Your Sweet Tooth Can Lead To More Than A Toothache – Thyroid Disease

A recent issue ofInternal Medicine News (June 15th, 2015) highlighted how researchers are discouraging their patients withHashimoto’s thyroiditis from usingartificialsweeteners.


Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is typically a condition where the thyroid is underactive and essentially “sluggish.” This means it is not producing enough thyroid hormones for the body’s cells. When this happens it manifests itself through certain classic thyroid disease symptoms and signs, such as weight gain or inability to lose weight despite rigorous exercise, cold intolerance (these are the people who don’t like air-conditioning in the summer!), irritability, muscle aches and pains.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is considered anautoimmune disease, because doctors typically find antibodies in the blood of these patients that attack the thyroid gland.


The researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital studied 100 patients with documented Hashimoto’s thyroiditis by checking their blood antibodies. 53 patients reported using 3 1/2 packets of artificial sweetener a day and the researchers found a significant correlation between the sugar substitutes and an elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). This is another blood marker pointing to an underactive thyroid. Interestingly, they also looked at 125 control patients that were suspected of having, but did not have thyroid disease. Among these patients88% did not use artificial sweeteners!

A major concern is that artificial sweeteners, which can be found in so many drinks and foods, may be over stimulating the immune system to attack the thyroid. The lead researcher, Dr. Issac Sachmechi, asked his thyroid patients if they used artificial sweeteners, and if they did, to stop.

The artificial sweeteners I am talking about come in those colorful green, pink or yellow packets: Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) or sucralose (Splenda).


AtMitchell Medical Group, we specialize in diagnosing thyroid disease andthyroid optimization treatment. We check for the specific antibodies that attack the thyroid, and we check the free thyroid hormones, T3 , T4, as well as TSH and reverse T3.

Unfortunately, many doctors overlook an underactive thyroid because the T4 is normal. This is a mistake! An underactive thyroid involves a high clinical suspicion based on the patient’s thyroid disease symptoms (as described above). In many cases ofChronic FatigueSyndrome our patients need thyroid optimization support because their illness has depleted their thyroid hormones.


Last year I had a patient complaining of burning eyelids and eye tearing. She thought it was an allergy and asked to be tested for environmental allergens, as she assumed it was due to pollen or mold. I asked her for a detailed history and found she also had symptoms of muscle pains, being tired a lot and was very irritated that she couldn’t lose 10 lbs despite working out with a trainer.

I suspected she had more than just allergies going on, and in her case, I was right. Believe it or not, she had no allergies. But her thyroid was sluggish as seen with an elevated TSH of 8.0. She also had elevated thyroid antibodies consistent with thyroid disease. I treated her with a natural thyroid product that combines T4 and T3.

Within a month, she had an amazing reaction to the treatment. Her eyelid symptoms disappeared, her muscle aches went away and her energy rebounded. Her only complaint was – “I still didn’t lose my 10 lbs!” Her diet history revealed she likes having 2 glasses of wine with dinner every night. Until she cuts back on her alcohol it may be a while until she loses those pounds!

The moral of the story: The doctor can’t cure everything. We need a little help from you to get to the root of your problem.

To finish, I want to let you know I have a sweet tooth too. If you see me in a restaurant with a coffee, don’t be surprised to see me take out some Sweet Leaf Stevia packets. I carry these in my pocket to satisfy my palate.

– Dr. Dean Mitchell

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