Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Use of over-the-counter thyroid support pills is risky, researcher finds

Date:
October 28, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
People who use over-the-counter "thyroid support'' supplements may be putting their health at risk, according to a new study. The supplements contain varying amounts of two different kinds of thyroid hormones apparently derived in large part from chopped up animal thyroid glands, says an endocrinologist.

People who use over-the-counter "thyroid support'' supplements may be putting their health at risk, according to a study being presented at the annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association. The supplements contain varying amounts of two different kinds of thyroid hormones apparently derived in large part from chopped up animal thyroid glands, says the study's senior investigator, Victor Bernet, M.D., an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

The hormones are known as T3, or triiodothyronine, and T4, or thyroxine. They are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and intended for use only in prescription medication because they can cause significant health issues, such as an increase in heart rate, heart irregularities and palpitations, nervousness, and diarrhea, Dr. Bernet says.

"These hormones have effects throughout the body, which is why they are controlled," he says.

Not only did nine of the 10 supplements studied have animal hormone, the amount of hormones in the products varied significantly, sometimes exceeding doses used for individual patients and comparable to levels found in prescription thyroid medication, Dr. Bernet says.

The supplements likely do not give most people the results they are seeking, such as weight loss or less fatigue, he says.

"The amount of thyroid hormone a normal person would have to take to lose weight would be dangerously high and there is no evidence that use of thyroid hormone effectively treats fatigue when used in people without actual hypothyroidism," he says.

Because physicians have seen a number of abnormal thyroid tests from patients using over-the-counter supplements, Dr. Bernet became interested in this issue when he heard reports of such cases as chairman of the American Thyroid Association's public health committee. He worked with researchers including endocrinologists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he practiced at the time.

The researchers bought 10 commercially available thyroid supplements from stores or websites and used high-pressure liquid chromatography to separate and identify the chemical components of T3 and T4. Nine of the 10 contained T3 and five of them would deliver as much, or more, than 50 percent of the total amount of T3 produced by the body daily.

Four of the 10 supplements contained T4, and some of those contained a dose that could be twice as much as what an adult needs each day. Only one supplement had no detectable T3 or T4.

The results show there is a need for more effective monitoring of the contents of over-the-counter thyroid support products and more patient education about the products' potential health risks, Dr. Bernet says.

The study was funded by the Department of Clinical Investigation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which, in August 2011, became the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Use of over-the-counter thyroid support pills is risky, researcher finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027150200.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, October 28). Use of over-the-counter thyroid support pills is risky, researcher finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027150200.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Use of over-the-counter thyroid support pills is risky, researcher finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027150200.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins