Thyroid UK
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Husband has no energy

He had his TSH tested (by ticking the box himself ;) ) and it was 2.51 (0.02-4,0)

He's always tired, has brain fog, has recently started to gain a little weight (not much, but he's built like a whippet and only has to think about missing food to lose weight normally).

His B12 was low too, Something like 340.

I've got him on B12, but so far no improvement. What do you guys think? Obviously GP says all results normal ...

22 Replies

Misty, it can take 6 weeks or more to feel any improvement when supplementing. Your husbands TSH is high enough that he may experience hypothyroid symptoms but not high enough for NHS treatment. Supplementing selenium and iodine can reduce TSH.

Low levels of vitamin D and ferritin can cause similar symptoms to hypothyroidism.


Clutter, what about iodine? 2 cups of milk per day should give him a reasonable dose. Lots of people don't consume dairy.


Gabkad, I'm the only grown up I know who drinks milk :-D My post should have said selenium and iodine. I've edited it, thanks.


Clutter, I don't honestly understand why people don't drink milk seeing as how it's the best dietary source of iodine. It's a problem here too.

'Organic' milk has approximately 40% less iodine than regular milk.

Lack of milk consumption and following doctor's advice to reduce salt intake is why the demographic of over 60, 40% are iodine deficient, mild or moderate. I'm sure it's the same in the UK. Mild = TSH 3.5 Moderate = TSH 5.5 +.

Sea salt has way, way, way more bromine than iodine. I don't know why people promote this stuff in its pure form since bromine competes with iodine in the thyroid. It is claimed to be 'anti-mutagenic'. Chemotherapy for cancer also suppresses the thyroid. It makes me wonder if part of what chemo does is lower the metabolic rate so that cancer cells don't divide as quickly.

I've been reading the 2007 WHO productions on iodine in Europe. Apparently since the 1990s there are cretins being born in Europe!!! There's only 5 countries that are reporting consistently iodized salt consumption. It was better in the 1970s and 80s. UK has provided no data. Apparently a lot of the salt available in the UK is not iodized. If people don't drink milk then they end up being deficient. I am now tending to think that if TSH isn't up there at super high numbers, then a person should supplement first and see if it helps. When the iodine intake is very low for very long, eventually the thyroid becomes depleted. I don't know how long this takes but a thyroid can store up to 20 milligrams of iodine. I find that doctors don't follow up on the possibility of this being a problem. (In Canada urinary iodine and selenium measurements are not covered by the government health insurance. I don't know about the NHS. It may be a good idea if it was.)

Do you think people with TSH in the 2.0 - 6.0 area might be well advised to take a look at their diet? Not just iron, zinc, B12, folate, magnesium, calcium and vitamin D but iodine and selenium too? (and vitamin A and K).


I've always drunk a lot of milk simply because I enjoy it.

I am suggesting some people in the low normal range might benefit from supplementing selenium and iodine. I doubt it will help all but it may help some as they won't get thyroxine until TSH is >5 unless they self medicate.

NHS practices defensive not preventative medicine and I think nutrition is poorly understood. Dietary advice stops and starts at eat less salt and eat 5-7 a day fruit and veg. Sugar is only recently being seen as an issue.

Assumptions abound as overweight people are told to eat less and exercise more and skinnies like me are told to eat more. This without asking people how much and what they eat and how much exercise they take.

Nutrition and cooking is about to be introduced to the primary school curriculum so hopefully things will improve.


When I was living in London, aged 11 -12, we had cookery classes.

(and sewing...........arghh. Took me forever.)


And we had absolutely wonderful hot lunches. Truly.

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I LOVED school lunches.

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Wow, interesting discussion! My husband is a bit of a nutrition freak, we are pescatarian, we have changed to organic milk years ago, mostly at least, we have changed to pink salt, he takes a multivitamin containing selenium and iodine (which is why I don't take it anymore, having read things here!), and now on 5000 iu B12. How does that fit with what you think now? Also, I didn't mention in the OP, but he has a swelling at the base of his neck that comes and goes .... not massive, but noticeable.


Oh and we don't drink milk as a drink, but do have a lot in cereals for breakfast, in sauces and custard, things like that.


mistydog, I don't know what's available as regards testing, but the WHO does obtain data for countries in regards to urinary iodine excretion tests to determine iodine sufficiency or deficiency.

I know where I live (Canada), neither urinary iodine nor selenium testing is covered by the government insurance but can be done if the patient pays for it themselves.

The WHO report I read (2007 Iodine status in European Countries) does not include any data for the UK. It does report that iodized salt is not as readily available in the UK as elsewhere.

RDI is 150 micrograms per day. However, I would think if someone's thyroid were iodine deficient after years of inadequate intake, then it takes time and possibly higher than adequate dose intake to raise the level.

Tea contains approximately 45 ppm fluoride and chronic ingestion of large volumes of tea on a daily basis will have an effect on thyroid function. 45 ppm will be 45 mg/litre. When we consider the anti-fluoridation lobby which is opposed to fluoridation of water at 0.6 ppm, really, they should be more vocal about that 'healthy' green tea. Black tea is the same.

That young girl with the goitre I noticed a few weeks ago (and who has had ultrasound this week) was consuming iced tea all day long. She was not drinking milk, according to her mother and won't eat foods that are high in vitamins nor swallow pills. (I think maybe the goitre is pushing on her throat and making pill swallowing difficult. I don't know for sure, of course.)

It`s anyone`s guess for how long it will take for the fluoride to leave the thyroid and be replaced by iodine. The WHO reports that iodine sufficiency and goitre elimination do not occur simultaneously. It takes some months or even a year for goitre to respond to iodine increase.


That's very interesting. He drinks green tea all the time. We have a water filter for drinking and a water treatment system for other things, but if it's IN the green tea then he's going to get it whatever. Plus of course the water at work and so on isn't filtered.

I personally quite like white tea but it is expensive.


mistydog, all tea from the Camellia sinensis plant contains fluoride. This plant sucks it up preferentially and if grown in industrial pollution areas, takes it in through the leaves as well. The tropical leached soils where tea plants are grown tend to contain a lot of fluoride. More recently more research is being done because apparently there are molecules in the plant that until now weren't fully analyzed and these contain fluoride as well. So the final fluoride content has yet to be determined. (I've done a lot of reading about tea. I suppose if someone restricts their consumption and otherwise gets plenty enough iodine and no bromine or chlorine, then maybe it's not as bad.)

Coffee is better except so far I haven't been able to drink any since I was undertreated for the thyroid problem. I am unhappy about the situation because the gut was not working properly so I went to decaf coffee then decaf tea then tea. I am going to try regular coffee again in about a month from now to see if it works for me again. I only drink maybe 1.5 cups of tea in the morning but clearly I have been doing the wrong thing for years and probably compounding the thyroid problem as well. I don't even like tea but it's been the only caffeine containing beverage my stomach wouldn't shove back up into my esophagus.


I have found a local source of raw milk, milk as it should be and always used to be before technology and "health & safety" took over. I love it! Nobody should drink homogenised milk. In the early 20th century, a raw milk diet was used as a cure for many complaints, including hypothyroidism.


Trixie, when I lived in England the milkman brought pint bottles of milk. I'd come home from school and would drink a pint. First I'd carefully drink the cream that was on top (delicious) and then down the rest of it. I grew from 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 8 inches during the time I lived there. I think the milk had a lot to do with why I ended up at 5 feet 9 inches. I reached my potential. Great stuff.

Even in 1984 when again I lived in England, milk was delivered in pint bottles. Tasted wonderful.

Aside from that, I drink lactose free here in Canada. I really can't be bothered with raw, non-homogenized etc. I make my morning tea half and half with milk mostly because I don't like hot beverages. I don't stress over milk because I get 'real' milk, not stuff that's reconstituted with powder. For me that's just fine. I won't pay 50% more for 'organic' and I certainly won't buy 'shares' in a cow so I can get raw. If someone has the time and money for this, then that's nice. I have neither.

In Germany, supermarkets sell both raw and pasteurized. It's a convenient system. If that would be available here at comparable prices, then I'd experiment with raw. I did drink raw from a farmer when we spent summers at a 'cottage' owned by a farmer. It tasted wonderful. But around here getting raw is majorly going out of one's way.


Clutter, the Bromine level in Sea Salt Bromine = 67.3 parts per million

Iodine in sea salt = 0.064 ppm. (Bromine is 1000 times higher than iodine.)

Lithium = 0.17 ppm

Fluorine = 13 ppm

Out of the halides, all of which compete in the thyroid for iodine, bromine is sky high by comparison to iodine.

I am not convinced that sea salt is all that good. But appreciate that some people are unable to obtain anything else. At least iodized sea salt would be better although with all that bromine, I'm not sure it's not an adverse thing for thyroids.


The relative concentration of Halides (Iodine, chlorine, bromine etc) is not the whole story though because Halide reactivity increases in the order: Cl < Br < I, so Iodine will tend to react with other molecules in preference to the Bromine. (must be true, I got it off the internet!)


eeng, you misread that. Fluorine is the most reactive, then chlorine, then bromine then iodine is the least reactive. That's why fluorine and chlorine are the most toxic in the environment and to the body.

Chlorine will dissolve your skin. Iodine will not.


It just goes to show, as I have always maintained, that you can't believe everything you see online, even on fairly technical sites. It also shows that my memory from chemistry lessons is still vaguely correct, because I thought I remembered it as you said. The website I coped that from must have the 'greater than' arrows the wrong way round.


B12 is well below the safe limit according to the minimum safe European and Japanese standards (520pgmml), but better than normal for UK and America standards (150), which are set dangerously low and have now been revised.

Your doc will say it is normal and he is wrong. Doctors are not trained on new developments. Show him the latest BMA guidelines which will be held by your local anaemia/B12 society. New guidelines according to the BMA and anaemia societies are to treat the symptoms, as the results are notoriously unreliable, and treatment is hard to get. The doc should test for methylmalonic acid, not B12.

Anaemia societies are very worried that B12 deficiency is being ignored or considered normal when it is dangerously low. Insist on medication, now, or administer B12 yourself. Do not wait.

It will take months for the B12 to work as the body needs to repair the damage. B12 deficiency affects everything, including memory. DON'T wait for the doctor if you think he will refuse it. Take B12 now, 1000microgams is fine though 500 is ok. DO NOT go by the recommended daily allowance as it is set far too low. Also take folic acid which backs up B12. Take more than the recommended daily allowance which is again set far too low. Act now.-


Thanks, Jonesboy - we've been supplementing with 5000 methylcobalamin for a couple of months now so hopefully will start to see some sort of results soon.


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