Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

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Role of Thyroid Meds

Monday, 07 Nov 2011 09:54 AM

Question: Is it normal for your thyroid to atrophy when taking thyroid replacement medication? If so, how does that affect your thyroid function?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

If you take too much thyroid medication, the thyroid gland will atrophy and become smaller. However, it is not normal for this to occur.

Doses of thyroid hormone should provide enough thyroid replacement to make the patient feel well without inhibiting the natural stimulation to the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is stimulated by TSH, a hormone released from the pituitary gland in the brain. If you are taking too much thyroid hormone, TSH may be suppressed. A simple blood test can reveal this.

My dosing of thyroid hormone has declined over the years as I have found thyroid disease responds to correcting nutritional and hormonal imbalances. Reversing these imbalances allows for much lower dosing. Finally, ensuring adequate iodine levels will lower or sometimes replace the need for using thyroid hormone.


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