Success: Thyroid Disorders

Finally, Help for Hypothyroidism

Patient F., a 41 year old woman, was referred by another patient. She'd been previously diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She experienced an enlarged thyroid as a teenager and complained of poor cognitive function, cold sensitivity, fatigue, and weight gain, having gained more than 20 pounds the last couple of years.

She consulted with her primary physician who prescribed medications for anxiety and insomnia. She tried the anxiety medication, but this made her too sleepy, so she discontinued it. Her thyroid function testing was abnormal and her physician then prescribed Synthroid for her. Her laboratory tests then normalized, but her symptoms persisted. Despite this, her physician made no changes in her prescription.

We recommended dietary changes for her and added nutritional supplements to her program. She began to feel better, but we judged that she could make even more progress. Therefore, the Synthroid was discontinued and Armour thyroid was begun, with slowly increasing doses.

Four months later, she returned to the office. She had lost weight and her cognitive function and energy had improved significantly. She was now able to get all of her work done throughout the day, and found that her stamina had improved quite a bit. She was able to exercise without feeling so fatigued afterwards. Her menstrual cycle also improved.

We decided to increase her thyroid dosage slightly, and we are awaiting her return to the Center, expecting her to be feeling even better.

Dr. Kopelson comments: We see a lot of hypothyroidism at our Center. It tends to affect women more than men, although we are now seeing more and more men and even adolescents who are hypothyroid. Often, their thyroid function tests are normal so they don't get treated by their physicians, but these patients are still clinically hyperthyroid. In the above case, the patient was hypothyroid clinically and according to her laboratory testing, but found that Synthroid was not very effective for her condition. 

In these cases, natural thyroid will usually be more effective. Synthroid only provides the thyroid hormone T4 (inactive). It is only when T4 is converted to T3 that it becomes active - in usable form. Some people aren't able to convert T4 to T3 well, thus using a natural form of thyroid containing both T3 and T4 is usually more effective than using T4 alone. 

Jeffrey C. Kopelson, M.D. 
Patient also followed by Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C

History, Documentation, Relationship:
Keys In This Success Story

This 52-year old woman returned to us after an 11-year absence.   She was experiencing palpitations, extreme fatigue, unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, muscular aches and pains, throat burning, an irregular menstrual period, hair loss, and weight fluctuations.  These were similar to the symptoms she had experienced 11 years earlier when she was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.  

At that time, her endocrinologist had prescribed thyroid medication (synthroid) and many of her symptoms greatly improved.  She'd also had benefits with a nutritional program that our office suggested.  She had remained on the medication until about a year ago.  She did okay for about six to eight months without the synthroid, but some stressful events triggered the onset of her symptoms.  

She sought our treatment before returning to her own primary care doctor. We had all her previous records and with updating we were able to quite readily diagnose her problem by her history, symptoms, and laboratory data and we began treatment immediately with the medication as well as oral and intravenous nutrients.  Because she also had elevated blood sugar and cholesterol along with the weight gain, she began to work with a licensed nutritionist and has found that to be extremely helpful.

At her most recent office visit, about five weeks after her initial visit, she said she felt "like a rejuvenated person."  Her digestion was much better, her energy improved, the burning in her mouth was gone, and her weight was down by six pounds.  She was feelIng so well she said she wanted to change her whole life and work in areas related to assertiveness and spirituality.  What a benefit it is to know our patients -- and to continue to write their stories.

I Feel Like a New Person

Patient M. describes her own story as follows:

I was a patient at the Schachter Center for several years where I had been treated for hypothyroidism with Armour Thyroid extract.  Then I went to an endocrinologist to get evaluated for irregular menstrual periods. In the course of that assessment the endocrinologist took me off the Armour Thyroid and prescribed Synthroid. 

Even though her lab tests indicated I was on the correct "dosage" of Synthroid, clinically I was feeling very bad with low body temperature, body aches, dry skin, inability to sleep, heart palpitations, brain fog, hair loss and very low stamina. That's when I returned to the Schachter Center and met with Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C in October of 2013. I told her that I was experiencing all these symptoms while on Synthroid. Sally took me off Synthroid and put me back on an equivalent dose of Armour Thyroid.

After a couple of days on the Armour Thyroid, my body aches, dry skin, inability to sleep, heart palpitations, brain fog and hair falling out all stopped. I felt like a new person. Thank you, Schachter Center and Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C..

A New Perspective On Thyroid Disorders

The current practice of conventional medicine involves laboratory “tests”. Often the decision of what and how to treat is based more on the lab report on a piece of paper and less on the body on whom the tests were done. In a practice like ours where the person’s symptoms and story are usually the most important information, time is dedicated to developing a thorough history. The recommendations regarding treatment try to include the whole picture (i.e., the history AND the tests).  

The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for regulating the general body metabolism and, if not functioning properly, can be a factor in numerous health disorders. The primary tool for evaluating thyroid function in conventional practices are the standard thyroid blood tests. No treatment is usually initiated without abnormal tests. complementary practices, it is customary to use information in addition to the tests to determine whether or not to treat.

After this rather lengthy introduction, I will now share one woman’s response to the evaluation and treatment of thyroid disorder based on symptoms and body temperature.  

This 39-year-old woman presented with numerous symptoms suggestive of an underactive thyroid: weight gain, fatigue, difficulty with memory and concentration (such that she had interrupted further studies in her profession a year earlier), diminished sex drive, cold intolerance, subnormal body temperatures, headaches, joint and muscle aches, and fluid retention.

Her thyroid blood tests were normal. However, in keeping with the philosophy of treating the whole patient and not the paper, it was decided to give her a therapeutic trial of thyroid medication. We first checked her EKG to assess heart status. Thyroid medication has a stimulating effect on the body and can be a potential problem if there is an underlying heart condition; also she was complaining of some chest pain with exertion. However, the cardiologist determined there was no underlying heart disease and we began treating her with medication.  

Her response to the prescription was dramatic. Within a short period of time, she began to lose some weight, her aches and pains diminished, she resumed her studies, her energy improved, she felt warmer and her body temperatures improved, her sex drive began to improve, and her headaches resolved…and her blood tests did not change!  

In this particular case the medication used was a special form of T3 (thyroid hormone) based on Wilson’s Syndrome (; however we have also used a natural combination of T3 and T4 with similar results. But, no matter which avenue of treatment is pursued, the underlying philosophy is one in which we treat the whole story/patient, not just the test results.

Help for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

This 59 year old woman reported that despite a history of being a very hard worker, she was now feeling unusually fatigued. 

Prior to her visit, she had an ultrasound of the thyroid that revealed the presence of nodules and calcifications. Dr. Kopelson discussed the results of the ultrasound with the radiologist who indicated that the picture was wholly consistent with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid).

In addition to the fatigue, she had other symptoms of hypothyroidism including weight gain, cold intolerance, brittle nails and dry skin and hair.

At the time of her second visit we made dietary recommendations and prescribed nutritional supplements that focused on thyroid function. We agreed to consider thyroid medication at the next visit.

Six weeks later, after making the dietary changes and supplement additions that had been recommended, she reported that her energy level had improved substantially, she was sleeping more soundly and awoke feeling rested. Being that she'd made so much progress on her own, we agreed that thyroid medication was probably not warranted. We will follow the thyroid nodules closely with ultrasound examinations.

Dr. Kopelson comments: This case is very satisfying in that prescription medication was not necessary (in addition to supplementation) to correct this patient's problems. Often, the smallest interventions are the best. Nutritional supplements and dietary changes will often be the only therapy that a patient needs.  

Jeffrey C. Kopelson, M.D.
Patient also followed by John J. Reynolds, P.A. -C, CCN



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