Tag Archives: medicine

More Toxic Thyroid Supplements


During 2 decades of practicing endocrinology I had not encountered an instance of an over the counter product containing enough active thyroid hormone to make a difference in thyroid levels. In the last month I consulted on two new patients who appear to have developed toxic thyroid levels due to non-prescription products. The first involved a “Metabolic Complex” obtained from New Zealand. This seemed like a fairly random event in which a non-prescribing health practitioner was able to obtain an unregulated product which was passed on to the patient. Not likely to become a common issue. This second instance is more worrisome since it involves a product purchased directly by the patient from the internet, and supposedly “vegetarian” in nature.

Here is the story. A woman with a history of hypothyroidism for about one year taking synthetic prescription thyroid hormone decided to find a more natural solution to thyroid hormone replacement. She stopped the thyroid hormone replacement prescribed by her local physician and purchased a product via the internet advertised to improve thyroid gland “health”. Prior to starting the OTC product her thyroid blood tests indicated low thyroid levels, as expected. About a month after starting the thyroid supplement her thyroid levels were clearly above normal, entering the thyrotoxic range. Fortunately she returned to her physician who alerted her to the problem and asked her to stop the thyroid supplement and one month later she was back to being hypothyroid again. It was at this time I first consulted with her and found her to have the expected symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, poor memory, dry skin and water retention (edema). I restarted her on prescription thyroid hormone replacement.

I wanted to see the product bottle myself but was unable to obtain it. Instead I went on-line and tried to track down the product’s manufacturer and list of ingredients. It was a frustrating exercise since the names of the products and the manufacturers and distributors changed from one website to another. I narrowed my search to one product manufactured in California and another in Canada. Perhaps I will be able to get the original pill container and nail this product down but for now it remains a bit mysterious.

Members of metabolism.com have asked me to pass on the name of these products. Now come on…do you think I want to make this situation worse by giving the information away to juvenile delinquents? I am hoping government regulators will become more vigilante to what appears to be a growing problem. In the mean time I advise everyone to be on the alert to similar products being marketed to an unsuspecting public.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

Some of the details of this report have been changed to protect the identity of my patient. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or therapy.

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Prominent Diabetes Specialist Shares His Views on Best Practice Principles


In this video, Eric Cohen, endocrinologist, explains what he considers the principles that will result in the best outcomes for his patients. He also shares his life experiences that influenced him in his decision to specialize in diabetes care.

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Dr. Oz’s “Metabolic Makeover” Dishes Empty Calories


I want to help Dr. Oz not criticize him. Criticizing Dr. Oz is like criticizing Mother Theresa. He is uniformly worshiped by the media and his huge audience. He comes across as someone truly wanting to be helpful. So if I come across as being critical of him think of it as constructive criticism.

Yesterday, as I waited in the checkout line at Walmart, I saw a popular woman’s tabloid with a full page photo of Dr. Oz. The headline with the picture was “Dr. Oz’s Metabolic Makeover”. This intrigued me because I can use new information of this kind in my daily office encounters, so I bought the magazine. Imagine my surprise when, reading through the 2 page article, I didn’t find a single word from the great and powerful Oz. Instead a nameless author offered a summary of “Dr. Oz’s body-transforming secrets!”. What were Dr. Oz’s secrets? Take Vitamin D, fish oil, calcium, multivitamins, get enough sleep, and eat food with anti-oxidants low in carbs and sugar. In conclusion a dietitian put together a few simple recipes for meals based on a 1400 calorie per day diet. That’s it folks. That’s all she wrote!! Nothing even remotely new or body transforming. There was not a single original or inspirational thought to be found. Not even a single quote from the medical guru. I doubt whether he even read the article himself.

Dr. Oz was trained as a cardiac surgeon. It takes years of dedication and hard work to achieve that goal. In his mind must have been a desire to save people’s lives by literally taking them to the brink of death and bringing them back healthier than they were before. What this article says to me is that Dr. Oz has allowed himself to become the Kim Kardashian of medicine. A pretty but empty headed celebrity offering nothing of real value. His full page photo in this magazine is the portrait of an almost cynical drive to grab a few dollars from the pockets of adoring fans. What kind of deal do you have, Dr. Oz? Do you get a few pennies for each magazine sold? Do you really need the money, the fame, the glory that this kind of exploitation provides?

Nobody got hurt by this, you might say. That is true if you have time and money to waste. I know that many people would rather get up to date information they could use to get healthy and donate the money they wasted on this article to better causes.

We expect something more from you Dr. Oz. Shake off your advisers and entourage. Stand up for the person you originally sought to be.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

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