by Jeffrey Dach MD
On February 8, 2007, Ann Nicole Smith apparently overdosed and died 5 minutes away from my office at the Seminole Indian Hard Rock Hotel, a gambling casino on the Indian Reservation.
Ann Nicole Smith’s death was officially attributed to drug overdose. However, the autopsy report described a low thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, a common condition causing low thyroid function.(1) Ann Nicole Smith was also said to be taking human growth hormone (HGH).(7) Of course, this information wasn’t mentioned in the autopsy report. The obvious question is, “Why was Ann Nicole taking Growth Hormone when she really needed thyroid medication ?”
Although mainstream medicine is staunchly opposed to HGH use by Aging Baby Boomers, the practice has caught the attention of some seniors groups, and seems to be growing in spite of opposition by the Institute of Medicine and JAMA .(2)(3)(4)(5)(6) As we find in the case of Ann Nicole Smith, I propose the idea that the real medical problem is usually thyroid deficiency rather than Growth Hormone Deficiency.
Left Image: Alan Mintz Courtesy of the Las Vegas Review.(46)
Dr. Mintz was a radiologist, and a visionary and a pioneer in his field. He inspired many doctors, myself included, to embark on a new career in natural medicine and bio-identical hormones, and his presence will be greatly missed.
In this same CBS 60 minutes television interview, Alan Mintz disclosed that many of their patients were given treatments with human growth hormone (HGH) based on a protocol for Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency.(11) (12) I highly recommend the Cenegenics clinics as a world class medical clinic, with excellent doctors and support staff.
Yet, many the large clinics involved in Age Management or so-called anti-aging medicine tend to be conservative when it comes to offering thyroid treatment. They usually hesitate to give thyroid medication if the labs are normal, or if they do give thyroid hormone, it is usually Synthroid rather than natural dessicated thyroid hormone like Nature-Throid from RLC Labs.(13)(32)
Left Image: Synthroid Courtesy of Wikipedia
Synthroid is a thyroid pill which contains only T4 (thyroxine), while the natural thyroid (Nature-Throid) contains both T3 and T4, accounting for the better clinical results of the natural thyroid.(32) Mainstream medical practice relies on the TSH test to determine when to treat with thyroid hormone (lab range 0.5 – 5.5) , so most people with low thyroid are missed by the medical system, and are not given thyroid hormone medication. Endocrinologists at Walter Reed have found that patients prefer the Natural Thyroid over Synthroid.
Mark Starr’s lecture and his book on the same topic were a real eye opener for me because he claimed that while 30% of the population are low thyroid, they are ignored and go untreated by mainstream medicine. These unfortunate souls drag themselves from doctor to doctor with labels such as chronic fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, and suffer from hair loss, constipation, depression and a host of other symptoms described by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum.(15) Dr. Starr explained why thyroid blood tests such as the TSH are unreliable. Dr. Starr instead relies on old fashioned clinical judgment to decide when to treat with thyroid hormone and how much thyroid medication to give. (16)(17)(18)
Left Image: Courtesy of Mark Starr MD (14)
I was therefore really excited to meet Drs. Konrad Kail and Daryl Turner at their booth at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine Meeting in 2005.(25)(26)(27)(28) Drs. Kail and Turner developed the Thyroflex instrument, a reflex hammer connected to a laptop computer which measures reflex time in milliseconds.(27)
Left Image: Achilles Tendon Courtesy of Wikipedia
They do not routinely use the Achilles Tendon reflex though. Instead, they decided to use the Brachio-Radialis muscle of the forearm, a more convenient way to illicit the reflex while the patient is seated in a comfortable chair. A delayed reflex time is the finding which indicates low thyroid.
They found excellent correlation between reflex time and thyroid function as measured by basal metabolic rate in patients before and after treatment with natural thyroid. Their study found a predictive Value of a Positive Test = 0.95 and a Predictive Value of a Negative Test= 0.017, which I thought was quite good.(29)(30)
This paradoxically low TSH is called hypothalamic dysfunction, and Jacob Teitelbaum MD sees this frequently in his chronic fatigue patients.(31) Since in these cases the TSH is usually below 3, no mainstream doctor would be willing to give thyroid hormone treatment to these unfortunate souls. With the confidence of a delayed reflex time on a Thyroflex test, we can feel comfortable giving these people the badly needed thyroid, and the results have been astounding.
Left Image: Courtesy of Jacob Teitelbaum MD (15)(16)
Our approach to diagnosis of low thyroid uses a lengthy questionnaire which goes over 70 symptoms of low thyroid (listed below), a complete thyroid blood panel including TSH, free T3 and free T4, and a physical examination which includes measurement of reflex time with the Thyroflex. Also included is a basal body temperature chart filled out by the patient at home.
A Trial of Low Dose Thyroid is Very Safe
Once it has been determined that thyroid hormone is likely to be beneficial, a trial of low dose Nature-Throid from RLC labs (Western Research) is given with a small half grain tablet every other day, while a log book is kept by the patient describing any changes in energy or other symptoms. Any symptoms of thyroid excess such as palpitations, feeling of warmth, anxiety or insomnia are noted in the log book. After 8 days, the log book is reviewed to determine if the thyroid was of benefit. In addition, Iodine supplementation with Iodoral is routinely given as described in a previous article on Iodine and Breast Cancer Prevention.(45)
We have found that monitoring symptoms by recording any changes in a log book, as well as small half grain gradual increments in thyroid dosage makes this program very safe. In the event the patient experiences palpitations, they are instructed to hold any further thyroid medication and inform the physician.
Articles with Related Interest:
Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 190
Davie, Florida 33314
Links and References
Anna Nicole Smith Autopsy Released, Coroner: Ex-Playmate died from accidental sedative overdose.
Aging Baby Boomers turn to hormone, Some doctors concerned about growing ‘off-label’ use of drug Sabin Russell, Chronicle Staff Writer, Monday, November 17, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle
HGH (Human Growth Hormone) HGH and effects on aging – An exciting discovery made about 15 years ago has linked the aging process to declining levels of certain hormones.
Provision or Distribution of Growth Hormone for “Antiaging”, COMMENTARY Clinical and Legal Issues. Thomas T. Perls, MD, MPH; Neal R. Reisman, MD, JD; S. Jay Olshansky, PhD. JAMA. Oct 26 2005;294:2086-2090. Full Text PDF.
Once it has been determined that thyroid hormone is likely to be beneficial, a trial of low dose Nature-Throid from RLC labs (Western Research) is given with a small half grain tablet every other day, while a log book is kept by the patient describing any changes in energy or other symptoms. Any symptoms of thyroid excess such as palpitations, feeling of warmth, anxiety or insomnia are noted in the log book. After 8 days, the log book is reviewed to determine if the thyroid was of benefit. In addition, Iodine supplementation with Iodoral is routinely given as described in a previous article on Iodine and Breast Cancer Prevention.() We have found that monitoring symptoms by recording any changes in a log book, as well as small half grain gradual increments in thyroid dosage makes this program very safe. In the event the patient experiences palpitations, they are instructed to hold any further thyroid medication and inform the physician. For more information, visit my web site Jeffrey Dach MD4700 Sheridan Suite THollywood, Florida 33021954-983-1443(1) Anna Nicole Smith Autopsy Released, Coroner: Ex-Playmate died from accidental sedative overdose.() Aging Baby Boomers turn to hormone, Some doctors concerned about growing ‘off-label’ use of drug Sabin Russell, Chronicle Staff Writer, Monday, November 17, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle () HGH (Human Growth Hormone) HGH and effects on aging – An exciting discovery made about 15 years ago has linked the aging process to declining levels of certain hormones. SeniorMag.com() Provision or Distribution of Growth Hormone for “Antiaging”, COMMENTARY Clinical and Legal Issues. Thomas T. Perls, MD, MPH; Neal R. Reisman, MD, JD; S. Jay Olshansky, PhD. JAMA. Oct 26 2005;294:2086-2090. Full Text PDF.
Provision or Distribution of Growth Hormone for “Antiaging”, COMMENTARY Clinical and Legal Issues. Thomas T. Perls, MD, MPH; Neal R. Reisman, MD, JD; S. Jay Olshansky, PhD. JAMA. Oct 26 2005;294:2086-2090. Abstract.
What Anna Nicole Smith Was Shooting? The dead starlet’s autopsy revealed that she was injecting human growth hormone to counter the effects of aging and promote weight loss. Does that work? Inside the HGH boom—and the backlash. By Lynn Waddell and Arian Campo-Flores, Newsweek Web Exclusive Mar 28, 2007
60 Minutes. Aging In The 21st Century, Steve Kroft Reports On The New Field Of Anti-Aging Medicine, Aug. 20. 2006
ALAN MINTZ M.D. Alan P. Mintz, M.D., cofounder and CEO of Cenegenics Medical Institute, passed away June 3, 2007, as a result of a brain hemorrhage. He was 69 years old. Born in Chicago, Alan was a graduate of the University of Chicago and earned a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Illinois – School of Medicine. He served as a physician in the U.S. Navy, prior to postgraduate training in radiology.
Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency
Background. Cenegenics Foundation.
Type Two Hypothyroidism Book by Mark Starr. This is an astonishing book revealing the cause and successful treatment for the plague of illnesses affecting western civilization; including obesity, heart attacks, depression, diabetes, strokes, headaches, chronic fatigue, and many more. In Dr. Starr’s description Type 2 Hypothyroidism, he presents overwhelming evidence showing a majority of Americans suffer this illness, which is due to environmental and hereditary factors. Laboratory testing used to diagnose hypothyroidism is completely inadequate, and current treatment for hypothyroidism is ineffective.
Hypothyroidism, The Tragic and Invisible Epidemic of Thyroid Disease. Dr Jacob Teitelbaum MD
Optimum Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypothyroidism With Free T3 and Free T4 Levels Mercola.com
Major Revision of Hypothyroid Diagnosis Guidelines, Mercola.com
Achilles Tendon Reflex Time
Med Klin. 1970 Nov 6;65(45):1973-82. [Validity of Achilles tendon reflex measurement during thyroid gland function disorders][Article in German] Gillich KH, Krüskemper HL, Stendel A.
Probl Endokrinol (Mosk). 1982 Jan-Feb;28(1):34-8. [Reflexometry as a supplementary study method in thyroid hypofunction][Article in Russian] Gaidina GA, Matveeva LS, Lazareva SP.
A correlation was established between the time of the Achilles reflex and the biochemical characteristics of thyroid function (total thyroxin and triiodothyronine levels, thyroxin-binding capacity of the blood serum proteins, the basal TTH level) in patients with grave and moderately expressed hypothyroidism.
Aust Fam Physician. 1976 May;5(4):550-9, 561. A screening test for thyroid function.Goodman E. The Achilles tendon reflex half relaxation time measurement (ART) has been used by many physicians both as a diagnostic test and for the assessment of progress in thyroid gland malfunction.
Probl Endokrinol (Mosk). 1987 May-Jun;33(3):6-9. [Changes in the duration of the Achilles reflex in euthyroid goiter in children][Article in Russian]Gaidina GA, Alekseeva RM, Bobrovskaia TA, Lazareva SP. Changes in the duration of the Achilles reflex were studied in subclinical disturbances of thyroid function. A significant conformity of the levels of TSH, T3, T4 to the duration of the Achilles reflex was shown.
Konrad Kail, P.A., N.D. Director. Southwest College Research Institute. Tempe, AZ (602) 363-9237 Associate Professor of Naturopathic Medicine; Special Consultant for External Research Affairs; BS, University of Houston, 1974; BS, Baylor College of Medicine, 1976; ND, National College of Naturopathic Medicine, 1983.
Predictability of Brachioradialis Reflexometry, Thyroflex, Nitek
Managing Subclinical Hypothyroid Using Resting Metabolic Rate and Brachioradialis Reflexometry
Konrad Kail, N.D.1, Robert F. Waters, Ph.D., Thyroflex, Nitek
From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, October 2002. Highly Effective Treatment of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Results of a Placebo Controlled Study and How to Apply the Protocol, by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD
Summary List of Symptoms of Hypothyroidism , Armour web site
Hypothyroidism Risk/Symptoms Checklist, Help in Diagnosis and Finetuning Your Treatment By Mary Shomon, About.com, December 22, 2003
Do You Have Signs of Hypothyroidism or Thyroid Hormone Resistance? Dr. John C. Lowe
Lowe, J.C., Reichman, A., & Yellin, J.: The process of change with T3 therapy for euthyroid fibromyalgia: a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study. Clin. Bull. Myofascial Ther., 2(2/3):91-124, 1997.
Thyroid Page on Jeffrey DACh MD web site
Stop the Thyroid MAdness, devoted to natural thyroid medication rather than synthroid
Broda Barnes Institute
Mark Starr MD Pain Clinic
Richard L. Shames, M.D.THYROID POWER
Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia, Mary Shomon, patient advocate.
By Mary Shomon Thyroid Disease Guide About.com Thyroid
William McK. Jefferies, M.D. (Retired) Web Page, Dr. Jefferies has retired from active medical practice. (Honorary) Professor, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism University of Virginia School of Medicine Charlottesville, Virginia
Breast Cancer Prevention and Iodine Supplementation by Jeffrey Dach MD
Jan. 22, 2006 Las Vegas Review-Journal IN DEPTH: Hormone therapy: CENEGENICS: Photo of Alan Mintz
Link to this article:
Checklist of Common Symptoms of Low Thyroid:
____Loss or thinning of eyebrows
____Low sex drive
____Cold hands or feet
____Dry or thinning hair
____Joint or muscle pain
____Thickening of the skin
____Thin, brittle fingernails
Financial Disclosure: I have no financial interest in any of the products, nutritional supplements, or books mentioned here.
Link to this article:http://wp.me/P3gFbV-ua
Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 190
Davie, Florida 33314
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