Sunday, June 22, 2014

"suppose i'm using synthroid"...

I know -- most of what I write about enhancing thyroid performance is from the point of view of maximizing the production and efficiency of a weak but functioning gland.  A lot of people however have been victims of bad science, having their thyroid removed or killed because an incompetent MD didn't know how to "cure" it.  Others, sadly, have had a thyroidectomy through accidental causes.  These people probably feel my posts on the subject don't apply to them.

But they do.  Skip over the bits about tyrosine, and lessen the strictures on iodine, but yes -- they do.

The very first point I make is that THE MORE CARBOHYDRATE YOU EAT, THE MORE THYROID HORMONE IS REQUIRED TO PROCESS IT.  This applies to everyone, hypothyroid or normal.  I'll leave it to people with hyper problems to present their point of view about carbs, but the blanket statement STILL applies.

If you're obliged to take the pharmaceutical form of thyroid that contains thyroxine (T4) but not triiodothyronine (T3), maximizing active conversion and reception is crucial.  THIS is the place where your actions and choices make a difference.  And again -- even if you're taking a T4+T3 formulation, this area can still apply to you!  Who says that the exact ratio you're getting in your supplement is what YOUR BODY wants?  Why is T4 in there at all, if your body's conversion isn't important?

And many people aren't doing all that's possible to optimize T4 conversion!  They've been told by broscience that they're getting all the nutrients they need on a paleo/primal diet, so supplementation is for SAD-eaters -- but unfortunately, broscience doesn't know shit about bodies that don't work as designed, i.e., hypothyroid bodies.  They don't take into account the fact that diminished thyroid function EQUALS diminished nutrient absorption from whole-food sources, and that intelligent supplementation hot-wires this limitation significantly.

Selenium and zinc are the sine-qua-non of supplementation for the T3-challenged.  If you're female, then you probably need iron as well.  The "man behind the curtain" keeps telling you that iron-overload is a PRAWWWWBLEM -- and it is for some.  FEW.  RARE.  Most women are iron-deficient, not overloaded.  Even if you eat red meat.  If you're hypothyroid and losing hair, i'll BET you're iron-deficient.

B12, especially, but all of the B vitamins probably should be added to your regimen.  Repeat this mantra:  IF YOU'RE HYPOTHYROID, YOU DON'T ABSORB NUTRIENTS APPROPRIATELY. 

Choose a sublingual in the form "HYDROXOcobalamin" because the cyanocobalamin isn't doing you a damn bit of good.  Know why a lot of goitrogens ARE goitrogens?  Cuz they often contain cyanides -- you know, that stuff murder mysteries use to poison people in a very short time, using massive doses.  Just because the dose in your food doesn't kill you immediately doesn't mean it's innocuous, like sugar (<- irony alert).  Your thyroid hates cyanide.  ;-)

(If you know that you're a poor methylator via a genetic test, go straight for the methylcobalamin, but some people have the opposite problem, and the hydroxo form is apparently effective for everyone.)

As a matter of fact, choosing a sublingual or transdermal form of many vitamins and minerals is superior -- this is why Epsom salts are so good.  If your intestinal absorption is inhibited, or if you experience irritation with it, taking the shortcut to your bloodstream can be an excellent idea.

You can have plenty of T3 in your bloodstream, too, but if it can't get into your cells because of a lack of receptors, you're shit-outa-luck.  Saturated fats in the diet maximize receptors, PUFAs minimize them, and MUFA is somewhere in the middle.  DON'T eat fried foods away from home, because you know they'll use the cheapest vegetable oil on the market.  DON'T eat commercial salad dressings and mayo. 


Tweaking diet and supplementation isn't out of place, even if you DO have to depend on pharmaceuticals.  I suspect that the more pharmaceuticals one is forced to take rather makes our personal choices MORE important in the end.


  1. "I suspect that the more pharmaceuticals one is forced to take rather makes our personal choices MORE important in the end."

    That's a good point. I no longer take any pharmaceuticals, but I used to take quite a few, and you are right, that requires careful consideration.

    Great advice, even for the bros.

    1. thank you! :-) honestly, i have nothing against the bros -- i LIKE men, but i get very annoyed when they INSIST their handed-down hypotheses about older-women's health trumps actual SCIENCE and our personal experiences....

  2. Good stuff, a topic on which I remain lazily ignorant.

    Re eating away from home - in a time when all the major fast food joints have moved to using 'heart healthy' canola oil, I'm lucky to know a family-owned cafe that cook their own burgers in tallow. My lunch time saviours.

    Have a good one.

    1. you too, you lucky devil! do they cook their fries in tallow too? i'd risk the solanine for THAT!

  3. I am not a medical professional just someone who is interested in good health. I firmly believe that too many carbohydrates do not do our bodies any favours and restriction is best. This must of course be balanced to take account of any underlying health issues or problems.......

    @Chips - you are indeed "lucky to know a family-owned cafe that cook their own burgers in tallow"

    All the best Jan

    1. even if i didn't NEED to restrict carbs, i believe it's in most people's best interests to do so, too!

      looks like you had a lovely holiday -- more photos coming?

  4. Glad to see this post - reminds me to go by Vitamin Shoppe & restock MY supplements...
    Unfortunately I had no choice when compelled to leave my thyroid (& assorted lymph nodes) in the OR when I was diagnosed w/thyroid carcinoma 25 yrs ago, but there have been no silver anniversary celebrations. Spending half my life having to depend on synthetic thyroid replacement has been far from ideal, but I'm trying to optimize my diet, exercise & supplements regiment to "make the best of this bad situation".
    Thanks Tess!

    1. Val, I have less traumatic reason to take thyroid hormones -a part of my thyroid gland is missing due to my immune system misguided activity. I found synthetic thyroid substitute to be sub-optimal compare to the one which was derived from pig's thyroid - desiccated natural thyroid (Armour Thyroid) . On the Synthroid alone I had normal lab values, but symptoms of hypothyroidism were still present.

    2. you're welcome, Val! some medics seem to think that the thyroid either works or it doesn't, and if lab values are bad enough, just throw synthetic hormones at the patient until the numbers fall in place. WE know different!

      I just googled extensively about what the body needs to produce, convert and utilize thyroid hormones most effectively. :-) the volume of information was staggering! SO many amino acids, fats, enzymes, vitamins, minerals are involved in all the processes! the ONLY THING your thyroid doesn't actually need are -- wait for it! ;-) -- CARBS. broscience couldn't be more wrong about carbohydrates and the thyroid!