Help for Hashimoto's Episode 35- cold hands and feet

Welcome to Episode 35. I’m coming to you from the frozen Tundra of MN where schools are closed and the high temps for the day will be around -15 and the low -31 with windchills reaching -50. When I got up the outdoor temp was -26.

 It is cold here and when you have thyroid problems and you are already cold, this can be an issue for you. Cold hands and feet can’t get warm and sometimes you might even be cold to the bone. 

A few years ago there were nights where I could not get warm enough to fall asleep without a heating blanket, wool socks, a sweatshirt and flannel pajama bottoms with at least 3 blankets on top of me, one of which was down. 

The struggle is real my friends. If you feel like this, you are not alone- cold weather or not.  

I got a question in my inbox about this very issue. Here it is: 

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto in 99, but given no info beyond that.  Had many problems with medication so ended up not using RX but went to Thyrophin PMG but always being ill.  Have been gluten and corn free, low dairy for years.

The past few weeks my feet have felt like they are in ice water, and my temperature has often been 95 degrees, with a hot home and heating pads and baths I can sometimes get up to 97.2 degrees.

I had been forgetting the Thyrophin frequently.

I did get a chill New Years Day.

Do you think the Hashimoto could be why I am so cold?

Unfortunately my MD moved away and there will not be a replacement for some time and I am in a remote area without much for functional medicine.

I will listen to more podcasts tomorrow.

I am taking undenatured whey to reduce hydrogen peroxide,  but can’t get catalase where I am, have upped the Thyrophin and drinking lots of ginger tea,  and bone broth and wondering what else I can do.

Thanks for any advice you can give me,

Sandy 


Thanks for your question Sandy. No doubt you will be helping many people by having wrote in and asked me this. It is a common problem. 

I would like to know what kind of problems you had on your medication. Perhaps you just didn’t feel great? Maybe you had heart palpitations? Maybe it made you feel worse?

The possible scenario here is that your adrenal health or HPA axis is not functioning properly which is leading to adrenal issues and if you have adrenal issues you may not feel well on medication. I discuss this in Episode 34 but the idea is that your adrenal health affects your thyroid health and vice versa so if you are not dealing with stress well, not sleeping well, having blood sugar issues, then your adrenals are working overtime and you are either in a state of hypoadrenia (things are working slower) or hyperadrenia (things are in overdrive) and your thyroid along with TSH and Free T3 and Free T4 output are also being affected. 

Thyrotrophin PMG is a supplement from Standard Process that is similar to the GTA from Biotics except it has magnesium citrate and bovine thyroid extract that has been processed to remove thyroxine or what we call T4. GTA  Forte II which is what I take has zinc, selenium, copper, rubidium, porcine glandular concentrate and some enzymes. 

Natural Desiccated Thyroid Hormone prescription pills are made from porcine or pig glandulars and the Thyrotrophin is made from bovine or cow thyroid glands so maybe this is partly why you are not feeling well. 

I am assuming you needed medication because you were on it but didn’t feel well on it so it might be time to have your labs done again at a doctors office or order them yourself through someone like Direct Labs, depending on where you live. Some states don’t allow consumers to order lab work. 

You probably need T3. Denis Wilson, MD has coined the term Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome which means that you can have a low body temperature and other symptoms that will respond to T3 therapy. 

I found this to be the case for me. I still have a lower body temperature but once I started on GTA, I no longer have frigid hands and feet. My hands are still a little cool but I am no longer freezing before bed and my overall comfort is much better. This, I believe is attributed to the T3 in GTA. 

It is almost like your body is able to reset itself and you may find that even after stopping a T3 treatment that you will remain more temperature stable. 

Symptoms of Wilson Temperature Syndrome (WTS) include typical hypothyroid symptoms and things like asthma, hives and migraines along with a lower body temperature. You may also have fatigue that lasts and stays, anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, muscle aches, brain fog, carpal tunnel syndrome, overall lack of well being. 

Low body temperature is the main symptom and is easily measured because as a whole, our body temp needs to be within a certain range to properly function. If you don’t have low iron or iron deficiency anemia, kidney disease or liver disease, and you have all these other symptoms, you might want to check in to Wilson Temperature Syndrome. 

Don’t expect to go to your regular doctor and expect them to even know what this is. You can learn more by googling Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. 

I would make a plan to remember to take your Thyrotrophin. Find a time of day to take it where you can make it a habit. Also, don’t buy it off Amazon. Find a practitioner to buy it from. 

It is definitely you thyroid issues as to why you are so cold. 

You say you are taking undenatured whey to reduce hydrogen peroxide. 

Undenatured whey is whey that has not been heated enough to denature it or basically kill all the enzymes and good stuff that might be in it. Heat will destroy the immunoglobulins and break the peptide bond (broken down protein). It has glutyl-cysteine which is a peptide. Your cells use it to make glutathione which is our big antioxidant. From what I understand undenatured whey is supposed to raise glutathione levels and fix anemia. 

If your thyroid issues are due to a mercury toxicity from environment, amalgam fillings or anything else, you may not want to be taking this type of whey. Too much cysteine can suppress your thyroids ability to function so there may be a possibility of consuming too much undenatured whey that could be making you feel worse. 

The other issue I have with whey in any form is that the proteins in dairy products are similar to protein structure in your thyroid which can be an issue for your immune system. It can get confused and attack your thyroid tissue which can create more problems like hyper thyroid symptoms and tissue or cell death. 

Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body when we convert iodine in the thyroid. When TSH rises, more TPO or thyroid peroxidase enzyme is released which then releases hydrogen peroxide. This will cause damage to the cells in the thyroid if there is not enough selenium and glutathione. If you have Hashimoto’s you may have had a TPO antibody test done. The more peroxide in the body the more TPO antibodies may be created. The immune system may see the rise in TPO enzyme as the problem and so creates antibodies against it. 

The more iodine in your diet, the more it will need to be converted, the more hydrogen peroxide there will be which can decrease how much selenium and glutathione you have to deal with it. 

You might likely be deficient if you are eating more processed foods rather than real whole foods as well. 

You also said that you can’t get catalase where you are. I want to explain what that is for you guys. 

Catalase is an enzyme that will break down the hydrogen peroxide keeping it from damaging our cells much like glutathione does. You make catalase in your liver but maybe you are not making enough. 

Selenium also helps to form glutathione which will remove excess hydrogen peroxide. You can supplement with anywhere from 50mg to 200mg per day of selenium but no more. 

Before you do that though, look closely at your diet. Remove dairy completely for a couple of months to see if it is causing an immune response for you. Stay gluten free and find out what foods you are sensitive to. Sugar, alcohol, soy, caffeine, eggs and even other gluten free grains can be a problem for many of us. You may also want to consider if nightshades are a problem by eliminating them. They are quite anti-inflammatory for many people. 

Ginger is good for heating up the body so keep up with the ginger tea. Bone broth is excellent. Make sure you are eating enough. 

Eat foods that love the liver. Much of our T4 is converted to T3 in the liver. 

Foods with vitamin C like acerola cherries, greens, parsley, cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, brussel sprouts. Remember these are only a problem as a goitrogenic food if you are eating them raw in large quantities on a daily basis. 

Foods with vitamin E which will be protective to the liver and have antioxidant properties. Asparagus, Avocado, leafy greens. 

Zinc is an antioxidant and is in abundance in oysters, ginger root, many nuts and peas. 

Selenium works with vitamin E as an antioxidant. Molasses, brazil nuts, brown rice, turnips, garlic, red swiss chard, oranges and shellfish.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium and this is important for so many things in the body from helping cells to create energy to helping our liver detoxification pathways work properly.  It is found in a lot of grains and nuts but also coconut and brown rice. 

If you are following an elimination diet, this may not work for you and you might have to supplement with magnesium. My favorite is magnesium glycinate. 

There are many more things that are great for your liver- B vitamins, turmeric, milk thistle and amino acids. Remember that amino acids are coming from protein being broken down in our digestive tract. 

So eating and digesting protein is helpful as well. 

I would recommend you find a way to have your thyroid tested again and be diligent with taking the supplement for your thyroid. 

I hope this helps you Sandy. Thanks so much for writing in. 

I have had some people try to contact me about working with me one on one through DM’s on Instagram. It took me about a month to even notice they were there. I try to just pop on and off of my social media accounts so the best way to reach me is through my website www.helpforhashimotos.com by filling out the contact page there. 

Someone also asked me to talk about lunch ideas and I am going to put that in my newsletter along with a recipe for a pizza hotdish (as we call it here in MN)/casserole. So head on over to helpforhashimotos.com to sign up for that. 

You can find me on social media at out of the woods nutrition-help for hashimoto’s on facebook and @stephanieewalsntp on instagram. I have been less active there so again, the newsletter is the place to get the good information from me. There is also the help for hashimoto’s facebook support group so you can go ask to join that. 

thanks so much for tuning in. Until next week! 

Episode 34 Adrenals and your medication

Welcome to Episode 34. I’m so glad you are here. Today we are talking about adrenal health and why it is soooo important to have healthy adrenal function when you have hashimoto’s or other thyroid conditions. 

The adrenal glands are little walnut sized glands that sit right on top of our kidneys. We would die without them, they are that important. These little glands help us deal with stress in our every day lives and with chronic stress which is a part of most people’s every day lives. 

Your ability to be resilient, have energy and endurance all depend on our adrenal glands ability to do their job. They secrete cortisol, adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and impact how your body uses carbohydrates and fats, how well you convert your food into energy and if your body will store fat, how your blood sugar is managed, and helps your cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal system work as they should. 

The adrenal glands also make your sex hormones after menopause and andropause. They have anti-inflammatory properties and help to minimize the effects of alcohol, drugs, foods and toxins. 

All this said, they are pretty important and they manage a lot of stuff in our body which means they can “wear out” or become fatigued. This is what many now call HPA axis dysfunction or dysregulation. 

Basically this means that when our body perceives a stressful event our brain signals our adrenal glands to release cortisol, adrenaline or noradrenaline to deal with the stress. 

As this happens more often in our body due to chronic stress, food sensitivities/allergies, inflammation, mismanaged blood sugar etc., our adrenal glands become less able to recover and respond again and they become depleted. The adrenals are not able to respond and this affects all parts of our body in a physiological way. 

This disrupts how much cortisol is released and when it is released which will affect our sleep patterns as well as the production of some hormones and neurotransmitters but not necessarily the levels of cortisol put out by the adrenals. 

It is the brain that signals the adrenals to release their hormones, the adrenal glands don’t do it on their own, so it is believed that the problem is in the brain and the signaling in the nervous system. 

The package insert for your thyroid medication will specifically state that you should not use your medication. Here is what the package insert says for Synthroid (Armour says something similar)

  • Do not use SYNTHROID if you have uncorrected adrenal problems.

  • Taking too much levothyroxine has been associated with increased bone loss, especially in women after menopause.

  • Once your doctor has found your specific SYNTHROID dose, it is important to have lab tests done, as ordered by your doctor, at least once a year.

  • Foods like soybean flour, cottonseed meal, walnuts, and dietary fiber may cause your body to absorb less SYNTHROID from the gastrointestinal tract. Grapefruit juice may cause your body to absorb less levothyroxine and may reduce its effect. Let your doctor know if you eat these foods, as your dose of SYNTHROID may need to be adjusted.

  • Use SYNTHROID only as ordered by your doctor. Take SYNTHROID as a single dose, preferably on an empty stomach, one-half to one hour before breakfast.

What does this mean for you?

Here is a list of symptoms that will tell you if you are having an issue with your adrenal health:

  • You tend to be a night person

  • You have a hard time falling asleep

  • You are a slow starter in the morning

  • You might feel keyed up and have trouble calming down

  • Your blood pressure is higher than 120/80

  • You get a headache after exercising

  • You feel wired after drinking coffee

  • You clench or grind your teeth

  • You have chronic low back pain that gets worse when you are fatigued

  • You get dizzy if you stand up too fast from sitting/lying 

  • You crave salt

  • You have afternoon yawning, afternoon headaches

  • You have a tendency towards shin splints 

  • You tend to need sunglasses outside even if it isn’t sunny


You may also see lab work that shows high T3 yet you are feeling like you are still hypo or if you are on a natural desiccated thyroid medication and just not feeling well or you’re having symptoms that make you feel hyper like heart palpitations, racing heart or even anxiety. 

This can be because the cells are not getting the T3 and it is just sitting in your blood stream which can cause the feeling of anxiety or a racing heart among other things. 

Your thyroid function often is affected by how well functioning your adrenal glands are. 

Chronic adrenal stress will affect how your brain is able to tell the adrenals to work so they will have extra output of adrenal hormones at certain times and at others you will have very little leading to the symptoms listed earlier. 

When your adrenals are not functioning well, aside from keeping T3 from getting in to the cells, you will also have trouble converting T4 into T3, your cells can become less sensitive to your thyroid hormones which is probably what is happening when your T3 is high yet you feel hypo. 

Hashimoto’s can be triggered by chronic adrenal stress because adrenal stress will wreak havoc on the immune system which can result in the antibodies against your thyroid being made. 

What causes adrenal stress? 

So much. 

Your diet- consuming too much processed food, too much sugar and having food intolerances or food allergies. Your adrenal glands, cortisol especially, play a major role in blood sugar management. Food intolerances cause inflammation and an immune system response so continually eating foods you “shouldn’t” will cause an issue for your adrenals and can raise reverse T3 which means your body is converting your needed free T3 into Reverse T3 leaving you feeling hypo. 

Your body makes less Progesterone which is needed to even out the effects of estrogen in our body when we are dealing with chronic stress. 

Too much estrogen in your body binds up your thyroid hormones in your blood. High cortisol contributes to estrogen dominance in your body. 

Your adrenal function is affected by your ability to deal with stress of all kinds. We turn on that stress response when we: 

Don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes we can’t control getting enough sleep if we work a night shift or we have young children or whatever. Being deprived of sleep is not good for your adrenal health which isn’t good for your thyroid health. 

Make sleep a priority. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning. This will help to reset your internal clock and will help you sleep better and deeper in the long run. Also, keep electronics out of your room, wear the blue blocking glasses after the sun sets- this will help increase your melatonin production allowing you to feel tired but also fall asleep. 

Do something to help deal with mental and emotional stress. Therapy, meditation, journaling. Find what makes you feel better and do it. Lose the things in your life that are contributing to your stress. Sometimes we have to see less of those toxic people in our lives. Take care of you first. You are no good to anyone else if you are not well cared for first. 

Manage your blood sugar! So important. This is second in importance to sleep. If you want to see improvements in your hashimoto’s or adrenal issues then you have to manage your blood sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugary processed or high refined carbohydrate foods will affect your adrenal health for the worse. Even consuming too much fruit at one time can be hard on your blood sugar. If you get hangry then you have an issue with blood sugar. If you wake up between 1 and 3 am then you have an issue with blood sugar. 

Inflammation in any form will stress your adrenal glands but most especially the chronic inflammation that most of us with hashimoto’s are dealing with. Chronic inflammation is increased by all the things I have just talked about along with things like parasites or infections you might not be aware you have. 

Exercise, gently. Autoimmune Strong is a good place to start. They have the most gentle exercise program I know of for chronic illness and it won’t tax your adrenals. 

Your thyroid health and your adrenal health go hand in hand. If one is not working well, the other one won’t be either. 

You can have your cortisol levels tested by a salvia test that measures your levels throughout the day. It will give you a good picture of what time of day you are lacking or having too much cortisol and then you can make a plan with your practitioner to fix it. I don’t recommend doing this on your own.  You might not find a conventional doctor who would test this or even know what to do with it so it might be a good idea to find a functional medicine practitioner who can help you. 

Some things you can do on your own to help your adrenal function are: 

Eat protein and fat at every meal, including the first meal of the day and do so within an hour of waking. This will make your blood sugar stable and your adrenals won’t have to get busy raising your blood sugar right away in the morning. Eating protein and fat in the morning will also help keep your blood sugar stable all day. 

Until your body starts to get back on track, you may need to eat some protein every few hours to help stabilize your blood sugar. If you are dealing with insulin resistance or blood sugar issues, this will help your body adjust and remain in a stable state. If you tolerate a small amount of nuts, seeds or eggs or even a can of tuna or sardines. These would be great options for you. A protein shake made of just a single ingredient protein powder (I like Designs For Health Pure Paleo Protein Powder) or even high quality beef jerky. 

You will need to figure out how well your body tolerates the starchy or more sugary carbohydrates. As I have said before, I don’t tolerate starches well, especially at lunch time so I tend to have a small amount at dinner which helps me to sleep better. If you feel sleepy after eating you know you have eaten too many carbs. Avoid grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, parsnips, beans and sugary things.

Avoid fruit juices and instead consume the whole fruit so the fiber keeps your blood sugar stable by slowing down how quickly your body absorbs the sugar. 

Avoid coffee or caffeinated teas, no decaf coffee either- it usually has some caffeine in it. These stimulate the adrenals- if you are dependent on caffeine to get you going in the morning, you likely have some adrenal issues. 

Eat lots and lots of vegetables, high quality protein and high quality fats. Stick to a palm sized portion of protein, a thumb sized portion of fat and fill the rest of your plate with veggies- greens, fibrous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, radish, onion, garlic and so on. 

Find out if you have sensitivities to foods and eliminate them. An elimination diet is particularly helpful and a cheap way to figure out which foods cause inflammation in your body. 

Don’t fast if you are dealing with any blood sugar dysregulation and/or adrenal stress. This will only make things worse. You may want to stick to a 12 hour window of opportunity for eating and make sure you are eating enough. You need more than 1200 calories to sustain yourself and to ensure your body can heal. Eat until you are full and satisfied- this will ensure you don’t have blood sugar issues as long as you are eating as suggested. 

You may want to supplement with magnesium. It is needed for so many biochemical reactions in the body and the adrenal glands are no exception. Magnesium can act like a spark plug in the body and stress depletes it. Magnesium citrate can be found in a product called Natural Calm which is readily available. It can loosen your stools though so be aware of that and back down how much you take if you need to. 

B vitamins are essential for your body and play a role in energy production. A high quality B complex is recommended. Know your source when you buy it. I don’t recommend Amazon as a place to buy supplements. 

Vitamin C is good for your adrenal glands but it also stimulates the immune system so if you are dealing with high or elevated antibodies for thyroid, you might want to be cautious. 

Licorice root is great for sluggish adrenals. It is stimulatory so don’t take it after 1 or 2 pm. It can increase energy and endurance and helps to manage low blood sugar issues. 

Ashwaganda is an herb that is known as an adaptogen which means it will help your body get or stay in a more balanced state and it can help stabilize your cortisol if it is either too high or too low. It is also a nightshade and can be inflammatory to some or stimulate your already overactive immune system. 

Ginger root also helps to keep your cortisol levels even and balanced. You can make a tea by grating 1 teaspoon of ginger and let it steep in hot water for about 10 minutes. You can strain it or just drink it. 

I think this is a good place to stop. Thanks for joining me. Have a question about your thyroid or how to manage it? Go to my website- helpforhashimotos.com and fill out the contact form. 

Please leave a rating and review on iTunes so other people can find the podcast and be helped. There are 14 million people just in the US that are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. That is a lot of people. The more you share about the podcast, the more people that can be helped. I’d really appreciate your help on that. 

You can find me on social media at stephanieewalsntp on instagram and at Out of the Woods Nutrition-Help For Hashimoto’s on facebook. I also created a facebook group for the podcast called Help For Hashimoto’s which is a positive support group but all the action is happening in my newsletter where I send out recipes and tips for living well with Hashimoto’s. You can sign up on my website. I was thinking of making a grocery shopping list or a guide to understanding your thyroid labs to give you when you sign up for my newsletter. Will you let me know which one you prefer?

Talk to you soon! Have a great week!