Since normal thyroid function is essential to regulate energy metabolism, abnormal thyroid function129 may have profound effects on blood glucose control in diabetes. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can affect the course of diabetes, but their effects are different. Although hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism do not directly affect blood sugar levels, not treating thyroid disease can cause lots of issues in managing your blood sugars because of the effects the symptoms have on your body and how your body metabolizes glucose and insulin. The frequency of thyroid dysfunction in diabetic patients is higher than that of the general population. Multiple studies conclude that hypothyroidism shows a strong association with type 2 diabetes.
Some diabetic patients want to know if it’s possible to get off thyroid medication. Health writer Chris Kresser wrote a detailed article addressing the complexities of this issue. If you have hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease), hypothyroidism (from many causes), or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States), this is definitely something you want to work on with your doctor.
Members have reported thyroid disorder benefits from The Iodine Protocol, as described at StopTheThyroidMadness.com. Marygrace writes, “Also, levothyroxine is addressing only part of the issue. Most doctors, including endocrinologists, only go by TSH. This is not enough. You need a better picture of the thyroid function. You need antibodies, Free T3 and Free T4, as well as Reverse T3. There is a formula to calculate if you are in the right balance. You need both T3 and T4, in products like WP Thyroid, NP Thyroid, and Westhroid. My endocrinologist wouldn’t listen, so I changed to a PCP who is a DO. She listens more!”
In my experience, I developed Graves’ disease in my late twenties, which prevented me from becoming pregnant.* They treated me with radioactive iodine, which destroyed too much of my thyroid gland, thus leaving me with hypothyroidism and requiring levothyroxine for the rest of my life, or so I was told. However, after I started eating low-carb 40+ years later, my doctors reduced my dosage of levothyroxine—twice. This was good news! There is some thought that levothyroxine can raise blood sugar. However, for those who need that medication, there isn’t a choice.
*After treatment and a year on Synthroid, I did become pregnant and gave birth to two beautiful healthy babies!
Trentini, Dana. “Is Your Thyroid KILLING You? Diabetes,” HypothyroidMom (January 14, 2013).
https://hypothyroidmom.com/is-your-thyroid-killing-you-diabetes/ (accessed on 8/3/2020).
Kresser, Chris, MS. “Is it Possible to Get Off Thyroid Medication?” Chris Kresser (June 21, 2019). https://chriskresser.com/is-it-possible-to-get-off-thyroid-medication/ (accessed on 8/3/2020).
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