Do you know that a recent study estimates that as many as more than 10 million Americans have an undiagnosed thyroid condition? The vast majority of thyroid patients are women over 40.
Last week, Oprah Winfrey told ABC Good Morning America host Robin Roberts that she, “blew out her thyroid”. It is believed that the October 2007 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, features more specifics on Oprah’s recent thyroid problems, in her own words.
According to Forbes’ annual “Celebrity 100 Power List”, media mogul Oprah Winfrey was the top moneymaker with an estimated income of $260 million (€195.4 million) over the past 12 months.
She was simply over stressed and feeling exhausted. She is said to have taken vitamins, drunk Soy milk, munched golden flaxseed and ate fresh food and at the end of the month, she felt better.
What is Oprah suffering from?
It is very difficult to speculate, but considering her age and her symptoms, it is possible that Oprah is suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, and the most common cause of an under-active thyroid. In Hashimoto’s, antibodies slowly destroy the thyroid gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormone, which is essential to metabolism and energy.
In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it’s not uncommon for someone to go through a brief period of hyperthyroidism — a “last gasp” of the thyroid, so to speak, before it fails and becomes under-active (hypothyroid).
Some patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis may have no symptoms. However, the common symptoms are fatigue, depression, sensitivity to cold, weight gain, forgetfulness, muscle weakness, puffy face, dry skin and hair, constipation, muscle cramps, and increased menstrual flow. Some patients have major swelling of the thyroid gland in the front of the neck, called goiter.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is common in women who are near menopause or who have attained menopause. Very often, this disease is not diagnosed in time and doctors get fooled thinking that it is a case of menopausal depression with weight gain.
Soy Milk controversy:
Everything that a diva like Oprah Winfrey does hits the headlines. We know that she drank Soy milk to fight exhaustion. Did she do the right thing? I will let you decide for yourself…
The US FDA is very critical of Soy milk. They claim that isoflavones found in Soy milk can have goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects.
However, America’s leading alternative doctor, Dr. Andrew Weil, has said about soy, at his Ask Dr. Weil website:
“…you’re unlikely to get too many isoflavones as a result of adding soy foods to your diet — but you probably will take in too much if you take soy supplements in pill form. At this point, I can only recommend that you avoid soy supplements entirely.”
What if I were Oprah’s ‘Alternative’ physician and I had to recommend a Hypothyroidism cure?
I know this is wishful thinking, but as a hypothyroidism cure, I would encourage Oprah to continue with all her allopathic medications, the most important of which would be a small pill, which would restore the thyroid hormone levels and bring it to normal.
I would also encourage her to try our Alternative medicine for her condition.
Natural therapies to alleviate her symptoms include:
- Herbal Medicines (naturopathy)
A combination of herbal ingredients such as Equisetum arvense, oatstraw (Avena sativa), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and gotu kola (Centella asiatica) can be used to promote a healthy thyroid. Herbal remedies may also be used alongside conventional thyroid treatment for hypothyroidism.
Changing the diet will help with hypothyroidism. Eating goitrogenic foods such as rapeseed, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, maize, lima beans, soya and pearl millet should be limited. These foods contain natural goitrogens, which are chemicals that cause the enlargement of the thyroid gland by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis. Cooking is known to make the goitrogens elements less effective but it would be wise not eat these foods raw. Foods that contain iodine such as kelp, beetroot, radish, parsley, potatoes, fish, oatmeal and bananas should be kept in the diet. In the treatment of underactive thyroid, fats, sugars, sodium chloride, red meat and egg intake should also be restricted. Combating Hypothyroidism Naturally
Herbs to Avoid:
- American Ginseng
Homeopathy offers good prognosis to cases of hypothyroidism. Medicines like Calcarea phos, Calcarea carb, Lapis alb, Iodium, Thyroidinum, Spongia, Lycopus, and Calcarea iod are found useful in cases of hypothyroidism.
I am convinced that Oprah Winfrey is working too hard and needs to slow down. Louise Hay, in her book YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, says that some level of self-hatred within ourselves causes many autoimmune diseases. Of course, diseases may have an origin in our genes, but our mind also plays a role in accelerating the manifestation or the course of any illness. Oprah Winfrey in her TV shows has herself brought out her early life struggles, her family problems, abuses and eating binges very candidly. As a physician, I have to wonder, if there is still a trace of self-hatred within her, which has manifested in this disease or was it just plain over work?
Although I have never met Oprah personally, I am an unabashed admirer of her TV shows. Even in the adversity of this disease, I am sure she will bring about some good; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am sure she will bring out this problem in her TV show and help millions of suffering women the world over.
Dearest Oprah! I wish you a speedy recovery and good health. God Bless you.
- Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th ed, McGraw-Hill
- Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine, 17th ed, 1996, Churchill Livingstone
- New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory, William Boericke, 2nd revised ed., 2001, B. Jain
Dr. Rajesh Vishwanathan, MBBS, became disillusioned with the impersonal and aggressive allopathic system and trained and qualified in Yoga, meditation, Naturopathy and Homeopathy. He dreams of Integrating Allopathic medicine with the Alternative systems of healing.