The Circadian T3 method to optimize adrenal and thyroid function
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As a pharmacist, I'm passionate about appropriate medication use and giving you the information you need to have the best possible outcomes, whether that's through diet, supplements, lifestyle changes or medications. While everyone is different, and you always need to discuss medication use with your doctor, I want to share what has worked for others, with the hope that it may help some of you…

I was very impressed with Paul Robinson's book "Recovering with T3"
Paul has some great information on alternative medication options for those of you who are having thyroid symptoms with the standard thyroid treatments. Paul was gracious enough to write a guest blog post about his story and experience with the Circadian T3 method for optimizing thyroid and adrenal function- Here's Paul Robinson...

Izabella Wentz: Paul, tell us about the beginning of your journey with Hashimoto’s… 

Paul Robinson: Well, I had no idea that I had a thyroid problem at all. I was about 30 years of age and my wife had just given birth to our second child. It was quite a fast birth and she and my newborn son were both fine. For some strange reason I picked up the heart rate monitor that had been attached to my wife and put it on for a few minutes. My heart rate was forty-two beats per minute!!!! We thought the machine had broke so my wife tried it and hers was normal. We both realised something was wrong. 

I was a senior manager in a research and development role and I'd been struggling to do the same quality of work that I was used to doing for some time. I'd put a lot of weight on and was having a hard time remembering things, including peoples' names. I had assumed it was stress related. But the low heart rate suggested a physical disease. I went to see my family doctor and she ran a large set of tests. I was lucky because I think she must have suspected a thyroid issue. She actually ran TSH, FT3, FT4 and the autoantibody tests for TPO and Tg autoantibodies!!! It is unusual even today for a doctor to run the complete set of these laboratory tests without a lot of begging and pressure. I honestly think the entire set of laboratory tests ought to be run in the first instance if anyone is suspected of having a thyroid issue.

My results came back with a TSH of over 60, low FT3 and FT4 and very high TPO and Tg autoantibodies.  My family doctor told me that I had Hashimoto's thyroiditis and that I'd need to take Levothyroxine (T4 / Synthroid) for the rest of my life. I think she actually said something like, "You'll just need to take this medication for life and you'll be fine!" That turned out not to be the case of course. I was far from fine! 

I had about 3 weeks during which I did actually feel a lot better (I can explain this now - this is a phenomenon that we frequently see when someone starts T4 or even when someone increases their dosage but this improvement frequently doesn't last. There is a simple explanation for it that I can explain at some point if there is interest). After the initial improvement I went downhill again and my symptoms returned. After many months of increases in Levothyroxine medication, and after my thyroid blood tests had become what my family doctor and the endocrinologist I was sent to considered normal, I was pronounced 'cured'. My TSH was in range, FT3 and FT4 were in range but I had virtually all of the symptoms that I had to begin with. My energy level was dreadful, I was not coping with stress, my weight was still an issue, I had multiple digestive system symptoms including bloating and food sensitivities (worse no on the T4 meds), dry skin, dry hair etc. I still had hypothyroid symptoms but my laboratory tests looked 'normal' according to my doctors.

This is so very common yet my doctors were convinced any symptoms I had now were due to some other condition! How crazy is this? Yet this is still what happens today, twenty-five years on from when I was diagnosed the same arrogant and very naive arguments are still being given to thyroid patients. There is a simple piece of logic known as 'Occam's razor' that I think is so relevant to thyroid treatment. If a thyroid patient has a set of classic hypothyroid symptoms prior to treatment with thyroid hormone and then still has most of these symptoms after the 'treatment' then the most likely conclusion is that the 'treatment' did not work or was not the right treatment. The least likely conclusion is that the 'treatment' was a total success and that some other disease is causing the symptoms. This is especially true if the 'other disease' cannot be named, treated and cured. However, this very simple piece of logic is rarely applied and thousands of thyroid patients are just simply left sick for years on thyroid treatments (often T4 based) that do not work.

I saw several different family doctors and many endocrinologists over the next six or seven years and my thyroid hormone dosage was adjusted again and again but to no avail. I was very ill and began to have time off work. My career was being seriously damaged and the impact on my family life was also significant. There is not enough time here to discuss the broader impact on an individual's life but the toll can be high. I did in fact permanently lose the career that I loved and it did cause damage to relationships between my family and myself. Ultimately, the events that unfolded from poorly treated hypothyroidism had a part to play in my wife and I divorcing. The human cost of this disease can be very, very high. I always try to consider this when I talk with any thyroid patient. 

IW: When did you decide to take charge of your own health?

PR: It became obvious to me after two to three years after my initial diagnosis that for some reason the thyroid replacement hormone (Levothyroxine/T4) that I was been given was not working for some reason. My background is science and I'd spent my career in R&D. Consequently, my approach was not just to continue to change doctor and endocrinologist in the hope I would find someone more able but I also began to do my own research. The way I went about this was mainly to buy endocrinology textbooks. I found out what textbooks doctors who begin to specialise in endocrinology were asked to buy during their treatment and I bought several of these. I also began to use the Internet (which was in its infancy but still had some useful information). I actually found that the endocrinology text books to be more valuable than any other source of information. 

It seemed obvious to me from the reading that I did that simply being given Levothyroxine was no guarantee that the biologically active thyroid hormone T3 was going to be converted in a high enough volume from T4 based meds. I wanted to put this to the test and try alternative thyroid hormone treatments like natural desiccated thyroid and T3 (Liothyronine sodium).

The more I read on this subject the more I was convinced that my symptoms were actually a combination of classic hypothyroid symptoms and symptoms typical of adrenal function that is too low (and especially low cortisol). However, having had all the usual laboratory tests for thyroid hormones and a Synacthen test for Addison's disease and having being told everything was normal there appeared that no medical professional was going to be able to help me. I had been told that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or M.E. and it was clear that the doctors I had seen were happier to give me a label than to actually help me get well. 

By this stage I was seven years down the road from diagnosis and I was close to losing my job and my career. I had to do something or give up.

IW: How Did You Get Your Life Back ?

PR: I got my life back by beginning to think and act for myself. I took responsibility for my own health. I gave up turning up in a doctor's office and handing over ownership for my health as I entered the room. If I saw a doctor for laboratory tests or to discuss something it was still me who owned my own health and had 100% responsibility for it. My doctor might be able to help me, but I was the manager of my own destiny. You can read the rest of Paul's story as well as more about the Circadian T3 Method here.


Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP

Your Thyroid Pharmacist

The Total Fat Loss Solution 

April 28th-May 8th, 2014

30 experts discuss the keys to losing weight. Join me, along with Dr. Datis Kharazzian, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne "The Paleo Mom", Steve Wright from SCD Lifestyle and thyroid/weight loss expert Dr. Alan Christianson and many others! 

I will be presenting about Losing Weight with Hashimoto's on Tuesday, May 6th. 

You can register here for a free screening. 

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