Exercise issues

Hi, so I've been on 100mcg of Levo for a few months now with much improvement of symptoms...until this week.

I've started jogging & weight lifting to get fit and it's required rehabilitation for my knee op in June but I'm starting to feel hypo again and the dreaded internal shakes are creeping back with sleeping problems and mood swings...does anyone else get this when increasing exercise? Or is this just because levo is an inferior treatment and eventually everyone levels out and it no longer works so needs yet another increase in dose (that's what I get from most of these posts on here)

I can't give up exercise so there's got to be a reason...anyone with experience in this - please share. Thank you :)

13 Replies

  • It's because you are exercising! Believe it or not we have to take things more easily until we get to an optimum of thyroid hormones and then we can do what we normally did.

    Levothyroxine has to convert to T3 (liothryonine). T3 runs our whole metabolism (energy) and is the only Active hormone. So, when we exercise it depletes our T3 and we can feel not too good.

    We can do gentle exercises of course like walking etc. But vigorous exercising is not recommended particularly as your hypo symptoms are returning.

    (I am not medically qualified - have hypothyroidism).

  • This really sucks but makes sense nonetheless. I am thinking of doing a full thyroid plus 12 test by blue horizon and potentially adding t3 depending on my results so I can exercise and lose some weight, plus I have to do weights and jogging for my knee to heel faster as my physio has said to up my input now. I've been immobile since March and although feeling better gradually since my increase in levo to 100mcg so now I feel better and HAVE to exercise for my knee rehabilitation I wanted to give it a go but had just made me feel like I have the flu 😞 do you think that is a good plan about getting a full test and going from there?

  • I doubt the exercise will male you lose weight - and might very well make you put more on!

    To lose weight you need optimal levels of T3, but they will never get to be optimal if you use up all your T3 with strenuous exercise. The problem for hypos on thyroid hormone replacement, is that when they use up all their T3, they cannot easily replace it. Especially if they are taking T4 only, because the T4 has to be converted to T3 - and we're not always very good at that.

    So, yes, getting a complete thyroid panel, to know exactly where you are, would be a good idea. Then get some T3 to top you up. But, you still shouldn't push yourself beyond your limit, because that won't help anything!

  • Do you have any suggestions of exercise that I could do until I get my thyroid optimal? Walking, yoga, cycling but what about weight? I really need to tone up, not so bothered about weight as such just very wobbly and full of cellulite. I will order the full panel and post results on here in a few weeks. Thanks

  • I doubt it cellulite, it's more likely to be mucin. And, I would not recommend cycling. Walking, swimming, yoga, yes.

  • Unexplained weight gain is a clinical symptom of hypothyroidism and for some people when not on enough levo therefore metabolism isn't raised enough and weight is gained. If on the correct dose of levo for you or the addition of T3, weight can gradually be reduced without dieting. Doctors know little about symptoms.

    Some of our members have lost weight and are delighted. As greygoose has said it is most probably mucin rather than fat.


  • i haven't actually gained much weight at all luckily, i just want to really target my wobbly areas and help heal my torn ligament as much as it was a big op - that requires regular exercise/gym sessions according to my physio and surgeon.

  • You have to heal your ligament, of course and you'll be following physio etc. As long as you do sufficient to heal your ligament but not overdo things. Maybe ask surgeon if he'll do a Free T4 and Free T3 test to make sure you're not depleting the T3 and GP can prescribe a small dose to add to levo..

  • I can't imagine jogging be good as rehab as it's so harsh on joints? Surely something like swimming or water jogging would be better.

    Also, yes, all that exercise is making you feel worse. I spent a while resisting what everyone told me on this forum and insisted on doing lots of cardio and had a crash every time after the gym. Now most of my exercises are for rehab (I've got so many injuries, all of my gym work is incredibly muscle specific but none of it use more than body weight and bands) or yoga with an occasional spin class and truly truly feel so much better for it! And losing weight faster too!

    It all sounds so illogical and and anti-intuitive but true. And very logical once you accepted that t3 & atp pathways are super related (that's my understanding anyways, someone please correct me if I'm wrong!) therefore more exercise = more energy needed = more work in the mitochondria= use more t3 = depletion = thyroid coping even less = more sick. This is assuming all is great and you've got great t4 to t3 conversion (so levo works well for you), otherwise that's another factor (and another discussion)!

  • Yes jogging has been recommended as it's a ligament that needs to reveal and jogging does strengthen it. My physio is really pushing me with the weights and cardio which I don't mind but I do feel abit ill during it sometimes and now I'm

    Suffering after. It's not horrific but I definitely don't feel great.

    It does make total sense what you're saying though, its so hard though!

    Don't you find spin too intense?? I only do 20 min jog followed by 30 min weight session 3 times a week and want to start swimming and doing yoga too so that's not too excessive is it?? 3 x week in the gym is ok surely?!

    What are you taking? Levo?

  • I'm glad that you're doing all of this under physio advisement! Perhaps talk to him/her about the t3 depletion problem. It's all well and good to say you need to do x amount of running/ weights but if this is then having a detrimental effect to your thyroid problem (and let's face it- your thyroid being under more strain is not going to make you get better any faster for either your thyroid and your knee since you'll be running on empty + trying to heal simultaneously)- perhaps they can give you different set of exercises to do to strengthen that ligament that is less intensive in terms of energy output- this doesn't mean it has to be less intensive in terms of effectiveness.

    I've switched to ndt back at the beginning of June and also cut down from 2x spin a week + 2x hot yoga + 2x hour long rehab session + 1x cardio session + 1x swimming to 2x slow regular yoga + 2 x hour long rehab + 1x spin every week and hopefully will only be down to 1x rehab soon- so I am working out far far far less nowadays but getting much better results weight loss wise and body mechanics wise- though not sure if the muscle retraining is actually working because I've been working on it for a good long while now or because of the more optimal thyroid levels...(thanks greygoose!). I'm currently not even doing spin as playing around with my ndt dose and started to get post spin crashes again. It is SO hard to stop the workouts because it feels really wrong at first but it is working! And I know it's really hard if you love it, which is why I get a guilty pleasure spin or swim once in awhile. It's much better than my other guilty pleasure, chocolate ice cream but I'm not sure actually my body quite agree with me on that point!

  • Exercise uses up precious T3 and if you don't convert well then you lose out.

  • Does anyone know how long it takes roughly to restore t3 approx after exercise. Still feel like I've been hit by a bus... I expect it's dependant on how well I convert the t4

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