relationship between blood glucose and thyroid ... - Thyroid UK

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relationship between blood glucose and thyroid activity

Astridnova profile image

Wondering if anyone would care to give me their opinion, understanding of any relationship they may have observed or experienced between thyroid medication (especially dessicated pig thyroid) and blood sugar readings.  Also signs like swelling of face or legs, peeing a lot etc.  I'm aware of the diabetes risk in Hashimotos and autoimmune syndromes, but am trying to build up better understanding.  I think that my blood glucose has slightly risen with dessicated pig thyroid, but my exercise level has gone up, with my strength improvement, and my weight have gone down (largely fluid, it seems).

11 Replies

I should also add, just to complicate the picture, that my cholesterol has gone from high to normal.


Irrelevant of which thyroid hormone replacement you are medicating, hypothyroidism//Hashimotos can encourage our cells to desensitise to glucose meaning unbalanced sugar levels in our blood. 

If your blood sugar falls below normal (hypoglycaemia) through not eating enough or insulin resistance, your adrenal glands will compensate by secreting additional cortisol (telling the liver to produce more glucose.) Hence we often gets shaky if missing a meal because cortisol is a sympathetic nervous system hormone. 

Continually elevated cortisol levels can impair the HPT axis by suppressing pituitary function so not signalling the release of enough thyroid hormone. Elevated cortisol levels will eventually become deplete whilst causing possible gut problems leading to malabsorption of nutrients and iron and levels . 

Because thyroid hormones drive the metabolism, a low level can slow glucose absorption in the gut and the rate our cells uptake glucose. It can also slow the response of insulin secretion and the clearance of too much in the blood.

Blood sugar levels can be kept better balanced by eating protein, low GI carbs and healthy fats with every meal. 

The extra glucose released for use by the muscles during exercise requires insulin to be used. A rise in blood sugar levels during exercise would indicate insulin resistance and possibly extra cortisol//adrenaline secreted to give you a lift.

Astridnova profile image
Astridnova in reply to radd

Thanks a lot for your response. I do have a low carb diet and my BGLs are mostly in the 6s but they often are over 7 in the morning and, in the rare cases I eat a cake or sandwich, they go up to 10 or even 12 - which is why I avoid carbs. This was happening before the treatment for hypothyroid, but I read somewhere on this site that higher BGLs were sometimes associated with dessicated pork thyroid.  This may not be true, and it did surprise me.

radd profile image
radd in reply to Astridnova

Ahhhh ...  I don't know about elevated BGL's being especially associated with porcine NDT (as oppose to bovine.)

Remember all medicated thyroid hormone replacement will increase  metabolism and if there is not enough usable insulin (& other nutrients, etc), the body will break down glucose and fats and BGL's will rise.

At night the liver is suppose to release small amounts of glucose but with insulin resistance it dumps more to compensate giving high am readings. 

Astridnova profile image
Astridnova in reply to radd

Yes, I knew about the nocturnal liver-dump, but I like your thoughtful perspective on increased metabolism and lack of usable insulin.  I'll have to think all this over and read a bit.

This post says blood sugar rises when T3 is too high:  You may not think it's high if you test 24 hours after a dose.  

There are multiple hormones involved with water retention, and diabetes is just one cause of increased urination.  Aldosterone and vasopressin are other hormones that can become either too high or low when over or undermedicated.  Progesterone supplementation can also stimulate more urination.  But if your BGL is testing that high, I'd want to check your FT3 about 6-8 hours after a dose.  You may just need to adjust your dose.  I also did not have high blood glucose until I got up to about 2 grains NDT.  It went back down after I lowered my dose.

Astridnova profile image
Astridnova in reply to HIFL

Thank you HIFL. I am only on one grain (but it's all relative, of course).  My doc, who prefers NDT, said, because my thyroxine was lowish, maybe I should take 50mcg.  I was feeling fine, but started it.  However my life was complicated by a bunch of complex tasks and travel at the time and I felt kind of irritable. I thought it might be the thyroxine or it might be my environment.  Now I have mislaid the thyroxine, but things have settled down, so maybe I shall look for them and give it another go.

HIFL profile image
HIFL in reply to Astridnova

Well I can't imagine your FT3 is high on only 1 grain.  But that's why we're supposed to run labs every now and then.  Hope you figure it out.

I suspect that I have mild diabetes.  I'll try the thyroxine but I will also try to lose more weight - although I have lost quite a bit through the NDT, which is great.

Thanks again.

Low levels and high levels of thyroid hormone cause blood sugar issues.  Inflammation is responsible for Type 2 and i have heard also type 1..inflammation is high with autoimmune disease.  It causes your body to not respond to your insulin.  

Astridnova profile image
Astridnova in reply to faith63

Thanks Faith.

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