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By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
January 28, 2004

The astute clinician, Dr. Broda Barnes, accomplished some ground breaking work when he wrote a book (Solved : The Riddle of Heart Attacks) in 1976 pointing out much of the current heart disease is caused by unrecognized hypothyroidism. Blood fats have long been known to increase and metabolism to slow in hypothyroidism whereas metabolism is increased in hyperthyroidism with falling blood fats. Hypothyroidism causes poor circulation (arteriosclerosis), impaired immune function with vulnerability to infections, depression and mental confusion. Among the causes for hypothyroidism are:

  • Estrogen Dominance is caused by petrochemicals, fuel exhaust we breath, estrogenic hormones in meat and chickens, plastics, propylene glycol, sodium laurel sulphate in ointments, herbicides and pesticides. These potent estrogenic substances block the production of thyroid hormone and greatly magnify the incidence of estrogen dependent cancers. All males and females in developed nations have estrogen dominance.

  • Antibiotics, chlorine from our water purification systems, fluoride, and NSAID drugs used for arthritis all kill the healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. This results in overgrowth in the intestines of candida, fungi, mycoplasma, and anerobic bacteria (Yeast syndrome). These dangerous organisms release powerful neurotoxic substances into the blood stream that damage the hypothalamus often resulting in multiple endocrine disorders including underactivity of the thyroid gland.

  • Mercury released from our dental amalgams is toxic to the thyroid gland.

  • Fluoride in our water directly interferes with thyroid function.

  • Selenium deficiency is related to lack of trace minerals in our soil. The proper conversion of precursors into thyroid hormone depends on a selenium containing enzyme[1] which is lacking.

  • Lack of iodine in our soil and diet leads to decreased thyroid hormone production.

  • Diagnostic x-rays injure the thyroid gland (dental, neck, spine).

  • Perchlorates widely found in drinking water inhibit the production of thyroid hormone by blocking the reuptake of iodine

In the light of these common occurences it is remarkable that anyone has normal thyroid function. Dr. Barnes was aware that diagnosing thyroid disease by the currently popular blood tests was seriously flawed missing most of the persons who really are hypothyroid.

Dr. Barnes noted that taking an axillary temperature before arising revealed that many persons had subnormal temperatures, the key finding needed to establish the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. The axillary temperature should be taken for 5 minutes before leaving bed. A normal result is above 97.0 degrees. My three consecutive axillary temperatures were 96 degrees. On 2 tablets of Thytropin PMG three times daily my axillary temperature is now back up to 97 degrees and I have more energy. My blood thyroid tests were normal.

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, medical director of the Nevada Center of Anti-Aging Medicine in Carson City, Nv., began to apply the axillary temperature testing in his practice. He discovered that only 5% of his patients had normal axillary temperatures[2]. All these patients had normal blood tests for thyroid function. Barnes also claimed that the correct thyroid dosage was the one that restored the axillary temperature to normal. When Dr. Shallenberger began to treat these patients with the dose of thyroid hormone that restored their axillary temperatures to normal many related to him that they felt better than they had in their whole lives and a great many undiagnosed symptoms disappeared. Often these patients did very well on thyroid doses that seemed excessive.

The FDA has admitted that "no currently marketed synthetic thyroid (levothyroxine Synthyroid) has exhibited consistent potency and stability and thus no levothyroxine is generally recognized as safe and effective". This synthetic thyroid hormone contains Levothyroxine (T4) which must be converted in the body to T3 to be useful. The natural thyroid hormone (Westhyroid) and (Nature-Thyroid) is derived from fresh frozen thyroid. These products are assayed for T3 and T4 which must be within a narrow margin or the batch is rejected. Thyroid hypofunction can also be corrected with Thyrotrophin (thyroid glandular product) from reputable Standard Process Products, Palmyra, Wis., and iodine as Iosol. After taking Iosol four drops daily for 2 weeks the dose should be reduced to 2 drops daily. One tablet of Thyrotrophin is taken three times are daily as initial therapy which may need to be increased depending on basal temperatures. This dose is comparable to one grain of thyroid hormone. The use of thyrotrophin and iosol may enable thyroid function to become restored to normal whereas the use of thyroid hormone often inhibits the thyroid gland from making thyroid hormone in which case therapy becomes lifelong. Call 800-558-8740 to obtain the name of a physician who can order Thyrotropin for you or call For Your Health at 800-456-4325. Large health food stores should have Iosol. Call 800-888-1415 ext. 9265 if you have trouble locating Iosol.

Dr. Howard Hagglund has confirmed that thyroid blood tests are often erroneous and are of little value in monitoring thyroid dosage. There is very poor correlation between the blood test results and the presence of hypothroidism. Proper conversion of synthetic levothyroxine (T4) to T3 requires good patient nutritional status, adequate selenium, magnesium, vitamin A, cortisol, vitamin B2, essential fatty acids, and lack of Anti-T3 which appears in anyone under stress. More than 50% of patients taking synthetic thyroid (levothyroxine) do not feel well. When switched to natural thyroid these persons often experience falling cholesterol values along with decreased weight, and disappearance of mental depression and brain fog. If you are taking levothyroxine and not doing well suggest to your physician that you would like to try natural thyroid hormone or Protomorphogen from Standard Process Inc.

The correction of thyroid hypofunction restores cholesterol values to normal, decreases the risk of heart attack and allows the problems of statin cholesterol lowering drugs to be avoided. Much of this current epidemic of high cholesterol values is probably due to undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

Diagnostic Problems Related To Laboratory Results In Endocrine Diseases

When a competent physician discovers that more than 90%[3] of his patients are hypothyroid with normal thyroid blood tests we know that the blood tests used to diagnose thyroid disease are essentially worthless. Recently it has been suggested that the upper level of normal for the TSH test be dropped from 5 to 3[4] !!!. This is a drastic change in thinking which reflects awareness that current methods of diagnosing an underactive thryroid gland are seriously flawed.

Physicians have been too dependent on blood and other lab tests for establishing diagnoses in endocrine disorders. We have found it very comfortable to say "your blood tests are normal. There is nothing wrong with your thyroid gland." Occasionally, I was able to recognize florid underactivity of the thyroid from the patients symptoms and findings with normal thyroid blood tests. Suggesting a course of thyroid therapy in that setting was always worthwhile. I had too much confidence in these thyroid blood tests.

Physicians will be forced to ignore worthless thyroid blood tests and concentrate on what the patients history and physical findings are telling them.

An important research paper from the Cleveland Clinic points out that correcting underactive thyroid function causes dangerously elevated homocysteine values to return to normal. This occurs without the need for any B vitamins which is usually considered to be vital. Lowering homocysteine values probably helps prevent the development of arteriosclerosis and dementia.


1, Biol Trace Elem Res 96;51(1):31-41 Clin Sci 95;89 (6):637-42
2, Shallenberger, F., Bursting With Energy pg. 139-142
3, Shallenberger, F., Bursting With Energy pages 139-143
4, Teitelbaum, J., Treating Thyroid Deficiencies in Fibromyalgia Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients July 2003 page 134

© 2004 Dr. James Howenstine - All Rights Reserved

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Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine who spent 34 years caring for office and hospital patients. Curiosity sparked a 4 year study of natural health products when 5 of his patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis were able to discontinue the use of methotrexate (chemotherapy agent) after trying an extract of New Zealand mussels for the therapy of severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Howenstine is convinced that natural products are safer, more effective and less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. This research led to the publication of his book 'A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work'. This book and the recommended health products are available from and by calling 1-800-416-2806 U.S.A.  

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"Physicians will be forced to ignore worthless thryoid blood tests and concentrate on what the patients history and physical findings are telling them."