picture of Steve Magness

Fleshman, Mackey, and Magness debate the thyroid issue (Part I)

Apr 12, 2013

There's been a lot of talk about the thyroid and running. The recent Wall Street Journal article has ignited a discussion about the science and ethical use of synthetic thyroid in sports. What is hypothyroidism? How is it diagnosed? What, if any, are the benefits to taking the medicine? Flotrack assembled a panel of elite athletes and coaches to try and explain the topic. Lauren Fleshman, Oiselle Steve Magness, Houston Danny Mackey, Brooks Beast We know that some of you don't have twenty minutes to watch the whole thing, so we've highlighted some of the major talking points below. 1:10 - Explanation of subclinical hypothyroidism, TSH, and T4 levels (Magness) 2:40 - Fleshman's personal experience with overtraining and hypothyroid diagnoses 5:40 - Mackey on why it's not "that black and white with hormones" and lifestyle issues 9:08 - Fleshman questions why certain doctors grant thyroid medication, Magness explains the subjectivity and ambiguity of what TSH levels qualify for hypothyroidism 12:15 - Most of these hypothyroid cases can be justified and investigated with other blood tests (Magness) 13:32 - Do TSH levels really fluctuate with overtraining? What workouts affect TSH? 15:38 - Since thyroid medication is so new, are there any provisions in place to prevent abusing it? 17:20 - How much of a performance bump does one g et from thyroid medication? 18:35 - How frequently does an athlete have to watch his/her blood work to ensure that his/her endocrine system is functioning optimally? (I apologize for the video freezing every now and then. The internet in the hotel lobby was not of the best quality).