Category: Thyroid Health
Drinking Water in Some States Contains Chemical That Could Interfere with Thyroid Function
The Associated Press is reporting that Federal Regulators do not have any plans to try and regulate the amount of perchlorate that is in public drinking water, which has been found to pose a risk to individuals' thyroid function. The chemical can also cause developmental health risks, especially for babies and fetuses.
The decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency is not final, however, and the agency will collect public comments for thirty days before concluding the decision process as to whether or not the chemical in drinking water should be regulated.
What is Perchlorate?
The Department of Defense used perchlorate in the testing of rockets and missiles. It is estimated that the drinking water of nearly twenty million Americans is contaminated with the chemical. Perchlorate is the main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel and is an explosive element. The chemical has contaminated the drinking water supplies of many states, particularly Texas and California.
How does Perchlorate Affect the Thyroid?
Perchlorate affects human health by inhibiting iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps to regulate the metabolism in adults and releases thyroid hormones. In children, the thyroid gland is important in proper development.
Perchlorate is becoming an urgent threat to human health and water resources.
Perchlorate and Children
Toddlers are particularly vulnerable to perchlorate in their drinking water because they eat and drink a significant amount of food and water in relation to their tiny size.
A research study conducted by the Environmental Working Group analysis of FDA data discovered that perchlorate levels even as low as four parts per billion in drinking water could possibly expose the average two year old toddler to a dangerous amount of rocket fuel contamination in their every day lives.
Cleanup of Drinking Water
The research findings of the FDA highlight the importance of the cleanup of drinking water so that small children are not exposed to rocket fuel in their drinking water. Perchlorate in drinking water can be minimized through filtration and clean up. The cleanup of perchlorate in food is more difficult because the origination of the chemical is more difficult to pin point.
Importance of Cleanup of Drinking Water
The National Academy of Sciences, also referred to as the NAS, research finding found that the health effects of perchlorate are severe.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is also referred to as the CDC, have released research conclusions that indicate that American women, especially those with low iodine intake, could possibly have reduced thyroid function as a result of perchlorate exposure. Similar thyroid function effects were not found for men.
Filter Drinking Water at Home to Protect Your Thyroid
Many people are asking the question as to whether tap water or bottled water is better for health. Because of cost, many families prefer tap water as it is more readily available than bottled water. And many prefer tap water because of environmental issues relating to the use of plastic containers that are associated with bottled water.
The standard faucet filter that many people have in their kitchen is not sufficient. Reverse osmosis drinking water treatment systems have been shown to filter out the dangerous perchlorate chemical in drinking water and aid in the protection of thyroid health.
Consult a Professional
If you have questions about your drinking water, perchlorate and the effect that it has on your thyroid health, consult a thyroid health professional.
Researchers Probe Healthy Thyroid Cases
If you are like the many thousands of people that have recently discovered that they have a thyroid problem, you are probably also surprised to learn about the many additional health consequences that can develop as a result of your thyroid disease. You are also probably amazed to learn about the growing communities of people who gather to talk about and research this disease that is, unfortunately, growing in numbers. And due to increased public awareness of thyroid disorders, there is more information available about thyroid disorders today than there was twenty years ago, which is fortunate for the new breed of patients who share a common desire - to learn everything they can about thyroid disease.
Each person who is coming to terms with the knowledge of their thyroid disorder deals with it in a different way. There are groups on the Internet that blog about their experiences to increase understanding about thyroid problems. There are thyroid awareness clinics at local hospitals in which doctors will meet with groups of thyroid patients for a question and answer hour, and there are those that scour their library for more information on this growing affliction. However diverse this group of unwilling participants, they all have one thing in common - the desire to have a healthy thyroid.
What is a Healthy Thyroid?
The most common diagnostic test used to measure thyroid health is a TSH test, which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. When a TSH test is conducted the results are measured against a benchmark which standardizes the norm for the levels of this hormone. The good news is that a TSH test is an easy test to conduct and receive. It is a simple blood test that is can be administered in the privacy of a doctor's office. The bad news is that there are disagreements in the medical community as to what the right levels are. There is a growing community of physicians who surmise that a TSH level of .5 ranging to 5.0 of thyroid hormone is appropriate in the blood. On the other side of the spectrum is a group of physicians who argue that a level of .3 to nearly 3.0 is a more generally appropriate range.
Maintaining a Healthy Thyroid
The rise of the industrial age and the mass production of food has dramatically changed the quality of food that people consume. Many studies confirm that foods which are mass produced can be harmful to thyroid health. A few products which cause acute sensitivity in the thyroid are refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined grains and fat metabolism. Distinct fats are exceedingly eventful in all hormonal production because all hormones are created from fats. Trans fats are destructive to the thyroid metabolism because of the interference they create with cellular membrane capacity.
What is Recommended for Thyroid Health?
Researchers have distinguished certain items that help to maintain good thyroid function by preventing excessive thyroid aging, which can cause the thyroid to become dysfunctional in relation to the other organs within the body. The most important item listed by researchers for thyroid health is a well-balanced diet. Although the benefits of organic foods have long been probed for several years, the importance of organic foods have recently been emphasized as a means of maintaining a healthy thyroid. Overuse of chemicals in our food can lead to multiple nutritional side effects.
Scientists also stress the importance of reducing or eliminating the intake of refined or white sugar in the diet as it can cause nutritional imbalances such as insufficient levels of vitamin B in the diet. White flour is a common food item that has little nutritional value and empty calories and should be avoided if thyroid health is a nutritional goal.
Fats and oils which are used almost daily in the preparation of commercially prepared foods can be harmful to thyroid health. A leading physiologist in the study of progesterone and hormones, Ray Peat Ph.D., stated that the sudden influx of polyunsaturated oils into foods after World War II has resulted in many changes in hormones.
Polyunsaturated oils have affected the thyroid gland in that they interfere with its function. These oils are detrimental to hormone secretion, movement within the circulatory system, and the reaction of tissues to hormones. In a scenario in which the thyroid hormone is insufficient, the body is not able to create protective hormones, such as progesterone and pregnenolone, which can result in interference of healthy function of the thyroid. A healthy alternative for cooking is to substitute coconut oils in one's diet, instead of polyunsaturated oils.
Get a Professional Opinion
A consultation with an experienced thyroidologist or an endocrinologist is especially helpful if thyroid health is an issue or concern. Although new research findings represent important strides in thyroid health, much more work will be necessary to pinpoint what exactly is needed for a healthy thyroid and your physician can best determine your needs after a complete examination.
Is it My Thyroid? Look Out for These Common Thyroid Drug Interactions
Medical science has come a long way in recent decades, and patients with thyroid disorders have reaped the benefits of these advances. With proper adherence to a prescribed treatment regimen, most men and women with common thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can live normal, full lives.
However, because the rate of new drug development often outpaces the number of drug interaction studies that can be conducted, it is often virtually impossible for doctors to keep up with all of the possible complications that can occur when thyroid medications are combined with other drugs. Conversely, scientists continue to be on the lookout for drug combinations that can cause, exacerbate, or worsen existing thyroid problems.
As a result, it’s very important for patients with thyroid disorders – and even those with normal thyroid function who have special concerns about maintaining thyroid health – to keep a close eye on possible drug interactions. This week, we’ll take a look at the results of several recent studies that have documented potential problems.
Anti-Tumor Medication Can Slow Thyroid Function
A drug that can impede the development of tumors is always a boon to cancer patients, and years of intensive testing has shown that the medication Sunitinib can indeed slow the growth of certain types of cancer, including kidney and gastrointestinal forms of the disease.
However, according to the results of a study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Sunitinib’s effectiveness as an anti-tumor agent may come at a significant price. Scientists confirmed previous suspicions that prolonged use of the drug can slow thyroid function and even cause hypothyroidism in some cases.
In the study, thyroid function was studied in a group of 42 patients who had been diagnosed with cancer and were using Sunitinib as part of their treatment regimen. None of the patients participating in the study had a history of hypothyroidism or slowed thyroid function.
When the results of the study were analyzed, it was found that 36% met the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Among the patients who did not meet the criteria for hypothyroidism, an additional 15% were found to have low bloodstream concentrations of thyroid hormones. The longer the patients had been taking Sunitinib, the greater their risk of hypothyroidism.
Based on these findings, the scientists concluded that cancer treatment with Sunitinib can, in fact, cause a drop in blood thyroid hormone levels. In some cases, this reduction is severe enough to induce full-blown hypothyroidism.
Growth Hormone Therapy Can Cause Hypothyroidism
For patients with pituitary gland disorders, doctors often prescribe a treatment regimen that involves growth hormone. Similar treatments are also used in the care of patients with certain types of brain tumors.
However, according the results of a study recent published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, this treatment can impede proper thyroid function and, in some cases, even cause hypothyroidism.
In the study, a sample of 243 patients on growth hormone therapy was studied throughout the course of the treatment. Although thyroid hormone levels varied according to the type of disorder each patient was being treated for, the scientists found an overarching trend of low serum thyroxine levels. Based on the findings, the authors concluded that the growth hormone treatment can be blamed for causing hypothyroidism by suppressing proper TSH secretion.
Cancer Drug Bexarotene Found to Interfere with Thyroid Hormone Secretion
Used primarily as a form of treatment for patients diagnosed with cutaneous T-call lymphoma, the drug Bexarotene has been associated in the past with diminished thyroid function. The results of a study recently published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism seem not only to bear this suspicion out, but also to pinpoint the source of the problem.
The study was conducted on a group of six normal, disease-free patients with no history of either lymphoma or thyroid dysfunction. In a series of overnight tests, the patients were given either Bexarotene or a placebo. After a waiting period, the subjects were then given a number of diagnostic procedures, including assessments of thyroid hormone levels in the bloodstream.
It was found that the patients who had been administered Bexarotene experienced a decline in several types of thyroid hormones. Low serum thyrotropin were most significantly affected. The authors noted that these findings were consistent with the documented risk of hypothyroidism that had previously been linked to Bexarotene treatment, and they concluded that the drug can inhibit TSH secretion.
If you’re worried about possible drug interactions and their impact on thyroid health, be sure to share your concerns with your physician. Don’t forget to check back each week for more breaking thyroid health and research news.
The Challenge of Defining 'Normal' Thyroid Function
If you're concerned about thyroid health, chances are good that you've probably already had the most common lab tests used to track thyroid function. Maybe you received what your physician described as a 'normal' test result in the past, but you're still concerned about a family history of thyroid problems, or you're experiencing a persistent pattern of symptoms that seem consistent with what you know about thyroid disorders.
Confused? Well, you're not the only one. At this very moment, a debate is raging in the thyroid health community over the way that common test results are interpreted. Specifically, there is a great deal of controversy over the test results that should be described as 'normal' -- and, due to the fact that each person's body is unique, whether a generic range of normal thyroid function can even be said to exist.
Recent Advances in Thyroid Tests Lead to Debate over How Results Should Be Interpreted
The good news is that the medical technology that is used to track and analyze thyroid function has been improved significantly in recent years. The most common laboratory tests that are now used to report thyroid health are now much more advanced than their predecessors, able to detect fluctuations in thyroid hormones with incredible sensitivity.
The not-so-good news is that there is still no clear consensus on how these more accurate results should be interpreted. Suddenly, many of the diagnostic categories that have been around for decades are no longer as applicable as they once were. Results that once fell into the 'normal' range are now being scrutinized more closely for clues to possible thyroid disorders.
'Normal' Thyroid Test Results -- and What They May Mean for Your Health
The most intense debate over thyroid lab test interpretations centers on the most common diagnostic procedure, the TSH test. This lab test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood, and it is the diagnostic tool that is most frequently used to screen patients for hypothyroidism and other common thyroid disorders.
When a TSH test is conducted, each patient's results are compared against a standard norm in order to determine whether the thyroid is functioning properly and emitting appropriate levels of thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. However, there is widespread disagreement over just what the standard norm that is used as a reference point should be.
Some physicians and scientists contend that the traditionally-defined norm of a reference point in the range of .5 to 5.0 should be upheld. In other words, those who defend this position believe that the long-established values used for interpreting TSH test results are still applicable.
However, on the other side of this debate is a growing group of doctors, medical associations, and patient advocacy groups who argue that this range is far too broad. This reform-oriented group suggests that the TSH test's reference range for 'normal' should be modified to .3-3.0. In other words, in this group's view, any patient whose TSH test results are less than .3 or greater than 3.0 should be referred for additional thyroid evaluation.
What to Do if Your Doctor Thinks You're 'Normal'…But You're Not So Sure
If you happen to be one of the millions of patients whose TSH results fall into the range of 3.0 to 5.0, your doctor may be one of the traditionalists who still regard this as a sign that your thyroid is functioning normally. If you are satisfied with this interpretation and you are not experiencing any additional symptoms, just be sure to remind your doctor to keep an eye on any potential thyroid concerns in the future.
However, if you fall into the 3.0-5.0 range on the TSH test and you continue to experience thyroid-related symptoms or other inexplicable health problems, it may be time to seek out a second opinion. A thyroid specialist or endocrinologist may be better equipped to answer your concerns in greater detail.
When it comes to thyroid health, it's important to trust your instincts. If your current physician isn't responsive to your concerns, it may be time to shop around a bit. Please check back each week for more of the news and information you need to achieve and maintain optimal thyroid health.
For Further Reading
Prescription Drug Interactions That Could Hurt Your Thyroid Health
Although thyroid disorders are serious health problems, most of the symptoms of these disorders can be managed with strict adherence to a prescription treatment regimen. In fact, most thyroid patients who take pains to stick closely to their prescribed drug regimen report very few ongoing health problems, high quality of life, and a strong sense of overall well-being.
Understandably, maintaining strict discipline in your daily dosage is the cardinal rule for thyroid patients. If you start to experience troubling symptoms, the first thing your doctor will probably check is your adherence to your prescribed treatment plan and whether the dosages of medication that you've been prescribed are sufficient to treat your disorder.
Many thyroid patients go to great lengths to ensure as much consistency as possible in their medication routine. Pill boxes, daily alarms, and even e-mailed reminders are just a few of the techniques discussed among the participants in online thyroid disorder communities and support groups.
But recent research has suggested that the effectiveness of your thyroid medication could be thwarted by unexpected forces -- namely, other variables in your environment. Even with perfect adherence to your prescription drug regimen, you may not be getting the full benefits of your thyroid medication if another variable is interfering in the absorption of the drugs. This week, we'll take a look at the results of three recent studies that have pointed out possible weaknesses in popular thyroid medications.
Chromium Picolinate May Reduce Absorption of Thyroid Drug Levothyroxine
Weight struggles are an all-too-familiar battle for many thyroid patients, particularly those diagnosed with hypothyroidism or other disorders that result in underperforming thyroid glands. In their quest to regain or maintain a healthy weight, many thyroid patients have begun taking vitamins, supplements, and other products marketed to dieters.
However, a recent study indicated that one popular weight loss supplement may limit the effectiveness of levothyroxine, one of the most commonly prescribed thyroid mediations. The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, focused on the effect of the mineral chromium picolinate, which is an ingredient in many of the most popular weight-loss formulas.
It was found that study participants who took both chromium picolinate and levothyroxine simultaneously showed substantially reduced absorption of the levothyroxine. However, this effect was eliminated if the two pills were taken at least two to three hours apart. As a result, the researchers suggested that thyroid patients who are taking both medications should consult with their physicians and consider staggering their doses of chromium picolinate and levothyroxine.
Widely Used Kidney Medication May Interfere With Levothyroxine Uptake
In another study with important implications for thyroid patients who rely on levothyroxine, researchers at the University of Tulane in New Orleans found that the effectiveness of this popular thyroid medication may be reduced if it is taken along with a prescription drug commonly used in the treatment of kidney disease.
The drug, sevelamer hydrochloride, which is sold under the proprietary name Renegal, is used to help regulate phosphorus in patients with chronic kidney disease. The study found that when levothyroxine and sevelamer hydrochloride are taken simultaneously, the uptake of levothyroxine is often reduced significantly. However, preliminary results indicate that this effect may be eliminated if consumption of the two drugs is spaced over a period of several hours.
Study Finds that Summer Heat, High-Temperature Storage May Hinder Effectiveness of Thyroid Drugs
Even if you've followed your doctor's dosage instructions to the letter, you still may not be getting the full benefit of your prescription thyroid medications. According to a recent study, exposure to hot temperatures may eradicate some of the potency of the active ingredients in several common thyroid drugs.
According to the researchers, this problem may be particularly widespread during the scorching months of June, July, and August. Even in regions that don't reach extreme highs during the summertime, prescription medications may still be impacted. It was found that several commonly prescribed drugs begin to degrade at temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If one of your prescriptions is particularly sensitive to heat, it may be advisable to store it in the refrigerator or another cool, dry environment.
Check with your doctor to make sure your thyroid medications are safe and free from any potentially harmful interactions. And be sure to stop by each week for more of the thyroid healthy news that matters to you.
Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. This site should not be used in place of professional medical advice. The author is not a physician. For medical emergencies, call 911!
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