Interesting Article of an interview with Dr Joh... - Thyroid UK

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Interesting Article of an interview with Dr John Lowe



When it comes to the thyroid, are not listening to many of their patients. They drive the laboratory results to a desired target as primary treatment criteria and insist that is where it needs to remain for symptom improvement. Yet, this often fails to improve or eliminate the ongoing hypothyroid symptoms. How has your research helped bridge that treatment gap?

15 Replies

Thank you for posting this interview, Shaws. I haven't come across this one before. We need to keep Dr Lowe's name and work prominent on the forum for the benefit of members who don't know about the problem of peripheral resistance to T3.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to find a copy of Dr Lowe's The Metabolic Treatment of Fibromyalgia at a reasonable price. So far I've only dipped in, but I'm hoping I'll recover enough energy and concentration before too long that I can read it right through.

shawsAdministrator in reply to Hillwoman

You are extremely fortunate to find a copy of his book. The last time I looked on Amazon someone was asking about £800. It is a research book, I believe.

Hillwoman in reply to shaws

I'll have to check the exact price, but I think it was just over £40, from a second hand book dealer in Arizona, via one of the big online dealerships. :-) But yes, it is basically a huge medical textbook.

shawsAdministrator in reply to Hillwoman

Just looked on Amazon, and was stunned to find three copies at £127 and £228. I wish doctors could study this book which must have taken years to complete.

Hillwoman in reply to shaws

It was just pure luck - I'd been checking prices for years, always in the £££ area. There's a wealth of info on thyroid function in it. I can't believe UK endocrinologists know even half of it. They aren't taught the historical perspective either.

Hillwoman in reply to Hillwoman

Meant to add, if ever there's anything you want me to look up in the book, just ask.

shawsAdministrator in reply to Hillwoman

Thank you.

Thank you for posting. Very interesting reading on the research, and good to know about.

A few thoughts spring to mind:

1) rT3 can indeed go up, due to mercury toxicity, which is much more common than was discussed. Mercury fillings leach mercury and tuna and other large fish have it, it can also go up when the body is stressed due to lifestyle, chronic illness, toxicity, and other environmental factors. This is my own experience and seems to match what I read elsewhere.My doctor treated with T3, which seemed to work.

2) The thyroid can be stressed and not work properly due to a large number of causes. Treating the thyroid in isolation runs the risk of missing something more serious, which can eventually show up as celiac disease, cancer, Parkinson's, dementia, CFS, fibromyalgia, mental illnesses, etc. If the thyroid is off, it is important to look for what's causing it - in some cases, damage can be done by speeding up the metabolism. Treating symptoms in the short-term with thyroid hormones can definitely help, but it's got to be in context if the whole person - we're a system of systems - if one is off, the others likely are too.

3) Fibromyalgia is far more complex than just a thyroid problem - see 2) above. I don't doubt supranormal dosing of thyroid wouldn't help, someone feel better, but there's a lot more going on, and worth investigating. And Dr. Lowe's work is out of date - there's more research and testing available today then when he was coming to those conclusions. Cell signalling, lipid rafts, chronic hidden infections, nutrient deficiencies, hidden toxic burdens, mitochondrial dysfunction, etc may all be players.

It's more than just thyroid, though thyroid is important.

shawsAdministrator in reply to Learner1

I agree everything is interconnected. It is just that Dr Lowe, as a young man discovered, through his own research, that he himself was thyroid hormone resistant and so went on to have a successful career as someone who treated metabolic disorders - and his own treatment was daily. He didn't say his Fibromyalgia patients had hypothyroidism. He also stated most of the things you have mentioned, i.e. chronic hidden infections, nutrient deficiencies, hidden toxic burdens, mitochondrial dysfunction, etc. I thought these links might be still helpful.

Hillwoman in reply to Learner1

Learner1 A lot of Dr Lowe's work is still current, and he was well aware of many of the problems you mention, e.g. mitochondrial dysfunction, the effect of toxins, etc. He was a researcher, as well as a metabolic clinician, with an earlier background in chiropractic.

Learner1 in reply to Hillwoman

I believe John C Lowe died in 2012. The original link was from 1999/2000, and the other link was to a site where the latest News on the News page was from 2007.

So, it's highly unlikely the info is up to date. Not that it's not useful, but new info needs to be examined in context with it.

There has been some very exciting research in the past 3 years on these topics which underscores the fact that it's more than just thyroid. Robert Naviaux's work is extremely significant, for example.

The question to be asking should be, "How does what we know now relate to all of the research and data Dr. Lowe did? How does it explain what he found, as he was a maverick in his time? And how can we apply it to patients in the future? And mist importantly, train doctors in this, so clinical practice isn't 20 years behind the science?"

Hillwoman in reply to Learner1

Dr Lowe's focus was on peripheral thyroid resistance, not on fibromyalgia. There have been some small but significant advances in the understanding of the genetic forms of resistance, but acquired cellular resistance to T3 was his research interest. There have been no major advances, that I'm aware of, in this area since he wrote his main work. I agree that the title of his book can be confusing for this reason, but it served to underscore the origins of his interest in hypothyroidism in general.

shawsAdministrator in reply to Learner1

I would imagine that sick and very unwell people couldn't care less about up-to-date information - all they want is to be well and that's not happening if this forum is so successful.

Who would we consult in the UK? Knowing that we'd be listened too and every effort made to relieve clinical symptoms if levo wasn't working?

If everything was perfect we'd certainly not be on this forum as we'd be well on levothyroxine - if diagnosed - (I wasn't).

If not recovering - Dr Skinner was similar to Dr Lowe in that he would be called a 'maverick' and rightly so, as patients were going in droves to him due to the failure of the NHS guidelines. For not succumbing to the repeat appearances before the GMC - they could find no cause against Dr S (no complaints from patients - so who was?), he died of a stroke - no doubt caused by the relentless pursuit of Dr S and other UK doctors who treated patients as they were taught as students.

The treatment of hypothyroid patients who don't do well on levothyroxine leaves a lot to be desired. That's why was instituted - patients being left high and dry as they would only be diagnosed by blood test result (no clinical ymptoms) and left to get-on-with-it or diagnosed with a mental health condition (most probably caused by low FT3 which is rarely tested).

It has to be said that patients who don't get well on levothyroxine appear to do so on NDT - this product was first initiated in 1892 - so not modern but more compatible with the human body, but on the forbidden list now, it would seem.

Marz in reply to Learner1

Learner1 - having been diagnosed with Fibro back in 2000 and Hashi's in 2005 - I feel one of the problems is the inadequate thyroid testing and then the lack of interpretation skills of said results.

I was once on a Fibro forum where I would ask if people had had their thyroids checked. The replies were always the same - yes and they are normal. On probing further I would discover that only the TSH was tested and very occasionally the FT4. Rarely the FT3 and anti-bodies. As for VitD - B12 etc. I invariably drew a blank.

As we know, the longer the thyroid is left untreated - more damage will take place. It is vital that all avenues are investigated before the Fibro diagnosis becomes permanent - no matter what modern research throws up.

On that topic I have read that Big Pharma is seeking a pill that will make them millions due to the numbers involved 😴

Thank goodness I retired to Crete and had a Hashi's diagnosis otherwise I would still be struggling big time in the UK with a Fibro label ....

The thyroid resistance information is valuable for all of us. That's why I praised the article.

What is out of date is the idea that fibromyalgia is caused by underactive or resistant thyroid. There's no doubt that a subset of people with thyroid problems develop symptoms of fibromyalgia and these symptoms in some cases can and do resolve with large doses of thyroid hormone.

But, what about those who the strategy doesn't work fot? I'd hate for people so suffering to think it's the ONLY factor in causing fibromyalgia.

Naviaux's work on cell danger response and the winter and summer metabolism theory sheds light on the many variables that can cause our bodies to revolt.

For many fibromyalgia patients, removing the toxicity and addressing chronic infections which most people have but they and their doctors are blissfully unaware of, and nurturing and repairing the resulting immune and endocrine dysfunction and mitochondrial damage can eventually resolve fibromyalgia and CFS symptoms. The science and treatments are new, and it's challenging, but as most people don't recover, this us what eventually works for most who do.

If you only have a hammer, then everything can be fixed with one...or not... I'm just suggesting we need more tools in the toolbox beyond Lowe's vast trove of good work.

Thank you for the discussion. We are all learning from each other, and I appreciate learning from you.

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