Below are some of the questions we received at our old forums, along with my answers about how HGH may affect the thyroid gland and thyroid conditions. Since I believe these posts contain information that could be valuable to others I have transferred the posts to this main site.
Lisa Wells, RN
Taking HGH Requiring More Synthroid
Question: I've been on Synthroid for 10 years. I started HGH injections 4 months ago. My doctor says I now need a higher dose of Synthroid! I thought HGH helps repair! So why am a needing more medication? I need advice. I don't see a specialist for a month! Is it doing more harm than good?
Answer: HGH can help to heal but your thyroid problem should always be properly treated before beginning HGH injections because if not the injections will put an extra burden on the thyroid, since it will need to provide the extra energy needed in order for growth hormone to do its work. If you are still hypothyroid at the cellular level then you already don't have enough energy to function optimally and adding HGH injections only makes the energy requirement more.
I would like to add that it seems that many people who are on Synthroid, which is a man-made version of only the storage hormone T4, are still hypothyroid at the cellular level and their doctor's don't know this because they do not know to check their Free T3 and Reverse T3 levels. Has your doctor checked these important levels? Only these levels can show if your cells are really getting enough thyroid hormone but a majority of doctors, including Endocrinologists, only check the TSH and perhaps T4.
T4 is only a storage hormone. It cannot enter the cell receptors and must be converted into T3 to be used. Some people have trouble converting the synthetic T4 in Synthroid to the active T3 the cells require and so the body converts it into Reverse T3, which is unusable by the body and can block the cell receptors so the little T3 you have cannot enter the cells. In these cases the TSH may be normal but the patient may still be in a hypothyroid state.
It is a fact that many people on Levothyroxin (Synthroid) do much better on desiccated thyroid (Armour) and some do better on liothyronine (Cytomel), which is synthetic T3 only.
I would recommend you see if your doctor is checking these levels. You might also wish to check out these articles I wrote about HGH and the thyroid and about thyroid treatment failures.
I also recommend you check out the many books that are available about the new proper treatment of hypothyroidism. If you would like for me to give you a list of the books I recommend just let me know.
HGH and Synthroid
Question: I've been on Synthroid for about 18 months now and I see an Endocrinologist every six months. Five months ago my TSH reading was 1.x - which is very good. About seven weeks ago, I started HGH (tev-tropin) at a very low dosage (.5 IU) and I've built up 1.0 IU for 5 weeks. All was going well till about one week ago. I started feeling my old hypothyroidism ways again.
I just had blood work again and my TSH is now 4.1, which is still in range for a non-syn user, but a bit high for a syn user. But clearly (I think) I'm heading the wrong way.
I know, why use HGH? I used it four years ago with remarkable success and now I'm 51 and things are not what they used to be. And I'm not just talking sex stuff. I do believe HGH is a great product and I'd like to continue using it. Maybe my Endo will just increase my Synthroid dosage and all will be well again. One complication - my Endo is not aware of my HGH - but that is another issue.
I guess if I had just one question to ask, it would be: is it natural to have to increase Syn when using HGH.
Answer: Hypothyroid patients may require more thyroid medication when taking the injections, especially if they are still hypothyroid at the cellular level. Please see the post above for more information.
HGH For Hypothyroidism
Question: Background: I'm a married, 47 yr old male, who cycles about 3k miles per year and does kick-boxing 5-6 times a week. I'm 5'11'' and since high school, my weight has always been 164lbs +/-5lbs. I have a successful career in high-tech. (I joke that I'm one of those recession-proof, propeller-beaned engineers who can always find a good job because there are only about 300 people in the world who can do what I do...) The only health problem was high blood pressure (usually 125/90 but occasionally it would be 155/110).
But six months ago, almost everything in the preceding paragraph changed! The high BP was traced down to Grave's Disease (hyperthyroidism) and two years ago, I started taking daily doses of methimazol. Against my doctor's advice, I stopped the medication -- I felt like crap ("like I'd eaten a bad burrito the night before") and I struggled to get through my workouts. Once off methimazol, I felt great and looked forward to getting my exercise-induced endorphin highs.
Last year, due to some personal circumstances, my wife insisted that I treat my hyperthyroidism and I underwent radioactive iodine treatment. Exactly three weeks after taking that pill, the hypothyroid symptoms started: I gained over 30lbs in 3 weeks and I struggled to stay awake during the day.
Though I've been taking increased amounts of a thyroid replacement hormone (today I'm at 125ug of levothyroxine), the hypothyroid symptoms continued to get worse and here's where I'm at today:
-- I'm walking around at just under 200lbs;
-- I want to sleep 14-16 hours a day;
-- I'm about to get laid off from my job because I can't concentrate for long periods of time (the "brain fog" that's common with hypothyroidism);
-- decreased libido (who would want to have sex with a fat slob?);
-- energy levels at the bottom of the scale;
-- no endurance (I have to take a "rest break" after 40 minutes of yard work);
-- constant nausea and diarrhea ("I haven't had a solid poop in six months!");
-- anxiety (I get these feelings of impending doom, like I'm about to get horribly bad news);
-- a tingling, stinging feeling from the knees down, in my fingers and occasionally in my lips and tongue.
My last blood test showed my TSH levels at 17 thought they were as high as 67. And here's where the HGH questions come in:
My endocrinologist is very uh.... "traditional" and I can predict with certainty his response: A slight increase in the dosage with the admonition "give it another 4-6 weeks to take effect."
I sincerely doubt that he would ever recommend HGH treatment and so I'm coming here for opinions/advice for those who can think beyond the "normal" medical textbook...
Have you heard of HGH to treat hypothyroidism? And what were your experiences? I know I'm stuck taking levothyroxine for the rest of my life so is there any interactions with HGH that could cause me problems? ie, does this effect the type of HGH I should take?
Answer: I will be happy to speak with you by phone to discuss this issue if you are interested. I have much experience with hypothyroidism (I have Hashimoto's myself) and I also have experience with thyroid patients taking our homeopathic HGH products, myself included.
If you would like a free consult with me please call this number if you are in the U.S.: 866-269-4069. Outside the U.S. the number is 818-902-0685.
If you would like to give me a time frame that is convenient for you I can call you, or if you would prefer we could communicate by email.
Follow-up Answer: Perhaps you are at work and cannot call me today, and since we are closed during the weekend I wanted to refer you to a couple of articles I wrote about thyroid health and issues, in case you didn't read them already:
Concerning you starting an HGH therapy, I don't recommend you begin any type of HGH until your thyroid medication is providing relief.
The reason is because if you are in a hypothyroid state then your body is already under stress, trying to keep your metabolism high enough to properly run the various systems, HGH can put even more strain on the body because it requires energy to do the work that the HGH and its growth factors will ask it to do.
Once your thyroid therapy is working that is the time when HGH can help the most. Your body should then have the energy needed to work with the HGH.
My main reason for wanting to speak with you was to discuss newer and better thyroid therapies than the synthetic T4 your doctor has you on now.
If interested I can at least refer some books that should open your eyes about why your thyroid medication may not be providing you relief.
The books I recommend are:
1: "Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?" - by Dr. Datis Kharrazian - especially important for everyone who has an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's or Graves.
2: "Stop The Thyroid Madness!" by Janie A. Bowthorpe.
3: "Living Well With Hypothyroidism" - by Mary J. Shomon
4. "Solved: The Riddle of Illness" - by Dr. Stephen E. Langer.
The information in these books will shock you when you realize that the treatments of the vast majority of endocrinologists are 15-20 years behind the scientific evidence.
I hope this has helped you. If you have not read the above books I sincerely believe it will be well worth your time to read them. At least go to Amazon.com and look them up and read all the testimonials written by thyroid patients such as ourselves.
I wish you the best and I will still be happy to speak with you.
Follow-up Question: Well, I just wanted to give an update...
My TSH levels dropped to 9.7 -- I suppose this is supposed to be good news but since I've gotten zero relief from the symptoms, I'm not encouraged.
My endocrinologist increased my levothyroxin dosage to 150ug and promised me I would feel better in four weeks. That was two weeks ago and since I still feel like crap, I'm not hopeful. When I see him in another two weeks, I'll bet my mortgage that he'll increase the dosage and say, "Give it another four weeks."
Interestingly enough, at the mention of using a dessicated thyroid replacement, he said that the FDA is trying to get rid of Armor, that it is difficult to find and that his medical license would be in jeopardy if he prescribed it... (Talk about getting conflicting information!!)
One thing I know for certain though is that Ms Wells is a tremendous resource for the people who visit this board. Her info and advice has been accurate and helpful, and she's been very generous with her time!
(btw, I got book #3 first and I'm about halfway through it now...)
Follow-up Answer: Thank you so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it.
Regarding you not feeling any better even though your TSH has gone down, that is the problem with so many doctors, they treat by lab results rather than by the patient's symptoms.
Did he at least check your free T3 to see if any of that synthetic T4 (levothyroxin) he has you taking is actually making it into your cells? The T4 won't help you at all if your body cannot convert it to T3 and then have it enter the cell receptors.
Concerning what he told you; that is so typical! The major drug companies who make the levothyroxine products have been trying to get the FDA to pull the desiccated thyroid products off the market ever since Synthroid first came out.
Maybe that is because they know that desiccated thyroid is a natural product that contains all the thyroid hormones and co-factors (T1, T2, T3, T4, calcitonin) that our thyroid gland normally makes and in the correct ratios and so it should work better than their product which contains only one synthesized storage hormone (T4).
You should tell him that Armour and other name brand desiccated thyroid products are legal FDA approved prescription drugs and so he won't get in trouble by prescribing it.
They can be in short supply at times because more people are finding out about desiccated thyroid thanks to the Internet and so they are insisting on switching.
Thankfully more and more doctors are looking at the research evidence and I think they are also seeing how much better their patients do on desiccated thyroid.
In the very book you are now reading: "Living Well With Hypothyroidism" Mary Shomon states that periodically rumors go around that claim that Armour, Naturethroid, and the other desiccated products are "going off the market" or "won't be available anymore".
She says that all signs say that these drugs are here to stay, and rumors to the contrary appear to have been started by competing drug company sales representatives.
So if you don't start to feel better soon you may want to talk with your doctor again, and perhaps show him some of the evidence.
Thanks again for the praise, it was very considerate of you to take the time to post it in the forum. I am always happy to share my knowledge with those who are interested and may be helped by it.
Taking HGH With Hashimoto's
Question: I have a stabilized thyroid on 180 mg Armour each morning and my antibodies are under 700. They were above 3000 2 years ago and I have worked hard with diet and lifestyle changes to get them down. I plan to start hgh injections this week and wondered about any feedback. Has anyone had this condition and taken hgh?? Thank you.
Answer: Hi Marci. Well, I have Hashimoto's myself so I know what you have gone through.
I think mine was caused by a vitamin D deficiency due to working too many hours and not getting enough sun. I was taking a multi-vitamin but now we know that the amount of vitamin D we need is much more than the RDA.
Regarding taking HGH, I was taking our homeopathic HGH Plus IGF-1 & IGF-2 product when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's.
The HGH did not prevent me from getting Hashimoto's, and I wouldn't expect it to in my case, since my vitamin D was so low, but it definitely kept my IGF-1 level up during that time.
When I first saw the doctor's nurse practitioner I did not tell her I was taking homeopathic HGH. I didn't even tell her that I knew anything about HGH. She made the comment that she suspected I was going to need HGH injections (their office prescribes the injections).
Besides the Hashimoto's I also had adrenal fatigue and she told me that when a person has adrenal issues usually the first hormone to suffer is HGH, which is measured by checking an IGF-1 level. Because she knew this she suspected my IGF-1 would be low but when my labs came back she was very surprised that my IGF-1 level was very good.
Obviously if my IGF-1 had been low like she suspected then my entire body would have suffered more since the body uses HGH and IGF-1 to heal and rejuvenate itself.
My antibodies were never as high as yours, the highest was in the 800's. One thing that really helped was when I stopped eating gluten. You probably already know about this.
I wish you the best, I will be very interested in hearing how you do on the injections, if you have time to make a post.
HGH Injections Usage Triggers Hypothyroidism, Now Taking T3
Question: MY HISTORY: Hi. I am 28, height - 177 cms, weight - 83 kgs. On my friend's recommendation I started taking Hygetropin for fat loss. I weight train 3 times a week, so 2 IU on the days I work out. I started at 83 kgs and in no time lost 2 kgs and hit 81.I kg. I was hovering around that weight for that time. This course of dosing went about for 2 months (3 times/ week - 2 IU per dose). Though I kept working out, because of travel and diet I didn't lose further and kept hovering at the 81.XX weight mark.
SUDDEN WEIGHT GAIN: Suddenly, my weight started shooting and hit 82.XX then 83.XX and 84.XX and almost hit 85 kgs in a span of 10 days. I started panicking. Despite me dieting and increase my cardio and workout I did not lose weight. It struck me that it could be hypothyroidism as this gain was too sudden and too persistent. I got a blood test done and result showed what I anticipated. My T4 & T3 levels have drastically fallen.
CORRECTION METHODS: I started taking T3 (Cytomel) tablets. My dosage started with 25 mcg a day and hit 75 mcg in a week's time. I noticed my weight instantly dropped back to 84 kgs in 2 days time. Could also feel the effect of the medicine with bowel moments throughout the day. With a little more effort I lost some more and reached 83 Kgs. But the problem is I have hit a plateau. I'm not able to reach my old weight of 81 Kgs despite decent efforts.
CORRECT HGH CYCLE: I need some guidance on how do I use GH without the long term side-effects. I did not have any knowledge and relied on friends at the gym & internet forums. I primarily want to use it for fat-loss over building muscle as I have a endomorphic body which tends to gain muscle and fat quickly. How do I go on a GH cycle and how to make sure I don't end up with hypothyroidism again.
Answer: First I must say that taking a hormone replacement therapy like the HGH injections at your young age is risky because it can shut down your pituitary gland's own release of growth hormone. Unfortunately, taking a day or two off per week may not prevent this from occurring.
That is why when a bodybuilder stops taking the injections they tend to lose the benefits they had gained and sometimes even more.
The HGH injections are usually not recommended while the patient is in a hypothyroid state because it can possibly make the patient's hypothyroidism worse.
Also, because Cytomel (liothyronine, synthetic T3) is active T3 it is much stronger than T4, which is a only a storage hormone that has to be converted into T3 to be used. T3 is hard on the heart and the adrenal glands. That is why IMO the daily dose of Cytomel should be divided into at least 2 dose times instead of taking the entire 24 hour supply in one dose in the AM. When the adrenals are fatigued it can affect HGH negatively.
Please see the posts above for more information about how HGH may affect hypothyroidism.
PLEASE NOTE: The information I have provided is not meant to be medical advice. Please consult your private healthcare provider.