (12:15), and stress and unhappiness that get in the way of hormones of happiness (21:09).

What does he think about the many people who are female or have experienced many or all these things and are NOT hypothyroid?

Exceptions can disprove cause-effect hypotheses.

PERMANENT HYPOTHYROIDISM

At the same time as this man multiplies temporary causes, his philosophy denies the very existence of permanent hypothyroidism.

These causes are never mentioned.

What about autoimmune processes of thyroid destruction in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? (20)

What about permanent damage from radioactive iodine therapy for Graves’ disease, the hypothyroid phases seen in some cases of Graves’ disease (21), or the lesser known Graves antibodies that can cause permanent and severe thyroid atrophy? (21b)

What about genetic thyroid hormone transport and receptor problems? (22)

What about being born without a thyroid gland (athyreosis) or having other genetic defects that lead to or worsen hypothyroidism? (23)

What does he think happens after a thyroidectomy (thyroid removal)? Has he ever treated a person without a thyroid gland?

Apparently not.

He says “the thyroid is able to reproduce itself very quickly and adjust all its functions.” (19:39)

Seriously?

If you are born without a leg, or your leg is amputated, it’s not going to grow back. But a thyroid gland is not just a limb; it’s an essential organ. We need its hormones all over our body.

Without a leg, you can survive and adapt. Without a healthy thyroid and without medication, good luck!

After thyroidectomy for nodular goiter, if a remnant of thyroid tissue is left behind by a surgeon, it can become inflamed again in less than 2% of patients, though the rate of tissue regrowth is slow and may take 15 years, and this tendency is only true of diseased multinodular thyroid tissue. (24)

Have you ever read a study showing a completely functional thyroid gland can grow back to the degree of resupplying sufficient thyroid hormones? If you ever come across such a study, let me know. Such a phenomenal regrowth would surely be a rare medical anomaly.

He claims that “earlier people had practically no thyroid problems. Now it is an artificially created disease” (12:42).

No, before medical therapies were developed, once people understood it was caused by the thyroid gland, there were many reports of sad cases of uncurable and fatal hypothyroidism (myxedema coma); the mortality rate even in the 1980s for myxedema coma (severe hypothyroidism) was 30-50%. (25)

This is not a disease that is only caused by modern lifestyles and diets, even if it could be worsened by them.

Bottom line: A severely damaged or missing gland will not heal itself enough for you to survive and thrive, no matter how many happy thoughts you have while not interfering with your body and eating whatever your society thinks is “normal” food.

REFERENCES

See the reference list for all 5 posts in this series: “REFERENCES for “Thyroid science naivety and quackery” posts

 

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Categories: Diagnosis, Thyroid disabilities, Thyroid gland

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