T Nation

Late 20s Woman with Hypo-Thyroidism


#1

I know someone who recently had her blood drawn. She is going to a naturopathic clinic, and they want her to try this dietary supplements before putting her on synthroid. I know a lot of women (more so than men) have issues with their thyroids and I wanted to see if I could get some feedback/help. Perhaps this can benefit a lot of other women on here...?

Her blood was collected after 12+ hours of fasting.

Free T3 1.68 (normal ranges 2.1-5.34)pg/ml

Free T4 1.03 (normal ranges 0.8-2.01)

TSH 0.90 (normal ranges 0.5-4.7)

So like I said, she is around 27 years old, she has a family history with a grandfather who had thyroid problems, her sister has a dead thyroid, her mom is HyperThyroidal, and an aunt has an issue.

It is my understanding heavy intake of soy products have been linked to thyroid damage. While she did not spend a huge amount of years eating a lot of soy products she did spend 1 or 2 years eating tofu... Probably has nothing to do with it. She is approximately 200lbs, 5'4, experiences low energy, poor motivation for active lifestyle.

She was told by these people her thyroid is inflamed, and was prescribed a product called 'Thyrocsin' that has vitamins C, E and B12. Iodine, zinc, selenium copper, L-Tyrosine and Ashwaganda extract. She was also proscribed 'lipotrepein' and BioDophilus-FOS.


#2

what is her diet like? Has she experimented to see if maybe there is a food intolerance?

I ask because when I had ‘thyroid problems,’ I was overweight and my diet was crappy.
Changed my diet/lost weight and my ranges were back to normal…no meds.

It’s in my unprofessional opinion(natural Doc or not) that they just want you to take there drugs. They pump you full of drugs, without getting to the root of the problem.
Tell her to ask her docs to try and help her through diet FIRST. If she can stick to it for a few months and then get blood drawn again, I think she’d be surprised!

Then again, it could be genetic…


#3

Thank you for your response! They also recommended a gluten free diet; she was a bit timid to start with their ‘drugs’ (the supplement stuff)… Also wasn’t relishing being on synthroid the rest of her life. She just wants to feel ‘normal’ (have energy, feel good) and lose weight. So she has decided to try the gluten free diet and these supplements. They are not really that expensive, these supplements/proscribed aids.

I am a bit skeptical, because I feel gluten free is a bit of a fad. Alas, gluten was only introduced ‘allegedly’ to the human diet around 10,000 years ago, so perhaps she could benefit from not ingesting it.

I think they truly want to help her, get to the root of why her blood values are all screwed up. I have attributed her being overweight to the physical abuse she went through as a child; and growing up poor, not having the best most nutritious food being fed to her. Alas, perhaps it is a combo of all three, the abuse, diet and thyroid.

Because from the blood test they did her values were all bad, her T4 and TSH were the closest to being ‘normal’ and they were at low normal… Who knows, I’ll just have to wait and see if she can muster up the determination and self control to take all of her supplements and adhere to a strict ‘gluten free’ or low gluten diet. I really hope and believe she can, I know she wants to feel good and not be 50lbs+ overweight


#4

I agree with M-in-MD. If your friend spent a year focusing on eating clean and exercising consistently, I predict all of her medical indicators would change radically.

Sounds like she could benefit from having a personal trainer. And perhaps a therapist.

Good luck to her.


#5

As a personal trainer I tend to agree with you, I truly believed her blood test would come back with fairly normal values. But her T3 is almost non existant, her T4 is very low as well as her TSH. I would like to think if she ate right and exercised for even 3_6 months her body and blood values would normalize, alas I am not a doctor…

I do have a vast understanding of anatomy and physiology, more than a rudimentary understanding of endocrinology and a great base of knowledge concerning pharmacology… :slight_smile:


#6

I went gluten free for 2 months and stopped taking that stupid pill. I lost 10lbs within that time. Got more blood taken and it came back within range. I haven’t taken a pill since and that was two years ago. Which reminds me I should get a check up just to see what things are looking like.

I can’t say I am completely gluten free, more 90% of the time. The only reason I was willing to try gluten free was because of the research between the thyroid and food intolerance’s.
Plus my mom casually mentioned that when I was 18 months old I got really sick. The doctors told her to take ‘wheat,’ out of my diet and I was fine. They said eventually I would ‘grow out of it,’ and it was ok in small doses. Doctors didn’t know as much back then as they do today(31 years) I don’t feel it’s something you grow out of. So I try to avoid as best as I can.

http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/glutenceliac.htm


#7

Wow. I’m sorry guys I am unfortunately an arm-chair expert on Hypothyroidism having gone through a couple of years of hell with it & I disagree with the previously offered advice.

Actual Hypothyroidism cannot be treated effectively with anything other than thyroid hormone supplementation. Regarding your friend’s test results:

Free T3 1.68 (normal ranges 2.1-5.34)pg/ml She’s got no T3. None. She must feel like absolute garbage. I’m amazed she’s functioning. When my T3 is that low (below range) I’m practically crawling on the floor. There is a CHANCE that She will do ok on Synthroid (synthetic T4) supplementation but if I were her I’d want T4 AND T3.

I’d want a doc that would dose me with cytomel (synthetic T3) starting at 5mcg a.m. & 5mcg p.m. and retest my FREET3 levels every six weeks and increase my dose after re-test until my FREET3 level was at the top 2/3 to 3/4 of range. It typically takes six months to one year of this process (test, increase dose, test, increase dose etc.) to get the levels OPTIMIZED.

Free T4 1.03 (normal ranges 0.8-2.01) Again she’s got not too much T4. The purpose of T4 is for our body to convert it into the active thyroid hormone T3. The problem is that most women who have hypO DO NOT CONVERT so dosing with Synthroid only is ineffective. You can get the FREET4 levels as high as you want but if the FREET3 levels aren’t right the patient will experience no improvement in symptoms.

TSH 0.90 (normal ranges 0.5-4.7) Now this is an odd reading. Her TSH is quite low. TYPICALLY when someone is hypothyroid TSH is HIGH. TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone produced by the pituitary gland to urge the thyroid to make T4 and convert it to T3. TSH isn’t actually a thyroid test at all its a pituitary test.

HOWEVER with TSH low and Low T3 and Low T4 I begin to suspect Hashimotos which is an autoimune thyroid disease. Have your friend get tested for Hashimotos antibodies (Antithyroid peroxidase antibody & Antithyroglobulin antibodyAntithyroglobulin antibody) maybe she was tested already does her lab slip say TPA or TPO antibodies on it anywhere?

BEYOND THAT your friend needs to find a doctor that knows how to treat her. Its good that they ran the FREET3 test but suggesting natural supplementation is absolutely ludicrous. Send your friend to stopthethyroidmadness.com for a beginner course on what she’s dealing with.

Gluten Free diet might be legit many Hypothyroid people are gluten intollerant but not all (I’m not).

She is going to need to get over not wanting to be on synthroid the rest of her life. You can’t fix a broken thyroid and she WILL need to supplement her thyroid hormones by taking them orally. She won’t feel well/normal/beabletoloseweight until she gets some T3 in her body. SYNTHROID AND CYTOMEL are not “drugs” they are HORMONES.

NO ONE should eat soy but ESPECIALLY NOT anyone with thyroid problems.


#8

That was more info than any Doctor I’ve had ever gave me!

I was told I was ‘hunting zebras,’ by Nurse practitioner when I said I wanted to see an endo. Makes me curious to go back and get tested…


#9

[quote]mom-in-MD wrote:
That was more info than any Doctor I’ve had ever gave me!

I was told I was ‘hunting zebras,’ by Nurse practitioner when I said I wanted to see an endo. Makes me curious to go back and get tested…

[/quote]

‘hunting zebras’ !?!? Wow. Sadly pretty typical of the disdain alot of us experience from some of the medical community. (FYI Endos aren’t usually good at thyroid anyways they’re much better at diabetese. My AMAZING thyroid/hormone specializing Doctor is actually a DO.)

The state of thyroid treatment in this country is absolutely laughable. Most doctors haven’t read a medical journal since they left med school! Anything “new” they learn comes from Drug Reps that take them golfing.

I was lucky enough to have some online friends that are experts in this area. They definately helped me on my journey. I’m really just an amateur patient advocate but I get FURIOUS with the crap that women are told about their thyroid. Nine times out of ten they are offered phentermine and an anti-depressant. The anti-depressant prescription is usually the first thing their doctor hands them. I mean… someones blood work CLEARLY SHOWS that they are hypothyroid but their treating practitioner will insist they are just lazy/crazy. BAH! The whole thing really frosts my cookies.

If I were you I would surely get some new blood work done. I’d get the FREET3, FREET4 & TSH (just as reference its not really a treating test number) also the antibody tests if you haven’t already gotten them.

I’d be happy to look at your test results or anyone else’s for that matter. Or I can pass them along to some patient advocates I know. There is a network of patients that can help find the right treating physician also. stopthethyroidmadness.com is a good starting point. There are also thyroid patient yahoo groups for just about every state in the country.

If it hadn’t been for the help of ‘virtual’ strangers I shudder to think where I’d be right now. Sorry to be so melodramatic but I really could barely function. Brain fog so bad I had no short term memory, sleeping ten hours a night and on the floor of my office on my lunch break, hair falling out by the handful etc. etc. etc.) Hypothyroidism affects so many women the majority of whom are NEVER DIAGNOSED let alone properly treated.


#10

Thanks for that.

I may just have to dig up my old tests and go get some new ones. The last pill I took was June of '08 and I haven’t looked back.

I know that drugged/fatigued feeling all too well…


#11

HOLEY CRAP!

Hallowed, thank you thank you so much. This ‘friend’ of mine is my soon to be future wife, I hadn’t done any research but I thought synthroid was just a different name for cytomel… Now I know synthroid is T4 and cytomel is T3. yes, I am aware these are hormones but they are still foreign substances you put into your body that are essentialy bio-identical hormones, not trying to argue just defend my assertion/statement of them being drugs. May I PM you and possibly connect you to speak directly with my fiance, either through this site or email?

this is a big part of why I love this site, so many people with real world experience who know a lot more about certain medical/health issues then A LOT of the people ‘practicing’ medicine; who spent 12 years and school learning about the body and treating disease; disorders and health issues and still suck… :slight_smile:

Thanks to everyone posting on here, I think that if my wife(future) really wants it she is going to look/feel the best she ever has in her life on her wedding day! That makes me so happy; of course I have some of my own reasons for wanting the best for her; but because I love her so much I am so f@cking happy she is finally going to feel better and be the person she is truly meant to be!

Lets see if she is still going to want to marry me; now that she is going to have her mind right… buahahahahahahah (nervously joking…)


#12

Oops, this is one of my other logins, I am idowhatican :wink:


#13

Her TPO was 194 and normal apparently is 0-34 IU/ml… So glad you responded to this thread…


#14

[quote]muscle_meathead wrote:
Her TPO was 194 and normal apparently is 0-34 IU/ml… So glad you responded to this thread… [/quote]

Yes you may PM me of course and I will send you my email happy to help.
Your fiance has Hashimoto’s. Any doctor that does not say that word and does not treat it with hormone replacement needs to be immediately fired. From your OP it sounds like no one said this word to her! This is her DIAGNOSIS. Check out stopthethyroidmadness.com and also google a little to read about Hashimotos Autoimune Thyroiditis. Your fiance’s immune system is sporadically attacking her thyroid which can lead to periods of extreme hypothyroidism and periods that seem more normal.

Finding the right doctor can be challenging and getting hormone levels optimized is a time consuming process (test, dose, test, dose, etc.). I had my first appointment with my current amazing doctor on 4/17. I’ve had six dose increases since then and five rounds of blood tests. Just today I had an appointment and my levels are getting optimized so I don’t need to go back for six months. Expect a similar process (AFTER you find a good doctor)

In your PM please include where you are located and some nearby cities (be willing to drive up to two hours for a doctor) I will post on another board I am part of and see if I can get some good doctor recommendations for her.

You are right to be happy about getting this information… it sounds weird but once you know what is happening you are on your way to getting the right treatment.

EDIT: I SEE YOU ARE IN CANADA. Treatment can be tricky up there what province and which major city are you closest to? PM me…


#15

To piggy-back what Hallowed is saying, often our thyroid levels appear normal to doctors, but are abnormal for us personally. My wife has periods of hypo-thyroidism. For a period of three months, we thought she had mono: she was extremely tired (she would get 8 hours of sleep and still wake-up utterly fatigued), and she gained weight abnormally fast–something she never did before (lucky her).

She was tested for mono (negative) and hypothyroidism (levels were on the lower-half of normal, but not even close to borderline). On a whim, we tried iodine supplements (actually, kelp tablets). Within days, she was feeling much better.


#16

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#17

Interesting!

so what we are left with is basically meat, veggies and good fats? And is this experiment WHILE someone is on meds?


#18

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#19

I was basically speaking for myself.

I stopped my meds two years ago, cleaned up the diet similar to what you described for about three months and got tested again. The values came within range, a little low on the normal side, but it was enough for me!
But I haven’t had a check up since…


#20

My father has hypothyroidism. He’s just downing pills and I doubt he’s been very proactive. I’d like to educate myself so I can find him a good doctor.

And BBB…

Goddamn right that gut problems can cause an immune response. Page me when we get to that topic :slight_smile:

It’s amazing what people can learn when a loved one goes through something serious. They end up being more expert than many doctors on the same topic.