my remedy kit (for thyroidy/crappy days)

Posted on November 9th, 2010

So, below is my insta-fix for my thyroidy days. But, really, it’s a remedy for crap days in general – if you’re premenstrual, toxic, hungover, over-worked or got another type of auto-immune disease or illness I reckon it will be of use, too.

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HAPPILY, after three years of trying EVERY trick in the book, I’ve got my auto-immune disease under some kind of control. But I’ve got to this point by managing it day-to-day with little tricks and techniques. Some days I’m great. The next I’m dead thyroidy.

Which can only be described as a cross between a hangover and being pre-menstrual, with a dose of food poisoning thrown in. And a sprinkling of a rash (enough to make everything feel like its burning).

In the past, when I felt this flat I’d push harder. Cummon ya lazy beast, fire up! Now, on these days I stop. And correct. It’s taken me ages to work out that I can actually steer things back to normal in about 48 hours. It’s a gentle steering. Nothing too violent, because that would just tip the boat.

Sooooo, this is how I do it:

  • Abort what I’m doing. This sometimes means dropping work or cancelling dinner with friends. Yep, people get the shits. And, nope, they don’t really understand (because the next time they see you, you look fine). I say, so what. This is what I have to do to cope. End of story.* Then I turn inwards (stay home, turn the lights low, go slow).
  • Drink dandelion tea. Loads of it. Then move on to some calming teas in the afternoon. One way or another I try to get as much warm water into me as possible. It soothes. It calms.
  • Take a teaspoon of licorice root and rehmannia (practitioner dispensed). This tonic calms the adrenals pretty much instantly and also reduces the damn inflammation I get.
  • Eat a lot of organic green vegetables. I cook up batches of soup (I boil a stack of green vegetables and root vegetables in chicken stock and then blend with a stick blender…see the details here) and freeze them so I can grab for lunch or dinner as required.  Or I steam a mound of kale, spinach, broccoli, zucchini (and frozen peas) and eat with some flaxseed oil or an egg. I literally eat three bowls of the stuff – it’s Operation Pack in The Nutrients.
  • Grate some turmeric on my lunch. I love it on eggs.
  • Walk. Don’t run. Some gentle blood-flow helps. But aggressive running doesn’t.
  • Or just do yoga. I exercise every day. On thyroidy days I simply do 20 minutes of yoga in my loungeroom. It diffuses the fuzz.
  • Lie still. Not meditate. Actually, meditating is good…but just lying on the floor. still and uncomplicated, works better on thyroidy days. I just rest, sink into the floor, and concentrate (gently) on soothing my insides as I breath in and out.
  • Don’t touch sugar or alcohol or smelly cosmetic products. And obviously gluten, coffee etc are off the menu anyway.
  • In the middle of the day, I go quiet. My Chinese doctor Lily Lui does this. She has hashimotos and is the most high energy person I’ve encountered. As she says, to operate at this (natural) level she has to retreat every day for an hour. She shuts her door. Turns off her phone. And sits in the quiet. This is allowed! Go forth. Shut your door! **
  • Stay out of wind (it whips up vata energy, which exhausts the adrenals) and don’t move too much (frantic flinging around in the car makes things worse; flying is murderous).
  • Stay off my mobile.

If it’s a particularly bad case, or I need to push through the sluggishness to “perform” (some days I can’t afford to be thyroidy, like when I’m filming), I do this:

  • Get acupuncture. I specifically request attention on my adrenal points, and in my head. It brings down the swelling and calms everything down.
  • Get a lymphatic drainage massage.

If I’m travelling (I often get thyroidy when travelling – extreme motion upsets the system; my whole body puffs up, especially on the right side, and I go really foggy):

  • I’ll get a cheap massage from one of those Thai places on main streets, or at the airport
  • Order in steamed vegetables at the hotel

Mostly, the next day I’m 70% better. Another 24 hours later and I’m back to my set-point.

Hope some of this helps you…and what do you do? I’ll post any good tips ‘n’ techniques.

* As an aside thryoidy types tend to be overachievers and do things superfast and are very reliable…so if we drop the load sometimes, well, it kind of balances out. OK?

**Thyroidy types also tend to only know two speeds. Superfast and stop. Embrace this. By doing the stop part regularly.

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  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

    This is fantastic, Sarah. Some good tips in there for me to embrace. More. Often.

    [Reply]

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    As an aside thryoidy types tend to be overachievers and do things superfast and are very reliable…so if we drop the load sometimes, well, it kind of balances out. OK?

    I like that :) Make me feel less guilty ;)

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  • Karen Morris

    Wow, Sarah. You’ve really given me some food for thought here. I’m, well, I don’t like to say sufferer as I don’t really see that I am, of Thyroiditis and, as I don’t really have any physical symptoms I just take the drugs and get on with things.

    But, I do have those days where I really have to struggle to get through them and, running my own business and being mother to three young boys, I pretty much just have to. I think they’re the days that I do retreat a bit (which is hard when you communicate for a living). I too just usually think, c’mon, stop being useless and get on with it.

    But, maybe I should rethink my approach to things and realise that there may actually be a physical reason, just something that isn’t obvious.

    I guess I’ll have to let go of the coffee again :( I have only recently re-introduced it. I was unable to drink it for so long, and more than one a day is an absolute no-no. And, Iv’e just managed to find a decent one near the office!

    I love the idea of turmuric on eggs too (a previous post). May have to give that one a go!

    Thanks for making me think. Now I know why I hate windy days! :)

    [Reply]

    Dani Reply:

    One of the reasons windy days are so draining is that the air becomes charged with positive ions (unless the wind is coming off the sea) Compare this to how relaxing and refreshing a sea breeze is, or a cool change and thunderstorm at the end of a stinking hot day, when the air is charged with negative ions. You can recreate this by chlling out near the surf or a waterfall or just taking a shower.

    I find I’m quite sensitive to this and will actually get a butterfly-like sensation before a big storm, even if I’m indoors and can’t see the change in the weather.

    In terms of dealing with crappy days, I find I’m often exhausted in the aftermath of dealing with a sustained period of untreated anxiety and depression.

    On those days, I find making sure I eat plenty of protein and green veggies and yellow/orange fruit really helps (often I’m nauseous or have no appetite, and low blood sugar just exacerbates the problem) and drink lots – mainly ginger and peppermint tea and water. Staying warm helps, as does sunlight – pull the blinds up and let light and fresh air into the room. And if I’m up for it and the weather suits, swimming (or just floating around) in the ocean works magic.

    If I have to work, I try and make life as easy for myself as possible, right down to stuff like wearing flat, comfortable shoes and buying my lunch if I just can’t muster the energy to make it in the morning.

    On really bad weekend days when I don’t make it out of bed until mid afternoon, I’ll also often have a coffee, which works for me for a couple of reasons. One, it helps clear the fuzz (I usually have 3 or 4 regular coffees a week, so it’s not entirely an additction thing) Two, it forces me to get out of bed and out of the house and walk 400m or so to my local cafe = gentle exercise. Three, it means I enjoy the human interaction of chatting to the baristas and the regulars. It works for me, but I udnerstand coffee is not on everyone’s “OK list.”

    The biggest thing for me is just accepting that there’s not rule that says I “should” be able to cope better than I am at any given moment. Easier said than done!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Dani, I love your thoughts on this…the positive ions stuff is spot on. And the allowing yourself a coffee…perfect!!! Whatever gets you through…kindly!

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    Karen Morris Reply:

    Thanks Dani,

    Great words of advice there.

    I can’t believe that I’ve lived with this for 7 years and just accepted that taking the drugs will fix it.

    It’s so good to finally find a place where I can get some advice and feel that I’m actually normal. I have days where I get to the end and wonder what I’ve actually done but I think I’m coming to the point where I am recognising that there is just no point in flogging a dead horse and I try to find less frantic tasks that still help my business move forward. Hiring a wonderful assistant has helped tremendously with that!

    Work has become stressful and very negative at the moment due to difficult relationships so I am working on fixing the situation as I think you’re right about the periods of sustained periods of stress and anxiety. I have actually found a positive attitude to finding solutions helps to keep the stress levels a bit lower.

    And, thankyou for giving me back my coffee! I have coped without but it would be nice (and probably a mentally positive thing too) to just allow myself the odd indulgence throughout the week. :)

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  • http://innerbeam.blogspot.com Sarah Rose

    Thanks so much Sarah, all of your experience and careful observations and trying lots of things has helped those of us out who have not yet got that far. I’m having far more thyroidy days than not and it’s so easy to feel alone, because as you say, these days aren’t conducive to socialising and ‘life as normal’. It’s easy to feel like a ‘lazy bugger’ and want to push and guilt seems to come in large doses. It’s also true that endocrinologists just won’t be sharing this kind of helpful information with us, it’s priceless. So thank-you thank-you, your hard times and struggles with the thyroid have meant that you are able to offer a special gift as you share your precious knowledge with others.

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  • Sarah

    Sarah …. thanks so much for this. Such perfect timing for end-of-year stresses! :)

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  • http://www.livingsavvy.com.au Jo – living savvy

    I have a few of these strategies in my emergency kit too Sarah. You have to get onto the nutrients fast, as often my body is screaming for sugar and cake etc, but I know if I fill it with steamed veges and eggs then it will rebalance. I have also been working on quietening the “keep moving, keep pushing, try harder, voice” it is getting harder to hear which is a relief. I know the days I have really conquered it when on these crappy days, I lie down, nap then follow with a walk.

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  • http://www.mummyofstyleandsubstance.com.au Kellie (stylishmummy)

    Thank you so much for this post Sarah! I really thought that my crappy days were caused by depression but are actually cause by my Hypothyroidism. All my drs have told me is to keep taking my Thyroxine and I should be fine… no other advice as to what foods to eat, exercise etc. So thanks again for the advice and making others aware of what living with a thyroid issue is about! x

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  • Christine

    Sarah, I was wondering how you were diagnosed with Thyroid condition? I only ask as for the last year or so I have been muuch more tired than I should for 22 year old who doesnt drink a great deal and eats pretty well. I have been to my doctor a few times with this tiredness and lack of energy problem but she keeps telling me it must be strees (im the last person to get worked up over things). I’ve hhad blood tests but they’ve never shown anything. Is therething in particular I should request to be tested for and a specailist I should see? Any advise would be greatly appreciatted! Thanks so much for all your helpful advice! x

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    Sarah

    Sarah WilsonSarah Reply:

    Hey Christine, I had blood tests…but the basic tests don’t always reveal thyroid issues. You need a Dr who is happy to dig deeper. It could be an adrenal/cortisol issue…a range of (related) things. I’d really suggest finding a Dr and/or naturopath who lives and breathes this stuff. In Sydney I recommend Dr Lyn Tendek and Angela Hywood at Tonic. Your gut is telling you something is going on…dig deeper!!!
    xx

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Also make sure they check your TSH and antibodies as well as thyroid hormones – my most recent blood test showed normal thyroid levels but hugely elevated TSH. Which is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It’s job is to kind of poke and prod the thyroid when it gets low to stimulate it, and if it is working it’s butt off (coloquially speaking!) just to keep your thyroid levels normal, something is wrong. I’m lucky/ unlucky in that I have been battling it on and off for years so now know exactly what “thyroidy” feels like, and was able to demand to be seen. Plus I have an amazing doctor. But they are hard to find, so TRUST YOURSELF and if your doctor says there is nothing wrong then find another doctor. Endocrinologists are great for reading bloodwork but I find they think their job stops there – they have no incentive to “dig deeper” as Sarah says!

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    Thanks so much for your help! I will dig deeper and get to the bottom of this. I think I definitely need to seek out a new doctor. Thanks again! X

    Christine Reply:

    Hi Sarah, Thanks again for your advice! I have booked in to see Angela Hywood who will help me dig deeper and find out whats wrong! xx

    [Reply]

  • Selena

    Thanks Sarah, I am having a particularly low energy thyroidy/crappy day! I was going pretty well, and definitely improving, but I have been a bit ‘wobbly’ over the last few weeks. Thanks for sharing your remedy kit – I find your advice very helpful and your story very inspiring :) Congratulations on getting your thyroid under control! It’s been 10 months for me and overall I am improving…and I am hopeful that the situation will continue to improve and be under control in the near future. I find the inconsistency frustrating….I completely get your comment about people not really being able to really understand cancelling events because the next time they see you, you look fine! I follow much of your health, lifestyle and beauty advice…thanks again for sharing your tricks….I am off to source dandelion tea, licorice root and rehamannia!

    [Reply]

    Bec Reply:

    Selena, it’s been 10 months for me also and I too find the inconsistency extremely frustrating. I also find that people just don’t get it and I have come to the conclusion that the ones who fall by the wayside aren’t really friends:) I too am off to buy some dandelion tea etc… :)

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  • Bec

    Thanks Sarah! Today is the day I really needed your help… I have been out all day since dropping the kids, going to yoga, running errands, lunching with friend, going to osteo appointment, picking kids up from school and running more errands…. all the while feeling like I can’t stay awake and need a good long nap. I was feeling angry with myself for feeling this way because I have recently felt like I had this thyroid thing under control. I woke this morning with the feelings of razors under my feet and stiff joints again after not having it for so long. And you guessed it I had another busy day yesterday. I guess I just have to resign myself to the fact that some days I need to be more gentle with myself. So hopping onto your blog today is exactly what I needed… however did you know? :) Oh and by the way… it is incredibly windy this afternoon in Melbourne!

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  • Mia

    Bec, you made me think… I have felt exactly the same thing, being angry at myself because I think I have the thyroid thing under control, then all of a sudden I don’t. I don’t know how many other Hashimoto sufferers out there believe they got the disease for a reason (I certainly do) but do you think maybe control is a big part of it? Subconsciously maybe we get ill purely so we DON’T have control, so we can’t, to force us to slow down and relax. And to show us that we can’t control everything, no matter how much we try. I don’t know, I could be wrong, but I think it fits.

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    Bec Reply:

    Yes you may be on to something there Mia:)

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    Selena Reply:

    Hi Mia, yes I second that!…might be something in that :) I am a self-confessed control freak, especially when things (inc. health) start getting out of control! In my journey for rehamannia and dandelion tea, I stopped in to a crystal shop to pick up a crystal for positive energy..I asked for advice and the lady suggested a yellow opal (apparently it helps with letting go).

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  • http://jacquiemolloy.com Jacquie

    Really interesting & really helpful.

    Thank you Dani too for your discourse on the wind :-) In Melbourne we seem to have more and more ‘northerly wind’ days and they really & truly do me in on just about every level of my being. The reasons you & Sarah give are good to know.

    (And: a big shout out to the healing properties of a big bowl of greens & flaxseed oil!)

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • http://wabiwabi.wordpress.com amber

    Apart from crashing into bed, I haven’t yet found a formula to help me out of these ruts — I’ll definitely be working my way through this list, starting with a nice green soup! I am incredibly fatigued at the moment, post Master’s assessment period, so I’m keen to get my mojo back.

    [Reply]

  • http://morsels-and-musings.blogspot.com/ Kimberley Owen

    Hi Sarah,

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this. I was recently diagnosed with the onset of Hashimoto’s (when my mother’s thyroid completely destroyed itself a few years ago) and I often have days where I suddenly hit rock bottom and never really understood why?

    This article has cleared up a lot of things for me and I now feel inspired to learn how to identify these days and how to ease my way out of them.

    So many thanks again! :)
    ~kimberley

    [Reply]

  • Una O’ Connor

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your post. I had my thyroid removed in 2006 after severe bout of thyroid overactivity. Recently my iron levels dropped dramatically and I have been having test after test to determine the cause. The thyroid (the little that is left) is also out of kilter. Your blog has helped enoromously and I am taking steps to find out why I feel the way I do. You describe it perfectly. The fog, the exhaustion and feeling out of control and total lack of mojo.

    I intend to get a massage regularly and have stopped eating wheat and alcohol. Really enjoy your blog and thank you for being so honest. You have no idea how much it helps to listen to your tips.

    Take care, Una

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Hi Una

    I’ve just found this website and hence this post. I have hashimato disease and my iron is quite low, my doctor has told me that thyroid disease and low iron go together. The reason for me is that because the thyroid has put my hormones out my periods are heavier and longer and therefore, each month my iron levels are depleted and need to be made up. I don’t know if this helps you at all, but I hope you can get to the bottom of your low iron, that combined with the thyroid can make you very lethargic!

    [Reply]

    Sophia Curnow Reply:

    Hi Una,
    I have recently been diagnosed with hashimoto’s disease also. I have suffered terribly with severe heavy bleeding and low Iron for years (at least 10). It was actually due to the investigation into my persistent low iron that I was finally diagnosed with Hashimotos. Only since starting treatment six months ago (thyroxine) have my periods become somewhat normal.
    I would definitely agree with Melissa. Sounds like your hormones are causing your heavy bleeding and subsequent iron deficiency.

    You really should get your thyroid function tested (T4,T3 and TSH) as well as your iron levels. Keep in mind that while conventional medicine will say that TSH below 3 is normal, most people still suffer with symptoms over if TSH is over 2, while others may be in the 1′s(normal) but still symptomatic due to poor conversion from T4(stored form) to T3(usable form).

    Iron – make sure you take a good supplement with Vitamin C to aid absorption and do not consume foods containing, phytates, tannin, caffeine or calcium for 1 hour before or 2 hours after. ie no grains, dairy, wine, grape juice, tea coffee or chocolate all of which block absorption (pretty much just leaves meat, fruit and veg – so easiest to do at dinner time rather than breakfast). If you forget and you do eat these things, still take your supplement, some is better than none.

    [Reply]

    Sophia Curnow Reply:

    Ooh ooh… and get your TgA (thyroid antibodies) checked TSH can be normal and TgA high and you will feel crap. So I have heard…

  • Jane

    Never underestimate the power of dandelion tea :) for me it’s one of the best detoxification herbs imaginable – but make sure you check the ingredients before buying it – some brands have added sugars.

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  • Dayle

    What a wonderful article Sarah. You certainly have the knack of being able to simplify life’s dilemmas into alternative remedies for them.
    You must make a difference to so may people’s lives.
    I know that you have made a difference to mine.
    Keep up the good work.
    Dayle

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  • http://www.jacintafleur.com jacinta

    Where do you buy Kale from?

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  • Crystal

    Thank you ,Thank you!
    Very lovely natural healing :)

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  • http://armand.stephanie@gmail.com steph

    Thanks Sarah, I agree with those who say their doctor gave them the drugs and said this will make your thyroid better but never said you will still feel like crap a lot of the time. All the time, unless of course you make it your mission to seek out every little alternative holistic treatment that will bring you back into balance. We are all learning everyday and the more we share the better.
    One thing i’ve started doing amongst yoga, meditation, organic diet, gluten free, dairy free, is making tea, disgusting stuff but i skull it back. I add licorice (Adrenals), nettle(allergies and iron), echinacea and astralagus (immune), dandelion(cleanse), and pau d’arco. I buy my herbs from the organic store on oxford st and boil them for 10 mins. It tastes fowl, but works for me. Another thing i do is take an adrenal support and get my bloods checked to see what supplements i need such as magnesium and zinc.
    I’m a real stress head and i would love to know what others do to chill the madness that goes on in our head sometimes that makes for an over ahiever, anyone tried CBT or hynotherapy?, i have no idea if that will help ?.

    [Reply]

  • Jane

    I know exactly what you mean when you write that the next day you look fine…haha. I have found a few other tips taht have really helped me. I take Schuessler (by Martin & Pleasance) tissue salts – Fatigue Comb F. Helps to lessen the frequency of the ‘crashing’ (as I call it because that’s how it feels). Just recently I ‘crashed’ and I felt a strong urge to lie on the beach in the sun. Not the searing sun, it was gently sunny with a cold breeze. I lay there for approx 40 mins and incredibly all my symptoms were gone. I’d say a combination of the negative ions from the ocean, the vitamin D from the sun (only possible without sunscreen), and probably a bunch of other factors I’m not aware of, helped. Unfortunately I can’t do this every day, due to the suns strength and other weather facture’s but it’s certainly something I am going to try to do as often as I can. I think we forget how important nature is to our every day health and healing.

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  • Mia

    I had a crappy thyroidy day yesterday, complete with stomach upsets, tiredness, aches, dizziness and tears! I was about to follow my usual plug-along-through-it routine (I had aplces to be! Things to do! People who I might disappoint!) when I thought of this post and went… you know… sod it. I am officially dropping the ball. And actually had a brilliant day watching horror movies on my own and drinking fresh-squeezed juices with a little chocolate too. (Spinach, apple and carrot juice is my fave! You cant taste the spinach I promise.)

    Nobody minded that I disappeared, the world kept spining on it’s axis and everybody who I cancelled on still likes me. Plus, Im feeling good again today. Everything is in it’s right place… thank you for planting the seed Sarah.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/2010/11/my-remedy-kit-for-thyroidycrappy-days/#more-1421 Kylie

    I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimotos for a year now. Even though I take my Thyroxine and go to the gym, I’m left thinking ‘will I ever feel really awake and involved in life’? My days seem to be like I’m in a dream sequence, with strobe light black and white effects sometimes. I go through the motions expected each day, but feel disconnected. I wondered if it was depression, but now think it might just be a bad thyroidy day. I remember feeling energy when I get up in the mornings, enthusiasm, drive and purpose. Now I only get out of bed because I have to work (I love my work) and even then it’s not till 10.30am each weekday morning. I don’t feel rested. I think I’m going to have to take a few more days off, which I can since I work for myself…isn’t that what we usually do, work for ourselves so we can control the hours and work load?? How long has it taken for others to feel connected with the living since being diagnosed? I feel overwhelmed most days and really want the madness to stop. I have a loving husband and 3 beautiful helpful teenage daughters. I’m 38 and having friends up to 10 yrs older feeling more energetic, is a real downer. I want my zest for life back. Next time I’m near the beach, I going to take a rest :)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/2010/11/my-remedy-kit-for-thyroidycrappy-days/#more-1421 Kylie

    P.S. My sleep patterns are all out of wack. My Dr said I just have my times out, are still getting enough hours and my cortisol test showed it peaks at 12 noon, instead of early morning, hence I drag myself reluctantly out of bed each day. Any one else like this?? Thanks :)

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  • Kylie

    I just came across this last night as I was hitting a low, and it’s already helped me so much.

    I have recently been diagnosed with excessive estrogen after 15 years of horrendous PMS and related pain, two invasive operations, endless medications and not a lot of answers. Though I know I still have a long way to go to get a proper diagnosis (the ‘digging deeper’ stage you talk about earlier), I’ve finally decided enough is enough and to take control of this.

    So now when I have a few bad days in a row, I stop, rest and reset. And I’m having one of those days today.

    I stop – take the day off work, cancel plans, etc. I rest – sleep in, or just spend a few extra hours in bed reading, relaxing, staying in my pyjamas. And then I reset – drink 2 litres of filtered water, plus as much ginger tea as I can, and eat as much fibre as I can. Everything I eat on one of these days is natural and prepared by myself – no gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, preservatives, chemicals. It’s essentially a one day detox to flush any nasties out of my system and reset my body back as much as I can. The calmness of staying at home with soft light, quiet and know that I’m spending the day caring for myself also helps control my mood swings and get me back centred both physically and mentally. Though I’ll never be able to take full control of my hormone levels, just having a stop, rest and reset day does so much to help.

    Thank you SO much for sharing that you take them too. Reading your experience and the comments that followed have helped me feel less guilty about taking these days and know that they’re for the best.

    [Reply]

  • Karen

    Have you tried taking withania/ashwagandha (specifically the sensoril version of this herb, otherwise known as Indian ginseng, even though technically it’s not a ginseng…). It’s wonderful for the adrenals, thyroid and endocrine system overall. It’s not a stimulant, more of a deep tonic that should be taken long term. It balances, calms and strengthens. I highly recommend it and credit it for rebuilding my exhausted adrenals. Some tonics are just far too stimulating, even licorice can be.

    And yes, rest is so very important. It is hard saying no to things and being perceived as lazy, but if I can’t manage to make people understand my situation I still need to look after myself, as no one else will and I’m the one who pays the consequences. As you say Sarah, people see you when you’ve recovered from the dip, they don’t see you when you feel like shit, so they just don’t get what we go through.

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  • T

    I came back to reread this post on a day that I just dropped everything last minute. Because I needed to. This pushes the guilt away somewhat.

    [Reply]

  • onemissee

    This is by far the most succinct helpful post (and comments) I have read ANYWHERE on the internet or in print in 5 years of searching for clues to solve the Hashimoto’s mystery. (and i’m pretty confident i have done a gazillion google search since being diagnosed ;-)

    so many of your tips rang true with me, I thought these were just weird like quirks/cravings of mine… (cravings to go to the beach for the salt air, massive bowls of green vegetables and nothing else), lying down on the floor staring at the roof, needing ‘silent’ time in the house, getting really agitated on windy days… my partner always jokes i have two speeds 200% or -200% (crash!).
    Thanks for re-assuring me that i’m not going crazy, and reminding me it’s bettter to stop and rest rather than push through and bring on the ‘hashi-crash’, all the little things that make me feel good could actually really help keep the thryoidy days away.

    Thanks Sarah for such a great post, sincerely appeciated. I will be printing this and using it every day. x

    [Reply]

    vic Reply:

    It is so goo dto red about other people experiences and what works and doesn’t work for them.

    I have hashimotos and so does most of my family and some friends and non blood relatives so I speak from a basis of experience but still value input from sources like this. EVERYONE has slightly different symptoms and responds differently to different things – no practictioner however good or from whatever field is ever going to be able to treat you thyroid problem as well as you becuase only you can know how your body feels and responds. Your hormone levels in your blood are part of the picture but only part. As its an auto immune disease your body reacts to things in your body – so put too much synthetic throxin in to correct the blood levels and your body starts to react. Wiki actually has what i feel is a very good entry for hashimotos and one of the points it makes is “in the event that hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it is recommended that the TSH levels be kept under 3.0. As long as the patient’s thyroid is active, the body will continue to attack it, and this can wreak havoc on the patient’s TSH levels and symptoms” not only does this make measuring levels hard but also means take to much and your body may go in to a chaotic response!

    I think its a very complicated picture and so many factors play into it – personal stress levels, weather, changes in routine/diet etc all can have a fairly strong impact on me.

    One symptom that I was interested to read about was “Reactive hypoglycemia, or postprandial hypoglycemia, is a medical term describing recurrent episodes of symptomatic hypoglycemia occurring within 4 hours[1] after a high carbohydrate meal (or oral glucose load) in people who do not have diabetes. It is thought to represent a consequence of excessive insulin release triggered by the carbohydrate meal but continuing past the digestion and disposal of the glucose derived from the meal.”

    I felt this explained some of what i was experiencing. I have cut carbs in my diet considerable and eat mainly veg, legumes, qinoa and proteins and get carbs from that. With regard to weight no one I know with hypothyroidism is overweight but we all have to take care with certain things to maintain weight and can find it tricky to loose a few stubborn kilos if i gain them. For me I think even occasional alcohol makes the weight thing hard – maybe it’s the sugar and yeast in it?

    On thing that I woudl love to understand better is why do so many people have thyroid problems? It can’t just simply be that’s the way our bodies are…..I am wandering if their is a trigger or something. Very little info seems to be written about this I have done searches and come up with virtually nothing.

    [Reply]

    Sophia Curnow Reply:

    Hi there,

    First of all let me say I don’t KNOW the answer to your question but I have some very strong suspicions.

    Having read Nutritional Medicine by Dr Igor Tabrizian (which can get pretty sciency) I am completely convinced that most of the chronic illnesses we see in society today – Hashimoto’s, any other kind of auto-immune disease, asthma endometriosis etc etc are caused predominantly by a combination of genetics with environmental toxins, nutritionless food and stress. Basically our bodies are under more physical and mental stress than ever before… and the cracks are starting to show. At the end of the day being healthy is just one big chemical reaction that differs slightly from one person to the next… If we don’t put in the the right stuff and we do put in the wrong stuff the reaction is going to be very different. Instead of BANG! we’ll get pfft!

    We all have our limits physically/mentally (largely dictated by genetics) which in a different environment would probably never have been a problem or at least a lot more manageable. It is irrefutable that we are surrounded increasingly by chemicals, busy-ness, poor quality fresh produce (due to unsustainable farming practices – I know I grew up on a sheep and wheat farm – now being converted to bio-dynamic) and fast food, and it is this that I think tips peoples health over the edge. For me it is auto-immune, for someone else it may be Heart Disease, for someone else it may be Mental Illness… it just depends on your body’s weakest link. Why are we pushing ourselves to the limit and finding our weakest link… ?

    Our grandparents may have eaten more fat, salt and sugar than us but they never ate the pesticide/herbicide laden fruit and veg, stressed abused antibiotic fed meat, and excessively processed foods that we eat today. Like milk – pasteurised and homogenised to the point of being almost devoid of goodness not to mention flavour. We eat so much more ‘instant’ food than we used to: full of flavour enhancers, preservatives and some kind of over processed grain. Just think back to childhood – I don’t know about you but to me there is a neverending list of foods that taste different to how they used to: tomatoes, strawberries, apricots, passionfruit, chicken, mushrooms, etc. And when you grow them for yourself you suddenly remember how good they were as a kid and why you loved them in the first place. Gotta make you wonder about the nutrients and minerals in shop bought fresh produce???

    We are also surrounded by a lot more chemicals than we used to be… did grandma use antibacterial spray to wipe the table, have air-freshner or insect spray being injected into her living areas at precise intervals, cook food in plastic, have as many cars driving past her house, pour weed and feed on her garden, or take the Pill? and Stress… did she and grandpa commute 2 hours each day in peak hour traffic to spend 50+ hours a week at work then run around like a maniac in their spare time maintaining their house and doing every extra curricular activity under the sun? Just so they could have ‘it all’… Mine didn’t. And I think they were happier and healthier for it. Sure they died of Heart attacks and strokes but at least they were healthy up til that point. They went overseas once in their life, grew their own vegetables because they had time to, lived in a modest home not a Mc Mansion. Had 1 car (because that’s all they needed) and 1 TV. They shared things and time and experiences without using facebook, twitter or email. They walked places, spent alot less time in front of screens, hand watered their garden, knew their neighbours and spent more time outdoors in the sun and fresh air. And most of all they they had time and they felt like they did, thats why they baked for us and spent so much time contributing to their local community.

    We live in a society that is success driven and I think we are all pushing ourselves too hard to have stuff and conquests they we don’t really need or that even really makes us happy. Who was it that said “think not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country” I know that was all about enticing people to enlist but… don’t you think we all feel better if we had more time to contribute more to our community instead of the focus always being on ‘getting ahead’ I think we just need to be a little more content with what we have instead of striving for more. Develop relationships with our neighbours as well as our family and friends half a world away… Maybe even move Home… is that great overseas job really worth it??? We as a society seem to be constantly seeing a half empty glass instead of a half full one. I think we need to say to ourselves I might not have ‘it all’ but, as our grandparents would’ve said “at least I have my health”.

    I am not saying this is true of you but I do see this so much out in the world… I am a sucker to it. While I have always eaten fairly well, I have strived, I have travelled, I have competed at international level, and bought a house ‘on my own’ and I work full time in a highly coveted job (though not particularly well paid) as well as a second job and for the past 6 years have been stationed in a heavy industrial area, and I can’t help but wonder how much of this has contributed to the illness I now have…

    Don’t get me wrong there are fantastic technologies out there helping the world in so many fields and I don’t think we should try to wind the clock back 50 years but I do think we need to be mindful of changes, monitor them, keep what is good and relinquish that which is not helpful. One good thing from the past we seem to have have lost is the value for good quality of life over all else. Quality time and quality relationships

    Soooo… what we need is to do is stop, take stock and start putting in the right things again and limit the wrong ones… Eat better, relax more, and limit your exposure to the bad stuff – environmental nasties, stress and nutrient deficient food.

    Take time for the small things…

    Anyhoo… thats just what I think. But I recommend some of Dr Tabrizians work. I would be interested to know what you think as someone who is experienced with Hashimoto’s, because I am not. I have no family history of Hashimoto’s or any other kind of auto-immune and no friends with it either. I am literally the only person I know with it though I have met others in passing.

    Sophia

    [Reply]

    vic Reply:

    Hey Sophia,

    Thanks for your post.

    I would tend to go the genetics with environmental triggers but me and my siblings all grew up in a pretty remote and rural island community and my parents were health nuts and I have always been physically active. To be honest even now i find hashimotos effects me in very few ways – I am thin, active and energetic etc. Same with all my siblings and mother and grandmother. But I have to accept that didd people are affectd in diff ways. My brother in law who has just been diagnosed with hashimotos in his early 40s is equally sporty and energetic but in the last year and a half has had his life drastically impacted by his hashimotos. Whole weekends of sleeping etc and legs so wobbly he can’t move.
    My biggest signs that I need to alter my thyroxin medication is that my sleep patterns get disturbed to a maximum of around 4.5 hours at night and i get terrible tingling and pains in my arms and hands and my fingers lose dexterity. I take between 50mg to 150 mg and have learned to regulate it myself based on what my body is telling me. I also got diagnosed with low iron so adjusted my diet to include more red meat and spinach etc. I found taking iron supplements made me so constripated that they were not viable.
    The thing with hashimotos as well is that it can take years to diagnose as levels T3, 4 levels etc vary depending on what your body is up to in terms of fighting its self – and when a blood test is taken may not display a problem. Some people i know have had to be really assertive to get tested enough to have it identified.

    Sophia Reply:

    Hi there,

    I grew up on a farm, have no family history of AI and have always eaten very well and always been fit so I don’t know where mine came from either but I guess that not really important now. Now I just have to get on with getting better, gently.

    It was chronic anaemia that led to my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s – so I have a fair bit of experience with it. I found Iron tablets never really worked for me either and gave them up almost immediately. Best thing I have found for treating low iron is a product called Spa Tone (most Health food shops and Pharmacies stock it) taken with 100% Orange Juice and/or Vit C tablets. I would definitely say that liquid suupplements caused fewer side effects and made me feel better than tablets. They just seem to absorb better and be gentler on GI tract. Other products I have used, and would recommend, are Floravital (Health Food Shop) and Ferrous Sulphate elixir (only available at the chemist, cheapest and highest dose but must be mixed with water or juice and can upset tummy a bit) But you must take it at the opposite end of the day from your thyroxine as the two block the uptake of each other. Also make sure you don’t have any caffeine, tannin, phytates or dairy within 1 hour before or 2 hours after either taking your iron supplement or eating an Iron rich meal as they also block the uptake of iron. (ie no bread, milk, tea, coffee, chocolate, wine or grape juice – I find it is therefore easier to do iron in the evening but whatever suits.

    Quick question for you… I get pins and needles in my arm and hand often upon waking… Do I understand you correctly that this is a hypER symptom? Because I feel that my dose may still be to low… Still getting cold more than I think I should and feeling tired etc or is it perhaps low T4 -T3 conversion? Because I have also been finding that depsite feeling tired all day I am wide awake at bedtime? Pearls of wisdom??

    Sophia

  • Sophia Curnow

    Hello Ladies!!

    I have just found this site today and can not tell you how much better I feel to know I am not alone! Thank you so much for all the little tricks and coping strategies on here. It has really given me some good ideas, not to mention the alleviation of guilt!

    I struggle day to day at the moment while they still work out exactly what my treatments and dosage should be BUT I wanted to share something I have found that has changed my outlook incredibly….

    THIS IS FOR THOSE STILL SEARCHING FOR TRUE WELLNESS (or even just some answers…

    For any of you (or anyone that you know that even might have Hashimoto’s or something similar) that feel frustrated and distressed by medical treatments that seem to only work sometimes or partially etc. Please do what I have done and find yourself an ‘Integrative’ Doctor. These doctors are much more interested in your personal biochemistry and healing ‘you’ right down to the last cell than a conventional GP or endocrinologist. They will actually spend time with you and listen to all your symptoms (which is really important) test all of your biochemistry and treat you specifically. Compounding up custom supplements etc. It will be more expensive than a conventional doctor but well worth it.

    For more in depth biochemical understanding I can not speak highly enough of the work done by Dr Igor Tabrizian (the mentor of my new doctor). Anyone you know that has any kind of long term lack of health diagnosed or otherwise (Hashimoto’s, diabetes, endometriosis etc) I would highly recommend reading his work in Nutritional Medicine. He is brilliant. But be prepared for some medical politics too.

    Also, I have found a book called ‘Living Well With Auto-immune Disease’ by Mary Shomon has been very helpful and to a lesser extent as a site called ‘Stop the Thyroid Madness’ is helpful for understanding you body its reactions and alternate ways of addressing symptoms and treatment.

    I have read some information on T4 only pharmaceuticals (Oroxine – is what I take) vs natural thyroid supplements which also contain T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. If anyone has further knowledge on this topic I would be eager to here about it.

    Hope you all have a lovely day,

    Sophia

    [Reply]

  • kristobel

    Hi Sarah – After a month on Thyroxine I mentioned to my doctor that I have days when I am completely fatigued, teary…much like you describe as your thyroidy days. She told me that it is not related to Hashimoto’s as I am on thyroxine…your (or anyone else’s) thyroidy days, do/did they occur whilst taking medication?

    Your site has been an immense help!

    [Reply]

    Sophia Reply:

    Hi Kristobel,
    I have been on thyroxine since Dec and I am pretty confident it is now the right dose (it has gone up from 50-75-100 mcg – back in Feb 50 was giving me hyper symptoms) but still have days when I feel overwhelmed, fatigued and teary. I think you will find most people with Hashi’s will tell you the same. Doctors may tell you that if your TSH is in the right zone this wont happen but it is not true. That said if you think your dose is not right then definitely get your TSH, T3,T4 and TgA all checked. Ask yourself if you just feel sad or are you getting physical symptoms back??? Crappy everyday or just some days? Take note if you get the same certain feelings at the same time of day etc and report this back to your doc.

    As long as your Thyroid gland is functional the hormone level will fluctuate according to how much it is being attacked by your immune system (some days your immune system will be more aggressive than others- hence all the dietary modification to try to calm it). You can never know exactly how good it is going to be on any given day and therefore some days your set dose may be a bit more than you need to bridge the gap, and the next it may be a bit less than you need. All you can do is try to keep things as even as possible and be kind to yourself on the crappy days. You will get better at it.

    Sophia

    p.s. Also investigate T4-T3 conversion. Some people need to take other supplements such as Selenium and Tyrosine to aid conversion of T4(stored form) to T3 (active form).

    [Reply]

    kristobel Reply:

    Thanks, Sophia – thought I was going crazy after seeing doctor but you have confirmed what ‘gut’ was telling me! Cheers!

    [Reply]

    kristobel Reply:

    PS – my antibody levels are off the chart so this also fits with how I am feeling. K

  • Sophia

    I’m glad I could help… Still fumbling my way through too…

    PERTH PEOPLE – just wanted to let you know I have come across a support group called the ThyroidWA. They have regular Thyroid Health Awareness presentations that are run through Gosnells Women Health Service, organised by a lady called Clare Kenwood and Womens Healthworks Joondalup by Sue Hobbs. From what I can work out they have guest speakers who specialise in particular areas of thyroid health. There are links on the ThyroidWA website with all the details of upcoming seminars.

    Wishing you all a lovely day…

    Sophia ;-)

    [Reply]

  • http://TheInspiringBee.com Brandi

    Love this blog! So happy I found it. =)

    [Reply]

  • Sophie R

    I was diagnosed with hashimotos when i was 16 – and developed multi nodular goiter nd my right lobe on my thyroid was continually getting larger over the last 3 yrs – So I opted to get it removed in march 2011 I had a total thyroidectomy and am now on thyroxine 125 mcg.

    As everyone has said only you know what dosage is right for you as it is your body etc etc, is anyone out there on the natural alternative armour throid rather then the synthetic thyroxine ?? After the removal, I have gone massively down hill, wondering whether its the meds that I am on nd how they are affecting me etc im trying to find answers.

    Is anyone having success with this ?

    Any info would be much appreciated

    sophie :-)

    [Reply]

  • kristobel

    I have no experience with armour but there is great info on two forums – dailystrength.com – hypothyroid forum; and about.com also has a great hypothyroid forum

    [Reply]

  • Steph

    Hi sophie since i was diagnosed with hyperthryoidism about 7 years ago i have been taking whole thyroid from my doctor who has it made up by a compounding pharmacy. I switched to thyroxine since then while travelling and felt as you describe, awful. My doctor is in nz, i have used a compounding pharmacy in balina to get my script made up. The important thing is getting the dose right and a lot of mainstream doctors don’t kniw how to prescribe the right dose so they wont do it. I was fortunate ro find a doctor whp was a gp and a registered naturopath with a strong focus in natural therapys and who challenges the industry on whst the correct dose and treatment is. I would never gp back to thyroxine ever again. Your best bet is the internet in finding the right doctor or contact the compounding pharmacys and ask who prescribes it. Good luck hope u feel better.

    [Reply]

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  • Issy

    Hi – I am 23 years old and suffer from adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid related issues. I have been on compounded form of Tertroxin(T3) for two months and also take plenty of vitamins/herbs to assist the adrenals and thyroid function. I have been seeing a slight improvement my energy the past two weeks. I also had lots of stomach problems but have managed this by sticking to a gluten free diet which has improved my condition. Have any of you suffered from hair loss related to this condition? I am starting to thin on my crown and am worried it will not re grow after proper treatment.

    [Reply]

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Yep. All my hair fell out twice. It regrows. With everything related to AI just give it time, lots of time. And love. And healthy gluten free food and relaxation. All will be well in the end. xx

    [Reply]

    issy Reply:

    Thanks Mia what a relief to hear that! How long did your hair take to grow back? Did it return to the way it was before? Some people say it never returns to your original thickness. i read Sarah’s hair thinned but from the photos she looks like she has healthy hair. Apparently hair loss is one of the first few symptoms and also the last to improve.

    [Reply]

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Hi Issy

    It started to grow back fairly quickly, but unfortunately with long hair, it took 2 years before the process was actually complete!! It was the same as ever, I think. It can be hard to tell after 2 years with thin hair.

    My problem is that once I started the healing process, my thyroid started mending. This took five years of up and down, mind you. But it eventually started mending. Then my thyroid dose became too high, at the same time that I broke up with my boyfriend, so I was ridiculously stressed and I lost a great big patch of hair at the front as well as general thinning all over. Unfortunately that has not regrown yet, cos that was earlier this year. But Im hoping it all gets back to normal. :)

  • Katrina

    Hello,
    So good to find this site. I am looking forward to reading more. These posts explain so much. Thank you!

    [Reply]

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  • Gemmel

    I have struggled with health and agree we can heal ourselves of many maladies by what we eat. Just a suggestion if you have not tried. If electromagnetic interference is impacting you . You might try a magnetic overlay on your bed. This may take 6 months to take effect. Do not expect immediate results but it has worked for me.

    Body balance may also assist with noy having to take a multitude of supplements.
    It has all the vitamins and minerals our body requires and provides for 80% asssimilation as compared to around 10-12% from pills.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.developer.nokia.com/Community/Discussion/member.php?910825 Caleb Almen

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Rachel C.

    Is Hypothyroidism the same as Hashimoto’s? I’ve heard mixed answers about it and in my mind wikipedia is hardly a reliable source. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 6 years ago (I was 10) and I’ve been taking natural supplements since then like Thyroitiphin, Pituitrophin PMG, Calcium Lactate, Thyroid Complex and Promaline Iodine. I feel much better, but I think it’s acting up and making it hard for me to lose the last few pounds. :/

    [Reply]

  • Cillagirl

    Hi Sarah

    Great blog..! Thanks so much for this information of your journey. I

    I just spent yesterday in bed as I couldn’t get out of bed to save myself; feeling v heavy/lethargic & sore muscles & just hungry so too exhausted to even make it to the local store around the corner I had whatever protein I had in the cupboard; baked beans & tuna; I’ve decided to go back to vegetarian/vegan diet as I feel much cleaner/lighter on it but may have to wean myself off it with tuna left in the cupboard, I’m v aware of ur advice to take it easy on myself, something I’m not v good at. I luv seafood so may return to it after I’ve been off it for a while first, I feel like the need to get my body used to not having it first. I used to be more or less vegan but for some reason I got in my head if I eat protein & work out hard I’ll get fit like I want. Wrong. I just crashed & learnt that heavy physical exercise is not for me. I Neva used to work out much wen I was young but stress does that; confuses you & breaks down the relationship between ur head & ur body. I also plan on getting a good magnesium powder next payday.

    But there is a complete difference today, I actually feel normal & like getting up & doing what I need to do. It’s amazing the huge difference in how I feel. I knew I wasnt being lazy yesterday I just couldn’t get up, so I didn’t. I ate good food & went back to bed to watch some movies. Today, its 7am & I feel like getting up; now that is what normal feels like; no effort involved, my body is just ready to get up..!

    Anyway, I wonder if u have heard of adaptagen herbs? They are herbs which help the body adapt, cope with stress. I’ve just discovered them; schisandra berry, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola & astragalus as the main ones. I’ve begun with ginseng which at first I was sure stimulated my thyroid as it seemed to hurt & hurt more wen I drank coffee, so I stopped. But I thought I’ll keep going with the ginseng as although it made my thyroid hurt i think it was making me aware of my thyroid. I would never have noticed coffee affecting so much if I hadn’t plus I think ginseng stimulates it in a healthy way, that’s how I feel on it. Next I tried schisandra berry extract (all liquids, as they r absorbed faster). I will swear by this one; I read up on it online & it says this one can replace coffee to help u wake up & sleeping tablets to help u sleep & I will swear by it’s amazing abilities. I now have that as the first thing I take wen I get to the office instead of my morning coffee & I have it three more times a day. It is both relaxing yet keeps you alert. I believe it dramatically reduced pmt symptoms & even period pain all the while I felt v calm & ‘normal’ again after feeling v abnormal for so long now & it’s only been just over a week taking it..!!! Amazing..! I highly recommend!

    Astragalus has finally come in the mail; America seems to be the best place to buy these herbal extracts in liquid form & I’m still waiting for rhodiola which I’m exited about after reading up on it as a mood lifter.

    I wish I’d found these herbs ages ago as I’ve been dealing with stress most of my life & I’ve gotten to the point where my body just cannot take any more. The results from just over a week of taking schisandra berry excites me; mayb I’ll finally get back to my old self yet!

    Oh one more thing L-tyrosine, an amino acid found at GNC & health food stores is supposed to help replenish the adrenals. I’ve only just started taking it so I’ll have to let u know in a bit.

    Thanks
    Cilia

    [Reply]

  • http://activeplumbing.com.au http://activeplumbing.com.au

    Great remedy for thyroid crappy.

    [Reply]