The use of Levothyroxine is the conventional hormone replacement therapy that is given to all the people diagnosed with a Thyroid issue.
Either you are Hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, or with Hashimoto Thyroiditis such in my case, it is probable that a conventional doctor will prescribe you with Levothyroxine.
Most common state of doctors is that “You will have to take forever your Levothyroxine pill”.
Well, my dear Thyroid companions, this is not true for all.
In some, or probably most cases of Hashimoto Thyroiditis, patients are told the same, but doctors are not giving the full advice of the proper steps to follow to heal, doctors only give patients Levothyroxine, but Hashimoto’s patients need to dig deeper.
Hashimoto Thyroidits is an autoimmune disease, which it means, the immune system is the one out of control, not the thyroid itself.
Again, I am not a doctor myself, but I give this recommendations as a testimonial of what I experienced.
So, yes, it might be possible to stop taking Levothyroxine, but it will depend in how damaged your immune system did to your Thyroid.
Therefore, in some cases even some people have left behind the use of Levothyroxine.
In my case, since I have a Thyroid Nodule, I do still have to take Levothyroxine since the Thyroid gland has been already damaged.
I will continue and focus on the effects and how some brands of Levothyroxine makes me feel awful.
If you want to know some of the steps I am doing to heal Hashimoto, you can read the blog post.
When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto and the Thyroid Nodule, the doctor prescribed me with 125 mg.
Of course, when you start this diagnosis and healing path, you have not clue at all, and you just follow the doctor’s order because “he is the expert”, isn’t?
Well, again my dear Thyroid companions, here is the first tip, always do your research and investigate, even if one or two doctors give the same opinion.
I didn’t do any research, and I had my consequences. When I was around 25 years old, obviously taking that amount of dosage will bring you up horrible tachycardias and chest pressure.
You might even feel more nervous than normal.
And of course you will not feel yourself.
I called back my doctor, and he just said, ok then set lower the dosage.
His idea was that using a high dosage of Levothyroxine will help to reduce the size of a thyroid nodule. Well, it didn’t and it had bad consequences.
So one reason that why levothyroxine makes you feel me feel awful is the amount of the dosage.
Therefore, if you are starting on levothyroxine, or are in levothyroxine, adjusting the dose is important.
But start from low to higher dosages, in order to avoid this horrible symptoms.
After changing like two endocrinologists, and by contacting a third one, the doctor also didn’t helped me really out to find out why I was not feeling ok, until I tried myself the dosage of 88mg, but at least the doctor gave me vitamin B.
Those were some stressful years, and honestly, I do think that I could have been better if I have not started going with doctors and waited until my thyroid was more damaged, because the use of levothyroxine has made more bad than good.
With this section I want to make clear again, this is not a medical advice, and what might have affected me, might not have an impact on other people.
Another thing to consider about why levothyroxine is making me feel awful is the brand.
When I started to take Levothyroxine, the brand that I started using was Eutirox from Merck, because it has been the one that my sister has been using for years, and she has been ok.
Plus, it has been known in Mexico to be a good brand.
So, of course the high dose affected me with horrible tachycardias.
Then after lowering the dose and trying with 88 mg I was doing fine.
But when I went to live to Germany, of course I was nervous about ending the levothyroxine I took.
When I went to the doctor, I asked for Levothyroxine, and he gave me another brand, and of course, I didn’t thought that much about the impact of changing the brand.
I started taking the same dose of 88 mg of Hexal, and the effects were that I started to feel low of energy, sleepy, and I didn’t feel right.
So, I went back with the doctor to ask for the brand that I was normally taking, and I changed back to Eutirox, which eventually I felt better again. But eventually, on some TSH labs, the doctor asked me to take 100 mg and I was ok, but I also noticed that my sleep was not the full 8 hours, I used to wake up after 4 hours and then sleep back again.
It was during 2019 that I started to cycle to my job further away, around 15 km both ways, and that meant for my body more use of energy. I mention this, because as you have Hashimoto, also any overuse of your body will also have an impact.
Plus, I still had a considered normal people diet, where I ate Gluten and didn’t take any vitamin D or vitamin B. I was just taking the 100mg of Levothyroxine.
So, I went with the doctor an said that I was not feeling ok. If my dose was ok. But my surprise all the labs were on normal ranges. But something just didn’t felt right and I didn’t know why.
Even when playing football soccer, I had the veins of the side of my head very bulged, extremely bulged, that I was scared and I was, ok this is not normal. Plus, I started to have a strange feeling in the side of my head, like if some ants were walking. When I told this to the doctor, he checked out my heart, everything was perfect, and also the thyroid labs again were Ok, so he just gave me ibuprofen and that is it.
But after a some weeks later I was still not feeling myself, and I still had the weird sensation in the head, so he asked me to do an MRI, which of course, there was nothing. After that result, the doctor told me, it might be just stress. I asked if I should look up for an endocrinologist. The doctor’s answer was, if you go with any other doctor, you might have the same answer.
And honestly, after I left, I felt so left alone. No answers, no solutions, and me feeling crap. For me, that was not just the stress feeling, there has to be something more. In Germany, getting an appointment with an endocrinologist is actually a stressful thing, because when I decided to contact one, they were only giving appointments in 6 months! So I decided to wait for my trip to Mexico, which was in less time, and look for an endocrinologist.
In the meantime I reduced my dosage myself to 88mg and waited, but still not feeling at my best. Once in Monterrey, Mexico, I went with an endocrinologist with some labs that were showing normal TSH range. The doctor said, the excipient might be the one that is not going well with you, try Synthroid.
I took it for 3 weeks, and I was still not feeling myself, and I did had the strange symptom of ants walking in my head. And I did felt better when taking Eutirox than Synthroid, so I changed back and again decided to talk again with the doctor in Germany. But one night I did had again another chest pressure that felt awful.
This changes and not finding the best levothyroxine for me was ruining my life, so I set a lower dose and start taking 75mg. F*ck levothyroxine. I didn’t understand a thing.
So back in Germany 2020, I talked with my doctor, I told him the recommendation of the endocrinologist in Mexico to try another brand, so I changed to Aristo 75mg.
I was doing fine with Aristo and 75mg, but I knew I had to something else, since I started reading about the impact of gluten on Hashimoto, and I learn more about functional medicine.
So, I contacted an Homeopath in Heilbronn, who also work with these chronic diseases. She send me to test what foods caused my antibodies to rise and also made me some other nutritional deficiencies such Vitamin D and Vitamin B.
But 2020 happened, and there were uncertainity all over the world with Covid-19.
I eventually decided to come back to Mexico after some hard months, and look for a doctor.
I tried to not take at all Levothyroxine, and honestly I started to sleep way better and feel a little bit better.
I finally found a functional medicine doctor, with which I started a new healing journey, also based with the food sensitivities test that I did in Germany. At the beginning I just followed the strict diet for my Hashimoto, and supplements without taking Levothyroxine.
But during winter I started to have some leg circulation problems and even I had the Raynaud’s Phenomena, where my toes got purple.
After talking again with the doctor, he asked me to run some tests.
My TSH was actually in the normal ranges, but it was closer to the range were of courses proved that I needed some more hormone.
So, that was the proof that with lifestyle changes, supplements and specially with diet, one can recover the thyroid, but since my thyroid has already been affected, I was conscious that I needed some hormone.
The doctor asked me to take 25 mg of Levothyroxine of Eutirox. And honestly I was not sure, due to the past experiences with it. I even told my mother, I am not sure, I want to try another brand, but she was, don’t. I didn’t asked the doctor for another brand, I just followed his instructions. So I started with 12.5 mg and that first night I had some heart palpitations. After couple weeks I started taking 25 mg, but eventually I had again that awful chest pressure. It was horrible.
I went to the pharmacy and asked for another brand, and they told me there is this other brand, Karet. I took it.
I had to wait some weeks again until I had my appointment, so I decided to start taking that brand. I didn’t had any problem at all.
When I talked with the doctor, I told him what happened and how I felt, so he suggested me to take Karet. So, yes, I took a decision in advance, that luckly resulted in what the doctor was going to suggest.
Probably, not the best recommended to do something without any doctor’s opinion, but after so many years, I have lost full appreciation to doctors. And if I had followed my gut, probably I wouldn’t have had that last chest pressure.
I wished I have known this brand at the beginning of my Hashimoto journey, but there are not so much talk about the impact of different brands.
For now I am taking 32.5 mg of Karet. I will have to wait till my next labs to know the impact, but as another winter is coming, I have this feeling that I will have to increase the dosage.
There are already some stories of people who are deciding to take desiccated thyroid extract, since it is a more natural alternative to Levothyroxine.
Honestly, I can’t give any testimonial about this, since I have not tried it myself.
But there is an option to be considered for those who live in countries where you can find this.
Some medical opinions are that this is harder to control.
But as I said, those opinions might also be pushed by a pharmaceutical industry that I do believe that is doing more damage than good.
Yes, there have been scientifical advances, but medicine is not the unique answer.
The most usual treatment for hypothyroidism or Hashimoto is to recommend thyroid medication to the patients based on their TSH levels.
But as for experience, and the things I wished I would have known way before, is that not always the thyroid is the one to be blamed if we are presenting fatigue, weight gain, tremors, bloating, or any other symptom that might be causes by unbalanced hormone levels.
As mentioned, in my case, I had a thyroid nodule, but never was told to change out my diet and remove certain food trigers like gluten and egg.
And instead of giving me the high dosage of levothyroxine, I could have started from the bottom to the way up, plus also finding the right brand for me.
In my case, I do still have to take the thyroid hormone medication, but there has been cases of people that when they undergo lifestyle changes, do their food sensitivity test, check out for nutritional defficiencies, they might not even need taking thyroid medication.
I wish I have known this before, and started to remove gluten from my diet way before I just followed up all the indications of the first doctors that actually made me feel worse than better, but this was part of my healing process.
The hard times of the past, made me also realize to appreciate my present and act according to build up the future that I want.
So, as a recommendation, talk first with your functional medicine doctor, and discuss the possibilities of testing out if do you actually need the thyroid medicine or not.
It will be notorious on your T4, T3 and TSH levels for a certain given period of time if you need some support from synthetic thyroid hormone medicine.
But certainly if you are feeling worse on thyroid medication, discuss with your doctor to consider other brands for thyroid replacement medication, or natural thyroid options.
The idea is to feel better, and not worse due to the side effects of levothyroxine.
That is why I hope that this experience helps people who are searching why levothyroxine is making you feel awful, and hopefully one day doctors will open their eyes, and recognize that just giving Levothyroxine is not the only solution for people with Hashimoto.
I probably have considered myself in the past a guy who fully trusted science and didn’t looked out much for natural solutions, but until one lives such experiences, it is when one changes.
I do think that food is the number one line of defense against diseases, then you complement them with supplements and lifestyle changes and you add a back up with conventional medicine, and not the way around.
And as I have mentioned in other blog posts, healing Hashimoto needs to work in the gut, the body, and also in other aspects of the person, such as the mind and soul.