Stephanie, Thank you so much for a wonderful podcast. I love that you keep it real while answering difficult questions for us. You have a very calming and peaceful voice and I am always so encouraged listening to your podcasts. Keep them coming. We are listening and learning.
What do you do if you forget to take your medication?
Half life- a half life in the world of medications means the amount of time it takes for the concentration of the medication in your blood plasma to reduce by half. Said another way- it is how long a drug stays in your system or the amount of time it takes for the effectiveness of a drug to reduce by half.
If you are taking levothyroxine, the half life is 6-7 days and up to 9 or 10 days if you are dealing with hypothyroid conditions. If you have hyperthyroid conditions then it can be as little as three days. Nothing seems to be easy with this disease.
Levothyroixine is a common treatment and most likely what your doctor will prescribe unless you have a doctor open or more knowledgeable in thyroid health.
For practical purposes we will go with a 7 day half life for levothyroxine. When you take this medication, around 80% of it goes through your system over a longer period of time, like several hours.
According to the Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, missing a day shouldn’t have a big effect on you. They also say that T4 is absorbed very well by the body so waiting an hour to take your medication before eating might not necessarily be required. Taking it on an empty stomach will give you a more stable TSH reading though. But since we all know that TSH should not be the gold standard, that maybe shouldn’t matter.
The reason you usually have to wait 6 weeks to have your labs tested is because of this long half life. It takes about 6 weeks before your body has adjusted to a dose.
However, if your digestion is not working well and we are going to talk about that in a minute, then you may have issues with absorption and of creation of T3 from your T4 only medication.
There can be an issue in concentration of medication between manufacturers which can mess with your body. So, be proactive and let your pharmacy know that you do not want them to switch your medication without your knowledge. Remember that getting this dose right is like goldilocks- it needs to be just right.
This same textbook also says that NDT is not a good choice for treatment and that TSH is the gold standard so- take it for what it is worth.
A NDT like Armour has a half life of 2-7 days with the T3 having a half life of 4-6 hours. So if you take your medication with T3 in it at 8am then sometime between 12pm and 2pm you have about half of the original dose of medication in your system. Your cells will have used the rest of it. But it should last you about a day. This means half is gone in 4-6 hours, another half of the half (a quarter more ) will be used in another 4-6 hours and so on.
T3 is used up faster because your body doesn’t have to convert it like it does T4. This is why it is a good idea to take a partial dose in the morning and a partial dose in the afternoon.
Now let’s talk about what happens when our digestion isn’t working well because this is very important for our thyroid to work well.
Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme. It makes thyroid hormones by cleaving off an iodine molecule and adding it to the amino acid tyrosine on thyroglobulin which then makes T4 and T3. In order for this to happen, we need to have available to us: selenium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin A.
You should not just go and willy nilly supplement with these vitamins and minerals. There are many factors involved here and supplementing with some of these may make things worse in the long run. So it is a good idea to either do a lot of your own research or work with someone who knows how to work with your condition.
Our gut or gastro intestinal tract is an important factor in our thyroid health but even before that, what we eat and how we break it down in our stomach is a key factor.
Before we even talk about what you are eating, let’s talk about how you are eating it. Are you running through the drive through before or after your kids activities? Are you eating in the car or eating while you are doing something else? Are you relaxed or stressed while you are eating?
Any of those scenarios will mean you are going to struggle with breaking down your meal before it even gets to your small intestine where most of the nutrients are absorbed.
Digestion actually starts in the brain. We smell our food cooking and our brain signals the production of saliva so we can break down some of that food in our mouth while chewing. Are you chewing your food well? Like 20-30 chews per bite? Really breaking it down so the enzymes in your saliva can begin digesting the carbohydrates in your meal?
Once you have chewed well, you swallow and that ball of food goes in to your stomach and stomach acid and pepsin get to work digesting or breaking down proteins.
Do you have acid reflux after eating? (there is more about this in the audio)
Once it is broken down in the stomach and reaches the right pH then the valve between your stomach and your small intestine opens and fats are broken down by the release of bile and nutrients are extracted in the small intestine and absorbed in to the blood stream.
Here is where your gut health comes in to play since leaky gut or Intestinal Permeability are what contributes to autoimmunity.
We need a balance of gut bacteria in our intestines to help us convert T4 to T3 there. If we are not eating right or digesting well then we will have an imbalance of bacteria and intestinal permeability.
We can end up with parasites, overgrowth of candida and constipation- all with their own contributions to our failing health.
When we have hypothyroid- we have a sluggish gallbladder which means we might struggle to digest our dietary fats and then we are making thick and viscous bile which further messes up the gallbladder function. When this is not working well, we are not detoxifying as well either. so we can’t break down hormones or toxins from our environment.
How are you pooping? No one wants to talk about it but you must be moving stool through your body and going every 16-24 hours. Your BM should be the size of your forearm from your wrist to your elbow, it should come out with ease and you should feel relieved when you are done and not like you still have to go.
Being constipated further contributes to the “bad guys” overgrowing in your Small Intestine and causing bacterial infections, you may experience chronic pain, inflammation, digestive issues, food intolerances and Hashimoto’s.
With all of this happening, we can also have issues dumping estrogen and so it can accumulate. This can cause hypothyroidism that you won’t see on a blood test according to Datis Kharrazian in Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms. This excess estrogen will keep the thyroid hormones from getting to the cells- causing hypothyroid symptoms.
So you see, taking supplements without first healing the gut is pointless. It is a band aid at best. The only supplement you may need at this point is some stomach acid- Betaine HCl so you can start to break down your food and get those nutrients to your cells, kill off some of the bad guys and bring things back in balance.
You will see improvement in chronic inflammation from changing what you eat and the way you eat it. Start with your plate. With breakfast. Make some bone broth. That is the next recipe to go out in my newsletter so sign up for that.
So reduce inflammation by cutting out gluten, dairy products, eggs, most other grains, soy products and yeast. Yeast can feed an already out of control candida overgrowth. These are some of the big allergens, in other grains it is best to avoid corn for sure.
This gives your body a chance to calm down so it can properly react to foods.
You need to be on an elimination diet for 3 weeks to 3 months depending on how sick you are, how inflamed, or how long you went untreated for Hashimoto’s. In addition to this, you can do something called a FIT test
What can you eat? There are no notes for this. It’s only on the audio.