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Lab Results and Thyroid Question

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I had blood work done with a naturopath doctor about a week and a half ago and finally got my results back. The following things came back low or "out of range" and I wanted to get some feedback on what he is prescribing now.

Vitamin D : 24 Range : 30-100

T3 : 56 Range : 76-181

Iodine : 49 Range : 52-109

DHEA : 39 Range : 45-320

Everything else looked fine. He was impressed with my cholesterol at 123 :-)

Anyways, here are some things I've been dealing with...

- fibrocystic breast pain

- bad pms, slightly irregular cycles

- low progesterone (had 1 miscarriage)

- sometimes insomnia where it feels like my body just won't shut down (this if often around ovulation/period)

I had a miscarriage in May and since then have had somewhat high stress levels. I've taken steps to improve those with less hours at work and a better diet. I'm not eating gluten and have cut out most refined sugars, other grains, and dairy. I got a yeast infection this week (never get those) and also came down with strep throat. This doctor also has me on 3 weeks of Nystatin for some candida/fungus he saw in blood test. He has now prescribed the following:

Vitamin D3 - 5000 iu daily

Iodine 5% - 2 drops in water daily

Vitamin C - 1000 iu daily

Liothyronine Sodium (Cytomel) 5 mcg daily (thyroid)

DHEA 10 Dehydroepiandrosterone 10 mg daily (adrenal)

I am concerned about the last two and am worried about messing with my thyroid. I have heard stories of having to be on thyroid meds forever once you start. Does anyone have experience with thyroid medication or DHEA? I want to make sure this is the way to before I get too far into it.


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Thanks Tom. I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone here has been diagnosed with low T3 hormone thyroid levels and if there was anything you did naturally to correct it as opposed to taking a synthetic thyroid medicine. Diet or otherwise.

I am nervous about taking this if there is another route I could take.

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I have - and so far, I haven't come across anything natural to heal my thyroid, and trust me, I've tried it all. I've been on cytomel (37.5 mcg) for maybe 6 months and has been my absolute savior. The other thyroid meds (synthroid, armour) & supplements that I tried didn't do a thing for me and despite diet changes, things were only getting worse. I don't like being on medications but this one has actually worked out very well for me. I don't expect to be on them forever - I think my issue is more secondary hypothyroidism - but for now, it's helping my body to function better. But that's me, and you might be very different.

If you're concerned, though, a few things to consider. Disclaimer - I'm not a doc and would expect you to discuss this with one, but based on the research I've done for myself, may be relevant to the discussion.

- Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function. In fact, the 3 and 4 in T3 and T4 represent the number of iodine molecules in the thyroid hormone. It may be worth trying iodine supplementation to see if that helps your thyroid levels on their own. We have iodized salt but it's only enough to prevent goiters - it's not necessarily enough to prevent or make up for a deficiency. Things like bromine (additive in bread) and chlorine (added to water supply) can essentially clog iodine receptors in the body, too, contributing to a deficiency. If I recall, there are even some foods that can mess with thyroid/iodine function. Off the top of my head, I think kale is on that list, though I know there are more. Dr. Brownstein (if I remember his name correctly) has a really good book on iodine. Interestingly enough, he describes a link between fibrocystic breasts and iodine deficiency, so perhaps there's something to it in your case. Working on the iodine deficiency may be a good place to start nutritionally. You may find supplementation with seaweed or other high-iodine foods even more beneficial as it has the necessary co-factors to help the body use it that straight up iodine doesn't have.

- Were you tested for thyroid antibodies? For those that have Hashimoto's - an autoimmune condition of the thyroid - eliminating gluten helps eliminate the autoimmune response. If that's what you're dealing with, you can most certainly help support your thyroid with diet in that respect.

- I'm curious how your TSH and free T4 levels were, too, and why he jumped to put you on T3 only (cytomel) first. A lot of naturopath-type docs prefer Armour or similar. I'm not implying he's wrong to, just curious as to why. I'm also curious why he tested it - what were your symptoms or complaints? Within a few months of taking it, my cycles completely returned and my luteal phase went from 7 days or less to a perfect 14 days, (finally!) signaling a normal progesterone level. I've also seen others with a short luteal phase improve it just by diet alone. In my case, diet didn't make a dent.

- As for DHEA, my doc put me on that a few years ago. I didn't notice much so I eventually stopped taking it.

Does that help at all?

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Thank you for replying! I am definitely ok with trying the iodine drops (2 per day) due to what I've heard on iodine helping and also because of my FBD. I wasn't tested for thyroid antibodies and really don't feel that I have anything autoimmune going on. (I hope not!) I have cut out probably 95 % of the gluten though and feel great having done so. I rarely consume it anymore. My TSH was 1.07 and my T4 Total was 7.2. Not sure if he tested for free amounts? I don't see it on the lab work.

My symptoms and complaints: The last cycle (this month I still haven't ovulated...and am late to do so) it felt like my body just wouldn't ovulate...it was trying to and eventually did but I felt my hormones were off. I knew my progesterone was low as it was with my 1st baby and then again with my miscarriage this past May. I have been dealing with a lot of urinary frequency and sometimes some insomnia where it feels like my body just won't shut down (this made me suspect something adrenal.) I also have a bladder prolapse too that I'm seeing a PT for. I wanted to have blood work to rule out any deficiencies since I hadn't had it done in a while. I have not been having super fatigue, hair loss, anything like that. I did go through extreme stress after my miscarriage and some work issues. I'm not trying to lose weight and wouldn't mind gaining a little. I have started to wonder recently though if some dietary changes have affected my thyroid/adrenals. In an attempt to clean up my diet, I think I've lower my carbs significantly even though it wasn't my goal to go low carb. I'm wondering if that's messing with my cycles too.

After reading a few articles, I'm wondering if I should just try the iodine, focus on sleep/less stress, and make an effort to eat more calories/carbs. My goal here is fertility! As I want to get pregnant anytime in the next few months. I wonder if the dietary changes plus stress are what has given me low T3 and adrenal levels. I don't think I would be classified as typical hypothyroid?

What do you think? :) Also, what thyroid issues have you had where the Cytomel has helped? As for dhea, I can't decide if I should take it. It lists some not so great side effects AND says NOT to take if you're trying to conceive.

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fitmama- I'm not sure how serious you are about the article, but remember that the whole30 isn't about eating low carb, not at all. in fact there are recommendations to eat more carbs for many people--the difference is nutrient density.

I guess what I'm saying is, rather than giving up the whole 30 and moving to bread and rice and tortillas (again, I'm not sure that's what you're doing), wouldn't it be worth trying eating a bunch more sweet potatoes and pumpkin and beets and parsnips and carrots?

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missmary, not at all. I definitely don't plan to go back to gluten, ever. I feel SO much better without it. Instead, I want to incorporate more potato, some white rice, and other starchy carbs. I'm 5'7' and 120 lbs right now and mentally it's hard for me to wrap my head around putting on a few lbs and making sure my hormones are function optimally on parsnips and carrots. :/ I think I just lowered my TOTAL CALORIE count without meaning to because the extra fat and protein was keep me satiatied. I've lost my cycle this month and that's definitely not what I'm after. I don't intend to add back gluten or refined sugar but I may add some organic yogurt and a little cheese back in.

It was just refreshing to hear that T3 can in fact be raised by eating more calories and more carbohydrates.

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That's interesting about the higher carbs. I eat fruit ALL the time - I crave it probably a bit too much - and haven't seen any changes. In fact, last week I had a f-it week and ate a ton of stuff I shouldn't have - all carbs - and my morning temps actually dropped by .3-.4. But, I recently had a urinalysis from an alternative practitioner and the results show I don't digest sugars or protein properly, so perhaps that has something to do with it. I'll start digestive enzymes soon to target those areas.

As for me, cytomel first and foremost helped with cycles. Ever since surgery for endometriosis didn't help manage my symptoms, I've been trying really hard to get my hormones balanced since I refuse taking the pill to 'treat' it. Instead, I'd rather work to correct the imbalance. I started diet changes a few years ago - after my imbalances were documented. My doctor and I eventually did a complete thyroid panel. Though I've had symptoms of hypo for 10+ years, my TSH was always normal so no doctor ever dug deeper. But, when she did a complete thyroid panel, my free T3 and free T4 were both low/borderline low. I tried synthroid (I could barely function on it), Armour (likewise, could barely function), and finally Cytomel. My cycles ranged from 18-187 days for 2+ years, and within my first two months on Cytomel, I had 3 near perfect cycles - 35 days with a 12-14 luteal phase. That has NEVER happened in the 3.5 years since I've been temping & tracking my cycles. I was able to decrease my progesterone supplementation (I take it during my luteal phase and it helps reduce endo pain). It's also helped me drop a lot of the water weight I've been carrying around, my skin is softer, and my hair doesn't seem to be falling out as much. I'm 100% convinced that my thyroid is a very large part of my hormonal imbalance, and until that gets better, the rest won't.

I'm very sorry about your miscarriage, I can't imagine how hard that was to go through. I've done a lot of reading on the thyroid and even a slight imbalance can make it more difficult for a woman's body to maintain a pregnancy, so it's certainly something to keep an eye on. I hope some supplementation with iodine and a few tweaks to your diet will help with that. It may be worthwhile to re-test in a few months to see what kind of progress you're making, and if your levels aren't rising, consider trying the cytomel. Again, this is all something to discuss with your doc! Keep us posted?

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That is so great that your cycles regulated. I know that is a huge thing.

Well, come to find out, it wasn't a yeast infection. They called today and said my protein was high...in my urine. Which is interesting, because that happened at the very end of my 1st pregnancy and we induced labor because of it. I was in a LOT of pain from it. Not I'm wondering what has causes the high protein right now..the bladder prolapse? Candida dying off from the Nystatin? Who the heck knows. The itchiness is still there though.

You mentioned eating a lot of fruit...and then linked to Paleo for Women's blog. I was going to ask if you'd been there. I've only recently discovered her. But yes, I was reading there the other night, then went to Cheeeslave, then last night staring reading Matt Stone at 180degreehealth. Talk about mind blowing! It really makes me re-think things. I think I have definitely, without meaning to, taken my calories and carbs too low. It's just all making sense. My metabolism has probably dipped and in turn, the thyroid and adrenals, and the stress from the miscarriage didn't help. I'm no expert, but I do love gleaning from all these different sources.

I am going to stay on the iodine and vit D and C and I also picked up some Jarrow's probiotics today. I'm going to increase my carbs through potatoes, rice, and probably beans and yogurt...and who knows what else if I keep reading Matt Stone. Sheesh. It's just crazy.

I am going to start soaking my nuts and beans though because it can't hurt. Oh, and the best news of all. After some frozen yogurt yesterday, a piece of pizza last night, a couple bowls of rice chex here and there, and a larger b-fast this morning...I am 99% sure that I'm ovulating today.! I'm also going to start charting my basal body temp in the morning to see if it goes up. From what I've read, this is a good sign that things are getting better.

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Yeah, I saw that about starchy carbs - she recommends a mix of starchy carbs & fruit. I'm forcing myself to choke down sweet potatoes but never liked them, and the other starchy veggies she listed, I'm not a fan of either. So I'll rely on a bit of sweet potato every day and 2-3 servings of fruit. I'm doing a Whole30 at the moment and don't want to venture towards white potatoes and rice. I never really ate them much before and don't want to start when they're off limits. I don't feel like I'm restricting calories or carbs at all since I tend to eat a lot throughout the day, but I really wonder now if my digestion issues regarding protein and sugar have a lot to do with all my imbalances. I've had some of these for years.

I highly recommend charting your BBT! Honestly, if it weren't for that, I would have 1. never gotten as far as I have understanding all my imbalances 2. never would have been able to recognize that things were getting better or worse when I do x, y, or z and 3. freaked out all the times I didn't ovulate & my period was delayed (I chart my BBT to avoid pregnancy)! If you haven't read it yet, I'd highly recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Wexler.

Keep me posted on any changes, and fingers crossed you ovulated!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow lots of info, thanks guys! I haven't started the Whole 30 completely yet but I am planning in the hope that I can go off of my thyroid meds, which is Armour and it has worked the best for me. Also I went off of Depo Provera last January and still have yet to get my period back so I'm hoping to re-set my body back to normal it's been years since I've had a normal cycle. Luckily my new doctor is very holistic and is on board with everything. Best of luck to you all!

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