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La Mesa, CA

Hypothyroidism Treatment in Carmel Valley, CA

A picture of Dr. Mark Stengler

Hypothyroidism Treatment in Carmel Valley, CA

Understanding the Silent Thyroid Epidemic

Thyroid disorders have become increasingly prevalent in our country, reaching epidemic proportions according to experts like Dr. Mark Stengler. Environmental toxins, side effects of pharmaceutical medications, and stress are believed to be contributing factors to this upsurge. The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating the metabolism of every cell in our body.

Hypothyroidism, characterized by low thyroid activity, is the most common thyroid disorder. While around 10 million Americans are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Dr. Stengler estimates that the actual number could be as high as 30 million, including many individuals who are unaware of their condition. It is possible for both patients and physicians to overlook the presence of an underactive thyroid, as the symptoms can often be attributed to a busy and stressful lifestyle. Fatigue, cold hands and feet, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, and depression are all potential indicators of low thyroid activity. While these symptoms are commonly observed in women in their late 40s or early 50s, hypothyroidism can affect anyone at any age.

Common Causes

The leading cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in inflammation and decreased production of thyroid hormones. Women are 5 to 10 times more likely to experience low thyroid activity than men, and genetic predisposition plays a significant role in the development of this disorder. However, other factors such as hormonal imbalances, food allergies (e.g., gluten intolerance), and stress can also contribute to hypothyroidism. In rare cases, pituitary gland failure or the presence of a pituitary tumor may cause the condition.

Diagnosis Confusion

Diagnosing hypothyroidism can be challenging, as many physicians, both traditional and holistic, rely solely on the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, which provides only a general indication of thyroid function. To ensure a comprehensive evaluation, it is advisable to consult a holistic physician who can perform a full thyroid test panel, including tests for free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies.

While conventional doctors often consider the low end of the "normal" range for free T3 and free T4 to be acceptable, Dr. Stengler believes that this standard is too low. For instance, the "normal" range for free T3, the most active thyroid hormone, is typically between 230 picograms per deciliter (pg/dL) and 420 pg/dL. Physicians may consider a test result of 240 pg/dL as acceptable, but Dr. Stengler has found that patients experience significant improvements in their well-being when their T3 levels are closer to the mid-range, at 320 pg/dL or higher. A similar approach is taken with free T4 levels, with a target of 1.2 ng/dL or higher instead of accepting levels of 0.9 ng/dL as within the "normal" range.

Understanding the complexity of thyroid function is crucial for interpreting test results accurately. If both TSH and T4 levels are normal, but T3 levels are low or low-normal, it suggests a difficulty in converting T4 to T3. This indicates the need for supplemental T3 or assistance in the conversion process. Given the significant prevalence of undiagnosed low thyroid activity in the general population, a comprehensive understanding of these test results can greatly benefit patients seeking appropriate treatment.

Hormone Replacement

While most traditional doctors prescribe synthetic T4 hormones (such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Levothroid) to individuals with hypothyroidism, Dr. Stengler finds that this approach is often insufficient. If an individual has difficulty converting T4 to T3 efficiently, increasing T4 dosage may not be effective. Instead, Dr. Stengler recommends natural, bioidentical thyroid hormone replacement therapies such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-Thyroid, or compounded bioidentical T4 and T3. These options provide both T3 and T4 hormones and have been shown to be more beneficial for patients.

Nutritional Support

In addition to hormone replacement therapy, nutritional support is essential for individuals with low thyroid activity. Dr. Stengler suggests specific nutrients to assist the body in producing its own thyroid hormones. L-tyrosine, an amino acid that serves as the foundation of thyroid hormones, is recommended to be taken in a dose of 500 mg approximately 30 minutes before breakfast. Multivitamins containing selenium, zinc, and B vitamins are also beneficial for aiding the conversion of T4 to T3. Iodine, an important element in the production of T4 and T3, should be taken at a minimum daily dose of 150 micrograms (mcg), with higher doses best prescribed by a nutrition-oriented physician (unless contraindicated for individuals with Hashimoto's thyroiditis).

Reach Out Today!

For further information about Dr. Stengler's practice and his clinic in Carmel Valley, California, visit the website at or contact them at (760) 274-2377. By understanding the silent thyroid epidemic and seeking appropriate treatment, individuals can regain thyroid balance and improve their overall well-being.

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