Published Articles

3 February 2011 - 5:18pm

3 February 2011 - 5:18pm


Drs. Richard and Karilee Shames on the Thyroid/Fluoride Linkage

An interview by Mary Shomon as it appears on her website Thyroid-Info

Mary Shomon
An increasing number of practitioners have identified fluoride as a health concern, and more jurisdictions are fighting fluoridation of water, citing health concerns. In addition to believing that fluoride can cause a variety of health problems, you both have long held that fluoride can trigger or worsen hypothyroidism. Can you explain a bit about how and why fluoride can negatively impact health, and specifically the thyroid?

Drs. Shames
Of major interest to us was the statement released Jan 2, 1997 from the employees union of the Environmental Protection Agency, representing 1500 scientists, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals at EPA headqu art ers in Washington DC . The statement reads: "Our members' review of the body of evidence over the last 11 years, including animal and human epidemiology studies, indicates a causal link between fluoride/fluoridation and cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment, and bone pathology."

This art icle was released during a time that we were actively engaged in reviewing the thyroid medical literature for our forthcoming book. We were surprised, and at how little of this information was seeping into public knowledge. In fact, the promoters of fluoride in municipal water supplies were oddly becoming more zealous than ever. 

Then we discovered that the original research intended to support the initial addition of fluoride into drinking water, was flawed. For example, in 1945, the US Public Health Service began to add sodium fluoride into the municipal drinking water of Grand Rapids , MI , the first city in the US to fluoridate. Grand Rapids was supposed to serve as the test city. It's dental decay rates were to be compared with those of Muskegon , MI , which was non-fluoridated. After ten years, it was to be determined if fluoride was both safe and effective. 

Amazingly, this "research" was to be performed on an entire city, rather than using a voluntary sampling group initially. More strange was that long before the study was completed, the Public Health Service and the American Dental Association endorsed fluoridation. This was in 1950, only a few years into the supposed ten-year study. Within a short time after that, Muskegon , the control city, was also fluoridated. The decision and the endorsements entirely overshadowed the fact that the tooth decay rate in non-fluoridated Muskegon had decreased about as much as the fluoridated city, Grand Rapids . 

Not only was the science incomplete, but in addition, sodium fluoride was soon replaced by another fluoride substance, hydrofluosilicic acid, a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry primarily, and also from some aluminum plants. 

Early in the 1950's, the PHS gave its blessing to these alternate sources of fluoride, without having even attempted to research them. The EPA admits it still has no data on the long term detrimental effects of silicofluorides. Furthermore, our research of older medical art icles revealed that fluoride was once used as an anti-thyroid medicine, prescribed by doctors in hospitals and clinics. It was used to slow down an overactive thyroid. In addition, it was also effective in slowing down a normal or already-sluggish hypothyroid gland. For instance, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, Volume 18, 1958, page 1102, Drs. Galetti and Goyer explain the "Effect of Fluorine in Thyroidal Iodine Metabolism in Hyperthyroidism". 

Also of historical interest is the item we came across describing how the Nazi concentration camps used fluoridated water to suppress the will and vigor of inmates. This appears to have been during the 1930's and was the first known example of fluoridated water supplies for a specific population. 

Since our review of the thyroid literature was revealing a growing epidemic, we became interested in possible causes for this mushrooming incidence of a specific autoimmune illness. We came to believe that the thyroid epidemic could be due, in large part , to the bombardment of our collective thyroid glands by chemicals considered to be helpful, but which are actually harmful. Fluoride is just one of a great many such substances dumped into the environment, with deleterious human results. It is a p art icularly noteworthy example because it is supposed to be beneficial, as well as totally benign to even the youngest members of the society, for whom it is targeted. In fact, it appears to be neither benign nor all that effective.

We now feel convinced that the thyroid epidemic could be due largely to the excessive harmful chemicals in our food, air, and water, confusing and stressing our immune systems. The chemical triggering of autoimmune thyroid falls into the category of "hormone disruption". Wonderful books on this topic include: OUR STOLEN FUTURE, by Colburn, Dumanosky, and Myers, as well as HORMONAL CHAOS, by Sheldon Krimsky. We also discuss this topic at greater length, and provide multiple references, in our forthcoming book THYROID POWER.

Mary Shomon
Fluoride is seemingly our drinking water, absorbed via our skin from the water we shower and bathe in, in our toothpastes, being pushed at us by dentists in fluoride treatments. What can and should the average thyroid patient realistically do, in terms or reducing -- or even eliminating -- their fluoride exposure? 

Drs. Shames
Not everyone needs to avoid fluoride like the plague, but thyroid sufferers should. 

The first step to take is to stop drinking fluoridated water. You will need more than the standard carbon canister water filters for this purpose. Instead, you will need a reverse osmosis or distillation unit. The carbon block filters are highly recommended to remove the chlorine and bromine, also major thyroid disruptors. 

The next step is to - in general - live a more chemically free, and immune-friendly lifestyle. You might start by reading household product labels the same way you read food labels. You might look to see what medicines have fluorine atoms as part of their chemical structure. The Prozac class of antidepressants, (which includes Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) is one of the largest-selling examples of this kind of drug. 

Non-fluoridated toothpaste is easily available with a bit of looking carefully at the health food store shelf (many health food toothpastes are fluoridated, but not all of them). There are also non-fluoridated tooth powders, such as Ipsab, an excellent Edgar Cayce product. 

In addition, the autoimmune triggering effect is multifactorial. You can reduce the impact of fluoride, some of which may be unavoidable, by reducing your exposure to other harmful chemicals. Avoid products that have nasty-sounding ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Avoid chemically-smelling air whenever possible. Use regular strength household products, instead of extra strength or industrial strength products. Substitute diluted vinegar, or full-strength ginger ale as a good household cleanser. 

There are distilled water products available at the stores, which are preferable to bottled waters, juices, and teas whose fluoride content you cannot verify. Do your best to avoid cigarette smoke, fabric stores, radiator shops, and newly carpeted or painted rooms. Ants and fleas in the home can be handled with boric acid diatumaceous earth, and other non-toxic means. Support companies that specialize in non-toxic, organic pest control. Also, consider using a HEPA portable air filter in your sleeping space and office. These can be purchased from any of the major dep art ment stores. 

And finally, get politically involved. Fluoride will not be such a big p art of the environment when more and more people st art telling their city councils and local water boards that they don't want this toxic waste product added to their municipal water supplies. This debate is currently raging across the US , even though most other industrialized countries have either banned or rejected this questionable public health practice. 

Mary Shomon
All the popular toothpastes for children have fluoride, and as early as age 3 and 4, dentists st art suggesting fluoride treatments. As the parent of a young child, I don't want to neglect her dental treatment, but concerns regarding fluoride, plus the fact that I have autoimmune thyroid disease and have likely passed on that tendency to her, make me doubly concerned to expose her to too much fluoride. But how much is too much? Should all children be drinking bottled water, using non-fluoride toothpaste, and avoiding fluoride treatments, or just children of parents with autoimmune thyroid disease? And if we choose the non-fluoride route, are there other things we can do to ensure the dental health our our children?

Drs. Shames
Many thyroid parents would do well to tell their dentist that their child is allergic to fluoride because of the family history of autoimmune thyroiditis, and ask for alternative maneuvers. Be sure your child brushes frequently, flosses regularly, and avoids sugar.

As we mentioned there are many toothpastes without fluoride when one searches carefully. We realize that it is possible that children not using fluoride could possibly have more cavities, but this has not been proven to every doctor's satisfaction. We personally don't believe that is the case. We believe that the benefits of fluoride, even for children, have been overstated, and the risks minimized.

Specifically with children in mind, all that we have said above for adults we emphasize for the younger members of our society. The developing thyroid gland is p art icularly sensitive to chemical assault. The stage that is set early in life can become the backdrop for many years of adult problems - even if there is some benefit in reduction of cavities in children's teeth. There is also the risk of dental fluorosis, a growing dental problem in fluoridated areas (too much fluoride is bad for teeth). Moreover, the total health of the child is more important than the single area of baby teeth (according to John Yiamouyiannis, PhD, in his book FLUORIDE: THE AGING FACTOR, fluoride has NEVER been shown to be helpful for adult teeth).

As to your question about how much is too much, we know that 4 or 5 mg per day is too much. The problem is -- NO ONE REALLY KNOWS HOW MUCH PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY GETTING! People who exercise and drink a lot of water, who use fluoridated toothpaste, and use fluoride dental treatments thinking they are doing the right thing, and who drink sodas, juices, and teas likely made from fluoridated water, including those who bathe frequently, swim in pools, etc. may be overdosing on fluoride all the time without realizing it. There is NO way to measure one's exposure. Many children use gobs of toothpaste, and swallow it because it tastes so good. 

We specifically recommend moderation, careful monitoring, for those who feel a need to use some for their children's teeth, use it sparingly and under close supervision. As with many health matters, moderation is the key. For those interested in further pursuing this important topic, we highly recommend the website   

An interview by Mary Shomon as it appears on her website Thyroid-Info


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3 February 2011 - 5:17pm

3 February 2011 - 5:17pm


Andy Soltis. New York Post. New York, N.Y. June 8, 2005 pg. 003

Fluoride in your water can be hazardous to your bones, a new study suggests. Research on Tibetan children with discolored teeth found 96 percent had "developmental skeletal abnormalities," said the study, reported in the journal Fluoride. The tooth symptoms "should be viewed as more than a matter of cosmetic concern," the study said. It "might lead to full-scale debilitating skeletal fluorosis" - with pain, stiffness and bone defects.


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3 February 2011 - 5:15pm

3 February 2011 - 5:15pm



What sorts of things -- medicine, supplements, mind and body approaches -- can be done for a flagging libido?-- Mary Shomon


This can indeed be a difficult area, perhaps one of the least talked-about and most distressing aspects of low thyroid conditions. because in addition to having the same complex biochemical aspects that the more purely physical ailments have, there is often now even more emotional overlay to cope with. Keep in mind that emotional overlay with a thyroid sufferer is in p art due to the compromised brain function that somehow is linked to memory loss, depression, and anxiety. These brain difficulties are known to be a direct result of the lack of proper brain stimulation by thyroid hormone. We consider this challenge to be one that begs for creative solutions, as well as the optimal medication and supplementation. 

First of all, if low libido is affecting your life, once again make sure that your thyroid correction is as exactly right for you as possible. You may need a different brand of thyroxine, you may need T-3 added to your thyroxine regime, you may do better on natural thyroid hormone. If you are already on natural thyroid, you could benefit from adding synthetic T-3 and/or T-4 added. For some people, an excellent way to accomplish this is with the synthetic combo called Thyrolar. This fixed combination does not serve everyone well, and many do better with two different pill bottles, one of T-3 and one of T-4, so as to get a more personalized ration of the two. If you are on natural thyroid and it is working reasonably well, you still might benefit from changing brands of natural thyroid. In addition to Armour, there is Naturethroid, Westroid, the new Bio-Throid, and the old standby Proloid. 

In addition to these medication possibilities, make sure your vitamin intake is strong. That means: a high quality multivitamin and multimineral (not from discount drug store); plenty of extra antioxidants, which help with inflammation of the gland through eliminating free radicals; extra amino acids, generally a couple of grams a day of mixed high-quality aminos; to ensure entry of thyroid hormone into the cells, take a full dose of Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. This means adding to your fish or flax oils some primrose or borage oil. 

We suggest doing everything possible to balance your life, including meditation, exercise, stress-reduction maneuvers, counseling with the opportunity for safe emotional discharge, and simply taking time off to do nothing in p art icular. This program, with the last suggestions in p art icular, can be highly effective in freeing up creativity, or sexual energy, that has been hidden or locked inside. 

As we have detailed in our book THYROID POWER, there are many other loving actions one can take with oneself and one's p art ner to overcome this challenge. An energy-compromised person must guard her energy carefully, making decisions about where to spend it just as one must when considering financial expenditures. When one person has this condition, the couple must work together diligently to protect their energetic investment, often necessitating a thoughtful decision-making process that honors the needs of the unit. This kind of teamwork becomes even more critical when caring for children, aging parents, or in highly demanding work situations. 

The actual day-to-day spark can be more forthcoming if the non-affected p art ner can contribute to re-establishing more energy flow through supportive behavior, including massaging sore muscles, reminding the affected person to exercise, eat properly, take the assorted supplements mentioned, eat nutritionally-charged foods that work to enhance energy (less and less sugar and junk food, more low-fat protein and less carbs). 

The p art ner can lovingly remind the affected person of his or her needs without coming across as demanding or blaming. This can, under the right circumstances, become an interesting challenge for the pair. It seems to require the pursuit of romance much like the playful seduction applied in the earlier courting days of the relationship. While this can be perceived as a burden to tired working couples or parents of young children, it is a challenge worthy of the time and space needed to maintain harmony. If a person is not in a committed relationship, she or he must be even more protective of oneself and ones energy, in order to create the possibility of a more balanced life. The truth is, this is a big challenge, and one must make very wise decisions about where to spend time and commitment. (July, 2002)

As it appears on Mary Shomon's Website Thyroid-Info under "Ask the Experts"


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3 February 2011 - 5:10pm

3 February 2011 - 5:10pm



What is the percentage of men versus women with thyroid deficiencies?



According to studies, which present varying statistics, out of every 10 thyroid sufferers, approximately 7 to 8 are female. It appears that this difference is related to the fact that thyroid conditions are autoimmune in nature for the most p art , and that women tend to have more autoimmune illness. The reason might be related to the more complex reproductive system, and continuous hormonal and inflammatory changes during monthly cycling. (August, 2002)

As it appears on Mary Shomon's Website Thyroid-Info under "Ask the Experts"

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3 February 2011 - 5:09pm

3 February 2011 - 5:09pm


In our new book FEELING FAT, FUZZY OR FRAZZLED? (Hudson Street/ Penguin 2005) we are recommending saliva testing as a superior method to evaluate hormone status. This process is useful for most of us, whether you are mildly affected by hormone imbalance, severely impacted and unable to function, or simply wondering if the hormone issue is a factor in your everyday health.

We have created an opportunity for health consumers to obtain saliva testing without necessarily working with a practitioner, though in our book we clearly suggest you work with someone trained in saliva testing and hormone balancing when possible. This testing, offered through the Canary Club, enables people to order saliva kits online, which are sent to you directly with simple instructions. Once you fill the enclosed tubes with saliva, you send the kit back and within 10 days after they have received your kit, results from your scores are posted on the website.

What you're looking for with these tests is to find out whether you are totally normal in these three hormone arenas, or whether one or more is showing some abnormality. One of the most useful pieces of information, as discussed below, is to determine which of these three hormone systems is currently causing you the most difficulty.

Once you get your scores, then what?

First you need to interpret your tests. Here are some simple clues to help you do this:

1. Start with the thyroid panel first. 

There are 4 separate determinations each measuring a different facet of your thyroid function.

A. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) 
measures how much your brain and pituitary are asking for more thyroid. A higher than normal number indicates that your "control room" is asking your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone, because your current levels are too low. Conversely, if your TSH is lower than normal, this means the amount of thyroid hormone now in your tissues is too high. 
The ideal place to be on this measurement is in the lower third of normal range.

B. T4 (thyroxine - stable storage and transport form of thyroid hormone)
This is the actual level of the thyroid hormone that the thyroid gland makes and releases into the body. It is considered the "inactive" form, from which active thyroid hormone is made. The ideal level is to be in the middle third of the normal range.

C. T3 (thyronine or tri-iodothyronine - active thyroid hormone)
T3 measures the amount of thyroid hormone that has already been converted from T4 and is ready to go to work in your tissues. The ideal level is the middle third of normal range.

D. Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO or microsomal antibody test)
THis measures whether or not your system is making antibodies against the thyroid gland. A negative means "no, it isn't" ; a positive means "yes, it is making antibodies". 
The ideal is to be negative, or "none".


2. Next, consider your reproductive hormone scores. Both genders have estrogen, progestone, and testosterone levels. The range of normal differs for males & females.

A. Estrogen - ideally this score falls in the middle third of the normal range, depending on whether you are having periods or postmenopausal, and if you're having periods if you were tested during the early (follicular) part of your cycle or the latter part of cycle (luteal). Normals are listed for each of these categories.

B. Progesterone - This is a hormone that is considered a balancer of estrogen levels. It is interpreted same as estrogen.

C. Free Testosterone - Measures androgen levels; you want to be ideally in middle of normal range.


3. Adrenal Testing (ASI or Adrenal Stress Index)

A. 4 sample cortisol levels (8 am, noon, 4 pm, 11 pm)
Ideal would be to be in middle of normal range listed as "Ref values" for each time. 
Your score shows as dark black line entirely within the 2 dotted lines (upper dotted line = upper end of normal range, lower dotted line - lower end of normal range ) . Ideally you would be in the middle of those two dotted lines.

B. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This is the main reservoir of all other adrenal hormones, and you want to be midline in the normal range of 3-10.

C. A third determination is the cortisol-DHEA correlation. In this instance, you are the tiny black square on graph to right of wording. You want your little black square to be within the normal range reference rectangle that is the smaller shaded part of the graph. If you are outside the normal reference area, the lower the number of the rectangle your square is in, the more normal your result.


4. Comparison of the Three Tests:

Ideal levels are basically the middle of normal range (except for TSH described above).

*If you were normal in thyroid and normal in reproductive hormones, but showed abnormals in adrenal testing, then you have a clear cut situation revealing that adrenal is your current major issue (in our book, this means you are the adrenal or emotional endo- type).

* If adrenal and reproductive testing was normal, and only thyroid showed problems, then you are the "physical" endocrine type, and should immediately begin recommendations as listed in FEELING FAT FUZZY OR FRAZZLED? for thyroid rebalancing.

* If reproductive problems alone show up, then you need to initiate rebalancing efforts for the mental endo-type as per our book.


If there are abnormalities that show up in your testing on two or more gland systems, you need to find your endocrine type by determining which set of results is most abnormal, according to the ideal ranges listed above. The most abnormal system is the one you begin to re-balance first. Then later, if still needed, you can re-balance the second most abnormal system according to the recommendations for over-the-counter products.

If there is controversy, be sure to include information gained in your self-evaluation questionnaires provided in chapter 3 of our book. Therefore, your next step would be to use the suggestions for immediate, intermediate, and long-term adrenal re-balancing.

If you are working with a practitioner, simply share these results with that person and strive to get their best input. Remember that everyone's approach is slightly different. Some practitioners would use this information to start you on over-the-counter products, then move you to prescription items if more help was needed.

If you or your practitioner would like help in interpreting these test results or in deciding on the best course of action based on these results, you may elect to have a coaching session with Dr. Shames. Simply go to and preview the information related to telephone coaching sessions.

You can arrange for a "practitioner consultation" (25 minutes max. for a reduced fee) or you can speak with Dr. Shames for an hour for a prepaid appointment by telephone. Your practitioner can be included on conference call if needed.

We hope this information is helpful as you seek to reclaim your health!

Blessings on your journey, Karilee & Rich Shames


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