Risky diabetes drug does a number on your thyroid

You don't have to be a diabetic to get a prescription for the diabetes drug metformin.

These days, docs are passing out this bad-news drug like candy on Halloween.

Pre-diabetic? Docs claim it can prevent full-blown diabetes (it can't).

Heart disease? Some docs say it can protect your ticker (it won't).

Overweight or obese? It's being used as a magic weight-loss pill (never mind that it can actually CAUSE weight gain).

I've even heard of docs using it off-label as a fertility pill for women (now we're talking outright malpractice).

But while most mainstream doctors have been trying to get more patients on the drug, I've been working overtime to get people OFF of it -- and new research shows why I've been right all along: metformin isn't just ineffective for most of these conditions and even unnecessary for blood-sugar control in most cases.

It's also could be downright dangerous.

Metformin can actually mess up your thyroid so badly that it slows hormone production, according to the new study of nearly 75,000 patients tracked for up to a quarter of a century.

And if you take the drug yourself, it could increase your risk of low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone by 55 percent.

The study finds the risk is limited to people already suffering from an underactive thyroid, but I wouldn't take too much comfort in that.

You could be suffering from an underactive thyroid right now and not even know it -- because thyroid dysfunction has quietly turned into one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated conditions in the country. (Search my online blog archives for more on this unrecognized thyroid dysfunction epidemic.)

Falling short in this essential hormone can lead to immediate symptoms you may feel right away such as fatigue, depression and muscle pain. Complain to a doctor, and odds are he'll brush it off and tell you you're just getting older.

That's a huge mistake, because the long-term risks are even worse and include heart disease, bone loss, bone breaks and more. It can damage your immune system, exposing you to life-threatening infections. If you're pregnant, it can lead to serious and even deadly complications.

And of course it can cause a painful (and unsightly) goiter.

But you just don't have to face those risks.

I'm here to tell you that there are safe and natural options for just about every condition metformin is being used for, from weight loss to blood sugar control. That's why I recommend working closely with a holistic medical doctor -- and if you're in Southern California, I can help.

Make an appointment to see me at my clinic in the San Diego area. Not in the area? I'm also available for telephone consultations. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule yours.