Hypothyroidism and Heart Disease
Dr. Broda Barnes was a brilliant scientist. When a friend of his experienced a heart attack in 1950, Dr. Barnes reviewed his medical history, searching for clues. He found that his friend had suffered from symptoms of hypothyroidism for years, but had not sought treatment. Could this have been a factor in his heart attack?
Dr. Barnes knew of the relationship between hypothyroidism and high cholesterol and realized that his patients who were being treated for hypothyroidism had a remarkably low rate of heart attacks, despite the fact that the incidence of heart attacks was rising in the general population.
This observation led him to conduct a twenty-year study of the relationship between supplemental thyroid hormone and reduced risk of heart attacks. He was fortunate to have a landmark study against which to compare the heart attack rate in his own patients: the Heart Disease Epidemiology Study, also known as the Framingham Study, which began in 1949 under the sponsorship of the National Heart Institute and which continues to this day. In this study, five thousand residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, were selected to be followed medically for the rest of their lives in order to determine the cause of heart disease. Each person was followed with annual medical examinations and blood work. Their diets, smoking habits, and lifestyles were documented. However, these patients did not receive supplemental thyroid hormone.
In 1970, Dr. Barnes had 1,569 patients on natural thyroid hormone who were observed for a total of 8,824 patient years. These patients were classified by age, sex, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and compared to similar patients in the Framingham Study. Based on the statistics derived in the Framingham Study, seventy-two of Dr. Barnes’s patients should have died from heart attacks; however, only four patients had done so. This represents a decreased heart attack death rate of 95 percent in patients who received natural thyroid hormone—a truly remarkable finding.
Doctors often recommend that patients with an increased risk of heart attack take a daily aspirin supplement, pointing to studies suggesting that this will reduce the incidence of heart attacks by 28 percent. Why not consider using natural thyroid hormone supplementation to reduce the death rate from heart attacks? Remember thyroid production declines as we age. Fifty-year-olds produce one half the thyroid hormones that they made during their twenties.,