Thyroid Secrets You Wish You Knew One Year Ago

Thyroid Secrets You Wish You Knew One Year Ago

My Blood Values Came Back!

So my blood values came in. Being ketogenic most of the time, there is an interest to see what it happening. Also, as you may remember, I jumped on the Iodine therapy suggested by David Brownstein, so highly curious to looking at the thyroid values.
Having started early February with 12.5 mg per day, after 2 months there should be some effect. My reason to start:
  • History: I was “caught” in a company screening in 2001 as being low, with T3 at 1.5 and T4 at 1.3, TSH at 3.8, and have had TSH at 8.8 in 2011 (see units and ranges below.) The endocrinologist wanted to put me on Thyroxin replacement. I took a route with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, which did a good job within 2 months.
  • 2. Having read Brownstein’s book (see below), 2 conditions that would improve sparked my interest: Dupuytren’s Contracture, which I have in my hands, and the benefits for prostrate health – all ok, and want to keep it that way.
From self-observation, with the iodine I experience higher levels of energy, what is easy to get used to. My wife notices the same, and notices that “bumbs” under her armpits are disappearing.
My outcome values and normal ranges: (April 2015 and February 2013)
T3 free (pmol/L) 4.1 – 4.3 [3.1-6.5]
T4 free (pmol/L) 11.4- 12.6 [10 – 19.8]
TSH (mU/L)        23.5 – 4.8 [0.35-4.5]
Well, the effect is there – in the TSH which is beyond any measure. My GP called me to discuss the values. What could be the cause?
Well, Brownstein explains in his book, that TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, produced by the Pituitary gland, does more than just affect the Thyroid gland.

NIS mystery

Thyroid Secrets You Wish You Knew One Year Ago thyroid secrets you wish you knew one year ago
TSH also stimulates the production of iodine transport molecules – the sodium-iodide-symporter or NIS. “Without adequate amounts of NIS, iodine could not be shuttled along the bloodstream to the cells to use the iodine to make thyroid hormone. In this case, elevated TSH does not indicate a hypothyroid condition, since the T3 and T4 are in the normal range (where only T3 is really relevant, see below.) Brownstein has seen that the TSH elevation (up to 30 mU/L) stays up for up to 6 months, and then reduce to normal. So we are all relieved…

Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It Iodine is the most misunderstood nutrient …

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Another puzzle piece crying Wolff

Still, I wanted to know more. I researched further, and found Barbara Lougheed’s 2014 book “Tired Thyroid” – an amazing piece of work. It shows how little training doctors get in the endocrinology (in fact, the same training I got as a pharmacist in Leiden.) Also, because it breaks some of the myths about Thyroid conditions and how to treat them. For instance, that using TSH as a guide for the thyroid hormone dosage is a total misnomer. Also, it shows how the thyroid is influenced by antipsychotic drugs, and how asthma and allergies, high blood pressure are misdiagnosed, and can be caused by hypothyroidism. Highly recommended.
At any rate, I jumped on the chapter about Iodine and found a mixed message:
  • Iodine treatment is definitely confirmed to be beneficial in cancer treatment (as Brownstein keeps saying)
  • That the iodine project was started by Dr. Guy Abraham in 1998, to do studies through his company Optimox, which sells Iodine tablets called Iodora, suggesting a conflict of interest.
  • That iodine treatment can trigger the Wolff-Chaikoff effect, stopping thyroid synthesis and release. (something Brownstein has never observed, and which seems to be temporary – up to 10 days, which I am far beyond, and my T3 is doing well.)
  • That the iodine loading test Abraham suggests to establish iodine deficiency, misses iodine that is excreted 2 and 3 days later, so may be to sensitive, making most people iodine deficient. (I found a lab in Germany that can do the measurement, btw.)
For me another case where the Jury is out and insufficient data is available. No peer reviewed publications, no studies that will these this out. Too expensive to do, and too little to gain with a cheap treatment like iodine. (apart from the potential prevention savings)

Dosage considerations:

Brownstein suggests 12.5 mg, others 2-3 mg, and at least 3 mg per day in case of cancer.

My personal strategy:

  • Continue iodine (Lugol’s solution). There are too many reasons to do so.
  • Keep an eye out for side-effects from iodine (skin issues, and possible signs for hypothyroidism, like slow pulse, feeling cold, weight loss)
  • Monitor the T3 and TSH value, to see when they come down in July-August. (or at my next blood letting)
  • Monitor my Dupuytren.

Lowering My Dosage of Lugol’s to 2 drops a week.

Update 3 June 2015: Having read a further5 chapters in the “Tired Thyroid” from Barbara Lougheed on the effects of Iodine suppletion and the diverse effects it can have when too high (she calls it “Russian Roulette”, and it is about the 50mg Iodoral dosage) I have decided to move to the lower dosages that are suggested, in the mg, rather than 50mg range. 

With 2 drops of the 5% Iodine (12.5% Lugol’s solution) that I used to take, lowering to 1 drop a day would amount to about 6mg. So I have moved to 1 drop twice a week, which brings me to about 12mg per week. This also because the Iodine clearance in the iodine challenge test takes 3 days, in stead of one day, as Barbara’s research shows. 

This, in view of:

  • the apparent NIS overload with the 12mg (which makes my TSH go over 20, see above) which should go down after 6 months, according to David Brownstein) 
  • The chances of developing hypo- or hyperthyroidism with too high a load, which Barbara suggests based on reports on all kinds of iodine forums. 
  • The continuing benefits of having “enough” Iodine to go around, particularly in view of my Dupuitren symptoms
  • No apparent difference in my experience
  • Giving my body a chance to redistribute the iodine over my body, before it gets another load. 

Just to confirm again: take your own decisions, consult with a specialist. This is my personal n=1 experience I am reporting on. 

Let me know what you think. I will keep you posted. Do not do what I do without involving a doctor that is open to a wider view.

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About the Author

I seek the difference that makes the difference for challenges in life. For me, that means learning, getting out of the comfort zone, often rocking the boat with sacred cows. Pharmacist with IT business degree and certified coach, trainer, hypnotherapist. Dutch born Swiss Citizen.

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