I've been taking thyroid medication for several years. I wrote this article to share what I've learned.
My Experience on Thyroid Medication
As someone who takes thyroid medication, I wrote this article to share my experience and to provide information for others who might also have thyroid conditions. Since I want to improve my health situation, I did a lot of research and discovered some staggering facts. My prescription instructs me to take my thyroid medication 30 minutes before breakfast with 1 glass of water. I wanted to find out if there is anything else in my breakfast that might be bad for me. It turns out that my morning cup of coffee was interfering with my medication!
Here are some more foods to avoid if you suffer from hypothyroidism.
Foods and Drugs to Avoid While on Hypothyroid Medication
- Coffee or other drinks containing caffeine. Restrict your intake and never take your thyroid medication with a cup of coffee!
- Iron or vitamin supplements containing iron should be taken at least 3-4 hours after taking your thyroid medication.
- Calcium or vitamin supplements containing calcium should be taken at least 3-4 hours after taking your thyroid medication. This includes calcium-fortified orange juice!
- Antacids. Wait at least 2-3 hours.
- Antidepressants, e.g. Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. Wait at least 2-3 hours.
- Soy products as well as flaxseed. These may alter your hormone levels!
- Goitrogenic foods: broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, soybeans, peanuts, linseed, pine nuts, millet, cassava, and mustard greens. Please note that the vegetables can be eaten in moderation but should always be cooked.
- Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
- Sugar and flour
- Highly processed foods
Note that the foods listed above should be avoided or limited if you suffer from underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, there are different restrictions.
Between 200 and 300 million people all over the world are suffering from thyroid conditions. Many don't know about it. Especially in North America, the number of thyroid patients is staggering. When I was living in Europe, I didn’t know a single person with thyroid problems. Okay, I was younger then and thyroid disease mainly affects older people. But there could be two other reasons for this: In Switzerland, your TSH only gets tested when you see the doctor with full blown symptoms. Many patients suffer from serious depression and are too shy or embarrassed to seek help. Maybe this is one of the reasons why some European countries have a high suicide rate? Also, the tolerance values in Europe are far higher than in North America. In Switzerland, I once had a TSH of 5.5 which was considered normal, whereas here in Canada the alarm bells would have gone off.
Here my General Practitioner has a whole range of blood tests performed each year as part of my annual check-up. He believes in precautionary measures and I am glad about this. His tests have found out that I had a serious vitamin B12 deficiency as well as thyroid disease. According to my internet investigation, there could even be a link between the two. It turned out that I had a TSH of 6.5. I was hypothyroid, probably Hashimoto's. Since I’m not familiar with Japanese or medical science, I started reading up on the condition. By then I had developed all kinds of symptoms which so far had been normal enough for me to ignore them. After all, we are all getting older and experiencing the odd ache and pain, hair loss, dementia, poor eye sight, mental imbalance, etc. As a consequence, I was prescribed Synthroid and I became alive again. All of a sudden my motivation and creativity came back, two things that I had been missing for months.
I’ve been taking my thyroid meds for 2 years and my TSH gets tested every 3 months. I have to pop one cheap tablet a day and that does the trick. Quick and easy! Everything was fine until last fall when my TSH increased to 4.6. Time to put me on a higher dose. Within 3 months my TSH level dropped to a normal range of 1.1. I had never felt more active or creative. Since I am a skeptical person, I was worried that my new dose might be pushing me into the opposite direction. Hyperthyroidism is not to be joked with. So my doctor ordered another blood test 5 weeks later. All of a sudden my TSH was over 24 and therefore hypo again! I nearly died of shock - actually, I guess at such a high level I should have been dead anyway. Both my doctor and I were convinced that the laboratory had made a mistake. So another blood test was ordered. This time, the result was a staggering 25.4! Despite the extreme TSH value I did not show any signs of fatigue or depression; on the contrary, I was still as creative as ever. My doctor found this very strange but had no other solution other than to once again increase my med. He didn’t believe that this sudden fluctuation could have anything to do with my diet. His only explanation was that my estrogen hormones might be playing up. After all, for a woman who is approaching menopause, this is not unusual. I was asked if I was taking any hormones, which I denied.
On the way home, all of a sudden the penny dropped: years ago I had taken flaxseed to supplement my diet. My hormones went bananas! As soon as I stopped taking the flaxseed the problem solved itself. Recently my husband started putting 2 tsp. of flaxseed in my breakfast granola since he had read that it was supposed to protect against breast cancer and all sorts of other things. While this may be the case for a healthy individual, it certainly isn't for me. I searched the internet for thyroid & flaxseed and found some astonishing evidence suggesting that people with an underactive thyroid should avoid flaxseed altogether as it can alter their hormones. Bingo! Neither my doctor nor my pharmacist had ever heard about this. This lesson has taught me never to take over the counter supplements without first researching on the internet. Same applies to everyday food. Lately, I had also been eating a lot of grapefruit, another thing that can alter your estrogen levels. So now I'm avoiding both flaxseed and grapefruit.
Update, May 2012: Two months after my unusual TSH readings, I went back for another test. To my relief, my TSH has dropped down from 25.2 to only 3.0. The only food that I have been avoiding is flaxseed, which confirms my suspicion that flaxseed is bad for hypothyroid patients.
Do you have these symptoms?
If you take any other drugs, ask your pharmacist if they are likely to interact with your thyroid medication. For back-up advice search the internet. If there are any known interactions or problems, you are likely to find them in various blogs or medical websites.
Furthermore, there are various reputable websites stating that there is indeed a link between your diet and thyroid deficiency. While many foods (especially vegetables & fruit) may be good for most people, they may have a negative effect on thyroid patients. Find out which fruit & veggies to avoid; there are hundreds of alternatives.
The internet offers a vast amount of medical information. Nowadays a patient no longer has to play a passive role. Remember, your doctor is only human, and there is no way he knows everything. Also, especially if he is older, he may still consult his old textbooks and not know about the latest studies. Your pharmacist may have a vast medical knowledge but let's face it, he makes his business by selling you the drugs. So it's up to you to take action and to stay informed. After all it's your body and your health!
Being a thyroid patient is a learning curve for me and probably many other people. Thyroid disease can easily be treated with the necessary medication and I have absolutely no side effects.
Your comments regarding personal experiences, cures, or drug interactions are greatly appreciated.
What is life with thyroid disease like and how is it treated?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: How can I lose weight while on hypothyroid medication with all these diet restrictions?
Answer: To maintain a healthy weight, stay away from processed food and eat a good diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat slowly and chew well, this helps with digestion and makes you feel full. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary or diet drinks. Exercise regularly, or at least walk 10000 steps per day as well.
Question: Can I take Omega-3 supplements while taking statins?
Answer: Please ask your doctor or pharmacist.
© 2012 Novascotiamiss
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on August 18, 2018:
I am sorry to hear about your health problems. Your thyroid levels sound very odd. Regarding normal or abnormale levels I found an excellent website. Unfortunately I cannot add links to my reply but I recommend that you go to "google" and enter "How to Interpret Your Thyroid Test Results". You should then get to a site which simply explains all the values. Please take note that your doctor can order various tests such as TSH, T3 and T4, all of which have a totally different meaning and values. You can also find useful information at thyroid.org or the mayo clinic etc. If you don't trust your doctor then maybe you should get another doctor or at least a second opinion, if possible.
Janine Denardo on August 11, 2018:
Hi I have hypothyroidism my doctor never told me my thyroid was low for 5yrs when my RN friend told me that he wasn't doing his job mine got up to 23.43 all my labs came back abnormal I now have Hashimoto Vitiligo dysphagia stiff person syndrome Kaiser's attorney told me they don't treat thyroid until it gets to 10. I told him all my labs were abnormal he laugh and said not all labs are right so what is normal thank you
E on November 11, 2017:
My TSH went up to 476..eas nearly comatose after having my son. Had no idea what was wrong with me. Was losing my memory, running red lights, losing my hair in handfuls, crying, sad, mad, miserable... finally went to the doctor... put me on levothyroxine and levels are at 32 and slowly getting back to myself. Hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. I've been diagnosed with hashimotos hypothyroidism in an extreme case. Trying to pick up the pieces and get my life back together.
Joyceewilson2@gmail.com on October 21, 2017:
Everyday is a new experience in learning the do's and don'ts
of survival. My husband has
to take thyroid medicine. At
our age yes, it is a new lesson
to manage what to eat and when to work out a schedule
with medicine. All is good we
take our meds. our Doctors
prescribe us and do ok. Now
at our age we start procedures
for colonoscopies, etc. The best
outlook is to keep and stay positive. I love to keep moving
even though some days my
Arthritis/fibromyalgia tell me
to rest and go at everything
more carefully. This belief keeps every day a treasure
to not take for granite. Bless
us all unconditinally with
Gods peace and everlasting
danielle on September 29, 2017:
A TSH of 25 won't kill you, you can have a TSH of greater than 90 and still be alive but at that point it starts to mess with your heart and blood pressure big time.
Margaret on August 31, 2017:
Please know this is completely honest, and no one has forced me to write this. I am a 37 year old woman who has been trying for 9 years to get pregnant I finally got pregnant 2 weeks after I contacted Dr abacha on his website http:/abachasolutiontemple.webs.com/ It was simply amazing. I had history of recurrent miscarriages and was also diagnosed with genetic problems but using your system I got pregnant naturally at age 37& after 2 HSGs and 4 negative IUIs including 6 induction Clomid cycles and laparscopy. I had zero side effects.. God bless you and reward you. I HIGHLY recommend this product!"
Margaret From USA
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on August 23, 2017:
Linda, like you I am a patient, I am not a medical professional. I suggest that you visit your dispensing pharmacy with the whole list of medication you take and they will gladly advise you which ones interact and when they should be taken. This service is usually free of charge and highly recommended.
Linda Russell on August 21, 2017:
What about iron pills I know about the calcium pills should I wait 2.hours like I wait after I take thyroid pill and take iron then? Thanks for the advice about taking my thyroid pill with water instead of decaf coffee.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on August 17, 2017:
Hi Linda, they recommend taking the thyroid pill 30 minutes before breakfast with water on an empty stomach. Personally I don't know if the decaf would interact with the medication, who knows what they put into the coffee these days... However, what I do know is that it's incredibly healthy to start the day with a glass of plain water to re-hydrate the body and to get your digestion going. So I would still recommend the water, rather than the decaf.
Linda Russell on August 16, 2017:
Great job finding all the information . I take my Thyroid pill with decaffeinated coffee in morning. Wanted to know if it is ok to to that? Thanks Linda.
Terry on August 04, 2017:
I am hypo as well and fortunately like you became a student of this condition 25 years ago so I did know these things. You have done a wonderful service for all diagnosed and undiagnosed, treated and not treated patients everywhere consolidating this information here. Thank you!
laurafhl on July 23, 2017:
I was doing ok on 75mcg synthroid until last year when my TSH number rose to 5.0.. The doc raised me to 88mcg.. It went down to 2.9 when I had it tested in March this year. We are traveling and so I didn't go back for my 3 month check up. When I started feeling awful again but with symptoms more like hyperthyroid I went to a doctor in the town we are staying at for a couple of months thinking I was being overmedicated.. Suprisingly my number had shot up again to almost 5.0. He raise my synthroid once more to 100 mcg. My free T4 and T3 are right in the middle of the normal range. I have hashimoto's. But one thing I will never eat is flaxseed now!! Not that I ever did.
Brenda Evans on July 21, 2017:
A group on Facebook "stop the thyroid madness" is a great place to get answers to your questions. Members of the group help people with answers to specific problems about thyroid disorders. They have helped me greatly!
Lynn on December 25, 2016:
Wow! I have been taking Thyroxine for 20 years and when I had my script filled the other day noticed a whole lot of additional advice about waiting 3hours before I consume certain food groups. This list included antacids which I take often. So I assume for years the medication has been totally ineffective in my case. This is a very informative article. Thank you. Cheers
Marie on December 01, 2016:
Interesting article but I have to say.. I have hypothyroidism and I take flaxseed oil. I have found it is the only thing that seems to keep my cholesterol down and I have no issues with my THS rising.
shay on August 10, 2015:
Ive been hypothyroid for 30 plus years. Haven been on both synthroid and the generic synthroid levothyoxine. These past 2 to 3 years I've felt terrible. Tired irratible gained weight then lost it then gained. Had thyroid tested several times. Normal said Dr after Dr. Finally when going through same symptom's again went to see a new Dr. I explained all symptoms again and asked or rather pleaded to please let me try armour thyroid. She agreed to try it for 3 months. Then we will check my blood again. I'm on 60 milligrams. I haven't felt this good in years. I've only been on it for a week but see nothing but good health in the future. I take it with on in the am. Should I do this or take with milk. I drink coffee but its diluted with water and some creamer. I do smoke. But only a half pack daily. If your on synthroid or generic thyroid talk to your doc about armour. If they say no find a Dr. Who will let you try it. Its a life changer.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on July 06, 2015:
nithila: Please follow your GP's advice and take the recommended dosage. Don't experiment yourself under any circumstances and if you doubt your GP you can always get a second opinion from another professional. Usually it takes a few weeks/months for your thyroid levels to reach a happy medium and you are definitely on your way there. Your GP should monitor your levels and depending on the blood test results will adjust your dosage. Wishing you good health.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on July 06, 2015:
Murphie, I've never had heart palpitations or any other side-effects. You should urgently discuss your symptoms with your doctor or pharmacist in order to get professional advice. Don't experiment on your own!
nithila on July 02, 2015:
hey hi great post!
We moved to NJ from India 8 months back.. In a span of 3 months my weight got increased to 40 lbs and the worse part is my muscle cramps al over my body.
when driving i pray that i must not have a yawn..if i do my neck muscles will get a very bad cramp that i cannot move mine..! Finally i ended to my GP suspecting i may have thyroid. when the blood results came in the numbers were TSH level 141!!!
cant believe though and i am on levothyroxine 100mcg for past 4 weeks and my TSH has come down to 4.6..
i am seriously how to go on with the same strength of medication which will end me into hyper..but my GP is insisting to take 100 mcg for the next 2 months or so...
Murphie on June 28, 2015:
I am on my second day of Armour for hypothyroid (15mg). Felt great first day, a calm I had not felt for a long time. Today, day two, 45 minutes after taking it heart palpitations for four hours and a run down feeling. Following all the rules for taking it (empty stomach, no other med within 3 hours, etc.). Is it common to have the palps? I realize it takes time for the Armour to fully work, but the heart palps are hard to sit through. Thanks.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on June 10, 2015:
Felicia: Thanks for sharing your story with us and I apologize for only replying today. I am terribly sorry about the loss of your baby. I totally agree with you that as a patient we should not only rely on doctors and pharmacists but also do our own research, listen to our inner feelings, look at symptoms and try to connect everything. After all our medical professionals are only humans who could not possibly know everything. The internet is a great tool for research, especially when it comes to finding out about symptoms and their cause. I wish you the best of luck and good health!
Felicia n. mom of 6 on April 30, 2015:
I hadn't ever thought that my bouts with depression could be linked to my thyroid. I recently had an incident that affected my eye. I'm 37 and over the period of 2 weeks began to notice severe headache and double vision. I looked in the mirror and BAM! My eyes weren't in alignment. I immediately thought I was having a stroke. Nope, turns out I suffer from 4th cranial superior palsy. (Has to due with pressure and lack of oxygen) Upon trying to get to the bottom of this, I had an MRI and a million other tests, to happen upon many severe deficiencies. Hypokalemic (potassium deficient), almost nonexistent vitamin D Levels, low sodium, very low magnesium, coupled with hypothyroidism. I was placed on not only synthroid but also cytomel (liothyroxine). I had to beg the doctor to look further into me taking these due to after3 months, I felt my kidneys. I didn't feel any better and was still putting on weight. My depression worsened. Come to find out, if you are on anti platelet medication and aspirin regiment, thyroid is affected. Also found in that MRI was a rare Thornwaldt cyst. Still looking into this, due to lack of information it may take more time. 9 months after messing with medication levels, my TSH levels finally within a good range. So good, it allowed me to get pregnant. To my surprise, after 6 years of no additional children, we thought we were done. Well, for anyone having fertility problems, I suggest get your thyroid checked because it can inhibit progesterone and increase estrogen. If you become pregnant, it is very important that not only are youTSH levels watched closely but also you may need progesterone supplemented until 2nd trimester. Unfortunately, I lost the baby. My doctors were not familiar with hypothyroidism and how it causes miscarriage in more women than reported. Great post! Way to make more people aware of how doctors don't know it all, if you want to feel better, you must stay by being your own advocate.
Felicia on November 06, 2014:
Great article! Here's a question for you. I am wondering whether or not you encountered any information regarding dietary effects on thyroid hormones independently of the thyroid gland? I am looking specifically at the hormone levels once the pill has left the tummy. I struggled with extreme hyperthyroid disease (multinodular goiter - toxic nodules you name it) since I was 12 years old. Years of wackiness! Then after having babies in my 30's (and surgery + radioactive iodine therapy) my thyroid decided to stabilize. Zoom forward a decade and a half. After 2 major surgeries a year apart my thyroid tanked (was warned of this when I was 20 years old) and at 48 I had the remainder of my thyroid removed (much of it had grown back!) Now I am "hypo-post-thyroidectomy." I don't have a gland to worry about. I couldn't care less (any longer) about foods that can inhibit functioning, because there isn't anything in there to function. Of course, I can't find any literature about foods or chemicals that can inhibit the hormone in the bloodstream....none, nada, zilch. Other than soy, which I have also discovered is up for debate for thyroid-less patients. Now that I am turning 50 & battling the worst weight and girly hormone issues I am faced with a new battle; what to do, what to do? Nothing like spending a lifetime trying to gain weight and then doubling in size in the span of 2 years....regardless of diet and exercise. I take my pill, I play nice, I quit smoking, drinking, and thinking evil thoughts. Tests show my hormone levels are "normal"....so I get a pat on the head and a kick in the butt towards the door..."try something else, more hours on the treadmill, the lettuce and water diet?" Lol! Anyway, my misery aside...thought I'd see if you read anything about post-surgical hypothyroidism. Never hurts to check?! Good luck on your quest for balance and health :-) [BTW I take Armor Thyroid --- took Synthroid for suppression when I was hyper and never had any problems...even took Levothyroid 33 years ago....can't handle Synthroid now...wiped me out..when they added T3 my heart almost exploded! Hyper patients, watch out: I ended up with one of those side-effect issues...atrial fibrillation after all those hyper years!]
Lady337 on November 06, 2014:
I have been on synthroid for 20 years now. I also take Zoloft, also for 20 years. I take the pills together in the morning with a caffeine drink. I am also a smoker. I was never told not to take the two pills together or not to have caffeine right away after taking them. I'm curious as to what problem this causes. Like I said, i've been doing this for 20 years now and my TSH levels are almost always normal. In 20 years my dosage has only been increased once. Going tomorrow for my 6 months blood work.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on August 28, 2014:
Steve: Thanks for your comment. I wasn't aware that synthroid can cause bone issues and will definitely look into it in order to discuss it with my doctor.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on August 12, 2014:
Amanda: Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.Don't get too discouraged about your miscarriage and try to concentrate on the positive sides of life so that you can heal. I always find that my TSH levels are affected by stress. I wish you all the best of health and hope that your life will be back to normal soon.
amanda on August 11, 2014:
I have Congenital Hypothyroidism. ..meaning I was born without a thyroid. I've been taking Synthroid since I was 1 month old, and for the past 2 years have been taking Levothyroxine.
I've never had a problem with my lack of a thyroid until this year. I became pregnant in december 2013 and miscarried in january 2014, and the excess hormones in my system caused my TSH levels to skyrocket. It was upsetting since I'd been on the same dosage since age 14. (I'm now nearly 26.) At one point my TSH level was 17, and I felt fine and was shocked it was so high. Since I've lived with the disease my whole life, I know what symptoms to look for when my dosage is off, and could definitely tell it wasn't right when I was tired all the time and couldn't get up for class to save my life. When I went in that time, my levels were at a 9. I was just in today for another blood draw, and my levels were at a 5.9, meaning one more increase. This past year has probably been the most challenging year yet of living with CH because of all the dosage changes....I went from 112 micrograms to now 175 micrograms since September 2013. Hopefully it will be back under control now and I won't be feeling so run down all the time.
As for food and med interactions, I've never noticed anything. I drink a ton of caffeine and take anti-anxiety medication, and the only thing that really interfered with my TSH was the extra hormones in my system.
steve on July 02, 2014:
Synthroid only helps the t3 portion of your metabolism and too much will give you bone issues.th e superior product is naturethroid for a more balanced metabolism.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on February 24, 2014:
Sandra, thanks for your comment. So sorry to hear about all your health problems. I personally feel that doctors always prescribe medication in order to get a quick fix, but they rarely get to the root of the problem. According to my own experience, too much acid definitely has something to do with the food intake. Cut down as much as possible on any processed foods as well as coffee, wine and sodas. Believe it or not, sodas (incl. diet pop) are extremely acidic and can upset your stomach big time. Make sure that you get a list of acidic and alkaline forming foods from the internet. You will soon learn that certain fruits e.g. are alkaline when fresh, but very acidic when bought as a juice. Also fresh lemons are very good against too much acid. Half of the north American population lives on antiacids and everybody ignores the dangers of this over the counter medication. Make sure that you have your vitamin B12 level checked as antiacids can cause a deficiency of this very important vitamin. Instead of trying to find a new doctor, you may get better help from a naturopath, who will look at your overall lifestyle. Good luck!
Sandra Smith on February 17, 2014:
Thank you for the great information. I have been on Synthroid for 20 years or so, when I got off of Prempro my dosage for Synthroid went down about 6 years ago. Some months ago I went to the Ear Nose Throat doctor for an annoying cough and was told I had Gerd, and was put on antacid, it caused severe pain in my stomach, so I went to a GI doctor, he did a EGD and found I had Gastritis, probably from the antacids, and burns in my throat, so he put me on 2 antacids a day, it made me sick and caused more pain and I only took one a day, but a few weeks later the pain was more severe, so I went to a GP, he said we'll try Nexium, it is a different type of antacid. Two weeks later more pain, and I quit taking medication. I was so messed up by this time I was unable to eat, I felt awful. I have read three books on what not to do, and what to eat, and lost 10 pounds, and doing better. I had been juicing cabbage, since it is supposed to help, I usually feel awful about a half hour after I juice, but it goes away quickly, then I feel fine. I have also been taking flaxseed oil for years for dry eye. I have been trying to fix myself since I am not trusting any doctor but I should probably find a trustworthy doctor soon. I need to rethink the cabbage! I do not have GERD, I have Silent Reflux, I have no heartburn and I did not know about the reflux. It is more dangerous than GERD. I am following many rules and if I follow all the rules I do okay. I had tried the Apple Cider Vinegar and it helped but then thought maybe I shouldn't when I read negative information, everything is so hard, trying to figure it out on my own but I was afraid of the doctors, they made it so much worse.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on November 24, 2013:
Don't lose hope and try out new things. Good luck!
Tiffany on November 22, 2013:
I have been diagnosed Hypothyroid now for over 2 years. I find that my levels keep going up and I have to keep getting my Levothyroxine does upped. I have been attending a bootcamp and part of the program is nutritional. I now (generally) avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy and gluten and finally I have been able to lose weight and feel human again. As part of this I have been including flaxseed in my diet, and my levels went up again. I will try avoiding this in the future to see if it makes a difference. One trouble I do have here in the UK is that when my levels are up around the 5 mark they are considered normal, usually I feel horrendous unless my TSH is under 2. I do have to fight to see a doctor and get them to consider my levels, particularly as high TSH levels can adversely affect fertility. Would love to find a GP that was sympathetic. We don't tend to get referred to specialists over here.
Julie on July 08, 2013:
I am hypothyroid and have found the same to be true of flaxseed!! I broke out in a horrible sweat for a whole day!
healthylife2 on November 19, 2012:
Very well researched and helpful information for those with a thyroid condition. Amazing how we have to be our own detectives so often with medical issues. There is so much information here that I'm sure doctors often neglect to mention. Voted up!
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 23, 2012:
Jimmar, this topic is very controversial and while the manufacturer recommends taking the medication first thing in the morning, some doctors actually suggest that certain patients take it before they go to bed, in order to properly absorb it as some people's lifestyle doesn't allow them to wait 30 minutes to an hour before they have breakfast. One thing I know for sure that you should take it every day and if possible at around the same time. I guess this also makes it easier to remember. I do drink coffee as well but I always make sure that I don't have it until 1 hour after I've taken the medication. Until I started taking flaxseed I never had any abnormal values and only then did I start doing my research. My motto is now, eat everything in moderation and I stay away from flaxseed & soy products. I've noticed especially elderly people taking handfuls of tabletes with coffee in the morning, without ever considering that certain meds shouldn't be taken together. They believe as long as the doctor prescribes it to them it's ok and they don't worry about anything. My father did the same with his heart tablets and increasingly got angina attacks. Once he started taking the medication at the proper time and avoided rich foods things improved dramatically. I guess it's up to the patient to do some research. Unfortunately doctors don't have time for little details anymore these days.
jimmar from Michigan on September 22, 2012:
Interesting information. I have been taking Synthroid (or sometimes Levothyroxine) for almost 37 years. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism when I was 18. Once I started on the medication, things changed drastically. I lost lots of weight, had lots more energy and became active where I was just a slug before. I have a blood test once a year and my dosage has only been increased slightly in the last 10 years. I have always been a little careless about taking it. Sometimes I miss a day or two. I usually take it in the morning but if I miss it, I will take it in the evening. I drink a lot of coffee and never noticed an adverse effect, but I have never really tried to be strict and avoid certain foods. I did hear that soy was not good. I wondered if I could take it before bed or at a different time to see if it made me feel any different. Thanks for the article.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 14, 2012:
mperrotet: Depending on where you live your current thyroid level is totally within normal range. When I lived in Switzerland I had a TSH of 5.5 which was considered ok and didn't require any medication. Here in Canada a TSH of over 4.2 gets flagged as being borderline, requiring attention. I find it strange that different countries have different standards. So in your case I wouldn't worry about it too much yet but keep and eye on it. Changing to a healthier diet may also help you lower your TSH, especially if you cut out processed food. The thyroid level can also be affected by stress levels, so if you have a stressful life try to get some quality off-time that helps you relax.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 14, 2012:
Anil & Honey. I just read an interesting article in a thyroid book recently about the increase of thyroid patients in certain countries. I guess in India and other emerging countries the reason could be that many people who previously ate healthy foods are now consuming more junk food and processed foods. Also, apparently the governments of most countries have made it law to add Iodine to table salt as this seems to help preventing thyroid disease in people who do not have access to food containing natural iodine such as seafood, seaweed etc. The problem is that certain companies sell their table salt as iodized but don't actually add the iodine in order to save costs. Apparently in certain developing countries cheap salt even gets smuggled over the border and of course the poor people buy whatever is cheapest, which increases their risk of thyroid disease. Sad world we live in!
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 14, 2012:
Shelley, glad that you liked this article and thanks for sharing.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 14, 2012:
Patty: Thank you for sharing your experice. I totally agree with you that your freshly made juice is very healthy. As I mentioned in my article, I do not at all suggest that people eliminate foods such as kale, broccoli or other goitrogenic foods altogether - the essence is on MODERATION and if possible not eating them raw. I just enjoyed some broccoli & cauliflower gratin last night myself and I totally agree with you, these foods are generally very healthy. Unfortunately like with all foods, some fruits and vegetables may be very healthy for the general population but may be harmful to people with chronic disease, such as diabetes etc. Food cannot be generalized. By no means should people substitute healthy broccoli with chips and other junk food... The only thing that I have eliminated from my diet altogether is flaxseed, as it definitely alters my hormone level and also my TSH and I'm staying away from processed foods whenever possible.
Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on September 11, 2012:
Interesting article. My thyroid tests keep coming up borderline, fluctuating between 4.00-5.5, but I feel great, so I'm not on any medication at this point. I'm wondering if by eating the right foods, I could control it and bring it down. Voted up, interesting and useful.
Anil from Kerala on September 10, 2012:
very Nice and useful hub.In india the rate of thyroid patients are increasing .Now i can understand some important things about thyroid from it. Thank you very much.
Shelley Watson on September 10, 2012:
A stunning article on the thyroid and how to keep it under control. The advice is invaluable and I'm going to share it, as people with the condition seem to be unaware of the salient points you discuss here. Good job. Up, useful, interesting and shared.
patty on September 06, 2012:
great information here, however i would beg to differ with certain vegetables like kale. i am hypothyroid, and i do raw juicing twice a day. Kale is my favorite green to juice alongside wheatgrass, beets, carrots, apples, celery and cucumber. i think if you are eating an enormous amount of these greens, than it could alter the thyroid, however the benefits of kale which is calcium, chlorophyll, tons of minerals, and vitamins which is very alkalizing should outweigh any downside. I don't think its necessary to eliminate these foods with the exception of flaxseed since you can replace that with chia seeds which are healthier with no side effects. But dark greens are life essentials for our bodies,( believe me), so eating it in moderation and adding romaine , arugula, parsley to our diet will give us longevitity. Broccoli (raw) has ability to produce t killer cells that help combat diseases. If you don't believe me check out Kris Carr. Cancer patient with 6 mos to live was on Oprah. Her story into exploring raw juicing is amazing. In conclusion, though we have to be more mindful of the type of foods we consume, completely eliminating those foods that brings us health is also not a solution. If you replace broccoli with chips, than how is that helping you? Remember our entire body need constant norishment.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on September 01, 2012:
Curious, a TSH over 100 sounds shocking and I bet you don't even feel any symptoms. In my case I just had a abnormally high TSH but felt great. So I believe that certain foods affect your TSH without actually affecting your wellbeing. Like you I've also been very confused about what I should and what I shoulnd't eat and despite what your doctor says I can assure you that certain foods definitely affect your TSH. I have thoroughly googled the words thyroid, foods that affect your thyroid, foods that are bad for your thyroid etc. and came up with thousands of blogs and websites. Of course many are not reliable sources but I found blogs written by fellow thyroid patients very useful. Also there are some good websites like thyroid.org or the Mayo Clinic that give good information. Of course as I mentioned in my article, you should also make sure that you take your medication first thing in the morning with a glass of water, at least 30 - 60 minutes before your breakfast and do not under any circumstances take your thyroid medication with coffee. One thing that all websites agree on is that cruciferous vegetables should be eaten in moderation and that soy is really bad for your condition. I would be very interested to hear if your condition improves after avoiding these foods incl. flaxseed.
curious on August 24, 2012:
this was very useful, especially flaxseed. my TSH is over 100 right now and doc said it has nothing to do with food! but i did make major changes to my diet this summer thinking these would be good for me. but everything you listed there was what i did.. so i think i messed up so badly. i don't know what to eat at this point... when i ate broccoli, cauliflower etc i steamed it.. but all the huge salads with kale, spinach etc were raw.i drank soymilk. eliminated dairy and ate soy cheese.. many mistakes.... now i started almond milk. i don't know if this is good or not... i don't know what to eat... but everything on your list was what i ate all summer exclusively..
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on August 10, 2012:
bac2basics: Thanks for your comment. I hope that your daugther will soon be better with her medication. Depression is one of the symptoms of thyroid disease so it's very possible that her condition will improve shortly. Living with thyroid disease is no problem whatsoever. Once you've been diagnosed and you get the proper medication your life will improve back to normal. Unfortunately many people have the disease and are totally unaware of it. They think that they are suffering from a mental disease which is much harder to treat. It is important that your daughter follows the doctors advice and that she also watches the food she eats. Many doctors just prescribe the drugs and think the problem is solved. However there are many foods (especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.) which should be eaten in moderation and never been eaten raw. She can find all kinds of useful information on the internet.
Anne from Spain on August 10, 2012:
Hi Novascotiamiss. My daughter who lives in the UK has been diagnosed with under active thyroid and is now on medication for this and depression. I have passed on your hub address so she can read what you have to say. Thank you so much for all this helpful advice
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on July 09, 2012:
Brit, I find it interesting that you were diagnosed with hypothyroidis after you moved to the US. I bet you never knew you had a problem while in the UK. Strange enough every Tom, Dick & Harry seems to have Thyroid disease in North America, whereas in Europe I don't know anybody who is affected. So I start wondering, if it's something that we eat here, that's causing it???
BritInTexas from San Antonio, Texas on July 09, 2012:
I was diagnosed with 'severe' Hypothyroidism approximately 2 years ago, and was started on Levothyroxine. I took it for about 8 months, and all the time I was on it, the dose was constantly being increased because my blood tests all showed that my thyroid function was out of whack.
Then, for the first time in my entire life, at the age of 34, I developed acne. I did a bit of research too, and decided that the Levo might have been the cause. So, I switched to Nature-Throid. The acne never went away, but my hormone levels have been much better since being on a dessicated thyroid med (I've since changed to Armor-Thyroid).
I knew about the long list of foods that affect the absorption of meds, but I had no idea about some of the other medications that can affect it too. I drink a lot of black tea (caffeine), about 2 cups of coffee per day, and I smoke. I get my blood tested approximately once every 6 months, and last time, it was apparently 'perfectly normal'. They don't do a full spectrum blood analysis though, only testing one or two of the 4(?) thyroid hormones, so I'll be interested to see how I'm doing on the new Armor-Thyroid that I've been taking for a few months now.
Great article, thank you for sharing that information.
Novascotiamiss (author) from Nova Scotia, Canada on February 26, 2012:
Hi Cardisa & justateacher. Thanks for your comments. Last night a close friend told me that she's just been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (exactly the opposite of what I have). I checked up on her condition and found out that exactly what's bad for me is good for her, as it slows down her overactive thyroids. So I advise that any thyroid sufferer should find out exactly what his condition is and then google the internet only for his/her relevant information.
LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on February 25, 2012:
I have had thyroid issues most of my adult life. I never knew there was a problem with caffeine and Synthroid or that you shouldn't take it with Paxil - both of which I do on a regular basis....
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on February 25, 2012:
Thanks for writing this hub Miss Novascotiamiss. I don't have the condition but it's good to know these things just in case. Very useful info.