Dr. Hotze discusses hypothyroidism and hormones with world-renowned expert, Dr. Thierry Hertoghe.
2:28: Dr. Hertoghe: Maybe what might interest your audience about the thyroid is that in 1892, my great-grandfather was probably the second or third physician in the world actually to work on hypothyroid, this low thyroid function, and to provide thyroid medication, or supplementation with natural products at that time.
4:07: Dr. Hotze: Myxedema, of course, is the fluid that is built up in the skin that makes people puffy when they get hypothyroidism, it’s a gelatinous-type tissue.
9:13: they suffer more from hypothyroidism in the morning than evening, because in the myxedema, which is a sort of swelling, it’s an accumulation of waste products between cells, the myxedema actually regresses, decreases, during the day. And so they feel really bad, tired, when they wake up, with a lower mood, maybe even more anxiety. And then, when they get into movement, their blood circulation accelerates, because the blood circulation, the blood flow, is slow in patients with hypothyroidism.
10:09: Dr. Hotze: The problem is, is that really, they’re low thyroid and they’re trying to stay active to stay awake and stay alert. And that causes the hyperactivity. It’s paradoxical in your thinking, but that’s the way it really is.
10:48: Unfortunately, what happens in these kids, they get diagnosed with a ADHD and then they throw them on some kind of amphetamines, and that screws up their brains, when all they need is a little bit of thyroid.
13:30: So one thing I like about Dr. Hertoghe, which I do, we do not base our clinical diagnosis or our diagnosis strictly on blood tests, as most doctors do. And that’s why most doctors misdiagnose hypothyroidism, because they rely strictly on blood levels.
14:07: But they have what is called normal ranges, or reference ranges, which are not normal, in the sense that the reference ranges are just statistical ranges. 95% of all patients, not of healthy people, are between the reference range, and two and a half percent below, two and a half percent above.
19:03: And then you have desiccated thyroid, which is the preparation that most of my patients get, and I suppose, Steve, also yours. And desiccated thyroid is actually, in most cases, taken from pork thyroid, because that pork thyroid is richer in T3, the most active hormone. And so those preparations work better than sheep or beef thyroid, in general.
Part 2 – Podcast Highlights:
25:24: Every cell in your body requires thyroid hormone, from the tip of your head, to the bottom of your toe. And every organ, and everything in between, requires thyroid to produce energy.
27:20: Fluoride is a halogen. It competes with iodine in the thyroid gland itself. But it adversely affects the enzyme that converts, the deiodinase enzyme, that converts T4 to T3. So it blocks that. So in America, we’ve got a problem with fluoride poisoning the body’s ability to properly convert T4, the active thyroid hormone, to T3, leading to a host of people with hypothyroid problems.
32:36: And with age, it’s true, that progesterone declines quicker than estradiol. So it’s very important to have enough progesterone all the time. That’s one of the ways a physician can improve the tired function of a patient, by balancing the female hormones well.
32:52: I want hammer on this point, because this is a really good point you made. Dr. Hertoghe said that the use of progesterone can help promote thyroid function in women.
36:13: Dr. Hotze: I’m just telling you ladies out there, that if you’re on birth control pills, and you have all these signs and symptoms of low thyroid, simply giving you thyroid is not going to correct the problem. You’re going to have to get off your birth control pills.
39:30: And there’s a decrease, but between 25 and 50% of breast cancer by using natural or bioidentical. It is better to say molecularized in the body, bioidentical progesterone. So that’s really very important. That’s a big difference.
43:52: Progesterone is also necessary, not only for the uterus to prevent having heavy menstruations, but also to protect the breast from breast cancer, and to calm down the brain from the over excitement, the fire that estrogens give.
Dr. Hotze: Hello. I’m Dr. Steve Hotze. Welcome to Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. We have a tremendous guest on today. He’s a legend in his own time, Dr. Thierry Hertoghe out of Belgium. He’s the President of the World Society of Hormone Specialists. He’s also the President of the World Society of Anti-Aging Medicine. He is a well-known, worldwide endocrinologist, or in common lay terms, hormone expert. I’ve known of and known personally, Dr. Hertoghe, for at least the last 25 years and been with him at numerous conferences. He’s a wonderful lecturer. So many physicians look up to him for his outstanding ability to present material, in a way that enables them to incorporate it in their practice. Like me, he practices natural approaches to health, using natural bioidentical hormones, as opposed to chemical counterfeits, or drugs to mask symptoms.
He wrote a tome called, The Hormone Handbook, which physicians in our field that do integrative, or functional, or natural medicine, use as a textbook. He’s written several other books, including a book that I would highly recommend you getting. It’s the one about life span and anti-aging medicine.
Anyway, I wanted to give you that introduction to Dr. Hertoghe because I’m so excited to have him on our program, to talk to us and visit with us about this very interesting topic of hypothyroidism or low thyroid.
Let me just mention to you before I bring him in, remember, the thyroid gland is in the neck. It produces thyroid hormones, which are secreted in the blood. It governs your body’s metabolism, your metabolic rate, your energy production. So with that introduction, I want to give you Dr. Hertoghe. Thierry, thank you for joining us today.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Thank you, Steven. Very happy. Thank you for the warm welcome. I’m really happy. Maybe what might interest your audience about the thyroid is that in 1892, my great-grandfather was probably the second or third physician in the world actually to work on hypothyroid, this low thyroid function, and to provide thyroid medication, or supplementation with natural products at that time. He was world-famous, and he was probably the one who brought the information in the United States, because you find pictures of his patients before and after thyroid treatment in old American textbooks. He gave conferences in the United States in early nineteens. I have a link with the United States since then.
Dr. Hotze: Well, what’s very interesting. Why don’t you give a little of the history of the London Society meeting, back in the mid 1800s. I can’t remember if it was 1840, 1860, when they met and finally came up to the…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: 19.
Dr. Hotze: 18.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Are you talking at the conference of my great-grandfather, or the conference that my father, or…
Dr. Hotze: No. This is the one, the original conference. The London Society of Physicians came up with the diagnosis of myxedema. They had received, they had people all over the country that had had problems which were consistent with hypothyroidism. Back then, physicians had no idea, they really had no effective blood work at all. Nobody knew what was going on. Everything was a clinical diagnosis. And when they came together to study the disorder that had been seen across the country, they came up with the condition they called myxedema.
Myxedema, of course, is the fluid that is built up in the skin that makes people puffy when they get hypothyroidism, it’s a gelatinous-type tissue. And that’s when they came to the conclusion that there was a disorder, and they named it myxedema, which ultimately became known as hypothyroidism. And one of the physicians there began to inject thyroid material from lambs and cattle into his patients and had significant improvement. That was done around 1880 or 1890. So your great-great grandfather would’ve been involved in all this at that time.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Well, it was, I think in 1891 or 92. I think the physician was called Murray.
Dr. Hotze: Yes, Dr. Murray.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: My grandfather, great-grandfather, went over to see Murray to learn about it with him. And actually the families became great friends. And during two or three generations, they had exchanges of their children going over, some to learn French, the others to learn English. And so there was really a sort of family tie with Dr. Murray. I didn’t have this tie. I was probably the fourth generation, but too late. But basically, I remember my father talking a lot about these relationships.
So we really learned it. And my great-grandfather was so excited. He wrote a lot of books with a lot of pictures. You can find on the internet now. By pictures of patients before and after. And he showed two physicians with these pictures, how amazing the effects were of thyroid therapy. So that was really, a really great thing, I think.
And actually, this sort of fascination for the thyroid that went from one generation to a third, but you will probably see that the problem you might have with other physicians was already at that time. My great-grandfather, he used to say to my grandfather when he was a kid, “Why do other physicians do not see that? It’s so evident. It’s so worked.” I’m going to cut here, my Outlook.
And so, he was amazed that the physicians could not recognize hypothyroidism, you could see it on the face. And actually, he was a very religious person. So he went to, we are Catholic, so he went to the mass every Sunday and he picked out people and said, “Hey, you have hypothyroidism, you need treatment.” And he had really, a great success. I don’t think we can do that now, because there are privacy reasons. But basically, it was really amazing.
Dr. Hotze: Well, these are really key points you make. It was physicians first back in England. And it had been recognized in other parts of the world, but the English were the first to really come up and classify this disorder, which was characterized…why don’t you characterize what the symptoms of hypothyroidism, both the clinical symptoms and the physical findings, that you see in individuals that have low thyroid hormone within their cells. They may have thyroid in their blood, but they don’t have adequate amounts of active thyroid in their cells. What are the common features that you see, both clinically, symptom wise, and on physical findings?
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Well, first of all, it’s easy to see it on people. So basically, if a patient comes in, if he has a clearly low thyroid, he will have a swollen face. He will have puffy eyelets. He will have a dry skin, very dry skin, and it has special name called keratosis. That means that the skin is irregular with little pits on the skin. Especially on here, on the upper arm, and on the back, and on the upper legs. And you also have fissures, like splits in the heels. When there’s hypothyroidism, the patients cannot convert the provitamin A, which is beta-carotene, which has a yellowish color into vitamin A. And so they get yellow foot cells. They get also sometimes, yellow palms. And even the face can be yellow, in some important cases. And there’s then, overweight. So all these physical findings, you find that in a lot of people. If you go on the beach, you have a sort of, I don’t know if it’s respectful, but I would say museum of people showing untreated hypothyroid signs. So it’s really very frequent.
And then, psychologically, is that there’s something very characteristic to low thyroid function that you don’t find in other pathologies, is that most of the complaints are more important in the morning when they get up than in the evening. So they suffer more from hypothyroidism in the morning than evening, because in the myxedema, which is a sort of swelling, it’s an accumulation of waste products between cells, the myxedema actually regresses, decreases, during the day. And so they feel really bad, tired, when they wake up, with a lower mood, maybe even more anxiety. And then, when they get into movement, their blood circulation accelerates, because the blood circulation, the blood flow, is slow in patients with hypothyroidism. And then, by accelerating their blood flow, they feel better. So they tend to even to be hard workers, who always are busy and cannot stop moving. Otherwise, they feel very tired. If they sit, then the blood flow goes slower and they feel more tired.
Dr. Hotze: We see these in some kids when they think they’re hyperactive.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes.
Dr. Hotze: The problem is, is that really, they’re low thyroid and they’re trying to stay active to stay awake and stay alert. And that causes the hyperactivity. It’s paradoxical in your thinking, but that’s the way it really is. The other thing…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes.
Dr. Hotze: The other thing…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: It’s a tragedy for children. If I just can include, tragedy for children, because their school results are not good. And they get a lot of reproaches that you cannot see it still. You’re disturbing the class. But if they don’t do so, they feel more tired, and they have harder time to follow up. So basically, they need to move to feel better, and to pay attention.
Dr. Hotze: Unfortunately, what happens in these kids, they get diagnosed with a ADHD and then they throw them on some kind of amphetamines, and that screws up their brains, when all they need is a little bit of thyroid. Even children, a little bit of thyroid. One key thing, as you’ve mentioned, is this sense of fatigue and tiredness. They get cold hands and cold feet, and often feel very cold, when other people don’t seem to have that problem. They’ll wear sweaters. And even during the summer, you feel their hands and their feet, and they’re ice cold. And I don’t know if you’ve done this, Dr. Hertoghe, but I have. When I first discovered about thyroid back in 1992, I read a book entitled Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes.
A physician friend of mine by the name of Dr. Richard Maybry, who’s an allergist, and who’s an OBGYN allergist, told me at one of our allergy meetings, he said, “Steve, you know you have a lot of women with low thyroid, hypothyroidism.” And I said, “I do?” And he said, “Yes, you do.” And he said, “I want to recommend you read the book, Broda Barnes’ book, on the unsuspected illness.” And when I read that book, it opened my eyes to the huge number of individuals that had low thyroid. And we began treating them for thyroid and had tremendous success. But it was reading the book about low thyroid. So let’s talk about…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Still the best book, I think, on hypothyroidism for the general public.
Dr. Hotze: It is a wonderful book.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: It’s amazing, truly.
Dr. Hotze: Yes. Dr. Broda Barnes, if you can get that. Here is the problem your great-grandfather talked about. He says, “I don’t know why these other doctors don’t see it because I see it.” When he goes to church he’d see the people at church and go, he’d tell them, “You have low thyroid. Come see me.” Well, I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve done that with over the years. When I first found out about thyroid, anytime I’d be at a party, I’d shake somebody’s hands, they’re ice cold, I said, “You have a low thyroid. You ought to come see me.” And I’ve even stopped. I’ve even stopped.
I remember in an airport in Denver there was some poor woman that had gross pedal edema, and she was classically hypothyroid. And she had all kinds of lesions on her legs, it was just classic the fissures that she had. And I went up and told her, and I said, “I’m going to give you a card and I want to recommend you go to my website and read about hypothyroidism.” She said, “Oh, I don’t have it. I went to my doctor and he said my blood tests were normal.”
So one thing I like about Dr. Hertoghe, which I do, we do not base our clinical diagnosis or our diagnosis, strictly on blood tests, as most doctors do. And that’s why most doctors misdiagnose hypothyroidism, because they rely strictly on blood levels. Talk about with this, and why that is a wrong-headed approach.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Maybe it’s interesting to say a little word on that, iIs that these blood tests are valuable. We use them. We also use 24 hour urine tests.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: They’re fallible. But they have what is called normal ranges, or reference ranges, which are not normal, in the sense that the reference ranges are just statistical ranges. 95% of all patients, not of healthy people, are between the reference range, and two and a half percent below, two and a half percent above. So if you’re in the two and a half percent lowest values, then you can be diagnosed hypothyroid, by let’s say, general doctor. But much more people are low thyroid with low normal levels within the reference range. I have done a lot of extensive studies. And in the yellow book that is next to you, Steve, you find a lot of references saying, showing that people who are on the lower half of the reference range of the thyroid hormones, or the lower quarter, or lower third, or lower fifth, actually also have more risk of disease, meaning, that they have hypothyroidism. So you do even have studies that prove that with lab tests, lower normal lab tests, you can diagnose hypothyroidism.
Classical Features of Hypothyroidism
Dr. Hotze: Well, this is correct. And I know what you do, and I do, in the practice. First and foremost, we take a good clinical history and a physical diagnosis. So what we hear from our patients is their fatigue. They have a difficulty with weight. They have cold sensitivity. Their hair is falling out. They have joint and muscle aches and pains. They have sluggish bowels. They’re constipated. Women have irregular periods. They may have miscarriages or infertility. They have recurrent and chronic infections. And then they have puffy face, puffy eyes. They have myxedema, loss of the lateral third of the eyebrows, enlarged tongue. You want to see if you have low thyroid? One of the classical features is beveling of your tongue. You stick your tongue out and you’ll see it’s beveled, because it’s grown against the back of your teeth. That’s a sign of an enlarged tongue and that’s a classical feature in hypothyroidism. And it’s not uncommon to find that the gland itself, and the neck, will be enlarged, and that’s called a goiter, and we can see that. So these are the classical features that we see in individuals that have low thyroid.
Now, the regular doctor, as Dr. Hertoghe explained, will go and get a blood test. And as long as that blood falls, your hormone level falls within that range. And by the way, the range is determined where it’s a bell-shaped curve. So you have the average score, or the mean, of all the patients that were in the day before. And they run these tests, and they have a range, based upon the previous studies of the days before. And the range is as wide. It’s a bell-shaped curve. So it’s wide as the Grand Canyon, as tall as the Empire State building.
And when you were younger, you may have had loads of energy. You may have felt really great. And your thyroid level was up in the high range. And now, as you get older, as Dr. Hertoghe will explain, it declines, and it’s in the low range. And the doctor says, “Well, you’re still within the range. You’re in the low range.” I’ve even had doctors say you’re in the low range, but not low enough to be treated. And my philosophy, and I think Dr. Hertoghe would agree with this, my philosophy is, if you have the clinical signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, then you deserve a therapeutic trial of thyroid preparation. And we use natural thyroid, desiccated thyroid, and doctor will explain that in a minute. And you deserve a therapeutic trial.
Doctors give therapeutic trials of all kinds of drugs all the time, which I never give. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety medication, sleep medication, anti-inflammatory, a host of medications without having any…not knowing. They’re treating symptoms, clinically treating symptoms, rather than treating the underlying cause of the problem. Which in many of our guests, as we find at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, their problem is a low thyroid situation within their cells.
Now, Dr. Hertoghe, explain the difference in the two types of thyroid hormones. We have T4 and T3. Would you explain the difference, and why it’s important for us to have the proper level of the T3 thyroid hormone?
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Well, in fact, there are a lot of different forms. You have the T4 alone, which is one of the thyroid hormones. The main one in the blood, but not the less, the most active one. The most active one is T3. So if you have also decrease with T3, but there you need to repeat the dose six times a day. That’s a little difficult. And then, you have a synthetic T3 and T4, which is working too much in the morning, not enough in the evening. And then you have desiccated thyroid, which is the preparation that most of my patients get, and I suppose, Steve, also yours. And desiccated thyroid is actually, in most cases, taken from pork thyroid, because that pork thyroid is richer in T3, the most active hormone. And so those preparations work better than sheep or beef thyroid, in general.
Now, when you look at the composition of real tissue from pork, and with enough thyroid hormones, you actually have T4, which is the big precursor, T3, the most active hormone, but you also have T2, T1, T0, et cetera. So each time there’s an iodine atom, less in the molecule. But T2 has shown very good effect for cardiovascular health, for example. And so you have more hormones, it mimics more the natural secretion of the thyroid gland. But there’s something more.
It’s that when you have thyroid extracts, most of those thyroid hormones are actually bound on a bigger molecule called thyroglobulin. And the absorbtion of thyroglobulin is very slow. And once it’s partly absorbed, it releases slowly its thyroid hormones. So what you have with desiccated thyroid, is the sort of very good 24 hour effect. When you try to purify the hormones, and to produce them, then the T3 is too quickly absorbed, T4 too slow, and you have more irregular action. And generally, no action at night. So people are much better with desiccated thyroid, in most cases. There are some exceptions, but basically, that’s what we do.
But then, and we’ll probably talk about that, there are several ways also that some people cannot tolerate a preparation with T3, or desiccated thyroid. And then, the physicians need to do some other things. But maybe you need to ask the question.
Dr. Hotze: Well, we’re going to talk about that in our next segment on the program. So we have Dr. Thierry Hertoghe, who is the President of the International Hormone Society and also President of the Anti-Aging Medicine Society here with us. We’re discussing thyroid hormones, and a condition called low thyroid, which a huge proportion of Americans have. And it goes undiagnosed clinically by physicians, because they rely solely on blood tests rather than on taking a good clinical history and a good physical exam of their patient, and giving them a therapeutic trial.
Part 2: Hormones: Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone
Dr. Hotze: Hello, I’m Dr. Steve Hotze, and welcome back to Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. In our first half of the program, we discussed hypothyroidism. And we’re going to go into some more details with our guest, Dr. Thierry Hertoghe, who is from Belgium, and who is a legend in his own time, hormone expert, that doctors around the world look to.
He’s the President of the World Society of Anti-Aging Medicine, and the World Society of Hormone Specialists. And his family, he’s carrying on a family, four generation tradition, of hormone therapy in individuals. Which, hormone therapy really didn’t come about until the late part of the 1800s, which would’ve been in the night 19th century. That’s when thyroid hormones were discovered in the disease called myxedema, which is hypothyroidism, was diagnosed. And the treatment using thyroid gland, ground thyroid gland, injected into people. That’s how they first treated for hypothyroidism. His great, great grandfather was one of the first physicians in the entire world to treat for thyroid. And this tradition is carried on in Dr. Hertoghe’s family.
Recap on Hypothyroidism
In the first half of our program, we talked about hypothyroidism. And of course, hypothyroidism is a low level of thyroid, not just in the blood. You can have, within a lab range, of normal in your blood, and still not have enough thyroid hormone in your cells to effectively produce energy. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, T4 and T3. The thyroid hormone has attached to it, in the T4, four iodine atoms. 94% of all the thyroid producing the blood is T4. 6% is T3. That’s the active thyroid hormone.
What happens is, the thyroid hormones bind to thyroid thyroglobulin. And then, they enter into the cells. In the cells, there’s an enzyme called diodenase. And that means it cleaves, it diodenases. It removes one of the iodine atoms off T4, so you get the active thyroid hormone T3. That then enters your cells, into your power plants, called the mitochondria.
And I like to describe it. It’s the spark plug that enables your cells to produce and use energy. So that’s what determines your body’s metabolic rate. Your ability to produce and use energy. Every cell in your body requires thyroid hormone, from the tip of your head, to the bottom of your toe. And every organ, and everything in between, requires thyroid to produce energy. If you don’t produce enough energy, then you’re a low voltage individual. You’re not producing enough electrical energy in your power plant, your mitochondria, and your body runs sluggish. You think sluggish. All the organs work poorly. You get cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries. You don’t think clearly. You gain weight. You get diabetes. It leads to a host of health problems. Your blood pressure can be adversely affected. And you’re a sick individual.
I have people that come in and tell me, “Doctor, I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired.” And I know that is a classical statement, when they don’t know what to tell you. What they’re really saying is, “I have low thyroid. Would you please supplement me and help me?” So what happens? Let’s talk about, Dr. Hertoghe, the adverse effect of hormones on thyroid metabolism.
Let me mention one other thing right here, folks. In America, 70% of the people are overweight. 35% of the people are obese. That means half of you that are overweight or obese. That’s 35% of the population. In Europe, in Europe, 16% of the people are overweight. 8% of the people are obese. Why is such a difference?
Fluoride’s Connection to Hypothyroidism
Back in the 1960s, in the United States, there was only 16% of the population overweight, and 8% were obese. In the 1960s, in the United States, they started to put fluoride, which is a halogen, they began to put that into the water supply. 70% of the people in America have fluoride in the water. It’s in the toothpaste. You go to the dentist office, they slather it on your teeth. Fluoride is a halogen. It competes with iodine in the thyroid gland itself. But it adversely affects the enzyme that converts, the deiodinase enzyme, that converts T4 to T3. So it blocks that. So in America, we’ve got a problem with fluoride poisoning the body’s ability to properly convert T4, the active thyroid hormone, to T3, leading to a host of people with hypothyroid problems.
I’ve been to Europe. I’ve been to France. I’ve been to Italy. You go to France to have dinner, and you ask for bread. They don’t bring you a little box of bread. They bring you a tray of bread. They eat bread. They drink wine. And in Italy, they’re eating pasta. And yet, Janie and I, when we were there, commented how thin everybody was, compared to the way they were in America. And it’s not just because Americans eat fast food, which is a problem. It’s because they have a problem, with their ability to utilize thyroid hormones has been poisoned by fluoride. So my recommendation to you is, get reverse osmosis on your sinks at home, where you drink water. If you can filter the water out of the whole system is good. By the way, chlorine adversely, is a halogen, just like iodine is.
If you remember, your chemical periodic table from high school, you had certain groups. One was a halogen group, and that has chlorine, bromide, fluoride, iodine, several others. All those are in the halogen group, and they will compete with one another. So they can adversely affect your body’s ability to use thyroid, because thyroid hormone needs iodine, a halogen, to be properly functioning. So, that’s a problem that we have with the fluoride. And that’s one of the problems we see so much hypothyroidism. So we want you to take your water, and you get it properly distilled. Use some form of distilled water. Or you can do reverse osmosis at your sink. You can buy some filters, that you can buy online inexpensively, and pour your water in. You don’t want fluoride in your water. You want to get rid of your toothpaste.
If you look on the side of your toothpaste, when you go home, read on the side of the toothpaste, and it says danger. If you swallow more of this, that’s on your toothbrush, if you swallow it, contact poison control, or your physician immediately. Now, why would you put anything on toothpaste that would cause you to have to call poison control? Well, it’s the fluoride.
Fluoride, according to the material safety data sheet, fluoride is highly toxic. And it’s a carcinogen, and adversely affects your body’s ability to utilize thyroid hormones. You don’t want it. So you can get some toothpaste, like Spry toothpaste. Get toothpaste without fluoride, and don’t let anybody paint any fluoride on your teeth. I don’t know why these dentists do this. It’s a terrible habit.
But that’s one of the reasons that we see so much hypothyroidism in America, as opposed to what you may see over in Europe. We see it here all the time. And I have literally built our practice on the treating of thyroid.
So, that’s my short soliloquy and soap box on the fluoride problem. And in my book that I’ve written, Hypothyroidism, Health and Happiness, I have a section on there about the fluoride and the dangers of fluoride. So I’d encourage you to read that, and take heart to that, and get fluoride out of your system, please.
So tell us about the hormones. Particularly women, as they mature, they get a situation called, estrogen dominance. How does estrogen hormones adversely affect the thyroid?
Women and Estrogen Dominance
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Well, there are two forms you have. You can have your own female hormone. So women who have high levels of estrogens, they will have an overstimulation of the liver. And the liver will make binding proteins, like thyroxine-binding globulin.
Dr. Hotze: Globulin.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: TBG. And then, prealbumin thyroid binding globulin. Which actually, capture thyroid diodenase, and keep them in the blood. So there’s less going into the cells. So too much estrogens, give a sort of sequestion, a capture of the thyroid hormones in the blood, and they don’t go into target cells. So that’s one of the ways. The other way…
Dr. Hotze: Isn’t that partly due to the change in the female hormones, and the decline of progesterone as the women age, that they fall into that estrogen dominance?
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes, because there’s a very potent estrogen called estradiol. And that, when you have enough progesterone, that’s a sort of antagonistic hormone. That hormone stimulates the conversion of estradiol to estrone, which is much less potent as an estrogen, so it has much less effects on the thyroid function as estradiol. So, too much estradiol is not good. You need enough progesterone to calm that down. And with age, it’s true, that progesterone declines quicker than estradiol. So it’s very important to have enough progesterone all the time. That’s one of the ways a physician can improve the tired function of a patient, by balancing the female hormones well.
Dr. Hotze: Yes. I want hammer on this point, because this is a really good point you made. Dr. Hertoghe said that the use of progesterone can help promote thyroid function in women. Ladies, as you walk through your menstrual life, when you hit midlife, but in your thirties, or after you have children, oftentimes, and invariably, your progesterone levels are going to decline.
And like Dr. Hertoghe mentioned, then you have what we call estrogen dominance. It’s progesterone deficiency, estrogen dominance. And even though your estrogen’s declining, it doesn’t decline like the progesterone does. And it produces thyroid binding globulins from the liver that bind onto the thyroid hormones. So it’s very common to see women coming in after they’ve had childbirth, several children, are in their mid-thirties or early forties, they begin to have all these symptoms of hypothyroid. Don’t you find that Dr. Hertoghe?
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes. And then they, if they are becoming estrogen deficient, like in the menopause or just before, because we treat that at age 30 already, we don’t wait age 50. A physician provides oral estrogens, that means taken by mouth and not transdermal. Then these hormones will pile up these estrogens in the liver. And so they will slow down what the very important step that happens in the liver. That’s predominantly in the liver, that is the activation of thyroid function. The T4, which is a precursor, becomes T3 in the liver. And that step is very strongly decreased by oral estrogen, including the birth control pill. So the birth control pill has an adverse impact on… Most birth control pills. There’s some exception, but most do really decrease this conversion of T4, T3, a lot. So that’s one of the reasons.
Dr. Hotze: Well, pick up on this now. I want to drive this point home. Dr. Hertoghe has said, it’s the oral estrogens when they’re given. And they’re often given usually, by physicians in menopause, without balancing them with any progesterone. So they get estrogen dominance. Or if women take birth control pills, these adversely affect your body’s ability to utilize thyroid hormone, the active thyroid hormone. You don’t make the conversion. You also build up thyroid binding globulins. So women on birth controls commonly will come in. I don’t care what age they are. They’ll come in, and they have all the signs and symptoms of low thyroid. They are basically, poisoning their thyroid hormones by taking the birth control pills. That’s why we don’t recommend them.
And I’ll give you a quick story. I remember back, years back, I had a young lady who had come in with a whole series of complaints that we described, which would’ve been low thyroid. And I said, “Well, you’re going to need to get off your birth control pills.” She said, “Okay.” She came back in a month. And she said, “If I’d have known,” she said, “I feel like a million dollars.” Getting off the control pills. And I put her on a little thyroid, but it hadn’t really gotten to a level she needed yet. But she said, “I can’t believe how good I feel getting off. I don’t have headaches anymore. I’m not moody. I’ve got energy. I feel great. If I’d have known this, I’d have got off it 10 years ago.”
Dr. Hotze: I’m just telling you ladies out there, that if you’re on birth control pills, and you have all these signs and symptoms of low thyroid, simply giving you thyroid is not going to correct the problem. You’re going to have to get off your birth control pills. There are other ways, if you don’t want to conceive, there are other ways that can be, other methods, that can be used without poisoning your body with birth control pills every day.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes.
Dr. Hotze: And it’s…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: There’s a little exception with the birth control pills, is that a very low dose estrogen pill with a sort of endogenic progesterone, which also may have side effects, may have much less adverse effects on the diet function. But that’s, let’s say, it’s an exceptional pill. Most pills now are made with a lot of female hormones, in the sense that they have a blocker of male hormones as a progesterone.
And so women get cellulite, and lose a lot of muscles with this. And that has even a more adverse effect on the thyroid function, like these anti-androgenic pills. If ever a pill is necessary, you need to search the good one, and find the physician who is able to find the one that can suit you. But most of the pills are, I agree with you, Steven, are not good. And in certain sense, none of them is bioidentical. So there’s always some side effects.
Dr. Hotze: That’s key. Now, talk to us about that, about natural progesterone as opposed to progestins, progesterone.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes.
Dr. Hotze: Explain to them, the estrogen and progesterone, and the cycle, and how that works.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Well, I’ll talk also what is available in the United States. Because I don’t think you have next to bioidentical progesterone, any other progesterone, that is 100% safe. Most of them are synthetic derivatives. The molecule is too much changed from the original one, and has side effects. So for example, with a synthetic progesterone…
Dr. Hotze: Like Provera.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: …they have water retention, will gain on weight. While with the natural progesterone, they will rather decrease their overweight. They will. It’s a diuretic, it makes them lose fluid. And there’s no water retention as synthetic pill. Synthetic pills, especially medroxyprogesterone acetate, I think that’s the Provera.
Dr. Hotze: Yes.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: That one stimulates the proliferation of breast cells.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Even in the presence of estrogen. So when you have, for example, in lab cultures, they will stimulate breast cells by female hormone, estrogens. Even the bioidentical does that. The non-bioidentical one does it more. And when you add a synthetic progesterone, then it increases the proliferation of breast cells. So it can become breast cancer. While if you get the natural progesterone, there’s a collapse of the proliferation of…
Dr. Hotze: The cells.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: …the breast cells.
Dr. Hotze: And a decrease in breast cancer.
Benefits of Bioidentical Progesterone
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes, really decrease. Yes. And there’s a decrease, but between 25 and 50% of breast cancer by using natural or bioidentical. It is better to say molecularized in the body, bioidentical progesterone. So that’s really very important. That’s a big difference.
Now that’s not the only difference. With the natural progesterone, you get also, all the good psychological effects with progesterone. For example, it calms you down. It decreases anxiety. It decreases the premenstrual, or even solves the premenstrual syndrome, where women get irritable anxiety. It also can decrease acne, for example.
While with the synthetic progesterone, it’s all the other way. You get usually, headaches, you get depression. And so, it’s much better to use the bioidentical progesterone in most of the cases. Always an exception, but most of the cases, this works out well. And you can take it orally. It works well. It even works better vaginally, or transdermal. Transdermal is an option that not always works, because its progesterone, in contrast with estradiol or estrogens, is not so well absorbed through the skin.
Dr. Hotze: And so the key is, to use natural progesterone when you begin to have the symptoms, of premenstrual symptoms. Which can happen even in young girls, in the teenage years. Depending upon a woman’s age, her size, and her symptoms, you can give a little natural progesterone on day 15 through 28 of the cycle. Day one’s the first day of your period. And then the cycle would normally last, approximately, you have a 28 day cycle. Mid cycle, you’re going to ovulate. You’re going to give off an egg. And in that location, on your ovary, that’s where your body makes progesterone, day 14 through 28. And women start having premenstrual symptoms, two or three days before the period, a week before, sometimes two weeks before. As they get older, they make less progesterone, or they don’t ovulate.
Then you have the estrogen dominance, and you have these symptoms of weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings, fluid retention, headaches. These can be easily treated with natural progesterone, day 14 through 28. And the dose depends upon a woman’s size, her age, and her symptoms.
So young girls in teenage years, instead of putting them on a bunch of antidepressants, like some of these doctors do, you give them a touch of progesterone on day 14 through 28, and balance them out. You do the same thing all the way through the entire menstrual life. And we even use, once a woman goes through the change of life, we always balance the natural estrogen hormones that we give, to compensate for menopause. We always balance that out with progesterone, to make sure that they don’t fall into estrogen dominance. And that makes…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Even a woman who has a hysterectomy.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: A hysterectomy’s a removal of the uterus. There’s the habit in United States…
Dr. Hotze: Don’t give them any…
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: …and in European countries, just to give estrogens.
Dr. Hotze: Right. That’s so bad.
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Progesterone is also necessary, not only for the uterus to prevent having heavy menstruations, but also to protect the breast from breast cancer, and to calm down the brain from the over excitement, the fire that estrogens give.
Dr. Hotze: That’s so key. I love a woman that’s had a hysterectomy. When they come in and they’re just been put on estrogen. I know they’re going to do extremely well when we put them on progesterone.
We’ve got just about a minute left. Saying something very briefly. Men need testosterone because testosterone also, the decline in testosterone as men have, that adversely affects the body’s ability to convert T4 to T3. Don’t you find that testosterone supplementation helps with thyroid function?
Dr. Thierry Hertoghe: Yes. I’m so enthusiastic about testosterone. I wrote a big book on it, with all the references and the information for a physician. And so, testosterone is one of the hormones that stimulates the most the conversion of T4/T3. So it activates the thyroid function. And so you may need, as a physician, to decrease the dose of a person, who’s well on thyroid, when testosterone is added to a man. But wait. Women need also testosterone. So next to female hormones, there’s always a smaller dose than in men, of testosterone to give. And it makes them really good. Helps also the thyroid function to be very active.
Dr. Hotze: As we close, I want thank you for joining us. And thank each one of you for joining us today. Thank you, Dr. Hertoghe.