Question: My doctor recently said he suspects I have hyperthyroidism. What treatments have you used successfully?
Dr. Wright: In the 1950s, when physicians began treating individuals who had manic-depressive disorder (or, to be politically correct: bi-polar disorder) with high doses of the mineral lithium, they noticed an unexpected side effect: Some of the people taking the high doses of lithium developed underactive thyroid function (or hypothyroidism). Twenty years later, research was published (some from the mainstream medicine Mecca, the Mayo Clinic) demonstrating that high doses of lithium could indeed bring an overactive thyroid gland to normal, sometimes in as little as a week to ten days. And in 1980, researchers at Walter Reed Army Hospital found that treating hyperthyroidism with iodine and iodide first, followed by lithium a few days later, was more effective than either treatment alone.
I have used that treatment for my patients with tremendous success ever since that study was released. In fact, every individual (except one) whom I’ve treated with iodine-iodide (in the form of Lugol’s Solution) and high dose lithium has had blood tests for thyroid hormone return to normal within two weeks. Their tests then stay normal as long as they use the Lugol’s solution and high dose lithium.
I have my patients use five drops of Lugol’s iodine three times a day for two or three days. Then I have them add 300 milligrams of lithium carbonate three times a day in addition to the Lugol’s. Lugol’s Solution is available at any pharmacy, but you’ll have to get a prescription from your physician.
Now, since the major adverse effect of iodine and iodide is underactive thyroid, that’s not as much of a concern here. But if your thyroid does become underactive, just cut back on the amount of iodine and iodide you’re using. Taking high doses of lithium can be a little more dangerous since, in addition to suppressing the thyroid, it can also cause tremor, hypertension, gastrointestinal distress, and vision loss. The good news is that you can completely block these negative effects of lithium without interfering with its thyroid-suppressive effects by taking 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil and 400 to 800 IU of mixed tocopherols daily.
It’s important to keep in mind that although this treatment can be successful in reversing hyperthyroidism, you should still work with your physician to uncover the root cause of your hyperthyroidism so that you can reverse it permanently without having to take iodine, iodide, and lithium indefinitely. But that’s a much longer topic for another time.
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