Thyroid UK
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Confused abouit adrenals

Ever since I've been on this website I hear so many things I'd never heard of such as T3, armour, folate, ferritin, lymphocytes and now adrenals.

What are they and what do they have to do with thyroid problems and are they good for your thyroid functio or something else in ya body, I'm so confused by it all everything I read another blog there is something else I've never heard of.

6 Replies


There's a little bit of info here:

We have some more information, but I'd have to email it to you, and the office is closed at the moment. :-(

Hopefully someone with more knowledge on this will pop up soon! :-)




I know what you mean! It's like someone opened a door to a world we didn't even know existed and it can be extremely overwhelming, especially when you are not well.

I'll try and be brief in explaining a little bit to you;

Hypothyroidism can be a bit of a double-edged sword. People with hypothyroidism are often low in vitamins and mineral due to low stomach acid, yet deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals can affect how our bodies produce and use thyroid hormones.

Iron/ferritin (stored iron) and vitamin B12 and folate are important for our bodies to be able to use thyroid hormones properly in all the cells (in order to make energy) so deficiencies can cause hypothyroid symptoms even when the thyroid hormone levels in our blood are really good. The hormones are there, they just can't be used very well by the cells.

Most people take levothyroxine which contains the thyroid hormone T4 (also called thyroxine). This gets converted to T3 before it is used by the cells to make energy. This is important for every cell in your body. Deficiencies in selenium and zinc can mean that this conversion doesn't happen as well as it should which means there isn't enough T3 for your body's needs. Abnormal cortisol levels (cortisol is produced by the adrenals) can also interfere with this conversion. Abnormal cortisol levels (aka adrenal fatigue) can be caused by chronic illness, including hypothyroidism that is untreated or inadequately treated.

For some people who find they have a problem converting T4 to T3, levothyroxine isn't a good treatment (it works well for about 87% of the population). These people have to take synthetic T3 (the already converted hormone) or Natural Dessicated Thyroid (made from dessicated pig thyroid and also known as NDT) instead as both contain the already converted form of thyroid hormone (T3). Armour is just one named brand of Natural Dessicated Thryoid. Others include Nature-throid and Erfa.

I'm afraid I don't know much about lymphocytes and that is probably not something you need to worry about unless your levels are abnormal. If your levels are abnormal I am happy to research this and find out the significance with respect to thyroid disorders for you :)

I hope that has helped a little. I didn't want to go into too much detail as that can be extremely overwhelming and difficult to take in if you have any amount of brain-fog, but if you have any other questions please do ask and we will do our best to answer them for you.

Carolyn x


Thank you so much for that reply I understand it a lot better now, I also have PA which doesn't help things and my lymphocytes are below range at 1.4 with the range being (1.5 - 4.0) and my erthrocyte above range at 28mm/h (0.0-12.0).

I wonder if u would be kind enuff to find out what this means.

Many thanks x


If you have PA you are very likely deficient in B12 unless you are receiving regular B12 injections. It is very important to keep your B12 level above 500 so make sure you get the numbers from your doctor when you get a blood test (normal for the NHS starts around 180 which is way too low!) Having enough B12 will help your body to be able to use the thyroid hormones.

I believe low lymphocytes can be indicative of autoimmune activity. I don't know much about PA but is it a result of autoimmune disease? If so, this could be why this value is out of range. Low neutrophills can also indicate autoimmune disease. Do you know if your hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto's? If so, this is also an autoimmune disease and could explain your lymphocyte levels. If you are unaware of having any autoimmune diseases, it would probably be a good idea to get blood tests to see if this might be the case, for example both sets of thyroid antibodies or, if you are having symptoms of RA or lupus, getting those tests too. I'm afraid I don't know much about autoimmune disease but there are others on here who are well-versed in such matters and would be able to provide more help and information.

Is the erythrocyte level you mention the "erythrocyte sedimentation rate"? If so, a high reading is an indication of inflammation and it is quite commonly high in people with autoimmune disease. It could also be due to anaemia so it is worth getting your iron and ferritin (stored iron) tested. Be aware that ferritin can be high with a low iron count if you have inflammation so that is another good reason to get it tested.

I should point out that I am not medically trained, I am just passing on what information I know, but hopefully it will help you to ask your doctors the right questions so you can get the tests and treatment that you need :)

I hope this helps

Carolyn x


Thanks for replying and yes I have had a course of B12 injections 3 mths ago so I think I need topping up again getting the symptoms that started all this. Yes it was the erthroycyte sedimention rate. When I was tested my B12 was 178 and 8 weeks ago it was 1500 and also my TSH was 17.16 whereas 2 weeks before that it had been 0.8 then 4 weeks later it had dropped down to 1.4 when he upped my levo from 125 to 150mcg so the dr has now referred me to an endo to try and sort me out. I have an underactive thyroid for 17 years and it was mostly under control until all of this happened.


Hello there...

I read your message and my assessment is: your overwhelm-ment is typical.

Basically seeking answers and information regarding thyroid issues and symptoms can quickly morph into a deluge of random possibly-associated things that results in confusion and possibly panic.

My thoughts are brief...first off - get tests, deal with the results and what they tell you. Then...if your symptoms persist over a matter of about 4-6 weeks, trust that YOU KNOW your body and seek more information, tests etc. get those results and repeat until you feel human again.

It's easy to be overwhelmed. The fact about thyroid disorders is that they make you feel rubbish. In addition, there are related conditions - adrenals, gut issues etc. All are treatable and a systematic approach to diagnosis and management is important.

My thyroid packed up when I had kids. I have autoimmune thyroiditis which was discovered by accident. After that I discovered (again by accident) that I had a related autoimmune problem in my gut. In checking this out my adrenals got tested etc. I also started regulat B12 shots and take a good multivitamin with D and folate. I manage my gut issues with fish oil and glutamine. Proper nutrition is very important.

Reading up on this stuff is useful but my experience is that you need a GP/endocrinologist/nutritionist to systematically check you out and help. The alternative is (and many people do this) to read, understand, then systematically check themselves out. This can be a) bewildering and, b) complex, as you to still need to enlist a GP/endocrinologist.

My advice: manage your thyroid first. Get a GP/endo who you can communicate with to help and explain other possible issues you could have then systematically test this out.

It's easy to try to do it all yourself but hard work as it all ends up being trial and error.

In short, don't will get there. It may take time but stick always to the basics. How exactly do you feel? What needs to change to restore your quality of life? Then make it for 2013 and Good Luck.


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