Hypothyroidism- The silent epidemic

Hypothyroidism can be loosely defined as a medical condition that results from the under-secretion of Thyroid Hormone. The difficulty with this traditional approach to diagnosis of hypothyroidism is that it relies on ‘normal values,’ or reference ranges that are defined by the population itself. It has been estimated that as many as 50 million American suffer from undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

Fact #1: Thyroid hormone is necessary to maintain basal metabolic rate, or the amount of fuel that is consumed to sustain health. The manifestation is that of temperature.

a. When a person is generating too little thyroid hormone, or if the individual has an imbalance that involves thyroid metabolism, body temperatures will fall.

b. These persons may be told that they ‘normally have low temperatures.’

c. This bit of nonsense is causing tremendous problems for society.

d. The result is weight gain, depression and elevations in cholesterol levels.

Fact #2: The traditional approach to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism involves measurement of a hormone released by the pituitary gland, TSH. If the central nervous system senses that there is inadequate thyroid hormone in the blood stream, TSH levels will increase. Increase in TSH should lead to increases in the release of Thyroid Hormone from the Thyroid Gland. As levels of Thyroid Hormone reach adequate levels, TSH release decreases.

Problem #1: Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong between the brain, pituitary gland and the thyroid gland, itself. Inadequate levels of thyroid hormone can persist, and the brain will ‘reset’ to new and lower levels of this hormone. Factors that can cause this include:

1. chronic stress

2. pregnancy

3. trauma

4. chronic disease states.

5. autoimmune conditions

6. fasting or famine conditions.

As TSH levels drop back to normal, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism becomes more difficult, if all the practitioner relies upon is the TSH level. Unfortunately, this is the case more times than not.

Problem #2: Thyroid Hormone does not work alone. It requires adequate levels of estradiol, estrone, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, DHEA and a host of other hormones, peptides, fatty acids and humoral elements. If any one of these necessary pieces are missing, out of balance, or in excess, thyroid hormone may not work properly, leading to a state of ‘functional hypothyroidism.’

TSH levels, thyroid hormone levels are ‘normal,’ but the body does not function properly and resembles the hypothyroid condition.

Problem #3: Thyroid Hormone replacement may be inadequate or improper for the patient. That is, not all thyroid replacement works for all patients. There are chemicals in some of the commercially available thyroid preparations that cause all manners of problems. One such substance is ‘Acacia,’ which is a family of shrubs and trees, and portions of this plant are used in some medications to provide form and shape to tablets. Lactose is also used in the most popular of the Thyroid Replacement Hormones. Not only is Lactose an allergic trigger for people with lactose intolerance, but it may actually block the absorption of the thyroid replacement, itself. Signs of lactose intolerance include nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

It is very common to hear patients tell the doctor that the thyroid medicine that they are receiving is ‘making me sicker.’ Unfortunately, the practitioner does not often make the effort to figure out why this might be the case.

Problem #4: Certain foods make thyroid conditions worse. Patients with auto-immune disorders may be more sensitive to soy-protein than other persons. Soy contains two chemicals that inhibit an important enzyme that is necessary for thyroid hormone replacement. If a person is already ‘on the edge,’ taking soy protein can make the condition worse. To a lesser extent, peanuts, pinto beans do this, as well.


1. In order to sort through the diagnosis of thyroid related problems, it is important to determine not only the levels of thyroid hormones and TSH, but it is important to determine the presence of antibodies to the binding protein and converting enzymes.

2. If you suspect that you have hypothyroidism, it is necessary to cease eating anything that contains soy, soy lecithin, peanuts and pinto beans.

3. Replacement of thyroid hormone should be accomplished with products that do not contain lactose, Acacia, and artificial colorations.

4. Thyroid hormone must be taken on an empty stomach.

5. Determination of hormone imbalances that affect thyroid metabolism must be accomplished.


About David S Klein, MD 149 Articles
David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM was born in Washington, DC, and was raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland with degrees in Chemistry and Psychology. Medical School was completed at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, followed by Internship in General Surgery at the University of North Carolina and Residency in Anesthesiology at the Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Dr Klein has been practicing medicine since 1983, concentrating in Pain Medicine, Minimally Invasive Medicine and Surgery, and Neuroendocrinology. Earning Board Certification in Anesthesiology, Dr. Klein was elected Fellow in the American College of Anesthesiology, and he was elected Fellow in the American College of Pain Medicine. He is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, School of Medicine. He has focused his private practice on treating patients with hormone imbalance issues, nutritional deficiency related medical problems as well as pain related issues and impairment. With a highly-complex, CLIA licensed laboratory in-house, he has been able to provide rapid-turn around analysis efficiently and cost-effectively. Lecturing extensively nationally as well as internationally, Dr. Klein has authored many articles on topics relating to pain, injury and nutritionally modulated illness. His radio show, “Pain Free Living,” received top ratings during the 6 years it was on the air. Currently practicing in Longwood, Florida, Dr. Klein practices entirely in the office setting.