Biotin and Hypothyroidism

Are you hypothyroid? Are you taking Biotin? You might want to talk to your doctor ASAP.

My doctor and I discovered an issue with biotin supplements and I felt like I needed to share my experience. He now asks all his patients who are on levo/synthroid if they take this vitamin.

If you have good TSH numbers but still feel terrible and are taking biotin please keep reading.

I have been meaning to post this for about a year. While this is old new for me I thought it might be helpful for someone else.

In my case I am on levothroxine .75 mcg and cytomel 5 mcg. At the time of the following lab work I was taking the following vitamins, too:

  • Vitamin C
  • Biotin
  • Selenium
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin
  • B-12

My friend suggested I was taking too many vitamins and to have a sit down with my doctor, so I did. I emailed him my list of vitamins before hand and h printed out all the medical info on the above vitamins for our appointment.

This is when we both discovered that BIOTIN can give false low TSH numbers. Yes. You read that correctly.

Like many hypothyroid patients I was taking the biotin to “help” with my thinning hair and eyebrows.

He had me stop taking biotin for a month and retest.

I went from TSH 1.4 to TSH 8.1!

We couldn’t believe it. He had me double the cytomel (now two 5 mcg pills) and retest in a few weeks.

Here’s what I was taking. Max strength 10,000 mcg per pill (I was taking 1 a day for about 6 months). My doctor ok’d this over the phone but he didn’t ask what strength and I didn’t know that was important.

Please, please if your numbers look “normal” but you still feel bad and you take Biotin please consider talking to your doctor, stopping Biotin, then retesting after 1 month.

YMMV, but it might make a big difference for you. It has for me.

Sources: I can not find the article that my doctor printed off his his own database, but try googling these phrases:

  1. biotin interference on tsh and free thyroid hormone measurement.
  2. Biotin TSH
  3. which revealed that biotin may interfere with the most commonly used thyrotropin and thyroid hormone assays. “

The above article tests the impact on children so the dosages mentioned are for a child. Still, by looking at the numbers we can still see how it could impact an adult.

Biotin dosage on the test subjects: “2 to 15 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) [more] than the dietary reference intake in children (5 to 25 μg per kilogram per day)” because of inherited metabolic diseases they had.

Now that I am no longer taking biotin:

  • I can now wake up at/around 8 when before I could barely crawl out of bed at 10.
  • I am not feeling motivated to run/jog again yet, but I am able to take a walk or use my rowing machine 1- 3 times a week.
  • I have experienced no weight loss, but I do feel better than I did when I was taking the biotin.

 

Overall, My TSH went from 1.4, to 8.1 after Biotin was removed, then back down to 0.71 on after Cytomel was upped to 10 mg a day.

It’s worth asking your doctor about it if you take biotin.

Remember- the only person who truly knows your body is you, and you’re also your best advocate. So, arm yourself with information, take good notes about your symptoms and stay optimistic!

 

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Living With and Without Cancer

This might end up being a post that I regularly update- I’m not sure yet.

“I’m not sure yet” pretty much sums up my life lately, both with and without cancer.

It’s almost mid August and I still mentally feel like it’s June (before I had my first cancer removal surgery). That’s weird. It’s weird that I still expect to celebrate my birthday and July 4th, and do all sorts of other summery things..but those have already passed.

I’m here, but I’m not here. That’s also strange. I’m here, but it’s not the me that was here before I had surgery. My entire body is different now.

I can’t even process alcohol the same way. I had 2 small drinks and thought I was dying the next day. I threw up all morning and in to the afternoon. That’s never happened in all my younger good-time-having years.

What worked for me to maintain my figure doesn’t work anymore now that I don’t have a thyroid.

I have developed a small protruding belly. I can’t run as fast as I used to be able to. I don’t feel as motivated to lose the weight because nothing I do seems to work.

I worry I’ll get to the point where I say “meh, I can’t get back to where I was- might as well have this big [soft pretzel/doughnut/piece of pizza/12 inch sub sandwhich]…” The old me would have turned my nose up at that junk.

I already ate well and watched my caloric intake before. I am swimming and running/walking on alternating days (or as weather permits). I wear my weight loss workout clothing, but I still can’t break through my post-op weight gain.

It’s only 4 to 5 pounds, but on my petite frame it sits right on my stomach, which is really irritating. I know, I know- I’m thankful to be alive-really. I just miss the old me, the body I worked hard for. The body that responded correctly to my input and exercise. I can’t figure out what to do to get back there, or if it’s even possible.

The scar on my collar bone makes planking uncomfortable, but I started again today anyway.

My doctor told me I was eating too few calories for a post-op healing body (at 1,000-1300 a day, which is what I was eating before surgery). but I can’t eat more. My stomach is much smaller than it used to be a few years ago.

I’m sick, but I’m not sick. I look fine, except for my scar. I’m struggling at work to keep up with my projects and not be the weakest member of the team. I’ve never been weak and inefficient, but I am now.

I have to ask for help, I have to turn down projects, I have to explain to coworkers from other teams who don’t know me and get frustrated with my work that “hey, I’m normally not this stupid/inefficient/inept at my job but I was diagnosed with cancer this summer and I’m trying my best to keep up-I’m sorry.”

Asking for understanding and forgiveness from others puts me at a disadvantage- it makes me look weak. They’re nicer to me and more understanding afterward I talk to them about it, but I don’t like being the weakest link. I feel like they feel sorry for me, and I hate that feeling.

Cancer has taken a lot of people I love from me in the past, and now it’s taken some things I loved about me away, too.