Book Review

The Thyroid Solution

Ridha Arem, MD
Ballantine Books

A must-read for patients, pharmacists, and practitioners

This excellent book provides a well-written explanation of the causes and symptoms of and treatments for thyroid disorders. Healthcare practitioners will be interested in the author’s practical program for assessing and maintaining optimal thyroid function. Topics include the accurate diagnosis of disease, the effects of diet and exercise, the influence of stress, and the importance of nutrition and supplements. Highlights of the text include:

  • The misdiagnosis of thyroid disease and dysfunction
  • The interaction of stress, thyroid imbalance, and immune system function
  • The types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and mental and physical effects of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
  • The effect of thyroid imbalance on weight, sexual function and relationships, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and hypoglycemia
  • The influence of the thyroid function on infertility, miscarriages, postpartum depression, and the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause
  • Methods of achieving and maintaining optimal thyroid function
  • Diseases and medical conditions that increase the risk of thyroid imbalance
  • The diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of hypothyroidism
  • The benefits of estrogen therapy for cardiovascular protection, osteoporosis prevention, and cognitive enhancement

The author lists the reasons for which Premarin is his preferred choice of estrogen therapy, but his statements about the efficacy and benefits of that drug are unsubstantiated. Certain information in the text is misleading, incomplete, and erroneous, and the author does not mention the many possible adverse reactions to treatment with Premarin. Compounding pharmacists must inform their practitioners and patients about this author’s apparent lack of expertise in hormone replacement therapy and must supply critical information that has been omitted from this text.

Of benefit to readers is the “circle of wellness,” a model designed to show patients how they can act to minimize age-related cognitive dysfunction. The author also comments on advances in therapy but does not mention the ability of the compounding pharmacist to provide a sustained-release product for the treatment of thyroid dysfunction. Compounders must again educate the practitioner about modalities for improving therapeutic outcomes.

This text stresses the importance of healthful lifestyle choices in maintaining optimal thyroid function. Subjects such as diet, antioxidants, vitamins, iodine intake, exercise, medications that can affect thyroid function, and the effects of alcohol and nicotine use are presented, and chapters are devoted to Grave’s disease and thyroid cancer.

In the final chapter, an eight-step program promotes a better understanding of the interrelationship of thyroid function and mood. Although compounding pharmacists will be disappointed because The Thyroid Solution includes misleading information about estrogens and progestins, the book is a practical guide for using laboratory- based testing and symptoms to guide readers to proper thyroid care. Its content should benefit many patients and will provide the healthcare professional with a good resource on the subject of thyroid disorders.

Reviewed By:  James Paoletti, RPh
In:  Sep/Oct 2001