This is where I answer questions from you. If you want my input on your labs, please look under “Contact” for my mail address and what I need of info from you. I need good info to be able to give good answers. Remember to cover name and birth date on your lab papers. You must always confer with your doctor. I can only share what I would have done in a similar situation.
Hashimotos without Anti-TPO?
6th of March 2021
So nice to hear from Moldova. I have never been there, but my brother has many times, as he lives part time in the Ukraine.
I don’t actually think there is such a thing as naturally low thyroid. Low thyroid is hypo thyroid. Healthy people have quite similar levels. Women have a little lower FT3 and young people have a little higher levels than older people. I hope you will look at my post on optimal levels. There you will see what are normal levels, based on 3800 healthy people, Optimal thyroid levels.
The “normal” ranges are not normal at all. I hope you will note these ranges and compare with the labs you will have shortly. I believe your FT4 will be way too low with a TSH of 50. I don’t think resisting taking thyroid meds is a good idea. Every day we have a low FT3 damages us. A ft3 much under 4,5 pmol/L is not a normal FT3. If they use other units in Moldova, you can find a units converter on the net.
So take meds if your levels are lower than FT4 around 40% or range and FT3 around midrange. A normal TSH is around 2 for a young person, 1,5 for a grown up.
The myth that one’s own thyroid stops producing hormones when one takes meds, is just a myth. You can continue to try to improve your own thyroid with Iodine and supplements. Remember that iron and magnesium are also very important. If your thyroid then starts producing more, or you convert better , you can decrease the medicine dose.
Many do not have side effects from T4 meds. And there are different meds you can try out. I think you must have some alternatives also in Moldova. If you don’t feel good on them, after giving them a chance, you could try NDT. If it’s difficult to get that in Moldova, you could buy Thai thyroid meds. See my post on meds, Our thyroid medicines. But do give the T4 meds a chance. You might do well on them. I am sure you need meds with a TSH of 50. And read under optimal levels what are good levels when taking T4 medicine.
Myxedema is really when one is very, very sick and hypothyroid. It will be difficult to function.
I suspect you and your mother both have autoimmune thyrioditis. It is typical that it blossoms during and after pregnancy. And for many, it will become a chronic condition. 90% of people with Hashimotos have Anti-TPO. So 10% do not. Anti-TPO and Anti TG are the two main Hashimotos antibodies. I would urge you to have TG or Anti TG tested. That is thyroglobulin or Anti thyroglobulin. If you have one of those over range, there is damage to the gland. You can read more about these tests here, for the thyroid newbie . There are also people who have Hashimotos who don’t have antibodies at all. This is a study on it, https://www.thyroid.org/patient-thyroid-information/ct-for-patients/vol-7-issue-9/vol-7-issue-9-p-10-11/. You see, that some patients have no antibodies. But when one looks at their glands with ultrasound, there is damage to it. These people have a milder form of Hashimotos.
Thyroid.org, writes, that antibodies destroy the gland. That is not correct. It’s mainly b and t lymphocytes that cause the destruction. So you can have damage done by b and t lymphycytes to your gland even though you don’t have anti bodies.
I don’t know if you can have an ultrasound in Moldova. But both you and your mother should have one. I suspect your mother also needs thyroid meds.
I hope this helps you. Iodine deficiency is a main contributor to hypo thyroidisme, also Hashimotos. So Iodine is VERY important. The 150 recommended mcg is too little. Testing iodine must be done in urine, not blood. You are maybe at a disadvantage, living in Moldova. When it comes to testing. But you are awake and aware, so I am sure you will do ok.
Nr.2: W/41 Iodine deficiency?
I told you to please have a look at my post on optimal levels, here, in order to see what are NORMAL levels. If you have, I am sure you have seen that your levels are not very low. BUT your TSH is a bit high and your FT4 is a bit low. You don’t have Hashimotos, as neither Anti-TPO nor Anti-TG are over reference. Though I have just read a study saying, some few people have AIDT without antibodies. But it is quite seldom. I don’t think this is the case with you. It’s very good news that you don’t have antibodies.
Instead I believe you suffer from iodine deficiency. Unfortunately, you forgot to answer my question about whether you supplement iodine or not. But I don’t think you do. Iodine deficiency is the main reason for AIDT. but it can take a long time to get to there. I hope you will read my post Iodine for beginners. It’s a good thing to test for iodine deficiency. A 24 hours urine test would be best, next best a urine spot test. Serum is no good. But read up on iodine and symptoms, and see what you think. Your FT4 should be around 40% of range, and your FT3 could be a little higher. If I am right, the iodine def would give symptoms in itself, as well as making your thyroid levels a little low. I actually had very dry skin, very brittle nails, did not sweat, pale, very tired in the upper back, having fibromas in breasts and uterus even though I had optimal thyroid levels. Some people claim, iodine deficiency symptoms are just thyroid deficiency symptoms. These people must believe, that the thyroid is the only organ in the body that needs iodine. This is not the case.
The other issue I want to address, is your very restricted diet. If this means, calorie restricted, this is the worst thing you can do. The body will go into save modus. In the first couple of weeks, the body produces a lot of reverse T3 . This is to get FT3 down to save on energy. That normalizes, but FT3 will stay low. A low carb diet will be much better for you, I think. I like Kris Kresser on this. Have a look at his blog.
You ask about NDT. In general, if you feel my iodine theory are correct, I would give that a few months, and test my thyroid levels again and see. If the TSH then still is a little elevated, then try a little T4 medicine and see if that helps. But don’t stop the iodine! You really don’t need medicine that contain T3, you convert very well. It is at 0,32. That is a very healthy conversion. Some people, myself included, have side effects from the synthetic T4 meds. But don’t worry about that before it happens. If you don’t like the most co.mmon T4 meds, you can try Tirosint But one step at a time.
You need some B12 and folate. B12 can be at 1000. Mine is. Both of these are very important for iron uptake. Your Vit D could be higher, as could your ferritin. I am not a believer of very high ferritin though. But if you menstruate, it should be higher than this, Iron is actually very important for the thyroid function as well. Your selenium needs to be high, it can actually be a little over reference, at 3 ng/dl say some Norwegian scientists. 3,5 ng/dl is toxic. Your zinc also needs to be good. So a restricted diet is NOT a good idea.
I hope this helps you,
Nr 3: Fatigue on high dose iodine
I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I have been relying on your blog over the last few weeks to help get some direction on my healing journey.
I’m a 29yo male from the UK who fell chronically ill 5 years ago. It started with IBS like symptoms and led to crippling fatigue. Since then I’ve tried numerous different things to varying degrees of success.
Six weeks ago I started taking iodine as I saw others online had benefited in terms of fatigue. It has been a miraculous few weeks that has unfortunately started to lose its magic.
At the beginning I felt great and only starts on 1-2mg lugols iodine. I went straight back to the gym and energy only improved. I then worked my way up to 8-10mg daily before exercising and this felt like the optimal level.
More recently I’ve had crippling fatigue again where I’m unable to finish a workout and just want to sit about all day.
I’m writing to you to see if you had any insight into what may be happening. I’m exhausted and irritable/angry all the time.
Granted it may not be the iodine, but I haven’t introduced anything else over that time period and it seems like the likely culprit.
I will be honest I have no done any testing and I know you firmly advocate for that. It’s kind of tricky here in the UK as my doctor doesn’t seem keen on doing a blood test because I’m choosing to take iodine, so I’m totally in the dark. I eat a lot of meat (high selenium) and sometimes brazil nuts but most foods are a problem for me due to my illness.
I also supplement magnesium, but nothing else in relation to the protocol. Again, this is mostly due to having reactions to different vitamins due to gut issues.
Undoubtedly you will tell me to get tested and take all supplements in the protocol, but still I wanted to pick your brains and see if you had come across others who it helped at first and then maybe caused fatigue.
Your thoughts/insights would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
You are right about that, I will tell you to test. I think it is foolhardy to start high dose iodine without testing. If you don’t, you will never know what is what if there are thyroid issues.
I don’t think you need to tell a doctor like that, that you are taking iodine. A doctor should see to a patients health. Not run a campaign. But you have a lot of online labs in the UK. It costs a little money, but I hope you can afford it. Your UK doctor will probably not test your FT3 anyway, as a lot of doctors there don’t. UK and Denmark, where I live, are among the worst countries when it comes to thyroid issues. You really need a thyroid test. You have been tired for 5 years, and low thyroid is one major cause of fatigue. You can read here what are normal thyroid levels, look at the numbers for younger people, Optimal thyroid levels Younger people have a little higher thyroid levels. If you take such a home test, be sure to do it before 9AM, as TSH becomes lower after that time. Do not massage the finger after you have pricked it, as this will destroy the sample. Let the blood drip into the vial. Get the large thyroid test the first time, which need to include anti-TPO and anti-TG.
If you cannot afford a test, many are struggling these days, take your temperature and pulse. Actually, these are the best indicators. But you do need to test for antibodies. If your temp is under 37 C in the middle of the day, your levels are too low. If your pulse is also low, then you are hypo for sure. Athletes can have a low resting pulse. But not the rest of us. The post FOR THE THYROID NEWBIE is a good introduction to thyroid issues, and why and what one needs to test.
Now to your question, I had the same issue. I became terribly tired after a few months, so tired as to HAVE to lie down. People in the Iodine protocol group helped me, they told me, it was my adrenals. And it must have been, because when I stopped the iodine, I felt better. I stopped for a few days, and then started up on a low dose. I believe it was 2,5 mg. Some days I took nothing. I gradually built up to 25 mg, backing down whenever I felt the tiredness coming on. I stayed on 25 mg for a few months, maybe 6. Then I felt my weak kidney starting to hurt. And I have now been taking “only” 2 mg for months.
So it can be your adrenals, or it can be your thyroid levels that have come down. If you feel totally tired, very foggy, then I believe it’s the adrenals. If you feel more general fatigues, it could be your thyroid levels. Iodine can actually lower thyroid levels. It has for me. I have had to increase my medicine dose. And I have seen it in other people in the groups, plus it is well know in the literature. I find it strange, that Dr. Brownstein does not address this in his iodine book. He must have come across it.
So reduce your iodine dose, and go by how you feel. Test your thyroid levels. As you have been sick for 5 years, I think that either you are hypo thyroid or your cortisol is low. You should also check your testosterone. Gut issues can be connected to iodine deficiency, as we get low stomach acid when we are iodine def. And low acid is often the start of digestive issues. Digestive issues and auto immune thyroid disease are also connected.
When there is fatigue, fibromyalgia can also be a possibility. Just keep it in mind if everything else is normal. LDN is great for fatigue. If thyroid levels are good, and one is still tired. Men also get fibro. I have a post on LDN as well.
I won’t be telling you you need to supplement with this and that. I don’t think you would listen even if I did. I think you need to find out what is really ailing you. And then take it from there. You are not well. A young man should not be so tired. There is something wrong. I don’t think taking iodine will solve everything. As you have a thyroid, it can be better to start low. If your doctor does not take you seriously, get another one. If you have been tired for 5 years, and the doctor has not tested thyroid levels or cortisol or testosterone, he is incompetent.
I hope this helps. And that you get help and that you figure out what’s the matter.