Tag Archives: Hypothyroidism

Zinc & Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

I’ve been playing snakes and ladders these last two months. Assuming you were lucky enough to play board and card games when you were a kid, then you are familiar with the analogy. For those who didn’t get to play games with family members and friends…

English: Snakes and ladders, board game. ?Nors...
Snakes & ladders board game. Wikipedia

Snakes and ladders is a board game where you throw a dice to move forward. If you fall on one square (ladder) you jump forward faster or you slip back (snake) if you land on another.

Since my last post 2 months ago, when I started taking only T3 for my hypothyroidism, I was climbing up the ladder to sunny good health, only to slide back down the snakes into misery, pain and brain fog.

My nose was very sore, and irritating. I wondered if Sjögren’s Syndrome was the cause, but decided I was just being paranoid. It’s still sore. The internet says its high blood pressure so maybe I am taking too much T4.

The T3 only experiment and an general increase in various life stresses made me weepy; prone to cry if given sympathy, feeling sorry for myself far too often and with no good reason. Intellectually I was ashamed of myself, but if something set me off, I would weep for half an hour. Not the sobbing grief type of weeping but the slow tear trails and broody OCD thought spirals of depression. Pitiful!

One step at a time, each step… better.

Stress can have good as well as bad effects however. If life is normal and you are depressed, there are no bumps to climb or new events to change your course. My life stress requires action. Activity made dealing with this easier and I started to slowly tick tasks of a mental list and the tasks took my mind away from those broody gloomy thoughts.

As these were tasks like painting rooms in my house, sorting documents, data entry, gardening, cleaning out cupboards etc, I was capable. This gave me some confidence back.

As I completed these simple household tasks, many of which I had put off as I researched remedies for my illness, I gradually moved on to harder tasks I’d been putting off. I had not maintained website jobs, I went and did those tasks.  I had been avoiding tackling all but personal and urgent email, and I started to tackle the spam and list emails and clean up the inbox and check on whats new.

Mengs Metta Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

As always when reading on a computer, one article led to another and I ended up watching the following video from Chade-Meng Tan (its an hour long).  At around 12 minutes he talks the audience into a simple breathing meditation and as I took a deep breath with the audience, I suddenly started to feel better, to believe again that I was in control of myself. As I continued listening to his talk I remembered my zen, something I had spent a lot of time reading and practicing when I was much younger. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, east over west, in the end only kindness matters. It all came flooding back.

[sc:MengsMindfulness]

The stress I was in was not less than before, but I remembered that it is the way you feel about things that happen in your life that has the most effect on you. Even those few minutes meditation was enough to recall to me the mindfulness meditation benefits of breathing, being in the now and loving kindness.

Since then the weepiness has faded away with no more victim, I feel like myself again.

Thyroid replacement is not everything

I have added biotin (against candidiasis) and B12 (anemia) to my supplements list .  I have gone completely away from creams and use zinc powder (like talc) to keep the skin as dry as possible. I have used acigel for the vaginal candida which changes the ph which the candida doesn’t like. The candida plaques that do appear are “smaller”, less often and its irritation is gradually receding. It helps that its not Summer and hot.

The B12 also has seemed to stabilize me almost as much as adding Iron did a few months ago.

Zinc Picolinate For Herpes HSV2 & Migraines

I ran out of the two vitamins that Dr R prescribed about 3 months ago. He prescribed Zinc Picollinate and Magnesium Glycinate. When they ran out I bought other types of zinc and magnesium but was not able to get those types, and I looked in many chemists. These types of zinc and magnesium are said to be more readily absorbed by the body.

In the last three months, since I haven’t been taking the zinc picolinate, I have had 3 herpes outbreaks, 4 migraines and my back has been unbenddownably sore. I think I thought it was the thyroid that made my back sore, but eventually I realized that my back just never got better whatever thyroid meds I was taking.

I started thinking about herpes causing sciatica and then about post herpetic neuralgia. The herpes virus does latently reside in the ganglia in the lower back. Although post herpetic neuralgia is mostly said to occur after shingles (herpes zoster), what if it occurs as often for HSV2? The more I researched this, the more convinced I became that this was what was causing my back pain.

When I was good – with no migraines or herpes outbreaks – I thought the herpes was better due to goldenseal. But goldenseal didn’t make any difference this time. I filled the script I had for zovirex and have been taking this daily for now to halt the herpes outbreaks. In a week, this has helped and the pain reduction in my back convinces me that this is caused by post herpetic neuropathy. (That and the fact that no pain medication touches the back pain – not aspirin, ibuprofine or codeine.)

Zinc angel
Zinc angel (credit: Mr. 0)

After taking the different zinc ( a blend) I finally went looking for a picolinate online. Then I thought why not just ring the chemist, which I did. He agreed to make it up for me. Whew! So I’m now back taking zinc picolinate and I’m firmly convinced that it is this zinc that made all the difference then and now in reducing the pain and outbreak frequency of HSV2.

It is only three days, so I cannot be absolutely sure, but my back lets me bend for the first time in months. The lymph in the groin is now also painless and I am starting to feel better in other ways. The low grade headache I have had for months, (and put down to excess T3) is finally gone.

My head is clear and I’m getting a good nights sleep again – thanks to either the zinc or the magnesium.

So thanks to a zinc angel and mindfulness meditation benefits I’m currently back on an even keel. The black dog has hopped off my chest and is dancing around in circles wagging his tail. You can tell when I’m good, I’m writing, otherwise…no update. Hopefully this will last a while…

 

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Legacy From Dr. Lowe

Death of and Legacy of Dr. John Lowe

John Lowe

22/1/1946 – 9/1/2012

http://www.drlowe.com/

I never met Doctor Lowe, nor ever expected to – but I felt I knew him, because he was such an honest writer. When I was first diagnosed as hypothyroid, Dr Lowe’s website on hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia was one of the first complex websites I started my research on and one of only a few that I return to often for further information.

If I had never been able to read his website, I would not understand my disease as well as I do. Nor would I have had the opportunity to experience John Lowe’s personality, his humility and generosity about sharing his immense knowledge and experience via his website’s Q&A section. Patient’s questions and his answers helped me to answer my own tricky questions, and his kindness and even handedness enabled me to trust his answers, more so than any other doctor (or patient) who has written articles about thyroid treatment on his/her website.

So it was with genuine sadness that I read his wife’s email informing us that Dr John Lowe died on the 9th of January 2012 due to complications from a head injury incurred in November 2011. Tammy Lowe was also thoughtful enough to reassure us that Dr Lowe’s website would remain available to patients online. My heart goes out to her as she faces his loss and to Dr Lowes family and friends.

In Memorium of Dr John Lowe

Dr Lowe wrote several memorials for colleagues that are published on his website, and the respect and admiration for these collegues just glows in his writing. As I read these I felt that it is like someone writing in memorium for him, just change the names.

Because Dr Lowe was a doctor who “took hard hits for his brave stance” like Dr Garrison,

On Dr Garrison Dr. Garrison and I didn’t agree on all matters. But our friendship was bound by a love of quality scientific work and the mission of freeing fibromyalgia and hypothyroid patients from the misery imposed on them by the false beliefs of conventional medicine. Dr. Garrison was one of the smartest and most courageous physicians I have ever known.

He took hard hits for his brave stance that we were right: that too little thyroid hormone regulation is the basis of most patients’ fibromyalgia. The hardest hits came from physicians who promoted the pseudo-scientific and quack notion that fibromyalgia is a psychiatric disorder. But he stood his ground and absorbed the political blows.

Dr Lowe also “directly took on conventional medicine” and “risked his personal career for the sake of truth and protecting patients” like Dr Mendelsohn

On Dr Mendelsohn His courage in the face of damaging political opposition in medicine was like that of my old friend Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD. He, too, is now deceased, but he directly took on conventional medicine in the 1980s. In doing so, he was almost single-handedly responsible for the justified contempt today of millions of people for the harm done by conventional medicine. He, like Dr. Garrison, risked his personal career for the sake of truth and protecting patients.

And like his good friend Dr Gedye, Dr John Lowe has had a huge impact on so many people’s lives.

On Dr. John Gedye It has been said that those who’ve left us have but one chance at immortality. That chance lies in what they’ve left behind: our memory of them. The impact of a person’s life, the effect that life had on other people, their experience of the person – this is what remains. We honor John Gedye by remembering, and continuing to remember, how he affected us and why we’ll miss him so much.

I know that thousands of people will honor John Lowe by remembering what he did for us all with his research and his enquiring and logical mind and his courageous refusal to be bullied by “the system”.

Dr John Lowe’s Legacy

The following text is a summary of
http://www.drlowe.com/jcl/biojcl.htm

Dr. Lowe began using myofascial therapy in 1980 under the tutelage of the late chiropractic radiologist and clinician David Ramby, D.C. After studying factors that make myofascial patients treatment resistant, he began tenaciously studying biochemical abnormalities. Dr. Lowe found that hypothyroid fibromyalgia patients usually recover from their fibromyalgia symptoms and also found that most fibromyalgia patients who aren’t hypothyroid also improve or recover when treated with fairly high dosages of plain T3.

In 1995, one of Dr. Lowe’s patients who had recovered from her fibromyalgia symptoms through his metabolic approach convinced him to established the Fibromyalgia Research Foundation (FRF). The three purposes of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization are to:

  1. support scientific studies of the metabolic treatment of fibromyalgia patients;
  2. determine the underlying molecular mechanisms of fibromyalgia; and
  3. educate fibromyalgia patients, clinicians,  researchers, and the general public about the findings of FRF-sponsored research.

Dr. Lowe has remained vocal about what his research group determined to be the ultimate creator of what we call fibromyalgia. That is T4 replacement therapy.

This therapy is so mistakenly conceived and clinically ineffective that since the early 1970s, when it was first imposed on thyroid patients, a range of mysterious new diseases have been reported. Published research shows that the plausible mechanism for most of these “new” conditions is too little thyroid hormone regulation.

In 2006, Dr. Lowe published the first two studies that showed fibromyalgia patients had resting metabolic rates about 30% below normal patients and had significantly lower basal body temperatures than those of healthy controls.

What Dr Lowe’s Research Has Really Shown:

A Clarification for Our Critics and Supporters

by Dr. John C. Lowe & Dr. Gina Honeyman-Lowe

  • Of the fibromyalgia patients we’ve tested, roughly 12% have had lab test results consistent with primary hypothyroidism.
  • Of the patients we’ve tested, about 44% have had test results consistent with central hypothyroidism.
  • The remaining 44% of fibromyalgia patients we’ve tested have  had lab results consistent with normal interaction of the pituitary and thyroid glands. Of this roughly 44% of patients, we have incontrovertible laboratory proof that about 75% have partial cellular resistance to thyroid hormone.
  • Together, lab test and treatment results of fibromyalgia patients we’ve studied strongly point to a conclusion: Around 90% of our patients have had thyroid disease of one form or another.
  • Most of the 90% of patients with evidence of thyroid disease also have one or more other metabolism-impairing factors impinging on them. These other factors compound the effects of hypothyroidism and/or thyroid hormone resistance in causing the patients’ fibromyalgia symptoms. The most common of these other factors are
    1. poor diet (most commonly one that causes blood sugar and cellular energy abnormalities),
    2. nutritional deficiencies,
    3. poor physical fitness,
    4. adrenal and sex hormone problems, and
    5. the use of metabolism-impeding medications.

Dr John Lowe has been an ardent advocate for alternate treatment to the standard hypothyroid treatment of T4 – the “one size fits all” approach of most GPs and endocrinologists. His three websites, his book The Metabolic Treatment of Fibromyalgia and his Curriculum Vitae are the legacy he has left in an effort to educate those doctors who are still “causing harm” instead of healing, due to the misinformation of their outdated training or the pressure of “big pharma”.

Thank you Dr Lowe and rest in peace.

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Increasing And Decreasing T3

Increasing And Decreasing T3 Dose.

The father of modern medicine, Sir William Ostler, was once asked about the secret for longevity. He said to “Get a chronic disease and learn to take good care of it.”

When talking with my sister recently, I said that if I had to get a chronic disease, then Hashimotos hypothyroidism is probably one of the better ones, because the remedy (replace the thyroid hormone that the thyroid isn’t making enough of) basically makes you better and the only problem is getting the dose right.

Of course nothing is really that simple.

Ostler explained that when you have a chronic disease you become more aware of your body and will seek to identify what makes you flare up and what keeps you feeling well. And so you learn to tend your natural healing system and stop doing things that would ensure that you’ll be following all the other sweet fat lambs early to the slaughter house. Your survival gene kicks in and you vow to be 120 year old mutton before you get herded there. Or so you should…

Giving up wheat, dairy and sugar has reduced my weight and  I feel and look well, even though I am often tired and in pain. I feel better not to be overweight, and although I still wonder what to eat because the snack options are gone, it’s just food. I get plenty of it for nutritian and it tastes good.

Getting the dose of this thyroid medication right though is another matter, because I want to feel normal, not just functional. It’s harder than I thought to know when to increase or decrease. I thought I would recognise hyper more easily but I think I overdid it before I stated recognising the signs.

English: Thyroid hormone pills. On the left, T...
Image via Wikipedia

Oroxine &  Thiroyd

To recap a little, I started treatment (6 months ago) by taking 1 x daily Oroxine 100mg. This is equivalent to the medications called L-thyroxine or Levothyroxine or Synthroid or synthetic T4.

As well as the hypo symptoms of extreme tiredness, joint pain, slow brain and eye strain,  I was also struggling with monthly outbreaks of herpes, persistent candida and came to relize that my temperature was both low and erratic.

Through daily supplements (especially of goldenseal I think) the herpes outbreaks have stopped and the restricted diet has made the candida flares rare so that I suffer only minor discomfort. The oroxine brought my eyes back to normal and I stopped needing to sleep in the day. What was left was lower back pain, joint and muscle pain, misery and irritation, the oppression in my chest with breathlessness on activity, and my slow spaced out brain.

I started taking the thiroyd I got from Thailand which is natural or dessicated thyroid (similar to Armour) at 1 grain and reduced the oroxine 2 a 1/2 tablet or 50 mg. This left me so tired that I started falling into the black hole again and sleeping 2 hours after lunch. So after 4 days I went back to 100mg oroxine and 1 grain of thiroyd.

I was quite stable on this dosage while I waited for the next appointment  with Dr R and although it is difficult to state the benefit of thiroyd over oroxine, it is somewhere in the “normalcy” zone, you feel more like yourself. The oroxine alone, I felt physically cold and emotionally cold and uncomfortable all the time. Rough fabrics and labels irritated me, people irritated me, I couldn’t concentrate and I had no stamina for work.

When I added the thiroyd to the oroxine I calmed down and was nicer again, and over time I recovered gradually, although some days were worse than others and good days were few.

Increasing Thiroyd

Which is why I started to increase the thiroyd after talking to Dr R. My temperature was still erratic and very low, and I felt that this would be the main indication that I was improving. As thiroyd has T3, he approved the plan that I increase the thiroyd by half tablets and if it felt right, every 3 days. The proviso was to watch for hyper symptoms and to stop and perhaps reduce when they occurred.

Over the next month I gradually increased and decreased the dose.  I kept the oroxine in the morning and the i tablet of thiroyd and added my first half thiroyd in the afternoon. I tried to keep both doses consistent at 5.30 morning and afternoon. Since I tolerated that I went to a full tablet thiroyd in the afternoon after 4 days. When that was ok I reduced the oroxine to a half tablet and increased the thiroyd to 1 and half tablets in the morning. By the end of the month I was taking 21/2 grains thiroyd and 50 mg oroxine.

My temperature made it to 37 degreees a couple of times and started to stabilise, staying around averages of 36.2 – 36.6 degrees and rarely ever dropping below 26 anymore.

The pain however got worse some days and I felt weak and cranky.

At various times while at work I might feel that my tendons were like old rubber bands, about to fall apart. My knees wouldn’t get me up off the floor and didn’t want to lower me back there while painting a door or skirtings. A day at work would leave me with sore muscles for another two days, and the combinations of pains made me very irritable and pathetically sorry for myself. The back pain was as bad as the knees as the lower back is the core of your bending. Steps also became a problem, I came down them one at a time so as not to make my back twinge.

Even cooking was a problem, I couldn’t cut the ham easily and cutting a chicken up was a struggle, as the joints in the wrist and fingers were painfull. It was so frustrating! I got cramps in my fingers holding a painting brush over my head. If I swivelled I felt like the rusty tinman in need of some oil, with my ribs creaking and cracking and my shoulders grating. At the end of the month I felt no better physically, in fact I felt worse.

On the up side two major improvements happened. My breathing improved and is almost normal now. My temperature stabilized, not perfect but more stable and very close to where it should be. Smaller improvements on the high dose were a normal regular stool as I had before starting oroxine, fewer hot and cold feverish foreheads, the fog lifting to reveal a cool brain with logic (if still withdrawn and a little cold).

Then I got my first hyper signs, a sensation like my heart was beating in my ears. Also my ankles were swollen.  I knew I had reached a limit.

I dropped back a half tablet of thiroyd each day until I stopped getting episodes of that pulse in my ears, which I assume is a marker of high blood pressure. I was irritable at the high dose but I rationalized it as pain, not as being hyper, so perhaps I should have stopped sooner.

I thought, having watched my irritable husband who has Graves, that I would know it when it happened to me – but seeing something from the outside is never the same as experiencing it on the inside. Which is why a doctor who lives with your condition, or has someone close to him with it,  is so much more helpful than one who has no personal experience of it. Anyway now I have a marker I cannot mistake. If my ears thrum I have overdosed.

Adding Iron Supplement

As I dropped back the combined T4/T3 dose, I started to feel better, gaining energy and feeling less weak. But then I also started needing to sleep in the afternnon again and the pain returned and the stool which had normalized returned to hard rabbit droppings.

So I upped the oroxine back to 100mg which returned me to the same initial dose I started at of 100mg oroxine and 1 grain of thiroyd. The weakness I felt which appeared to originate in the lower back but flushed through to every muscle made me think about the adrenals and anemia that are mentioned on the STTM site. Without further tests it isn’t possible to check, but these symptoms speak quite clearly. I’m just not 100% sure how to treat them.

So again I set aside the adrenal issue. The last blood test had showed improvement in iron but it was still low, so I bought a month’s supplement of iron/vit C and started taking this at dinner time, (away from the breakfast thiroyd dose because iron can interfere with its absorption). This appeared to be the right thing to do as my energy increased and the episodes of shaky weakness lessened in intensity and frequency. I still think the adrenals may need help with cortef but I’m going to try the T3 first.

It took just over a week for me to stop getting episodes of thrumming ears, usually when I lay down or when I had just taken the dose in the morning. I reduced the dose again yesterday back to 1/2 oroxine and 1 grain thiroyd and may halve the thiroyd tablet tomorrow as well as I am still feeling the thrum when I take it.

Otherwise I feel great, very little pain, plenty of energy. Maybe this is nearly right … except

Ordering Cytomel (Cynomel) or T3 from Mexico

After increasing the thiroyd and reaching the hyper stage, I knew that I had improved with it’s T3 because my temperature was improved, and other indicaters. But the amount of T4 included with thiroyd was either too much OR it is being converted to reverse T3 (this seemed to be a likely explanation.) Last visit Dr R indicated that T3 alone may be the change I was looking for. So I started reading up on T3 and lowering the dose of what I was taking in preparation.

If I am creating reverse T3 then T3 will gradually disperse it. With T3 and T4 in separate doses I can try and balance the two so that I reach a normal temperature (at which time my enzymes might be able to work properly again and therefore my digestion and perhaps the candida will resolve any issues they are having.)

So, I ordered some T3 (Cynomel) from Mexico two weeks ago. But although the initial page said 3 weeks delivery, a further email said it might take 5 weeks. As I was running low on thiroyd I re ordered this as well just in case, it took about 2 weeks from Thailand last time, so I should be ok if the T3 does not arrive in time, or at all. If not I still have plenty of T4 in oroxine which will keep me at work if not in comfort.

I am patient really I am, do I have an option? I guess if my brain had worked quicker I’d have ordered both of these drugs sooner, so I only have my slow brain to blame.

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Deciding To Take Natural Thyroid

The last time I wrote, I had just discovered that Dr R was retiring. Honestly, my brain just went into hibernation for a few weeks trying to deal with this. I had done so much reading about how doctors adjust medication only until the blood tests put you back in range and then stop, that I could only see a bleak future ahead. Before this setback – I believed in time that Dr R and I would gradually find the right dose of thyroid replacement and I would gradually return to close to normal when the dose and type of medication and my body’s adjustment to it was right. This small setback became a huge roadblock for some reason.

Deciding To Take Natural Thyroid

So I felt very sorry for myself for a while. If I was not sick, I think I would have bounced back quicker. Even so, eventually my optimism hacked its way through the fog and apathy of hypo misery and a solution came to me while reading my email. I thought – What the hell, that’s what the internet is for!

If half my (spam) emails are about getting prescription medication without a prescription then it can’t be that hard to do. Can it?

So I googled “dessicated thyroid no script” and took it from there. The Stop the Thyroid Madness page on the ingredients of thyroid medications was very helpful and I also checked a few forums to get any personal experiences of the various different types of natural thyroid – like whether a script is required, how much to take and how to swap or add to the thyroid relacement (oroxine) I am already taking.

One a day
Image by trekkyandy via Flickr

I checked out a few websites and decided to order the smallest amount of natural thyroid called THIROYD (manufactured by  Greater Pharma, a leading Pharmaceutical Manufacturer in Thailand.)

I paid the paypal invoice I was sent, checking everything carefully, and waited, patiently (not!). I  figured if it was no good, it was a well spent investment to find out, and there are other manufacturers. And if it was good, (as most of what I was reading indicated) – bonus! Back on track.

Hoping that Dr R would advise me, I made an appointment to see him two weeks ahead, hoping the “thiroyd”  would arrive in time.

Cover of "Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Pat...
Cover via Amazon

Conveniently it arrived on the same day as the appointment. A brown padded post bag containing a small sealed foil bag with tiny hard pale-brown tablets inside. On the foil, a sticker with a written description that said Thiroid 60mg, 120 tablets and the expiry date.

The T3/T4 ratio below is what I read on a page at STTM (Stop the Thyroid Madness) comparing ingredients of thyroid medications from different brands and different countries. Janie’s website helped me a lot in “translating” pieces of information I’d read in articles, into an actual knowledgebase. I can’t recommend STTM enough – for patients (or doctors) seeking clarification on everything to do with thyroid disorders, but specifically treatment of hypo thyroidism.

Greater Pharma states that “thiroyd” at one grain contains T3 at 8.31 microgram; T4 at 35 microgram, which is 0.013% and 0.058% respectively.

The thiroid tablets have a hard coating which I presume protects the interior. The tablets hold together well when cut in half. They taste sweet and have a quite distinctive flavour. I can’t think of a comparison, but it’s not unpleasant. Chewing the tablets is preferable (for absorbtion) to swallowing them whole. If you are looking for sublinguel absorbtion, you need to break the outer coating first or it takes forever to dissolve.

Information I’ve gleaned from forums and websites

How much thyroid is enough and how much is too much?

If a new dose of Armour contains too little T4 and T3 to benefit you, you’ll have to go through another evaluation period. And you’ll have to do this again and again until you find what I call your “therapeutic window”—a small dosage range that optimally benefits you without over stimulating you. That optimal dosage range is highly individual, but historically, the typical patient’s therapeutic window has been somewhere between 120 to 240 mg (2 to 4 grains). There’s no way to accurately predict what your therapeutic window is.

What ratio of T4 to T3 in thyroid replacement

Armour and Thyrolar both contain 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3. This is 4 parts T4 to 1 part T3 (the exact ratio is 4.22 to 1). 15 milligrams = 1/4 grain, that is 9mcg of T4 and 2.2 mcg T3.

That is what his ratio means. Like I said…I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems to make sense. 98%/t4 + 2%/ t3. If you were going to add Armour he says….because Armour has both…( 80/20 ratio)…one might take 1/4 grain with a 100 mcg of Synthetic t4. He argues too much t3 can eventually flood the system later…even if it feels okay initially. He further explains Armour contains a 80/20 ratio for pigs and that’s why and its not good for people in the long term….although he does agree that some folks get on Armour initially and their body takes a liking to it…and no other meds are needed.

Some endocrinologists now advocate a ratio 10 parts T4 to 1 part T3.

Some endocrinologists now advocate the use of products containing both T4 and T3, but they recommend a higher T4 to T3 ratio. They prefer a ratio 10 parts T4 to 1 part T3. The lower T3 content of such products renders them far less effective than Armour and Thyrolar. In our clinical experience, the treatment outcome is inferior for patients who use products with the lower T3 content.

The inferior treatment outcome is supported by two recent studies conducted by endocrinologists.[1][2] The studies showed that patients who added only a small amount of T3 to their T4 continued to suffer from symptoms, just as did patients who used T4 alone. The ratios of T4 to T3 the patients used varied, but most used a higher T4 to T3 ration than in Armour and Thyrolar. Of course, the endocrinologists restricted the patients’ dosages according to their TSH and thyroid hormone levels, and this almost guaranteed that the patients took too little thyroid hormone and continued to suffer from hypothyroid symptoms.

What changes to look for when T3 is added

T3 helps with more than just moods. Benefits that I have heard from people who added T3 include more energy, better moods, better skin, no more hair loss, easier to lose weight, reduced swelling, less joint pain, and many other hypo symptoms that T4 alone didn’t take care of for them. The effects are more than just mental and emotional, they are physical, as well.

T3 doesn’t cross over from the blood to the brain very well, but T4 does, so the reason T3 helps with moods isn’t clear that I am aware of. My theory is that T3 is helpful in restoring levels of neurotransmitters, including serotonin (the main one that most antidepressants affect) to better levels, as well as improving nerve health.

Since T3 doesn’t cross over to the brain as well as T4, you can see that T4 is going to be vital for proper brain function, so it is important to keep both hormones optimized.

On adjusting your own thyroid meds dosage

I’ve done my own share of dosage adjustments based on how I feel but you should be very careful when doing this. And don’t just change things because of how you feel on a particular day. Look for trends, look for other signals. If you’re getting too much your pulse will be higher than usual. If you’re not getting enough you’ll have chronic fatigue and eventually will have some hair loss. I use a black bath towel to help me know my status. If there’s only one or two hairs on the towel after showering I’m fine. If I don’t see any hair for a week I’m hyper, if there are a few dozen hairs I’m hypo. But I won’t change my dose without another sign to confirm–rapid pulse, slow pulse, fatigue, etc.

How long to wait before increasing thyroid replacement

You said that your endocrinologist scheduled you for a reevaluation ten weeks after you started using Armour. Two to four weeks is usually enough time to evaluate the benefits, if any, from a particular dose of Armour. I see no reason to wait ten weeks for a reevaluation.

The faster uptake of T3 to the body’s slower conversion of T4

On the other hand, I hope you don’t allow yourself to sink into depression because you haven’t gotten any better after two weeks on 90 mg of Armour. Impatience is understandable since you’ve suffered from hypothyroid symptoms for years. But a little more patience is necessary to find your optimal dose. Armour contains both T4 and T3. The benefits you’ll eventually get from the product will be a combined effect of the T4 and T3. If you increase your dose of Armour, and the increased dose contains enough T3 to benefit you, you’re likely to see the benefit within a few days to a week. But you may not benefit from the T4 for one to four weeks. To see how you benefit from both the T3 and T4 in the Armour, you must wait out the lag time of up to four weeks. Hopefully you’ll wait patiently; otherwise, you’re likely compound the frustration you must already feel.

Doctors may need to update knowledge of thyroid treatments

To get well, some patients must use Armour doses that are high enough to produce TSH and thyroid hormone levels that upset endocrinologists. But the lab values are meaningless in themselves, as long as a patient isn’t over stimulated and has gotten well from her hypothyroid symptoms. What’s truly harmful is for a doctor to keep a hypothyroid patient’s dose too low strictly for the sake of predetermined lab values.

But – Everyone is different!

Dr Lowe describes the treatment and dosage as a bell curve – for some patients need very little and others need a lot, and the tests don’t reflect their responsiveness to the treatment properly. Some patients need T4 some need T3 and some need both.

You – the patient – need to be as self aware as it is possible to be, so you can direct the doctor with your symptoms, to help him choose the right combination and dosage of thyroid replacement. On the other hand don’t expect the doc to read multiple pages of text – edit the info down to one page that you can refer to during your appointment, to remind you of what to say.

When I started on 75 mcgs of Synthroid, my brain fog cleared within 2 weeks, and my mood and energy perked up a lot. Problem was, I was hyper on that dose within a month, and cutting the dose to 50 didn’t help one iota. That is the smallest possible therapeutic dose, so I had to stop taking it. The endo deemed me “hypersensitive” to it and told me to wait until I got sicker and could tolerate it. Not an option. That’s when, one month later, I saw my current doc who prescribed the lowest dose of Armour, 30 mgs. I never became hyper after that, and I now take 120 mgs.

What The Doctor Said…

Many of these snippets came to mind as I discussed all this with Dr R. He checked the thiroid medication and didn’t insult me by saying “you can’t trust stuff you buy on the internet”, which I thought was awesome. It goes without saying – so why say it?

He noted that the tablets were 60mg (1 grain) and I had ordered a 3 month supply (if taking one a day). I told him that I had increased the oroxine to 150mg (two weeks before) as I was in pain and tired. But that the increase of oroxine had not made any difference as yet. I told him about the ginseng and that I’d stopped taking it and he ran through what supplements I was still taking.

He said that T3 is absorbed and used quite quickly so that I might need to split the dose (cut a thiroid pill in half) and take half of it morning and half at night. He suggested as a starting dose, I cut the oroxine back to half a tablet (50mg) and take a full tablet of the thiroid daily – to start. He reminded me to watch for hyper symptoms and said to adjust the dose and try different times to take it if I thought it might help (ie split dosing).

He also looked at the chart I’d been keeping of my temperature. I was following the guidelines from Dr Rinds website. My temperature appears to fluctuate by 2 degrees when it isn’t meant to fluctuate by moore than .2 of a degree. My temp is also quite low and on the graph I showed him, it never made it to 37 degrees in two months.

So now I have a new regime to follow in the hope of reducing my hypothyroid related joint and back pain and curing the breathlessness and tiredness I was still coping with.

 

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Thyroid Dr Skinner Wins David and Goliath Battle

Thyroid Patient Avocate Dr Gordon Skinner Resumes Normal Practice After Wrongfully Being Accused of Reckless Prescribing

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,
then you win.”   ~~Mahatma Gandhi

Quote from “What we have learned” STTM

And now for something completely different but absolutely terrific news.

I just read that UK doctor Dr Gordon Skinner has finally been released from his General Medical Council restrictions after 5 years. Is it any wonder doctor’s don’t speak up when those that do are treated in this way.

Why does it take 5 years to work out that thyroid patients are not happy with current medical guidelines on thyroid treatments.

Is it any wonder patients feel they are actually being better treated by natureopaths and “reckless” doctors.

Why don’t legal organisations like this read the forums on the internet? However “subjective” they may be, the sheer volume of complaints must surely be an indication of a discrepency between what is known by doctors and what is known by patients.

Ah well water under the bridge now, but three cheers for Dr Skinner for never giving up on this battle and winning it for all thyroid disorder sufferers as well as for himself.

News Articles

Reckless Mosely Doctor Has Conditions Lifted on His Medical Licence  – After more then five years of restriction, the General Medical Council (GMC) allows Dr Gordon Skinner to resume normal practice.

The Wake You Up Pill – controversial thyroid supplement help tiredness

(Such sensationalist headlines – How about “Effective Thyroid Doctor Wins a David and Goliath Battle About Old School Treatment.”. Or that tacky second headline – how about “Doctor Does His Job Well and Patient Feels Better” Ok, maybe no-one would employ me to write headlines. Who cares, he won!)

Info on Thyroid Treatment Written by Dr Skinner

People Power Will Continue to Work if Patients Sign Skinner’s Thyroid Register

Official transcripts from Dr Skinner’s GMC FTP Hearing and Related Articles

Diagnosis and Management of Hypothyroidism by Dr. G R B Skinner MD, DSc, FRCOG, FRCPath

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TSH Levels Hypothyroidism

TSH Levels and Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Early hypothyroidism may display very mild symptoms or have none at all.

Subclinical hypothyroidism occurs when thyrotropin (TSH) levels are elevated but below the limit representing overt hypothyroidism. The levels of the active hormones,  thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are normal and will be within the laboratory reference ranges.

Symptoms become more readily apparent in clinical (or overt) hypothyroidism.

In primary hypothyroidism, TSH levels are high and T4 and T3 levels are low. TSH usually increases when T4 and T3 levels drop. TSH prompts the thyroid gland to make more hormone.

The only validated test to diagnose primary hypothyroidism, is a blood test to measure thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (T4). However it is not totally conclusive, as these levels can also be affected by non-thyroidal illnesses.

High levels of TSH indicate that the thyroid is not producing sufficient levels of thyroid hormones (mainly thyroxine (T4) but also triiodothyronine (T3) in smaller amounts). However, measuring just TSH fails to diagnose secondary and tertiary hypothyroidism. So if the TSH is normal and hypothyroidism is still suspected, further blood testing may be required. Misdiagnosis is common in hypothyroidism, with types of thyroid dysfunction failing to be identified immediately by some laboratory tests. Further tests may be conducted such as…

Measure T3, T4

Free triiodothyronine (fT3)
Free levothyroxine (fT4)
Total T3
Total T4

or other things such as…

Free T3 from 24-hour urine catch
Antithyroid antibodies — for evidence of autoimmune diseases that may be damaging the thyroid gland
Serum cholesterol — which may be elevated in hypothyroidism
Prolactin — as a widely available test of pituitary function
Testing for anemia, including ferritin
Basal body temperature

(S)-Thyroxine_Structural_Formulae L-Thyroxine_...
Image via Wikipedia

There is a range of medical opinion on what agreed upon reference points a patient should be treated with thyroxine, the typical treatment for overt hypothyroidism.

Reference ranges have been debated regarding TSH. The lab that did my results in Australia used 0.4–4.0 mIU/L .  As of 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (ACEE) considers 0.3–3.0 mIU/L within normal range. Previously 0.5–5.0 mIU/L was used, and many doctors (as reported by patients in the health forums) do not treat until the range is over 10.

 

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Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

A medical student checking blood pressure usin...
Image via Wikipedia

Hypothyroidism usually develops slowly and early symptoms can be very mild to imperceptible. Many symptoms are at first brushed aside as a normal part of the ageing process. However when such symptoms group together or become more severe, it’s time to make notes about them and go see your doctor and request a blood test.

Signs of hypothyroidism indicate that the body is shutting down and not coping. They include the following symptoms:

Early Signs

Dry, itchy, scaly skin
Thin, brittle fingernails
Dry coarse hair,

Sore eyes, blurred vision
Puffiness around or sunken eyes

Sleep disturbances

Increased sensitivity to cold
Decreased perspiration

Constipation

Slowed speech and movements
Lethargy, apathy, no energy

Depression, broody thoughts
Forgetfulness, impaired memory
Confusion, unable to concentrate

Fatigue, sleepiness

Muscle cramps,
Muscle tension, tightness
Poor muscle tone (hypotonia)
Joint pain

Weight gain and water retention

 

Symptoms more specific to Hashimoto thyroiditis:

Feeling of fullness in the throat

Painless thyroid enlargement

Exhaustion

Neck pain, sore throat, or both

Low-grade fever

Later Signs

Goiter

Elevated serum cholesterol

Anaemia caused by impaired haemoglobin synthesis (decreased EPO), impaired intestinal iron and folate absorption or B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia

Slow speech and a hoarse, breaking voice – deepening of the voice can also be noticed, caused by Reinke’s Edema.

Dry puffy skin, esp of face
Increase in Hair loss
Thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows (sign of Hertoghe)

Abnormal menstrual cycles
Fertility problems

Thyroid-Related Depression
Irritability and mood instability

Dull facial expression
Coarse facial features

Sluggish reflexes
Weakness in the extremities

Bradycardia (slow heart rate – pulse – fewer than sixty beats per minute)

Blood pressure – Decreased systolic blood pressure and increased diastolic blood pressure

Low basal body temperature

Increased need for sleep

Shortness of breath with a shallow and slow respiratory pattern

Less Common Signs

Puffy face, hands and feet
Pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart)
Abdominal distension, ascites
Nonpitting edema (myxedema)
Pitting edema of lower extremities
Hyporeflexia with delayed relaxation, ataxia, or both

Paresthesia and nerve entrapment syndromes (eg Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)

Hyperprolactinemia  Galactorrhea
Gynecomastia

Decreased hearing, deafness

Decreased libido in men due to impairment of testicular testosterone synthesis

Decreased sense of taste and smell (anosmia)Difficulty swallowing

Impaired memory
Impaired cognitive function (brain fog) and inattentiveness.

A slow heart rate with ECG changes including low voltage signals. Diminished cardiac output and decreased contractility

Reactive (or post-prandial) hypoglycemia

Yellowing of the skin due to impaired conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A (carotoderma)

Impaired renal function with decreased glomerular filtration rate

Acute psychosis (myxedema madness) (a rare presentation of hypothyroidism)

Macroglossia ( Enlarged tongue)

Some people with hyperthyroidism will have few and others will have many symptoms – each person is different. Also – groups of these symptoms may be caused by something else entirely and not indicative of hyperthyroidism. Help your doctor by keeping a note of all your own symptoms and ask their opinion. S/he will send you for blood tests and find out what’s going on.

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What is Hypothyroidism?

What is Hypothyroidism?

The pituitary gland and hypothalamus both control the thyroid. When thyroid hormone levels drop, the hypothalamus secretes TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH), which alerts the pituitary to produce thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

The major endocrine glands of the body. Pituit...
Image via Wikipedia

The thyroid keeps your metabolism under control with thyroid hormone, which it makes by extracting iodine from the blood.

Every cell in your body depends on the thyroid to manage its metabolism.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid fails to make enough of these hormones.

When the thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient amounts of  thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3) then problems start to occur in all of the body’s systems as the normal bodily functions start to slow down.

All the body hormones work together, so that changes in one effect others. When our body is young this generally works like a well oiled machine. When we pass middle age, the changes affect us more.

This is a possible reason why more women than men appear to be affected by hyperthyroidism especially after they turn 50.

There are three types of hypothyroidism.

The most common is primary hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland itself becomes diseased and fails to produce sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone. The most common forms include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) and radioiodine therapy for hyperthyroidism.

Secondary hypothyroidism is caused by problems with the pituitary gland and accounts for less than 5-10% of hypothyroidism disorders. It occurs if the pituitary gland does not create enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce the required amount of thyroxine and triiodothyronine. It is usually caused by damage to the pituitary gland, as by a tumor, radiation, or surgery.

Tertiary hypothyroidism results when the hypothalamus fails to produce sufficient thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). TRH prompts the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Hence tertiary may also be termed hypothalamic-pituitary-axis hypothyroidism. It accounts for less than 5% of hypothyroidism cases.

Patients who have hypothyroidism should exercise caution with certain activities, especially if an activity has a risk of injury (eg, operating presses or heavy equipment, driving, heavy physical labour and contact sports. If their treatment is not yet stabilised and they are having difficulty maintaining concentration in low-stimulus activities, they may have slowed reaction times.

They may also be at risk for ligamental injury, particularly from excessive force across joints due to generalized hypotonia. Hypotonia is a state of low muscle tone (the amount of tension or resistance to movement in a muscle), often involving reduced muscle strength.

Hypothyroidism may be linked to other autoimmune diseases, such as Addisons disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes Mellitus, Euthyroid Sick Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Polyglandular Autoimmune Syndrome & Vitiligo.

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Thyroid

Your Thyroid Manages Your Metabolism

Front view of neck.
Image via Wikipedia

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the front of the throat just below the Adam’s apple. Our thyroid gland regulates our Metabolism and is responsible for creating hormones that drive several metabolic systems including our growth, both physical and mental, and our energy stores.

Around one in 20 people will experience some form of thyroid dysfunction (either overactive or underactive) in their life. Thyroid problems tend to affect a larger percentage of women more than men and the risk of thyroid dysfunction increases as you age.

Your metabolism is your body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy. Food is like fuel for our bodies and each person uses it at a different rate. This is why you often hear about some people having  a fast or a slow metabolism.

Metabolism is determined by measuring the amount of oxygen used by the body over a specific amount of time. If the measurement is made at rest, it is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Differences in BMRs are associated with changes in energy balance. Energy balance reflects the difference between the amount of calories one eats and the amount of calories the body uses. A negative energy balance may lead to weight loss as occurs with hyperthyroidism. The BMR in a person with hypothyroidism is decreased, so an underactive thyroid is generally associated with some weight gain.

Measurement of the BMR was one of the earliest tests used to assess  thyroid dysfunction. Patients whose thyroid glands were underactive (hypo) were found to have low BMRs, and those with overactive (hyper) thyroid glands had high BMRs.

Hyper Or Hypo Thyroidism?

If you have Hyperthyroidism when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, you may feel wired, anxious and impatient, you may also be prone to sweating and a pounding heart.

If you have Hypothyroidism when your thyroid hormone production is insufficient, you will feel the cold, get tired easily, feel slow, think slow and have insufficient energy to tackle things.

Diagnosis and Measurement of Thyroid function

Thyroid dysfunction is diagnosed after blood tests are taken and may be treated with drugs or sometimes surgery. An overactive thyroid may be suppressed by taking a specific drug. An underactive thyroid is generally treated with a supplement of thyroid hormone. The patients doctor will order blood tests every 6 weeks to three months until the right dose is settled on. Blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature are simple checks that people can make to chart their treatment progress themselves.

If you have had tests done and need help to decipher them check out Optimal Lab Values

This info is a bit simplistic. Different types of thyroid disease will require different treatments. The thyroid gland may be damaged in many different ways, so you will need to look for websites with comprehensive Thyroid information that is specific to your personal diagnosis. The following 2 websites  gives simple easy to understand information.

Endocrine Web information on thyroid dysfunctions.

Web MD info on thyroid dysfunction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Underactive Thyroid, Hypothyroidism

I have an underactive thyroid – or Hypothyroidism

I guess I have an advantage over many people hearing such a diagnosis for the first time, as I have already done a fair bit of research on the thyroid gland. Although previously I was concentrating on overactive thyroid glands or Graves disease, not underactive thyroid. My husband has lived with Graves disease for 10 years now, by keeping his thyroid hormone production suppressed with a prescription drug.

Scheme of the thyroid gland.
Image via Wikipedia

The treatment for hypothyroidism is of course the opposite to this – as the gland needs stimulating to improve it’s rate of thyroid hormone production.

I started to research thyroid from the other side of the spectrum. Honestly I’ve read heaps now about thyroid disease and I still have so many questions

The thyroid gland controls your metabolism and affects your heart, muscles, bones, and cholesterol . The thyroid is how your body turns food into fuel, and therefore it regulates weight and energy.

My husband appears to stay naturally thin by being in such a hurry to get things done, but in actual fact his metabolism is high because his thyroid is overactive and is called hyper – thyroidism.

In contrast I can now blame my belly fat, lethargy and desire to sleep in on a low metabolism caused by hypo – thyroidism (ie – it’s not me that’s underactive – it’s my thyroid 🙂 ).

Well at least I can blame my natural laziness on something physical now!

Treatment for Hypothyroidism

Oroxine (Thyroxine or synthetic T4) is the first line of hypothyroid treatment. I also take Lugols solution, or iodine: this is what the thyroid uses to make its hormones and iodine deficiency is a cause of hypothyroidism in areas where iodine is not freely available in food sources.

Dr R suggests that I start a strict diet as he doesn’t think that a full recovery is probable without a lot of attention being paid to what is good for me – that is not what diet is good for everyone – but what I need to eat. Honestly, grateful though I am for his alternative knowledge which is rare in a GP , I am sceptical about extremes – at least what appear to be extremes to me at this point.

Luckily Dr R is used to sceptics and knows it will take me time to adjust to this, like most people.

So after this first visit I start taking oroxine and lugal’s solution, and agree to make a start on a gluten free, dairy free, yeast free, soy free and sugar free diet. Meat and vegetables in other words! Until I can figure out how to cook with nut and grain flours that are gluten free. He also suggests the vegetables are eaten raw and grown organically. So I join a co-op to get organic vegetables. He also recommends coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and colloidal minerals.

Now although this was a long appointment with Dr R it was not long enough to inform me what what it is all for, or how to and when to take medications. I knew most of this because I’d already been searching for this information.

I worked with Dr R, asking for clarification about things I didn’t know or couldn’t understand, but didn’t expect him to give me a lecture on thyroid 101 and it’s treatment. All of us need to be proactive about our health, because our doctor’s just don’t have the time. So much good information is available on the internet anyway, so all you need is the time to study and learn, and the courage to try things. I have collected a lot of the links I found helpful about candida and thyroid so you can follow through without doing your own googling at all.

Some of these diet restrictions are for candida and some are for the thyroid. Between this appointment with Dr R and the next, I make a list of supplements and treatments that people actually recommend in the forums (not treatments just included in a list of cures repeated from other sources – but treatments they have tried and can still be bothered to write about) so I can ask him which are more important. I can’t afford too many or the too expensive options but I can get some and luckily most of the better treatments are relatively cheap.

Once I’ve finished writing up the basic story here, I’ll write up the best treatments I’ve settled into and let you know what and why I have had success with some things. I will probably continue to adjust some supplements as time goes on, but I can tell that some of these are truly essential for me to feel well during this stage of treatment. I’m hoping that they will not always be so, as the expense of these supplements is quite high. But if they are ….

There’s isn’t any science to this I’m sorry. I have kept basic records of things but there are so many variables and I don’t have the patience to take one thing or make one change and see what happens, and document it. It’s just my guesswork about what things do and why,  so be it.

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