My question is do you in any way advise that Hashimotos people come off or wean off their thyroid extract as they heal and feel better? This is something that I always feel afraid to do but it seems a double edged sword as I am also concerned my thyroid gland may atrophy due to being on hormone support for so long.
I would really appreciate your advice on these questions!
Great question and this is one that does come up a lot in various forms. The idea of being forced to take a pill for the rest of one’s life could certainly be seen as a loss of freedom.
Roughly 25% of people with Hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s typically have the condition reversed due to sheer luck. Roughly 20 to 30% tend to have their thyroid gland end up destroyed and left unable to make much of any hormone at all. The remaining, roughly half the people, with Hashimoto’s end with their gland slow long-term but not completely stopped.
Those numbers come from studies tracking people who take new special steps to improve their situation. It is entirely possible that the odds are even better for those who avoid iodine, stay caught up on sleep, use desiccated thyroid, get enough selenium and Vitamin D, and minimize processed foods.
I put together The Thyroid Program for those who would like more details on strategies like these that can help your thyroid work by itself again. You can learn about it HERE.
The more hormone your thyroid makes currently, the better its chances are to make more in the future. One way you can know how much hormone your thyroid is making is by comparing your medication dosage to your body’s total needs. The average woman who had her thyroid removed WILL require about 1.5 to 2.0 grains desiccated thyroid to have stable levels. This is roughly the same as 150 to 200 µg of a T4 medicine like Synthroid.
If you are taking one half of a grain and your thyroid levels are stable, this means that your thyroid is still making about 2/3 to 3/4 of what your body needs by itself. On the other hand, if you need two grains to be stable, your thyroid is not likely making much by itself.
I do recommend decreasing your thyroid medicine if your thyroid shows signs of getting stronger. How do you know when this is happening? You would have stable blood levels on a dose and over time start seeing signs on future tests that the dose is now more than you need.
You’re blood levels show a combination of thyroid hormone from medication you take and from what your body makes by itself. If the total amount goes up but the medication did not change, then that means your gland is getting stronger and it is time to decrease the dosage.
If you lower your dose before your gland is ready, your TSH will elevate and it will put even more pressure on your gland to work harder which will lower its odds of getting healthy again.
To your health,