I’m going to deal with thyroid today. It’s going to be long. Sorry. There’ll be overlap with adrenals because in looking at thyroid I discovered adrenal problems.
Recount - felt horrible – exhaustion robbing me of story-time with my children. By 6pm I felt like I’d been run over by a truck.
I started testing myself in November last year – simple finger prick tests (~£23). After 4-5 abortive GP visits and feeling like an hypochondriac fool I went back to basics. I read Doctor Peatfield’s book – Your Thyroid and How to Keep It Healthy.
At this stage I believed my thyroxine dose (100mcg) was too high.
TSH suppressed, T4 high but in ‘reference range’ for the tests.
See Results Table. I still had all the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
In retrospect, I wish I’d got more tests at various times to have an even more complete picture but this is the best I could do. Bit of a voyage into the unknown…
I spoke to Dr Peatfield. He agreed thyroxine too high but suggested we check out my adrenals with a saliva test.
I did this and also tracked myself on the Holmes and Rahe Stress test every years since I had my kids (I’ll cover this with adrenals).
At the same time we did a urine test for T4 and T3 plus I did a full thyroid panel including reverse T3 and antibodies
(I’ll deal with the IMMUNE SYSTEM and THYROID RELATED AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE tests in a later blog.)
He suggested I come off thyroxine for 10 days and start adrenal support at Day 8.
I was – to be honest – terrified. I’d relied (in my head) on this little white pill for 10 years. Would I be OK? How much weight would I stack on and how quickly!!
So I checked before I did it. Thyroxine has a half-life of 8 days. That means it takes 8 days for half of it to clear from your system, a further 8 days for ¾ to have left your system. So I figures I’d still have some for my thyroid to work on assuming I wasn’t producing any of my own.
Phase 1 – Symptoms Off Thyroxine
I felt AMAZING. My vision cleared. Literally. I went from being unable to read the back of a pill bottle to having clear vision. Note – around March last year my eyesight went south fast in about 3 months.
I had no obvious hypothyroid symptoms until ~ Day 8 then I got achy joints. That was all.
I WASN’T tired. I had energy.
On Day 10 off thyroxine I checked my bloods and my adrenal function.
Not surprisingly my T4 levels had dropped but my TSH was behaving.
Dr Peatfield’s assessment - I was having problems providing enough T4 (and my adrenals were stuffed). However my liver etc. was happily producing enough T3. I had no problem with reverse T3 blocking T3 receptors.
I still had a nagging question about HOW WELL my cells are ABSORBING T3.
I’ll deal with this in a later blog.
Day 11 – Adrenal Support
I started taking 1 Nutri Adrenal Support tablet (NAX)
+ 2 Solgar Deglycyrrhized Liquorice Root Extract
+ magnesium citrate
+ 4g vitamin C split into 2 doses
I also take Nutrigest (digestive enzymes) with every meal (more on this later when I tackle Gut Issues).
Phase 2 – Symptoms On Adrenal Support, Off Thyroxine
It just kept getting better. After 10 years of rubbish sleep, waking up between 2-4am (buzzing, worrying and problem solving) I slept through the night.
Needless to say this had a knock on effect across the board and I felt NORMAL!!!
BUT I did have joint aches and was now feeling the cold. But still not tired.
This led me to the conclusion that I need T4 but it was unclear how much.
Blood tests confirmed that my TSH was heading up (so pituitary might be OK?)
T4 had plateau-ed at the low end of the range.
My GP (who is now suddenly on board…more on this at the end of the blog) pointed out that he sees a TSH measurement of 1.54 and that range not to apply to me as I’d been taking thyroxine and that I needed more T4.
Dr Peatfield agrees.
Day 13 – Adding Thyroxine and Thyroid Support
In addition to Adrenal Support (above)
I started taking 50mcg thyroxine
+ 1 Nutri-Thyroid
Phase 3 – Symptoms On Adrenal Support, 50mcg thyroxine and Thyroid Support
The aches and cold extremities went away. I continued to sleep through the night.
My vision has deteriorated again (I am yet to follow this one up…)
The attachment lays out the test results for my thyroid.
Day 28 – Retesting and Maintenance
I’m about to redo the full thyroid panel and adrenal spit test a month into this program and will add those results when they come in.
I’ve added in an L-tyrosine supplement to my daily intake. L-tyrosine is the precursor for T4. I know I have some gut malabsorption issues. I’m wondering if my thyroid just isn’t getting enough precursor form my diet to make T4 or if it’s just too damaged after 10 years of UNTREATED auto-immune destruction.
I’ll cover GUT ISSUES – malabsorption, stomach acid etc.. in a later post.
I’ve been checking my basal temp on waking and before bed daily since before I embarked on the program. Long story short…
Prior to coming off thyroxine & starting adrenal support – Temp hovering ~35oC or lower
Off thyroxine – temperature bounced up by 0.2oC per day until it stabilized at 36.4oC
Off thyroxine, on NAX – temperature bounced up again to 36.6oC
On thyroxine, thyroid support + NAX – temperature stabilized around 36.1oC
That looks a bit low in my book but I had a setback around 14 days after starting thyroxine. This took my temperature down to high 34oCs. Coincided with middle of my cycle - that may explain it.
Without this dip my average temp is closer to 36.5oC (with normal ups and downs you’d expect over a month – useful link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal...
Final Note - What my GP says…
Today I took my life in my hands and took my test results to him. I explained that after 4 months of visits for diffuse symptoms – chest/bronchial pain, back pain, stomach pain and exhaustion – I’d got desperate and taken matters into my own hands.
I took him through the results – thyroid, adrenal, immune, gut, nutrients (vit D, B12, folate, iron).
He was actually interested, although a little horrified that I’d stopped thyroxine all together in a day. He said this could have caused an immune crisis. I pointed out my anti-TPO antibodies actually went DOWN when I came off thyroxine.
He confirmed GPs don’t like to talk about adrenals.
Pending my next adrenal saliva test he’s happy to refer me to an endocrinologist for a second opinion. Curious about what this will yield. Either way this is progress. For now.
My next post will cover Adrenal Tests, taking the NAX supplement, set-backs and what really has to change.
After that I’ll cover Immune System, Oestrogen, then the Gut and What Supplements & Why for anyone who’s interested in the whole picture.
Please note – this is a real work in progress – I’m prepared for anything.
One more thing…PLEASE DON’T take this and try to replicate it without talking to someone.
You can always get help by phone if you can’t get an appointment and you may have other health issues I don’t have like hypertension where something like liquorice can cause real problems.