Thyroid and insulin resistance

Hello. I am writing for the first time. I am wondering is there anyone here having both thyroid and insulin resistance? I am on T3 medication for 2 years for my thyroid and my life drastically improved on it, however swelling all over my body remained persistent, so recently I did number of test which determined that I have insulin resistance as well and that I am close to diabetes. Just to mention that I am not overweight and most of my weight is coming from water retention. So I am on Glucophage (Metformin) now as well. However, since I started taking it except slight stomach discomfort, which they say it's normal in the beginning, I have tachycardia as well. I don't know why is this happening since it is not mentioned among side effects of Glucophage and it can't be from my T3 since I never had this on it before and I've been on the same dose. It must be from Glucophage but I don't understand why. Can anyone help me please. Thank you.

34 Replies

  • Metformin blocks the uptake of B12 and other vitals in the stomach.....could be that causing the Tachycardia. Do you know your levels of B12 - Ferritin - Folate - Iron - VitD ?

    Sorry cannot help with IR - but I believe the adrenals are involved.

  • I started with it just recently, I don't think it was able to do anything on my B12 levels, which were good, in just several days. But tachycardia started on the second day of it. Isn't this strange?

  • I was borderline pre diabetes then I was given steroids for inflammatory arthritis and that tipped me into steroid induced T2 diabetes which was a pain.

    I bought a book called Reverse Your Diabetes: The Step-by-Step Plan to Take Control of Type 2 Diabetes By Dr David Cavan I've been following the LCHF diet since just after Christmas and it has made a colossal difference. I don't eat potatoes or bread /oatcakes that sort of stuff which is a shame because I liked that sort of thing. The 8 Week diabetes Cure by Dr Michael Mosely is very similar and it is being serialised in this week's Daily Mail - it sorted on Saturday.

    I bought a spiraliser and eat tons of veg these days. I went GF back in September which was when I started the steroids and I haven't 'snacked' since then. I always ate a pretty healthy diet but by buy a blood glucose meter I realised that the carbohydrates that were recommended actually spiked my blood glucose so now I get my carbs from veg.

    I was convinced I was putting on weight because of my thyroid - I'm in remission from Graves but my TSH has been creeping up. Turns out it wasn't my thyroid at all because cutting out starchy carbs even though they were the ones recommended by NICE has solved the problem. My blood sugar is looking good and I have lost weight and I hoping I've reversed the T2.

  • Thank you. I never read any of this. Is this diet plan done with or without medications?

  • I'm on diet only - and exercise - that helps too so I've really upped my exercise. That was a bit of a shock to the system at first but I'm getting used to it now. The David Cavanbook was wonderful, totally inspiratiional, I can't recommend it highly enough.

  • fruity you are an inspiration

  • Thank you Bluepettals 🙂

  • you are welcome fruity- I am sure I am insulin resistance never had fat round my middle ever but I have now and I am my relative is as well she very overeight- I reallydontknow whatto do about it. so I may be infacti will be back for some advice if yuou don't mind.

  • Are you on T3-only? It seems too much T3 can cause insulin resistance. I noticed my fasting blood glucose rose when my dose was too high, and it dropped back into range when I lowered my dose. Others have reported the same:

  • Interesting. I read somewhere completely the opposite - that insulin resistance can be a cause of hypothyroidism. It can probably go in both ways. Yes, I am on T3 only, but my swelling and water weight was a huge problem long before it. On T3 my other symptoms improved but this remained. Just before Christmas I did a number of tests including oral glucose tolerance test with measuring both glucose and insulin each hour. My glucose is just on the border line but my insulin, fasting one and especially after the glucose drink are over the top. My cholesterol as well. And I don't even eat anything with any sort of fat.

  • Yes, it goes both ways. I think hypos process everything too slowly, so blood sugar stays high.

    Do you take your T3 multiple times throughout the day? If you were testing every hour, were there peaks and dips that sort of paralleled your T3 dosing? Or was it just always on the high side?

  • I take T3 4 times a day. But that day I took it only very early in the morning as I usually do and I skipped my dose while they were measuring my glucose and insulin, in fact I took it much later than usual, when they finished with my tests.

  • you only need to take t3, 1x per day.

  • Not all of us can tolerate T3 once per day. I tried but it didn't work out. I feel better this way.

  • What did your doctor or whoever organised the glucose tolerance and insulin tests for you recommend that you do?

    When my Graves started and my TSH was <0.03 my cholesterol was low. Since I've been in remission and my TSH has gone up my cholesterol has gone up too. There is a link - worst luck :(

  • You mean before or after my tests? I went to a private doctor. She said I should not eat or drink anything before them. She never said anything about my T3. After I got my results she said that she thinks that I have to do something for my insulin resistance and that I'll finish as diabetic if I don't start with Metformin now. First day it was fine, after second my pulse was really fast. I tried to find out more about side effects of the drug but nobody was mentioning tachycardia. I found it only among symptoms of overdose, so I got scared and lowered my dose a bit today but I don't know will it help.

  • I'm not medically qualified - only talking from my own experience.

    I would get one of the two books I have talked about above and read that thoroughly then make up your mind. I feel I've been really fortunate that my GP practise wanted me to try and deal with my T2 by diet and exercise before going down the metformin route. Granted they think (well know!) my T2 has been steroid induced and hopefully things will go back to normal once the steroids have cleared my system.

    You need to get a copy of your latest thyroid bloods and post them on here - hopefully someone who is good at interpreting bloods can help you there.

    Are you testing your blood sugar levels? That would let you see what is going on there. Dr Cavan's book explains all about T2. Definitely worth reading for people new to being diabetic.

  • Thanks. I will definitely try to get the books and read them. I am completely new to all this, for years I was all about thyroid and I read a lot about it but I don't know anything about insulin resistance. Again I feel lost in this. Need to learn.

  • miram you need fat good fat to make hormones work

  • hifl is that a fact - t3 causes insulin resistance- I have never been so bloody fat

  • inflammation causes type 2 diabetes. I was diagnosed and opted for no metformin. It comes and goes for years. plus being undermedicated, hypo, gives a false high reading to the hba1c tests.

  • Hi Faith, do you hve anymore info on undermedicated hypos and the hba1c test as I think this could be my mum's problem. Mayb something she can show her gp? TIA x


    But..they will just say her hypo is perfectly well medicated..based on her TSH!!!

  • Thanks Faith I'll get her to have a look at the links and yes you're right they hve tendency to say she's over medicated as her tsh always 0-01 whatever dose, I'm exactly the same but get bit more leeway so far since my TT (she still has her failing thyroid) Mum's got new consultant appt coming up so fingers crossed will hve better thyroid treatment, sometimes her pulse was dropping below 50 and she could hardly drag one foot in front of the other however she has recently got some t3 and has started taking small amount and feeling better. I may end up down same route!

    BTW she was told her hba1c test was one of highest they've seen, after that she cut out all sugar, living on just meat and greens ,lost over 3stone and brought test results down somewhat but still high. Then she became so worried about eating she hardly ate anything and got too thin so she's now on metformin and back to eating a healthy fruit and veg diet. Maybe if she gets her thyroid medication settled her diabetes tests will improve, she certainly can't improve her diet any further bless her. Thanks for your help.

  • With her low pulse and low TSH, it looks like a pituitary issue. It should be high, when the free's are low.

    Does she have hashi's?

    Do you have any thyroid labs?

    Thyroid meds are not the answer to everything, with hashi's.

  • HI faith,

    Mums results are (strangely?) almost exact as mine although i've had a TT and she still has her thyroid. Her last results on just levo were tsh 0.01, t4 right at top of range or sometimes just slightly over and t3 about 2/3rds in range. This is what she feels ok on but despite arguing they reduced her levo based on tsh/t4 levels and she's now got hold of some t3 through her kinesiologist (he helps with her allergies) which has helped but she hasn't told endo/gp yet as next appt is in May.

    As far as i know she hasn't got hashimotos, i have mentioned it in the past so assume she was tested. I wondered myself about hashimotos as my health improved dramatically on going gluten free but was told i haven't so assume i just have a gluten allergy. My coeliac test was negative as i'd been gf for months prior to test as my GP said it didn't matter, i have since refused the 6 week "gluten challenge" offered by another GP as gluten makes me so ill.

    My mum takes all the supplements you can think of and then some so she has all her ducks in a row so to speak. She's the one who convinced me to take b12 despite my endo saying my levels were normal and it has helped hugely.

    We both have various allergies that crept up from the age of 30 and our 9am blood cortisol was the same at 220 and we were told that was normal although no range given.

    I do feel that i'm turning into my mum (sorry mum!) and that there is a connection between hypo and diabetes and now my younger sister is having problems, she had a hemi-thyroidectomy a year ago has not been monitored since and is now getting fatigued.

    None of us really want to go down the self-medication route as we feel that its stressful in itself nor do we want to be over medicated either, we just want to feel that lovely word "normal" but it does seem a struggle to get the right help.

    Sorry for rambling on but thanks for listening, it really helps to let off steam, i hope you are doing well ;-) x

  • You are not on Synthroid or Armour? You need to be on Synthroid for your TSH. Armour has T3 and Synthroid. You have to look at the whole thyroid panel not just T3

  • Sorry, is this reply for me? Because I wasn't mentioning my thyroid tests, I was talking about glucose and insulin. About my thyroid meds I am on T3, I don't take T4 or NDT.

  • josmat..What do you mean "You need to be on Synthroid for your TSH"?

  • I was diagnosed with insulin resistance a couple of years ago, and prescribed Metformin (500 mg x 3). However, I chose not to take it, after reading about a rare, but serious side effect - ketoacidosis. Instead, I opted for natural supplements - Hyponidd, Diabecon and Berberine. I take two of each, half an hour before main meals, and then a capsules of Berberine with the main meals. My blood sugar and insulin levels have normalised, and I have lost 15 kilograms to date (I was quite overweight before, and of course being hypo and under medicated on thyroxine for years contributed to that, but insulin is also a fat storing hormone).

  • I got the same - 3 x 500 mg. Did you try it or you started with supplements right away? I will look for them. I lowered Metformin to 2 x 500 on my own because I got scared of tachycardia, but I can notice that my heart is still racing. Recently I started to develop problems with my vision, so the only thing that changed since on Metformin is that I think I can see better but I don't know is there any connection with it or not. I still have water retention, no improvement in that thing.

  • I never went on Metformin, but directly on supplements. Latest labs showed lowered fasting glucose and insulin levels, so they seem to be helping.

  • Thank you, that's really helpful. Did you have water retention or edema of any kind and did you noticed improvement in that as well on the supplements you are taking? Do you take Berberine both before and during meal?

  • The water retention improved already on NDT, as compared to thyroxine only. I take Berberine three times a day, directly following a meal, so 1500 mg daily in total.

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