Heading Up the Thyroid Highway

Over the last two weeks I have learned things are never as they seem. There is no mold we all fit in, no normal, no one size fits all. I will be the first to admit my journey along Thyroid Highway has been bumpy this last 9 months. I have tried to fit in to a normal classification and met with more than a little resistance. My valuable lesson this week is with the T3 only protocol there is no normal there are just possibilities.

While on vacation in February I had many sleepless nights. Those nights were not all bad as I was staying on the ocean and could hear the almost hypnotizing drum of the water on rock outside my window. However, sitting inside in the middle of the night with a racing pulse and a heavy heartbeat is not comforting or restoring and doesn’t even qualify as “biphasic sleep“. After more than one night of sleeplessness I knew I needed to lower my dose of T3. It went against everything I understood to be true of taking Cynomel (T3) but I finally, painfully lowered my already low dose of T3 and to my amazement I slept, my temperatures went up and my energy seemed normal. My daily dose was now 62.50 mcg of T3 and “most” people do better on 75-125 mcg of T3 or so they say.

A week ago we flew home from Oregon and the next day I returned to the shaky, hyper person I am at home and I was dismayed but plowed along. Monday night was not a good one, Tuesday night I slept. Wednesday night found me wide awake from 12:30 to 3:30 with a racing pulse. Thursday night I slept, so along comes Friday.

Friday I went to sleep right away but after several little electrically charged wake up calls from my heart I got up an hour later. I took my pulse and found  it was beating 103 times a minute and seemed weak, so I drank two glasses of water each with 1/2 teaspoons of Celtic Grey Salt mixed in. Halfway through the second glass of water I was freezing. I had been sitting in a t-shirt in our Arctic cool livingroom (well that was how if felt an hour later, it is generally 59 degrees on a winter night) and I determined if I did nothing else I was going back to my warm bed and lay next to a warm body. Never mind that as soon as I got back to bed the warm body next to me got up as now he couldn’t sleep. It bothered me not, I now slept with a calm heart.

Saturday I felt my disrupted night’s sleep like I had been up for hour upon hour not just a mere hour. I felt jittery tired, God I hate jittery tired. My pulse was still racing at times and my temps had not been good all week. One day that week my average was 97.8. My basal temperature one morning was 97.3. Late on Saturday afternoon I took all this in to account and knew the T3 was still stressing my adrenals so I decided to lower my dose of T3 yet again and lower the Isocort I was taking from 5 to 3 to see how my body reacted. That night I bravely took my bedtime dose of T3 (something I haven’t been able to do for weeks) and laid down and slept. It was the kind of  sleep that is often elusive for me, that blessed, all night kind of sleep. My dose was now 56.25 mcg of T3.

If you are not familiar with the RT3 and T3-Only Protocol this all means nothing to you and you think I am rambling and a bit flaky. I know the look on your face because I see it often when I try to talk to the SU about thyroid disease, so stop now and spare yourself total boredom. However, if you are familiar with T3-only you will be interested to know that despite the “normals” people talk about there appear to be those of us who need less, or better said, can tolerate much less and we don’t die, in fact we feel better for the low dose.

When I talk about reducing my dose, the reader needs to keep in mind that each grain of Armour Natural Dessicated Thyroid has about 9 mcg of T3 in it, so I am still taking the equivalent of 6 grains of Armour Thyroid. If you have to lower your dosage try to keep in mind just how much T3 you are still taking. I am reminded suddenly of the advice I give my dental patients when they hate flossing. If they only floss once every week it is still 52 times a year, double that and you have whopping 104 times, so every little bit helps. Perspective is really important when dealing with your very human body.

I have now been in touch with two thyroid friends ( You ask what is a thyroid friend? A friendship or kinship that occurs when people share similar health problems.) who are taking low doses of T3. One person is on 30 mcg, another friend is at 37.50 mcg and all three of us feel good at these “low” doses. We all have taken more T3 in the past to clear the T4 out but after trial and error our doses have been lowered to a level our bodies can tolerate. The person on 30 mcg had a thyroid panel run recently and her TSH is a bit high at 2.3 and her FT3 was around 3, so she may look hypo on paper but she feels great, has energy that she hasn’t had in years. The person on 37.50 mcg lowered on the same day I did to the 37.50 mcg and her fibro pain was improved the next morning  and she slept peacefully that night for the first time in some while.

I have no doubt that I will once again raise my dose of T3 but my message for those who are treating with T3-only is don’t be afraid to lower your dose to a level that is “sub-optimal” if things are not going well. If your temperatures suddenly show signs of stress, as mine did when they plummeted, try reducing your dose and see if they come up again. If they don’t, obviously the problem wasn’t adrenal stress and you can try raising the dose after 5 days or so and then look for other causes of your intolerance. It is misleading if you are of the mindset that says everyone is from the same cookie cutter. The way you react to your environment, to things you ingest and to life makes you unique. With time and experience you might be able to treat thyroid disease by how you feel because what is most important is having good energy, healthy hair and skin, ideal weight, and if you go by my experience a really good night’s sleep.

Here is to traveling the tortuous route with friends,



2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Kris,
    I just increased my dose of T3-only cynomel to 100mcg from 75. I have heard some others online complaining that the mexican cynomel seems weaker lately, and I feel that may be why I needed to. I have suffered with adrenal fatigue also, my 24 hour cortisol test showed below normal during the morning and work day but a spike towards the end of the work day then plumeted again and went up again at night. I read one guy’s dosing with T3 as a booster for cortisol when you need it, day time. He takes his largest dose in the morning then tapers off during the day. I am too scared to take more than 25mcg at a time. So I take 25mcg, 4 times a day but no where near bed time… I take first dose at 6:30am then 10am, then 1pm, then 5pm. Basically I take it more often when I need the energy most. And I don’t take it in the evening or night. You may want to try it as I have no problems with sleeping. And miraculously my cortisol no longer spikes at night and is low normal during the day. I try to drink emergenC packets to aid adrenals during the day too.


    • Thank you so much for the comments Pam. I have to say my T3 from south of the border has been just fine but the cool thing about T3 is if you feel like you aren’t getting enough you can easily increase. I am sleeping very well at the moment thank goodness and homeopathy. I had to decrease my T3 recently, so I am taking less than before but my temperatures are doing okay which amazes me. Here is what I just learned from Paul Robinson’s book “Recovering with T3” that I find very informative. For some people especially those who are adrenally challenged, when they are on too much T3 their body temperatures will go down. This was a problem for me from the very beginning. My adrenals never tested out of range but they were low all day until evening (a natural reaction to being low all day). As I increased my dose per my temperatures my temperature never went up and I kept taking more until I had tremors in my hands and I wasn’t sleeping. Still my temperatures were lower than they should be and I finally had to lower my dose despite the low body temperatures because I couldn’t even work with my hand tremor being so acute.
      Now I read that, while not normal, it is a paradoxical reaction that some people have and I can attest to that. I started not sleeping again about a week ago waking from bad dreams with a racing heart and finally after about 4 nights of that I lowered my dose of T3. I started taking my daytime temperature and they actually went up and my basal stayed just about at 98 degrees.
      I have also read that liposomal Vitamin C (Mercola.com has it in capsule form which is easy to take and it is not from soy) is very good for adrenal health and have been taking 1000 mg per day along with two teaspoons of Celtic Sea Salt and SR Potassium (probably some of what Emergen-C is providing you). We seem to need a lot more salt and potassium than a normal person to maintain some sort of stasis and C feeds the adrenals.
      I really appreciate your comments and please continue to stay in touch and share. Anyone with thyroid problems understands how much we learn from one another.


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