It's true that hypothyroidism can cause exercise intolerance.
Looking back at your profile page, I see that you've posted some similar threads and that you are/were on thyroid replacement medication. Please tell us what medication you are currently on, and how long you've been on it. Your FT levels are still quite low in their ranges.
Walking for an hour is a lot of exercise at one time, if you aren't used to it and if I didn't walk that long on a daily basis, I'd get really sore, as well. Even though you say you used to be athletic, if you haven't been used to exercising for a while, you should always start out slowly and work up to what you can tolerate. For instance, rather than walking for an hour uphill, try walking for 10 minutes, 3 times/day on level ground and gradually work up to the hour walk.
I also very highly recommend yoga as an excellent form of exercise. Yoga centers on stretching and relaxing, and will help keep muscles toned and in shape. I have not been doing my yoga, daily, as I had been for some time, and I can certainly tell a difference. There are a variety of typed of yoga - one that will fit nearly everyone's capabilities. There's even yoga for seniors and chair yoga.
Additionally, I find that the more I weigh, the more difficult it is to exercise.
Thanks for your answer. I'm currently taking 25mcg levothyroxine 1 day and 50mcg the next. I started on 25mcg in Feb and was increased to 50mcg on alternate days beg this month (Dec). I got a funny reaction (painful puffy eyes) when my dose was increased straight to 50mcg (last Sept) hence the alternate days approach. I was tried on T3 and it gave me an unbearable pressure in my head, but think that was because the dose was too high (started on 10mcg tablets). I was going to ask to try T3 again, but a lower dose, but because my T3 has come up from 4.3 to 5.1 on 25mcg levothyroxine, my GP thinks adding in T3 may not be necessary.
It's not that body's not used to exercise I don't think, as I have physio every week and do gentle swimming for 20 mins 3 times a week. I also walk 40 mins per day to and from work (on the flat) in a bid to keep up whatever fitness I can. However, whenever I try and increase to anything more than the above exercise-wise, it all goes wrong. I've been trying to increase my walking tolerance since beginning of last year. My physios tried everything, including getting me to do work on a stepper first, to build up leg muscles. Even having strong looking muscles doesn't resolve the problem though.
By way of contrast, until end of 2010 I used to compete in cycle endurance events. I came 3rd in the UK's longest mountain bike race (7 day event through mountains) and completed in an 8 day race across Germany through the Bavarian mountains. I also used to love cross country running and would train with a triathlon club at their swimming sessions. Until last year I had a body that was pretty much up to any sporting challenge, including some pretty extreme endurance sports.
I weigh less than 9 stone, so don't think it can be weight on my joints. I just don't understand how my body works anymore. Can hypothyroidism have such a radical effect on someone, or is it more likely to be the poisoning? (I was exposed to organophosphates which as well as disrupting endocrine function can cause muscle pain and weakness). I'm just trying to work out whether there's hope for me in that corrected thyroid levels might help me, or whether this is all just organophosphate which the thyroid meds won't help).
["exposure to some toxic pesticides. Part of the poisoning is that I became hypothyroid"]
- So you tested negative for Hashimoto antobodies TGab and TPO tests?
You need to know this. Otherwise how did the doc just assume your thyriod took a beating from the toxicity? - it is possible though, very fragile gland.
As a past endurance athlete myself, I can understand your frustration. Untreated and then under-trated Hoshimoto is what made me stop competing. Even though I am a lot better than a few years ago, i do a variety of out-door adventure sports at a much more average normal pace.
Your FT3 is still low. You could try multi-dosing at a lower daily dose. if that still does work well after three weeks (headache), can you get Armour or Canada's ERFA thyroid there or try a generic cytomel?
So I can assume your more in tune with your body than average. You say you have pain and weakness. Hypo muscle pain if looked at closer is usually muscle tightness that never relaxes, this is felt as pain at the end of muscles where it tuns to tendon fiber and will pull on joints. An experienced muscle "body worker" or manual PT or therapeutic massage professional can feel the difference in your muscles if this is what is happening. It is not a good idea to over exercise with this type of pain as muscle adhesion and many knots can result and damage muscle fibers. That can take years to fix with trigger point therapy, active release technique, malic acid and magnesium. I've gone though all that so I know.
So get those FT3 levels up to where you don't get new pain, and then concentrate on fixing any residual pain if any is left over. If you do have small muscle knots and adhesion, they are very tight too stretch out and generally require the above info to correct. If you tie a knot in a sock, you can still stretch the sock on either end, but the knot remains - same thing with muscles.
I will also add that hypo thyroid can magnify and bring back past injuries that were thought to have healed. Any repetitive motion injury or stiffness (runners: plantar fascitis, IT band and periformus syndrome), cyclists: weak hamstrings, tight psoas, hip flexors, tight quads and sagitaroius) can become more evident with low thyroid levels.
Ft3 is more important to muscle than FT4, most feel better with FT3 in upper third of the range. So hopefully if you get T3 higher, you will feel better. If not, then the individual muscles might need some work on them.
Thanks so much for your reply. It's so helpful. My doctor has no idea why my thyroid has gone wrong. No-one in the NHS can find any explanation for what has happened to my health. However, I've had private tests which show I have a large amount of organophosphate stuck on my DNA and in my fat, so have assumed this must be significant, since my health collapsed immediately following exposure and it is a known endocrine disruptor. To be honest though, this is my assumption as a layman. NHS has done every test they can think of and, as all have come back negative, have just put me in the "unexplained medical symptoms basket." All very frustrating...
I must confess I don't know much about the antibodies tests. I know I had a TPO test which was negative, but I don't know about the TGab. Should I ask for this? If it's positive, would that mean I have autoimmune thyroid problems, rather than chemical induced? Sorry if this is an obvious question, but I'm just a beginner when it comes to this sort of thing.
When you say multi-dosing, do you mean trying to add in T3 again, on top of the levothyroxine? I'm seeing my GP on Thursday and was going to ask her to increase my levothyroxine to 50mcg/day, but do you think it's better to try to add in T3 again instead but, as you say at a much lower dose?
I can't tell you what a relief it is to hear that you were able to get back to adventure sports. Any glimmer of hope is so welcome. Right now if I could just get to be able to do a decent country walk that would be such a huge leap forwards.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond so thoroughly- it's really kind of you and much appreciated. Happy New Year by the way!
Toxic chemicals can alter thyroid function. It is based around the immune system. You may not have antibodies altering this. I'd check a few common things associated that links low thyroid, metobolism. Check your Magnesium, Vit D, Vit B , ferriten/iron and hard minerals. You may need to have a hard mineral analysis done that most traditional doctors aren't trained to do correctly also.
There's a whole list of organophosphates and they all affect the body in different ways; you would need to know exactly which compound you were exposed to.
Per the first part of my primary reply, it would be helpful to further look into the cause of your hypothyroid as a first step- if it actually was from the toxic exposure or autoimmune Hashimoto hypothyroid. You have good reason to assume your hypo is from toxic exposure, but you could have Hashimoto going on at the same time.
So just try to rule out Hashimoto first. You tested neg on the TPO antitbody test. Now get the TGab antibody test performed.
The reason? Hashimoto is forever, with increasing replacement thyroid hormones (med) for life in parallel with the antibodies slowly munching on the gland. Non- autoimmune is not always permanent and is caused by many things, things that are not-permanent. I'm no expert on toxicity, but many forms are not permanent.
And you could have Hashimoto along with toxicity going on. In addition to the TGab test, get all the toxicity testing you need based on what was in that pesticide. If you know the name of the brand it was, have you looked into the MSDS information sheet, tells health facts and long, short term health hazzards about the chemical. In the US by law the manufacture has to disclose this in a work place (other countries I do not know about).
The vitamins and minerals as stated in others reply'ss are also known to be related to hypos with muscle pain.
So the info I first posted is good for an athletic person dealing with pain from low thyroid hormone.
Obviously this is not something your going to solve overnight. You need to gather more info about what is going on after testing all that everyone mentioned.
Bottom line is not to exercise near the level you used to or anything that brings on body pain until this is resolved, since it can promote more micro trauma to the muscles - more pain for you. Adult athletes bodies, due to pushing their bodies to the limit, are for the most part different than most people that engage in general exercise. Your muscles have been put through their full use and have had many micro injuries, which may be more evident in the form of pain while still being hypo. You can still have hypo symptoms while in range. You can find a lot of proof here that many people feel better with T3 in the upper third.
I did compete while hypo for years in an elite class and as a result accumulated a lot of muscle trauma from repetitive motion and normal injuries that made a lasting impact. That's why I now suspect I have to do all that stuff to get better thats listed in the later half of my first reply to you. Its amassing what you can do while hypo if there is an adrenalin high. But, over exercise with hypo symptoms = you might pay the price later on.
well, I'm going on forever here arent I?
[ "When you say multi-dosing, do you mean trying to add in T3 again, on top of the levothyroxine?" ]
- Specifically taking T3 again with your levothyroxine, but splitting and taking the daily dose of T3 two separate times. Most do this and feel better since T3 works for about 4-5 hours and is very strong feeling at first.
Its quite a puzzle you have to work out. In time you will figure it out.
Happy new year!
Thanks so much all for your comments.
I saw my GP this morning and as per suggestions, am going to start taking T3 at a much lower dose- initially 2.5mcg/day and then increasing to 5mcg (taken 2.5mcg in AM and 2.5mcg PM) if I can tolerate it. Will also take T4.
GP didn't know about the Tgab test. I've looked up online and can only find info relating to this test be used in relation to thyroid cancer here. Is it definitely used to rule out Hashimotos too? If so, any info would be useful, as I may be able to use that to persuade my GP I should have that test too.
The organophosphates I have in my fat and on DNA (cholormandelic acid) are a metabolite of some different original organophosphate. They're not sure what, but have given a suggestion, so will look up the side effects of that- thanks for the suggestion. I got ill after my house was treated by a pest control company who said they only used carbamate (I also have that in my fat but not to anywhere near the same extent). You paid them once and they guaranteed to rid the house of fleas. I had them round 3 times as the fleas didn't go and I wonder if they got fed up with coming out and put down something they weren't allowed to (they of course say they only used a very dilute carbamate, but I can't see how else I would be riddled with organophosphate). This of course makes matters difficult for me, as I don't know for sure which organophosphate I was exposed to.
I have had tests to look at nutritional status etc and I was deficient in Vit D and B12 and low in selenium and zinc. Magnesium and iron were ok. II have been on supplements for all I was low in since May (as well as high dose vit C, a high dose multi-B supplement, milk thistle and evening primrose oil) and am now in the normal range. Is this what you mean by hard minerals, Stella 5349, or should I be looking at something else too?
Thanks so much for all of your thoughts- what a mine of information and wisdom you all are.
TGab test is very commonly taken at the same time as TPO. Thyroglobulin antibodies "TgAb" is a test used to check blood levels of antibodies the body has made against the compound thyroglobulin, a protein produced and used by the thyroid gland. People with Hashimoto can have high TPO , and/or/also high TGab. Anyone thats been here a while knows this, your DR should too. Is not a thyroid cancer diagnostic.
Magnessium, specifically magnessium glycinate or magnessium taurate and the 2nd best - mag citrate will help ease muscle pain in pretty much anyone, even if mag levels are OK. Mag cannot be OD'd, you will just "go" easier in the morning - thats how you guess your dose. Best if taken at night (while the body rebuilds) sepparated from thyroid meds.
Vit tested by D-25 is best at 50 or above.
B6 is important for muscles and nerves.
Thanks LazyMoose, much appreciated.
I have been on the T3 regime just over 2 weeks. At first I felt no different, but at about day 10, my knees felt normal for the first time in over a year. I could walk without orthotics and even managed a bit of bare foot padding around. I was elated. However, just a few days later, I'm back to how I was with awful knees. Is it normal to have a few ups and downs before things get evened out?
This may be completely unrelated, but I'd had a room painted on the day I started to go down hill again. Could this be related? Is the thyroid that sensitive does anyone know (bearing in mind my hypo seems to have been kicked off by a chemical exposure.).
by the way, what pesticides are you referring to? When i was a kid , i was exposed to a lot of DDT. We lived in new orleans and we had a mosquito fogger hit our street every night. Of course we were kids but we would play outside in the middle of the fog.... every night.. for like 10 years.
Muscle pain being relieved from T3 all depends how long your muscles have hurt and if you injured them from over exercise while hypo. I think you have to look at improvement on a month to month basis, not day to day.
T3 was noticeable in my muscles recovering from new exercise but it was more minimal for old injuries. I seem to be the worse case scenario of anyone I read about here with pain from being hypo. I needed to repair damaged muscle tissue over most of the major muscles with a self devised plan I started quite a while ago (part of the info on my Dec 31 comment to you). Hopefully recovery will be easier for you.
Remember , before coming to conclusions, you need to see if you have antibodies attacking your thyroid (Hashimoto). Were you able to look into the TGab antibody test yet to see if that is the cause of your hypo thyroid?
Regular, non-autoimmune hypothyroid can be caused by many things, chemicals might be one of them - very little info on this.
What a great thread ! Thanks to Lazymoose for all that good information. I too trace my problem with my thyroid to chemical exposure. It followed upon several rear-ended car accidents from which I had a hard time healing. When I did body work for the first one (whiplash, concussion and herniated disc, with field-and-ground disorder, light and sound sensitivity, and extreme weight loss with vomiting) I did neuro-organizational work with my kinesiologist, who postulated something wrong with my hypothalamus. I was cut lose from PT for the combined second and third accidents (2 in 11 months, at stoplights when I was stationary...my luck...more whiplash, concussion, herniations, torn tendons etc.) after several years because I just didn't get better and my neurologist stated at that time that he thought I might have "fibromyalgia"...which is now thought simply to be hypothyroidism, or to at least contain a component of hypo. But I got better after I stopped PT and went and got Rolfed, which is a form of massage that does exactly what Lazymoose talks about....breaks up adhesions between the muscles and released deep tissue spasms. I finally had no back pain or sciatica for the first time in 3 years. I might add I had been a yoga practitioner for 15 years and a body surfer, and I cycled on the bike path 11 miles several times a week. When younger, I trained as a dancer.
However, while I was still being Rolfed and in lawsuits about the car accidents, a pipe broke in my loft and my landlord did little true clean up and mold, which had always been a slight problem at the beach (and turned out to be mostly from an incomplete seal between my place and the bathrooms of the 2 units below me) grew all over everything. When I tried to clean the extensive growth of multi-colored (thus multi-species) molds off the walls with bleach they puffed their toxins at me and I collapsed.Then, instead of doing a REAL abatement with industrial hygienists sealing off the rooms and with hepa-filters, etc. my landlord hired a bogus company to come in and spray with Tilex and god-knows-what-else...ineffective and made me sicker....and in the middle of this, my neighbor had someone come to spray disease on a tree opposite my open bedroom window, at which point I had numbness and tingling and headaches etc. I had to get OSHA to come out and make her stop, and it turned out that the pesticide used was a banned one. There was a lawsuit about all this that went on for 4 years, and which I ultimately won. A toxicologist stated I would probably have health problems for the rest of my life, which my terrible lawyer refused to promote properly......it wasn't just the toxins from the molds (which did not show up as allergies, but rather as auto-immune response on every level through ELISA blood testing) I think it was the chemicals as well. When all my dry cleaned goods...everything I owned including shoes were brought back after cleaning with perchlorethylene and in out-gassing plastic bags...was brought back to my loft with me back in residence after I moved back from the hotel I had to stay in for 2 months...I once again collapsed, instantly got sores inside my mouth and started itching. ALL of these things are known endocrine system disruptors.
My hair started falling out after that, and I had to have eyelid and forehead surgery to correct a peripheral vision problem from a drooping lid that when I look at photos now was obviously facial myxedema. My WBC was in the dumper. I gained 40 lbs. and developed every single symptom of hypo that there is except constipation. I started practically hemorrhaging with my period and my gynecologist said she thought I had sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Another doctor I saw for something completely unrelated took one look at my missing eyebrows and puffy pale skin and told me I needed to be checked for hypothyroidism....but my TSH was below 2.0, so every endocrinologist I've ever seen (SIX of them) has said I'm not hypo. In the meantime my FREE levels, when I finally insisted they be tested, were in the dumper, my Vit D way below normal, and my RBC showed I had pernicious anemia. This, coupled with my rising cholesterol and glucose levels, my low eGFR and high creatinine and high calcium levels at least persuaded my PCP to give me levothyoxine and Cytomel. If it had been left up to endocrinologists I'd be dead...if only because of the myxedema that made my ankles overflow my shoes etc. and my blood pressure soaring to 196/98. All of that got corrected with T4 and T3, in a very short amount of time...though I am now having a dis-equaliberating rT3 problem.
I'm sure the car accidents and the fact that my sister has Hashi's (although my antibody tests are ok) predisposed me towards a thyroid problem, but I am quite sure that pesticides and environmental toxins pushed me over the edge. Also, what I know about toxins is that they are retained in body fat (even if you are not overweight, we all have some) and therefore released into your system when body fat is burned during exercise. Perhaps this can explain some of your difficulty. The most recent suggestion to me is to try an infrared sauna. I also used milk thistle and evening primrose oil as you are doing, and found they helped. And unless you used a VOC-free paint, the fumes released from painting your room would absolutely trigger a response. I have a rash ever since exposure, and when I'm exposed to off-gassing fresh paint (or carpeting, or fiberboard furniture) it gets worse...and I never had that problem before such an extreme load on my system. And like Lazymoose, I only started to feel better when I started taking T3.
Hope this helps, if only to let you know that at least based on MY experience, you're not alone and I would suspect Brucegoldberg's DDT exposure, known to stay in the body, known to be an endocrine disruptor, didn't help him a lot either.
Good luck everybody.
Hello, I have read your posts and I can completely relate 100%. NO one else seems to complain about exercise intolerance but it is my number one complaint and I have been suffering for three years with this.
Are you better? I am terrified I will never be able to walk again. I am at the point where I want a wheelchair when I am at the mall. Haven't done it yet, but it's hard for me to do anything cardiovascular.
QUESTION: Do you ever have lower back pain?
I am discouraged you never feel better, especially in terms of the exercise intolerance, even when you get your thyroid numbers better. It makes me think, possibly, that it might not be the thyroid that causes this for us.
Have you been tested for adrenal dysfunction?
(for whatever reason, my Medhelp account does not alert me when I get a reply to a posting, but I believe I do get messages in my inbox, so feel free to private message me if I do not respond to any posts on the message board)
Do you think you could have mitochondrial myopathy?
There have been occasional posts here about muscle and exercise intolerance the last few years. I've made several posts , not questions, addressing this issue and what I've found to work since I've been experimenting on myself for a few years. I'll summarize what I've learned so far:
First of all there can be many reasons for muscle pain with hypothyroid, any or all of the below info:.
If you read my comments and others on this whole post it should help answer some of your questions about exercise intolerance and muscle pain with hypothyroid. You first need to look at the Free T3 level, upper third of the range is best for pain. Second, all the vitamins and minerals that others mentioned here need to be looked at.
Sometimes changing from synthetic thy med to natural dessicated helps some people, only try this after synthetics have been tried at the highest level your body is comfortable with.
4 point adrenal saliva test (with DHEA) from online or a holistic type Dr. If adrenals fluctuate, treat with herbal adaptogens.
Hypothyroid myopathy as it is called, does exist, but there is very little info on it. It is similar to other myopathies that elevated lactic acid levels (partially from low magnesium ) disrupt the ATP muscle rebuilding process resulting in fatigued painful muscles and tendons. It can actually physicaly damage the muscle. If this is the case, magnessium glycinate, mag tuarate, or mag malate taken at night can help release the build up of lactic acid and you will feel better the next day/morning. Malic acid taken with meals also helps do the same thing. Lastly, some peoples muscles are so full of adhesion and knots, they need to try different forms of myofascial release- trigger point release, Active Release Technique to manually release the lactic acid and re-align the muscle fibers in the longitudinal direction that they naturally layed before the damage occurred.
I did all the above starting three years ago, in that order and have very much improved.
Thanks everyone for all of your interesting comments. I'm sorry for the delay in replying.
Brucergoldberg, the chemicals I was exposed to were permethrin, carbamate and organophosphate. Tests on lymphocyte sensitivity and toxic screens have shown that the thing I react to the most, by miles, is organophosphate.
Artfemme- so sorry to hear what happened to you. I have been sauna-ing in an infrared sauna since last summer and have managed to reduce the levels of the chemicals in my fat by 1/3 but my symptoms are no better. Thanks for the info on paint. I have some VOC free paint which I have used in a different room, but as I couldn't find the colour I liked for another room, used normal stuff. I'm kicking myself now. I'm going get it painted over asap.
Needsomehelp123, I haven't been tested for adrenal dysfuntion. It's a good suggestion though, I think, and one I have considered. However, I want to try and get my thyroid numbers normal first and see if that results in any improvement before looking into this. I'm worried that if I start adding in all sorts of things at the same time I won't know what's doing what!
The suggestion of mitochondrial dysfunction is also a good one, I think. I was tested and have problems with the ATP cycle, as outlined by lazymoose (fount of wisdom as always). The tests were done by an alternative type practitioner, but when I went to see a neurologist who works at the leading centre for mitochondrial dysfunction in the UK and showed him the results he was really dismissive and said that those results didn't mean anything, so I'm none the wiser on that front. ,
Lazymoose, thanks as ever for your info. When I have my bloods done my magnesium comes back normal. Isn't there quite a narrow range for magnesium? I thought it could be OD'd? I'm happy to try anything that might help, but I'm just a bit worried about the magnesium? Will try the Malic Acid though.
I have a foam roller to try and break down muscle knots which I'll persist with.
I'm seeing my doctor next week and am going to ask about having the Tgab test again.
I'll post if there's any improvement and, if so, what it seems to be related to.
Thanks all once again for so generously sharing your information and knowledge.
A standard Magnesium blood test is not that accurate. The more accurate one is called RBC Magnesium, (for red blood cell magnesium) and it has a very wide range.
Dosing magnesium is very basic, take preferably at bedtime, and base increase on ease of doing #2 in the morning LOL! Yes, if you read about it, this is how well known holistic Drs dose it. The key is using only very high quality of magnesium in tablet form as: magnesium glycinate or magnesium taurate and the 2nd best - mag citrate. There are some powdered mix types out there as well, they calm you, Im not sure how effective they are on muscle fiber though. There is a lot of good info about the benefits of magnesium from a holistic point of view. Its food for nerves, brain, digestive system and muscles.
Cheap magnessium< if you read on the back label is mag oxide and will not be absorbed. Its primarily a laxative and a marketing gimmick in tablet form.
Malic acid is a fruit acid that binds with alkaline minerals- calcium and magnesium ,and supposedly can help with the absorption of these. I've read max per day is 2400mg, I only take 1600mg daily (two big capsules).
Foam rollers feel nice but dont penetrate the muscle fiber deep enough to make a lasting effect. Great tool to start with and warm up, best to end with a soft ball or golf ball or just strong thumbs 10 -20 seconds for actual trigger point release. And active release has an actual technique to it of "anchoring" the muscle sorter than its own anchoring point in the shortened position, then moving to the lengthen position. U-tube active release. Its amassing.
Info pasted from a supplements company about quality and why mag blood level tests vs whats really in the muscles is not that accurate or useful..
[ "Quality of magnesium is important. Magnesium oxide is a cheap salt of magnesium and never used in Wellness Resources products. Oxide salts break apart in metabolism and the oxide requires an antioxidant to neutralize it. Why spend precious antioxidants neutralizing a low quality form of magnesium supplement? Companies using oxide minerals are clearly not quality focused, regardless of what they say.
A lack of magnesium poses an interesting catch-22 in terms of how to get magnesium into cells. This is because magnesium is "pumped" across cell membranes and the pump requires magnesium to function in an optimal way. A supplement of magnesium oxide or chloride may increase blood levels of magnesium, but the magnesium may not be able transport across cell membranes due to the lack of magnesium required to run the pump. " ]
Magnessium malate has a form of malic acid in it. Salts and esters of malic acid are known as malates and seems to mostly be marketed towards the fibromyalgia crowd and muscle heads since it improves the ATP process.
good link on mag and mailc acid: