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Thyroid Myths

By Lita Lee, Ph.D. Revised June 2006


  • T4 (Synthroid) is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone.
  • T3 (Cytomel) is the active form of the thyroid hormone.
  • Thyroid glandulars (Nutripak, Armour, etc.) contain protein precursors to T4 and T3, which are digested to produce the active units of T4 and T3.

In order to be healthy, one must convert T4 to T3 in the liver. This is highly dependent on a thyroid-stimulating diet. Pro-thyroid foods include: animal protein with every meal, sea salt to taste (a natural diuretic that raises blood sugar and helps prevent hypertension and hardening of the arteries), fruits and fruit juices daily and healthy fats (coconut oil -the best thyroid stimulating oil, butter and extra virgin olive oil). Major thyroid inhibitors or toxins include: all soy products (soymilk, soy beans, tempeh, tofu, soy protein powder); all unsaturated oils (seed and nut oils, fish oils, and soybean, canola, safflower, Evening Primrose, flaxseed, borage, etc. oils.); RAW cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.); fluoride (in toothpastes, water and commercial foods); mercury (in silver-amalgam fillings and as an environmental toxin) and even some isolated nutritional supplements, including beta-carotene (in carrot juice and in vitamin supplements) and PABA (para amino benzoic acid).

The following are thyroid myths that have been reported to me from hundreds of clients worldwide over the past 13 years.

Myth #1: Blood tests for thyroid function are valid and determine thyroid function accurately.

The truth: The numbers in the thyroid blood panel may be accurate but they do not tell you what the body is doing with the thyroid hormone so they are a waste of money. This was proven over 60 years ago by the late Dr. Broda Barnes, M.D., who wrote Hypothyroidism, the Unsuspected Illness. The only way to determine thyroid function is by the oral temperature in the morning after arising and again at noon or during daylight hours plus the daytime resting pulse, which should be 98.0 degrees F, 98.6-99 degrees F and 85 beats per minute, respectively. Fertile women should do this during menses to avoid the rise in temperature during ovulation. There are some exceptions to this that can be observed in blood tests but most hypothyroid people have what’s considered a “normal” thyroid panel. Many are misdiagnosed as being hyperthyroid because they are thin and have a low TSH (<1.0), when in fact, they are hypopituitary. Thyroid nutrition reversed both a sluggish thyroid and a sluggish pituitary gland.

Myth #2: Synthroid (synthetic thyroid or T4) works and is more effective than thyroid glandular.

The truth: Synthroid is cardio toxic, shrinks the thyroid gland, suppresses cellular respiration, suppresses the pituitary and rarely improves symptoms, except in very healthy people who can convert the T4 to T3. Most people get worse, especially women, because low thyroid women are estrogen dominant and estrogen inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3. A healthy man has less difficulty converting T4 to T3.

Myth #3: Synthroid is better than thyroid glandular because the dosage is scientifically determined.

The truth: The glandular works because it contains a balanced ratio of T4 and T3. Both are necessary. In addition, many people need additional T3 (Cytomel) because they have thyroid resistance – difficulty converting T4 to T3.

Myth #4: Supplemental iodine is good for thyroid function.

The truth: “Some claim that an iodine deficiency can be shown by the quick disappearance of a spot of iodine painted on the skin. Iodine is converted to colorless iodide by reductants, including vitamin C, glutathione, and thiosulphate. I have a newsletter that has some references describing the effect of even moderate iodine excess (even below a milligram per day) on the thyroid. An iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, but so can an excess. A dosage of 150 mcg is a safe amount of iodine.” (Peat) But people take much higher, thyroid-toxic doses of iodine.

Myth #5: Don’t take thyroid glandular. It causes bone loss.

The truth: Synthroid (synthetic T4) causes bone loss. Thyroid glandular prevents bone loss because it promotes both new bone formation and the dissolution (resorption) of old bones. Both are required for healthy bones. Thyroid converts LDL cholesterol into pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. Progesterone promotes new bone formation and stimulates the release of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland.

Dr. Ray Peat told me that he wonders why doctors say that taking thyroid glandular or being hyperthyroid causes bone loss when they can’t explain why animals given huge amounts of Armour USP thyroid have bigger bones than normal.

Myth #6: I can’t take thyroid glandular because I am underweight.

The truth: Thyroid glandular will reverse both being underweight or overweight.

Myth #7: I don’t take thyroid glandular because it will make my thyroid gland lazy.

The truth: Studies in which the thyroid gland was totally suppressed with an overdose of thyroid glandular showed the natural return of thyroid activity when the glandular was withdrawn. This took only a couple of days.

Myth #8: Taking thyroid glandular causes a dependency.

The truth: The need for thyroid glandular varies and in fact, increases with darkness (winter), stress and illness. Keeping track of your oral temperature and resting pulse will determine your correct dosage and the need to increase or decrease.

Myth #9: I’m afraid to take thyroid glandular because I was told it causes heart problems.

The truth: Thyroid prevents heart disease. In fact T3 can reverse heart disease. Synthroid (T4) is cardiotoxic. Don’t confuse the cardiotoxic effects of Synthroid with the cardioprotective effects of thyroid glandular and T3, the active form of the thyroid hormone.

Myth #10: Taking excess thyroid glandular has dangerous side effects (e.g. hyperthyroidism).

The truth: The only side effect of being slightly, say 25% hyperthyroid is longevity. The longest-lived peoples on earth are about 25% hypermetabolic. These people live on thyroid-stimulating foods (natural animal protein, adequate salt, fruits and coconut oil) and had none of the common diseases observed in our junk food, hypothyroid society (cancer, heart disease, gallbladder disease, bone disease, senility, etc.).

Myth #11: All thyroid glandulars are alike.

The truth: Very few natural thyroid glandulars are available, such as Armour and Atrium’s Nutripak glandulars. The majority of thyroid glandulars are bogus products containing iodinated casein (milk protein) plus amphetamine (speed) -hardly of help to the low thyroid person. I use Nutripak because it is pure glandular with no additives. Armour used to be pure but the current brand contains additives, which some people cannot tolerate.

So, check your temperature, your pulse, take your thyroid glandular, and live long and prosper! Some symptoms of hypothyroidism: chronic fatigue; insomnia; fibromyalgia; goiter; high or low blood pressure; underweight or overweight; dry skin, hair loss, facial hair in women, hoarse voice, depression; diagnosed with mental illness; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); allergies;

immune system problems (frequent colds and flu, asthma, bronchitis, etc.); all female problems (PMS, cyclic migraines, cyclic seizures (at ovulation and menses), mood swings, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage around the 10th week, excessive, scanty or irregular menses, etc.); colon problems; skin problems; hypoglycemia and all conditions related to aging (heart problems, gallbladder disease, cancer and tumors, diabetes, senility, etc.).

“Disclaimer: I am a chemist and an enzyme nutritionist, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human diseases. I do not provide diagnosis, care, treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles. I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them. I provide enzymes and other dietary supplements to improve digestion and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body. If you suspect any disease, please consult your physician.”

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. They are intended for nutritional support only. The FTC requires that we tell you that the results in case notes and testimonials published here are not typical, however, they do show what some people have been able to achieve. Individuals vary, which is why we must always consider the whole person when recommending a course of action. The third party information referred to herein is neither adopted nor endorsed by this web site but is provided for general information purposes. The listing of specific disease terms is based upon medical literature and is not a substitute for competent medical advice. If you suspect a medical condition, you should consult a physician.

Copyright 2001 -2006. Neither this article, nor any part of it, may be reproduced without permission. If permission to reprint is granted, the article must include author and URL information. Lita Lee, Ph.D.