Some of you may know that I have hypothyroidism plus a few other health issues (mostly adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies).
I’ve also had really bad gut health issues in the past, which I’ve now solved – yay! You can read about my gut health issues and how I fixed them here.
I find with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue, the symptoms develop slowly and you get worse and worse. It isn’t until you’re really unwell that you think there might be a problem. So I was in the same boat.
I probably had the issues for years, but it got to a stage where I was so sick and unhealthy, and that’s when I finally started looking into it.
Since posting about my hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue on my social media and blog, I’ve had comments from SO many women who have the same issues.
And a lot of you have been asking me about my diagnosis and treatment so I wanted to share my information with you all. If you are experiencing the same issues, you will be able to seek the right help and get fixed ASAP rather than waiting a few years like me!
Here are my other blog posts if you want to have a read –
- What I’m Struggling With At The Moment (covers everything)
- My Struggle With Gut Health
- How A Hormone Imbalance Can Cause Weight Gain
Also, I haven’t done a full post on adrenal fatigue because there’s just sooo much to write!
Your adrenals and thyroid are linked (both being a part of the endocrine system), so if you have a problem with one, you most likely have a problem with the other. I will write a whole different series of blog posts on adrenal fatigue.
MY HYPOTHYROID SYMPTOMS
I had been experiencing some symptoms associated with hypothyroidism such as weight gain / difficulty losing weigh, puffy face, tired all the time/no energy, dry skin, depression, etc.
But I just though that the physical changes were from getting older and the other symptoms were caused from travelling and also the past issues I’d had with gut health. These symptoms had been developing over several years. And it wasn’t until they got really bad that I decided to do some research online.
I came to the conclusion that I had a hormone imbalance due to long term use of the contraceptive pill, so I went to see a naturopath in Canada (where I was at the time).
Tests showed I had a hormone imbalance and suspected hypothyroidism. I needed more testing for the hypothyroidism but we were leaving for Europe and then did some pretty heavy travel so I never got to get the testing done.
I went off the contraceptive pill and didn’t get my period for 6 months. Once it came, it was a bit all over the place (usually around 40 day cycles) for about another year. 18 months after coming off the contraceptive pill, my periods are now normal.
OK back to were I was! I did more digging and after lots of research, decided I had hypothyroidism (I’m a classic self diagnoser).
My face had become so puffy, especially around my eyes and cheeks. But also my nose had become bigger, and my jawline.
My whole face shape changed. I had also gained about 5-8kgs 2 years ago and had never been able to lose it, no matter what I did. The weight was mostly around my mid section, thighs, back of arms and face (OK everywhere really).
TESTING FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM
By this stage, we were back in Australia so I immediately booked in to see my naturopath. She referred me to a holistic doctor who specialised in hypothyroidism. We did all the testing and my results came back fine.
I was told my TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 for levels were OK, I was just extremely deficient in iodine and had a few other deficiencies such as zinc and vitamin D (all of which are really important for your thyroid). Your thyroid can’t actually function properly without iodine (and zinc) so my doctor suggested that I take iodine and zinc supplements, which I did.
I started taking 288mcg of liquid iodine (Bioceuticals brand) daily. After a month I hadn’t noticed much difference. I did some research online (I’m a sucker for it!) and found a lot of stories about people with hypothyroidism and how some people were taking 12.5mg of iodine daily.
I was taking 0.288mg. Not even 1mg! I upped my dose to 1.2mg daily (not even close to 12.5mg) and after about 6 weeks I started noticing improvements. The weight started dropping off and I hadn’t changed my diet and exercise. I was actually doing a lot less exercise. I was happy about this, but I wanted some better advice.
I booked in to see another naturopath who specialised in hypothyroidism and I finally got the results I was after! Turns out my Free T4 and Free T3 levels weren’t OK – they were both low. But what my other doctor didn’t test for was Reverse T3.
I don’t want to get too technical, but basically Free T4 needs to convert to Free T3 because Free T3 is the active form of the thyroid hormone. My Reverse T3 was very very high and I was told that my Free T4 was converting to Reverse T3 instead of the usable Free T3.
I finally had some answers!
I was also tested for every possible deficiency that you can imagine and I was still low in iodine (although it had increased a fair bit since taking the supplements). I was also still very low in zinc, and a whole range of other things such as magnesium and iron.
TREATMENT FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM 2017 – FROM NATUROPATH
The second naturopath (who did the better testing) gave me the following supplements.
ENERGY FORMULA ONE
This is basically like a multivitamin, just with more absorbable forms of each vitamin/mineral. I have been taking this long term and it seems to help. It has lots of B vitamins, zinc and selenium, which are all important.
It also has a high dosage of iodine in it. I found that liquid iodine (Bioceuticals) worked better than capsules for me.
My naturopath told me that this type of zinc is more bioavailable than over the counter zinc supplements, and is a stronger dose. I’m currently taking 2 of these per day (60mg in total). Correction – zinc picolinate is the best form according to my doctor.
I tried this capsule form of iodine as well, but didn’t see much difference.
OCTOBER 2018 – UPDATE
After taking this medication above, I was still struggling with hypothyroidism symptoms such as extreme fatigue, weight gain / inability to lose weight, puffy, etc.
I came back to Australia and decided to see an Integrative Doctor rather than a naturopath. In hindsight, I should have done this much sooner.
We did more tests, and turns out I had the following:
- Hypothyroidism caused by poor T4 to T3 conversion, and high Reverse T3
- Pyrroles disorder (deficiency in zinc and Vitamin B6)
- Iodine deficiency
- Other deficiencies including silica, chromium and magnesium.
- High leptin (my leptin levels are that of an extremely obese person)
TREATMENT FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM – INTEGRATIVE DOCTOR
TO TREAT HYPOTHYRIOIDISM – SLOW RELEASE T3
To fix the T4 to T3 conversion and high Reverse T3, I need to take a T3 only supplement. I had mine made at a compounding pharmacy. I am taking it for 50 days. After this, I will be tested again and then my dosage will either by changed, or I will be able to stop taking them.
I noticed a HUGE difference in fatigue within the first 2 weeks! It is honestly the best I’ve felt in a long time.
You can only get this medication from a doctor, not a naturopath, and you cannot order it online. Most regular doctors or endocrinologists will not issue this medication, so it is best to see an Integrative Doctor.
TO TREAT PYRROLES DISORDER
Pyrroles disorder results in chronic long term deficiencies of zinc and Vitamin B6. I won’t go into more detail about this disorder in this blog post. But I will need to take medication for life to treat it. The medication is high dosage zinc and Vitamin B6 in the right ratios.
I am also taking extra zinc, in the form of zinc picolinate.
TO TREAT IODINE DEFICIENCY
I have been taking low dosage iodine for 1.5 years and am still deficient. So this time, I am again taking the high dosage iodine supplement from Lucy Rose Clinic (capsule form).
Last time though, I didn’t think it did much for me. So I am also taking Bioceuticals liquid iodine as well. I will have my levels tested again soon to make sure they are back up where they should be.
TO TREAT NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES
My nutrients deficiencies are magnesium, chromium and silica. I am taking supplements for all of these (still waiting for my silica supplements though).
Fibroplex Plus powder is great for magnesium. It also has a low dose of chromium in it, but I am taking another chromium supplement as well. It also has glutamine which is great for your gut health.
TO TREAT LETPIN REISTANCE
This one is a little more difficult to treat, and I am mostly self treating this one.
Treating zinc deficiency, adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism will help this reduce on its own. As well as getting good quality sleep!
I am taking this supplement (Inositol), which lowers both insulin and leptin. And am also taking Alpha Lipoic Acid.
And I am also making the following dietary changes, which are recommended for leptin resistance:
- No grains or processed sugar
- Higher fat and lower protein and carb
- 3 meals and no snacks
If you want to try out this type of diet, I have a 7 day meal plan that is dairy, gluten and processed sugar free. But you need to be consistent and patient :)
I am also taking the following:
- Adrenotone – to help with adrenals
- Vitamin C (natural, not ascorbic acid) – vital for adrenals as well
- B complex vitamin
- Iron (only during my period)
- Vitamin D (only when I don’t get much sun)
- NAC or “n-acetyl-cysteine” – helps to reduce mucin, which is the fluid build up experienced with hypothyroidism. This is generally around the jawline, backs of arms and mid region.
- Chlorella, spirulina and camu camu (put in my smoothies)
- Brazil nuts (for selenium)
ADVICE ON SUPPLEMENTS
If you buy supplements online, the best brands are:
- Thorne Research
- Pure Encapsulations
- NOW Foods
SUMMARY OF WHAT HAS HELPD THE MOST
Seeing an Integrative Doctor helped a LOT! I had seen other doctors and naturopaths, but finding the right one to help you is the most important thing.
Also, getting the right tests done is super important (see below about what tests you should get for hypothyroidism). One thing I have found with naturopaths is that they are great with doing the right tests, but not as good with treatment (that is just based on my experience).
Sleep and reducing exercise are 2 critical things – your body can’t heal without these. This made a big difference for me.
And finally, T3 medication has helped me an extreme amount! When I first started taking iodine, I noticed a huge difference too.
Just keep in mind that treating hypothyroidism and feeling better won’t happen overnight. Likely it will be years. So don’t get disheartened if you don’t feel great straight away. Keep going!
TESTING THAT I RECOMMEND
If you do suspect that you have hypothyroidism, please see a specialist and make sure you get tested for ALL of the following (make sure they don’t miss anything out!):
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid antibiodies
- All nutrients (but especially zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium)
- It could also be worthwhile getting your saliva cortisol tests done to see if you have issues with your adrenals.
Reducing the amount of stress in your life, and increasing your sleep are both 2 things that are critical.
I reduced the amount of travel I was doing as this severely affected my sleep and put a lot of stress on my body.
And I have been sleeping as MUCH as I can – roughly 10 hours per night. I do absolutely everything I can to make sure I can get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is the most important thing for helping adrenal fatigue, so it is extremely important. Don’t skip your sleep!
I also cut back my exercise. It was really hard to do at first, especially when I was gaining weight. I just wanted to exercise more and more.
But what your body needs to recover is rest, sleep, the right supplements and just for you to slow down. All I have been doing is walking and a few circuits (all light circuits – no HIIT or weights). And a little bit of yoga. It has helped a lot!
If you want to change your lifestyle in order to help your body recover faster, I have a complete workout plan that combines cardio and lighter resistance training. And I’ve designed an 8-week meal plan that will help you eat healthy and cut down on processed sugar. You can find my workout and nutrition plan here.
Changing your lifestyle will probably help a lot but I would also advise you to find a good integrative doctor :)
Good luck! I wish you all the best xxx