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Old 08-15-2003, 08:47 AM   #1
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Post Selenium - Thyroid, now I REMEMBER!!!

I don't know if you all remember or not, but a few weeks ago I posted about my thyroid going from 20+ years of hypo, to hyper after starting selenium on a regular basis. (even doc agreed) Well, she reduced my Synthroid from 175 to 150 about 3 weeks ago, but I'm feeling just as high as a kite still! I've started dreaming every night and they go really fast, like someone hit "fast forward" on the VCR...then I wake up feeling like I could just jump out of my skin and scream! This morning it finally came back to me that I have gone through this TWICE before and each time it was because of the selenium. Back then I thought I was just having some sort of allergic reaction to my supplements, so I would quit them altogether and be back to normal in about a week. Then about a year later, I would start the same supplements up again, including the selenium, which eventually would lead me to becoming a nervous wreck again, and then me thinking that ONCE AGAIN I'm having an allergic reaction. Now I think that each time it was just the selenium that was helping my thyroid work better, thus needing a much smaller Synthroid dosage. I wonder how much longer this is going to go on? I don't want to stop my supplements, (I didn't take any today, nor Synthroid) because I think they are helping my thyroid improve and I want to get to the bottom of this whole thing. This seems to be taking forever and I'm so tired of it. I'm nervous, hyper, bottoms of feet hurt, I can barely walk up a flight of steps anymore and I CAN'T walk any more than a few feet at a time because my legs are so weak. I'm basically housebound at this time. One good thing is that my heartrate has not been affected yet, just my nerves and muscles.

My kingdom for some normalcy!

Marilyn
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:05 AM   #2
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This past year I've reduced my levoxyl from .125 to .88. I changed 3 things with regard to treating my hypothyroidism. NOTE: I've been hypo for many years.

First, I started taking my levoxyl at 4:30 am then go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Used to take meds, food, supplements any ole time of the morning. I was never told differently. Tree Frog mentioned that she takes hers early in the morning and then goes back to sleep for awhile. I hope I am remembering correctly that it was she who said this.

Second, I started taking 100mgs of Selenium daily.

Third, all my supplements are now taken after lunch several hours apart from my levoxyl. Also cut out soy nearly completely.

This has really made such a difference in how much medication I need. Before these modifications I was over-medicated until we cut the dosage down and now I feel much better. It's kind of an awful feeling to have such a high dosage of thyroxine in the blood and have it bound whereby the body can't use it. After the aforementioned changes, I was hyper for awhile I'm now leveling out but it has taken some time and quite a few lab test appointments to get it right.

PS - I was reallly shocked that my very experienced endo knew so little about Selenium and how it affects thyroid function. Docs might try to deny that it has no bearing but I will argue that it does.

[This message has been edited by blondegal (edited 08-15-2003).]

 
Old 08-15-2003, 10:32 AM   #3
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I'm so glad to see your experiences with selenium.
At the moment, I'm in limbo with my thyroid... It isn't exactly "right", but apparently not sick enough to need meds.

I was diagnosed with Hashi's in April, put on 75µ Synthroid, and at 6 weeks, was hyper. Dose was reduced to 50µ; 3 weeks later I started the selenium, and 4 weeks after that, I was hyper again.
The endo stopped my med altogether, and I'll see her 9/9. Like yours, blondegal, she doesn't seem to know about the relationship between thyroid and Se. I printed out an article about it, in case she's interested.
But I really have to wonder if Se can make enough difference in mild hypo to eliminate the need for meds altogether.
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:32 AM   #4
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Your post on selenium made me curious about it so I did some research. In one article it talks about toxic levels of selenium in cattle in South Dakota.(The soil and water in South Dakota are rich with selenium.) One of the symptoms of selenium toxicity is hair loss and sore feet. They said that some horses and cattle that have selenium toxicity will graze on their knees because their feet are so sore.
Anyway, I just thought that was interesting since you mentioned that your feet were real sore.

 
Old 08-15-2003, 11:47 AM   #5
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Yes, I have pain in the bottoms of my feet, particularly the heels. I only take 50 mcg of selenium a day and I believe you have to take something like over 700 a day to become toxic. Maybe my system is sensitive to selenium, or maybe the selenium is improving my thyroid function so much that now I am OD'ing on Synthroid? If I can really improve my thyroid with selenium, I'd rather do that than rely soley on Synthroid. In any case, I think I'm going to have to go the "treat myself by how I feel" route. Doc relys soley on TSH tests which don't mean diddly. I will go research selenium some more, just for reassurance on what I've learned about it before. This thyroid thing is really frustrating in that it takes so DARNED long to see any results in any direction.

P.S. Isn't hair loss and painful feet also symptoms of being hyper? (my hair is falling out in bunches lately)

Marilyn

[This message has been edited by ssMarilyn (edited 08-15-2003).]
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Old 08-15-2003, 12:03 PM   #6
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Here's some info about the major causes of hypothyroidism:

Iodine Deficiency
The major problem stems from a lack of iodine in the diet. Iodine is one of the essential components of thyroid hormones. Without sufficient iodine, the production of thyroid hormones is limited.

Iodine consumption has dropped dramatically in this country over the past 20 years. This drop is due in part to the depletion of our soils and in part to less iodized salt being used as an ingredient in our foods. (J Clin Endocrin and Metab 98;88:3401-3408)

Selenium Deficiency
The second factor contributing to hypothyroidism is selenium deficiency. You might have heard how important this mineral is to your immune system, but chances are you haven't heard how important it is to proper thyroid function. That's unfortunate, because the effects of a selenium deficiency are very serious.

As with iodine, our soils have become deficient in the trace mineral selenium. In the last few years, researchers have found that certain selenium-containing enzymes (lodothyronine 5' deiodinase) are responsible for the conversion of thyroid hormone T3 to T4. The thyroid produces several hormones, and must produce them in a somewhat balanced ratio. Without selenium, this balancing process is hindered. In simple terms, selenium-deficient diets are also a primary cause of hypothyroidism.

So now I am REALLY confused....I have the symptoms of both taking too much selenium, and not having enough in my system. Is there any kind of test to take that will tell us if we are selenium deficient?

Frustrated in Minnesota,
Marilyn
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Old 08-15-2003, 01:35 PM   #7
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midwest1: I've gone in for lab tests every 6 to 8 weeks since March of this year. I started losing weight like crazy - 5'7" in height and weighed 109 lbs down from 129 (my normal weight.) This was after the changes I mentioned in my earlier post. My endo tested Free T4 and TSH and they both indicated I needed to reduce my dosage. I'm now at .88 Levoxyl and due for labs in another 4 weeks.

I have found that most medical doctors totally disregard the value of herbs, minerals and vitamins with regard to thyroid health. I've asked many questions over the years and always get a poo-poo answer about alternative or natural treatments. I do disagree that they have no value. So be it - I'm on my own. I have noticed a profound difference after adding selenium to my diet. It's so aggravating that my endo does not seem to read or research other options even if it's in combination with medical treatment. Particularly if it would help his patients. Do they develop tunnel vision in Medical School?

Maybe I will be able to find out sometime in the future if I can eliminate the need for meds altogether.

Don't get discouraged midwest1, you are so newly diaganosed. It took me three years to get off the rollercoaster with meds after first being diagnosed. It does take time and I remember being really screwed up for awhile.


 
Old 08-15-2003, 05:19 PM   #8
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Thanks for the nice words of encouragement, blondegal.
I'm not complaining. Compared to the suffering that many here are enduring, I don't have it so bad. I'm not awfully sick, but I am really puzzled. Can't figure out whether I may have been misdiagnosed [although TSH was near 7 at one point, and there are antibodies and a family history...] - Or whether my gland just can't figure out what it wants to do and keeps fluctuating all over the place - Or whether the Se has made the difference. Time will tell, I guess.

Marilyn,
You asked whether there is a test to check Se levels; I'm sure there is, but you'd probably have to go to an alternative practioner to get one done.
It takes a pretty substantial amount of supplement to get too much. I'm cautious and taking only 150µ in pill form and whatever I get in my diet. I looked up a list of foods rich in Se, and there aren't many which I eat on a regular basis, so I'm confident I'm not overdoing it.
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Old 08-15-2003, 07:08 PM   #9
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Midwest, I'm pretty cautious with my supplements. I only take 50 mcg a day of selenium, but I'm on the Atkins diet, so eat meat and eggs everyday, but they don't have a whole lot of selenium in them either. I'm just hoping that my problem is a healthier thyroid due to the synthroid supplements. Hope, HOpe!!

Marilyn
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Old 08-16-2003, 09:14 AM   #10
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I've been wondering about different supplements I could take and I've seen Selenium mentioned here often. I don't know too much about this, but if it's something that could help me I might try it. I'm already taking various different supplements now. I feel like I'm swallowing pills all day.

But I don't know if Selenium would help me, so I thought I'd ask here. I've had a complete thyroidectomy in June and am on 100 mcg Synthroid. My levels still aren't straight according to my last test....(.06 TSH). I'm currently experiencing hair loss....which seems to be slowing some....and headaches. I was wondering if Selenium would help if you don't have a thyroid at all?? Any thoughts?
Thanks.

 
Old 08-16-2003, 04:21 PM   #11
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Midwest...since you have Hashis, maybe your thyroid is in the process of swinging between hyper and hypo before it burns out. Has the dr. mentioned this? How are you feeling?

ssMarilyn, your heel pain could be Plantar Facistitis (I know that is spelled wrong )...and that is also another symptom of Hypo.

I am taking selenium also, but want to just take 100 instead of 200.....my pills are 200 though and I have been taking it every other day, does anyone know if this is OK?

My DX was with a TSH of 3.56 and within 6 weeks of 50 mcg's of Synthroid and the Selenium, it dropped to 0.88.....so I have no idea if the Selenium helped or not. I have read before that it does not directly affect the TSH number though...if anything, only the T3.

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DX'd in May 2003
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Old 08-16-2003, 07:09 PM   #12
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Gypsysoul, I've wondered about the selenium too, since I have no thyroid, but started to take it anyway, can't hurt. I now take 18 different vitamins and other things to try and help this old body. I definitely rattle when I walk, but believe some of it has helped. I was losing hair alot until I switched to Armour, now I have eyebrows too. LOL IWL

 
Old 08-16-2003, 09:30 PM   #13
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lovemythreeguys,
Because of what I've read here about "Hashi swings", I plan to discuss that at my next OV. I have a feeling that may be what's happening to me.
Have you been stable on your current dose? Feeling pretty well?... I hope so.

Gypsysoul,
Selenium is supposed to reduce thyroid antibodies and enhance T4 conversion to T3. Se may have other health benefits besides thyroid health, so you probably can't go wrong by getting enough of it. It may play a role in protecting against heart disease, cancer, and macular degeneration, for some examples.

Here's a link to the Nat'l Institutes of Health page on selenium. It lists the RDA, maximum tolerance, and food sources. [It's disappointing there isn't more there about the thyroid connection. I found other sources about that, but links to them aren't permitted.] [url="http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/supplements/selen.html#food"]http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/supplements/selen.html#food[/url]
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