It turns out I’m the anomaly.
The problem most people have during Hashimotos is not the problem I have.
Its taken some time and trial and error to figure this out.
Partly because I have not found ann affordable doctor who is also knowledgeable about all things Hashimotos. The closest I have come is Dr. Kharrazian, who I follow and read his books (and love pretty much anything that he comes out with) but who is not my personal physician. Sadly.
BUT. Back to this anomaly.
From reading countless posts from poor women who are really suffering from this disease, there seems to be a common thread of being medicated with synthetic T4 and receiving not so stellar results. Basically their symptoms improve slightly, if at all, but not in a lasting fashion.
A lot of these patients beg their doctors to make the switch to a natural dessicated thyroid medication, some with luck. Others are refused.
In case you are new to the world of thyroid hormones, this is how it breaks down:
Natural dessicated hormones are usually collected from a pig thyroid. These contain various combinations of T3 and T4. T4 is the “slow release” version of thyroid hormone. T3 is the “ready to use” version. T4 will get converted to T3 at some point in your body.
So the natural hormone medications have both ready to use energy and slow release energy in them. This works well for a lot of people.
Examples of natural dessicated thyroid medication brands are: Armour, Naturethroid, WP throid, as well as a few others. A good comparison can be found here on the Stop The Thyroid Madness site:
To contrast, synthetic thyroid hormone medication usually only includes T4. This means that the “ready to use” part is missing and only the “slow release, yet to be converted piece is what remains. For most people, this is not effective treatment. Some people have issues converting T4 to T3 in their bodies. For them, having a ton of T4 floating around but not being able to effectively convert it to T3 will not do diddly squat for their symptoms. Examples of synthetic meds are Synthroid, Levothroid, Tirosint, and other levothyroxine containing products.
Like I said though, I’m an anomaly.
I had stumbled upon an endocrinologist who was willing to prescribe me Armour from the get go. Some people fight their doctors tooth and nail and switch several times to find a physician willing to prescribe this.
I should consider myself lucky. I did, actually, because he is an excellent physician in many ways. But it wasn’t right for me.
The combination of T4 and T3 sent me into a two month long ordeal. I suspect it’s because I was low normal to begin with. And although I had symptoms (like being practically frozen), the T3 in Armour was too much for me. When I took it, I had heart palpitations that took months to go away after stopping Armour.
Another awful side effect was the crippling anxiety that came along with it. I remember during this time period thinking, I understand now why people kill themselves. When I say crippling anxiety, I mean such a mental state that I wanted to escape it desperately. I have never before experienced such a thing, but I believe it to be representative lot of too high thyroid levels in the body (at least in my body).
This left me feeling like a paradox.
On the one hand, I definitely didn’t feel “normal”. Something definitely wasn’t right.
On the other hand, I also wasn’t off the charts. So the medication we tried was just too much.
What options does this leave me with?
After months, my thyrotoxicosis symptoms (anxiety, tremors, heart palpitations) were finally wearing off (thankfully!!) and I had found a functional medicine practitioner who was a nutritionist, I thought why not give this route a try?
After all, I am a proponent of natural things if at all possible. And with being “low normal”, maybe it was possible to stabilize my thyroid function with diet alone. Because a high percentage of T4 gets converted into T3 in the body by multiple organs including the gut, going the nutrition route instinctively made sense. Since then I have learned that the body is more complex than I ever imagined it could be and a multitude of factors can inhibit this conversion.
Next, we’ll dive into the beginning of the nutrition protocol that I began with. Stay tuned 🙂