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Unexpected Thyroid Danger

Carl Lowe

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Florida have discovered a new, disturbing threat to your thyroid. Make sure you aren’t making this thyroid mistake.

According the Mayo study, many over-the-counter thyroid support supplements may contain high levels of thyroid hormones. The supplements have been shown to have various amounts of two different kinds of thyroid hormones that seem to come from chopped-up animal thyroid glands.

The hormones are known as T3, or triiodothyronine, and T4, or thyroxine. These substances are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are intended to be used only in prescription medication. The amounts of hormones in these supplements can increase your heart rate and put you at risk of heart irregularities as well as cause palpitations, nervousness and diarrhea.

“These hormones have effects throughout the body, which is why they are controlled,” says researcher Victor Bernet.

When Bernet’s lab tested 10 supplements, the analysis showed that nine of them contained animal hormones. The amount in each product varied significantly. Some of the supplements had doses that exceeded the amount used for individual patients and comparable to levels found in prescription thyroid medication, according to Bernet.

A few of the products claimed they can help in weight loss and increased personal energy, but Bernet said those claims are unfounded.

“The amount of thyroid hormone a normal person would have to take to lose weight would be dangerously high and there is no evidence that use of thyroid hormone effectively treats fatigue when used in people without actual hypothyroidism,” Bernet warns.

Bernet believes that his study shows there is a need for more effective monitoring of the contents of over-the-counter thyroid support products and more patient education about the products’ potential health risks.