Type 1, High TSH, low testosterone

I know there are already discussions going on the Type 1-thyroid link, and I’ve read them all but am still trying to understand the underlying relationship there.

I recently got lab results back for high thyroid (TSH 4.29) and low Free testosterone (0.14). How do these relate to type 1 diabetes? What can I do with diet and exercise to get these numbers back to normal?

BTW I’ve been Type 1 for 5 years, A1C is 8.2, BMI is 24.1. Only med I take is insulin.

i have a hypothyroid, it just seem to go hand in hand with my diabetes. I read somewhere that people can normally have high or low thyroids within the good range. I guess blame genetics. I guess it makes sense that your thyroid would be affected when your body can go to such extremes while being diabetic. Doesn’t the thyroid control our metabolism?

The way I understand it is like this: we accept that our autoimmune system attacked and destroyed our beta cells that produce insulin. We accept therefore that we have a malfunction in our immune system.

At some point, this autoimmune defect can and often does attack and destroy the cells that produce thyroid. TSH is not high thyroid, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) goes UP when our ability to make thyroid goes down. Think of TSH as blood sugar.

Diabetes can and often does attack cells that produce testosterone, it can and often does destroy cells that regulate vitamin D manufacturing, and the cells that help us absorb vitamin B12.

Good news: thyroid is easy to regulate you take synthetic thyroid, once a day without food, and you’re done - easy schmmezey compared to controlling your sugar!

Testosterone can be taken as a pill or absorbed throught the skin.

B12 is a vitamin, (that you can’t take too much of so I take a LOT). D can be a little harder because you have to take a lot for it to work but I have a script and take a pill once a week, plus I will go and get a little sun now that spring has arrived.

hope you are okay Grace!

A doctor told me it is common for Type 1s to have low testosterone levels, but I don’t know if he was speaking of his own experience with Type 1s or making a generalization. My natural testosterone levels are fairly low (300s), so I supplement with prescribed testosterone now. I feel MUCH better with my testosterone levels up in the 800s, and even as high as the 1300s, which I know is outside the normal range. . .but I certainly don’t mind most of the effects.

I don’t believe testosterone can be taken in oral form. It is the skin gel or injections as far as I know.

i take synthyroid to, but just 25 mg. Luckily taking a pill helps alot. Now if only we could get some kind of artificial pancreas.

Joe that is very, very helpful! Hope you and your wife are doing well.

fair enough, dont’ have exp with synth testosterone… yet

Oneless, that’s encouraging. Thanks.

I have always heard it’s part of the many things associated with T1D, though you can have low testosterone and not have diabetes, too. Very low levels can make you miserable. I just got my blood results back and it’s the first time I came up low on B12 and D, my thyroid pooped out in 2000, still making my own testosterone. oh the joys are endless!


thank you Grace, all is well for now! =)

domo, 25 mg is a f$$$ boatload! usually synthroid is micrograms, I am taking 135 mcg and I weigh about 165 lb.

I read that even 1700 is part of the range. 800 to 1300 is very good. I had mine checked a few weeks ago with my GP and my Free was 11.2 and Total was 238. He said that was normal. So now I’m thinking of seeking and Endo for advice on this. I’ve been Type 1 for about 1 year now. Diagnosed at 42 last Jan 09.

I just read a group of articles and studies done by a Dr Edward Lichten who has an ofc. in Birmingham MI. He says that testosterene shots are an effective theraphy for treating diabetes. If you google his name the articles and studies come up. Is there anyone out there that is using testosterone theraphy and what kind of results have you had? His articles sound intrigueing but I’ve never heard about low testosterene and it’s effect on diabetes from any of my doctors.

Well, diabetics of all kinds have low testosterone at higher rates. For men, this can cause a range of problems and it can cause difficulty with blood sugar regulation. During my “cholesterol years” I was treated with statins and one thing that happened was my hormonal systems basically shut down. I had to get external testosterone. It is not without it’s risks, I eventually had to stop as the treatment levels required to maintain normal testosterone caused a condition called polycythemia, I had thick blood with high hematocrit and my blood pressure shot up to 200/120.

I eventually stopped the cholesterol madness, and my testosterone settled down to a low normal level. I eventually was able to bring it back up by following a diet high in healthy fats and by doing strength training. Yes, lifting weights raises your testosterone. My test is 500-600 ng/dl these days.

Your tsh is not terribly high. Your free testosterone is close to normal. Remember you are a woman so your range is different.

The tsh issue is running high so it’s not likely related to diabetes because it would be low if you had an immune response issue.

Your testosterone is nearly all created in your ovaries and well of course could be effected by immune response.

Low testosterone in women usually is nearly nothing compared to men’s low testosterone for obvious reasons.
I can’t imagine any doctor would give a woman testosterone unless you wanted to grow a beard.

Definitely keep an eye on your tsh and t4 and free t4. Because that can be a sign of overactive thyroid.

As it is now a doctor would t likely treat you for it.
If it stays stable it’s not an issue but if it goes higher each time you might need to think about treating it

What is considered high for TSH? I’m trying to get a feel for when to start worrying as my last TSH level was above the reference range (normal range). The lab marked my level as high at 4.7 which is above the reference range of 0.45 to 4.5.

I had a great endo that believed the number was only part of the picture. She would rely also on how a person feels. For me, I feel best (not tired or jittery, etc), at the lower end. So my thyroid meds are adjusted to get me there, and I switched doctors when they don’t agree!!

I started synthroid meds in mid-80s, with gradual increases about every 15 years.

You didn’t say what your total testosterone (T) was, but generally T is free (FT) when it is not bound by sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG can increase when you are losing weight, as this increases SHBG, so reduces FT. As for its effect, it’s questionable. My guess, is that unlike Type 2, which in men can correlate with lower T, FT, and SHBG, Type 1’s are continually calorie restricting, and might have other anomalies like elevated albumin/globulin, although these ideas are purely speculative, but normal T with reduced FT.

I have heard doctors say it is just a calculation, and so dismiss it. I have read many studies looking at mens sexual function, sometimes in relation to diabetes, but generally, the study results are not consistent. Sometimes T has a positive correlation with sexual function, while FT does not, and sometimes it is the reverse. I think that a meta-analysis might show both to have a positive correlation with sexual activity in men, but I have not seen a study like that, and even then, it might be a limited relationship and not strong.

I’ve seen few studies on women in that regard, so I can’t write much, but the effects might be more pronounced, not less. Men’s T is about 40 times as much as women’s, but much of it is bound, while in women the effect of T and FT might be more pronounced. Again, I’ve seen an inconsistency in studies.