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  • Help!! The TSH Monkey Striketh :(

    A couple months ago I had a basic blood panel done.

    More or less ok other than a bit high LDL, and what looked like way high TSH. Over 6. After I got done freaking out about it, consulted with a couple of doctors who all echoed the standard you-need-medication-for-the-rest-of-your-life-your-genes-suck story.

    Which ... looking at my face, one might agree with the genes-suck bit.

    Did a lot of encouraging reading online, and finally got around to doing a full Thyroid workup. Number below (not including rT3 since that wasn't available as an option):

    T3 78
    fT3 2.83
    T4 5.67
    fT4 1.05
    TSH 6.76

    Plenty of free T3 there, and everything else looks about in range, yea?

    Any thoughts, leads, directions on how to deal with this mountain of TSH in my blood? As for diet, no wheat, very few simple carbs (occasional rice, living in Asia it's not always easy to dodge), as little sugar as possible (lots of time in Thailand, not easy to be totally sugar free). Plenty of vegetables, fish. Otherwise quite varied, lots of travel and different local cuisines.

    Side note - last test was after six months in Europe, and a bit different diet. This one after three months in Asia - always sticking with the local ways of eating, minus bread and noodles and things with sugar.

    LDL is also high at 171, tryglicerides 107, and HDL 49 (total 254). Some of the reading suggested that bringing TSH under control might fix the cholesterol bits as well.

    Healthy, physically active otherwise, 72kg at 180cm, not fat, not out of shape, no drinking, no drugs, no stress.

    Much appreciating any thoughts here. Been looking at Ailments and Natural Cures - some interesting things there on TSH control, Apple Cider Vinegar and the like. Managed to find some of that here to try. Hopefully some of you more experienced in this arena have already experimented and have some thoughts.

    Many thanks!

  • #2
    You didn't give the reference ranges for your thyroid tests - those would help. Are your results low in the range? Did you have a thyroid antibody test? Were you sick when you had the blood work done?

    How you feel is the most important thing. Is your thyroid swollen, is your hair dry and falling out, are you exhausted all the time, have you gained weight for no reason, any edema or brain fog? What does your doctor say?

    If you can post your blood work with the reference ranges, that would give a more complete picture.

    Comment


    • #3
      I second the suggestion to test thyroid antibodies. How is your body temperature? As you have found in your research elevated cholesterol is common with hypothyroid. What thyroid meds has your doctor prescribed? If you have Hashimoto's (antibodies test will tell) then you will unfortunately have to take thyroid hormones, though the dosage may vary as your health improves.

      Be warned do not take iodine unless you are absolutely sure you don't have Hashimoto's, I speak from experience it will worsen your condition.
      Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Urban Forager View Post
        I second the suggestion to test thyroid antibodies. How is your body temperature? As you have found in your research elevated cholesterol is common with hypothyroid. What thyroid meds has your doctor prescribed? If you have Hashimoto's (antibodies test will tell) then you will unfortunately have to take thyroid hormones, though the dosage may vary as your health improves.

        Be warned do not take iodine unless you are absolutely sure you don't have Hashimoto's, I speak from experience it will worsen your condition.
        Indeed. Doctor told me to take iodine. After just a few doses started getting that swollen neck feeling (incidentally also get that if I eat pizza or bread - very rarely, if invited for dinner or some such thing, but the negative effects are quite noticeable). Quit the iodine, felt better right away.

        Haven't check temperature yet. Good point, will do that next.

        Comment


        • #5
          Get another doctor! Telling you to take iodine indicates the doctor doesn't know much about thyroid. If you have Hashimoto's (7 of 10 hypothyroid in this country is Hashi's) iodine makes it WORSE! Hashi's is also notoriously false negative on blood tests, so it's difficult to determine sometimes whether you have it. My own was diagnosed via a biopsy of one of my thyroid nodules. Your reaction to the iodine suggests you may have Hashi's.

          Your TSH indicates that you are clearly hypothyroid--it's a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)--and it measures how hard your pituitary has to work to get your thyroid to produce adequate hormones for you. You pituitary is working overtime, and unless you begin taking Rx thyroid hormones, you risk burning out both thyroid AND pituitary.

          Comment


          • #6
            Iodine is fine at most any dosage for nine out of ten people. But for those with ANY kind of autoimmune thyroid issues, I'd consult with an endo who KNOWS about thyroid issues, especially autoimmunity, before even MESSING with iodine for the aboive stated reasons.

            Though, if you DO try this, make SURE you keep your iodine intake properly balanced with selenium, since selenium will help balance out any negative thyroid reactions to the iodine.
            "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by emmie View Post
              Get another doctor! Telling you to take iodine indicates the doctor doesn't know much about thyroid. If you have Hashimoto's (7 of 10 hypothyroid in this country is Hashi's) iodine makes it WORSE! Hashi's is also notoriously false negative on blood tests, so it's difficult to determine sometimes whether you have it. My own was diagnosed via a biopsy of one of my thyroid nodules. Your reaction to the iodine suggests you may have Hashi's.

              Your TSH indicates that you are clearly hypothyroid--it's a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)--and it measures how hard your pituitary has to work to get your thyroid to produce adequate hormones for you. You pituitary is working overtime, and unless you begin taking Rx thyroid hormones, you risk burning out both thyroid AND pituitary.
              I second the suggestion to have thyroid antibodies tested.

              I have a great Integrative Doctor who has just put me onto NCA - N-Acetyl Cysteine - 1000 mcg per day, and selenium - twice a day (can't remember the dose for that at the moment though).

              You can buy NCA online - I bought it from my chemist (pharmacy) but they had to order it in, and wanted me to see their Naturopath first. I showed them my prescriptions from my DR and said I have already seen one.

              My Dr also said I have to be strictly gluten free AND dairy free. I was obviously gluten free (but I'm much stricter), but I was not dairy free.

              In 6 weeks I have to go for another full thyroid panel to see if my antibodies are reduced.

              Hashimotos is an auto-immune disease - you have to stop your body killing off your thyroid. NCA sounds to me like something I was missing from my hashimotos regime - take a look at this article. All sorts of uses - fighting cancer, detoxing liver, MS, any auto immune issue.

              N-Acetyl Cysteine: The Overlooked Compound That Saves Lives
              https://suite.io/sarah-tomley/3ypj206
              Autoimmune Thyroiditis or Hashimotos Syndrome | Articles on My Passion 4 Health

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rueben View Post
                I have a great Integrative Doctor who has just put me onto NCA - N-Acetyl Cysteine - 1000 mcg per day, and selenium - twice a day (can't remember the dose for that at the moment though).
                I think you mean NAC.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Willow16 View Post
                  I think you mean NAC.
                  yep....damn dyslexia strikes again..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jakeb View Post
                    A couple months ago I had a basic blood panel done.

                    More or less ok other than a bit high LDL, and what looked like way high TSH. Over 6. After I got done freaking out about it, consulted with a couple of doctors who all echoed the standard you-need-medication-for-the-rest-of-your-life-your-genes-suck story.

                    Which ... looking at my face, one might agree with the genes-suck bit.

                    Did a lot of encouraging reading online, and finally got around to doing a full Thyroid workup. Number below (not including rT3 since that wasn't available as an option):

                    T3 78
                    fT3 2.83
                    T4 5.67
                    fT4 1.05
                    TSH 6.76

                    Plenty of free T3 there, and everything else looks about in range, yea?

                    Any thoughts, leads, directions on how to deal with this mountain of TSH in my blood? As for diet, no wheat, very few simple carbs (occasional rice, living in Asia it's not always easy to dodge), as little sugar as possible (lots of time in Thailand, not easy to be totally sugar free). Plenty of vegetables, fish. Otherwise quite varied, lots of travel and different local cuisines.

                    Side note - last test was after six months in Europe, and a bit different diet. This one after three months in Asia - always sticking with the local ways of eating, minus bread and noodles and things with sugar.

                    LDL is also high at 171, tryglicerides 107, and HDL 49 (total 254). Some of the reading suggested that bringing TSH under control might fix the cholesterol bits as well.

                    Healthy, physically active otherwise, 72kg at 180cm, not fat, not out of shape, no drinking, no drugs, no stress.

                    Much appreciating any thoughts here. Been looking at Ailments and Natural Cures - some interesting things there on TSH control, Apple Cider Vinegar and the like. Managed to find some of that here to try. Hopefully some of you more experienced in this arena have already experimented and have some thoughts.

                    Many thanks!
                    You still haven't provided the reference ranges for your tests but having seen quite a few thyroid tests I would suggest you don't actually have much ft3 at all. Functional medicine suggests ft3 be at least 75% in the range, given that most US labs top out the ft3 range at 4 +/- a few % your result seems low.
                    Once you are medicated tsh is useless but pre supplement any tsh over 2 is problematic and yes it likely correlates to your higher CH numbers
                    If you don't know of a good thyroid doc call a compounding pharmacy and ask who is rx' ing armour or compounded thyroid then call that office to see if you can get in. Be prepared to pay out of pocket and to travel to see a good doc

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by maile1 View Post
                      You still haven't provided the reference ranges for your tests but having seen quite a few thyroid tests I would suggest you don't actually have much ft3 at all. Functional medicine suggests ft3 be at least 75% in the range, given that most US labs top out the ft3 range at 4 +/- a few % your result seems low.
                      Once you are medicated tsh is useless but pre supplement any tsh over 2 is problematic and yes it likely correlates to your higher CH numbers
                      If you don't know of a good thyroid doc call a compounding pharmacy and ask who is rx' ing armour or compounded thyroid then call that office to see if you can get in. Be prepared to pay out of pocket and to travel to see a good doc
                      That's a brilliant idea on how to find good doctors. Excellent thinking.

                      I'm actually just minutes from where some of the more well known form of desiccated thyroid is produced, so in theory I should be close to all sorts of knowledge on the topic.

                      As for ranges, I'd assumed the reference ranges would be standard. Considering the nature of the issue, I would rather look at definite experience vs. casual speculation (and by extension, hearing from those who know the values in question).

                      Regardless, absolutely appreciating all the time you guys are taking for feedback. It's a great thing to have a community of people contributing to a better resource for our health.

                      Unfortunately I don't have the results handy, though the ranges according to Merck: https://suite.io/melissa-murfin/27802qa

                      My results are within the normal ranges, though definitely not at 75% for fT3.

                      Meanwhile found Chris Kessler's site, which has a rather excellent detailed PDF discussing hypothyroidism in meaningful context (rather than a sales pitch to buy some course). Ways to troubleshoot, tests to consider, different causes to look at. Between that and some of the content relating to iodine and selenium supplementation, and some of the details available on the thyroid-s.com site about adrenal considerations, there really is a surprising amount of good insights available (though not so quick to find, weeding through all the usual sales pitches elsewhere).

                      I'm glad to share links if appropriate / anybody wants them.

                      The tentative plan, based on all that:

                      1. 100% eliminate all wheat (so far was close, but apparently close won't do). For 60 days also eliminate rice to test.

                      2. Supplement iodine and selenium, in food form rather than pills.

                      3. Start a careful / slow regimen of desiccated thyroid. Fortunately Thyroid-S was very easy to procure, so all the pieces are available.

                      4. Keep a log of body temperature.

                      5. Re-test thyroid in 60 days.

                      As for doctors, just about my entire family is comprised of them. Highly educated, well respected, and absolutely disappointing when it came to discussing looking beyond big pharma and the usual quick fix approaches.

                      I'd much rather reach out to those who went through this themselves, take the not-easy way of educating myself about the topic as much as possible, and finding a real solution to the issue.

                      Thanks for all the bits of advice!
                      Last edited by jakeb; 07-31-2014, 09:38 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have been on a long journey to find a doctor who understands thyroid health beyond the TSH. The first doctor I went to when I suspected a thyroid problem (brain fog, extreme edema, hair falling out, weight gain, swollen thyroid, etc.) was very resistant and did not test for Free t3 or Free t4. My TSH was in the normal range and he wouldn't even consider a thyroid problem. He told me I had mono and, for a month, I thought that was what I had. Since all of the symptoms still pointed to a thyroid problem, I made an appointment with an old doctor who would look at symptoms. I did get a copy of my blood work to take with me and it was then that I realized the first doctor lied to me - my EBV results were consistent with past infection. I did not have an active case on mono. Anyway, when I went to the second doctor he actually did a physical exam (which included testing my reflexes - I had none) plus a cognitive test and determined that I was very hypothyroid. He prescribed Armour and almost immediately, my brain fog lifted. Eventually, I was put on a combination of meds - Armour plus Levoxyl to bring my ratio to 93% T4 and 7% T3.

                        Over the years it has been difficult finding a doctor who understands. I went to an endocrinologist who put me back on Armour alone and wouldn't consider adding the Levoxyl. Armour alone doesn't work for me. Then I went to a doctor who told me that the TSH is the "gold standard" in treating hypothyroid. I let her lower my dose even though the free t3 and free t4 were both in range. That caused months of me being sick until I finally put my dose back up to what it had been before. Every time the doctor's office called me with the results of my blood tests, they never asked me how I was feeling. All they said was to reduce the med dose. I find it awful that doctors don't test reflexes or look at symptoms any more. They are blinded by blood work and no longer look at the patient.

                        What I have read is that if you have autoimmune thyroid disease you need to keep the TSH suppressed because there is the chance of thyroid cancer if it isn't suppressed. Most doctors aren't willing to do that unless you have already had thyroid cancer. If my TSH isn't low, my thyroid starts to swell and it is very difficult to swallow. I do have autoimmune thyroid disease.

                        Good luck on your journey. If you are looking for a doctor, this list might help. This is where I found the doctor who diagnosed me on symptoms.

                        Thyroid Disease Top Doctors Directory

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jakeb View Post

                          As for ranges, I'd assumed the reference ranges would be standard. Considering the nature of the issue, I would rather look at definite experience vs. casual speculation (and by extension, hearing from those who know the values in question).
                          unfortunately the ranges are not standard and differ wildly between countries and individual labs and whenever you post thyroid results whether here or any other forum you will get the same response, post the ranges. thyroid supplementation is about being in a good range and the basics are based on where you are relative to the lab ranges.

                          to give you an idea of differing lab ranges for TSH
                          in the UK for example the TSH range goes from 1-10
                          Where I live (in Canada) the range is .50-3.0 but 8 years ago the bottom of the range was .75

                          the only consensus I've read in regards to lab ranges is that a few years ago US endo's agreed that having 5 as a top of the range for the TSH test was too broad so they lowered it to around 3 (there was actually a note on my lab results regarding this change when it happened), but not all labs have actually made that change.

                          if you haven't already check out the stopthethyroidmadness site if you want to educate yourself, good collection of information and how to read tests and how the various treatments work

                          fwiw lab ranges are based on the lab population for that specific test and in fact the ranges for thyroid tests have been narrowing in the past 10+ years as more and more people are being tested

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by maile1 View Post
                            unfortunately the ranges are not standard and differ wildly between countries and individual labs and whenever you post thyroid results whether here or any other forum you will get the same response, post the ranges. thyroid supplementation is about being in a good range and the basics are based on where you are relative to the lab ranges.

                            to give you an idea of differing lab ranges for TSH
                            in the UK for example the TSH range goes from 1-10
                            Where I live (in Canada) the range is .50-3.0 but 8 years ago the bottom of the range was .75

                            the only consensus I've read in regards to lab ranges is that a few years ago US endo's agreed that having 5 as a top of the range for the TSH test was too broad so they lowered it to around 3 (there was actually a note on my lab results regarding this change when it happened), but not all labs have actually made that change.

                            if you haven't already check out the stopthethyroidmadness site if you want to educate yourself, good collection of information and how to read tests and how the various treatments work

                            fwiw lab ranges are based on the lab population for that specific test and in fact the ranges for thyroid tests have been narrowing in the past 10+ years as more and more people are being tested
                            Thanks for that heads up and taking the time to reply.

                            I do know all about the ranges, having spent a few months reading all about Thyroid issues. Most of the sites (like stopthyroidmadness) appear to agree that the ranges are largely useless. It's pretty obvious by what you are saying - the ranges vary by lab and country. My body doesn't vary by lab and country, however.

                            It's not relevant in context of health whether the lab thinks that a 5 or a 3 is normal for TSH - it's the people who really delved into this subject whose opinions are my starting point for troubleshooting (and it seems that 1.5 is really closer to where one would want to be, and that even 3 is insanely high for the long term). Likewise T4 "ranges" aren't a meaningful indicator. The lower end of the lab "normal range", per some of the more in depth research, is well into the territory of the Thyroid failing and significant symptoms occurring. Prevailing medicine simply waits for T4 to be out of range (ie your Thyroid being pretty much toast), and then selling you a life long subscription of synthetic T.

                            I mentioned Chris Kessler, who put together a pretty good PDF on the whole subject as well. Also posted some details of my current approach, first step of things to try and see how the numbers turn out.

                            IMHO, desiccated Thyroid is a good starting point, along with tracking metabolic temperature. There appears to be significant consensus that the metabolic temperature is a good indication of where the Thyroid supplementation is headed. Handy site here: Metabolic Temperature Graph

                            Also going for selenium to sort out potential issues with Iodine toxicity, since that's a more contested subject.

                            Obviously all of this requires individual troubleshooting to sort out. I guess I'm answering my own question of this thread - good starting point is Chris Kessler's PDF on Hypothyroidism, taking the time to track metabolic temperature, cutting out gluten for 3 months (find out if that's a contributing factor to the cause), and supplementing T1-4 in slowly increasing dose till temperature normalizes.

                            FYI, it's all consistent so far as far as what I'm reading. My temperature is consistently low, exactly as what is suggested I should be seeing based on the lab results.
                            Last edited by jakeb; 08-05-2014, 09:07 PM.

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