Warning, this is detailed and long, but key info. if you have thyroid disease.
Information for Crossfit participants with Thyroid disease.
I found a study that was done in Italy that studied a group of people that had been diagnosed with thyroid disease. Ref. Muscle Metabolism and Exercise Tolerance in Subclinical Hypothyroidism : A Controlled Trial of Levothyroxine, J Clin Endo Metab, 2005; 90(7) 4057-4062. The study group exercised in a controlled program and researchers measured many different blood factors. The subjects of the study were then stabilized on synthetic thyroid Lavothyroxine and tested again a year later. The participants in the study had abnormal blood results due to the metabolic deficiency and the blood results did not improve with the thyroid synthetic replacement treatment. The study results state that the response to exercise was significantly impaired in sHT patients both maximal power output and maximal VO2, and that under similar work conditions the patients stabilized on T4 had higher heart rates. The report discusses raised ketone levels. It was concluded that medication does not improve cellular oxygen extraction resulting in exaggerated rise in blood lactate and pyruvate levels and the grater rise in RQ indicates a relative inability to oxidize fat.
The Thyroid produces T1, T2, T3 and T4. I have yet to find anyone that understands T1 and T2 including representatives at Armor a major company that manufactures a frequently prescribed natural thyroid replacement drug. In a book on Thyroid disorder it also states that it is not understood what the function is of T1 and T2. I also asked this question of Dr. Ken Fujioka head of the Endochronology deportment at Scripps.
Synthetic thyroid only includes artificial T4 which, for most, the body uses to convert to T3. T3 is the hormone currently recognized as the component that controls metabolic rate. It may be that synthetic T4 is not converted to an exact replica of natural T3 (the thyroid hormone that is currently associated with metabolic rate), or that T1, and T2 are the missing link that causes oxygen transfer over the cell wall. In books on thyroid disorder many doctors advocate and have seen great improvement in patients that have used natural thyroid even those that had normal T3 and T4 levels. Low body temperature as apposed to blood tests was used to diagnose the metabolic disorder and level of treatment. It may be that for these patients they had only a T1 or T2 deficiency, and by taking the complete thyroid natural product, the body adjusted to produce less T3 and T4 to avoid an overdose of the component they did not need. Or it may be that for some people the body better utilizes the natural product, or they may need the T4 that is also present in the natural product. At Armor, the rep. said some patients do better on their natural product and others do better on the synthetic. They were not aware of any studies on T1 and T2, nor for any study similar to the one discussed here but for the natural thyroid products (made from bovine thyroid).
My experience with exercise and thyroid disease has been demineralization of my teeth, episodes of ketosis and extreme leg cramps. I associate this with the acid production and striping of calcium from the bones and blood which would happen with elevated lactic acid.
What to do…….
Ask your doctor to switch you to natural hormone to see if you do better. Be aware that you will produce much more lactic acid than the average person, so avoid low carb diets such as Atkins to help avoid ketosis. Take calcium supplements (with vitamin D) and eat a diet rich in calcium. I feel better if I have post work out chocolate milk. After intense work outs where you know you have produced a lot of lactic acid, use a thorough cool down such as walking and stretching. Competitive rowers that have an elimination heat and latter need to compete again will typically row easy for 20 min. after the first heat. I find picking up abandoned weights in the gym an excellent way to work off lactic acid. I have much better muscle recovery too. If you are still having difficulty modify your work out as listed below. Ask your dentist for prescription tooth paste to help fortify your teeth. Get a book on thyroid disorder and follow the morning temperature readings recommendations to check your metabolic rate.
I recently heard on the news that Chloramines in the water supply is binding with T3 and causing adverse health effects. The thyroid test will still read normal however the body will not be able to use the T3 in this state. Several years ago the EPA standards for water disinfection were changed from chlorine to chloramines when it was found that chlorine in the presence of organics causes cancer producing agents. Since 9-11, municipalities have increased the amount of chloramines in the water supply to protect the water supply in the event of a terrorist pathogen contamination. According to a radio report, when test results for thyroid come back normal, it is common for MDs to treat the patient for depression which is another national health problem on the rise.
Could there be other connections? A lay person’s speculation…….Patients with fibro myalgia, chronic fatigue, and MS, also seem to share adverse health effects with exercise. It is my observation that these disorders all share in common a basic pollution of the body, with any overexertion, taking days to recover. I believe that this is also caused by an inability to transfer oxygen over the cell wall which creates a production of chemicals in the body typical of someone performing extensive work in an anaerobic state. I have witnessed that patients when having difficulty turn gray, despite having normal blood oxygen levels. For many, a relapse after overexertion is so dramatic that patients then avoid physical activity, and as a result atrophy. This then worsens the person’s ability to sustain effort, and decreases the tolerance for activity. I have seen this reversed to a great degree when the person maintained an exercise program that chopped the workout into very small increments with rest periods in between. This would allow the body to recover cell oxygen levels to a min. state. I believe that the lack of oxygen over the cell wall for these patients also contributes to the body’s inability to be able to heal from injuries, surgeries, etc. and produces an inflammatory response in much of the body. Common among all of these is pain throughout the body. A lack of oxygen in the tissues would cause this type of response. Stimulants often help these patients, and I believe it is because blood oxygen levels would be increased with the improvement in heart rate which could increase the transfer of oxygen over the cell wall.
It seams to be a mystery why some people have a fast metabolism and why others struggle with obesity. Is it possible that T1 or T2 is the regulating agent that controls oxygen transfer over the cell wall and hence fat metabolism and perhaps even regulation of some types of cholesterol? Could a disruption in the thyroid hormone system be the root cause of metabolic syndrome?
More research is needed.