Shomon* * *
DRS. RICHARD AND KARILEE SHAMES ANSWER
It is widely believed that thyroid sufferers lose hair due to decreased
metabolism in the scalp follicles, resulting in early release of the shaft,
root and all. sometimes the hair becomes just too brittle, and there is a
great deal of loss from split ends and breakage. As you know, thyroid is
intimately involved with hair function, witness that early graying and loss
of outer eyebrows, is a cardinal sign of low thyroid in oneself or in the
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As far as what can be done, the first and primary step is to restore full
normal thyroid function. Consider that in general the body's wisdom directs
it to conserve energy when possible, from nonessential areas, shunting repair
and regeneration power to those functions considered more essential. Another
mechanism is that when thyroid function is low, intestinal absorption and
utilization of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional cofactors is
compromised also. Not only are there not enough of the raw materials
available, but the enzymes and sometimes temperature required for optimal
chemical reactions is lessened.
As to restoring full function, don't be misled into utilizing the TSH test
alone as a terrific barometer of full restored function. This one laboratory
determination is in no way up to that important task, regardless of what you
may have been told by your doctor or HMO. A great many thyroid sufferers need
more thyroid hormone replacement than most current endocrinologists are
comfortable with giving.
We have seen people whose hair loss is only finally reversed, after years of
unsuccessful treatments, with a fairly high dose of thyroid medicine,
resulting in a very low TSH. Sometimes it is a mixture of thyroid pills (T3,
T4, and/or natural all combined) that eventually does the trick.
In addition, we recommend a rich vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and essential
fatty acid replacement program. These four categories need to be well
represented, using high quality products to restore and regenerate normal
scalp function via optimizing thyroid metabolism. No other mechanism in the
body has eight separate layers of biochemical control as does thyroid, each
requiring specific vitamins, minerals, and other cofactors that would allow a
full recovery of function. (July, 2002)
Dr. Richard Shames has practiced for over 30 years, written and lectured
widely on thyroid-related topics, and is considered an expert in the field.
He practices in San Rafael, CA.
Karilee Shames has been an assistant professor of nursing, and has led thyroid support groups for many years. In addition to writing their popular books, Thyroid Power and Feeling Fat, Fuzzy or Frazzled? they are regular contributors to Thyroid-Info.com, and provide a service offering thyroid coaching education sessions to consumers nationwide by telephone. For more information, see their web site.