Hey mike , I feel for you buddy! I am having a tough time but I think you are doing it much tougher. I’ve made a few significant discoveries in the last few days and I suspect they may relate to you too.
Firstly I was a caffeine addict also which can apparently be an indicator of adrenal fatigue and like you I cut it out … but man I crashed (we up the caffeine because we use it to drain every last drop out for our adrenals).
I never went down the antidepressant path (am trying to stay away from drugs if I can) however I had a doc suggest a natural product called SAMe … in five days it made a massive difference in the the thinking and recall department (not perfect but something) (NOTE - I don’t think you can mix SAMe and antidepressants).
With thyroid tests … for sure check TSH, FT4 and FT3 but also check another called reverse T3 (RT3) (some doctors may oppose or not even believe in it). This is an inactive form of T3 that actually blocks T3 absorbsion at a cellular level (ie your FT3 can look fine but RT3 stops it getting into your cells. Google calculating T3 / RT3 ratio and see what yours is.
I record all my blood tests and noticed that my T3/RT3 ratio seemed to always be around 15 … and the optimimun is around 20 … this is why I am always feeling hypothyroid (because I am!) I am not getting enough T3 at the cellular level). My issue is that my body is converting to too much RT3 … but why??
My doc got me to do a DUTCH urine test (expensive) which checks metabolised elements coming out in the urine across various times of the day. I have answers!!! Super amazing test!
Really high cortisol in the morning leading to flatlining (almost zero in the afternoon) (high cortisol increases greater RT3 production (and also a bigger dawn phenoma too). This is in turn stopping my testosterone conversion (ie it’s low) from my high DHEA levels and I have high estrogen.
All of this is impacting my RT3 production (to the high side) and is also effecting methalation (which includes the conversion of amino acids to things like seratonin and dopamine (happy brain hormones) (amongst many other things)). And then of course my low thyroid function then puts pressure on the adrenals. A viscious cycle. I’m sure this all sounds super complicated (and it is!) … bottom line … deal with the adrenal problems first.
NOTE : a time of day urine test for cortisol is important. Urine rather than blood because it shows a metabolised output (rather than just what is available in the blood)) and timed (4 times over the day) because it can go up and down dramatically… this is opposed to just to one daily average (that for me looked fine)
A few other things I have discovered … I have been taking selenium which is super important for T4 to T3 conversion … however it (apparently) can also stimulate RT3 conversion (don’t quote me here). I stopped taking it for a few weeks and my TSH shot up but in hind sight I think I am better with it than without and I don’t think it is making my RT3 ratio any worse.
Zinc is also super important for thyroid conversion (and I think Hashimotos people are often low in it) but I discovered something about it that may be even more important to you. I stopped taking it for about 5 days as part of my conversion experiment and my blood sugars went up through the roof (Ie increased insulin resistance or decreased insulin sensitivity) … I had to massively increase my insulin intake overnight … it was horrible. After a couple of weeks (last night) I restarted taking it and within hours my sensitivity/resistance returned to near normal. This may be something to check / test for u (could help with weight too … maybe). BTW I am also low in vitamin D.
So here’s my conclusions so far;
- The FT3/Rt3 ratio can really help to uncover why you feel crappy even when ‘your numbers are fine’.
- SAMe may help your happiness more naturally (but don’t do it with antidepressants ( ie check first)
- Check out your urine (not blood serum) cortisol levels over the day.
- If it is adrenals (cortisol ) then you need to deal with this first to short circuit the adrenal/thyroid cycle.
- Higher Cortisol in the morning will spike your dawn phenomenon higher
- Check out zinc
These are obviously my conclusions for me but it sounds to me that you may be in a similar situation. Hit me up with any questions if you want.
All the best mate!