sugar levels & hypothyroid

Hi, is there any known link between hypothyroid and peculiar sugar levels? During my M.E existence I often feel that my sugar levels have crashed - this can be before or after eating makes no difference - sometimes they have crashed and my bloods are 1.4 for example, but today when I've had this feeling for the first time in a month i've tested my blood and despite my breakfast of porridge at 8.30 my bloods are climbing, from 8.6 after an hour to now 10.7. Does anyone know what the connection could be with having too little thyroxine in the system? I am currently low as going through T3 only regime and only on week 4 so levels not up yet. Does anyone have any idea what is going on physiologically to cause this, or anything that can counter it? I have been using GTF Chromium which I thought was helping - hence the month without the symptom! I'm not type 2 as my fasting bloods after night will usually be normal. Any research out there on this guys?

Thanks as ever - you all deserve awards for services to abandoned sick people! :-)

20 Replies

  • Hi, sulamaye. You actually answered your question yourself. You had porridge for breakfast, which is carbs. Carbs become sugar in our system and the sugar levels rise. If a person is healthy, meaning no insulin resistance whatsoever, the body manages to bring the sugar levels down with the help of insulin. If there are some existing problems with insulin sensitivity, it does not manage to do so and the sugar levels stay high for a long time after eating carbohydrates. Did you ever consider trying to limit the carbs intake in order to regulate your sugar problem?

    Since your fasting sugar is ok, the diabetes is still out of the equation, but its on its way, since the aftermeal sugar levels are getting quite high.

  • Thanks, but what you must understand is that this is not always what happens, it is not as simple as this = that, it is extremely variable my reaction to food. Of course porridge is a carb, everything but meat is, but it is a low GI carb. I went completely meat, no veg even, in fact only high purine rabbit, turkey and pork - under the guidance of a nutritionist once - for 4 months. I still sugar crashed, it was much worse then as it was in the early days of my M.E diagnosis. I don't buy that we don't need any carbs at all as we were all cave men once, you only have to look at what an elite athlete needs in order to produce energy, and anyway I found it very unbearable to have no vegetables. As I said I also have had blood readings of as low as 1.4 after eating a hot meal - so where's the logic in that???

    What I am really interested in is the connection between insulin function and hypothyroidism and what research or evidence there is that explains what is going on.

    I can logically reason that as I feel like I have low sugar, hungry, shaky etc, but my bloods say high that all the sugar is staying in the blood stream and not being accessed by the cells that need it. What I am interested in is why is this happening and how does it relate to hypothyroidism. What mechanism is at work here.

  • Hi, I don't know how to answer your question but I get sick and tired when I miss meals but when I eat glucose lozenges I get a burst of energy. I am hypothyroid too but so far as I know I'm not diabetic even though my mum is. On the wikipedia site it mentions hypoglycaemia which can be caused by hypothyroidism but I don't know the exact mechanism, sorry.

    I find that I have cravings for sugar and salt. All I eat is carbs because I have no desire for healthy food and I think since starting the gluten challenge the cravings for salt and sweet things has gotten worse. I don't know what to do - whether I continue the gluten challenge as my GP wants me to or quitting now whilst I'm ahead and accept it's just a gluten intolerance instead!

  • Ok, got it. You see, the simplest answers are the ones, which are usually the easiest to try. For me, going low carb improved my aftermeal sugar levels (they were not too high, 7.5-8, but high enough for my A1C to be at the upper limit). Here, these are some of the papers I was going through, when discovered that sugar levels were a problem for me. Hope this helps:

  • Thanks :-)

  • Can you be insulin resistant with a normal A1C Inna?

  • Hi, Ella. I'm not a big expert on glucose metabolism. A1C shows the middle level of blood sugar for the past 3 months. Mine was on the upper limit of normal range, so it was within the norm. But my dr. told me to use the glucometer in order to see, how my blood glucose reacts to meals. And it is a bit high2 hours after the meal with about 50 g of carbs (tried different sources, buckweat gave the least rise, but still higher than it should've been). This shows that I have some level of insulin resistance, though the A1C level was within the lab ranges. So, my guess is, one might have the same situation as me.

  • That research was very useful, from what I understand it explains why being severely undermedicated could have lead to my sugar crashing M.E symptom, both hypoglycemia and insulin resistance are induced by hypothyroidism. It gives me hope that sorting out my RT3 and whatever has been stopping my body taking up the T4 for the past four years maywell result in my recovery from M.E. Thank you.

  • And as if to prove my point..... this morning my fasting glucose is on the floor at 1.5 - demonstrating just how haywire my body can be when it feels like it! But no feeling of sugar crashing that's the irony! Ahhhh

  • Yeah, thats a treaky subject. This video might interest you (got some info about the link of insulin resistance and hypo) will be available until noon 29th Oct. Its a video from a free conference (free for a coupe of days, just enough to watch the presentations of interest).

  • Thanks

  • Don't know a whole lot about this.I too have ME,finally got a diagnosis of high RT3 causing hypo symptoms,was put on T3 only which really helped with stabilising BP,dizzy spells etc.Then my endo added DHEA as my adrenal glands were way under for my age bracket,I'm 49.This has also been a big help.I would still get very unstable blood sugars,get palpitations etc..Have done some research,seems ME sufferers often have low adrenal function ,linked to thyroid problems.Low adrenal function causes fluctuations in blood sugars.One of the suggested ways to help this is to take lots of protein,especially in the morning,it stabilises blood sugars and helps stop the cravings and feeling hungry all the time.I take protein powder mixed up with juice or water.It has made a massive difference.It gives me energy and I don't feel starved all the time and seldom crave sugar like before.Word of warning though...go to a health shop to get protein powder..lots of ones out there that aren't pure protein or have added ingredients you shouldn't be taking.I use pea protein power as whey is dairy based and I have chronic sinusitis.Hope this is of some help.ME is a curse of an illness,trying to find what works best for you won't be the same as what works for me.Good luck

  • Thank you - were already diagnosed hypothyroid before you hit the M.E wall? And how did you get an endo to put you on RT3, are you UK based? I didn't think they recognised RT3 nor tested for it on the NHS? Perhaps if you are UK based you could PM me your endo and the other info? It would be extremely extremely useful to me. I too have low cortisol, on the floor thanks to my useless GP deciding to slash all my meds because my TSH was supressed by the 20mcgs of t3 I'd been on for 13 years!!!! Please reply, it gives me hope to hear of someone with similar pathway. Thanks

  • Hi again,RT3 not recognised or tested here in Ireland either.I have ME nearly 3 years,diagnosed by myself and GP who's very good but has no fix for ME,no more than most doctors.Early tho year I started fainting more regularly than I had been and eventually contacted ME organization in Ireland.They sent me some names of doctors who deal with ME,one name jumped out at me as he had treated my sister successfully for same about 12 years ago.I presumed he was retired,which he is,but he still sees some patients privately and lives 5miles from me.He's a neuro-endocrinologist and very well known in medical circles in Ireland,,he's also 87 years old.He agreed to see me,privately.He thinks outside the box and is a great believer in effect of thyroid gland and adrenal glands on our whole system.I've always had hypo symptoms but bloods always came back within range,probably barely but makes no difference as I'm sure you know.I paid several hundred euro to have my bloods sent to France to be tested.My RT3 was,as he suspected,way too high,but what's even more important is the ratio between FT3 and RT3,it should be between 20 and 30.....mine was 2...he didn't know how I was standing.My morning cortisol was low and my DHEA was also very low.He suspects that this has been years coming with me ,results that low don't arrive quickly!Now on 20mcg of T3 daily and 25mg of DHEA.He'd like to increase these but I seem to react with sweating and insomnia if I do.The fact that I 'm 49 and menopausal doesn't help.However I am considerably better than I was,I still get very bad spells and get an awful lot of infections.He says that it starts with the adrenal glands going wrong,which in turn mess with the thyroid gland.He didn't want to put me on cortisone,says that's treating a secondary problem,treat adrenal glands first and get them working again,and they will start producing cortisol again.Your diet and other supplements are also big factors in repairing adrenal function...I've read a lot online about it.Definitely the protein helps in the morning for me,you could eat eggs and meat,but I can just about manage tea and toast in the morning.He also discovered that I have gluten sensitivity,not coeliac TG but I do have to reduce it a lot.All of the changes have helped a lot,but it takes a long time for adrenal glands to recover.He is so admired by the medical profession in this country,yet they refuse to believe in his theories about RT3 and adrenal fatigue,mostly because it would cost money I'd say.So if one doesn't have the money to see someone like him privately you're up the creek.These tests are done automatically in the U.S. from what I can gather.

  • Thank you, I am so glad you have someone on your side, if only there were more of them!! You may be interested to know that I have been supported by Paul Robinson's circadian approach to T3 only treatment. Your doctor may find his book and experiences very interesting. Basically he discovered that by timing his first T3 dose just prior to the last 4 hours of sleep - this is the 4 hours during which most cortisol is made - it supported the body in making more cortisol, which in turn allows you to take more T3.

    I have been going T3 only for a month now and when I first started putting T3 back in - after my evil Dr took it away - I found i got very tired/wired symptoms, felt hyper but knackered etc. I had a saliva stress test and found my cortisol levels all under range - compared to 3 years ago, 6 months into my M.E diagnosis - and started putting my first 10mcgs of t3 at 4am (I wake up at 8am) this has gradually enabled me to increase my T3 without any nasty effects. I use temperature and blood pressure and heart rate to monitor each dose as well as symptoms. I am now up to 50mcgs T3 without any reactions to my doses. The 4am dose is the biggest and seems to be key. Your doctor, being open minded, may find Paul's book on Amazon, very very useful and it could be used to help you get more T3 into your body and up your cortisol production accordingly. Really worth looking into. I think thyroid and Cortisol are a bit chicken and egg.

    I was hypothyroid for seventeen years, but following some very traumatic major operations after the last just could get back to normal and then one day WHAM couldn't get out of bed. RT3 increases at times of stress, my body was very stressed and now believe it was the years of operations and it triggered this reaction. The problem was my TSH was already supressed so even if there had been any sign that my FT4 or FT3 were low it was all obscured by TSH of 0.01. I never even imagined it was my thyroid because I was on a large dose after 17 years, however when my GP cut my meds and my symptoms started increasing big time, and with the help of this site, I have begun to put two and two together and have discovered so many of my symptoms can be hypothyorid related, it was just they weren't ones I was expecting from my previous experiences of being diagnosed.

    Complicated stuff isn't it. Hope that info helps. Let me know how you get on.

  • That's extremely interesting about Paul Robinson,especially as I'm going through a patch of extremely low mood.Spoke to endo and he wants my GP to test my oestrogen and progesterone levels before upping my DHEA meds.I have had severe PTSD most of my life and also take an antidepressant.Endo reckons from my life story that I've been overproducing cortisol since I was about 5years old....eventually made a police report in 2012 and crashed after body had just given up..much like yours...put enough stress on your body and it will just stop running.Going to google Paul Robinson now,I know I likely need more of all my meds if my body can adjust to them,would be better than more antidepressants which my psychiatrist will recommend,don't want to do that if I can avoid it,it's all so hateful,so unwell so often and this mood dip is definitely not good.Thank God for my husband and two sons who make me laugh when they come home from college.Thanks

  • Regarding your PTSD - have you heard of EMDR, eye movement desentisation something or other. It is extremely successful with PTSD, as it involves taking the traumatic memory and through either following a finger with your eyes, or what worked for me was alternate buzzing in my hands, but basically some form of bilateral stiumlation - it actually process the memories so that they join up properly, you can then think of the events like any other memory with out all the flassback, nightmares, emotions attached. It sounds odd and it sounds unbelievable but google it, has to be proper EMDR carried out by a registered EMDR therapist, but it really works. Works on soldiers with PDST and child abuse issues. Hope that helps too!

  • Thanks,had heard of it but interesting to get someone's point of view who had it,have done 18years of psychotherapy etc...pretty good but nightmares and panic attacks still happening,and very little to trigger flashbacks.Thanks for that.x

  • Yes I've done the years of therapy, useful, helps you understand yourself but does not rid you of the stuff invading your head. Good thing about EMDR is it is very focused, not about spending years on it, but about getting things processed as effectively and quickly as possible. X

  • Saudi Med J. 2014 Dec;35(12):1469-76.

    Dyslipidemia and serum mineral profiles in patients with thyroid disorders.

    Abdel-Gayoum AA.

    Author information



    To investigate changes in serum lipid profile, levels of serum minerals associated with thyroid disorders, and to compare these with the serum lipid and mineral profiles in hypothyroid patients receiving thyroxine therapy.


    A cross-sectional study was conducted in King Khaled Hospital, Hail, Saudi Arabia. The patient database was searched for new patients with thyroid dysfunction between January 2011 and June 2012. They were classified into 5 groups: 1) subclinical-hypothyroid (SHY), 2) overt-hypothyroid (OHY), 3) subclinical-hyperthyroid (SHE), 4) overt-hyperthyroid (OHE), 5) patients under thyroxine therapy (EU), and normal controls.


    The OHY group showed impaired renal function; whereas, the kidney function of the SHE, OHE, and EU groups was normal. The OHY and OHE groups exhibited elevated serum glucose. The OHY group showed elevated serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Serum lipids were reduced in the OHE group, and no different in the EU group compared with controls. The serum calcium and phosphate were reduced in the OHY group, whereas, in the OHE group, the phosphate was increased while magnesium and potassium were reduced.


    Hypothyroidism caused impaired renal function, glucose intolerance, hyperlipidemia, and reduction in serum phosphate. Hyperthyroidism caused a reduction in serum lipids, magnesium, and potassium. Thyroxine therapy normalized the deranged lipids and minerals, but not glucose. RESULTS indicate that thyroid function tests should be considered when diagnosing those metabolic disorders.



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