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Spinning out of Control

Post Published: 25 January 2012
Author:
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 10 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid,

You have really taken a toll on my life. I had to lose the job that was perfect for me because of you. I’m constantly in pain, have lost my hair and put on a lot of weight. Even my marriage is suffering because my husband thinks that I have severe onset mental issues. Why won’t you leave me alone? 15 years is a long time to be hanging around. I got put away, lost a lot of friends and confidence because of you and that really hurts and angers me. Please, please release me so I can LIVE again!

By, Yolanda

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10 Responses to “Spinning out of Control”

  1. Justin says:

    Trials are not our enemy.

    • Justin says:

      Trial are not our enemy but opportunities

      • Dear Thyroid says:

        Hi Justin,

        I edited your comment because we omit religion and politics from our brand. We’re secular. We support all religions, of course. That said, we never want anyone to feel alienated, so we do not incorporate religious or political text. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you wish to discuss.

        We come together in the name of thyroid cancer and disease.

        Katie@DearThyroid.org

        PS: You can check our FAQ

  2. Nicole Nemeth says:

    Dear Yolanda,
    I’ve had my fair share of thyroid issues the past 7 years. I have Hashimotos and
    have experienced memory loss, fatigue, weight gain, constant infections, ect..ect. I have found you have to be your own advocate and do your research. You cannot solely rely on your Dr. I just recently changed to a gluten free diet and finally feel like I have my life back. If I would have known this years ago I would have done it then. Don’t give up. Empower yourself by gaining knowledge through research and asking questions. Sometimes, we can answer our own prayers. Good luck! My heart goes out to you.

  3. Melissa Travis says:

    Yolanda,
    I’m sorry you are going through this. GIANT HUGS!!
    xo
    Melissa

  4. Kelly says:

    Hey in there! There is light at the end of the tunnel! Stay on top of your doctors, and be your own health advocate.

  5. Lolly says:

    Yolanda I feel your pain gain as much Knowledge about your disease try taking control of it the best way you can and don’t let it take over you..

  6. roberto8ag says:

    Yolanda,

    It is very difficult for me to give you words of encouragement since I’m struggling with an illness that has brought devastating effects in my life as well.

    One thing that has helped me in my experience is to think about attitude. Every time I despair I get back to this word. For some reason it takes me to a proper mental state, a clearer state of mind where I can visualize the situation I found myself in, and the things I should do – those things I can control and the projects I can undertake and accomplish.

    Attitude, after all, is something my illness can not take from me!

    :o)

  7. Larissa says:

    Yolanda, I feel your pain..and people without thyroid problems will never understand how it feels to live like we do. I myself have lost friends and jobs due to my disease. I agree with Kelly, be your own health advocate and investigate better treatment options for yourself. To keep off weight I FORCE myself to go to the gym even though I have no energy to ever go. Hopefully your husband and others you love will come to your aid and not be judgemental of your condition. Never feel alone because there are a lot of us that are going through what you are!

  8. Sheryl says:

    I hope I did this right .. Iron really helped me

    http://www.stopthethyroidmaddiscover that being hypothyroid

    A large body of thyroid patients have been surprised to discover that being hypothyroid also results in having an iron issue, whether just low Ferritin (storage iron), or problems revealed in other iron labs (% saturation, serum iron, TIBC), or with all, which are important.

    Additionally, some patients can have what looks like a normal Ferritin, yet the other iron labs reveal the true problem. So let’s look at the entire iron problem.

    What is ferritin? Ferritin is an iron-storage protein which keeps your iron in a dissolvable and usable state, making the iron non-toxic to cells around it. So when Ferritin is measured via a blood test, it is basically measuring the iron you have tucked away for safe use.

    Why is measuring storage iron important? You can have so-called “normal” or even optimal serum iron and saturation levels, and even normal hemoglobin and hematocrit, yet a low Ferritin. And some patients report continued problems raising desiccated thyroid even with just low ferritin while the other labs look good. What causes low ferritin when other labs look great? It can point to bacteria and viruses feeding on iron. Even too much of certain herbs like Milk Thistle are said to lower ferritin. Or it can precede becoming anemic.

    Why do we often have low iron levels? Because being hypothyroid can result in a lowered production of hydrochloric acid which in turn leads to the malabsorption of iron, whether revealed with low ferritin, or with inadequate levels of serum or saturation. It can also lower your body temperature (common for those on T4-only thyroxine, as well) which causes you to make less red blood cells. Some even find themselves with a higher-than-normal temperature with on-going iron problems. Additionally, being hypo can result in heavier periods for women, which causes more iron loss.

    Why is having low iron levels a problem and what are symptoms? First, though the slide into low iron can be symptomless, it eventually becomes the precursor to being anemic, revealed by the other iron labs–saturation and serum iron. And once the latter occurs, you can then have symptoms which mimic hypothyroid–depression, achiness, easy fatigue, weakness, faster heartrate, palpitations, loss of sex drive, hair loss and/or foggy thinking, etc, causing a patient to think they are not on enough desiccated thyroid, or that desiccated thyroid is not working. Excessively low Ferritin as well as low iron can also make it difficult to continue raising your desiccated thyroid, resulting in hyper symptoms when raising desiccated thyroid.

    In turn, having low iron levels decreases deiodinase activity, i.e. it slows down the conversion of T4 to T3. Biologically, insufficient iron levels may be affecting the first two of three steps of thyroid hormone synthesis by reducing the activity of the enzyme “thyroid peroxidase”, which is dependent on iron. Thyroid peroxidaxe brings about the chemical reactions of adding iodine to tyrosine (amino acid), which then produces T4 and T3. Insufficient iron levels, which low ferritin reveals, alters and reduces the conversion of T4 to T3, besides binding T3. Additionally, low iron levels can increase circulating concentrations of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

    Even worse, good iron levels are needed in the production of cortisol via the adrenal cortex. This study reveals that an iron-containing protein is present in high amounts in the adrenal cortex and is involved in the synthesis of corticosterone. So by having low iron, you can potentially lower your cortisol levels.

    Iron, in addition to iodine, selenium and zinc, are essential for normal thyroid hormone metabolism.

    Can my ferritin look great, but my iron levels are not? Do I need other iron labs done along with ferritin? You betcha. Because as mentioned above, ferritin can look optimal, yet your other iron labs reveal you have poor iron levels. Why would the ferritin look good when the others don’t? Because ferritin can rise in the presence of inflammation (very common), infection or even cancer. TIBC will also tend to go high in the presence of low iron. Inflammation of any kind is especially common with some thyroid patients and needs to be discovered and treated, such as using flavonoid-rich foods like krill oil, as well as turmeric (containing curcumin), Lauricidin or ginger capsules.

    Ferritin rises to counter the normal binding of tissue iron due to the infection or inflammation. The total lab profiles you should request include:

    Ferritin
    Serum iron
    TIBC
    % Saturation.

    This page gives you a general idea of what you are looking for in all these labs and what they mean. Thyroid patient Nick Foote has reported that you are looking for a % saturation to be between 35-45%, and a serum iron at least 90, in order to better tolerate desiccated thyroid or T3.

    How do I prepare for iron labs? Most doctors and medical websites will state to be off iron for a good 12 hours before testing.

    My TIBC is low as is my iron. What does that mean for me? A low TIBC, which stands for Total iron binding capacity, has meant patients have been unable to take high amounts of elemental iron as others do to raise the low iron. Why? Iron needs to be bound in the blood in order to carry it where needed. When that binding is low, iron will accumulate too high in your blood. Thus, patients have learned to take lower amounts of iron to raise the low iron and/or low ferritin, such as less than 100 mg of elemental iron. It will take longer to raise your low iron or low ferritin that those without low TIBC.

    What’s the solution to the above? The solution, after you have verified low iron levels with a blood test is to supplement your diet with iron. Foods rich in iron include lean meats, liver, eggs, green leafy vegetables (spinach, collard greens, kale), wheat germ, whole grain breads and cereals, raisins, and molasses. You can also help yourself by cooking foods in a cast iron skillet.

    But most patients and their doctors have found it necessary to supplement with iron tablets, which includes Ferrous Sulfate, Ferrous Glutamate, Ferrous Fumerate, etc. Supplementation needs to be spread out during the day, with food, for better absorption. Bluebonnet is a favorite brand name of iron, but there are other good brands.

    Ferrous Sulfate is usually the cheapest–just be sure you are taking a good Vit. E with it since there is evidence that it’s depleted with the use of Ferrous Sulfate. And always take it with food. The owner of this site had to take 2-3 325 mgs. of Ferrous Sulfate with food and throughout the day, for months to even begin to get her Ferritin up, plus 800 mgs Magnesium.

    Ferrous Gluconate may cause fewer symptoms and is milder on stomach. Ferrous Fumerate is often prescribed by doctors as it, too, has fewer side effects, absorbs well, and is easier on the stomach.

    Beware of liquid iron that is animal based (heme)–it may be the best absorbable iron, but it can blacken your teeth, as it did to the owner of this site. One suggested solution is to use a straw when taking the liquid iron. VEGETABLE BASED (nonheme) liquid iron avoids this, even if less absorbable. Also, because heme iron is much more absorbable, patients take far less to achieve the same results as tablets.

    I was contacted by a physician practicing alternative medicine who highly recommends Floradix Iron and Herbs, or Enzymatic Therapy Liquid Liver. Check in your local health food store or pharmacy. From Canada, there is a chewable non-constipating iron called Hemofactors by Natural Factors, and one patient who wrote me swears by it. It’s Ferric Pyrophosphate, also called SunActive Iron and you’ll want to pay attention to the “elemental iron” amount to get enough. Many thyroid patients like the Bluebonnet brand of iron, saying it causes less constipation.

    How much iron supplementation do I need to raise my low levels, and how long do I take it? The first step is to find out how much “elemental iron”–the iron that is absorbable, is in each tablet of whatever iron compound you take. The mg. amount on your bottle does NOT necessarily refer to the “elemental iron”. For example, in one 300 mg tablet of ferrous sulfate, there may only be approx. 50 mg of elemental iron.

    Next, patients have discovered they may need 150 to 200 mg of “elemental iron” daily, spread out with meals, in order to adequately raise their ferritin and/or iron levels. And it can still take many weeks, and sometimes 2-3 months, to improve your levels to the desirable goal, which appears to be a Ferritin lab result of 70-90. For men it will be higher. Keep track of labwork with your doctor to see where your levels are, because you want to get off the iron once you achieve your goal since iron promotes free radicals. Some women who are menstruating may have to stay on maintenance amounts of iron. Check with your doctor.

    Should I take anything with the iron to help? Yes, Vitamin C. First, Vitamin C is said to help the absorption of iron. Second, since the introduction of iron in your body can promote the stimulation of free radicals, Vitamin C has a known role of combating those free radicals. How much C? Some take it to tolerance–the amount they can handle before getting too-soft stools. Others are in the 1000-2000 mg range. At the very least, patients have discovered, drink down your iron tablets with orange juice or a drink like Emergen-C.

    Also taking a mineral supplement can assist the absorption, as can B-vitamins. One important B-vitamin is Folic Acid, which promotes red blood cell formation. Adding it to your iron supplementation can be key.

    What about the constipation I get from taking particular iron supplements? If you do find yourself with constipation or very hard stools, talk to your doctor about adding Magnesium Citrate as a supplement, taken twice a day, until you find the amount that softens your stool. You’ll know within a few days if the amount you are taking is enough….or even too much (i.e. too much will cause diarrhea).

    Can I take iron at the same time I swallow my desiccated thyroid? If you swallow your desiccated thyroid instead of doing it sublingually, it’s important to avoid swallowing iron at the same time, since the iron will bind to some of the thyroid hormones and make them useless. Take your iron several hours later. If you are doing your natural thyroid sublingually, you are fine whenever you swallow your iron.

    How soon do I re-test my iron labs when I’m supplementing iron? Every 4-6 weeks is best, say patients. You don’t want to overload yourself with iron, and some patients have had that happen when doctors make them wait too long!

    What if I can’t tolerate oral iron? If you have problems absorbing oral iron due to a previous stomach surgery or other issues, another option is to use Venofer – an intravenous iron which helps replenish body iron stores. Talk to your doctor. (Thanks go to “Chenille” for this info)

    Once I get my ferritin or iron levels back up, will it all stay up? For females, some of us have had our ferritin or iron levels plummet again, so it may be wise to stick with a small dose of supplemental iron or eat iron rich foods, especially if you are female and still menstruating. Once into menopause, your ferritin levels may stay where they need to.

    What about iron injections or IV? If your ferritin is in the teens, or your iron labs are seriously low, ask your doctor about either an iron injection or prescribing an IV iron infusion. Either will raise your iron levels far quicker—just a few weeks as compared to a few months from supplementation. The IV infusion does require being in a health facility. and it can be expensive, but the plus of raising iron quicker is there. You will be monitored to prevent anaphylactic shock.

    What if I find my ferritin is super high? High levels of ferritin can point to an iron overload, such as the inherited disorder called hemochromatosis, which you can read about here. Your doctor will usually direct you to give blood in order to lower these harmful higher levels. With hemochromatosis, you can have a low TIBC or UIBC.

    Are men different than women in their iron lab results? Yes. Men normally have higher levels of ferritin than women without having an infection. It’s common to see healthy men with a ferritin over 100.

    Need a good doctor to work with in all this? Go here.–

    LAB WORK packages designed specifically for readers of Stop the Thyroid Madness. Use the discount code STTM10 which will give you 10% off the already low prices! STTM FERRITIN, Thyroid and Adrenal Lab Packages

    LAB WORK packages, including FERRITIN, designed specifically for readers of Stop the Thyroid Madness–CLICK HERE for FERRITIN

    You can read more about low iron and thyroid here:

    *Iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism found here.
    *Iron Deficiency in Goitrous Children article found here.
    *Iron Supplementation for Unexplained Fatigue in Non-Anaemic Women article found here.
    *One recommendation for 70-90 is found here.
    *A good article explaining supplements to take with iron found here.

    Additional reading:

    *Details on iron: http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/004/Y2809E/y2809e0j.htm
    *How low iron affects cortisol: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1651678
    *Impaired conversion of T4 to T3: http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/239/5/R377
    *Low iron and sympathetic system: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17660705

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