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Review: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal

Understanding Hashimoto's Disease & Hypothyroidism

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Updated June 13, 2014

Review: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal
Dr. Datis Kharrazian
In my opinion, this is overreaching. There is no question that nutritional approaches can help calm inflammation and alleviate some symptoms, and in a small subset of patients, even resolve a thyroid condition. But the evidence for the effectiveness of these approaches in actually treating Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, or restoring thyroid function to normal, is still largely anecdotal, and comes primarily in the form of testimonials from other chiropractors and their patients.

The issue that the book raises to me is that right now, the thyroid world is in desperate need of a meeting of the minds. We have endocrinologists who think that there's no point in even knowing if you have Hashimoto's disease, because, as many patients have heard, "it won't change how we treat you." Conventional physicians have absolutely nothing to offer patients who want to address the underlying autoimmune disease. And on the other end of the spectrum, we have overzealous chiropractors who may be taking things too far by unrealistically marketing the ability to "cure/treat" most cases of Hashimoto's or hypothyroidism nutritionally without medication.

There's an old saying that goes, "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." And to that end, we criticize conventional physicians for just handing out prescriptions as solutions to every ailment. But it seems equally open to criticism when some chiropractic practitioners, who can not prescribe medication but have as their "hammers" lab tests and nutritional supplements, then suggest that only tests and nutritional supplements can cure or treat Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism.

I've always believed that a "one size fits all" approach has no place in thyroid treatment. In my opinion, the truly patient-oriented approach is integrative, and incorporates the best from all disciplines. Most medical doctors, and in particular, endocrinologists, could benefit from a careful study of the issues Dr. Kharrazian raises, in particular, learning more about the immune system, the relationship to the thyroid, nutrition, and the factors that can impair the immune system and trigger Hashimoto's disease and hypothyroidism. At the same time, some members of the chiropractic community need to make more realistic and supportable claims about treatment and cures, and recognize that more than a few thyroid patients need to continue thyroid treatment. For those patients, chiropractic approaches may complement and improve upon, but not replace, medical treatment.

In my opinion, the best results for patients are likely to come when nutritionally-oriented holistic practitioners -- including knowledgeable and ethical chiropractors -- treat patients along side -- but not necessarily instead of -- medical doctors. That way, patients who require thyroid hormone can receive the medical treatment they need, while seeking to address and resolve underlying health issues.

Overall, I think that Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? is an excellent book for anyone with Hashimoto's, and one that is best integrated into a patient's broader thyroid bookshelf, much like many of the approaches outlined by Dr. Kharrazian can realistically be integrated into a broader approach to Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism diagnosis and treatment.

Final note: The book specifies that it focuses on hypothyroidism that results from Hashimoto's disease and functional causes, and does not address solutions for patients with Graves' disease, hyperthyroidism, or thyroid cancer.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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