Hypothyroid issues
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Much attention is being paid to a possible link between FM and Hypothyroid problems. The typical signs of low thyroid are:

Weakness or sluggish
Coarse, dry hair/ hair loss
Dry, rough, pale skin
Cold intolerance
Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
Muscle Numbness, pain
Pain, stiffness or swelling of the joints
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Memory loss
Abnormal menstrual cycles
Decreased libido
Difficulty concentrating
Excessive weight gain despite diminished appetite
Increased difficulty losing weight
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
Elevated blood cholesterol levels
Low body temperature
Low blood pressure
Thin, brittle ridged fingernails
Ankle, feet, and leg swelling
Uncoordinated movements

Notice, how close a lot of these are to FM, the over lap on site link, is considerable. 

Now, most of you I am sure, have had your thyroid levels tested and have been told, they are fine ... but what you may not know, is that most standard lab tests, often miss low thyroid. This is simply because your standard lab test is often looking for abnormally high levels, if your level is in the "low" normal range, it will be classed as normal and ignored. This has proved to be a mistake in many cases. It is a major mistake for those of us with FM in particular.

"... close to 100% of individuals with these syndromes ( FM/CFS) have low thyroid. This is, however, usually not picked up on the standard blood tests because the TSH is not elevated in these individuals due to pituitary dysfunction. Many of these individuals will also have high levels of the anti-thyroid reverse T3, which is usually not measured on standard blood tests. In addition, the majority of individuals can also have a thyroid receptor resistance that is not detected on the blood tests. Consequently, thyroid treatment, especially with timed release T3, is effective for many patients. T4 preparations (inactive thyroid) such as Synthroid and Levoxyl do not work well for these conditions." Kent Holtorf, M.D

There is much discussion on if FM is a result of low thyroid levels or if the levels are an effect of FM? At this time, there is no answer for that question. However, since low thyroid is treatable, it is yet another item to eliminate or treat. As those with low thyroid problems, have all the signs and symptoms of that condition made worse by the FM. Like any other co-comitant disorder one has with FM, they tend to feed off of each other.

A few practical ways to test for low thyroid at home:

Take your temperature ... with an old fashioned mercury thermometer. Put one beside your bed at night and before you rise in the morning, put the thermometer in your arm pit for about 4 minutes. Do not move about, or get out of bed. If the temperature reads less than 98.6 on a regular basis, meaning it remains low, even as the day progresses, ( your temperature tends to rise as the day goes on ) it is possible that you have low thyroid function.

Another way that has been suggested, is to get a bottle USP tincture of iodine and paint a 2 inch circle of it, on your inner arm. If the body absorbs it in less than two hours ( meaning it has disappeared ) it is possible you have low thyroid. The absorption rate is said to be a decent indication of your body's need for iodine, according to all reports.

Things that can effect thyroid function:

"A lack of certain minerals and essential fatty acids can cause many Hypothyroid symptoms. Iodine is the major mineral that is needed by the thyroid to create the hormones that regulate your metabolism and energy levels. Iodine is needed to synthesize natural thyroxine (T4), or the thyroid medication Synthroid, to triiodothyronine (T3). Iodine deficiency is common in many parts of the world."FM news

Chlorine and fluoride, such as is commonly added to city water, can block iodine absorption. Bottled water might be a better option.

Too many soy products: Such as, menopause supplements, soy protein powders, or other highly concentrated forms of soy ...  maybe aggravating your thyroid condition."

If you find this is the case for you and you opt for thyroid medications, a few things to know ...

Other medications and Thyroid replacement therapy:

"Taking estrogen in any form, whether as hormone replacement therapy, or in birth control pills, can affect thyroid test results. For example, some women taking supplemental estrogen may need to take more thyroid replacement hormone. Estrogen increases a particular protein that binds thyroid hormone to it, making the thyroid hormone partially inactive.

Antidepressants -- Taking thyroid hormone replacement while taking the popular antidepressant sertraline -- brand name Zoloft -- can cause a decrease in the effectiveness of the thyroid hormone replacement, and make your TSH rise. This same effect has also been seen in patients receiving other selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors such as Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine). Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), doxepin (Sinequan), nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl) and others.

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Cholestyramine or Colestipol -- brand names such as Colestrol, Questran, Colestid -- can bind thyroid hormones. Many doctors recommend that a minimum of four to five hours should elapse between taking these drugs and thyroid hormones.

Corticosteroids/Adrenocorticosteroids -- brands include Cortisone, Cortistab and Cortone -- can suppress TSH, and can block conversion of T4 to T3 in some people." THS fluctuations

"Insulin and the similar oral hypoglycemic drugs for diabetes can reduce the effectiveness of thyroid hormone. Be sure your doctor knows you are on one before prescribing the other. If you're on insulin or an oral hypoglycemic, you should be closely watched during the initiation of thyroid replacement therapy.

Anticoagulant (blood thinning) drugs like Warfarin, Coumadin or Heparin can on occasion become stronger in the system when thyroid hormone is added to the mix. Be sure to mention to your doctor if you are on one or the other, and a new prescription is added. " Thyroid information

Most over the counter stomach remedies need to be taken with care things like: antacids that contains aluminum or calcium or sucralfate, as well as others such as, Prevacid, Prilosec, etc., mainly due to the fact, that those with low stomach acid, tend not to process the thyroid medications properly. They should be taken at least 4 hours apart from any thyroid medications.

Calcium and iron supplements, should be taken at least 12 hours apart from any thyroid medications, as they can interfere with the thyroid absorption.

Foods that might help:

Sea vegetables like kelp. Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, mozzarella cheese and eggs. Mackerel, Shrimp, Oysters, Cod, Salmon, Potatoes and Mussels, are common examples. Others are: Asparagus, Garlic, Lima beans, Mushrooms, Seafood, Sesame seeds, Spinach, Summer squash, Swiss chard and Turnip greens.

Plain table salt.:

We are often told to go on low salt diets which means cutting out added table salt. Nearly all salt sold has added iodine, so we are cutting off an easy source of it. Although it comes from the ocean, sea salt is not a good source of iodine, due to how it's processed. Given the iodine in table salt, this may explain why many FMers crave salt ?


It is also believed to help if you increase your selenium intake. This can be done by eating foods such as whole wheat bread, bran, Brazil nuts, tuna, onions, tomatoes and broccoli. Increase intake of, carrots, spinach, apricots, olive oil, avocado, sunflower seeds, whole grain cereals, bananas and oily fish." Anne Collins, Hypothyroid and weight gain

Foods you might want to avoid or limit:

Raw Cabbage, rutabaga, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, watercress, and raw peanuts. Cooking partially inactivates the interfering chemical, known medically as a goitrogen. Thus, in most cases it is wise to eat these foods cooked. Peanut butter is heated to a high enough degree that the goitrogens are destroyed." Thyroid Health

However, it should be stressed that these foods are only a problem, in people whose diets are already deficient in iodine.