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  • Thyroid Meds and going Primal

    I'm a newbie to the forum (and to Primal), so hoping this is in the right place...

    Yesterday was my first 'cold turkey day' going Primal (eggs & veggies for breakfast, sardines, avo and steamed veg with olive oil for lunch, chicken and veg for dinner, plus coconut flakes as a snack). I am on 90mg of Armour a day. This morning I woke up feeling awful. My heart was racing, I was alternating hot and cold, my palms were sweating, and I had some back pain over the area of my kidneys.

    I know some of this is probably 'carb flu' but the racing heart seems more thyroid related (i.e. usually I get this effect if my dose is too high)? Can anyone shed any light on this? Would a more gradual approach be advised? And will my meds likely need adjusting? I should add, I would consider myself to be very carb/sugar addicted.

    Any help much appreciated!

  • #2
    I'm on thyroid meds too...hypo if memory serves. I too went cold turkey and didn't experience any of the issues you described. In fact I'm hoping this lifestyle will eventually allow me to dump the meds. I would go see your Dr. and let him know what you experienced. Of course not all docs will be onboard w/ this program so be aware of that. Mine was very supportive when I told him my diet.

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    • #3
      Thanks for replying shep68. I too am hoping to ditch the meds at some point. Maybe it's just bad carb flu then?

      Originally posted by shep68 View Post
      I'm on thyroid meds too...hypo if memory serves. I too went cold turkey and didn't experience any of the issues you described. In fact I'm hoping this lifestyle will eventually allow me to dump the meds. I would go see your Dr. and let him know what you experienced. Of course not all docs will be onboard w/ this program so be aware of that. Mine was very supportive when I told him my diet.

      Comment


      • #4
        I,based on the information provided, only have questions:
        1. What were your thyroid test results at diagnosis?
        2. When was your last thyroid hormone blood tests and what were the results, specifically?
        3. How long have you been on the 90 mg Armour dosage/ And what was your previous dosage and FT4, FT3 results, including lab ranges?

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        • #5
          Unless you changed your dosage, your thyroid meds would not be the cause of your symptoms.

          Did you eat anything that you haven't eaten recently? You could have a sensitivity to some food.

          Finally, those of you who plan to 'ditch' your thyroid Rx with dietary changes should know that these 'meds' are actually supplemental hormones, and once you are taking them, they should never be discontinued--certainly not without sound medical advice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by emmie View Post
            Finally, those of you who plan to 'ditch' your thyroid Rx with dietary changes should know that these 'meds' are actually supplemental hormones, and once you are taking them, they should never be discontinued--certainly not without sound medical advice.
            You are certainly correct about the meds being a replacement for the hormone that your body should be producing but isn't. However, there is information regarding a possible connection between celiac disease/gluten sensitivity and hypothyroidism. Here are a couple of sites for more info, the first 2 a little more accessible and the last a bit heavier on the science:
            Celiac aka Gluten Intolerance and your Thyroid | Stop The Thyroid Madness
            Gluten sensitivity causes hypothyroid disease
            Celiac Disease and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

            Here's a quote from this site http://thyroid.about.com/cs/latestre.../a/celiac.htm:
            "The researchers studied 172 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease, and two control groups, and found that the 3.4% of patients with autoimmune thyroiditis had celiac disease, and the prevalence was only 0.6% and 0.25% among the control groups. The study also found that undiagnosed celiac disease may actually be part of the process that triggers an underlying autoimmune disease. In their findings they wrote: "We believe that undiagnosed celiac disease can cause other disorders by switching on some as yet unknown immunological mechanism. Untreated celiac patients produce organ-specific autoantibodies."

            Of perhaps greatest importance to thyroid patients, the researchers found that the various antibodies that indicate celiac disease - organ-specific autoantibodies (i.e., thyroid antibodies) -- will disappear after 3 to 6 months of a gluten-free diet."

            I am hypothyroid myself and after 7 years of steadily increasing doses of Levothyroxine, I saw my first ever DECREASE in meds last spring after making some changes towards a more Primal style of eating (and by no means had I gone totally Primal, either, this was just cutting back on grains, etc.). Since then I've been reading everything I can find on this topic (simply googling "hypothyroidism and celiac" will get you a lot) and have to wonder how far it's possible to go with this. My current doctor is totally supportive of this idea and in fact, on our first visit, challenged me to go totally wheat-free for a month as a starting point (as I said, I have kind of been a Primal dabbler, not a total convert).

            Anyway, my point here is that the OP should make every possible effort to educate herself about the wheat/thyroid connection and then go on from there. Hopefully her doctor will be on board with efforts in this direction, too. As far as having such major symptoms from just one day of going Primal, it doesn't seem likely to me that the thyroid meds would be the cause, as it is my understanding that generally changes in med dosages have a much slower effect, in terms of weeks rather than days, but I certainly couldn't presume to say for sure.

            Stella, good luck going forward and please, do read some of the above articles/sites if you have a moment. Best wishes!

            ETA: This site Dr. K News is also very helpful. You might want to look for his book at your local library. Also on that site is this article http://thyroidbook.com/blog/eating-g...roid-hormones/ which discusses the gluten/thyroid connection.
            Last edited by honeypig; 10-04-2012, 04:20 AM.

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            • #7
              I found out I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis upon doing all the blood tests my doctor thought would be a good idea before I started my new primal lifestyle. Slightly ironic .

              Anyway, I haven't had any problems since going primal in April this year and starting the T4 replacement drug at the same time.

              You didn't say if you have Hashimoto's or just hypothyroidism? If you have Hashimoto's it could be that you switched from hypothyroidism into hyperthyroidism. This happens when the autoimmune attack causes thyroid cell destruction and the release of the stored thyroid hormones in those cells enters the blood stream. The excess thyroid hormones in the body then give you that terrible heart pounding and other hyperthyroid symptoms.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wouldn't necessarily worry about feeling bad one instance. It may have nothing to do with anything. Only worry if this is continuous. There's a tendency with a big dietary change like this that leads to every little ache and sneeze being blamed on the diet.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  What you have described sounds to be Adrenal related. Most likely caused by your body being stressed from your hypothyroidism, thyroid meds, and from starting a new diet. It is VERY common for people with thyroid disease to also have adrenal problems as your adrenals are dealing with stress that your thyroid is or is not put out. If you have hypothyroidism and your taking meds for it, this causes more stress on your adrenals than they are equiped to handle.
                  Your adrenals are situated right above your kidneys so when they are stressed it can feel like a kidney problem when it is actually an adrenal problem. Adrenals also will cause problems sleeping, hot flash type symptoms, fight or flight type responses (racing heart, dialated pupils, anxiety attacks, etc...). You need to make sure you remove any obvious stressors from your life if possible. Get lots of sleep, no caffeine, no alcohol, and try meditation or yoga until your body gets used to the new stress of eating lower carb. You can heal your adrenals fairly quickly but it is uncomfortable while they are being stressed.
                  I deal with it daily. I can't drink coffee so I drink decaf. I can't work out too hard (which is perfect for a PB-er). I do yoga when I can, take long walks, and do low intensity weight trainging. But I still have the occasional attacks and then I know somewhere I have let stress back in. Our adrenals were not made to deal with all of the crap we do to them. Especially if you have thyroid issues. I have Hyperthyroidism/ Graves disease which means my thyroid is constantly stressing my adrenals out by throwing out too much T3 and T4 which causes my adrenals to have to deal with this stress. Your thyroid and the rest of your body is like the pitcher (or in your case your meds are like the pitcher) and your adrenals are the catcher. Whatever you throw at the adrenals they need to deal with but since we have sooo much more stress in our lives than......say Grok did..... our adrenals are not happy now.
                  F/37yr/5' 5"
                  SW: 154 March 2011
                  CW: 140 July to Oct 2011
                  PB: 145 gained 5lbs in first 4 months March to July 2012
                  With a combo of PB and IF-ing 5 days a week (1 x 1200 calorie meal per day) I have lost 15 lbs PB/IF = 130 lbs July 2012 to current
                  GW: 120
                  Ultimate Goals ar to be: Happy/ Fit/ Energetic/ Feel great/ Balanced/ cure my thyroid and adrenals

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My doc has already indicated to me that diet change may not have an affect on my thyroid meds so I'm prepared for that. However as already mentioned the primal eating plan completely changes the fuel I'm feeding my body which may have some positive effect on the condition. Plus I have read of others who were able to dump the thyroid meds. All anecdotal for sure but worth the blood work to see.

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                    • #11
                      This is n=1 from my perspective. I can't guarantee any of this, it's jsut what I experienced.
                      Carb flu was an utter bitch. I felt like I had the actual flu, minus the joint pain. It went away after a few days for me, that I recall.
                      My med dosage did eventually need to be lower. I have so far gone from .15 mg levothyroxine to .088, and I think it needs to drop again. BUT, this is after almost 3 years of experimentation and reasonably steady primal.
                      I will note that my particular thyroid actually prefers me to have a higher carb level than VLC. I thrive between 75- 150 g, even losing weight at that level. Your mileage may vary. Start with Mark's carb curve and adjust after you've given that a true, fair shake, IF necessary.
                      Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                      My Latest Journal

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                      • #12
                        Just checked my email for the first time and saw all the responses - thank you!

                        To answer some of your questions...I've been GF/DF for 5 years (actually 8, but three of those years I was unintentionally poisoning myself by not reading labels properly in a non-English speaking country). I have a long history of digestive issues, did notice a difference going GF but certainly didn't resolve all my problems. After reading 'Primal Body Primal Mind' now wonder I'm cross-reactive with other grains? Part of the reason I'm trying primal.

                        I started Armour in April this year. Am Hypothyroid not Hashi's, sorry don't have test results to hand. Also diagnosed with adrenal fatigue at the same time - so yes, adrenals certainly could have been the issue. Just to sweeten the deal I also have messed up hormones (abnormally low levels of oestrogen). So there's no doubt in my mind this is all interconnected and the reason I'm trying to tackle a change in diet, among other things. My health has been worsening for the past two years, and I suffer from pretty constant fatigue. I actually thought I had chronic fatigue prior to my hypothyroid diagnosis.

                        I think I'm going to transition onto the diet a bit more slowly, even though this goes against what Nora G suggests in her book. Doing some reading yesterday it seemed that for some people this yielded better results.

                        Anyway, thanks again everyone for being so generous with your time. Much appreciated.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You need iodine! Massive doses of iodine!! And supplements!! Handfuls of supplements!!

                          Okay, don't tell me you all weren't thinking any of this in your heads. Really sorry if that's in bad taste, but it's where my mind went.

                          Did you have any of these symptoms after you went on the Armour or just the day after you ate your first primal meal? The one thing you do want to keep an eye on while you're working through the changes is the iodine content of your food. No, I'm not going all whackadoo on anyone, but iodine does play a part in thyroid function, as we all know. If you have been on thyroid meds for a while, your thyroid may lose any ability to process the hormone if it had some ability to start with, and so iodine content in food can play a part in how you are reacting to things.

                          Just a thought to keep in mind. The symptoms you described were more from the hyper end of the scale, so do keep an eye on your blood levels.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for your reply RobinNM. I thought you weren't meant to supplement with iodine while on Armour? Does anyone know if that's true? My reaction (i.e. the racing heart) was just on the day I went primal, not at any other time. I have a feeling I'll be checking in with my naturopath and doctor next week...

                            Originally posted by RobinNM View Post
                            You need iodine! Massive doses of iodine!! And supplements!! Handfuls of supplements!!

                            Okay, don't tell me you all weren't thinking any of this in your heads. Really sorry if that's in bad taste, but it's where my mind went.

                            Did you have any of these symptoms after you went on the Armour or just the day after you ate your first primal meal? The one thing you do want to keep an eye on while you're working through the changes is the iodine content of your food. No, I'm not going all whackadoo on anyone, but iodine does play a part in thyroid function, as we all know. If you have been on thyroid meds for a while, your thyroid may lose any ability to process the hormone if it had some ability to start with, and so iodine content in food can play a part in how you are reacting to things.

                            Just a thought to keep in mind. The symptoms you described were more from the hyper end of the scale, so do keep an eye on your blood levels.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by stella81 View Post
                              Just checked my email for the first time and saw all the responses - thank you!

                              To answer some of your questions...I've been GF/DF for 5 years (actually 8, but three of those years I was unintentionally poisoning myself by not reading labels properly in a non-English speaking country). I have a long history of digestive issues, did notice a difference going GF but certainly didn't resolve all my problems. After reading 'Primal Body Primal Mind' now wonder I'm cross-reactive with other grains? Part of the reason I'm trying primal.

                              I started Armour in April this year. Am Hypothyroid not Hashi's, sorry don't have test results to hand. Also diagnosed with adrenal fatigue at the same time - so yes, adrenals certainly could have been the issue. Just to sweeten the deal I also have messed up hormones (abnormally low levels of oestrogen). So there's no doubt in my mind this is all interconnected and the reason I'm trying to tackle a change in diet, among other things. My health has been worsening for the past two years, and I suffer from pretty constant fatigue. I actually thought I had chronic fatigue prior to my hypothyroid diagnosis.

                              I think I'm going to transition onto the diet a bit more slowly, even though this goes against what Nora G suggests in her book. Doing some reading yesterday it seemed that for some people this yielded better results.

                              Anyway, thanks again everyone for being so generous with your time. Much appreciated.
                              Informational inserts for all thyroid meds warn that adrenal issues need to be address FIRST. Also, hormones have a hierarchy, with adrenal hormones ahead of thyroid and thyroid ahead of sex hormones. This may, in part ,explain the down regulation of thyroid and sex hormones.

                              So the question I have is, what is your medical professional doing to address the higher hierarchy of hormonal disruption, which from what you have stated is adrenal fatigue? To complicate matters, dietary changes, while good in the long run, may add stress and in the face of already taxed hormonal systems create the issues you mentioned in your initial post.

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