Thyroid UK
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feedback loop issue

My doctor just quit at the clinic, so again, I'm in between Doctors and trying to get a game plan in mind. My worry has been if my adrenal glands and thyroid are not able to function right because a few years ago, I was on T3-only, 15 mcg every 12 hours and Hydrocortisone, 20mg spread over the day. I had been on these for about 2 years. The doctor died suddenly and I went off things and I've been trying to figure things out since with 2 more doctors.

I spent the past year on the GAPS diet and healing the gut and trying Armour. My free T3 stays below normal, free T4 is low end of normal and TSH below or around 1. I have symptoms of Adrenal fatigue and can't seem to get better.

When I try and increase the Armour, I feel worse. Have been on 1 grain, take half in am and half in afternoon.

Did taking the T3-only and hydrocortisone cause the feedback loop to shut things off? Maybe for good? Will I need hydrocortisone in order to increase the Armour?

I have ordered a saliva test kit. After I send that in, I'll try again to increase the Armour and take half grain 3x a day. I have to take it apart from the Iron supplements and so it's tricky. My last Ferritin level was in 50s and working to build that up. I may have to travel a distance to find a good Endocrinologist, but want to have an idea of what's going on.

14 Replies

You could try the Paul Robinsons Cicadian method for taking your NDT, his book is very detailed and very informative and may give you the insight you need. I too have bad cortisol levels, I am going T3 only at the moment, but even taking the NDT four hours before your usual wake up time could help support your cortisol production and help your body use th T4 and T3. But his book is very detailed and well worth a read.


Did you wean off hydrocortisone very slowly? It should have taken a good month to come off 20mg or even longer. If you didn't do this I've read it can affect the hpa axis. Did you feel any better on hydrocortisone? How long did you take it for?

I have very low cortisol and felt shocking between every rise of NDT. I felt really over medicated and anxious for about 2 weeks then I was OK.

I'm currently trying just T3, I take mine on waking, mid afternoon as I crash, then I have one in my mouth dissolving when in bed. My swelling around my fingers and ankles has improved, but I'm back to low temps. Any combination of thyroid treatments hasn't improved my cortisol.

I usually feel brighter after a short walk, I know exercise improves cortisol levels, I'm not very mobile but keep trying.

It will be interesting what you adrenal stress test reveals.

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Interesting question.

It's my understanding that taking any form of thyroid hormone replacement will affect the feed-back loop. So can being hypothyroid. What were your results when you were first diagnosed?

The other possibility is that you have a pituitary problem. Have you had a blow to your head at any time?

As to the adrenals, I was taught that you should not take cortisol thoughout the day, but just in the morning, when they have their busiest time. If you suppliment thoughout the day, the adrenals tend to become less active and might eventually shut down. They need to have a time when they have to stand on their own two feet! Just give them a helping hand in the morning. And, as Helcaster said, you have to come off the cortisol very slowly, so as not to stress the adrenals.

Hugs, Grey

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I've wondered all what you're saying. No blow to the head. I've tried T3 only and Armour. Every time I try and raise the dose, I get bad headaches. I eventually discovered the headaches were a symptom of my blood pressure going up. The "stop the thyroid madness" book says this can be from "pooling". My body can't handle the thyroid supplements, can't put it in the cells, so I have negative reaction. This can stem from underlying low Iron or low cortisol, both are needed for thyroid.

So, my free T3 stays below normal and even on 1 grain of Armour I have headaches. Had a headache all day today, BP was 152/98. I am a thin healthy person. On T3-only, I was on 15mcg every 12 hours and could go no higher.

All I can think to try is, build my ferritin up to 70-90. Do the saliva (4x during a day) to see what cortisol is doing, then possibly try an adrenal cortex extract....then see if I can tolerate the thyroid supplements...and I can try the early am dosing.

It's difficult to remember, I think I felt better on the hydrocortisone and at the end, just started skipping doses. Didn't feel any different, then just quit.

Any of you had any luck with adrenal gland extracts, instead of taking cortisol?

My B12 is very high, probably from all the vitamins I take.


I've just read that to build up your iron, you need to take magnesium... I'll try and find the article and post it in a seperate post.


Thanks. I have been taking Magnesium. I take Magnesium Glycinate, 600-800 a day and have done that for a long time. I know the Oxide form is poorly absorbed. I do take Vit C, 2000mg a day. That is suppose to be good for Iron too.


Well, I didn't remember it very well - brain fog! I can't easily post it here, so I'll do a seperate post. But you're right about the vit c!


thanks. It's like figuring out a puzzle, isn't it !


Too true! And with no-one to tell you the answer if you don't get it right!


I did send my saliva test in. Hope to get results next week. Like i said, I'm on only 1 grain of armour and have low free t3. I usually take half grain in am and half in evening. Last night, took a whole grain, then this am took half. Now today felt terrible. Blood pressure going up, splitting headache all day, anxiety and weakness.

I won't ever try and increase it again. I'm tempted to totally go off the armour and see how I feel.

I keep thinking there's an underlying adrenal problem and don't know how to fix it anymore than what I'm doing. I read you can use OTC cortisone cream. I may rub a 1/4 tsp on my skin in am. I'll check, there's 10mg, in I think a tsp of the 10% cream.


That's not very much, but you could try.

You could also make yourself an adrenal cocktail to sip before meals :

I glass orange juice - freshly squeezed is best.

1 teaspoon celtic salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

That gives you sugar, sodium and potassium to feed your adrenals. And carry on with the vit C! lol


interesting, so cream of tartar must be high in potassium? I've been on a low carb type diet, but have heard this isn't good for adrenal fatigue and can inhibit conversion of t4 to t3. So, I've been having more carbs, good carbs, like sweet potatoes, blueberries, etc...

You're also suppose to eat like 5 small meals a day. I guess this supports the adrenals and cortisol has to do with glucose regulation.


Yes, the five small meals is usually good. Don't let yourself get hungry, that stresses your adrenals.

Yes, cream of tartar is full of potassium.

Too low carbs isn't good for hypo, either. We need our carbs! I'm pleased to say. lol


Have you had your B12 tested as nothing will work properly if that's low.


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