Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Apr 2001

Q and A

Natural adjuvant therapies, treating anxiety and more.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Q: For over two years now I have been taking Synthroid for my underactive thyroid gland. I am 21 years old. Before I began taking the medication I gained about 50 pounds, and I'm still struggling to get rid of the extra weight.

Recently I heard that there is a natural product that may help to regulate the thyroid gland. Is that true or is it just a rumor?


A: Sometimes dietary supplementation along with natural glandular concentrates help return the thyroid to the normal range. These natural glandular concentrates must be prescribed by a physician. If you don't feel well on Synthroid, ask your doctor to switch you to one of the following glandular medications: Armour, Desiccated, Thyroid Hormone, Nathroid, Westhroid. All of these are derived from the thyroid gland of the pig. They contain T4 and T3 and most closely resemble natural human thyroid hormone. Some people also respond to a drug called Cytomel that provides T3 directly.

Most physicians are reluctant to prescribe natural glandular concentrates because they are told that they are impure and inconsistent from dose to dose. However, most natural glandular preparations are made to standards approved by the United States Pharmacopoeia (U.S.P.), which assures that its potency is accurately stated on the label. If your physician requires more information on natural glandular, contact the Broda O. Barnes, M.D., Research Foundation , P.O. Box 98, Trembly, CT 06611, 203-261-2101. You can also try supplementing with vitamins B12, C, E and the minerals magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.

Q: My husband took Prednisone for four months for ulcerative colitis and subsequently developed typical Prednisone skin on his arms. This was back in the summer of 1999. He still has problems with the black and blue splotches and the skin tearing easily even though he has been off Prednisone for 17 months. We were wondering if you have any products that will help this situation.

A: You can try taking Bioflavonoids, Grape Seed Skin Extract and vitamin C to help strengthen the capillaries. You can also try MSM and Cysteine, two sulfur based amino acids that are essential for healthy skin. Please keep in mind that for some people, the damage seems to be permanent, but you should still give these supplements a try.

Q: Do you have a division for veterinary medicine? My dog, recently diagnosed with lymphoma, is undergoing chemotherapy. The vet treating her is suggesting several supplements, vitamins, etc. One of the recommendations is turmeric. I read that curcumin comes from turmeric and that other antioxidants could interfere with it. I need some help here. Do I understand correctly, that other antioxidants should not be taken along with curcumin?


A: Curcumin is fine to take along with other antioxidants. The Foundation always recommends a combination of antioxidants, which is the whole foundation of the Life Extension Mix. Please see “Life Extension For Your Pet” in this issue for more information on pet nutrition.

Although we do not have a protocol for animals, many people have followed the human protocols for similar diseases-in smaller doses of course-for their sick animals. And they have had much success. We have a protocol on Leukemia/Lymphoma/ Hodgkin's disease. Keep in mind, though, that although further research is still being done on the matter, we advise that you not give supplements to your pet while they are undergoing chemotherapy.

Q: I am interested in your ascorbyl palmitate products. They sound great but, can you tell me how the body absorbs this form of vitamin C? Does it travel into the blood stream in this form or is it broken down? Why is it more effective?

A: Ascorbyl palmitate is an oil soluble vitamin C prepared from ascorbic acid with palmitic acid. Since this form of vitamin C is fat soluble it is stored in the lipid cell membrane until the body is ready to put it to use, therefore extending its availability to the cells unlike the water soluble form.

Q: My mother was told gamma amino butyric acid would help with her anxiety. Unfortunately, I cannot find much information about it. Would you have information about how it works, and advise whether there are any side effects? I would like to learn more before we decide whether my mom should take this route.

A: Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory amino acid, useful in producing a state of relaxation. Each teaspoonful equals 2.8 grams, and the maximum daily dosage should not exceed 500 mg. GABA should be held under the tongue for optimal assimilation.

The Foundation does have products that address anxiety, but your mother will need to test them to determine which one best suits her. Check out our Anxiety protocol at, where you’ll find a list of various therapies that may help. One popular product is Adapton. People especially like it because it does not make them sleepy, whereas GABA sometimes does.

Q: I have a question relating to your natural estrogen product. Have you done any studies of the estradiol levels generated by your product? I would prefer that my wife use natural products, but they must give estradiol levels known to protect against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

A: The natural estrogen product is basically comprised of soy and hormone regulating herbs such as black cohosh. Soy provides the body with phytoestrogens that lock into the estrogen receptor sites and provide relief from menopausal symptoms, and protect against bone loss and cardiovascular disease. The dosage for soy cannot be measured or compared to synthetic estrogens. Most woman take the recommend dose and then determine how they feel. Alternately, they can get a blood test to see if that dosage is sufficient to raise their estrogen levels.

Q: I want to ask you about the amino fuel complement. Can a 16-year-old boy take it? Does it increase growth development? .

A: Amino fuel contains the same ingredients found in all proteins, essential amino acids, so it would probably be suitable for a 16-year-old. It will likely not cause him to grow any faster or larger than he normally would. Growth hormone injections could increase someone's height, if it is administered before they have completed their long bone growth. These injections can only be obtained from a physician.