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Joined: 01 Aug 2007 Posts: 33 Location: Knoxville, TN
Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:12 pm Post subject:
I unfortunately have a lot of recent experience with hypothyroidism courtesy of our common enemy - statins. Please see the other thread on hypothyroidism started by Brooks for my background. Many people go undiagnosed because the lab reference ranges are way too broad. An excellent link discussing this is:
Mary Shomon has a lot good articles on the thyroid and I can also recommend the website already mentioned "Stop the thyroid madness." Another good link explaining how to read lab results is:
If your hypothyroidism is autoimmune as mine is (I have thyroid antibodies) the lab results are even less reliable. The three my doctor looks at are TSH, Free T and Free T4. Synthroid is a synthetic T4 and your body is supposed to take and convert it to T3. Some people do well on it, however others like me do not convert it and need to add a T3 supplement as well. I could have added Cytomel, a synthetic T3 but chose to switch to Armour which contains both. I have done well on Armour and I take 120mg daily divided into two doses because T3 has a short half life and I found that I was crashing midday.
I must caution you especially if you have heart conditions as I do that you must make thyroid medication increases very slowly. Too much especially too fast can increase your heart rate and cause palpitations. If this is happening then you are taking enough medication to cause you to go into a hyperthyroid status.
I apologize for such a long post, but thought I may be able to help someone through my experience.
Thanks again, Ronni. I am just getting an opportunity to read your first hyperlink in your last post. Excellent info. It is very consistent with what I have been thinking about "the range." Good to have some confirmation. (Also interesting to read that several of the medical "authority groups" have taken a proactive realistic stance, where the problem appears to remain with doctors.) I have many hypothyroid books now; I've finished a few and am part way through most of the rest. I do not, however, have any by Mary Shomon yet. I will soon though. I have lready "diagnoised" several people around here (i.e., set them on the right path for discovery) and my mother is a sure thing when see her over Christmas -- I will have thermometer in hand (and will leave with one of their real ones -- a mercury-based one from my childhood!, which as you know are more accurate and no longer made).
I will be going back through all my medical records (when I get a chance to find all of them) to see if I can tell when I may have been hypo based on her info. And Ray's revelation (with his hyperlink) in another thread that untreated hypo is contraindicated for statin therapy due to increased complications is certainly interesting. This in addition to the fact that treating the hypo would lower cholesterol which is the porported reasoning for the statins! Doctors need to know a hell of a ot less about statins and a lot more about real treatments for real problems.
I am slowly upping my dosage of Armour (which I agree is THE ONLY way to go for most or all people, based on my reading). I too split dosages and am sure your rationale makes sense. Keep in ming that a preferred means of ingestion (according to some patient experts) is letting the pill disolve in your mouth rather than swallowing (for several reasons).
bucko and DEB, I hope you are following this thread. DEB, I read that hypo treatment is good for MS. For the same reason it might be good for ALS. I hope things are going OK with you.
I will be reporting on how my situation goes. I hope others including Harley (who may give treatment a try) and Brooks (and his experiment with increasing his dosage) will too.
Hey, Brian. I am on page 437 of "The Shock Doctrine." Good recommendation. I may have a few for you later on.
Joined: 01 Aug 2007 Posts: 33 Location: Knoxville, TN
Posted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:06 pm Post subject:
You are absolutely right. The best way to take Armour Thyroid is sublingually. That is the reason I have my doctor prescribe 4 - 30 mg. tablets per day. The smaller ones dissolve faster and you don't have to worry about waiting an hour to eat or take other meds.
I thought the following is kind of interesting. The excerpts are followed by the URLs where the full text can be found. In short, body temperatures not only change thoroughout the day (which we already knew), there is not a good agreement on what correct temperatures should be, or how they are best measured.
Here's the text:
"In 1861, Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich claimed
to measure the temperatures of one million people,
and reported the average to be 37 °C. In the United
States, normal human body temperature is commonly
quoted as 98.6 °F, which is an inappropriately exact
conversion of Wunderlich's 19th century announce-
ment that the human body temperature is 37 °C. In
Russia, the commonly quoted value is 36.6 °C
(97.9 °F), based on an armpit reading."
And also this from another URL:
"Normal human body temperature is a concept that
depends upon the place in the body at which the
measurement is made. The value of 36.8 °C ±0.7 °C,
or 98.2 °F ±1.3 °F is the common oral measurement."
Here is what Broda O. Barnes, MD says in this 1976 book "Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness":
"...it is worthwhile takig a thermometer to bed with you.
Shake it down well and place it on the night stand.
Immediately upon wakening in the morning, place the
thermometer snugly in the armpit for ten minutes by
the clock. A reading below the normal range of 97.8
to 98.2 strongly suggests low thyroid function. If the
reading is above the normal range, one must be
suspicious of some infection or an overactive thyroid
"The basal temperature is not a perfect test for thyroid
function. There are conditions other than hypothyroidism
that may produce a low reading -- for example,
starvation, pituitary gland deficiency, or adrenal gland
He did not like oral temperatures for several reasons including the possibility of having a sinus infection which would raise the reading, and also, he says such infections are not uncommon with hypothyroidism.
Somewhat ironically, I just took my oral temperature and was pleased to see it at 98.6 for the first time in months (except for right after taking a thyroid pill or two sublingually in recent days). At first it was good news until I remembered that I was thinking a little earlier that I might be coming down with the the flu or a cold (very rare for me). I guess I will know in the morning.
My doctor's suggestion that he looks for 98.6 was probably his way of saying "normal" and making the assumption that I figured, like everyone else, that that is the correct temperature. He could explain further later on about the truth of the situation. That's my best guess for now.
However, another confusing issue is taking the temperature readings in the morning. According to this chart (see URL to follow), highest readings do not occur in the morning, but the afternoon. Maybe we are not after the daily high reading, but rather only the morning reading? So, I am left without answers on the whole deal for now.
I will be better off when I get hold of a mercury thermometer like Barnes used (on "many thousands of people") and do the under arm measurements just has he did so I can use his range. I would not trust my digital thermometer for that as it responds in 10 seconds and the heat transfer from a dry surface (under arm) compared to a wet one (mouth) would not likely cut it.
Craig, I am about half-way through the Schwarzbein book. So far mixed reviews particularly regarding her thoughts on diagnoising and treating hypothyroidism and her huge emphasis on serotonin -- both of which are "establishment medicine" ideas. She was trained in endocrinology and appears to paroting the party line on these issues, in my opinion. I like a lot of what she says on other matters though.
AstraZeneca the pharma responsible for the creation of Crestor published an advisory in March2005 through Health Canada of the possible risks of taking Crestor. One of the things they added for doctors to be aware of was patients who were hypothyroid. My doctor apparently didn't get that update as I am hypothyroid and was never tested until I found a holistic Dr. I am finding that getting your thyroid to function properly is no easy task but I am learning quickly. Start with a low dose 60mg. or 1 grain. Don't stay with this dose longer than 2 weeks. Increase doses by 30mg every couple of weeks. If you get to more than 200mg and your temperature has not stabilized (morning temp of 36.6 C ) you may have sluggish adrenals and need to take hydrocortisone. I am taking 20mg of Cortef in the morning and am now taking 210mg of dessicated thyroid. My morning temp is still fluctuating but now is never lower than 36.3. I am starting to take my thyroid in three doses daily, 120mg morning, 60mg at noon and 30mg about 6pm all taken sublingually. Even though I do not have my thyroid running perfectly I have noticed a great improvement in my energy levels. I work out with a stationary bike and weights 3 or 4 times a week and my recovery time is improving. My weight is still down although I did gain 12lbs. over Christmas but have already lost 5 of that. I think that discovering that I was hypothyroid is the best thing that has happened to me and I hope that all the people on Spacedoc.net get tested. Hoping for all the best to everyone in the New Year.
Thanks for the update cinbad. Everything you write seems right on the money to me. I suspect I will be at or near your medication levels soon.
I was up to 180 mg of Armour Thyroid after 54 days and checked with my Dr at that time since morning temperatures had not been rising very significantly (but some). He said to cut back to 120 and give it at least two weeks and then get testing done. It has been 20 days and I will do testing tomorrow. He needs that baseline in order to proceed.
My energy levels are very low today and have been getting lower for the last couple of weeks (as T4 levels drop probably), so I am pretty sure that I am not getting enough thyroid right now, and probably being on a higher dosage for a few days prior to this lower dosage makes the situation worse. Not in a real big hurry as long as it ultimately works out. So far, everything is making sense to me.
Ringing in the ears is back off and on as I adjust to the thyroid. I had not even noticed that it had been gone for many months until recently when it returned. As I adjust to a higher level, it backs off. Interesting.
I suspect that I may need adrenal support too, but going this slower route to make sure that is the case may make sense at this point. I have since read that your own current dosage may be more common for long-term treatment (compared to a smaller dosage of +/-60 mg I had earlier indicated in this thread, such as what Brooks had been taking).
An annoyance is that since I now have a mercury thermometer, I see that my original digital readings were too low by about 0.45 to 0.5 degrees. I since bought two more digitals -- one with a 30 second reading and one with a 60 second reading. Both are showing about the same as the mercury thermometer so I assume I have that issue under control now. The 60 second one is slightly better and it is the one I now use when I do not have time for the mercury one -- I check several times a day to start getting a feel for what is "normal" for me at various times of the day and at various thyroid medicine levels. I got them at Walmart and they were about three dollars each. "ReliOn" is the brand name, and I would recommend the 60 second one. The older digital I had was bad about giving a lower reading right after being used so I think that may have been a battery issue. It was two or three years old, like the others I had that I was comparing it to.
One of the books cited several "do it yourself" methods for determining a need for adrenal support (perhaps regardless of hypothyroid issues, while they certainly are related) such as scratching your leg with a simi-dull edge, watching the line made change in color from white to normal and timing the return to normal. I failed that test which is said to be pretty diagnostic, while I have no idea of the biological mechanisms involved, yet. There is also the eye iris test which I have not gotten around to trying yet and also the blood pressure test -- taking a reading while lying down and then immediately doing another one while standing up to look for an increase in pressure. No increase or a drop is diagnostic for hypo adrenal. I have just recently located my automatic blood pressure monitor and will get around to doing that test later today or next week. I will also now start tracking my pulse rate which is also diagnostic (as the monitor does that reading too.)
Thanks for the confirmation on the statin/hypothyroid issue/concern.
BTW, for anyone following this thread who has the time for some Internet research, I would sure be interested in finding out if there actually have been any lawsuits against doctors by patients for NOT lowering their cholesterol levels enough (such as when they have a "heart event" and think lower numbers would have spared them from it). I thought about hiring the paralegal of a lawyer friend of mine to do the research but probably will never do it. I have read that this is a threat held over the heads of doctors by Pharma, but have no idea if there is any truth to the claim. I would like to know.
“Sergent’s White Line (present in about 40% of people with adrenal fatigue)
This test was first described in 1917 by a French physician named Emile Sergent, as a simple test for low adrenal function that is still useful today. To do this test, simply take the dull end of a ballpoint pen and lightly stroke the skin of your abdomen, making a mark about six inches long. Within a few seconds a line will appear. In a normal reaction, the mark made by the pen is initially white but reddens within a few seconds. If you have hypoadrenia, the line will stay white for about two minutes and will also widen. This test, although not always positive in people with hypoadrenia (about 40% of cases) is a slam dunk confirmation of the presence of hypoadrenia.
Sergent’s white line is only present in moderate to severe hypoadrenia and, in borderline cases, may only be present when the adrenals are at a low ebb.”
Since I fail in a big way (i.e., the line never turns red but widens and stays white for over two minutes), it makes me pretty sure that I have adrenal fatigue (which would also account for my fatigue, and is also to be expected after being chronically ill for months/years from adverse statins effects).
Now, the possibility exists that that is ALL I had such that fixing that problem would perhaps have also fixed the hypothyroid issue (where the problem would have been inadequate absorption of adequate amounts of existing T3/T4 by the cells due to an inadequacy of cortisol in the blood from the adrenals). But at this point, I will continue with the schedule I have planned and get to adrenal concerns in a few weeks after trying to increase body temperature with thyroid hormone. (What cinbad writes makes good sense and that is what I will use as a guide.) It is my understanding that later I can go back to letting my thyroid gland do all the work (if the issue turns out to only be adrenal-related) by slowly cutting down on the exogenous thyroid hormone. You cannot depend on doing that with testosterone replacement – the pituitary gland gets use to not sending out gonadotropins (i.e., FSH & LH) and will not reliably restart. However, apparently the pituitary does not get lazy about resending Thyroid Stimulating Hormone if you decide to let it run again. That is my current understanding. (Remember, there is no need for TSH if you are supplying its product with Armour.) But taking thyroid pills is no big deal anyway, so I will not be in any big hurry if I get my energy back in the deal.
BTW, the very next page is where he describes saliva testing as being the preferred test over urine and blood testing for adrenal issues. However, it appears that for Thyroid issues you will need to draw blood or use a Blood Spot test.
ZRT Labs is a good for both types of testing and will send you the kits for free. You pay when you mail them in. Spend some time on their website if you have the time (zrtlab.com).
All the while I was on zocor I had symptoms of hypothyroidism...every thyroid test came back negative....No tumors either....A wise rheumatologist did a Vit D level and mine was very low...I started taking just 2000 iu of Vit d a day along with 1200 mg of Calcium....You guess it , the thyroid symptoms have disappeared incl my dry hair and fingers...It is my belief now, that somehow zocor helped my Vit d levels to go down to the point where it affected my thyroid...where, of course, wouldn't show up on any tests....Vit d is a partner in many body functions...Once again statins are supposedly putting "something in" at the expense of taking a whole lot of other stuff out......Interesting posts and confirming what I have figured out on my own......
My cholesterol never went down when my thyroid disease was treated and regulated. Its still high. It did go down about 20 points though when I lost all of my weight and was skinny again but its still "high" every time its checked on a blood test.
"Prior to beginning Crestor, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and began treatment. I have since discovered that it was the combination of Levothyroxine and Crestor that caused my physical ailments."
I don't doubt it. How did you make the determination that was the problem and that the two interact poorly? Doctors' comments or reading medical literature?
"My cholesterol never went down when my thyroid disease was treated and regulated. Its still high. It did go down about 20 points though when I lost all of my weight and was skinny again but its still "high" every time its checked on a blood test"
What are your cholesterol levels and how old are you?
I have seen a "distribution chart" in one of my books showing the number of people who reduce their cholesterol levels with thyroid correction versus those whose levels go up or remain the same. By far most go down. A few stay the same and a few go up a bit. As you know, there are many factors involved. As Brooks says, our bodies know where our cholesterol needs to be. You may be just where you should be.
There is no doubt that I have been feeling better with more energy in the last couple of weeks, but the picture for why is not real clear after getting testing results back. I will post on it in this thread before too long. I will say this, my Vitamin D was up over the reference range -- which is good. The reference range is just where most people plot on the graph, not an indicator of optimal values for VD. We know most people are low. I have been supplementing a good bit for months. That statins may have pushed your levels down sounds possible to me, and the fact that your TSH, T3 and T4 levels appeared OK on tests may not be surprising even if you were having thyroid related problems. However, your symptoms may not have been thyroid related though. But maybe.
I don't know if Pharma & Friends (e.g., American Heart Association, JAMA, etc.) have gone after VD the way they went after VE yet, but here is a write up on that attack:
In my recent testings there were a couple of surprises. For one, my morning cortisol level (which was the only time of day I tested) was at the high end of the range. One-tenth a point more and it would have been above the range. I thought my levels would be low. Wrong. (Reading all of this thread explains why I believed it would be low.)
The second surprise was that my free and total testosterone levels were much higher than my doctor and I believed they would be (Estradiol level was fine). We have several theories for this, but most involve inadequate clearing. (I will be studying more on this issue. BTW, my endocrine system problems are very statin-related as has been discussed in previous posts.) However, this second surprise may explain the first one. High testosterone may well have been responsible for the high cortisol levels; and these two levels MAY explain the energy-related problems that I was having. (I had not done any testosterone testing in months -- my mistake.) I quit taking thyroid. I have been feeling OK except for major exercise fatigue and a few other issues which I have had for two years.) The literature suggests that I need to get my testosterone levels more normalized before doing anything further. Once that is fixed, as verified by testing in a few weeks, I will be looking at thyroid issue again if need be.
My thyroid levels were pretty normal with TSH being very low as expected with the supplementation. My DHEA level was 2.2 with the range being "less than 6.0" on blood testing; it was 14.1 on a range of 2-23 on saliva testing. (I have been supplementing with 25 mg per day but will likely raise that to 50 mg.s after my next set of tests.) My CRP was 0.68 on a scale of "less than 3.0". My homocistine was 10 with a scale of 'less than 13". I would like to get that lower still and know how to do it.
The saliva testing and the blood testing, while using different scales as they measure in different mediums, where fairly consistent (which was a test of the testing systems I conducted while I was at it).
So my interest in thyroid issues is on hold for now. My morning temperatures are about 97.2 which is about where it was when I started (after correction for a bad thermometer's readings initially). It will be interesting to see if it comes up when testosterone levels come down. Regardless, in the future I may still be looking at the prospect of thyroid supplementation as a potential means of generating more and better mitochondria, as I have discussed in a past post.
I recommend you have your doctor change your prescription to a higher dose pill where those pills are still available for now. They will likely not be for long. Stock up and get a pill cutter.
If you are not getting Dr. Mercola's free newsletter, don't think for a minute you are keeping up with what is going on regarding medical politics. I recommend signing up. This goes especially for all doctors.
Joined: 13 Dec 2006 Posts: 1136 Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:40 pm Post subject:
Below is one Doctor's reaction to Armour vs. Synthriod followed by a cut and paste segment from HSI Alerts.
Dr. Douglass: "Research shows that the thyroid hormone T3 is more active than T4 – in fact, it is roughly four times as strong as T4. In the body, all T4 hormones must be converted into T3 in order to control metabolism. Many patients do not have the enzymatic capability to make that conversion.
"Synthroid is T4. After I discovered this fact, I switched all of my hypothyroid patients to a natural thyroid product (called Armour). Natural thyroid is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs and is a combination of T3 and T4. The majority of these patients experienced an almost immediate improvement."
Recently, the FDA has taken steps that would seem to signal the end of desiccated thyroid products like Armour.
This situation is being followed by Mary Shomon, a thyroid patient advocate who writes about hypothyroidism and other health issues. In a recent posting on her blog that appears on about.com, Mary describes a "very troubling situation."
It appears that the FDA has asked several companies that produce natural desiccated thyroid to submit a new drug application for their products. Of course, these applications require research that costs millions of dollars. So the companies basically have no choice but to take their products off the market.
Fill out a MEDWATCH report, write your congressman (the small c is intentional), or write to the fda (same) directly. This is shamefaced collusion at best.
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