whats the best way to reduce Armour?

I have just found out that the blood results given to me via the receptionist at the GP surgery was wrong. She told me that my TSH was 4.2 when in fact it was 0.24. At the time I was on 1.5 grains of armour but feeling really awful. T4 came in at 12.4 (range 12-22) and T3 4.6 (3.1-6.8) an increase from 3.8 whilst on levo 87.5mcg (I only found out the latter results today). After more reading I decided as per STTM that I must have stayed on too low a dose of armour and induced an autoimmune attack therefore pushing up the TSH. As a result over the last 2 weeks I have increased the dose by 1 grain and splitting the dose. I am not exhibiting cardiac signs of over dose but I am feeling really poorly as I was on 1.5 grains. Now I need to reduce the dose back but wondering what would be the best way to do this? The endo also told me I had chronic fatigue syndrome which has left me feeling confused as I thought this was diagnosed when all blood tests come back as normal. He advised me to come off Armour and start cognitive behavioural therapy. Does anyone have any thoughts on this too? FYI I am waiting on a 24 hr adrenal saliva test to come back, take lots of supplements and am almost gluten, sugar free. I am losing hope of ever feeling well again. Thanks for all your thoughts and expertise.

16 Replies

  • Cannot comment on meds but cognitive behavioural therapy is an excellent therapy - if you need therapy.

  • Hi Treepie, I agree that CBT is excellent it's just not what I need to get my bloods right. I worked in the field of psychiatry for 10 years so I do know. Big sigh....

  • Dear Frazzie1...I really feel for you and what you are going through. I have been on a long long search to find the solutions to my health problems. In the end I found a Hormonal Expert in Brussels, Belgium whose knowledge and professional guidance brought me to 'almost' restored health. If you live in the US I would recommend goggling 'hormonal experts' and look for reviews for them. Otherwise you could read Susan Sommers books which deals with hormonal problems and gives a list of esperts in this area which she recommends. In fact this is how I came to know of my doctor. [I picked up her book at an airport, and boy I am so glad I did]. i wish you the very best. Please let me know how you get on. Love Daffidols

  • Hertoghe by any chance? PR

  • Hi Daffidols- thanks for getting back to me. I know it's exhausting trying to get to the root of everything. I am so glad you are now well. Thats great news. I will read the book you suggested.

    I am swinging from feeling defeated to even more determind ( for the sake of my two young sons as much as anything. From reading other posts on here about Armour (NDT) it seems that it can take a while to get the dose right. I am reluctant to switch to another just yet...I feel I must give it more time. Of course now I am feeling hyper so need to manage the acuteness of this now. I am swirling around in circles but I will keep you posted. x

  • You say the endo wants you to come off Armour. What does he want you to take instead? From the way you have worded your post I get the impression he wants you to stop being treated with thyroid hormone altogether. This would be disastrous given how low your FT4 and FT3 are. CBT isn't going to raise either of these!

    Raising your dose by a whole grain was possibly rather a big jump even if you did split your dose. You might have been better raising by 1/4 or 1/2 a tablet.

    Another possibility is that you might do better with T3 only, or perhaps a different brand of NDT.

    Are your vitamins and minerals at good levels?

  • Hi Humanbean, my endo wants me to go back to Levo as he said there is absolutely no benefit in taking NDT as the T3 gets metabolised so quickly and that there are inconsistencies in the batches. I just nodded quietly as I know different. I realise now that I raised too quickly but did so based on the wrong result and thinking that I had induced an autoimmune attack (STTM) I am now backtracking. For a few days I am going to take out one whole grain just to alleviate the hyper symptoms I seem to have now and then put half dose back in in the afternoon once I feel more settled. I don't know if this is the right approach though?

    Vitamins should be good as I have been supplementing with an array of herbs etc (prob taking too many) Perhaps I will give this Armour another 6 weeks and then consider T3. I think I do better with my T4 higher. What a pickle!

  • The idea that NDT is inconsistent is so annoying because it is based on hearsay and modern myth as far as I can tell! Particularly since levothyroxine is well known for being difficult to manufacture at the right strength such that it still maintains that strength throughout its shelf life.

    But no, endocrinologists attack the better product and won't learn.

    As someone on T3 only, I don't find it disappears too quickly. It does in the early days when doses are tiny, but the dose does get raised.

    Reducing your NDT dose for a few days or a week and then going up again in smaller increments sounds like something worth trying.

    Good luck. :)

  • hi,

    it's not very clear what you say. You increase your dose by 1 grain suddenly? nwell that's too much of an increase in one shot. Also there's no need to split dose. I wish you would be more specific about your symptoms. I felt great at 0.2 TSH. Why drop Armour? what do you have? You should reduce it by a minimum for about 4 weeks, but I don't know if you take 15mg 4 pills then reduce 15mg for 4wks, then again until you feel better.

  • Frazzie, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a disease, it is a syndrome. A syndrome is a bunch of symptoms that must be caused by something. And in your case, I would say it's caused by your low FT3.

    CFS is not a diagnosis, it is a get-out, meaning that your endo knows nothing about thyroid so he fobs you off with CFS. And CBT might calm you (although I don't really know what it entails) but in no way is it going to raise your FT3.

    Going off your Armour is not going to help, either, it is going to make things worse. Unless he intends to put you onto T3 only. But what you need is an increase in Armour, not a decrease.

    Increasing by one grain was, as others have said, too much, and that in itself would make you feel bad. Try cutting back by half a grain and see how you get on. If that still feels like too much after two weeks, cut back by another quarter. And, in future only increase by a quarter grain at a time.

    Ignore the TSH, it is meaningless once you are taking any form of T3 - and Armour contains T3. It is the FT3 that should guide you, along with your symptoms - and you say you don't have any hyper symptoms, so, you're not hyper.

    And change your endo! This one is not going to make you well!

    Hugs, Grey

  • Thanks for all your replys. I realise now that I increased my dose a bit too quick, yesterday and today I only took 1.5 grains in split doses as I am feeling pretty awful and now I seem to be having palpitaions. Once the acuteness has settled I will keep my dose at 2.5 (split doses) and reduce according to how I feel. I have just bought the CCTM book so ploughing through that. I too don't belive I have CFS as an independent diagnoses. I certainly have many similar symptoms but he said because I find I am worse in the mornings that was indicative of CFS. There is no chance of seeing him again as he discharged me there and then. His advice was to go back to Levo as he didn't belive that NDT has any benefits over T4 alone. He was also totally hung up on the TSH. He did accept Dr Lowes clinical paper on the use of NDT, so hopefully he will read that and consider his opinions. Thankfully Dr sarah Myhills website is a wealth of information.

    Thanks for taking the time to get back to me. Its been a really tough journey thus far, because I have tried so many things and in all honesty I really thought that Armour would solve all my symptoms. It will be very interesting to see what my 24 hr saliva test shows when I get the results next week. Thanks for taking the time to get back to me, This site is a lifeline x

  • So glad you are parting company with your endo....[male or female?-idiot one way or the other!]. My biggest changes came when I was finally on the correct dose of Armour - mine is now 180 mg , started at 90 and built up v slowly to 180mg per day [3x60mg taken first thing in the morning and fast for minimum 45mins, but preferably 60mins]. I then take an excellent probiotic which has cured the constipation/indegestion that plagued me since my thyroid when out of whack. I also take estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, 25mg - prednisolone 5mg, - Pregnenolone 50mg. Also Testosterone and Growth hormone, v small doses. All prescribed based on blood testing and urine 24hour testing. I am feeling so much better but even so I feel I am not 'there' yet. It's been a long rocky road but now that I have some energy to actually think, I am looking to my diet to support my program. I cut out gluten and that made an ENORMOUS difference to my energy and clarity of mind. Yet I am still having some digestive problems. Please do keep on fighting - everyone deserves health and you WILL get there. keep researching, reading and especially [if you have the energy], take care of your diet. love and best wishes to you. xox

  • Thanks Daffidols- I really appreciate your words of support. I WILL get there, I am determined. I too have gone gluten free but admit to some lapses here and there, mostly because I am starving and not organised. Interestigly I have lost a lot of weight over the last year or so which adds to the 'unusual' 'presentation. I am going to go really strict for the next month to give myself the best chance. It sounds like you are really improving and I am so glad for you. Are you under the care of an endo?

  • I would not believe what sttm says, about dosing or ndt. Did you know some people get worse on it? I know of someone who gained 40 lbs on 6 grains, it because it flared up her Hashimotos. If i had continued to raise, like they advised, i would have ended up dead. It flared up my Hashi's and i became Hyper on very little. I tried it 3 times. Also, chronic fatigue is just a catch all for symptoms that they don't think are thyroid related. If you labs are in the normal range, they say that you have developed another condition.

    Ray Peat wrote

    “Thyroid is needed for the adrenals to function well, and adequate cholesterol, as raw material. It’s popular to talk about ‘weak adrenals,’ but the adrenal cortex regenerates very well. Animal experimenters can make animals that lack the adrenal medulla by scooping out everything inside the adrenal capsule, and the remaining cells quickly regenerate the steroid producing tissues, the cortex. So I think the ‘low adrenal’ people are simply low thyroid, or deficient in cholesterol or nutrients.”

    — Raymond Peat, PhD

  • Hi faith63- I have read that it can agrevate hashi's although I am yet to have an official diagnoses of it. It's hard to know what to do next as there is so much conflicting evidence ( as there always is in medicine). even with 22 years of nursing experience under my belt (and advanced nursing at that) it's incredibly difficult to ascertain what is best practice. Unfortunately the trial and error of determining what works or doesn't is of of great consequence to ones health in the process. I just have to keep remembering the reason why I switched to armour in the first place... It's becoming increasing difficult to keep ones spirits up (especially as I have been so health concious over the years) but somewhere in there is the inner voice to keep going. Interestingly, I do think my adrenals are recovering as last year I performed the pupil light test and my pupils dilated like an owl and fluttered but now they remain constricted when bright light shone into them. Thanks for sending through the statement x

  • I've seen a few posts saying Armour or other NDT 'aggravate' hashis - but i haven't seen links to any evidence - are there any please? does natural thyroid extract perpetuate Thyroid illness?

    At present I would rather trust a pig than a doctor! J :D

    (seems pigs' bits are fine for heart ops etc.. but not to eat - although fat is fashionable now... back round at last - but I wish I was back to pear-shaped not round)

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