Levo and sudden grey brittle hair, falling outin - Thyroid UK

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Levo and sudden grey brittle hair, falling outin

NoUserNameIsNotUsed
NoUserNameIsNotUsed

Hi all,

My dr added 50mcg of Levothyroxine to my 1.5 grains of naturethroid because I was getting tired and tested a bit low for both T4 and T3. I’m not scheduled to get labs for a few more weeks.

My hair has dramatically changed. It is dry, each strand is much finer and wirey and it’s rapidly turning GREY. I have never had a grey hair in my life and it only started after starting Levo. And it’s falling out!

Has this happened to anyone else?

My skin has also become dry and itchy, palms especially. This is totally new.

I wasn’t having these symptoms before, just feeling tired. I’m less tired now but can’t sleep more than 4-5 hours a night.

Also still gaining weight.

I have always had a very suppressed TSH (usually .004), so haven’t been producing my own thyroid hormones for years.

This is my first go with Levo. I can’t tolerate increases in NDT and adding T3 was a nightmare.

Adding Levo was the next thing to try but my hair and skin are awful! I’m getting fat, wrinkled and grey all of a sudden.

Thank you.

18 Replies
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Usually we see this the other way around, Levo not doing well but then not able to progress with NDT. That is often put down to other things not being in place and the usual suggestion is to get vits and minerals optimal first. Have you ever looked into that?

Ask your doctor to test Vit D, B12, folate and Ferritin. These help out thyroid to work better but they need to be optimal, not just in range. So best to get readings and ranges and post your results for comments. Be aware as well that many of us supplement but that it’s often for life but improvements can take time depending how low things are but they can help a lot, just not a quick fix.

Thanks for your response silverfox7. I posted a bunch of thyroid and vitamin test results on another post, I’ll see if I can find it, but I usually test at the top of the range on all these after years of supplementing. (B12 injections and prescription folate 22.5 Mg Deplin brand and vit D 10,000 ui/day). I have the MTHFR gene mutation which means I have trouble methylating folate but test well with the prescription folate. I don’t take iron (a bit high) or ferritin (was mid-range if I remember correctly).

The grey hair has been since starting Levo for sure. I have experienced my hair failing out before when I’ve been on a higher NDT dose (with other symptoms like a lot of weight gain and massive insomnia and feeling fried). The hair loss stopped when I temporarily dropped my naturethroid to 1grain bc I felt like I was going to have a heart attack on the 1.75 grain + 50 mcg Levo. Then I increased back up to 1.25 and the. 1.5, which had been where I’ve been at for about 10 days. The hair loss started back up after a few days on the 1.5 NDT and 50 Levo. I need to hold this dose for a bit before testing.

Feeling like I’m never going to get this right. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I’m tired of the weight gain. I’ve exchanged what started as a couple symptoms for many more post-treatment and it’s very frustrating. Never heard of grey hair being a side effect of Levo, so that’s why I thought I’d ask here.

Weight gain "it's my part-time job now" sigh

I hear that Batty1! I've gained a ton of weight AFTER treating my hypothyroidism and after my T3 and T4 were raised. I thought I was an anomaly, but nope! Looks like I'm in plenty of good company.

You gained weight after introduction of T3/T4 ?

Yes. My main symptom before treatment was very fatigued--dragging my body around and falling asleep throughout the day. My hair and skin were somewhat dry, hair brittle. I had put on about 5lbs, nothing bad at all. When I first started on Naturethroid I started at a very low dose but my TSH was immediately suppressed, so I was temporarily MORE hypo while increasing. But my weight went up in sync with each dose increase. By the time I was at 2.5 grains, my highest dose, I had gained 30lbs since the start of treatment. I didn't lose a single ounce until I went back down in dose and hit 1.75 grains. For a long time I would gain if on 2 grains, go down to normal weight when on 1.75 grains and then GAIN if i went below 1.75. There was a sweet spot and I stayed there for a couple years until a year ago when I started getting really tired again and my tests came back low out of range (usually both T3 and T4 are just within range - when I've gotten T3 in midrange I feel awful, overmedicated, but if it falls below range I feel like someone unplugged me). I don't tolerate naturethroid above 1.75 so I was in a predicament. Tried adding cytomel but felt overmedicated, then tried adding levo, which is where I'm at now. Slight weight gain (after all the other weight I gained trying other combos before it) but I'm eating less than what would normally maintain my weight. Frustrating.

Sounds so familiar

SlowDragon
SlowDragonAdministrator

Low B12 can be linked to grey hair

Thanks SlowDragon, I have a requisition to get B12 tested again. I stopped the injections over a year ago but take hefty oral doses. Maybe I need more. Will find out soon.

SlowDragon
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to NoUserNameIsNotUsed

Some people can't absorb B12 orally and need B12 injections

Did you jump straight into a dose of 50mcg levo on top of your 1..5 grains NDT? If so, you might be over doing the T4. Maybe drop to 25mcg and see what happens, but remember it can take ages for skin and hair to recover so don't expect an instant improvement.

Hi StitchFairy. No, I started with 12.5 mcg, then 25, then 37.5 and then 50. I had originally been on 1.75 grains with the idea that I would increase the Levo to 50 mcg and decease the NDT to 1.5 grains. I seem to be pretty sensitive to the T3 in NDT and we thought it might be 'gentler' for my body to convert since I don't seem to have trouble converting. I didn't time it right and didn't drop the NDT at the right time and ended up over medicated. Long story short, I dropped NDT to 1 grain for a week and have gradually raised it back to the 1.5 grain target. This has been over a couple months. All this time, since starting the Levo, I've had weird hair and skin issues (while continuing to gain weight, dang it!) and then started noticing the grey. Totally new thing! Could be a coincidence, I AM in my 40s, but with the change in texture to this thin wire-y thing, it just seemed a little TOO coincidental.

I think you will find that thyroid hormones do have an effect on hair colour. One source says it is due to its control of melanin production and greying hair can occur for both under and over active thyroid disorders. It is well known that hypothyroidism is associated with premature greying of the hair. Here’s a scholarly paper on the matter:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/1...

No doubt the change in hormones is responsible perhaps the dose increase was too much (25mcg might have been more prudent on the part of your doc) or it has caused a balance between free T4 and free T3 to have been upset. I hope you get a more suitable combination and get your locks back to rights.

Here’s the non scholastic site mentioning melatin as the cause

healthline.com/health/white...

Thanks so much TSH110. I'm a researcher at heart, so I'm happy to read articles on this stuff.

I increased the Levo very incrementally but maybe it was too much. Thanks for the info.

shaws
shawsAdministrator

If we take thyroid hormones other than levothyroxine, then the blood results cannot equate as they were introduced along with levothyroxine. Before that we were diagnosed upon our clinical symptoms alone and given NDT in small increases until we felt well again. Of course, nothing is miraculous and it may not suit us although there is a choice of NDTs too.

Also many people seem to do fine on levothyroxine alone but they wont be searching the internet.

Thanks shaws. I've been on NDT for 6 years and this was my first go with adding Levo. I was originally diagnosed by clinical symptoms plus below range Free T3 and Free T4, antibodies (no Hashis), rT3 and TSH (which was slightly elevated but within range). I went through a roller coaster the first two full years trying to find the right dose of NDT. When I got my FT3 in midrange or above I felt AWFUL - eyes burning, hot, felt burned out/wired and tired, rapid weight gain, at my worst sleeping only 3-4 hours every single night, ravenous appetite, and agitation/temper/moodiness. Fun! I only felt well when FT3 was in the lower range and FT4 in lower range or even slightly below range. I've optimized all the vitamins and dealt with adrenal issues, so it's a head scratcher. I tend to gain weight no matter what when I take any kind of thyroid medication (I've tried NDT + cytomel and NDT + Levo, various doses of each). There was a two-year period when I was on 1.75 grains Naturethroid and all the planets aligned, my weight and energy stabilized, my hair and skin looked great, and then a couple years later, I started feeling low again, gaining weight, getting very tired, so about a year ago NDT was increased and I started feeling bad again (wired/tired/insomnia, etc). Been all over the place ever since.

shaws
shawsAdministrator

I feel sorry for you that you've tried all the regimes yet haven't found one that restores your health.

Sometimes I think it is the fillers/binders in the product that affect us and not the actual hormone itself.

Have you tried T3 only? Could it be that you are 'thyroid hormone resistant'?

This is a link from one of TUK's Advisers who was an expert in Thyroid Hormone Resistance and for those patients who don't relieve their clinical symptoms it could be due to 'thyroid hormone resistance.

About ten years (I believe) after the introduction of levo 'new diseases' were named, i.e. CFS, Fibro and ME.

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/relate...

This may be helpful too:-

naturalthyroidsolutions.com...

Some of us cannot recover but may improve with T3. I only relieved symptoms when I took T3 alone. I am not saying that suits everyone but as levo doesn't suit us we look elsewhere and thankfully we now have websites that can help.

Dr Lowe died through an accident and therefore his site was closed (a pity) because it had loads of information.

shaws
shawsAdministrator

I had premature grey hair, and it began in my late 20's. Since being hypo - each summer for the past ten years I have had Alopecia totalis (I thought it was Alopecia Areata) but was told by an Endocrinologist a few weeks ago that it is totalis. Which means just as summer is coming along, hair disappears. It then grows slowly back over the winter and then repeats itself. It's horrible having no hair at all and just when I'm going on holiday.

It is another autoimmune condition. This summer it delayed as I found a shampoo which helped but it still fell out.

naturalthyroidsolutions.com...

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