As I wrote yesterday, I have reached another chapter with my hashimoto battle. I’d been doing everything right, but I was still having “thyroidy days” 3-4 days a week. My blood tests were also doing weird things (in the most recent case, coming back with low TSH AND low T3 and T4) and so the doctors were just shrugging at me and ushering me out the door. I thought I was at a dead end.
Which was driving me MENTAL But then. I delved deeper. And I made some VERY EXCITING discoveries that I think will help many of you out there who write to me about your similar frustrations. Many of the principles will speak to anyone with an autoimmune disease, too.
I’ll be writing a few posts on some of the things I’ve found. To kick off, I chatted with Chris Kresser during the week. He’s had his own battles and understands frustration. He runs The Healthy Skeptic and is a practitioner in integrative medicine and acupuncturist (and has a wife with thyroid disease). Anyway, he’s come to specialise in hashimotos. And his info is sound and generous.
In the podcast we cover (and I’m outlining the details below cos it’s all very DENSE info):
The three reasons why your thyroid medication might not be working.
Primarily it’s because hashimotos is an inflammation disease, not a thyroid disease as such. But only the thyroid gets treated (with a band-aid fix – the medication)…causing the other factors involved to continue on. So
- Medication doesn’t address the damage done by inflammation to the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, which is key to hashi.
- Medication doesn’t address the damage done by inflammation to thyroid hormone receptors. If there aren’t enough receptors, or they aren’t sensitive enough, it doesn’t matter how much thyroid medication we take. The cells won’t be able to use it.
- Medication comes in the form of T4 (this is what thyroxin is), which our bodies are meant to convert into T3 (which is the active form required by our cells). BUT if your system is stuffed (by inflammation), it can’t make this conversion. Which is just so dumb (and the reason why I supplement my thyroxin with a compounded T3, since the drug companies don’t make it in this format…yes, DUMB!).
The six situations that might explain why your thyroid might be playing up
…and what to do.
As you listen to the six scenarios, we’ll be referring to a bunch of blood tests that will help you work out which scenario might be yours.
Below I’ve outlined the blood tests you’ll need to have on hand to do this. If you’re feeling like crap, I suggest you go to your doctor/therapist and ask for all these to be done at once.
- Hypothyroidism caused by pituitary dysfunction: caused by elevated cortisol from infection, blood sugar imbalances, chronic stress, pregnancy, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. In your blood tests: TSH will be low but within the standard range but T4 will be low, too.
- Under-conversion of T4 to T3: caused by inflammation and elevated cortisol levels. In your blood tests: TSH and T4 will be normal. But T3 will be low.
- Hypothyroidism caused by elevated Thyroid binding globulin (TBG): caused by high estrogen levels, which are often often associated with birth control pills or estrogen replacement. In your blood tests: TSH and T4 will be normal. T3 will be low and T3 uptake and TBG will be high.
- Hypothyroidism caused by decreased TBG: caused by high testosterone levels. In women, it is commonly associated with PCOS and insulin resistance. In your blood tests: TSH and T4 will be normal. T3 will be high and T3 uptake and TBG will be low.
- Thyroid resistance: caused by chronic stress and high cortisol levels. You can’t test for this
- Low T3 Syndrome: to better understand how this works, it’s probably best to check out Chris’ posts on the matter.
The blood tests to request from your doctor:
t3, t4, free t3, free t4
Finally, I’ll be writing about T-regulating and glutathione recycling in upcoming posts…if it’s all too much, hang out until then. I’ll try to make it clear.
If you’d like more from Chris, check out his ebooks and – yes! – he’s available for consultation all the way from Berkeley in California. He told me he’ll do a free 15 minutes consult to kick off with!
Has this been helpful…do let me know. I’ll endeavour to do more of these kind of chats if you think it is!