going off thyroid meds -- best way to maximize thyroid function?!

by (2543) Updated February 16, 2014 at 4:35 AM Created February 05, 2012 at 2:59 AM

i was put on thyroid meds (synthroid) for hypothyroid about 2 years ago, because my readings were "borderline." i never had any actual symptoms. recently i asked my doctor to go off the medication, because i don't feel like i should have been on it to begin with. also, since that time, i've changed my diet to primal, become much more active, reduced stress, and generally live a healthier lifestyle. i'm kinda hoping that my thyroid function will normalize completely simply due to these factors. since going off the medication about two weeks ago, i had some days of utter exhaustion -- i was warned it would take about 2-6 weeks for my thyroid to kick into high gear again.

does anyone have any experience going off thyroid meds? if so, what recommendations do you have for optimizing thyroid function through diet? maybe even some natural supplements?

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20 Replies

3180 · February 19, 2012 at 5:29 AM

As much as I wanted it to work, sadly, it didn't. I had been on Synthroid for 5-6 years, based on high TSH (50's). I had very few symptoms and they never tested anything but TSH and T4. The Synthroid didn't help me, I thought, as I got fatter, on more meds, etc... After I started paleo eating in Jan 2011, I quickly lost 50lbs and got off all meds. In May 2011, i started halfing my 150mcg Synthroid pills. TSH stayed very low for several months (.55). I quit altogether in Sep. In Oct my TSH was 1.5, T4 mid-range. In Nov I noticed my toes getting cold in a warm house and my weight loss completely stalled. In Dec my TSH was 2.5, T4 lower mid-range, toes cold, weight stalled. 5 Jan 2012 I requested full thyroid panel: TSH was 4.2, T4 below range, T3 at bottom of range, no thyroid antibodies present. They didn't check rT3, but I assume it would be non-existant since i had no T4.

I restarted my Synthroid on 10 Jan and have an Endo appt at end of this month. I hope to get a rx for a natural dessicated thyroid (Armour or equiv).

I started supplementing with selenium and iodine (kelp tabs) in December, wish I had started years ago.

What it seems to me is my thyroid is indeed not working well. The Sythroid must have accumulated in my body and it took 3 months to run it out. I have heard that T4 has a long life and T3 an extremely short (6 hours).

Bottom line, if you quit, be sure to test. Hypothyroidism is a bitch and without proper levels you are hosed as far as weight loss and health long term.

I really don't know why I am so against taking Sythroid--if it was sold as a supplement, I'd probably brag about taking it, like my Vit D 10,000IU/day.

Post back and let us know how you make out. I will do the same.

233 · April 03, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Eating carbohydrate is crucial to producing t3..Paul Jaminet has articles on this

10 · July 13, 2012 at 6:16 PM

I have had hypothyrodism for about 3 years now and the synthroid has done nothing me other than make my numbers on a lab report change for the better. I also gained more weight and I've been eating the same but exercising more. I decided to go off of it for a while and try natural ways to help my thryoid. Hopefully that will help my weight go back down. I really do not think synthroid works for everyone unfortunately.

3142 · February 19, 2012 at 5:04 PM

There are many causes and types of hypothyroidism. I had low T3 only, suggesting I had a problem with conversion. I also had low progesterone, low vit D, high cholesterol and at that point, about a year and a half of no menstral period. My doc prescribed hormones, cholesterol and thyroid meds which I took for a few weeks (except the cholesterol meds, they went in the trash the moment I got them home). They didn't change the way I felt so I tossed them and started researching.

What I did was vit d, selenium and fish oil supp., increased fiber from plant sources (potatoes, nuts, avocados), ate tons of white potatoes and rice (I was low carb paleo before), stopped exercising completely except for lots of long quiet walks, stopped eating all dairy, even ghee and I did my absolute best to relax.

My cholesterol dropped first. Then I lost my insurance so I don't know what my hormone and thyroid levels are, but about 4 months after I started my plan I got my period and have had it regularly for nine months now and the thyroid symptoms stopped. I gradually stopped vit d and fish oil, being careful to get sunshine and fish. I felt great. Then I tried to stop selenium and I felt good for about a month and then I started to feel the old symptoms again. My mouth, neck and chest would tingle, my hands grew cold and achy, I was jumpy and I was starting to feel like I could sleep at all hours of the day.

I went right back on the selenium and all it took was a few days and the symptoms began to dissipate. So I'll stay on they selenium for the time being.

But you have to figure out what kind of hypothyroidism you have. If you have something like hashimoto's I think you've got to be on meds the rest of your life.

4888 · February 19, 2012 at 8:11 AM

There is a mass of opinion / anecdote / advice, as well as more researched (medically based) info etc for thyroid here...




on the basis of which I am taking kelp pills and have ordered some Lugol's solution from eBay.

0 · August 20, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Once you have started thyroid, you can change brands, but you should never stop. Natural dessicated thyroid is your best choice unless you are allergic to pork. The next best option is T3 ( Cytomel, levothyronine). Most people have problems with T4 (synthroid, levothyroxine) because their body cannot convert T4 into T3 and they end up with more health problems. Plastics kill the thyroid gland as well as other chemicals we come in contact with every day.

-8 · May 21, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Keep consumption of soy and polyunsaturated fats to a minimum.

0 · May 21, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Google "Anatabloc" For me it literally gave me back my life. Then paleo then cross fit and now becoming a new woman at 51.

Anatabloc has human studies on thyroid and animal studies on many other health issues. GNC carries it and online.

0 · May 20, 2013 at 11:30 PM

I starated taking a compounded dessicated thryoid (30 mg) about 2.5 months ago. My thyroid number, though on the low end, weren't terrible and I was having a few symptoms but now at night my heart pounds like it's going through my chest and I am having other neuro symptoms.

Two days ago I stopped taking it (so today is day 2). I am also using Vivelle Dot estrogen patches and use progesterone on days 18-28 of my cycle (I am 55) which then causes a period.

In addition, my endo put me on 5 mg. of HC in the morning and then I added an additional 5 mg. at noon and sometimes 2.5 at 4:00 pm.

I hate all of this stuff and look back and have no idea how I got here and it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm trying to learn about it all but just can't wrap my head around it. I hate it!

Right now I'm having pain in both of my feet on the outside of the tops, like I dropped something on them both.

Any ideas and has anyone had success just stopping with the thyroid? Thanks, E

0 · April 03, 2013 at 6:42 PM

I would like to know how to go about this too, am on desiccated thyroid and my levels are almost the same as I was before I started but tsh 0.0. Doctors say I didn't need them in the first place because my TSH/T4/T3 were low but normal. Endocrinologist prescribed Cytomel as well but that didn't do much and I was told by doctors to not take it. I am scared now that my thyroid is not producing any hormone I will be stuck on them for life. Weight gain is a big issue, the only one I am scared of if going off it. I am already gaining weight for no reason on a low-cal diet with light exercise. I cannot starve like this for life. Have seen two nutritionists, they were of no help.

0 · March 29, 2013 at 8:44 PM

All my tests were in the normal range but my Dr put me on synthroid anyway. Tests still fine.. I want to stop taking it how do I do it slowly?;

0 · February 07, 2013 at 10:07 PM

i am on armour, i took 30 mcg and now tired and heart racing

186 · September 09, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Fish broth/epi-paleo rx

0 · September 09, 2012 at 7:03 AM

I had one thyroid removed. I take .1 mg or 100 mcg of thyroid medication daily. I want to get of medication. Is this impossible?

8 · July 31, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Maria, you need to get on Armour thyroid and make sure the dosage is high enough. Start at the dosage indicated by the blood test, and take it for 6 weeks. If you still feel crumby after 6 weeks, no matter what the blood test says, increase the dosage to the next level, wait another 6 weeks, etc. until you reach a dosage that makes you feel human.

791 · February 19, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Be certain to measure iodine levels as levels that are too low, as well as too high, can be an unhderlying cause of hypothyroidism. Most people probably have selenium levels that are too low to support good thyroid function - this can also be measured in serum. As others in this thread have mentioned, check for thyroid related antibodies to make sure the root cause is not an autoimmune condition.

4703 · February 19, 2012 at 5:37 AM

+1 for the iodine recommendation. Also see this article http://chriskresser.com/selenium-the-missing-link-for-treating-hypothyroidism

10004 · February 05, 2012 at 3:10 AM

Hi meret,

Here is some info that you may find useful:



77348 · February 05, 2012 at 3:08 AM

Check out old threads like http://paleohacks.com/questions/48584/stopping-the-synthroid/57700#57700

You might want to contact akman and get an update- it sounded promising.

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