Thyroxine and ageing

I’m 63 years old and have been taking 100 micro grams of thyroxine since I was 50. My last blood test which was done in May this year showed a reduction in my serum TSH from 2 to 1.55 mu/L ranges 0.35. -5.00 mu/L, Serum T4 15.5 pmol/L range 7.00. -20.00 pmol/L, Serum T3 4.7.

I don’t feel well at all. When I was first diagnosed I felt a bit tired but was able to get on with life. I took the thyroxine as my father and aunt had thyroid issues so I thought it must be genetic. I have no idea what my blood levels were then as I hardly gave my hypothyroidism a second thought. I was working full time and managing it well. This past year I seem to be really slowing down and have terrible brain fog and stiffness. My legs feel quite weak too. Maybe just signs of getting older. I’m taking good supplements to support my iron levels and B vits as well as omega 3 and magnesium.

I’m wondering if there should be a reduction in the amount of thyroxine we take as we get older. Does our ageing bodies not metabolise it so well ?? I posted a few weeks back regarding the possibility of the switch to Teva from Almas could have upset me and still haven’t ruled this out. My GP is reluctant to do blood tests for thyroid levels apart from the usual yearly check up but I’ll keep on at her. Are there any older members of this forum to have noticed any changes in their symptoms/ meds since they got older??

57 Replies

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  • Definately, I am 63 and when I hit 60 my symptoms were more noticeable. After a couple of years of pestering GP and Levo doses going up & down, I saw an endo who put me on T3. I have not looked back, virtually symptom free now. Apparently I was not converting properly.

  • That’s so interesting Smudger. Thanks for reply. How did you discover you weren’t converting ?

  • Hi Citta the endo did blood tests and my T3 was just borderline despite taking Levo, that combined with the list of symptoms I gave him pointed to poor conversion. I had been on a 1200 cal a day diet for a year, lost 3 stone but as soon as I increased my calorie intake the weight started to increase. Taking T3 has cleared all the symptoms, which were many, other than nail issues which do show improvement.

  • Ah yes, I see now. I thought there might have been a specific test for that. I’m gaining weight now since I’ve started to improve my diet. I had lost 10kgs last year without trying and I think I was malnourished too. Eating meat and taking supplements has helped with that I think. I’m now 58kgs and 5’ 3 so probably healthier for it. Im still keen to see what Teva is doing to my tsh.

  • Teva made me seriously ill I yellow carded it, I have seen many other did not do well on it, tbh If i was you i would stick to the one you know you did well on :)

  • Can you tell me what your T4 was tho

    Mine is really high

    Like .5 or something but I am 63 and suffering badly Can you have a high T4 and still not be absorbing it well??

  • Citta You were on Almus and now on Teva? Ask to go back on Almus if you felt well on that. Many members have found Teva has made them unwell.

    Your May results actually show that you were undermedicated. The aim of a treated hypo patient generally is for TSH to be 1 or below or wherever it is needed for FT4 and FT3 to be in the upper part of their respective reference ranges if that is where you feel well. Both your FT4 and FT3 are low.

    It would be an idea to get vitamins and minerals tested to see if they are less than optimal and supplement where necessary. Optimal levels for us Hypos, for thyroid hormone to work properly, are

    Vit D - 100-150nmol/L

    B12 - very top of range, even 900-1000

    Folate - at least half way through it's range

    Ferritin - minimum of 70 for thyroid hormone to work, recommended is half way through it's range

    I am 69 and have been on Levo since my mid-20s and have had problems since around 2000 but after private tests it was down to very low nutrient levels, an adrenal problem, very low sex hormones and poor conversion of T4 to T3.

  • Thanks SeasideSusie. That’s very helpful. I’m working hard at trying to get well and I should be feeling the benefits of good supplements and diet but not yet. In May my B12 was only 373 range 130 800, folate 12.9 range 4.00 - 20, ferritin 32 range 12 - 250 HB 138 range 120-160. I’ve started eating meat including liver and organic green veg and milk so I think I’m on the right track with that. Do you think I should try to get GP to check my thyroid levels again before I change to Almus or just change? know I can get my thyroid meds from Boots so it would not be difficult to swap px. Currently my GP surgery is dispensing Teva only.

  • Citta - are you taking B12 plus a B Complex? You also need to check Vit D.

    You could ask your GP to repeat your tests. Tell him that since being on Teva you don't feel as well as before. It will be interesting to see if the Teva has made a difference to your results.

    For thyroid tests, always book the very first appointment of the morning, fast overnight (water allowed) and leave off levo for 24 h. This gives the highest possible TSH which is needed when looking for an increase in dose or to avoid a reduction. If you didn't do this last time you were tested your results can't be compared accurately.

  • Yes, I’m taking B12 organic spray by Garden of Life. The BComplex I was taking was making me feel restless so I stopped. That’s why I started eating meat again as I was veggie before that. I take a multi vit by wild nutrition for older women. Omega 3 and magnesium. I’m sleeping a bit bettet but do have some early morning wakening. Oh, I’m also taking blackstrap molasses for iron. I have it with warm milk before I go to bed and it’s delicious. I can feel it calm me down.

    I did fast for 24 hours and didn’t take my thyroxine before the last blood test so I’ll definitely do that again. I’m sure it’s the Teva that’s knocked me for six but I agree it’s better to have the blood results to back show what’s going on.

  • Is this your Multivitamin wildnutrition.com/food-grow...

    They're a waste of time. Too little of anything to do any good, but yours contains iron so nothing else will be absorbed, iron needs to be taken 2 hours away from everything else. Also, it contains calcium so iron won't be absorbed, plus it contains iodine. Calcium and iodine need to be tested and only supplemented if deficient.

    When taking B12 we need a B Complex to balance all the B vitamins. B vitamins can be stimulating so it might be worth looking a t a different brand.

  • Thanks for that. I’ll definately look into this more. You’d wonder why they manufacture vitamins in that form if they counteract each other. No wonder I’m not making progress. I’ll research another B complex and finish the bottle of multi vits up then stop.

  • Because the majority of people have no idea what they're taking, and just buy them with the idea that they will keep them well! They are for what I call the 'worried well' - plus ignorant doctors recommend them! - and the companies are making money out of them, so why should they care!

    What you have to realise is that nobody actually cares about your health, just about your money.

  • Thanks Greygoose. I think there is definitely something in what you said. Can I ask what, if any, supplements you take?

  • My supplements are a continual work-in-progress. At this precise minute, I'm just taking 400 mcg magnesium citrate, 5000 mg vit C, and from time to time, some iron. But, I've been at this rather a long time, and know my body well enough to know what it wants.

    Next, I might add in some vit D3, vit K2-MK7 and zinc. Or maybe not. I might go back to the methylcobalamin, B complex and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Depending on how I feel.

    It's good to take a break from supplements from time to time, when you're not desperately deficient anymore. :)

  • greygoose

    May I ask you why you take Alpha Lipoic Acid for ? I was under the impression that it can lower thyroid meds .

  • For my neuropathy. It helps with the burning sensation in the skin.

  • I’m think I have that too in my left foot. Burning and painful feeling in my toes. I might they alpha lipioc acid too. I was to go for a foot scan in the summer but I was too exhausted to drive to the hospital.

  • A foot scan? I didn't know they could scan feet.

    Have you had low B12?

  • greygoose ,

    Thank you so much . Your a GREAT MENTOR !!!! I always learn so much from you . How much away from thyroid meds . And how high a dose is permitted with thyroid meds ?

  • I always take mine in the morning, and my T3 at night. I just take the standard dose of 600 mg.

  • Hi citta ,i definetely noticed a big change once i was 60 plus ,infact it got so bad i had to retire from a job i loved due to the awful fatigue and brain fog muscle aches etc ,it wasnt till i found this wonderful site and started taking my health in my own hands that i found i wasnt converting well ,the endo and GP where as much use as a chocolate teapot 😠so after lots of research decided to add some T3 and now feel sooo much better ,still get the odd day when i dont feel 100% especialy if iv had lots of stress, but cant complain ,im now on 100mcgs levo and 12mcg T3 dayly and do private blood test ,hope you start to feel better soon ..

  • Thanks Sunny65. That’s great you feeling better and good for you for being so pro active. I agree about the benefits and wonderful insights available in this forum. No one ever gave me any advice or guidance regarding my hypothyroidism before I found this forum. It’s shameful that we are left to flounder by the Heath services mist of the time.

  • Definitely change from TEVA. I was very unwell on their previous formulation. Although they have reformulated it I would not trust it again. If you find you feel well after switching then do a yellow card report. The only way the manufacturers will maintain a good quality of levo is if patients report adverse effects.

  • Nanaedake I've done everything the yellow card. I wonder how many they have to get before something gets done. We can’t all be imagining our symptoms.

  • So have you switched back to Almus? Almus is Actavis I believe, just packaged as Almus. Anyway, I'll be very interested in knowing how you feel when you swap to Almus.

  • Not yet but I’m intending to once I’ve had bloods rechecked

  • Hello I'm Trish, this is my first input although I have been reading through the posts on this site for some months in an effort to understand more about Thyrotoxicosis and my symptoms, I am amazed at the knowledge of some of the contributors especially as I have difficulty retaining information and it is really useful to refer back to something in previous posts. I have read several posts regarding Teva and I think it is time to tell you of my experience with it. Over the past 5 years I have been given whatever the pharmacy had in stock, sometimes Actavis,sometimes Mercury Pharma and the other 3 whose names escape me, or sometimes 25mcg of 1 and 50mcg of a different one. recently I was given Teva and immediately noticed a difference, I no longer felt sick after my tablets, I had none of the vertigo and my digestive system started working properly.

    I asked to be given Teva only but was given the usual response "they are all the same", I have now found a pharmacy that will order them for me and I am over the moon at the prospect of regaining some of my former fitness and healthy lifestyle.

    Of course I am hoping that Teva will not be withdrawn again, I would be back to square 1 and feeling really awful everyday.

    It just goes to show how different we all are in the way our bodies react to medication despite the medical profession thinking otherwise.

  • You make an important point w-33. It’s a pity that the health professionals don’t treat us as individuals instead of clones. I’m glad Teva had worked for you.

  • Hi, just wondering if your GP gave you a prescription for T3 or if you've had to get them yourself? When I mentioned them to my GP I was told I wouldn't get them.

    Thanks...

  • Sjflash, I don’t take T3, only Teva which is T4 as far as I know. I have heard of people getting T3 in px for treatment resistance depression though which I think is interesting .

  • Citta,

    Teva is just a make (and a very large pharmaceutical company).

    They actually produce both levothyroxine (T4) and liothyronine (T3).

    Yes - T3 has been used for treatment resistance depression and several other purposes (at least in research/trials).

  • I just wonder why GPs are so reluctant to px T3. I guess they have to follow protocols from NICE and the ‘accountants’

  • Ignorance and cost seem the main reasons.

    Protocols can be very useful, but all too often they are applied from a position of ignorance and end up being formulaic directives.

  • That seems to be the case in most things these days. I’m pleased to see that at least there is some good awareness raising going on with Thyroud UK and this forum. It comes to something when the patient has to educate the health professionals.

  • I was made ill by Teva in 2012. MHRA took away their licence. Now they are back and seem to be no better. I will only take Almus and use a pill cutter to get correct dose because Almus don't make 25mcg tabs. NHS is useless for monitoring. They seem to think you only need TSH test and mostly you can forget about vitamins. I take Jarrows B12, Vit D3 capsules and vit K and use private tests to check vits, TSH, T4, T3 and antibodies. I am on GF diet to damp down antibodies. Thank goodness for the helpful advise on here, it has made a big difference to me and I amstill learning after 5 years.

  • I’m gluten free too. Not sure if I’ve got Hashimoto but I don’t feel great with wheat or barley. No processed foods either and I think my gut is feeling better for it. Oh, also taking fermented foods when I can. I should be bouncing with Health

  • I would definitely kick the Teva meds into touch!

  • I was fine on levo till I was around 50 but then became very tired. They upped and upped my dose - I got worse and worse. I found I was not converting properly, went onto NDT and it was like someone threw a switch. So I'd spent 6 years (or more) like a zombie for no reason. Frustrating.

  • Is that expensive? I guess you have to buy it as I've not heard of the NHS px it.

  • No it isn't expensive, and I had to read up all about it first. Bought it online. I also tried T3 which was ok, but I didn't like having to chop up little tablets and I just felt the NDT had a certain je ne sais quoi about it! Just felt a little bit better on it.

  • Is it a more natural form of thyroxine ? Does your GP still monitor your bloods or have you gone private? All these things are worth thinking about and I’d be happy to pay if I found meds’ that work

  • Yes it gives you all the natural thyroid hormones in natural proportions. The gp knows I take it, she can see how it has changed me. They still do the annual check but I get all my own blood tests done to look at my free T3 levels - T3 is the active hormone, T4 is only a storage hormone so it's pretty nonsensical to measure it. I haven't gone private, I just do it all myself.

  • Hi, how do you go about doing your own blood test?

    Thanks..

  • I get mine from medichecks they often do offers for thyroid tests

  • Thanks for your reply. I had no idea you could even do your own tests. Thought that would be going private health care. You all sound like doctors who know their stuff with the levels and functions etc. I'm going to get my GP to give me a copy of blood results including I think a vitamin test. But really I wouldn't have a clue after that...

    After you started taking charge of your own health did you see positive results in how you felt?

    Thanks..

  • Hi how do you know how much to take?

  • You start on a low dose and work your way up slowly. I read Stop The Thyroid Madness to help me, they have a good website

  • I guess it is the side effect of levo. Your symptom is the same as mine and my mother. Taking levo for a long term cause a lot of side effect when cortisol gets low (adrenal fatigue) as thyroid hormone works together with adrenal gland (adrenal hormone- cortisol) and it keeps adrenaline and cortisol high. Levo also stimulate sympathetic nerves while suppressing parasympathetic nerves.

    Check your blood pressure too.

    stopthethyroidmadness.com/b...

    stopthethyroidmadness.com/a...

    You will see side effect of levo only treatment and figure out why you get sick except for the reason you are aging.

  • Just goes to show how complex the thyroid is. Interesting article windy, thanks for sharing.

  • Well, you're now in the right place to learn and be supported in getting yourself to better health. You would think that as we age our thyroid medication would be fully monitored and adjusted according to our symptoms, but sadly this doesn't seem to be the normal procedure. Ultimately my doctor agreed to test my T3 and T4 if I paid for the privilege - when armed with the scientific proof I was still not acknowledged as having a conversion problem. " In range blood tests " are not acceptable for hypothyroid people, " optimal is the name of the game " but sadly this is no game and our fight for acknowledgement and understanding goes on. It takes time - vitamins and minerals need to build and you need time to learn how to take yourself forward to better health. So Citta, trust yourself, we've all been there, in some shape and form, there is some light at the end of the tunnel -

  • Thanks pennyannie - that's a lovely post.

  • i think something you need to look at is your change to teva. I got changed and i went downhill rapidly. Going from 2 to 1.55 should be a god thing, but there's lots of variables, like if you have hashis tsh will fluctuate, and time of day when you had the test, also if you didnt fast or if you took your thyroxine before the test, that all affects the test.

    I contacted the yellow card scheme regarding teva and found it was taken off the market a while ago due to making people ill and changing their blood results, there are a lot of people who have become very ill on teva. Its not a good idea to chop and change brands of thyroxine, but the pharmacies just buy in whatever is cheapest. I would really urge you to get the pharmacist to order In the brand you felt better on and ditch that teva. If you feel better switching back please contact the yellow card scheme and report it. My pharmacy tried lying to me and said mercury pharma (my usual brand) was identical to teva and made by the same company! Outrageous lies, I contacted mercury pharma and tracked down the suppliers and insisted the pharmacy got it In for me.

  • I’m beginning to wake up to this thyroid problem of mine and to realise that if I don’t keep telling my GP I’m not feeling well, she’ll think I’m ok. I’ve never been one to make a fuss but it’s got to the point that I’m definately go to be more proactive when it comes to my health. If it wasn’t for this forum, I’d be putting all my symptoms down to my age.

  • Yes, for sure you need to be proactive and it's not your age.

  • So sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. I'm not old enough to answer your age related questions, butI was wondering if you have been tested for Hashimoto's, and therefore if you know if your hypothyroid is due to an inmune attack to your thyroid. If it was so, then you'd be better off looking into strengthening your inmune system, and finding the root cause, rather than only treating the symptoms. I wish I couñd be of more help.

  • That was helpful - thank you 😊

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