reasearch paper

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The production of thyroid hormones is very iodine dependent, it used to be that the number one cause of hypothyroidism was due to iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency stunts growth and causes the thyroid gland to become irregular, causing a goiter. Nowadays however, with iodized salt and iodine being added to water, hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency is not seen as often anymore. The number one cause in the iodine sufficient world, is an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body’s immune system produces antibodies that damage the thyroid gland. The cause of this is unknown. Some doctors believe a virus or bacterium might trigger the response, while others believe a genetic flaw may be involved. Hypothyroidism may also be caused secondary to the pituitary gland not producing enough thyroid stimulating hormone TSH, or it can be caused due to dysfunction of the hypothalamus (rare). Regardless of the cause of hypothyroidism, the clinical course of treatment remains the same- thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which can be a harder challenge than it sounds. Up until the early 1970’s, desiccated animal thyroid was the treatment of choice for hypothyroidism. Desiccated thyroid is made from dried and powdered animal thyroid gland. Desiccated thyroid contains both the major thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Synthetic Levothyroxine (T4) had become available in the 1960’s but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that doctors realized that body is capable of converting synthetic T4 into active T3. Which allows doctors to give a more controlled dosage of T3 and bypass its rapid absorption, short half-life, and transient effects. Since then, the use of desiccated thyroid... ... middle of paper ... ...n doctors don’t like to prescribe desiccated preparations is because the use of desiccated thyroid can be accompanied with the practice of dosing according to symptoms instead of dosing to achieve "ideal" lab results. Doctors prefer to prescribe synthetic T4 monotherapies because doctors are able to control the patients dosage based on the patients TSH and free T4 levels. Desiccated medications can also cause the patients TSH levels to become low, sometimes almost at zero. The suppressed TSH occurs because the T3 in the desiccated product quickly suppresses the TRH through the negative feedback system after it is administered which leads to a lower TSH even though the free T4 and free T3 are normal. While recent studies have shown that it is safe to have a low level of TSH, complete suppression of TSH increases the patient’s risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

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