Thyroid Supplements – Caution!

Thyroid diseases are common. In the US, more than 12% of Americans will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime. Many people with vague symptoms like feeling sluggish or weight gain, turn to dietary supplements that promise to jump-start metabolism by bolstering their thyroids with a mixture of vitamins and minerals. However these over-the-counter products may also contain thyroid hormones that should only be dispensed by prescription. In some cases these supplements contain amounts of thyroid hormone as high or higher than delivered by prescription medications. Indiscriminately use of such supplements that contain thyroid hormone may lead to serious side effects including nervousness, insomnia, heart problems and thinning of bone.

In Singapore, such products are not widely seen or available as yet. However given the ease of online orders, it might be relatively easy for these products to be obtained from overseas. Anyone with suspected thyroid disorders should consult a physician for a proper work up rather than relying on supplements to resolve their symptoms.


What does an Endocrinologist do?

An endocrinologist is a specialist doctor who can diagnose and treat diseases that affect your glands, hormones and your endocrine system. The pancreas is part of the endocrine system, and insulin is one of the hormones the body needs to function properly. Failure of insulin action will resultĀ in diabetes. Besides the pancreas, the human endocrine system consists of a number of glands such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, ovaries in women and the testes in men. These glands produce and secrete hormones which control the body’s metabolism, growth, sexual development and function.

Endocrinologists often treat people with diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, complicated hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, calcium and vitamin D problems, sexual and reproductive health, and more.

In Singapore, an endocrinologist is required to finish five years in medical school and complete a one year housemanship. Thereafter the endocrinologist is required to spend three or more years training in internal medicine to obtain their Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) from the UK. After that, they will undergo advanced training in endocrinology where they learn how to diagnose and treat hormone conditions. Overall, an endocrinologist’s training can take up to 10 years post-university before they become a full fledged consultant endocrinologist.



This is a blog to share my musings on health issues especially relating to areas of diabetes, obesity, metabolic disorders, thyroid, osteoporosis and other hormonal issues, with the hope that there could be better awareness of these endocrine diseases that are increasingly a menace in our society. Enjoy and stay healthy!