My fight to keep my T3 and the effects of sweeteners

Hi all,

Its my first day back at work today and so first day back on the site - hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a happy, healthy start to the new year.

My nightmare started way back and those of you on here who are familiar with my story will know that I have been suffering with heart palps for almost a year and late last year I was fitted with a 24hr heart monitor. Went to the GP's on 21st Dec to have a review of my meds and get the results of the monitor and thats when the battle to keep my T3 began.

As soon as I walked into the room I could tell that something was wrong as my doc looked at me over the top of her glasses and shook her head. She followed this up with a "I did warn you didn't I" comment (I had a fight to get the T3 in the first place due to her belief that it can cause heart problems), she then went on to tell me that the heart monitor had shown up a problem, which had a very long name that I cant remember, and will be consulting a cardiologist for advice. My reaction to this was to first ask if there was anything wrong with my heart - no there wasn't - and secondly to argue that it could just as easily be the T4 that was causing the problems.

She took my palse which was 92 and again gave me "that look" and in response I snapped back that of course my heart rate was high "you have just indicated that my T3 will be taken away from me", at this she smiled which had an effect that she wasn't expecting when I almost shouted at her "I'm serious - no T3 no job, no job no mortgage". She then went on to give me a lecture on people taking T3 - wait for it - to LOOSE WEIGHT. Shouting didn't come into it now, I was absolutely livid and with my hand sweeping from my neck downwards I answered between clenched teeth "do I look like I'm loosing weight". I think after this reaction she knew she had gone to far with me and decided to calm the situation down by leaving me to cool down whilst tapping away at her computer.

The outcome of this first visit was no reduction in meds but a blood test early in the new year.

On Christmas day I went to my brothers and asked for a cup of tea with SWEETENERS in, my niece the gave me a lecture on how bad sweeteners are for you and can cause all sorts of nasty side effects so I settled for sugar. Had a think about what she had said and decided to stop the sweeteners all together. Low and behold after four days of no sweeteners the heart palps reduced almost to nil.

Went back the docs for my results and thought I would get in first with my findings so a quick "I think I've solved the heart palps" comment had her looked over her glasses again at me whilst saying "go on then lets hear it". I explained about the sweeteners and after asking me for a run down on how many I was taking, which was 8 to 10 a day plus unsweetened orange squash which also contained sweeteners, her comment of "that makes sense" was like music to my ears. This smug feeling didn't last long as "the look" was back on her face when she started talking about my results.

My TSH was below 0.05 although my FT4 and FT3 were both mid range (will have to admit to you all now that two days before the tests I stopped my T3 as I knew I would definately loose it if I didn't - I am not suggesting that anyone on here do the same but for me it was essential in helping me keep my T3 and I would hate to think what my TSH would have been in I hadn't done this).

The outcome of these results was a "well we will have to reduce something" comment from my doc and a look of horror/determination on mine. Her next comment had me wanting to kiss her whilst doing a little jig around her consulting room (I hasten to add I did neither) "so I suppose it had better be the T4 hadn't it with a further blood test in two months"

I really do consider myself lucky to have a GP like her - even though, like most GP's, she can come out with some really stupid comments from time to time - she allows me an awful lot of input into my medication, will listen to me and most importantly take on board what I have said.

The palps haven't altogether gone but they have lessened considerable which is one of the main reasons for writing my blog as I know a lot of people of here have, and still do, suffer with palps which has made me wonder how many on here are taking sweeteners to help with their weight.

My fight will continue as I'm sure it's not over yet but, unlike a lot of people on here, at least with a GP like mine I have a chance of winning my fight and finally finding the right level of medication.

I thank god for this site and the people on it as without them, and an awful lot of research and hard work on my part, I would not have had the knowledge to hold my own with my GP and would still be under the false impression that the medical profession knows best.

Moggie x

27 Replies

  • Moggie, sweeteners are lethal to our system as are all sugars. What is often not understood is that sugar in any form is a highly addictive substance, poor man's heroin it is sometimes called. It affects the same lobe of the brain as does cocaine. Once this is realised one has to come off of it in the same way as any other mind altering substance. Cold turkey is really the best way but there will be withdrawal symptoms and cravings to contend with for a period of time.

    It can be done as others here will testify, eating good protein, good fat and good carbs at every meal and snack keeps blood sugar levels on an even keel and diminishes cravings for sweet substances. Without this sensible regime we can be all over the place.

    The other aspect of this situation is that sugars create bad bacteria in our guts causing serious imbalances in this vital part of our systems. Gut health is of primary importance to good health and not to be underestimated.

    From this knowledge it is worth putting in a firm resolve to clean up our acts.

    Lastly it is no coincidence that it is practically impossible to purchase any ready made foods/sauces etc. without added sugar in them. It is therefore wise to shop around the perimeter of a store where all the fresh foods lie and cooking from fresh, avoiding the middle aisles. Food Scientists are well aware of the addictive nature of sugars thus creating the urge in people to purchase more and more, making huge profits for the conglomerates.

  • Whilst agreeing with everything you've said about sugar, Joyia, it has to be said that artificial sweetners are a thousand times worse. One has to say that because many many people will equate giving up sugar with turning to sweetners and that is definately a step in the wrong direction.

    Artificial sweetners can cause cancer, dementia, and many more problems, and can - in the long-run - make you fat! So, it's a self-defeating exercise to take them to lose weight.

    Have to say this, because although I'm losing the battle with sugar (sigh), I would never, never take artificial sweetners.

    Hugs, Grey x

  • Sorry you're losing the sugar battle. :( It took me a long time too, but using xylitol in the early stages helped a lot. These days (a good 2-3 years on from when I started) I don't miss it much at all. And when I do eat something sugary, it tastes really quite strange to me now. Once upon a time, I could never have eaten 85% chocolate bars, but now even 70% bars taste sickly sweet to me!

  • what about stevia???

  • Lots of sense in much of what you say Joyia, except the bit about only shopping around the perimeter of the supermarket. If I did that in at least a couple of the supermarkets near me, I would be able to buy lots of sugar laden cakes, buns etc, as well as chocolate covered confectionery etc that's displayed at the ends of aisles and at checkouts. Oh and alcohol is often at the perimeter too :D And if I avoided the internal aisles, I'd miss out on lots of perfectly heathy frozen veg, meat, fish and dairy foods!

    Supermarkets often change their layouts to tempt us, so the perimeter versus centre is not always relevant these days.

  • Of course you are right Red Apple, I stand corrected, different stores vary in their layouts, the most important point is to purchase fresh produce as much as possible.

  • Which sweeteners are you referring to? There are so many!

    I have long found that more than a little saccharin has the effect of increasing my pulse and making me feel, not sure how to say this, maybe simply, "wrong"! Can get away with, say one gin and tonic but the second affects me. (Yes it's the same without the gin!)

    Mind, I have long done my best to avoid all sweeteners, but the odd occasion it can be awkward.

    When I say "long", I mean it. First noticed around forty years ago


  • Hi Rod,

    I was using Hermesetas for about a year. Wanted to write the blog, like I said, to advise people of the complications that can arise, just wish someone had asked me in one of my numerous blogs regarding my heart palps.

    Moggie x

  • yes same as Rod: which ones?

    I use xylitol but this is from tree bark and is not artificial at all, it is as natural as sugar only with 0 carbohydrates and very few calories..........

    if you hadn't stopped the T3 for 2 days your TSH would have come back as maybe 0.03, at least mine is around that if I don't stop and it is around 0.05 if I stop for 2 days HAHAHAHA (I have tried just like you), however it does make a big difference in your fT3 levels which may have been over the range if stopped only a few hours before the test.

  • Thats interesting NBD - I did wonder what my level would have been had I not stopped, not a vast difference is there really but maybe enough for my GP to give me the benefit of the doubt. Saying that she did make the effort to point out that the level was LOWER than 0.05. Looking back I think that my FT3 and FT4 being slap bang in middle range also swayed her into letting me keep my T3 at the same dose.

    Thanks for the input.

    Moggie x

  • Forgot to ask - how can I find out about the xylitol sweeteners?

    Moggie x

  • Moggie, xylitol sweetener is available in many supermarkets these days. Here's one brand

    Also, you can buy no added sugar chocolate bars made using xylitol instead. Here's a link to one chocolate manufacturer

  • Thanks Red Apple.

    Moggie x

  • Very interesting to hear that the saccharin might be the cause of your palps. Keep us updated on that one!

    Several years pre-thyroid diagnosis I was suffering mega problems with heart palps and diagnosed with supra-ventricular tachycardia. I wasn't using sweeteners, so it certainly wasn't that for me. The cardiology dept coudn't find anything wrong with my heart either. Following hypothyroid diagnosis, I discovered that I can get palpitations when thyroid levels are too low, so might be worth keeping that in mind if your T4 is reduced and you get palps again.

  • Thanks Red Apple - I am in touch, by phone, to a very special lady on this site who is my voice of reason and she has already warned me of this. I have noticed a few old symptoms creeping back since dropping my T4 by 50mcg's. I still have very mild palps but nothing compared to when I was taking the sweeteners. My "voice of reason" thinks that the sweeteners were only highlighting an underlining problem which I am still unable to trace.

    With her help, my own research and input from other knowledgable people on this site I have no doubt I will find my answers in the end.

    Moggie x

  • But xylitol can be lethal to dogs, so be careful if you have pets

  • I know thanks, I don't have any pets :)

  • This is from Dr Lowe re T3 and I agree with him as felt immediately better.

    From Dr Mercola re artificial sweeteners and fructose. Apparently sugar goes through your liver very quickly, whereas fructose and sucrose have difficulty in being processed by the liver which has to disperse the 'extra' into the blood stream .

  • Is there a typo in there? Think you might mean saccharin or sweeteners rather than sucrose.

  • No - this is the link

  • Well done for keeping strong!

    Also I posted yesterday about the fact that my TSH is always low even when my T4 drops right down and I have severe hypo symptoms, leading me to believe that maybe my pituitary may be the problem which has also been suggested by others. In such cases, TSH is useless as opposed to nearly useless for most other people ;) It may be worth bringing this point up with your GP next time she insists that your TSH is too low.

    Interesting about the sweeteners. I don't use the at all but it's good to know about.

    Carolyn x

  • Hi Carolyn,

    What can you do to check if it is your pituitary gland thats the problem? and thanks very much for your input.

    Moggie x

  • oh poo - keep losing posts tonight! another try.... (must remember to highlight & ctrl C copy first)

    Good for you Moggie, tackling your GP full on! My daughter had a monitor too & it was SVT - nothing to worry about! She's adamantly against sweetners too - esp aspartame which they seem to sneak into a lot of things like lemonade (makes you thirstier)

    and like Rod the second small glass of port & 'natural' lemonade makes me feel jittery (not the expected warm chilled effect) yep contains sweeteners now. So be aware it's not even labelled 'diet' any more.

    Thanks for pointing out the possible connection.

    I confess to being a bit paranoid - if I buy stuff I always check the label (being short-sighted helps) if I detect strange ingredients I put it back, or even if there's a long list - I consider it may as well be shampoo. Which is why I have no proper examples in the cupboard (as I cook from scratch anyway)

    However tonight I checked a few & have learnt that honey is gluten free (duh) warning - rice pud contains milk! peanut butter may contain 'other nuts' but apparently contains rat hairs (strangely this is not on the label) mustard has sugar, tomato paste has fructose & glucose syrup,mint sauce has copper, worcester cauce contains fish, but marmite is fine! Unfortunately the cat & dog food also contain sugar, (as well as veg for carnivore cats - wrong!) much better than sweeteners anyway! Must remember sugar and salt are preservatives - maybe we'll live longer! Jane :D

  • Spareribs, you mention cat food having sugar in it. I had a problem with one of my cats over eating and both of them having problems with their teeth even though I was giving them one of the high meat content cat foods. After speaking to a friend at work she suggested that I feed them raw meat only as ALL the prepared cat foods have sugar in.

    They have now been on a raw diet for over a year and it has made an enormous difference to their coats and teeth. The one that overeats has stopped stealing food as well.

    So it is the same for animals, the manufacturers add sugar to make them eat more.

  • Well, good luck with this. Hope you get on ok.

    It made me sit up because, when I saw the Endo just before Xmas, he was most disapproving of the doses I was on, and was asking questions almost hopefully, such as whether I was having any palpitations? None as it happens, but I could tell he was dying to bring down both of them and I got a stiff lecture on how these things just can't be put up and up. (And how NDT is snakeoil)

  • I have recently been pointed in the direction of a video on YouTube - it's rather long but worth a look. 'Sugar - The Bitter Truth' the title I think. I also remember reading that one of the Artificial Sweeteners in the States could not be passed by the FDA. That did not stop it being sold. All quite worrying.

  • Thanks Marz but I dont have any sound facilities on my work computer (not trustworthy

    Hope alls well with you and your family.

    Moggie x

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