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Madonna My Thyroid, Please

Posted on 13 January 2011

One comment personal trainers hear daily from overweight, middle-aged women is: "I want Madonna arms." It makes them want to shoot themselves. Actually, um, I want Madonna arms.

While she is controversial, chameleonic and doesn’t always comment wisely on her art, she is arguably looking mighty fine for age 52. In fact, I think she may have hacked the aging female body.

Here she is at her birthday party last August. Hottie!

Madonna is the same age as her boyfriend Jesus’ granny, but I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass even though I’m ten years younger.

What am I getting at? I'm convinced that Madge does everything right for her thyroid, and we could all stand to learn from her. This comes not from direct knowledge as her personal physician but from watching her closely for 27 years. She exercises regularly. I saw her in concert in 2008 and she literally danced nearly nonstop for 2 hours. Not just a two-step but high-kicking, anaerobic-threshold type of dancing. While one can never really know what she eats, she seems to follow macrobiotic principles and we don’t hear about her overindulging in drugs or alcohol and spewing epithets like Lindsay Lohan. She says she’s devoted to family and it’s her top priority. That helps cortisol levels.

Oprah, on the other hand, seems to have done everything wrong.

Let me explain.

Oprah likes sugar. Lotsa lotsa sugar. Oprah has owned several aspects of her eating: that she overindulges, eats to soothe, and especially loves bags of potato chips. Her exercise regimen, is, well… “episodic." Is she still with Stedman? Or is Gayle her only family? She states her thyroid function tests are in the normal range, but to my eye, she continues to look puffy, exhausted, hormonally imbalanced, overweight, and while I aspire to have the type of robust synthesis and intuition she deftly reveals on her show, I don’t want to look like her.

Here’s how the good Dr. Oz describes Oprah’s thyroid to her (with thanks to the super shero Mary Shomon for posting this on her blog) and her comment about having cured her thyroid.

Well, just to be clear, your thyroid problems aren't the usual thyroid problems. And by that I mean although the ailment itself is common, there's two issues that can happen with your thyroid. It can underperform—that's hypothyroidism—or it can overperform—hyperthyroidism. But your issue, Oprah, and you're so unique, is you were having a frat party in your thyroid. You were having a bunch of different things happening at once. And so you have these two ailments: One was stimulating the thyroid with antibodies; the other one was actually waging war on the thyroid. And so when those two level out, they actually can bring you into a place of peace—which, interestingly, is where you are right now.

A frat party in my thyroid? No, thank you. Can this be prevented? We don’t actually know if a whole-foods, Paleo or macrobiotic approach is preventative or if regular exercise, like dancing consistently for 45 years as Madge has done (along with the Tracy Anderson Method), directly and clearly steer our TSH to the normal range. But there’s some suggestive data (again, Mary Shomon is our go-to princess here). Or perhaps it’s having a 20-something boyfriend as we age that is the best preventative?

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1 comment

  • Ani: December 29, 2015

    Someone directed me to your website. I am sad to say that I find it very disappointing and shallow. What is one to do if their husband has died or if they are single. Personally, I think all these women walking around with arms like men look masculine.

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