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Old 12-01-2008, 10:48 AM   #1
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Raising free t4 levels naturally

I was diagnosed w/ a pituitary microadenoma that doesn't secrete any excess hormones about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I have had fatigue, extreme sensitivity to cold, hair falling out, etc for quite awhile now. My latest labs are as follows:
tsh 1.4 (.34 -5.6)
free t4 .7 (.6 -1.6)

Is there a way for me to raise my free t4 and possibly get rid of my low thyroid symptoms naturally?

 
Old 12-01-2008, 11:59 AM   #2
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

If by "natural", you mean diet, exercise, or OTC preparations, there's nothing that's sure to help. If you try any of it and it helps, considerate it a fluke.

But prescription thyroid hormone is just about as "natural" as it gets. It doesn't alter bodily function in any way; it simply supplies the missing T4 with a man-made form that's identical to your natural T4. If you really want to go natural, push for a prescription for Armour thyroid, which is animal-derived T4/T3 in combination.

 
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Well, I am trying to eat right and exercise . . .that can only help me. My endocrinologist said that at this point in time she doesn't want to give me thryoid replacment and suppress the ability of my pituitary to stimulate production but will watch it and check it at my next visit.

I'm just not quite sure what to do then? I'm also low in growth hormone and cortisol, but just above cutoff - so have to wait and see if I lose more hormones. Yuck!

 
Old 12-01-2008, 04:49 PM   #4
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Your MD is mistaken if she thinks your pituitary can do the job. Clearly, if your FT4 is in the basement, your pituitary cannot put out enough TSH to raise that thyroid level to an adequate amount. Your pituitary is broken, and the T4 really, really needs replacement NOW. You might benefit from a second or third opinion if you can't convince this MD to treat now.

 
Old 12-01-2008, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Really? Could there be any other reason why my free t4 is low with a normal tsh?

 
Old 12-02-2008, 12:59 AM   #6
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Quote:
Originally Posted by themourtons View Post
Could there be any other reason why my free t4 is low with a normal tsh?
You could have Hashimoto's (that's the most common reason for HypoT) - it's possible to have both pituitary problem and Hashi's. Since you have the problem with your pituitary it's not reacting as it normally does (raise your TSH when your thyroid is failing). You should have thyroid antibodies checked.

Last edited by FinnMaid; 12-02-2008 at 01:02 AM.

 
Old 12-02-2008, 05:56 AM   #7
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

I had antibodies check awhile back and it was fairly low, so don't think I have hashi's.

 
Old 12-02-2008, 06:16 AM   #8
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

You need a FT3 test run as well. If your Ft3 is significantly higher than your Ft4 then you may be overconverting your T4 to T3 as a result of an adrenal issue. Your Endo should know better than to work with an incomplete data set.. but I haven't met many thyroid savvy Endos.. I have some good ones for Diabetes issues.. but the thyroid and adrenal glands are not as commonly studied or as thoroughly treated.

When you are secondary hypoT.. which Hashimoto's is reknowned for causing.. your pituitary gland just doesn't get the picture and will not boost your TSH output. Your TSH is not in the pits. It is above the optimal 1 and you are low in FT4. Next plan should have been to test the Ft3, ACTH, and cortisol levels. You should also have had your iodine, B12, vit D, and ferritin levels tested. All these can interfere with your thyroid health and function. Also if you had any antibodies EVEN with in normal limits back in the day.. AND there is a family history of thyroid issues.. you should keep checking for Hashimoto's to rear its head. Hashimoto's is an AI that can be triggered by certain viral and bacterial infections or extreme periods of hormonal flux (puberty, pregnancy, menopause). If you have had mono, been pregnant, went on certain BCs, or went through menopause in the last five years.. you may have woke Hashimoto's up. It can take months to years to get the AI thyroid destroying steam roller going.. but when it does.. well treatment with T4/(T4&T3) supplementation is the only way.

If you are low in iodine.. iodine supplementation may help. If you are low in ferritin, B12, and vit D.. supplementation may help there as well. But if after supplementing DETECTED mineral deficiencies you are still suboptimal in Ft3 and Ft4 and you have antibodies present.. well you need to supplement the thyroid directly.

MG
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If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.

 
Old 12-16-2008, 09:45 AM   #9
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Actually, I am going to an endocrinologist in Portland who specializes in pituitary issues. She is supposed to be one of the best in the country. Unfortunately, with all my hormones it is a secondary problem. For me - any thyroid or adrenal issues are NOT autoimmune. . .they are caused because my pituitary gland isn't working right. So when I have a low free t4, my tsh is normal also (this is normal in pituitary problems - they usually don't look at the tsh because of this). . .but its obvious that my pituitary isn't able to bring the ft4 up more. I was just wondering if there was a natural way to bring up ft4 in the meantime.

My Endo believes that I'm slowly losing function of my pituitary over time. As far as I know hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that your own body attacks its own thyroid cells? That doesn't CAUSE secondary hypothyroidism. Secondary means that it isn't the actual thyroid that isn't working . . .it's the hypothalamus or pituitary that isn't working properly.

My other pituitary hormones are low normal also. My growth hormone is low also.

Does anyone else out there have pituitary problems also? Do you have any recommendations on what to do? Should I get a second opinion?

Thanks!

 
Old 11-24-2010, 11:41 AM   #10
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Quote:
Originally Posted by themourtons View Post
Really? Could there be any other reason why my free t4 is low with a normal tsh?
You are asking about primary vs. secondary (vs. tertiary) hypothyroidism. The thyroid hormone levels in the blood are regulated by a feedback loop. The thyroid hormone (T4 / T3, henceforth "TH") is secreted by the thyroid, circulates in the blood, and sufficient levels inhibit the release of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) from the anterior pituitary gland.
Primary Hypothyroidism - the thyroid itself is not secreting enough TH. In this case free T4 will be low, and TSH will be elevated (because the anterior pituitary is working overtime to stimulate the thyroid, but the thyroid just can't respond adequately).
Secondary Hypothyroidism - The thyroid itself may be working fine, but the anterior pituitary is not producing enough TSH, hence the TH levels will be low "secondary" to inadequate stimulation. In this case both TSH and TH will be low (TSH may be low - normal).
You can think of the thyroid as the furnace and the pituitary as the thermostat.

In looking at your lab values it looks like your TSH is on the low side, and the TH is low as well. Hence you have secondary hypothyroidism (consistent with your diagnosis of pituitary adenoma - the lesion in your pituitary is blocking or inhibiting the adequate release of TSH, hence your TH is low as a result).

As the others mentioned, treatment for hypothyroidism (primary or secondary) is to simply replace the "missing" TH with synthetic TH - T4 or a combination T4 & T3. There is a controversy whether T3 is needed but T4 is converted into T3 in the periphery hence simply taking T4 should be fine. But I digress. The word "synthetic" may be misleading here, as the replacement TH is identical to that produced in the body, hence there are no side effects (unless it is taken inappropriately; that is if you take too much, for example, you will show signs of hyperthyroidism).

If you really oppose taking thyroid hormone replacement, about the only thing I might suggest is iodine and tyrosine (both can be purchased over the counter). T4 and T3 are made in the thyroid from iodine and the amino acid tyrosine, but considering the thyroid is not being "told" to make enough TH, it is doubtful that taking either tyrosine or iodine will help in your case. Besides, tyrosine is obtained from the food you eat, and can also be produced in the body, so it is highly unlikely to be low. Additionally, in this country (the US) the salt is iodinated for this reason, so it too is likely to be present at sufficient levels.

Hope this helps. Most of this is what your should have been told upon hearing your diagnosis, and any questions should be referred to your doctor. Additionally your pituitary adenoma may be (likely is) affecting the levels of other hormones as well, so be sure to be tested for levels of all the hormones of the anterior pituitary (FSH, LH, ACTH, TSH, Prolactin, and GH) and speak to your doctor about any additional hormone replacement that might be needed.


EDIT: I read your recent post and it appears you have a good grasp on these concepts, and that you know about the other low pituitary hormones. I don't know what else to suggest. By now you should have received a prescription for Levothyroxine (or some thyroid hormone replacement), yes? I don't think you need a second opinion - this is "bread and butter" medicine - but I don't know what your endocrinologist is telling you. I think you should consider having the adenoma removed if possible.

Last edited by dryphi; 11-24-2010 at 11:49 AM. Reason: add information

 
Old 03-11-2011, 10:26 AM   #11
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Re: Raising free t4 levels naturally

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwest1 View Post
If by "natural", you mean diet, exercise, or OTC preparations, there's nothing that's sure to help. If you try any of it and it helps, considerate it a fluke.

But prescription thyroid hormone is just about as "natural" as it gets. It doesn't alter bodily function in any way; it simply supplies the missing T4 with a man-made form that's identical to your natural T4. If you really want to go natural, push for a prescription for Armour thyroid, which is animal-derived T4/T3 in combination.
I have recommended 100's of people to try a natural iodine and adrenal gland support supplements for several years now and at 55 and post menopausal and stressed to the max, have used them myself and have great results. There are several options available ! Just check out a reputable health food store that has a knowledgeable and caring attendant. When I use them on a regular basis, I have energy, stamina, and a much more pleasant attitude. I also sleep much better!

 
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