Researchers Say Supplements Contain ‘Significant’ Amounts of Thyroid Hormone

Nine out of 10 “thyroid support” pills tested by Mayo Clinic researchers contain “risky” levels of thyroid hormones.
A wide range of suplements that claim to support or improve thyroid function are available online and in retail stores. Some list only herbs as ingredients. Others are capsules filled with dried, ground-up thyroid gland from pigs or cows.

People take the thyroid supplements because they may feel tired, or for unexplained weight gain — symptoms they interpret as a sign their bodies are making too little thyroid hormone.
When a number of his patients told him they were taking the supplements, endocrinologist Victor Bernet, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla., became curious. Might they contain the same thyroid hormone as Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid, and other prescription drugs used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency?
Yes, Bernet says – and it’s risky. “Even a little too much T4 can give a person palpitations, could give atrial fib and blood pressure issues and such,” he tells WebMD. “We have people coming in feeling nervous, can’t sleep decreased exercise tolerance, hearts running overtime.”


T4 (thyroxine) is the active ingredient in Synthroid and other prescription drugs used to treat thyroid deficiency.
Bernet and colleagues tested 10 different supplements, selected because they appeared to be the most popular products sold for “thyroid support.” Five of the products listed animal thyroid gland as an ingredient, five did not.

The result: nine of the 10 pills contained T4. At the dose recommended on the label, four of the pills delivered T4 at doses ranging from 8.6 to 91.6 micrograms per day. A typical daily dose of prescription T4 is 50 to 150 daily micrograms, Bernet says.

Nine of the supplements carried another thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine, or T3. Five delivered daily T3 doses of more than 10 micrograms per day. “That’s more than half of what the body would normally make in a day,” Bernet says.

“Thyroid hormones are medications that should be bought only under prescription,” Bernet tells WebMD. “I do not recommend anyone take any of these supplements. … This is a general warning to patients that 90% of those products we randomly picked have clinically significant amounts of thyroid hormone.”

Solutions for Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes

Do you have puffy eyes or under-eye circles? Whether the cause is a few long days or too many restless nights, you’ve probably dealt with both at one time or another.
If your solution is to splash a little cold water on your face or grab a concealer, stop right there. There’s more that you can do to unpack those under-eye bags and prevent eye puffiness. These simple tips from skin care pros can get you started.
What Causes Dark Under-Eye Circles
Dark circles, or bags under your eyes, have many causes. These include:
•    Increased melanin (also called hyperpigmentation)
•    Fat loss beneath the eye
•    Broken blood vessels
Hard living — too much caffeine and tobacco and too little sleep — is a less common cause of eye puffiness and bags.
6 Solutions for Under-Eye Circles and Bags

Try these tips for brightening your baby blues or bodacious browns:
•    Get enough sleep. Sound sleeping is an inexpensive, easy way to help minimize dark under-eye circles, no matter what the cause. Sleep not only helps keep eyes bright. It also aids your body in repairing cell damage to your skin.
•    Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Though they may perk you up in the short term, caffeine and alcohol don’t do the same for your skin. They can cause mild dehydration, making dark circles more obvious.
•    Consider skin lighteners or bleaching agents. If the dark circles under your eyes are due to too much melanin, creams containing lightening agents such as retinol, hydroquinone, kojic acid, green tea, vitamin C, or soy can be helpful, according to California dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD. To help skin-lightening products work their best, avoid the sun and use sunscreen daily. Badreshia-Bansal suggests a sunscreen with zinc and a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 30.
•    Check out injectable fillers. A dermatologist may administer these if your dark eye circles are due broken blood vessels, says Badreshia-Bansal. Fillers can also help if fat loss is the cause of bags under the eyes.
•    Look into lasertreatments and vitamin K. Laser treatmentsmay reduce the look of dark circles due to broken blood vessels. Skin care products containing vitamin K can also help.
•    Go a shade lighter in your concealer. A concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone can help disguise under-eye circles. A concealer with an SPF of 15 or higher provides double benefits. If your skin tends to be oily or acne-prone, use an oil-free concealer.
6 Strategies to Prevent Eye Puffiness
Lots of things can lead to puffy eyes — from too much to too little sleep, from eating poorly to getting older. To help reduce the look of eye puffiness, the pros offer these suggestions:
•    Sleep. It’s as important to preventing puffy eyes as it is to diminishing dark circles. Start by getting at least eight hours of good sleep a night.
•    Drink. Staying well-hydrated can help prevent puffy eyes, says Chicago dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD. Drinking plenty of healthy liquids, especially water, helps keep overall skin tone firm and full looking.
•    Cut back on salt. Retaining body fluid can cause puffy, doughy looking skin. Reducing salt intake helps reduce the tendency to retain excess water. An easy way to cut back on salt? Reduce the processed foods in your diet.
•    Use cool compresses. Florida dermatologist Andrea Cambio, MD, advocates the de-puffing power of chilled, moist green tea bags. Elizabeth L. Tanzi, MD, a Washington, DC dermatologist, suggests gently placing cool cucumber slices or a bag of frozen peas or carrots on the eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. A gel eye-mask will also do the trick.
•    Consider fillers. Thesecan help if collagen and elastin break down — “causing surrounding skin to pooch out,” in the words of dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, in his book 10 Minutes, 10 Years. Fillers can actually make puffiness look smaller.
•    Learn to accept the look of your eyes. Some people are just more prone to puffy eyes or dark eye circles, according Brandt. As we grow older, skin naturally weakens and becomes less resilient, so puffy eyes or dark circles naturally become more noticeable.
These tips may help you keep your eyes looking their best. But the most effective eye-brightening tip may also be the easiest one to implement: Smile!


Naturopathy maintains that the body can heal itself if given the right circumstances and conditions. It uses a range of treatments to stimulate the body’s own healing powers (‘vital force’). Treatments include nutrition, dietetics, herbal medicine, homoeopathy and tactile therapies like massage, acupressure and Bowen technique. Many of the foundations of naturopathy – such as the importance of diet, clean fresh water, sunlight, exercise and stress management – have been adopted by conventional medicine.

Naturopathy has evolved out of the ancient healing traditions of Europe, with its roots firmly grounded in early Greek medical philosophy but with an expanded and scientific understanding from more modern sources. It is now recognised by mainstream medicine as a valuable and effective treatment for a variety of disorders.

Early detection and prevention

Naturopathy has a strong focus on the prevention of health problems and the early detection of a person’s likelihood of developing a health disorder (predisposition). Naturopathy is also very effective at treating acute and chronic health issues.

Naturopathy aims to:

  • Minimise acute symptoms
  • Support the body’s vital force (capacity to self-heal)
  • Re-balance the system so that illness is less likely to occur in the future
  • Educate the patient to look after their own health and the health of their family.

Commonly treated disorders
The range of disorders commonly treated by naturopaths includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Digestive complaints
  • Mood disorders and depression
  • Allergy and sensitivities
  • Behavioural problems
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Degenerative illnesses, such as arthritis
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Fertility problems
  • Endocrine disturbance
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as premenstrual tension and menopause.

The importance of homeostasis
In order to maintain its health, the body regulates itself to stay within certain physiological limits no matter what the outside environment might be. For instance, body temperature needs to be kept constant. On a cold day, the body will conserve heat by constricting the blood vessels close to the skin and directing blood flow to favour internal organs. On a hot day, the body will dilate blood vessels close to the skin and evaporate body heat with perspiration. Many other elements – such as blood gases, hormones and water – also need to be maintained within strict limits.

The process of maintaining this healthy internal balance is called homeostasis. Naturopathy believes that illness is more likely to occur if the body is ‘knocked out’ of homeostasis by lifestyle or environmental factors. The central idea is that the human body is capable of maintaining a healthy state if barriers such as excessive stress and poor nutrition are eliminated. This power to self-heal is called ‘the vital force’.

Holistic assessment
Your naturopath will want to know about your diet, lifestyle, family background and environment, as well as the history of your illness or complaint. This range of information is important to the practitioner, who seeks to discover the cause of the illness and treat you as a whole person, rather than target the symptoms alone.

As well as taking a comprehensive health history, the naturopath might employ other assessment techniques, such as:

  • Iris analysis
  • Kinesiology
  • Blood analysis
  • Stool and urine analysis
  • Hair analysis.

A range of non-invasive treatments
The naturopath employs a range of non-invasive techniques and these include (but are not limited to):

  • Nutrition and dietary advicethis is one of naturopathy’s foundations. A poor diet stops the body from functioning well and a build-up of toxins can contribute to a range of illnesses. Whole, fresh and unprocessed foods are recommended.
  • Herbal medicine – herbs are as potent as pharmaceutical drugs and can be used to great effect.
  • Homeopathy – homeopathic treatments are used to stimulate the immune system.
  • Hydrotherapy (water therapy) – another foundation of naturopathy. For instance, the use of hot and cold compresses might be used for certain disorders to influence the flow of blood and body heat.
  • Physical therapies – such as massage, bowen, acupressure, bio-puncture or mechanotherapy.
  • Kinesiology and integrated bio-dynamics (IBD).
  • Counselling techniques – emotional problems and stress can interfere with the healing process. Counselling techniques can include stress management strategies and life coaching.

Special considerations
Fasting is sometimes recommended. Make sure you are in the hands of a qualified and reputable naturopath before you start a fast.