The irony of the Oprah debacle for thyroid patients

opraharmsupI’ve been sitting back silently, reading all the backlash that started with Newsweek’s Best Life or Risky Advice May 30th article, a critical analysis of Oprah’s multiple program topics of Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!

And granted, some of the criticism seems justified.

Even thyroid patients winced and squirmed when Oprah stated that a month long Hawaiian vacation and eating fresh foods with soy milk were a great way to treat her thyroid condition. Uh huh. Patients equally gagged at her support of Dr. Christiane Northrup who made the the nutty insensitive comment that our thyroid problems were due to an “energy blockage in the throat region, the result of a lifetime of ‘swallowing’ words one is aching to say.”

But the ensuing array of blog posts and articles following in the footsteps of the Newsweek criticism of Oprah has presented quite an irony for thyroid patients whose lives have been changed thanks to natural desiccated thyroid. Adjectives and/or descriptions of Oprah in these blogs and articles have included:

* dangerous

* peddling alternative treatments that are ineffective

* failing to present scientific evidence

* failing to listen to bona fide, medical school trained, medical professionals

* being too gullible about the so-called wisdom and knowledge of certain patients (ala Suzanne Somers)

* failing to give more attention to science-based, status quo, mainstream medicine

Any of the above sound familiar? Yup, it sure does.

How many times have thyroid patients been told that desiccated thyroid like Armour or Naturethroid was dangerous, or raising it by symptoms rather than the TSH was dangerous. Or it’s dangerous to use because you’ll get heart problems and osteroporosis. Yet thyroid patients on desiccated thyroid have their lives CHANGED, with stronger hearts and increased bone density.

How many patients have had their doctors tell them that desiccated was ineffective as an alternative out-dated product, yet these same patients started to LIVE again with relief from old symptoms from this ineffective “alternative” medication that grandma once used.

How many articles by medical professionals are there who claim that there’s no scientific evidence to prove that desiccated thyroid is effective, in spite of CLEAR observation and reports of a huge and growing body of thyroid patients and certain doctors around the world about relief from depression, lowered cholesterol, better blood pressure, weight maintenance, hair regrowth, better stamina, less sickness and a myriad of other improvements!

How many bona fide, medical school trained, medical professionals told us ad nauseum that our symptoms were not thyroid related (when they were), that we are “normal” because the TSH lab test says so (when we were far from it), that desiccated thyroid is outdated, unreliable, ineffective, and a ten ton load of other ridiculous comments from bona fide, medical school trained, medical professionals.

How many doctors have told patients that they should NOT listen to other patients on the internet or Stop the Thyroid Madness because patients can’t possibly have any wisdom or know what they are talking about. Yet, lo and behold, it’s been patients and what they have learned who have started a wide-reaching revolution for better thyroid treatment that works, and a growing body of doctors are listening!

And how many times has science-based, status quo, mainstream medicine completely ruined the lives of thyroid patients because many doctors are too lazy to dare question or think outside the pharmaceutical, medical school box.

Yup, Oprah has made some blunders, gaffes and misjudgments as outlined in the Newsweek article. She has gushed too quickly when Northrup opens her mouth or Oz walks in with his surgical garb. But isn’t it a bit ironic that some of the criticism by others towards Oprah are the same blunders, gaffes and misjudgments which most any thyroid patient has heard about their use of desiccated thyroid, and which has all been COMPLETELY wrong.

Bottom line, for every mistake and misjudgment Oprah has made–and CLEARLY she has done so in her understanding of thyroid treatment—she just might be opening the doors to medical truth, somewhere, somehow, between it all.


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4 Responses to “The irony of the Oprah debacle for thyroid patients”

  1. Amy

    Agreed, agreed. I have tried different forms of thyroid medication, including synthetic and “natural”. I am now 26 and have taken thyroid supplements since the age of 17. At different times, probably in part because I was still growing, different thyroid pills worked best. I now take armour and compounded T3. Most of the time, I need supplemental T3, which is the main reason for taking the armour. Thyrolar just makes me feel funny. Levothyroxine and others have worked fine in the past…everyone’s different! There are and always will be advantages and disadvantages to everything.

  2. Karen

    clvngodess: may I ask what non-porcine medication you are taking that works? I would love to avoid animal products, but I also need to feel better, so I’m wrestling with my values versus my desire to get well.

  3. clvngodess

    You know, I’m a huge critic of Oprah. I find most of her “advice” to be more about either ratings or corporate agendas, or ego, or marketing or what ever the flavor of the month may be.

    However, I do take issue with the comments regarding bio-identicals, and Suzanne Sommers. I am a patient of the clinic that treats Ms. Sommers. I’m using bio-identicals and a non-porcine thyroid medication, which is working. WORKING. I don’t take animal products, and won’t. I don’t eat meat. And will not. This goes against everything I stand for in my life.

    I find it selfishly naive to say it’s pork thyroid or nothing at all. Armour or nothing. That’s buffalo chips. Each body is different, reacting differently to what is consumed and processed on a biochemical level. What’s good for one, may be dangerous or unhealthy for another.

    While some may be devoted to pig/animal products and others opt for more vegetable/less harmful (non-violent) solutions, there needs to be an acceptance of the choices we make as individuals. There are reasons, very sound biological reasons for taking bio-identicals. Less stress on the liver is one of them. This is scientific. It’s documented.

    Oprah may be a twit or just shilling for the flavor of the month “thing.” But she does bring some things to the forefront of mainstream consciousness. And for that, I’ll give her the thumbs up.

    (from Janie: just so there’s clarification: this patient movement is not “porcine thyroid or nothing at all”. Yikes. That would be far too reaching. This movement is that “porcine thyroid” gives you back what your own thyroid would be doing, and has been found by a growing body to be a superior choice. There are always going to be some reason that someone stays on T4, and if you feel it works, great. Just watch out as you age. And thanks your wise comments about Oprah.)

  4. Lily

    You are so so right. I think this backlash is really about belittling alternative medicine and hormone therapy.

    I wrote a comment on Mary Shomon’s Blog saying that while it is good that these articles point out the wrong thyroid advice Oprah’s experts have given, the articles also belittle the therapies that have helped many thyroid patients (bio identical hormone therapy).

    If we, as thyroid patients, align ourselves with these criticisms of Oprah, we are only supporting those people who want to dictate synthroid/tsh tyranny.

    People love to criticize Oprah’s show with Suzanne Sommers, but I read the Oprah message boards after she was on and women were really suffering with complaints that were being dismissed by doctors. They finally felt empowered to have a conversation abut their symptoms and quality of life. Any show that can start that conversation, should be commended.


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