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Old 08-16-2004, 03:20 PM   #1
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T4 Conversion Into T3

Why do our bodies sometimes fail to convert enough T4 into T3 for energy? Are there several possible reasons? I don't understand about T3. There's something about both T4 and T3 should be approximately the same area of the "range", "balanced", but I guess most printouts from your labs don't even tell you what your T3 is? Thanks in advance.

 
Old 08-16-2004, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: T4 Conversion Into T3

Your body may not convert T4 to T3 for several reasons, here are some:
1) If you take a lot of acetaminophen (Tylonol)
2) if you drink a lot of alcohol
3) if you have anything wrong with your liver
4) your body just plain does not convert it well.

T3 is metabolized in the liver, so is acetaminophen and alcohol, and there are other things, so its wise to stay away from anything metabolized by the liver.

Your Free T3 and Free T4 should both be in the upper 1/3 of the lab range. Generally if they fall below mid range you will have hypo symptoms, too high in the range or above range and you will have hyper symptoms. Also, if the T4 is in the upper 1/3 but the T3 is below, you will experience hypo symptoms, and if the T4 is low and the T3 is high you may experience hyper symptoms. Balance is the key.

Take care

 
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Old 08-16-2004, 09:16 PM   #3
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Re: T4 Conversion Into T3

Another T3-killer is low-carb dieting. If you are not getting adequate carbohydrates, your liver has to go into overtime converting glycogen to glucose so that your blood sugar stays up high enough to survive. Meanwhile other things that the liver does like filtering toxins from your blood and converting T4 to T3 may fall by the wayside.

This is probably why extreme low-carbing makes some people get moody and depressed (dropping T3 levels) and get frequent headaches (toxins).

As a side note, you lose weight quickly when low-carbing because glycogen, stored mostly in muscle tissue is used up. Wherever glycogen is stored, it attracts water. When glycogen stores are used up, the water that the glycogen attracted is released and excreted. The fact is that a great deal of the initial weight loss in a low-carb diet is water weight. After this initial weight loss, it is harder to lose weight.

It is a known fact that low-carbing also reduces TSH, but NOT by increasing your thyroid hormones. TSH drops because your body is trying to slow your metabolism. When TSH drops, T4 production by the thyroid gland slows down in response. T4 to T3 conversion, also compromised, further lowers your metabolism, and causes it to be harder to build muscle tissue. T3 is VITAL for protein synthesis such as building muscle tissue. If you can't build muscle tissue, it is harder to increase your metabolism.

I'll get off of my soapbox, now, but extreme low-carb dieting can be problematic for our thyroid health, and now you know why.
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Last edited by Meep; 08-16-2004 at 09:29 PM.

 
Old 08-16-2004, 09:45 PM   #4
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Re: T4 Conversion Into T3

And to expand Eagle's question, what should the optimum ratio be?

For example, my last labs on 50 mcg levoxyl and 1 gr Armour:

TSH .04 (.34-5.6)
FT4 1.50 (.9-1.7)
FT3 4.03 (2.30-4.20)

Would that be a good ratio, should T4 be higher than T3. And of course, the endo, (not a believer in armour) says to cut the armour out completely and come back in 3 months. He says "I'm getting too much hormone." I think he is trying to kill me.


And Eagle, are you having problems with conversion?

- redwine (do you think I need to eliminate the redwine from my diet?)

Last edited by redwine842; 08-16-2004 at 09:46 PM. Reason: omission

 
Old 08-17-2004, 07:58 PM   #5
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Thanks Much!

Even before starting Atkins for diabetes, not wt loss, in November of 2003, I guess I was having hypo symptoms, severe arm pain first in the left arm which finally got better, then in the right, which has been really bad, is wrapped right now in elastic bandage and all this time I've had to take a muscle relaxant, Methocarbamol. I was taking Levothroid 300 one day, 200 the next, seems like an awful lot of T4, tested normal, but I'm suspecting I do have a problem converting, need T3 and antibodies test, you have to specifically ask your doctor to order, or you'll likely not get.

There's a letter to Oprah at another forum, last half of it 22 pages printed out, where this woman with Hashi's found out Primary Care doctors are taught very little about thyroid, to just test TSH and if it's above 5 give 'em a Synthroid, but there's five (5) hormones our glands are supposed to be secreting, T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, and that only Armour has all of them. How well did I do condensing that? We certainly all need to know it.

I think you've hit the nail on the head, Danny, that low-carbing is a T3 killer, at least for some of us. In another article, I found if you typically go under 1000 calories a day, your metabolism shuts down and muscles flatten out. I have to get a book from the library on muscle-building nutrition, know you have to eat your veggies like brocolli, cauliflower, avacado, low-glycemic, rather than simple carbs. The diabetic diet of 1200 calories allowed me five slices of bread a day, and I never ever want that much, now that the children are grown and gone, so must have gone way below 1000 calories.

Sorry to say it's evidently true that most doctors haven't been taught anything about thyroid, and three thought a higher TSH # meant high level of thyroid hormones, so my already-poorly-absorbed dosage was drastically reduced for six weeks, I shouldn't have gone along with, found that a lot of people at that same forum were having the same problem, all gradually getting back to normal now, I assume. It must take six weeks to recover, no permanent damage I hope, just a large chunk of my life wasted. Don't anyone else fall for that. I'm finding they don't take offense too much when you share new info from the web, to my surprise. One copied a couple of things to keep.

I never drank, and don't take acetemenophin but do take aspirin for this painful arm and shoulder. Same thing? Carpal Tunnel is a hypo symptom, can be higher up the arm, one doctor said, and Quinalone antibiotics can cause muscle problems too, don't know if permanent. I have a couple of diabetic foot ulcers they tried a Quinalone for. BTW, the letter to Oprah says this couple's research discovered that untreated low thyroid can cause diabetes, and heart disease, high b.p., cholesterol, etc. So it's the first thing to go after, source of it all. Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it.

Last edited by Eagle; 08-17-2004 at 08:04 PM.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 06:31 AM   #6
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Re: T4 Conversion Into T3

Quote:
I never drank, and don't take acetemenophin but do take aspirin for this painful arm and shoulder. Same thing
No, not the same Acetaminophen is largely metabolized by the liver and large doses of it or taking it constantly can compromise liver function, therefore impairing T4 to T3 conversion. Aspirin on the other hand does not do this...at least not by the same mechanisms.

Here's a quote from another site I can't link to:

Quote:
Treatment for one week with aspirin or salsalate decreased total T4, free T4 (salsalate only), total T3, free T3, and TSH. Thus, this study confirms that aspirin, salsalate, and meclofenamate affect total and free thyroid hormone measurements.

It also demonstrated that three NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, and indomethacin) do not alter thyroid tests. During the acute (one dose) and on week administration of these NSAIDs TSH levels remained with the normal range.
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Last edited by Meep; 08-18-2004 at 07:02 AM.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 06:49 AM   #7
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Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle
woman with Hashi's found out Primary Care doctors are taught very little about thyroid, to just test TSH and if it's above 5 give 'em a Synthroid, but there's five (5) hormones our glands are supposed to be secreting, T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, and that only Armour has all of them. How well did I do condensing that? We certainly all need to know it.
Actually there are two more natural thyroid meds like Armour, one is Westhroid and the other is Nature Throid. Westhroid is pretty much the same as Armour as far as binders and fillers, but Nature Throid is hypo allergenic for people who may have problems with the binders or fillers in Armour or Westhroid. And....unlike Armour, Nature Throid and I believe Westhroid also is about 6 bucks per 30 day supply, so anyone on a fixed income and no insurance may want to opt for it.
It is harder to find than Armour, but if you are going to take it on a regular basis, (have to with thyroid meds), most pharmacies will be glad to order it in for you if they can and keep it on hand.

Last edited by dea4; 08-18-2004 at 06:50 AM.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 07:18 AM   #8
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Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dea4
Nature Throid and I believe Westhroid also is about 6 bucks per 30 day supply, so anyone on a fixed income and no insurance may want to opt for it. It is harder to find than Armour, but if you are going to take it on a regular basis, (have to with thyroid meds), most pharmacies will be glad to order it in for you if they can and keep it on hand.
dea4, would this be the drug made by Parke-Davis that is available in Canada in place of Armour?

Nat
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:34 AM   #9
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Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopherhead
dea4, would this be the drug made by Parke-Davis that is available in Canada in place of Armour?

Nat
No, in Canada its just called Thyroid. Westhroid and Nature Throid are both made by Western Research Labs who has been making thyroid meds since 1934, they are available in the US, I don't think they are available in Canada.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 09:48 AM   #10
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Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dea4
I don't think they are available in Canada.
Probably not, heck, doctors here still think 5.5 is a good cut off for normal TSH

Nat
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Old 08-20-2004, 08:40 AM   #11
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Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle
There's a letter to Oprah at another forum, last half of it 22 pages printed out, where this woman with Hashi's found out Primary Care doctors are taught very little about thyroid, to just test TSH and if it's above 5 give 'em a Synthroid, but there's five (5) hormones our glands are supposed to be secreting, T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, and that only Armour has all of them. How well did I do condensing that? We certainly all need to know it.
Um... T5? T0? fair enough there are a few T2's and T1's but as far as I am aware Armour only contains T4 and T3 in measured doses, and T2, T1 and calcitonin as tiny fractions since it's impossible to get rid of them.

Incidentally since increased cortisol causes a decrease in T4-T3 conversion anything that stresses the body including starvation, [either through low carbs, or low calories], excessive exercise, illness or stress will change the rate of conversion . T4-T3 conversion is also selenium dependent, so too little dietary selenium can cause impaired T4-T3 conversion.
~ [url]http://www.thyroidmanager.org/Chapter5/5a-text.htm[/url] ~

Last edited by EmmaGx; 08-20-2004 at 08:41 AM.

 
Old 08-21-2004, 04:04 PM   #12
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Unhappy Re: Thanks Much!

i think you are wrong when you say
Quote:
Probably not, heck, doctors here still think 5.5 is a good cut off for normal TSH
it's just as hard in the states as it is here to get proper treatment, and many GPs are more qualified to treat hypOs than endos ... after all, an endo's main patient base is diabetic, and altho' you may be male ("nat"? can't tell!), you get to suffer from the same fate as all of us -- thyroid disease is mainly a woman's disease, and therefore not much worthy of study .. you need another endo or GP or something, if he thinks that's true ...

my TSH is .05, and neither my GP (who is currently treating me) nor my endo minds that -- who are you going to, anyway (i'm in ottawa)? maybe i can help ...

Quote:
from dea4: Westhroid and Nature Throid are both made by Western Research Labs who has been making thyroid meds since 1934, they are available in the US
dessicated thyroid (like armour) is available in canada, called parke-davis thyroid or just natural thyroid ... i know this b/c my endo refused point blank to prescribe the stuff, but knows ppl who do ... just b/c it's not called westhroid or nature thyroid does not mean that it's not available in canada in some form, i think ...

jb
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Last edited by jinglebts; 08-21-2004 at 04:09 PM. Reason: dumb dumb dumb ...

 
Old 08-22-2004, 10:07 AM   #13
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Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglebts

dessicated thyroid (like armour) is available in canada, called parke-davis thyroid or just natural thyroid ... i know this b/c my endo refused point blank to prescribe the stuff, but knows ppl who do ... just b/c it's not called westhroid or nature thyroid does not mean that it's not available in canada in some form, i think ...

jb
True, the natural thyroid med in Canada is just called thyroid, finding a dr to prescribe it may be a challenge.

 
Old 08-22-2004, 11:38 AM   #14
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Talking Re: Thanks Much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dea4
True, the natural thyroid med in Canada is just called thyroid, finding a dr to prescribe it may be a challenge.
" i know this b/c my endo refused point blank to prescribe the stuff, but knows ppl who do" ...

well, i didn't ask him for the names (duh), but i'm sure my visit to a naturopath will unearth something, or on my next visit, the endo may be willing to TATTLE!! (oooh nooo, mr. bill!) ...

all i'm trying to say is that you may come up a winner (good-oh! ) or not (faugh! ), and it's probably the same in both countries ... synthroid is still the gold standard ( ) for most doctors in the "civilized" world ...

but you're certainly right when you say that it "may be a challenge" -- i'd never have heard of the natural stuff if it hadn't been for this board ... i'm kinda' scared b/c it may not be for me, but i think i've given this synthroid a good enough try now ... altho' i'm not sure -- the day i went on vacation, i was feeling quite good, energetic, but was terribly nauseated for about half an hour, so i cut back by 12.5 to 25 mcg, and had a small crash about four days into it ... of course, i increased my dose but in not a timely enuff fashion, so i'm still suffering a bit ...

this hypO business is a tricky thing to control -- "all things being equal" (hah1!) i'm ok now, but on vacation, i had to get into a boat daily, or climb a hill to the "cottage" (it is to die for -- swoon!), and the weather got hot, and i had to sleep in a new bed, and pack to leave for heaven's sake ... my aunt is 82 and she has all her faculties, hops in and out of the boat lightly, she's bright as a bunny and doesn't wear glasses and, well, has a body also to die for, can hear a pin drop (like, totally embarassing -- i need glasses for distance and for reading, some of my hearing is gone from listening to the BOOM BOOM! of rock music -- they don't call us boomers for nothing -- i have a balance problem, my feet are bloated,my thighs are SO fat, etc., etc.) ... well, she is a bit dotty , but who can complain?!

oh well, i'm counting on the article i read in the magazine being right -- up to two years, and it's only (hah2!) been a year and four months for me ...

a struggling
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Old 08-22-2004, 01:36 PM   #15
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Re: T4 Conversion Into T3

Emma, thanks for clarifying that about what's in Armour's and for the link.

 
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