Too scared to start Armour

Today was going to be the day. I WAS going to start taking the Armour prescribed by Dr Skinner.

BUT, even though it is nearly amonth since i saw him and 3 weeks since i had the bottle in my hands i still can't get up the courage to begin.

Some background - i have been diagnosed with M.E- 3 years ago by Dr Myhill after 17 years of horrendous illness. The last 4 years i have been so ill i have had to give up all work and have become mainly house/bed bound. The past 6 months have seen some improvements. My symptoms have been too diverse and numerous to list here, but suffice to say they were nearly all on Dr Skinners tick list (it would have been easier to ask me which symptoms i didn't have!)

One of the big problems i have had over the past few years is over reactions to medications as well as to vitamins and minerals. I have also been treated appalingly by the medical profession (that's a whole other long sorry story in itself) I am particularly afriad to start because i have had a severe reaction to an anti depressant 4 years ago that took at least two years to recover from and was the worse experience of my life. I also had a terrible reaction to a minor surgery 5 years ago and although promised i would be back to work next day, i actually never went back to work again and couldn't get out of bed for 3 weeks. I also had a problem with steroids (both inhaled and oral) that i was given for repeated lung infections and pneumonia (have scarring now)

Dr Skinner has given me some hope - but i still find it hard to trust and a big part of me doesn't reall believe the Armour will make me better. My latest results from Feb were:

TSH- 2.39 (range up to 5)

FT4- 12.6 (range 12 -21)

My results have always been within range, but seem to jump about all over the place. The highest my T4 has been was about 17 (some years ago) and my TSH has been at 3.3 - but nothing ever out of range. I have problems with Iron - anemic on and off for many years and also ferritin very low - was at 5 for many years (never treated by GP's) but with a couple of years of supplementation i have only managed to get it to 11 at the highest.

I had a trial of thyroxine 3 years ago with Dr Myhill that didnt work - started very low and was fine for a few months (although i felt no better at all) when the dose got up to only 50mcg a day i experienced symptoms of hyper, but my bloods were still well within range. so we abandoned it - i was told it could be an adrenal problem(no surprise there - extreme anxiety, acute startle response no ability to handle stress - now somewhat improved)

So - i am on Omeprazole (but weaning off) and iron twice daily (should be three times but my stomach won't take it) i have been prescribed half grain for three weeks then three quarters until i see him again (early August) i don't know how tro take with the iron or Omperazole - or if this is safe and normal? He toyed with quarter grain to start but though it should be half. I reall wamt to get going and see if it will help but i am afraid of adverse reactions - i already have palpitations etc and these make me scared - have had severe anxiety whihc i snow almost under control, have suffered a few years of Agorphobia due to illness.

Any advice? and if you have got this far and read all this - Thank You so much!

Justy x

12 Replies

  • Well, I can certainly understand why you are scared after what you have told us! I have a few thoughts though.

    If you have trouble with anaemia and low ferritin, you will likely experience hyper symptoms before you get to an adequate dose so starting very slowly with the Armour would be wise. You may find that you have to stay on a low dose for quite a while but, as you will be then getting some T3, you may find that you start to recover in other ways too. You may also find that the iron starts being absorbed and stored better. Don't forget you need to take vitamin C and vitamin B2 (riboflavin found in many foods) to absorb and store iron well.

    It could also be your adrenals, but getting some T3 into your body could help with this. Given that you have had to take steroids in the past, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you have some adrenal fatigue.

    If you are taking Omeprazole you need to be careful that you are getting enough magnesium. This could also be one of the missing links with getting you well and would be worth looking into.

    As far as taking Armour with Omeprazole and iron is concerned, try to take them at different times of day. The Armour is best taken well away from either of these.

    If you are worried about taking the Armour, perhaps start with only 1/4 grain to see if you have any sort of reaction. Once you have been fine for a couple of days, try increasing to half a grain. This is a very low dose so hopefully you won't have any reaction to it. For comparison, I am taking 4.5 grains which, I believe, is a fairly average dose.

    I think, in your case, the trick is going to be patience (so hard when all you want to do is feel better!) Taking it slowly might allow you to get to a good dose without too many of the problems you had with levo. You may also find that some of your other problems start to slowly rectify once you are on the Armour, although this may take some time.

    I wish you all the best with it. I know NDT has been a life-safer for me!

    Let us know how you get on.

    Carolyn x

  • I agree with what carolyn said, you've got to do it, not doing it means you will definitely stay as you are right?

    we're all here with you x

  • Thanks Carolyn and nobodysdriving for your words of support and encouragement. I would like to take the Armour in the morning, but also need to take the Omeprazole then - is the Armour likely to keep me awake if i take it later on, say in the afternoon? or perhaps i could switch the omeprazole to evening and try that.

    Does anyonme know how long to leave between the iron and Armoiur?

    Thanks again for the advice - will keep you all posted - i really do intend to start tomorrow - with just a quarter grain.

    Justy x

  • It is suggested that a minimum of four hours between taking Armour (or T3 or levothyroxine) and Iron.

    I have been on NDT for 12 years now and it has given me a life (as opposed to the living death before taking it).

    I would re-iterate all that has been said before. Were the vitamins you were taking synthetic? This is a natural product so you might fare better with it. In my case I did not improve for a few months whilst it was being increased gradually (the best way in my opinion), but after a while I would get one good day then as time went on it would be two good days until after several months (maybe as much as a year) I had a lightbulb moment when I realised every day were good days.

    Good luck with it and I do hope this will be the answer to your health problems. I found that some symptoms disappeared quite quickly, others lingered. So unless you become very ill, I would suggest trying to be patient. Very hard when you have been so ill and want to be back well again.

  • I have never suffered the extremes of anxiety you mention, but get the feeling I can relate, with some anxiety unders certain circumstances, but more seriously chronic depression and OCD where rational behaviour is hard to keep going...however you need to make a decision however you feel, (only you can do that) and to be a bit blunt, the thing is you are in a position with only two options, DO; or DON'T do.

    Meaning the choice is do something, or stay as you are.

    If you stay as you are, then you know better than me what that is all about as you are living it, so only you can know that; if you choose to DO something, then it means taking the NDT, but that process has more than one option in how to do that so it's a matter of how you would approach that, so let's look at that option if you decide that way -

    Dr Skinner has a reputation for fixing more people than most, and Dr MyHill also has a reputation for sorting out problems that others wont' take on, but the only problem I can see with what you have already tried is the "hyper" symptoms when you tried Levothyroxine.

    The problem would therefore seem to be your worry about what might happen if the same problem happens this time with the NDT as happened with the Levo. Bear in mind that if you do go hyper, as long as you have done it sensibly and slow and steady, then you shouldn't go VERY dangerously hyper, and just need to "back off" Beta blockers would help with the high heart rate too.

    Now I know Dr Skinner doesn't seem to follow the "adrenal fatigue" rationale (or whatever other name you want to give it!), so I know he won't be prescribing you anything in this respect, my guess (and I seem not to be the only one) is the "Hyper" symptoms are going to be adrenal related, and if that is the case, I don't see why you won't get that with NDT too, so maybe you will have that problem... (I would also ask the question what did Dr Myhill, who I do know is interested in the Adrenal fatigue concept) say on that issue?)

    OK I know the Iron issue is there too, but from what I understand, the effect of that is more related to poor T4 to T3 conversion rather than hyper symptoms, but can also give hyper-LIKE symptoms too. Have you tried different options to get Iron levels corrected? I don't have this problem but do know some people do better on different supplements than otters in this respect.

    As I mentioned, "Hyper" symptoms also are not necessarily actually being hyper... theya re only hyper-like: the bloods you ahd taken would suggest that they were not true hyper, and as being too low can also give similar symptoms, could well be that (I know myself when I was on T3 only, I thought I was hyper and was actually a good bit too low!)

    See for some info on the different happenings, and how to tell the difference.

    Did you do any cortisol blood test, or did you do a 24 hour salivary test?

    If you didn't then a good idea would seem to do them now, and get an idea of what is happening in that respect!

    Depending on the outcome of that, if they are fine, then then if you have chosen the option to go ahead the that's that; if they are poor, then the decision to support adrenal function in some way is the choice first - there are supplements (as Dr Peatfield suggests often) or hydrocortisone (like they do in the USA) [I use that method], but effectively that means self treating, (although I have heard of Dr Myhill prescribing very low doses) and I get the impression that's not something you are willing or able to do. If you do, you need to do a lot of homework on it, and see you have all the options covered, it's not really something someone can do for you.

  • I can't comment on your own circumstances. All I can say is I have never looked back. I can't even begin to imagine how awful it would be if I didn't have my Armour. I never ever want to return to feeling like that.

  • I would also like to say that if Dr Skinner had not diagnosed me and put me on Armour I don't know where I would have been today. I started on armour slowly and it took me a year to 18 months to feel well.

  • I started on Armour after reading Dr Peatfields book 3 months ago and am slowly recovering my energy a bit now also I cannot believe that my eyebrows are actually growing!! Only a small problem I know but haven`t had them for 20 years!! I also had ME 25 years ago but now feel it was misdiagnosed thyroid . The improvements I have noticed are slow but well worth waiting for, I would never go back to Levo. Good Luck

  • You could start really gently by just taking 1/8th of a tablet and then increasing that every 5 days or so. I found I had bad adrenaline-type symptoms when I tried increasing by big jumps but doing tiny increases has been successful and I'm now up to 2 and a half of the half-grain tablets a day. There are lots of things that need to be right in order for your body to use the thyroid hormone properly, such as adrenal glands and iron levels. explains all that quite well.

  • justy, keep in mind that this hormone is NOTHING like the other drugs you have already taken. One is something your body needs, other drugs will have side effects.

    The only question is finding the correct dose. Other than that, it should fill in what your body would normally produce if it could.

    Anxiety can also come from gut issues so a healthy diet and perhaps some probiotics, fish oil and magnesium.

  • Remember to look at the side effects of Omeprazole and its negative effect on B12. Glad you are weaning off it!!!!!

  • Thanks all - i did leave a long ish reply that got eaten by the internet - arrgghhh!!

    Anyway have started, 3rd day today on quarter grain, so far so good. Not got the energy today to re type longer reply. I am on a full programme of vitamins and supplements due to testing from Dr Myhill a few years ago and have done a lot of reading, research and forum surfing (and posting) But i appreciate your specialist thyroid advice on here. :)

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