Now Pretty Sure My Thyroid's NOT the Problem DESPITE History & Test Results Recovery Is Possible - Update

Back again with a ~3 month progress update and interesting news.

It's 3 months since I started taking

1. vitex agnus castus + evening primrose/starflower oil for oestrogen dominance

2. Nutri Adrenal Extra for adrenal distress

3. dropping my thyroxine dose to 50mcg and added Nutri Thyroid

4. different supplements 2.6g Vit C, L-tyrosine, magnesium,

5. CoQ10 for liver support

6. Nutrigest to supply some betaine HCl & digestive enzymes + soluble fibre and 5g glutamine/day

I am also off gluten/grains/dairy/alcohol and sugar. When I introduce any of these they play havoc with my digestion and I get headaches with gluten/grains. I do eat gluten-free oats (you have to make sure they aren't rolled as these can contain wheat traces due to production methods)

Time for a review - I like to start with symptoms as always - how do I feel?

Have been feeling fantastic and sleeping properly although this has shifted again in the last 3 weeks. I'm being woken up by an unhappy digestive system (pain around stomach area) and some PMT-like symptoms (water retention, mood swings, anxiety) some nights getting worse as I approach my period.

My fingernails will not grow and are very dry and flaky.

I should add I have no classic hypothyroid- or adrenal distress-specific symptoms of note ie: body temperature has completely stabilised above 36.5C, loss of hair/outer 1/3 eyebrows, bolt upright and awake at 2-4am/dark circles around eyes etc.

I now swim 1 mile a day front crawl and feel amazing afterwards. NO FATIGUE.

I rechecked my symptoms vs our symptom checker

My scores worth noting (in order) are

Oestrogen Dominance (very high)

Digestive Disorders (moderate)

Liver, adrenals, pernicious anemia (moderate/low)

Thyroid (low)

I'm going to add in 2 recent test results

1. Thyroid

TSH 0.28 mIU/l (ref 0.24-4.20); free T4 15.0 pmol/l (12-22)

see previous blog - I know my T3 metabolism is working fine but my last readings were

TSH 1.32 mIU/l (ref 0.24-4.20); free T4 17.3 pmol/l (12-22)

Something odd's going on here - note I think I may know what...

2. Menopause test

FSH 12.9 IU/l (ref 2.9-14.6)

I'm also doing a complete set of digestive panels to check for leaky gut, SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth) and malabsorption that I scored from a recent Digestive Conference.

My conclusion

I know I'm peri-menopausal - high FSH. This means oestrogen/progesterone balance is out of whack. In a month I don't ovulate I won't produce progesterone and will be oestrogen dominant.

My symptoms match this - increasing water retention and mood swings as the month progresses plus my old favourite the painful breasts have returned somewhat.

I'm wondering whether this is directly affecting my digestion or there's still something awry there. I intend to rule out and dysbiosis (unfriendly bacterial overgrowth) and leaky gut.

What I think's going on

1. I suspect my thyroid is actually not working too badly.

It' s interesting to see that my TSH reading has plummeted back towards the lower level. It suggests my pituitary thinks there's plenty of T4, T3 washing about.

2. Adrenals - I'm not going to comment here - it all feels like it's OK - I don;'t think this is where the imbalance lies.

3. Liver - I'm pretty sure my liver's doing its job all my liver tests (the doc's just rechecked them) seem fine

4. Digestion - this is either primarily a problem and/or it's being affected by something else

5. Oestrogen - I suspect this is the culprit.

Too much oestrogen has a number of effects.

1. disrupts digestion

2. blocks thyroid hormone receptors - this would mean T3 washing about that should be energising cells. My pituitary would see this and TSH would be suppressed. My T4 isn't massively high but I suspect my body's converting as much to T3 as possible to try and generate energy while I have oestrogen blocking that process. Hence the tiredness that FEELS BETTER when I exercise. Exercise is known to reduce oestrogen levels.

Symptom-wise it certainly shifts the mood-swings and edginess.

3. causes fluid retention (tick)

4. causes weight retention around the middle (tick)

Notable though - and the reason I'm looking at digestion - is that digestive problems can also contribute to increased oestrogen levels.

Basically if you have dysbiosis you end up with increased levels of the beta glucuronidase enzyme. This enzyme can take oestrogen that's marked to be excreted from the body in the liver and reabsorb it into the bloodstream. So, despite the fact that I know I'm prei-menopausal, I need to rule out the possibility that I may ALSO have some digestive imbalance that's making it all worse.

I'm also concerned about my fingernails (trivial I know but a clear symptom). Lack of ZINC could be the cuprit - this would also contribute to oestrogen dominance and poor nails. Oh it also helps shift the life belt around the middle. Will see on this...

Either way I believe there's a good chance my thyroid's not the primary problem but a symptom of something else. Treating it like a sick gland all these years has done NOTHING to remove my other symptoms - symptoms I chose to ignore because I believed my doctor and didn't listen to my body.

So - to summarise - in my quest for health and truth I'm getting there. Very exciting.

I've a strong suspicion that if I can correct any digestive imbalance and manage my oestrogen levels better through proper diet (there's lots on this out there) and exercise I may be back to NORMAL.

My measure is - can I shift that weight when I exercise? If I can then I know my body's working the way it should. I suspect that WHEN all is resolved I may be able to ditch the thyroxine all together forever.

So - back to my original premise - it's important to dig backwards to make sure that your thyroid imbalance is the primary condition not the end-product of other hormonal imbalances.

Always look at your gut and digestion if you've got autoimmune disorders - they're known to be linked to leaky gut if you have the genetic predispositions. If you have a digestive disorder fix it and then have another look at your SYMPTOMS then your test results.

Give things time to settle then review and readjust. I have changed what I take.


1. vitex agnus castus + evening primrose/starflower oil for oestrogen dominance + progesterone cream 1/8 tsp at night days 14-28 of cycle

2. thyroxine dose to 50mcg and added Nutri Thyroid

3. L-tyrosine, magnesium, zinc with added copper (they need to balance so you need both)

4. CoQ10 for liver support

5. multivitamin containing extra B vitamins + magnesium enriched multivitamin

6. Nutrigest to supply some betaine HCl & digestive enzymes + soluble fibre and 5g glutamine/day

Any questions or comments - come on down!!!

14 Replies

  • skyfall, that is sure that in some cases of thyroid problems...'not the primary condition' is fact.

    Too late for me now I think to reverse the root case but am able to lead a more mentally and physically healthier life.

    Must go out now will read again properly later.

    Well done you for taking charge early on.


  • I'm 10 years in but coming off thyroxine for a short while indicated my thyroid was at least somewhat functional. I know damage can't be reversed but it's unclear to everyone how much thyroid is needed to generate all the T4 needed by the body.

    Unless it's been removed there's always hope...

  • Ooh this is what I want to do!!! You mention "our symptom checker". Is that yours or on this site? Where do you research the supplements cocktail you have chosen? Without getting overwhelmed as I have Aspergers and ADHD! Or can you recommend specialist! I need definite lists if that makes sense. That tell me if this happens that will result generally! As you have reasoned throughout its rational and balanced I need to find same methodology! Can you suggest where I should start please xxxxx :)

  • OK - first off we're about to launch a site with the symptom checkers on it.

    The site's designed to take chronic disease sufferers through a process of

    1. assessing their symptoms & signs to help identify which system(s) (thyroid, adrenals, liver etc..) could be out of balance

    2. They can then take the results to their practitioner OR do tests to confirm/discount identified conditions

    (NOTE: we always advise people to pay attention to how they feel vs test results alone)

    3. Based on the sets of results above they can consult their practitioner or talk to our practitioners to get help designing supplement/meal plans to address the issues identified

    We're focussed on helping sufferers discover the CAUSE of their symptoms so that they can figure out how to proceed towards recovery. Basically you're in the driving seat - we're their to provide the roadmap.

    For me recovery has involved working backwards through thyroid, adrenals, liver to digestion and sex hormones. All of these systems work together. If one's out of balance others will be too - as I've discovered!

    So - I'd always start with a complete assessment of what symptoms and signs you have and go from there...happy to point you to the site as soon as it's up.

  • Hi, it looks like you have been working hard at fitting together the pieces of the puzzle - i often feel very overwhelmed with all my symptoms and problems and dont know which way to turn.

    I am responding because something in your post jumped out at me - your reference to high levels of beta glucoronidase - i had this show up on a Genova diagnostics GI test. I had very high levels of beta glucoronidase and low levels of Chymotrypsin - despite having severe gut problems for a few years nothing else showed up. I don't know what to do about this, but it does fit with many of my symptoms (as does Hypo thyroid which i am not diagnosed with but suspect)

    Any ideas for how to bring this high level down?

  • I think it's important to figure out why it's high.

    I'm no expert but it could high due to

    a) dysbiosis ie. you have a crop of unfriendly bacteria producing additional enzyme

    b) you could have some sort of imbalance in your liver (maybe less likely)

    Did you do the Genova CDSA test?

    The following may help to reduce beta-glucuronidase levels:

    Probiotics (including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus GG, and


    High-fiber diet (including both soluble and insoluble fiber)

    Fructooligosaccharides (FOS). FOS may act as a substrate for bifidobacteria.

    Combining FOS with cellulose may be even more effective.

    Low- or non-meat diet. Lacto-vegetarian diets are associated with reduced levels

    of beta-glucuronidase.

    Lowering colonic pH. Raising fecal pH from 5 to 8 in vitro induces 11.5-fold rises in

    beta-glucuronidase levels.

    Calcium-D-glucarate inhibits the enzyme. Foods with the highest concentration of

    calcium-D-glucarate include oranges, apples, grapefruit, and cruciferous vegetables.

    Ascorbic acid

    Silymarin (milk thistle)

    Cumin or black pepper (avoid cayenne, which can increase levels of the enzyme)

  • Can you tell us about the symptom checker?

    What kind of copper is safe in supplements? I read that the inorganic stuff doesn't work in copper deficiency conditions, and may even be implicated in Alzheimers.

  • I take a zinc-copper combination that's balanced from Solgar - Skin Hair & Nails formula. Solgar tends to chelate or attach minerals to an amino acid to increase bioavailability - in this case it's copper + glycine.

    Here's the contents blurb

    MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) 1000 mg Red Algae powder 150mg Vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) 120 mg L-Lysine (l-lysine HCL) 50 mg Zinc as citrate 15mg L-Proline 50 mg Copper (copper glycinate) 200mcg Tableted with these natural ingredients: vegetable powdered cellulose, vegetable stearic acid, vegetable magnesium stearate, vegetable glycerin.

  • We're launching a site that includes the Symptom Checkers in a couple of weeks. We've been testing them out for a while now. They deal with 12 thyroid related conditions based on signs and symptoms for each. The output is a report that identifies where there may be a problem. It's a blind test so (although you might be able to guess) the conditions aren't labelled. The symptoms overlap between many of the conditions but there are always a few that are condition-specific. Based on the results you can see your healthcare practitioner or do a test.

  • Thanks. Look forward to seeing the new website.

  • fantastic, in terms of peri menapouse, can you tell me please where i can buy supplements to help? My fsh was also high. thanks and welldone xx

  • Which supplements in particular?

    I use Nutri, Wellsprings, Solgar & Biocare.

    All good quality brands. You can buy all the products online.

  • Gosh you have been thorough! Really pleased to hear about your progress.

    One thing that I've noticed is a huge improvement in my nails from taking similar supplements to you but also cold pressed linseed oil. I don't think I can say the supplier on this forum but if anyone is interested please PM me. The oil apparently has a better balance of the omega 3, 6 & 9 than other oils like olive oil and sunflower oil. It has to be used after cooking so added to soups, porridge, casseroles or as a salad dressing and it's delicious! P.s. For complex reasons, I am avoiding fish, so cod liver oil is not an option for me.


  • Thanks Mary - I'll definitely try that!

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