Got Osteoporosis? Are You Suffering Fatigue, Pain, Osteoporosis, Depression, and a Host of Other Symptoms? Read on to Discover What Few Doctors Seem to Be Considering…
The "Hidden" Parathyroid Gland Problem
By Dr. Donald Liebell
A critical aspect of health that is commonly misunderstood has to do with 4 tiny structures (the size of a grain of rice) in the neck called the parathyroid glands. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, or you’ve suffered from symptoms of fatigue, depression, anxiety, memory troubles, personality changes, sleep difficulties, gastro-intestinal problems, kidney stones, hypertension, headaches, and pain… you’ll want to read every word of this article.
A condition called hyperparathyroidism can cause any or all of these symptoms!
Strangely, this is a condition that is not frequently diagnosed, and apparently not appropriately considered withing the standards of "mainstream" medicine.
What is the Parathyroid Gland?
Your body is equipped with 4 tiny parathyroid glands in the neck. They are about the size of a grain of rice, when healthy. The function of the parathyroid glands is simply to regulate the amount of calcium throughout your body. These glands produce a hormone that is not surprisingly called parathyroid hormone (PTH). Your parathyroid glands are in charge of keeping the balance of how much calcium is absorbed from your diet. The glands also regulate the amount of calcium your kidneys eliminate through urine. The parathyroid glands control the amount of calcium in our muscles and nerves. One of the largest concerns you may have about calcium is of course, your bones. Yes, your parathyroid glands are indeed responsible for the amount of calcium in your bones.
So, if you’re worried about osteoporosis, or if you’ve already been diagnosed with osteoporosis (or osteopenia), you should know how significant the parathyroid gland is. Osteoporosis can be part of aging to some degree, and is commonly related to a decrease in the hormone, estrogen in post-menopausal women. However, osteoporosis is more likely the result of a parathyroid gland problem—NOT a dietary calcium deficiency!
It’s straightforward: if you have a hyperactive parathyroid gland—you’re going to have osteoporosis.
Calcium is indeed what makes your bones hard and strong. But if one or more of your parathyroid glands is overactive, you’ll have too much of the hormone produced, which will cause an ongoing pulling out of calcium from your bones. The calcium ends up in your blood, which can cause many symptoms, that you (and quite possibly, even your doctor!) might never connect with the parathyroid gland. This is called hyperparathyroidism. Calcium in the bloodstream can cause many problems, including kidney stones, which are not shockingly composed of… calcium! An overactive parathyroid gland is commonly the result of one of the four glands slowly developing into a benign (non-cancerous) tumor. This altered gland produces the parathyroid hormone too much, which leads to the calcium problems, most notably osteoporosis.
Too Much Calcium in Your Blood Makes You Feel Lousy!
It is critical to realize that mainstream medicine does not appear to be looking very carefully for hyperparathyroidism as a diagnosis, and they are certainly not considering what microbes and toxins are likely causing the parathyroid gland to go bad in the first place. There are some excellent surgeons out there, who know what they’re doing, and can quickly remove the affected parathyroid gland, which can make a huge difference for the patient. I am all for referring my patients for surgical consult, once I have discovered through appropriate blood tests that a parathyroid problem is indeed going on. However, I am also interested in addressing the underlying cause factors of chronic infection and toxicity, which may be the true underlying cause, using complex homeopathy. Not every patient with hyperparathyroidism will be a surgical candidate, plus some people may choose to try natural, non-surgical intervention first (or in addition to surgery).
Doctors are supposed to know everything about how the human body works, aren’t they? Well that’s realistically too much to ask, especially with all the different specialties existing in medicine. However, there are some very basic concepts that unfortunately, conventional medical education overlooks, or devotes little attention. With my practice’s specialties, I certainly couldn’t know everything about the human body and every medical procedure either. However, I can humbly say that I’m proud to be one who constantly searches for more ways to improve patients’ health. Understanding the parathyroid gland is another example.
Is Correctly Diagnosing Hyperparathyroidism Bad for Business?
I cringe at the business of medicine; there’s so much corruption—it is staggering. Anything that leads to actual cure of health problems interferes with ongoing profit. The medical establishment stands much to lose by correct diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism. The pharmaceutical company’s countless billions of annual profit for drugs for depression, osteoporosis, acid reflux, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and others would be dramatically decreased if doctors were to correctly diagnose and treat this condition.
Why Hasn’t My Doctor Ever Mentioned the Parathyroid Gland?
According to Dr. James Norman, one of the foremost experts in the world on the parathyroid gland, in his 2011 address to the American College of Surgeons: "There is no other disease that is so easy to cure which has such a huge impact on a person's overall health and their quality of life"
Dr. Norman has stated that common symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include: fatigue, feeling old, concentration problems, osteoporosis, bone pain, sleep problems, irritability, heartburn (acid reflux or G.E.R.D.), decreased sex drive, thinning hair and kidney stones. The doctor also points out that that drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, Evista, Boniva, and Reclast cannot help osteoporosis if there is hyperparathyroidism; your bones will become more brittle. Many people are inappropriately prescribed these drugs, and it is quite a bad idea; they do not help parathyroid disease (Source: parathyroid.com).
With the understanding that most doctors are not aware how to properly diagnose hyperparathyroidism, or to even consider it in the first place, I am proud to keep a close watch on this critical aspect of health. Part of many patients’ evaluation at the Liebell Clinic may include the correct blood workup for levels of parathyroid hormone, calcium, and vitamin D levels.
While I realize that many people will indeed benefit from surgery, I suggest complementary support through complex homeopathy. The key is that through the energy medicine procedures, it has been noticed that many bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites are the underlying CAUSE of the mutation of cells in the parathyroid glands to begin with! Lyme disease is likely one of them. Our body parts don't go bad for no reason; chronic infection and toxicity are typically the culprits, and genetics are rarely the case.
Lyme (Borrelia bacteria) and other chronic infection (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other single-celled microorganisms), as well as toxins could trigger the growth of cause a tumor in the parathyroid... which in turn can cause osteoporosis and host of other symptoms... for which people will be inappropriately prescribed anti-depression drugs, high blood pressure drugs, osteoporosis drugs, hormone replacement drugs, pain and nerve drugs, etc., etc.
I quickly see that hyperparathyroidism, like Lyme, is a diagnosis that is BAD for the business of medicine, as these drugs I just mentioned generate countless billions of profit annually. It becomes clearer and clearer to me that correct treatment is discouraged by the mighty dollar. The good news is that effective parathyroid treatment can result in restoration of bone density, and elimination of many symptoms.
The public has become obsessed with calcium supplements. People have been hoodwinked into believing they must overload on calcium supplements and/or dairy products, in order to ensure their bones to remain strong. Remember that osteoporosis drugs are not intended for treatment if the cause is hyperparathyroidism. There have been significant problems documented, associated with these drugs (broken bones caused by the drugs… lawsuits, misdiagnosis, etc.). American health officials have warned patients and doctors about the potential risks associated with medications prescribed to treat osteoporosis. Severe bone, joint and muscle pain has been linked to these drugs, as well as thigh bone fractures, jaw problems... and cancer!
The fact is that our bones are made up of about a dozen different minerals, one of which is indeed calcium. But it is preposterous to expect to make and keep bones strong merely by supplying calcium pills. The actual elemental mineral of calcium is but one of many “ingredients” in the “recipe” of strong bones. And it is a major concern that many people are abusing calcium supplementation (often at the advisement of their doctors!). Excess calcium can do harm by crystallizing in arteries and joints. This can in turn, overtax the adrenal glands, which are your energy “factories.” Excess calcium in your body can lead to imbalances in other minerals, like magnesium. This can in turn, interfere with nerve function. Calcium imbalance can lead to digestive problems because it interferes with sodium, potassium, and chloride. One can experience acid reflux, in part due to inappropriate calcium supplementation. Difficulties with protein digestion can occur too.
It can get worse. Messing around with calcium supplements, without a legitimate, well-researched and evaluated clinical reason can result in disturbing normal potassium regulation, which can cause problems with hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. You can mess up your metabolism, which can result in obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and many other problems. I cautiously view most vitamin and mineral supplements as drugs, in the sense that they can indeed chemically interfere with, and not necessarily enhance metabolic pathways. They should not be taken lightly. The public has been radically misinformed that individual components of complex and naturally occurring nutritional molecules should be used with reckless abandon. But that’s what taking lots of supplements can be precisely. The complex nutritional components of let’s say, a bunch of broccoli, cannot be equated with laboratory prepared supplements.
Perhaps this information will further convince you of why I almost NEVER give my patients vitamin and mineral supplements in my practice… and why I advocate a whole foods approach to nutrition… while investigating and holistically treating the underlying causes of pain and illness. Of course both the pharmaceutical companies and the vitamin and mineral supplement industry are going to like what I have to say.
What else is new?
The bottom line is that bones are much more than just calcium. Osteoporosis is more than just calcium loss from bones. It has causes… and it is not too likely the absence of calcium pills, or a deficiency of osteoporosis drugs!
Was Hormone Replacement Therapy Really Used to Try to “Prevent” Osteoporosis?
Yes indeed it was! And there still may be doctors out there doing this antiquated and proven-dangerous approach! Studies proved that estrogen therapy could increase the risk for breast cancer, blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. It continues to puzzle me why Americans continue to trust “conventional,” “mainstream,” or traditional Western medicine as the "authority" on health… When Medical Error is One of the Leading Causes of Death. Doctors like myself, who educate the public on health (rather than just disease), and whose patients consistently succeed using drugless and non-surgical treatments are labeled as “alternative” (or other insulting distinctions).
What is wrong with this picture?
Perhaps if the public truly understood that there are causes for all symptoms in your body… and that treatment approaches that ignore these causes do not make you any healthier… we will have the opportunity to build greater health and wellness. Knowing about “hidden” causes that are frequently overlooked by “mainstream” medicine is my passion and my life’s work. Awareness and attention to the parathyroid gland by a competent and knowledgeable doctor can be a major step towards better health. It’s not difficult at all to investigate. However one must know to investigate it in the first place, in the context of the whole human being.
If you have concerns or questions about osteoporosis, the parathyroid gland, and your health, be sure to ask me. I will evaluate your situation, and advise the appropriate diagnostic testing and doctor referrals.
Although I receive lots of questions daily, from around the world, I do respond to all of them (in the order I receive them), usually within 48 hours. Please understand that I cannot provide specific medical advice regarding treatment, or diagnosis that can only be provided through proper evaluation. For appointments, please call my office. Your email address or other information is confidential; I will never share it with anyone, nor will it be used for any form of solicitation. I look forward to your questions!
- Dr. Donald Liebell