Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Low Thyroid Treatment in Encinitas, CA

A picture of Dr. Mark Stengler

Low Thyroid Treatment

Dr. Stengler sees a significant number of patients every year with thyroid issues, leading him and many other doctors to believe that thyroid disorders are reaching epidemic levels in the country. The rise in thyroid disorders can be attributed to environmental toxins, side effects from pharmaceutical medications, and stress. The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck and shaped like a butterfly, produces several hormones that play a crucial role in regulating the metabolism of every cell in the body.

Low thyroid activity, known as hypothyroidism, is the most common disorder of the thyroid. While approximately 10 million Americans are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Dr. Stengler estimates that around 30 million people actually have the condition, including those who are unaware of it. It is possible for individuals, as well as their physicians, to remain unaware of an underactive thyroid.


Symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary from person to person. They may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Depression

These symptoms can often be attributed to a busy and stressful lifestyle. However, they can also indicate low thyroid activity. While some patients may experience multiple symptoms, others may not exhibit any at all. It is important to note that hypothyroidism typically affects women in their late 40s or early 50s, but it can impact individuals of any age.

Common Causes:

The most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This attack leads to thyroid inflammation and underproduction of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is more common in women, with a five to ten times higher occurrence rate compared to men. People with this condition may have a genetic predisposition, although other triggers such as hormonal imbalances (especially insulin resistance seen with diabetes), food allergies (such as gluten intolerance), and stress can also contribute. Less common causes include pituitary gland failure or a pituitary tumor.

Diagnosis Confusion:

Many physicians, including both traditional and holistic practitioners, often fail to properly diagnose low thyroid activity. Typically, only a standard blood test, such as the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, is conducted, providing a general indication of thyroid activity but missing the nuances of thyroid function. To ensure a comprehensive diagnosis, it is recommended to consult with a holistic doctor who can perform a full thyroid test panel. This panel should include an assessment of free T3 and free T4, which are the main thyroid hormones, as well as tests for thyroid antibodies.

If free T3 and/or free T4 levels are found to be low, it confirms a low thyroid condition. However, it can be challenging as many individuals may have levels on the low side of the "normal" range. Although some conventional doctors consider this low side of normal to be acceptable, Dr. Stengler believes that the standard for "normal" is set too low. For instance, the "normal" range for free T3, the most active thyroid hormone, is typically stated as 230 picograms per deciliter (pg/dL) to 420 pg/dL. A test result of 240 pg/dL may be deemed acceptable by many doctors, but Dr. Stengler has observed that patients tend to feel significantly better when their T3 levels are closer to the mid-range, around 320 pg/dL or higher.

The same principle applies to free T4. The "normal" range is usually defined as 0.8 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to 1.8 ng/dL. Dr. Stengler has found that if an individual's free T4 level is 0.9 ng/dL, they tend to experience improvements in their well-being when the free T4 level is increased to 1.2 ng/dL or higher.

It is essential to understand that test results can indicate normal free T4 levels alongside low or low-normal free T3 levels. This scenario suggests difficulties in converting T4 to T3 within the body. In such cases, supplemental T3 may be necessary or assistance may be required to facilitate the conversion. Given the significant prevalence of undiagnosed low thyroid in the general population, understanding the intricacies of these test results can greatly aid individuals in their treatment.

Hormone Replacement:

The majority of traditional physicians typically prescribe synthetic T4 (sold as Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Levothroid) to patients with hypothyroidism. However, Dr. Stengler has found that synthetic T4 alone is often ineffective, especially if an individual struggles with converting T4 to T3. Prescribing more T4 in such cases does not offer significant benefits.

In Dr. Stengler's practice, natural, bioidentical thyroid hormone replacement therapies are preferred. Options such as Armour Thyroid and Nature-Throid Westhroid, which are made from desiccated pig thyroid, provide both T3 and T4. Compounded bioidentical T4 and T3, which do not have an animal origin, are also considered good alternatives. Side effects from these treatments are rare.

Nutritional Support:

For patients with low thyroid activity, Dr. Stengler recommends specific nutrients that can support the body in producing its own thyroid hormones. These nutrients are safe for everyone. They include:

  • L-tyrosine: This amino acid serves as the foundation for thyroid hormones. Taking 500 mg approximately 30 minutes before breakfast is advised.
  • Multivitamins: These supplements contain several nutrients, such as selenium, zinc, and B vitamins, which are essential for converting T4 to T3.
  • Iodine: An important component of T4 and T3, iodine intake is crucial. Consuming at least 150 micrograms (mcg) of iodine daily is recommended. However, individuals with Hashimoto's thyroiditis should seek medical guidance before starting iodine therapy. Higher doses may be beneficial but should be prescribed by a nutrition-oriented physician.

For further information about Dr. Stengler’s practice and his clinic in Encinitas, California, please visit our website at or give us a call at (760) 274-2377.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

See Our Services