Posts Tagged ‘Armour Thyroid’

How Do You Know When to Increase?

I am writing this post on the day before Mother’s Day because I get the honor of having my daughter, her husband and my grandson with me tomorrow, Mother’s Day. What a great gift she is giving me as I know my daughter hates getting in the car and traveling across town but she is doing it to honor me and that makes me feel very humbled and grateful.

On bold moves

This week I made the bold move of increasing my T3 dosage. To many that may seem like no news. For someone like me who went through an entire year of incremental increases of T3 gradually exceeding the dose my body could tolerate it is a bold move indeed.

I will try to provide a short timeline for those who are interested otherwise skip down to “Along came T3”. I started my T3 only in April 2010. I decided to try T3 only because nothing was helping an irregular heartbeat I had suffered with for about a year prior to starting T3-only.

When I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 15 years ago I was prescribed what I now call Syncrap, T4-only. Then around 2005 I got tired of always needing to increase my thyroid meds and stopped taking them. Just for the record, that was not a good idea. This in turn eventually caused my adrenals to burn out, a.k.a. adrenal fatigue. Finally in about 2007 I started seeing Dr. Robert Bruley in Linden Hills, MN. He put me on compounded T3 and T4 adjusting the T4 according to my symptoms but keeping the T3 very low.

I stayed on T3/T4 for a year or two but my heart continued to give me troubles. I knew from my symptoms that this was not a weak heart or blocked arteries. It would come on at certain times of day and certain times of day it would be non-existent. Exercise didn’t bring it on, stress didn’t bring it on but when it came on it was so severe it would make me cough as if I had asthma.

Finally in late 2009, I convinced Dr. Bruley to let me try Armour. I felt a drug that supplied me with T1, T2, T3 and T4 was superior to one that was mostly T4 with a tiny bit of T3. I was probably correct but it still didn’t solve the problem. My palps were disturbing but thankfully not life threatening.

Along came T3

Then in April of 2010 I took a really bold step and started T3-only. I did so without Dr. Bruley but with the wonderfully helpful people on a thyroid forum who looked at my RT3 blood test and told me I had thyroid resistance and needed T3-only to clear the T4 that was blocking the all important T3 from entering my cells. These folks had all been under treated by allopathic doctors and some had come very close to dying as a result of T4-only thyroid drugs. They had found help in taking T3-only but first they had to clear the T4 out of the thyroid cell receptors and that my friends is the bit of Hell I mentioned earlier.

It took me 9 months to finally feel normal again after starting T3. That was about 4 months of checking my temperature three times a day. 5 months of hand tremors. 6 months of horrible sleepless nights. All that but my heart was beating quite regularly at this point, not all the time but more and more it was not beating irregularly and no more coughing, none. Finally at 9 months came a realization that I had to dramatically decrease my T3 dosage. I couldn’t take the sleepless nights nor shaking hands. I gradually dropped my dose to 37.50 mcg at dose where I felt comfortable and my heart still beat normally.

At that point I felt good and decided I just couldn’t keep concentrating on the negative. I needed to be well. I quit taking my temperature three times a day and got on with my life. I knew 37.5 mcg wasn’t enough but it was okay for a while. About 7 months ago I increased gradually to 50 mcg and have been at that dose ever since.

At 50 mcg I had almost normal energy, my hair loss decreased, my sleep was reasonably good. I even slept on my left side at night (on your left side you can hear your heartbeat and when it is irregular that is disturbing). However, I knew I should wake up feeling more aware and sharp than I was. Even when I started my B12 shots, instead of feeling much better I felt only marginally better and, as time passed I felt even more lethargic than I had been feeling.

The good news

I think this makes a short blog a long one and I am sorry for the verbosity but we now move onward. This week I finally took a basal temperature and when it read 97.3 I knew it was time to increase my T3 and I felt certain my body could handle an increase. On Tuesday I added 6.25 mcg to my 11 a.m. dose. The first day I felt no change whatsoever. The second day I could tell my pulse was slightly higher and my sleep was better.

So far things are working rather well. My temperatures were up on the second day but now four days later they are down again.  My blood pressure is closer to normal (109/70). My pulse is normal (70). I don’t feel so muzzy headed when I get up in the morning. With my temperatures hovering around 98 during the day I know I am not done. I need more T3 and will aim for 75 mcg as that is the level that most people need to feel really good but if at anytime the tremors return or I feel hyper the dose will change. That is the beauty of T3-only, you can lower it and see quick improvement.

Kris Insight

Here is why I think it is working this time. It is only a theory mind you but I think taking the B12 shots and increasing my cellular levels of B12 has contributed to allowing what T3 I take to actually get in to the cells. When the T3 is finally allowed in to the cells you go quite hypo (slight weight gain, sluggishness) because you are using it all and need more.

I also think my inadequate levels of selenium, zinc, CoQ10 and Inositol were possibly keeping my cells from clearing all the T4 out and/or allowing all the T3 in to the receptors. I am now taking therapeutic doses of all those nutrients to get my cellular levels up where they belong.

I could be wrong so don’t take me to task about my insight. I am not a doctor, I am a dental hygienist who has successfully treated her thyroid resistance with the help of the “village”. With that said, if you are still having troubles with getting your T3-only treatment to work for you (or any thyroid treatment for that matter) may I make a suggestion? Get a Spectracell Nutrient test. It is clear to me that we really must test everything we can at the cellular level not just a normal blood test.

If you want more information on the trials and tribulations of going it alone just go here. I have pages and pages of experience you can read through. Obviously I am still learning and I need to keep an open mind and an informed one but for today increasing a minute amount has made a difference and I feel good.




Almost Nirvana and Other Madness

This week’s blog is for my fellow thyroid sufferers and other “spoonies”. A thyroid friend contacted me the other day and asked how I was doing (Hi Olivia) that got me to thinking that I hadn’t reported recently on the status of my health. There isn’t really anything earth shattering to report, nothing fabulous or horrific but I feel after a year on T3 only, and hitting more than a few bumps in the road, things are nearly there, almost nirvana (but superstition keeps me from saying anything more).

I will do a quick rundown of the past year for those who might be unfamiliar. I have had hypothyroidism for 15 years give or take a year. In those years my dose of Syn-crap was constantly inadequate and being increased every time I had my blood drawn. I found a good doctor who would let me try Armour in 2010 but after about a year on Armour I was still having problems with an irregular heartbeat that began three years prior to trying Armour (things started out quite well on Armour but then Forest Pharmaceuticals changed the formulation and the irregularity came back with a vengeance).

I decided to go the “T3 only” route in April 2010 after reading Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe and investigating various health forums that she introduced to my world. I had been battling this irregularity for more than three years now and despite what my doctor was telling me (you need to see a cardiologist) I knew  my heart was reacting to something akin to an improper release of adrenaline and that had to be caused by one thing, my improperly treated thyroid. I fit the description of a person with a Reverse T3 issue, basically an inability to get enough T3 to the thyroid receptors because they are blocked by T4. If the receptors are blocked by T4 the T4 is not converted to T3 as it needs to be for the thyroid to use it, so you are always under treated and have a resistance to any thyroid medication that has T4 in it.

Around this time last year, that is July Fourth and approximately 3 months on T3 only, I suddenly started having panic attacks, inability to sleep through the night, a feeling of not being able to swallow, diarrhea and a basal temperature of 98.2 -98.4. My daytime average wasn’t that high and other factors led many with whom I consulted to feel I was suffering intolerance. Adrenal fatigue can lead to intolerance issues, so I tested my adrenal health. The tests showed challenged adrenals, not full blown adrenal fatigue but low normal results especially midday, so I did try Isocort and then hydrocortisone but by and large those made me feel worse. [In retrospect, thanks to many talks with Nanci, I have concluded that my adrenals were weak but should never have been treated with anything containing hydrocortisone but hindsight is 20/20 as they say].

I “cleared” in July and had to drop my dose from 125 mcg to 68.75 mcg. I stayed on the Isocort (taking it like this 3-3-2-1) and gradually increased my dose of Cynomel according to my temperatures. Increasing according to my temperatures meant that I actually increased too much and too fast and eventually developed a bothersome tremor in my hands. It was so pronounced that it made my job (dental hygienist) difficult but the good news is I never had to quit working despite what I would call the rigors of clearing T4 from my receptors.

Last autumn was actually pretty miserable as I diligently climbed my way back to taking  125 mcg of T3. I was constantly taking my temperature three times a day and finding it sub normal over all, sometimes even my basal temperature was below 97.6, so I would up the dose despite the tremor and sleepless nights. Things weren’t great, I didn’t feel “normal”, my temperatures weren’t “normal” and I was getting discouraged.

Christmas was the nadir of my T3 only treatment. I had increased and decreased and now I was taking 118.75 mcg. It was Christmas Day and we were in Bayfield, Wisconsin with family an activity that usually brings me joy. That weekend I hardly slept, my heart was racing constantly. Basically, I was miserable, so I decreased again despite my temperatures  (which still weren’t normal) to 112.50 mcg. Nothing improved, nothing.

To make this now long introduction a little  shorter, after talking online for months with several helpful “thyroid friends” (to whom I am most grateful) this last winter, in February, I decreased dramatically to 50 mcg of T3. Miracles of miracles, almost overnight all of my objectionable symptoms disappeared, my temps didn’t come up but I finally felt human again after months of, gosh I hate to be dramatic, torture. I honestly couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I could go upstairs without feeling breathless, I was sleeping the sleep of normal people, my thinking was clear, my tremor completely disappeared and miracle of miracles my irregular heartbeat was better than it had been in years.

Enter Kris today. I am enjoying summer in Minnesota (yes, it finally has arrived), my new grandson and relatives visiting for the Fourth of July. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 spread out in four equal doses the last one being as I turn the light out at bedtime. My daily average temperature is sub-par but my basal is within normal limits (97.8) and as long as I feel “human” I am sticking to 50 mcg of T3.

I know my current regimen flies in the face of everything my gurus on the RT3 site recommend but my heart is as regular as it has been in years and the other night I actually found myself sleeping on my left side. That is a significant event only for those of us who have experienced the sound of a pounding irregular heartbeat. When you lay on your left side the sounds of your heartbeat are magnified and, needless to say, unbearable when those beats are irregular. When I awoke sleeping on my left side I knew I had passed a milestone in my treatment.

I have my daily supportive routines like taking at least 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every day, twice a day. I take one Thorne B #12, Thorne folocal if I take additional B12, Krill oil, antioxidants with 2000 mg of Vitamin C, and Bio-Astaxanthin every day. Other days I might add Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Zinc Picolinate Plus, Super K, Chlorella and Spirulina.

Three times a week I put a scoop of  Boku Superfood in my morning smoothie which consists of some form of protein powder (SunWarrior or Mercola’s Whey). I am currently not following a gluten free diet but my carb intake is very low during the week and only on the weekend do I eat more carbs. I guess you could call it carb loading for a day or two which is sometimes recommended by exercise coaches.

All in all, I feel my health this summer is far better than last summer. My blood test panel showed improvements but certainly not perfection. My hormones are all low but my SHBG was very high, so that is the explanation for the low levels of my sex hormones. I know I need to compensate with higher doses of Estradiol and Progesterone but have yet to find a doctor who is knowledgeable in treating with the Wiley Protocol. My gall bladder still troubles me but that has been ongoing for years and I now understand that a sluggish thyroid lends itself to a sluggish gall bladder, so I take the necessary steps to keep it as healthy as I can. I have a very dry burning mouth at times and my eyes feel dry, so I suspect Sjogren’s but there is no diagnosis of such a thing and with a diagnosis I am not sure anything would change. I use natural lubricant for my eyes and I have very good oral hygiene.

Does my heartbeat still trouble me? Sometimes I can feel it “skip a beat” but instead of panicking I take it in stride and soon things are normal again. It is never precipitated by exercise, so I am not fearful. My blood pressure is nearly perfect if on the low side. My energy is good but I am careful not to overdo as I feel my adrenal health is still compromised (indicated by my low temperatures of 98 degrees most afternoons that I check). My sleep is the best it has been in years and I often don’t wake at all or if I do it is only once and I go right back to sleep.

My wish for all the “thyroid friends” and “Spoonies” who read this is that you, too, can find your peace. Just know that some day you will turn the corner and find your self again. Even if it is fleeting, for that singular moment just enjoy the experience of  being you again.

Happy Fourth of July,


Long Journey to Health

I am totally off the digestive tract this week but I know if I don’t just blog about the thing that is nearest and dearest to me I will simply not publish anything this week. I will at a later date return to digestive health issues but would ask your indulgence dear reader and listen to my journey to thyroid health thus far.

Thirteen weeks ago I began a rather tortuous process of clearing a Reverse T3 (RT3) issue. RT3 is basically ignored by health care professionals but those with longstanding and under treated thyroid disease know or should know that RT3 is a real problem. I first heard about RT3 from Janie Bowthorpe in her book and on her website “Stop the Thyroid Madness”. When I read this statement “A small percentage of thyroid patients, who are treating their adrenals to the best of their ability, continue to have symptoms which imply they are making far too much RT3. Those include the subjective experience of feeling toxic as they raise their thyroid medications, or simply having problems with raising. Or, as patients report firsthand: not quite feeling right, strange reactions, not getting benefits like others do.” a light went on for me. In the past whenever my blood levels were checked I was always being given an increased dose of , at that time, Levothyroxine, and then I would literally feel toxic, racing heart, nervousness, shaky hands, toxic with a capitol T.

These may soon be your best friends if you have a Reverse T3 issue coupled with weak adrenals

Armed with this bit of knowledge from “Stop the Thyroid Madness” I began investigating the issue of RT3. Somehow I already felt better knowing it wasn’t my imagination, I wasn’t crazy or inferior to everyone else I had a problem. The best place to go if you suspect you may have a RT3 problem is a Yahoo! Group discussion led by one Val Harly and her assistants Nick and Margery, so I headed over to that group and literally hung out reading everything people had to say and learned a veritable encyclopedia of information and most of all I eventually learned I had a RT3 problem. How did I find out about my RT3 issue  you might ask?

You first need to request a RT3 test (I recently had my daughter request a RT3 test and she, too, has a bad ratio of 9 even worse than mine) and most doctors will not even request it, so find one that will. My functional medicine doctor was willing to make the request but when the results came back his written comments were “ok-no Wilson’s Syndrome” so I  quit just  lurking on the discussion group and got involved. I sent Val my  RT3 number and my FT3 number and from that a ratio can be determined. What my doctor had said was “okay” was anything but. To have an optimally functioning thyroid you want a ratio of 20 or higher and mine was 12 indicating a RT3 problem. I was taking thyroid hormones, even natural dessicated thyroid hormones, but they weren’t actually getting into the receptors and making me feel better.

This is week 14 for me and finally things are getting better but it has been a journey and one done without a medically licensed professional. I think this was one of the scariest moves I have ever made and I still have days when I wonder if I have done the right thing. I love to exchange ideas with people with similar medical issues but I have found it impossible to share ideas with people who won’t do anything without their doctor’s prescription, they simply will not understand and you will be treated like a candidate for electric shock therapy. I know, it has happened to me, so I am very close with my information and share very little of what I am doing with anyone who knows me personally. I only share it now because this is amazing and the difference it has made is something everyone who suffers from under treated hypothyroidism should know.

While I am not at the end of my journey, and maybe we never are because as human beings we and our surroundings are always changing, here are a few things I can report already.  I have not had a normal body temperature for decades but now I am almost at a normal body temperature all day (normal 98.6 mine 98.2-98.4) and my basal body temperature is already normal (range of 97.8-98.2).

My sleep which has been pathetic since I became a mother some 37 1/2 years ago is now so much deeper and restorative and I take my fourth dose of thyroid medication right before I fall asleep “as the light goes off”. (What I have learned from Val is you “dump” T3 around midnight, so if you take T3 right before you go to sleep when you “dump” the T3 there will be some to replace it and you will not awaken with a start at midnight) I also take 3 mg of Melatonin before bed and the combination of T3 and Melatonin has been nothing short of miraculous. It is all about the hormones, those pesky hormones.

I had aches and pains like you would not believe. I tried every natural gel I could think of to alleviate the pain (I do not take Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen) but the pain persisted. My right elbow was sore to the touch, it felt like it was bruised but there was no black and blue mark. I was in the habit of throwing a Frisbee for one of my poodles every day and my elbow hurt so bad I could hardly get the Frisbee out of my hand much less across the yard. My knees were stiff and sore and bending down meant hobbling up again or sitting down on my butt and pushing my way up with my hands so I didn’t use my knees. Honestly, I thought it was just my age at the time but I suddenly realized the other day the pain is gone, I can bend down and get back up, I can throw the Frisbee until my big guy is down on the ground panting and that is a good thing.

I am a dental hygienist and my neck and shoulders are always sore but the pain used to be overwhelming and I was constantly massaging muscles and trying to get some relief. I would often be awakened in the night over and over with numb and tingling hands and arms. I still have some tightness in my neck but I am not awakened by numb and tingling hands or pains shooting up through my occipital bones from tension in my neck and shoulders.

I honestly began this entire thyroid  journey because of an irregular heartbeat (most likely fibrillation) that started about three years ago. I maintained then that it was being  triggered by adrenaline because it would come out of nowhere around 11:00 in the morning and worsen through the afternoon until I was coughing with the pressure it caused in my chest. It usually didn’t bother me at night but occasionally it did, I hated those night when it blipped and blathered and woke me up to read or drink chamomile tea, anything to calm it down and make it go away. My guestimation three years ago was that my thyroid was malfunctioning and triggering a release of adrenaline but my doctor wouldn’t concur without wearing the halter and going through extensive tests. Now I know I wasn’t far off because it is most likely that my malfunctioning thyroid caused weak adrenals and the weak adrenals released adrenaline to compensate for what my thyroid wasn’t doing. (I was able to confirm my adrenal health with a salivary cortisol test from Canary Club.) I am almost afraid to say it but in the last few weeks of resolving my RT3 issue the irregularity has all but disappeared. I am thrilled but cautious  to report that monumental detail. I think my heart issue is fodder for an entire blog itself, so will go into detail at a later date.

Lat but not least there is my memory, as my friends can attest, my memory was far from perfect. I couldn’t remember who I told what and as my mother had dementia this is not a pleasant situation to contemplate. I wasn’t misplacing keys or getting lost but my memory was not where it should be and I felt foggy much of the time. I am happy to report that the fog has lifted. I will also tell you it was at its worst while I cleared the T4 out of my receptors. The clearance process is not always nice and you do go through a lot of stages like suddenly low blood pressure, or suddenly high body temps, shakiness, panic attacks, you name it it can happen but that is what the group is for, those fine folks really do help you through the crises points and are there for you when you come out of the other end of the tunnel.

I know now these maladies were a result of my thyroid condition because your thyroid controls so many bodily functions. When your thyroid is not optimally treated your body runs out of gas and you will die prematurely if you let it go under treated. I am happy to say that I am not the only person who has reported these fabulous improvements once their treatment is optimal and if you go to the RT3 site you can read about a variety of health related symptoms people resolved with optimal treatment.

I have no way of knowing what the future holds but for now the tortuous journey has become just a long and winding road.

Here’s to loving my healthier happier butterfly shaped organ,


Swinging Moods

I love to swing. Yes, I love to swing from those big old fashioned seats that hang precariously from ropes of hemp or metal chain linked together. The romantic swings that are sometimes hung from giant oak trees are the best but it is much more likely you will find swings in a city park. I adore the feeling of flying up in the air with my body fully reclined, air rushing through my hair, higher and higher until the swing shudders slightly with the abuse and then I just let it glide, pulled by gravity to a stop. I find it soothing and all my cares seem to dwindle in to nothingness.

However swings of another sort can be really disconcerting and alarming and those are the swings of the human psyche. One friend recently described her daughter’s mood swings as “scary” which prompted me to do a little research and put my thoughts together. If you were asked by someone “What can I do for my child and her “scary” mood swings would you automatically have the answer? Well to be honest,  I didn’t and my answer went on for days as I picked through the cobweb covered information in my “files”.

Hormonal mood swings are accepted as a rite of passage for women and just never discussed when it comes to men. Chemical imbalance is referred to as “mental illness” and discussed in hushed tones only and with some ridiculous sense of shame. However, I think it is unacceptable to assume we need to suffer from the ups and downs of hormonal imbalance and/or mental illness. Not just unacceptable but dangerous if the imbalance leads to thoughts of suicide or to illness like endometriosis. There are methods to help us cope with mood swings be they chemical or hormonal imbalances. If you seek medical advice you will most likely be the recipient of a piece of paper that instructs the pharmacist to fill a prescription for birth control chemicals or for a “wonder” drug like Prozac or its myriad of clones. I think this borders on criminal, as you already know by my previous posts.  There are far less harmful treatments that in many cases have even better results than the aforementioned.

First and foremost is Vitamin D3, not really a vitamin at all it is actually “a secosteroid hormone that targets over 2000 genes (about 10% of the human genome) in the human body”. I have recommended Vitamin D3 to several friends and family and all have had positive experiences with mood elevation and energy renewal. The best source of Vitamin D3 is the midday sun on your entire body for 20 minutes.

However, sunshine on your skin is not instantly transformed to Vitamin D3 in your body, so once you have exposed your skin you need to leave it as is for at least 30 minutes and you should not soap exposed areas for 24 hours. This characteristic of Vitamin D was discovered when they puzzled over surfers in Hawaii who showed signs of Vitamin D insufficiency. How could people exposed to the sun so unrelentingly have low levels of the sunshine vitamin?

Eventually they realized a common link, surfers are in and out of the water constantly and from there it was proven that you need to leave the exposed skin untouched for a period of time to allow for complete assimilation otherwise you are just washing it off your skin and there is no time for absorption. Personally I try to expose my skin to sunlight or my Sunsplash Renew right after a shower when my skin is clean and free of lotions. I then don’t need a shower or bath for 24 hours and I don’t use soap on places like my belly or back ever, it only dries out my skin.

If being in the sun for 20 minutes is too frightening for you (first of all read the latest reports on sun exposure) then supplementing with D3 is acceptable. However, before you supplement you should test your D levels. The unfortunate thing about taking a supplement is you could really upset the swing if your levels are already high for some reason. If your levels are terribly low you may need large doses of Vitamin D2 until your D levels are within range (40-65 ng/ml) and it will take awhile because D2 is not easily assimilated by the body and changed from D2 to D3.

There are other solutions to elevating your mood that are simple and can be kept in your refrigerator. A high quality fish oil like the fish oil Vital Choice sells can do wonders for your mood. In an article on Mercola,com it stated “there have been a number of studies that have examined national and international fish consumption data and compared them to rates of depression. Dr. Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institutes of Health is a pioneer in this area. He, and his group, have shown that higher national consumption of fish for a nation equals lower rates of depression versus countries consuming the least amount of fish. He has also shown that higher fish consumption is correlated with lower risk of postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder.

A larger study published in Archives of General Psychiatry replicated these findings (from a previous study published by The American Journal of Psychiatry) however, this time various doses of EPA were examined. Those on ineffective antidepressants were given 1g, 2g or 4g of pure EPA or a placebo in addition to the medication. Interestingly, the 1g daily dose of EPA led to the most significant improvements over the three-month study; it appeared that less was more. There were significant improvements in depressive symptoms, sleep, anxiety, lassitude, libido and thoughts of suicide.”  Dr. Mercola recommends trying a high quality fish oil and also EFT, emotional freedom technique, as it heals from within by helping you deal with hidden angst and fears.

If diet, exercise, EFT and sunshine exposure have failed you it might be time for blood tests. Hypothyroidism often causes depression and it is not good enough to settle for your doctor reporting that your TSH is “fine” or ‘okay”. You need to step up to the plate and require your doctor to do a complete thyroid panel including tests for autoimmune thyroiditis. If your health care provider won’t do a complete thyroid panel you can get your own done for a reasonable cost. Your TSH could be within normal limits and you could still be suffering from all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. If your health care provider just takes the time to run a full thyroid panel they may find that you do have a thyroid problem and need natural dessicated thyroid to properly treat the situation and rid you of the mood swings caused by an undertreated thyroid.

Much of depression or a mood swing comes down to hormones because not only is your thyroid run by hormones but your sex hormones can be a very likely cause of mood swings if they are out of balance. I found what Dr. Uzzi Reiss is quoted as saying in Suzanne Somer’s book The Sexy Years really fascinating and somewhat revealing. Dr. Reiss stated that estrogen is extremely important to a woman’s peace of mind. Estrogen dominant women are happier women. They sleep better and are less stressed. He then went on to talk about body types and specifically mentioned fashion models describing them as “tall, thin and usually sort of subtly depressed” The tall, thin, small breasted woman often has low estrogen and testosterone but good human growth hormone (because she is tall). And then he talks about the woman who is five feet one, D-size breasts, has no hair over her body, is not very athletic, and does not have strong muscles; this woman has extremely high estrogen, and low testosterone. The last group of women are the athletic type. Most athletes have small breasts, not because they have low estrogen but because they have high testosterone.

Who of the above group will be happiest? The small round woman with high estrogen. “Women of this type are happier and less complex, and it seems that their approach to sexuality is much simpler. The thin model type when asked about the times they were pregnant will respond that “when I was pregnant it was the happiest time of my life”. Why? Their hormone levels were different and the extra estrogen made them happy and more progesterone made them calmer. Hormones have a language of their own and if your hormones are out of whack there is a barrier to communication from one part of the body to the other that results in mood swings.

If you have tried everything else ask your primary care provider to test your hormone levels by running a blood test. You should always ask to see a copy of your blood tests and when you see the levels of your hormones if things seem out of whack bio-identical hormones are a possible answer. A word of caution do not settle for chemically copied Big Pharma versions like Premarin or Progestin as they have been known to contribute to an increase in cancers and heart disease. They are not bio-identical and it is possible that your body will not find its equilibrium with the chemical version.

While I haven’t specifically mentioned men’s body types and their hormones (Dr. Reiss didn’t specifically mention men and their shape), men are affected by out of balance hormones too. Everyone talks about women and their pesky hormones but men are victims of this problem as well and need to request sex hormone blood tests just as women do. Andropause is the term used for men’s hormone upheaval; it is the male counterpart of menopause, when the production of testosterone decreases and there are accompanying mental symptoms. If you are male and suspect you may be in andropause talk to your health care provider or go to Canary Club and request the tests you need. No one needs to suffer from unnecessary mood swings or depression caused by hormones waxing and waning and bio-identical hormones can help males as well as females.

I wish the answer was more simplistic, like hopping in a swing and letting it all hang out, but as we are all so different dealing with mood swings is multi-layered and complex. If you feel desperate and the day is looking bleaker by the moment you should always seek help now, not tomorrow. There should never be any shame in acknowledging a need for counseling. If today seems bright but tomorrow is a bit darker, if you do indeed swing with your highs and lows then what I have offered is a possible solution and worthy of your attention.

I’ll be swinging to good health until next week.


Sorry I’ll Drink My Water

Well I finally did it, I offended someone with my persnickety eating and drinking habits but in the process it gave me an idea for this blog, so forgive me Lois and thank you all in one fell swoop. You are still my heroine.

Many readers may not know or just need a reminder that our community water systems are laden with “acceptable” (I ask you who accepts chemicals in their drinking water?) levels of chemicals especially chlorine and fluoride which render it drinkable only if filtered with reverse osmosis or a high quality filter like the one sells. It really doesn’t matter where the source of your city water is once it hits the city it is chemically treated with fluoride and disinfected with chlorine. I am particularly aware of the chlorine because for most of my adulthood (not my childhood) I have lived in the country, so we have had well water without chlorine and fluoride and when I drink “city” water I smell the chlorine instantly and it is a pervasive odor if one is unaccustomed to it. On the other hand the fluoride I cannot detect but I know it is there as most communities add the chemical supposedly to “protect” the children from decay.

My skepticism of the value of fluoride goes back many years when I suggested to a young college student studying Dietetics that she base her Master’s dissertation on this issue: fluoridated water and its effect on breast tissue. That was many years ago and already I suspected that the commencement of fluoridation of community water systems might directly correlate to the increased rates of  breast cancer. Of course as I was a dental hygienist and I was standing in a dental office when I spoke these words it was superheresy and the room went so quiet you could hear heartbeats. When someone dared to speak it was the dentist who categorically denied my supposition spouting some facts and figures he had obviously heard himself at a dental convention when someone defended the preposterous idea that it would be a good idea to add deadly waste chemicals to the drinking water of every city dweller. In the end I had no proof; it was just a theory and I shut up, that is until now.

It seems that for some time scientists have known that fluoride had toxic side effects and in 2006 a Dr. Hardy Limeback stated and I quote “Fluoridation could turn out to be one of the top 10 mistakes of the 21st century.” What’s that? But it prevents decay and it does no harm? OR does it? And how long have the powers that be known that fluoride is not the miracle it is purported to be? How long have they known that chemicals added to our water supply could and would cause dis-ease?

There was a study in 1948 that proved  fluoride had the ability to suppress thyroid function and cause goiter when Steyn (Africa) found that fluoride “has definite anti-thyroid effects. He investigated the incidence of endemic goiter in the North Western Cape Province in South Africa and reported that his findings “closely agree with the … 1944 JADA editorial”, and that goiters are actually ‘fluoride-induced’.” 1944 oh my did everyone just ignore all the evidence or did they just think that goiter and thyroid problems were a small inconsequential detail compared to tooth decay which could be controlled with a health diet free of sugars and low on carbohydrates?

Jason Uttley in his paper The Cause of Fibromyalgia states that “in April of 1997, the FDA had forced toothpaste manufacturers to dramatically upgrade their warning labels after suddenly “discovering” that fluoride was severely neurotoxic. The FDA knew and must have known for some time but finally in 1997 they acknowledged its harm but still we do nothing about adding it to our community water supplies. Jason also points out that there is mounting evidence  that “we are [now] compelled to consider the likelihood that humans are experiencing damage to their brains and kidneys at the ‘optimal’ level of 1ppm.”

As for chlorine the Medical College of Wisconsin Research Team stated that they were “quite convinced, based on our study, that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water.” The U.S. Council of Environmental Quality stated that “cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.” Is it any wonder that when I let city water pour from a tap I smell chlorine and it burns my nose? It is poison as is fluoride and finally as I read through copious studies the light went on I finally put the puzzle together and the picture is clear, fluoride may very well (and possibly chlorine) contribute to breast cancer incidence.

It really comes down to iodine and the iodine receptors that exist in many places in our bodies. For instance our sinuses have many iodine receptors, your thyroid has many iodine receptors and breast tissue is full of them. Fluoride is attracted to the receptors that naturally should be full of iodine and it has been shown that many females with breast cancer are very low in iodine and have high levels of bromine (iodine loading tests prove this and you can get your own from Dr. Abraham  iodine loading test

If tissue is filled with fluoride in the iodine receptors instead of iodine dis-ease occurs (for one thing the iodine would kick out the bromine) and cells go bonkers and cancers occur. In the thyroid if the receptors get filled with fluoride, instead of iodine, hypothyroidism occurs and if your thyroid isn’t working your body isn’t working properly as your thyroid controls almost every bodily function. In many cases of breast cancer the person also has an under functioning thyroid (out of whack Free T3 and Free T4). It is possible to supplement with iodine and detox fluoride (and the now pervasive bromine) but in the end wouldn’t it have been simpler to eliminate toxic fluoride from the community water supply? Instead people innocently use tap water to cook their pasta, to make their tea and coffee and even to shower in (effectively pressure washing the chemicals right through our pores in to our delicate bodies).

So forgive me my reverse osmosis water that I innocently placed on the counter to make my tea (which can also be high in natural fluorides and so far I still drink) with and quench my thirst but I have a toxic thyroid that needs clean water free of the discarded chemical called fluoride ( Maybe someday when my thyroid is free of antibodies and I no longer need thyroid supplementation I will drink community water but until that day no one can convince me that we need to ingest those discarded chemicals. Thank you very much I will drink my own water.

P.S. I have a daughter who recently turned 37 and she has perfect teeth with not one, yes you read that correctly, not one decayed area in her mouth. She neither had fluoride treatments nor drank fluoridated water in her developmental years and her teeth are perfect and beautiful. I only wish I could say the same for her thyroid but she has been a city girl for many years now.

I’m Sorry I Can’t Hear You

This has been a fascinating week in my crazy thyroid world and I just have to share it now that things seem to be on the upswing. I will try to be brief for those who are bored by mundane subjects regarding the butterfly shaped organ called thyroid, so you will have to refer to previous blogs to get all the facts.

On Wednesday I had my now regular three month phone appointment with my functional medicine man, Dr. Rob Bruley. As always he asked how I was feeling to which I replied “great”. Then we discussed my present opinion of my thyroid which included the question “how are the heart palpitations?” I responded “Knock on wood (and I did just that) they are really good at the moment. I haven’t had any for a week and ever since I started on the dessicated thyroid from Women’s Health America they have been much better.” I also foolishly told him I was sleeping like a rock with my newly updated amount of bio-identical progesterone. Next time just put duct tape on my mouth.

Why oh why do I say these things? Within an hour of my conversation with Dr. Bruley the palps started up with a vengeance and persisted for most of the rest of this past week. When the irregularity is bad during the daytime hours I feel the need to cough especially if the palpitation or irregularity is more than every 20 beats or so. If the irregularity occurs every 4th or 5th beat then I cough this dry cough that seems to nip it in the bud for the time being but it will return soon after that. Usually by the time I go to bed or shortly after supper the daytime palps are gone or not noticeable. Normally I then sleep perfectly with no palpitations or irregularity during the night.

However, when I have them at night it is different and this week I was rudely awakened three nights in a row with palpitations stimulated by really bad dreams that I am calling my night terrors. I have the night terror, wake up with a start and my heart is pounding. Within moments I can feel a small blip, twenty beats later another blip and so on. It lasts about an hour and then finally I can sleep again with a calm heart and no more night terrors. Being the health investigator that I fancy myself to be this causes quite a stir  because I simply have no answer, well no answer at first.  I have a theory now and that is what prompts me to share my experience in this week’s blog entry.

Yesterday,  frustrated by several nights of interrupted sleep I changed my regimen. First I reviewed whatever information I could glean from Stop The Thyroid Madness. In that information one point stuck with me because I have been suspicious that this was the case. Sometimes what you think are hyperthyroid symptoms are really symptoms of  a hypothyroid state and you need to increase your dose of dessicated thyroid. This is a scary thing for me to do because I HATE the racing pulse that comes with the increased dosage but a rapid heartbeat beats an irregular heartbeat every time. The other thing that a lot of thyroid advocates state over and over is divide your dosage throughout the day, something my doctor poo-poos (But then again I told him about the Armour shortage and the bad reaction people were having to the reformulated Armour and he said he had no knowledge of either. He does now.).

Being armed with the information I needed once again (amazing how one forgets what you read) I took half of my 90 mg tablet in the morning, the other half at noon and around supper with some trepidation I took less than a quarter of my 180 mg Armour tablet (I have about three months worth of what I now assume is the newly reformulated Armour that doesn’t work very well). That should be very roughly 135 mg of dessicated thyroid and nothing bad happened, all my fears were for nothing. The good news is I slept much better. I did have a night terror episode but it was accompanied by the startle and the racing heart but only one or two minor blips and I was soon sleeping soundly again. It is sad when a night like last night somehow seems fabulously restful but it is the truth I feel like a new person or perhaps better said, I feel like me again.

Here is the summary (for those who are now yawning) I am going to continue to take the 135 mg of dessicated thyroid until I start having the palpitations again at which time I will increase the dose to slightly more. I suspect that my normal dose will eventually be 180 mg but by then I will be using the dessicated thyroid from Women’s Health America and I will not return to Armour as Forest Labs has proven to be unreliable and uncaring about the people who take their products. My adrenals for all intents and purposes are fine. I pass all the tests with flying colors (blood pressure, pupil dilation), so I see no need to take cortisol despite STTM’s recommendation to do so. If my pulse starts to regularly be greater than 80 bpm I will cut back my dessicated thyroid as my normal resting pulse is close to 70 and my blood pressure is a comfortable 110/73.

Wish me luck because I suspect I need a smidgeon of that as well. I am keeping a diary of events, so that when I next talk to Dr. Bruley I can with certainty tell him all about what has happened in the last three months. I suspect when asked how I have been feeling I will cautiously say “fine” and as for the heart palpitations question I may just feign cell phone static or some cosmic interruption, tell the good doc I can’t hear him and carry on from there.

Feeding Your Thyroid

My latest update on Facebook from Janie Bowthorpe was basically a continuation of her disagreement with Forest Pharmaceuticals and their changing the formulation of Armour Thyroid and Janie’s successfully getting many people to switch to Naturethroid and Westhroid. It is all getting old to me and I will apologize right now to any readers that offends and tell you that I am grateful to Janie Bowthorpe for her very informative book Stop The Thyroid Madness. I have a different take on the subject of the new formulation causing relapse in everyone and I will share it with my readers.

Early this winter I finally talked my very open minded doctor, Rob Bruley, in to prescribing Armour Thyroid instead of my compounded pharmaceutical T3 and T4 because we were not resolving my hypothyroidism issue after more than a year of constantly increasing my dosage. Admittedly he reluctantly did it, but he did it and told me I had to take a 3 grain dose of Armour Thyroid which by the way had to be special ordered at Target pharmacy (I tell you because it is useful information). 3 grains was equal to the T3 and T4 I was taking that wasn’t working very well although we had corrected several aspects of my thyroid malfunction. At that time I also started a bio-identical testosterone cream and progesterone tablet because those hormones were low in a recent hormone test I had taken.

I don’t want to quote exact times here because it is all a blur of history but approximately 6 weeks later I was having heart palpitations and sudden jolts that would awaken me in the middle of the night. I started taking half a 3 grain tablet at that time and when I called Dr. Bruley he agreed that this was the right thing to do, so he prescribed a blood test  which showed my T3 was now too high, T4 was okay and the TSH was within range although on the low side. I continued on 1 1/2 grains and when I had the next blood test I didn’t take my Armour the morning of the test as it will affect the T3 reading according to Janie and I was not in the mood to take any higher dosage. I was now feeling rather hyper at times and for instance if I was writing something it would almost look scribbled because I was writing too fast (my own test) so I knew I was a little over medicated but the test would tell.

That test came back with both T3 and T4 within range but my total TSH was .3 which indicates suppressed thyroid. I have since cut my half tablet in to half which amounts to 3/4 grain of Armour Thyroid. I will need a blood test in a few weeks but I can tell you that I still feel a little hyperthyroid. On 3/4 grain my heart palpitations are almost non-existent but at times I feel agitated like I need to run a marathon but I don’t run anymore.

Now to my point, the newly formulated Armour has seemingly corrected my thyroid problem greatly reducing my need for thyroid stimulating hormone. I don’t take it sublingually anymore because most of my digestive issues are resolved by not eating grain of any kind and drinking kefir every day. Swallowing Armour allows for slow release of the thyroid stimulating hormone. If and when I did what Janie suggested and took the tablet sublingually I would get a jolt in the morning that was uncomfortable and if I took some early afternoon when it had worn off I was too hyper to relax by bedtime. Swallowing it with my morning tea works perfectly for me I have sustained energy during the day and I am ready for bed at night.

I am now taking Alpha Lipoic Acid (300 mg) twice a day (with breakfast and supper) as well as a B-Complex vitamin for energy and liver health. If you take ALA you must add a B Complex as the ALA lowers your levels of the B vitamins. I also take 200 mcg of a sodium selenate/selenomethionine supplement. When I feel an energy lag I have a great B12 supplement called ProBoneO by Life Enhancement (Dr. Wright). I eat a diet free of gluten, with lots of greens, fresh eggs, avocados, grass fed meat, etc. My conclusion is that by balancing my hormones and taking the right supplements (no excipients or fillers), following a gluten free diet and staying away from excititoxins I am healing my thyroid.

Instead of complaining about the reformulation of Armour Thyroid I would tell you to try it. If it doesn’t work or you start to experience hypo symptoms again follow this advice before you change to Naturethroid or Westhroid:

Balance all your hormones not just your thyroid hormone.

Eat a gluten free diet full of greens which can be from Barley grass and Alfalfa grass or greens from the garden that are raw or lightly steamed. Add homemade kefir with no sugar added for a health gut.

Throw away supplements that have excipients and fillers as they negatively affect your immune system and create a bio film that keeps you from absorbing the supplement.

Judiciously stay away from MSG which means making your own fresh food with no boxed convenience foods and reading The MSG Myth.

Exercise using the T-Tapp method as she concentrates on cleaning your lymph system and allowing your body to heal itself.

If you do all these things and still suffer from hypo symptoms then it is time to try something new. If you choose not to try these steps first don’t cry foul on Forest Pharmaceuticals point your finger at the real guilty party, you.