Letters to Drs. Oz and Roizen
ThyroidChange submitted this letter to Drs. Oz & Roizen. It is in response to the Washington Examiner editorial they co-authored regarding the importance of the thyroid gland which conveys inaccurate information regarding both assessment and treatment options.
August 20, 2012
Dear Drs. Oz and Roizen:
Recently, you co-wrote an editorial regarding thyroid health issues. Thyroid dysfunction is a very important topic that affects many individuals. 1 in 5 is the most oft quoted statistic. It may be an oversight, however, your article conveys inaccurate information regarding both assessment and treatment options. When you fact check this letter, you will see that you need to supply your audience with correct information regarding thyroid care. Perhaps, you may wish to dedicate a television show correcting the misinformation that is promoted on such a common affliction. You could end the suffering for so many individuals.
First and foremost, the TSH test is not an accurate indicator of cellular hypothyroidism, rather it is an indicator of pituitary health (http://nahypothyroidism.org/how-accurate-is-tsh-testing). In order to assess the cellular access to T4 and T3, the lab tests Free T4 and Free T3 need to be checked . Additionally, this article by Dr. Kent Holtorf (http://nahypothyroidism.org/deiodinases) details the importance of the Reverse T3 test in combination with the Free T3 and Free T4 tests in the assessment of tissue thyroid levels. This is significant because patients who have normal range TSH can have debilitating symptoms due to pituitary dysfunction and/or cellular hypothyroidism. By reinforcing that TSH “golden rule,” patients are not diagnosed and suffer needlessly.
Let us suppose the TSH is a good indicator hypothyroidism. You cited that a person is hypothyroid when their TSH value is over 10 on the lab results range. In 2003 (9 years ago), the AACE lowered the recommended lab range high from 5 to 3. A large number of patients who look up to Drs. Oz and Roizen are now misinformed as to when to begin treatment. If their doctors also use these outdated methods, these patients will remain symptomatic due to their untreated hypothyroidism. This will probably result in a multitude of unnecessary prescriptions addressing symptoms, but not addressing the root cause of hypothyroidism. If you reflect on the nature of TSH, the body’s pituitary response to the message of the hypothalmus, you are relying on the functioning of that exchange.
In addition, you state, “Solve the problem. Taking the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine every day can normalize your thyroid hormone levels and take care of the symptoms.” This statement is misleading and minimizing to the thousands of thyroid patients who are suffering while on synthetic T4-only treatment. Thyroid patients who are still sufferring can tell you that it is often not as easy to fix as simply taking a pill every day. For instance, many health issues often accompany thyroid disease and frequently interfere with thyroid treatment such as low cortisol, low iron, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. We NEED to make sure that accurate information is reaching thyroid patients and their physicians.
As doctors specializing in functional medicine, you are aware of the many issues that can arise from providing patients with a synthetic hormone that needs to be converted. There can be problems throughout the processing. This fact is why combination synthetic therapy such as Synthroid/Levoxyl and Cytomel or the use of natural thyroid exist. Even with the existence of new testing methods and treatment options, patients have difficulty finding access to them. You are right in encouraging patients to seek appropriate treatment, and not to settle for less than optimal health, however, you need to provide them with all of the modern treatment approaches. We know your show seeks to provide this to patients.
Please, Drs. Oz and Roizen, fact check our letter. Please review the citations of the articles we have referred to in this letter. Please go to www.thyroidchange.org to read patient stories of suffering due to doctors who are unaware of the most recent findings in this rapidly changing field of Endocrinology. Please consider having a show regarding innovative, modern assessment and treatment options. We need your help reaching those 1 in 5 individuals who need a voice and are still suffering.
The United Voice of Thyroid Patients Worldwide