Thyroid UK
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This is an odd question - I was wondering if the speed of action of the enzymes in the mouth breaking down food was related to a person's general metabolism.

My OH and I carried out an experiment by each of us melting a polo mint in our mouth (we weren't allowed to speed up the process by sucking the mint). My polo mint was only half dissolved when my OH's had completely dissolved.

My RMR has been tested and is 1166 Kcals/day so is <very> slow. I have a perfect TSH (slap bang in the middle of the reading) so I apparently don't have any problems with my thyroid.

The experiment with the mint seemed to confirm the slow metabolism.

Or is this complete nonsense and whimsy on my part?!

Any thoughts?

10 Replies

Why do you think that being in the middle of the range makes your TSH perfect? You don't give the range that was used, but if it's - as it sometimes is - 0.5 - 4.5, slap bang in the middle ould be 2.5. Given that a person with absolutely no thyroid problems has a TSH of 1.25, that makes 2.5 far from perfect. In which case, if you don't have a thyroid problem now, I would think you might soon have.

I have never heard of the enzymes in saliva being linked to metabolism, but I don't know everything, and anything is possible. However, I might suggest that perhaps, for some reason, your OH has more saliva than you and that's why it melted more quickly.

Now, you can answer a question for me... What is RMR and what does it have to do with Kcals? lol

Hugs, Grey


Greygoose has picked up on the potential 'not-so-perfect' TSH, and I agree with her :)

It might also be helpful to know that insufficient saliva is a common issue with non-optimal thyroid hormone levels. I suffered unknowingly with this problem for many many years. It wasn't until my thyroid problem was finally diagnosed and I began treatment that I realise how saliva is affected. Suddenly, for the first time in many years, I could eat a meal without needing to have an accompanying drink! Insufficient saliva also contributes to oral health issues such as gum disease. I soooo wish my dentists had knowledge of this, and been able to point it out for me to follow up on, instead of blaming me for all my dental problems. (Which have improved vastly since thyroid treatment, although of course left me with plenty of permanent damage that can't be undone).


Hello Amanda

I would think it had more to do with the temperature of your mouth. If you have a lower mouth temperature it would take longer to melt. Having a low temperature is another indication of Hypo. I agreee with greygoose. I have a TSH of 2.85 at the moment & lots of symptoms.

Flo B


Many thanks for all your responses which are very helpful. To answer the questions:

1) As at May 2011 my TSH level was 3.28 (range: 0.35-6)

2) RMR = resting metabolic rate, so if I spent all day in bed and didn't do anything my body would burn up 1166 calories. The person who tested me stated that this is low so for me to lose weight of 1IB per week I would have to cut calorie intake to 1,200 cals (the minimum possible) and carry out rigorous exercise for 1 hour a day (totally impractical given my historic health problems - more below).

Also, I have had an investigation into the thyroid and it is a normal size. I have a history of ME and polycystic liver. My energy levels have greatly improved over the past five years (long story) so I have lost some weight merely because I've had expended energy just in the act of living!

I have come to the conclusion that the slow metabolism is to do with years of ME which prevented me from exercising. I have constantly been told by doctors that I don't have probs with thyroid (based on the TSH levels).

Hope that puts my question into more context.



.....maybe take a look at the video posted yesterday about the weakness in using the TSH as a valid test for Thyroid.....first post that came through on the list ! Sorry am not good at links etc....

Also check out shaws and her wonderful and knowledgeable posts about Dr Lowe/ME/CFS/ME......

Wishing you well....


There is a special test for metabolism if you think you have a problem. Nuclear medicine, a tablet with various scans etc over several days. I had them done many years ago ,so may be a better system. Basically it is tracking the metabolism from an isotope,If you are thinking of absorption which is a different problem, the test for that is for the pancreatic enzymes, a specific stool test called Faecal Elastase, if low then replacement enzymes 20mins before food on a script.

Best wishes,



Thank you Marz and Jackie,

I'm aware of the controversy that surrounds the TSH testing and have personally come across resistance to further testing beyond TSH, as well as indifference towards ME/CFS. It is very frustrating. I'll have a look at the video, Marz, as you suggest.

Jackie - presumably I would need a GP's referral for the tests you mention or can they be done privately? Unfortunately my GP doesn't have any faith in metabolic testing (I had mine done privately) and the Diatetics Dept at the local hospital will only carry out metabolic testing if someone is morbidly obese. Or maybe nuclear medicine comes under a different department?

Everyone's support is much appreciated,



Hi Amanda, just seen your question, If you press the "reply to me " the person the questioned is aimed for actually receive it. We all forget sometimes!When new no one knows!

To answer your question. On line testing you do not need to involve a doctor only if you choose to show the results to one for treatment.You can have any bloods done like this. Possible that you could also have the Faecal Elastase done, look on Blue Horizon`s main site. They are the same Labs that run all the private hospitals Labs and they did my test through a doctor at one.It is a simple test with idiot proof results. GP or diabetic dept or more usually a gastroenterologist. My endo told me I needed it and I told him!A gastro would definitely arrange the nuclear tests or any doctor can!!!! It requires a large hospital with a nuclear dept department. Usually one hospital in an area does it and patients NHS and privately have t go there, radiology.Actually the enzymes are so safe, not a drug but already in the body but not enough. I was told safe to take them from Holland and Barrat without a test if difficult. Test ideal. Main thing with replacement is you have to take them about 20mins before food, usually total 3 but I have to take 6, even then low!, A lot of Caeliacs need them.I am very anti taking any over the counter treatments but they really are safe, take a few months to work..

I hope that helps.



Whoops! Didn't realise I was using the wrong box to respond.

I've just discovered that my local hospital has been involved in the Embarrassing Fat Bodies programme on Ch4 and their Bod Pod metabolism-testing machine (which apparently featured on the programme) is now available to the public (for a smallish fee). If anomalies in metabolism are found, the person is advised to have further tests.

Looks as though this might be the first step...



Hi Amanda, that is Ok we all do it but I always like to know so I can reply, seems so rude otherwise!

That sounds great first place to try and I expect if they need further they would recommend. gastro, They will not, I expect, do the pancreas enzyme test as that is absorption which is slightly different.Well worth going for., I expect cost will only be nominal as they are hoping to actually prevent disease!!!



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