As a technologist in the diagnostic imaging field, I come in contact with many patients, with
diverse complaints and symptoms that result in their doctor ordering the imaging of one gland;
the thyroid. Its modest size and location is quite contrary to the vast range of systems it affects
via endocrine function. Because of these complex interactions with other systems in the body,
the presentation of thyroid disease can have many faces, however, the most common complaints
surrounding dysfunction result from an underactive state called hypothyroidism.
In normal conditions, the thyroid gland, situated centrally low in the neck, is stimulated by the
pituitary gland, another small gland housed at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland constantly
monitors the levels of the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) circulating within the body. When these
hormones fall below the normal range, the pituitary counteracts this drop by releasing its own
hormone from its arsenal; thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone attempts to restart
the thyroid much like jumping a car battery, or applying electrical stimulation to an arrhythmic
heart. Ideally, the release of TSH will exact a response from the thyroid that triggers an increase
in production and release of both T3 and T4 to restore homeostasis within the body. The pituitary
will then reevaluate the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood and terminate stimulation upon
adequate presence of the hormones within the blood.
The levels of thyroid hormone have a substantial impact on the regulation of metabolism, the
primary function of the thyroid. This is accomplished through the consumption of nutrients
specific to thyroid hormone production.
exclusively by thyroid cells which then combine it with the amino acid tyrosine to make T3
and T4. The hormones are released into the bloodstream to maintain metabolism by converting
oxygen and calories into energy, stimulation of fat mobilization out of tissues and into the blood
to be used for energy, and regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and the utilization of glucose
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, generally produces symptoms relative to a slow
Iodine is essential to this process and absorbed
metabolism and include:
cold hands and feet
joint and muscle pain
burning or tingling sensations in the hands and/or feet (hypothyroid neuropathy)
yellowing of skin from excess carotene (conversion of carotene to vitamin A hindered in
problems with balance and equilibrium
myxedema or swelling around the ankles, and below the eyes
hypertension (high blood pressure)
angina (chest pain)
atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
It has been estimated that 10 million people suffer from this condition, and as many as 10% of
all women currently possess some form of hypothyroidism. Some patients may even suspect
they have abnormal thyroid function and feel distressed to find their blood work return within
a normal range. This condition is called euthyroid, where T4 is inefficiently converting into
active T3, so blood tests will show normal results. Even individuals prescribed synthetic
thyroid hormones may find their symptoms persist because these prescriptions only contain
T4, and since T4 conversion is inefficient, they continue to experience hypothyroid symptoms.
As a result of the range of symptoms, degree of dysfunction, and the insidious manner in
which it progresses, some people are completely unaware they are living with a condition that,
depending on the severity, may be corrected by effective non-prescription supplementation.
These supplements not only counteract the effects of a low functioning thyroid, but also provide
the body with some of the building blocks of T3 and T4 necessary to restore metabolism in the
When considering an over the counter product to promote the function of the thyroid and
counteract symptoms associated with an underactive state, there are many thing to consider. The
most prominent complaint amongst hypothyroid sufferers is intractable fatigue, and weight gain.
Surprisingly, there are some energy supplements that stimulate not only the synthesis of energy
through fat metabolism and thermogenesis, but contain ingredients essential to the conversion of
T4 to T3.
Tyrosine is an amino acid instrumental in thyroid hormone production.
Recall that tyrosine binds with iodinethe mineral upon which all thyroid hormone production
depends. Without tyrosine to bind, iodine would be useless in creating T3 and T4 responsible for
all metabolic activity. Along with a diet containing iodine, (daily recommended value is met with
one quarter teaspoon of iodized saltof which most table salt is comprised) supplementing your
intake with a tyrosine containing stimulant will promote the production of T3 and T4 and fight
the fatigue often accompanied by low thyroid function.
WHITE WILLOW BARK
This extract contains salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid, commonly referred to as
the active ingredient in aspirin. As an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, this natural source can
combat the effects of increased cholesterol, inflammation of joints, and blood pressure symptoms
that can be found in a hypothyroid state.
BITTER ORANGE EXTRACT
This natural ingredient contains the vitamins A, B, and C, which are all required components for
T4 production. Other benefits include a synephrine component that promotes thermogenesis, or
increased heat production by burning calories, which affects metabolism aiding in weight loss,
and this process produces an energizing effect that fights fatigue.
This herbal ingredient contains caffeine, which is notorious for its stimulant effect, thermogenic
properties, and appetite suppressant properties, fighting many of the major thyroid symptoms/
This is an ephedrine/ephedra herb allowing for stored body fat to be released into the bloodstream
to be utilized as energy fighting the fatigue and weight gain common to hypothyroidism.
Ginger root is ideal for boosting the circulation which is decreased with thyroid problems
manifesting as cold hands and feet, contributing to dry skin and constipation. It is also used as a
tool in lowering high blood pressure and keeping the blood thin in higher doses both of which are
seen in low function thyroids.
This is another amino acid effective in energy production combating fatigue.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT
This herbal remedy promotes increased metabolism and fat oxidation fighting weight gain and
promoting weight loss and metabolic restoration.
The above mentioned ingredients can be found separately in many over the counter products,
however, I have found ALL of them in a product called Superdrine RX-10 that effectively addresses the most prevalent symptoms of thyroid disease, specifically hypothyroidism. Because of its unique properties and individuals to whom it is marketed, it may be difficult to find in health
stores and easily overlooked by its appeal to those simply seeking weight loss. The benefits
to thyroid function are not utilized in its marketing, but research on individual ingredients
and their specific effect on thyroid function support the potential efficacy in natural treatment
options free of blood work, doctor visits, and co-pays. It can found at the following link.
SuperHealthCenter.com. The ingenious combination of ingredients essential to thyroid function and relief of associated low function symptoms presents a basis for hope in the continued
research, understanding, and natural treatment options available to those suffering subclinical
hypothyroidism and/or low functioning thyroid disorders.