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Is Alvidar for Thyroid Conditions Actually a Scam?

Supplement Claims to be a Thyroid Treatment, But Is It?

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Updated June 12, 2006

Is Alvidar for Thyroid Conditions Actually a Scam?
Everywhere you go on the web, you'll find ads and links for the herbal supplement Alvidar. Alvidar frequently is promoted as a "remedy," or "treatment" for an underactive thyroid -- known as hypothyroidism -- and also claims that it can help deal with weight gained due to an underactive thyroid.

Recently, I've received emails from some patients who are diagnosed as hypothyroid, and want to go off their prescription thyroid drugs, and instead take Alvidar. They've obviously seen the ads, read the promotional copy that makes Alvidar sound like it's a risk-free alternative to thyroid medication, and are asking if this is a good idea. So I thought I'd take a more in-depth look at Alvidar, what's in it, the cost, and what we know about the company selling it.

Alvidar's Unsupported Claims

Alvidar makes a number of bold claims at their website. Let's take a look at them, and whether or not they have any merit.

Alvidar claims: "Even if your thyroid test showed that you do have a low-functioning thyroid, it can be frustrating to find a medicine without side effects that are not worse than your symptoms."
Actually, if your thyroid test shows that you have a low-functioning thyroid, then your doctor will prescribe thyroid hormone replacement drugs for you. When taken properly, and at appropriate doses, these medications have very few side effects. What many patients claim are "side effects" are most often symptoms of underdosage or overdosage. Frequently, symptoms don't respond to treatment because dosages are not correct, or a different prescription thyroid drug is needed. Patients incorrectly think these symptoms are a result of the drug, instead of the disease itself.
Alvidar claims: "Alvidar contains ingredients that help to repair, improve, and re-program your thyroid gland to work correctly, without any harsh chemicals or severe side effects."
Alvidar's primary ingredients include herbs that contain iodine. While iodine can help support better thyroid function in people who are iodine deficient, only 20% of the American public is iodine deficient. The rest of us have enough, or too much iodine. In that population, taking iodine may trigger a thyroid problem, or make an existing thyroid problem much worse.

There is no evidence that any other ingredients of Alvidar have an effect on the thyroid, and actually, some of the science suggests that certain ingredients may worsen hypothyroidism, or cause symptoms such as sleepiness or weight gain.

Side effects of iodine can be quite significant, including goiter, neck swelling, worsening hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, fatigue and exhaustion, among others.

Alvidar claims: "Alvidar is composed of ingredients that help restore the function of your thyroid by providing your thyroid with the iodine it needs, decreasing your chances of developing a goiter, supplying your thyroid and your body with essential nutrients, normalizing the functioning of your thyroid, and stimulating glandular activities."
In the small percentage of the population that has iodine deficiency, iodine supplementation may help reduce the chance of a goiter. But again, more than 80% of the population is not iodine deficient, and in that population, iodine can have the opposite effect, causing a goiter, and worsening thyroid conditions and related symptoms.

Read more about the connection between thyroid and iodine in my article.

Alvidar claims: "Alvidar has a 92.7% success rate."
They don't mention what the "success" rate is actually measuring, who measured it, or where the success rate is reported. They do, however, have a link to "Documented Research" at http://www.alvidar.com/research.html where you might assume the documentation to support their success rate is featured.

If you click on "Documented Research," however -- yes, you guessed it -- you get a 404 PAGE NOT FOUND ERROR page. Based on my research, there is NO documented research to prove that the ingredients in Alvidar have any particular benefit for the thyroid.

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