Levo causing upset guts!!

Just started on Levo three weeks ago. I'm having awful digestive issues and really bad muscle cramps in my calves. I used to get these before when I was hyper and taking simvaststin for my cholesterol, but after switching to atorvastatin the cramps went. I take high dose vit D, and I thing I probably need magnesium as an extra.....I now take my levo at night a couple of hours after food, as taking it in the morning, one hour before food and four hours before other meds, meant that I was forgetting to take the other stuff. Is this normal? The digestive issues were there when I took the levo in the morning also, so it's not that that's the issue. I'm currently totally hypo after radioiodine treatment for hyper. Guts awful, still have thin hair and am fat!!! Any advice??

15 Replies

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  • Montmorency68,

    Magnesium can have a loosening effect so if your gut issue is causing diarrhoea you may want to hold off supplementing.

    It's possible you're having an adverse reaction to one of the fillers in the Levothyroxine brand you are taking. Ask your pharmacist for an alternative brand of Levothyroxine to see whether your gut issues improve. There are 4 x brands available:

    Mercury Pharma 25, 50 & 100mcg

    Actavis 50 & 100mcg

    Wockhardt 25mcg

    Teva 12.5, 25, 50, 75 & 100mcg

  • I have one brand at 25mg and a different one at 50mg. Fillers are unlikely, and I've not started the Mg yet. It's the levo that is the issue..

  • Montmorency68,

    It's usually fillers in Levothyroxine tablets that are the problem. Perhaps you could try 3 x 25mcg for a week or two to see whether gut issues improve. If not, halve a 50mcg tablet and try 1.5 tablets of that brand for a couple of weeks. The tablets are easy to halve with a pillcutter.

  • As I teach pharmacists, I think it's unlikely they can help me. Filler differences are not causative: a bit of lactose in a teeny tablet is not causing an issue when I can have a skinny frappuchino.......it's the levo that is the problem. I think I'm a non-converter: was fat and hyper and am now fat and hypo........ little weight change...

  • I'm not sure if you want to hear it, but taking Levo doesn't make you lose weight. If you're hypo you might be less active and more hungry. Plus you might hold more onto water. What I read with regards to a reduction in base metabolic rate due to being hypo is that it's not more than 4%, and it doesn't seem to be reversible. Thus the only way to lose weight is to eat less. It's quite simple: eat more than your body needs and you gain, eat less and you lose. I lost 40lbs slowly be eating less calories than my body needs and kept it all, all while having untreated hashi.

    Or if this makes more sense: every piece of food has a set amount of calories. Some people might have medical conditions from which they extract less calories due to not properly digesting their food. But food can't have more.

    Likewise, if your body would store more food as bodyfat than other people, then you'd be starving as what gets stored as fat doesn't get used to keep you full and to keep your body going. You can't doubledip food. It's like: you can't pump gasoline out of your car's tank and safe it for another time and still drive on the same gas.

  • I'm calorie counting already... 1200 per day max, so thanks for the reply...

  • Cool! May I ask if you're using a food scale to get a good calorie estimate? I found that especially in the UK packaging information is way off, and is legally allowed to be up to 20% off.

    The bread I'm eating usually is 7-12 grams heavier than the serving size per slice of 44 grams. One slice of 44 grams is supposed to be 104 calories. That would give me extra 16 to 28 calories more per slice. I'm a bread addict and usually eat 6 slices per day. On average, that's 132 calories I didn't count. My favourite deep freeze pizza comes in at around 700 calories. It's usually 10% heavier. That's another additional 70 calories. A table spoon might hold 14ml of cooking oil. It might as well hold 20ml easily, depending on model. That's an additional 48 calories. All those things add up. I've been there and learned not to trust estimates, cups and packaging information. In the end, when I got a food scale I found I was eating 500kcal more per day than I thought. That was supposed to be my deficit, and it certainly explained why I didn't lose weight.

  • Do bear in mind that Teva levothyroxine was taken off the market by the MHRA after one excipient changed source. It had a considerable impact.

    Now Teva has been reformulated to be lactose-free so someone saw a reason to make that change.

  • When I started taking levothyroxine I had widespread pain for the very first time and could barely move any part of my body without pain and stiffness. I felt far worse than before I was eventually diagnosed with a TSH of 100.

    When some T3 was added, eventually, it relieved them a lot.

    It is fine to take levo at bedtime and many people prefer to do so. If you are having a blood test you should miss the night dose and take after blood test but you can take dose as usual at bedtime.

  • Thanks

  • You aren't going to be happy to hear this either, but two hours after food is not long enough. The food will still be in your stomach and will be binding to the levo, reducing absorption and conversion. If you are going to take it at night then it needs to be 3-4 hours after eating.

    I set and alarm on my phone to remind me to take meds.

  • Great... so whatever I do is going to rule my life....as an endocrinologist (research), I thought this would be a breeze! How wrong was I!!! Thanks for the advice. Night still easier though...

  • Ruthi,

    A woman's stomach will empty 2 hours after food (90 minutes for men).

  • Really? Why was I told four? I need to go and shake someone!

  • No-one needs statins they are deadly they kill all cholesterol good and bad and cholesterol is used in the production of Co Enzyme Q10 which is useful to the body as a whole. It produces new cells so it is imperative that you can make it.

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