The missing piece of the puzzle in hypothyroidism
According to your GP, your levothyroxine dose is properly adjusted but you still have to deal with constant tiredness, thinning hair and can’t fit in your old clothes?
Hello, my name is Chris Brooker and 8 years ago my GP put an end to my odysee of doctor visits with the sentence: “Your blood work indicates Hypothyroidism”
I felt tired and listless all the time, had to deal with a slow metabolism, being bloated, etc. and put on weight for no apparent reason.
Despite eating a healthy diet, it seemed almost impossible to lose even a gram.
But the worst thing was the constant tiredness.
Levothyroxine turned into my new hope of getting out of this state.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that an underactive thyroid sounds harmless, but it leads to several malfunctions in the body.
The thyroid gland is like the control centre when it comes to energy production and hormone control.
Hyperthyroidism often leads to the liver shutting down and digestion no longer working optimally.
Issues piles up and it becomes difficult not to fall into a downward spiral.
Looking back and equipped with the knowledge I have today, all my symptoms made sense.
Over the last 2 years I have been able to manage almost all of them and turn the downward spiral into an upward spiral.
My thyroid levels are back in range, although I have been able to reduce my levothyroxine dose from 125 micrograms to literally 0.
Since I experienced first-hand how neglected and sometimes medically questionable most docs treat thyroid issues (most of them simply give you levothyroxine and increase the dose from month to month), I decided to share my story with you.
In this article you will learn:
- the role of the thyroid gland and the connection with the liver
- why you still have symptoms despite taking levothyroxine (T4), even though your blood indicators are in range
- why even zinc and selenium don’t make a difference
- the most overlooked piece of the puzzle in thyroid problems and how it will turn your life around
Back to my personal story
Let’s get straight to the point.
When I had enough of my constant tiredness, I went to my trusted GP and got blood work done.
My doctor correctly recognised that my TSH levels were elevated.
He said: “The higher the TSH value, the fewer thyroid hormones are present, the more likely it is that you have hypothyroidism.”
My value was 5.
The reference range is 1 – 2.5.
When I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I was initially relieved.
I was no longer completely in the dark.
At least I had an explanation for my suffering.
My doctor gave me hope that we could fix it.
After all, I’m not an isolated case.
By adjusting the Levothyroxine correctly, everything should be fine again.
That brings us to the subject of “correctly adjusting” the medication.
My doctor prescribed me 25 micrograms of Levothyroxine at the beginning.
Levothyroxine, an artificially produced thyroid hormone, is the most frequently prescribed medication in the UK after analgesics.
“Now you’re back on track, your thyroid should be working as usual and producing enough hormones again.”
Full of hope, I went to the pharmacy, got the thyroid medication and took it as prescribed.
But nothing happened.
A month later, the doctor increased the dose from 25 to 50 micrograms.
I went to the doctor again and was told: “Hello Mrs Brooker, your blood values have improved a lot.”
Yes, my blood values were great.
But I felt less alive than ever before?
This story continued until I reached a dosage of no less than 125 micrograms of Levothyroxine.
Great blood work but limp as never before.
It’s incredibly frustrating when the doctor keeps telling you that your values look great and there’s not much we can do about it.
And the constant intake of synthetic thyroid hormones can’t be healthy for my liver in the long term either.
It was clear to me that I had to take things into my own hands.
It was Christmas 2022 when I made a crucial discovery.
My best friend from school gifted me a book.
She knew that I had problems with my thyroid.
The book was in German and it’s title translated to: “Every day I got fatter and more tired“
Good thing I studied German at University.
It was written by Vanessa Blumhagen, a thyroid expert who is increasingly making the rounds online.
I´m usually skeptical about books like this, but I wanted to give her a chance.
Because she had hypothyroidism herself.
She too was not taken seriously by the doctors and had to take her fate into her own hands.
Vanessa managed all her symptoms very well
I began to read…
A discovery that changed my life forever
Vanessa knew how to explain what happens to the thyroid gland in a humorous way.
In her book, I read that an elevated TSH value indicates that thyroid hormones may be produced.
TSH controls thyroid activity.
The pituitary gland wants to say:
“Dear thyroid gland, please produce hormones, we need energy.”
Energy for a wide variety of things, such as
– Warmth when you are cold
– Energy to wake you up
– Regulating your cycle
– Regulating the digestive tract
– Stimulate hair growth
– and much more.
But with normal TSH levels, why didn’t I feel better?
My mood got worse from day to day.
So what needs to happen so that not only the blood values improve, but also the symptoms?
Vanessa talks about the fact that it is unfortunately not enough to get the thyroid gland to produce more hormones again:
The thyroid hormones have to be converted into an active form and then also transported to the cells.
For this process to work, a well-oiled system is required:
Only when these steps are perfectly interlinked your energy production starts to work properly.
This results in bursting with energy, are no longer tired and no longer have cold feet.
When the metabolism starts up again and the sluggishness has disappeared, you can imagine what will happen to your weight.
Let me explain to you how, according to Vanessa, the thyroid gland works properly again and the energy returns.
Step 1: Form thyroid hormones
As soon as the TSH hormone sends the signal from the pituitary gland, it starts.
Something special happens in the tiny cells of your thyroid gland.
This is where the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) is being produced.
T4 is known as the inactive thyroid hormone and consists of the amino acid tyrosine and four iodine atoms.
Most doctors focus exclusively on this.
They see an elevated TSH level (and perhaps a low T4 level, if they check it at all) and simply prescribe Levothyroxine, i.e. T4.
Unfortunately, treating a symptom is almost never enough.
IMPORTANT Step 2: Activation of the thyroid hormones (T4 -> T3)
However, your can’t do anything with (T4) alone.
Only when the inactive thyroxine (T4) is converted into the active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) processes in your body start to work again!
By splitting off an iodine atom from T4 – through enzymes.
Most of this activation takes place in the liver and is called 5′-deiodinase.
The 5′-deiodinase enzymes are responsible for converting the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) into its active form triiodothyronine (T3)
Step 3: Transport of T3 into the cells
Your thyroid hormones have been activated and now want to release the energy in your cells.
But how do they get to their destination?
This is achieved with so-called transport proteins.
To make sure this transport works properly, the transport proteins need the right nutrients: Amino acids.
The missing puzzle piece
My TSH as well as T4 indicators were in range – all thanks to taking Levothyroxine.
But I still felt off.
There could only be 2 possible reasons for this:
T4 could not be converted into active T3,
T3 could not dock onto my cells.
Why the conversion from T4 to T3 often doesn’t work?
Remember: T3 activation mainly takes place in the liver.
And there is one indicator which shows whether T3 activation (5′-deiodinase) can take place properly:
The glutathione level.
As early as 1988, a connection between glutathione and T3 activation (5′-deiodinase) was established and documented in a study.
Glutathione is the most abundant and a very potent antioxidant in the body.
And watch out:
It consists of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid.
Another study shows that the amino acid L-methionine plays a key role in the liver.
To summarise the problem:
✅ Administering the thyroid medication Levothyroxine (T4) alone won’t do anything because it is still the inactive form.
✅ The thyroid hormone T4 must be converted into the active form T3. This process takes place in the liver.
✅ The active T3 can now release the energy in your cells via transport proteins.
✅ Only when these metabolic processes are working properly energy can be released and the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as tiredness, disappear.
✅ Amino acids play a particularly important role in the conversion of T4 to T3.
I finally discover the missing piece of the puzzle
I dug deeper into the research to better understand the connection between amino acids and thyroid health.
So I started thinking about whether I might also have an amino acid deficiency.
Most people – including me for a long time – believe that they eat enough protein in their normal diet and therefore get all the essential amino acids.
In fact, this is often not the case!
Women in particular consume too little protein, which is essential for the conversion of T4 into T3 and the transport of thyroid hormones into our cells.
The situation is even worse for vegans and vegetarians.
One measure of how well a protein provides all the essential amino acids is the DIAAS value (Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score).
Animal protein has a much higher biological value than vegetable protein.
Now everything falls into place
#1: We have a much higher protein requirement
People with thyroid problems have a much higher protein requirement.
This is because the liver plays a crucial role in protein synthesis, protein breakdown, detoxification and amino acid metabolism.
The British Nutrition Society (BNS) recommends that a healthy adult should consume at least 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
For Hashimoto’s patients (or hypothyroidism), however, at least 1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended.
For a woman weighing 70kg, that’s over 100g of protein per day.
When was the last time you ate 100g of proteins in a day?
I almost never reached such a high protein consumption.
Reason #2: Impaired digestion
If you’re like me and you also have problems with your digestion, the chances are unfortunately very high that you won’t be able to fully absorb many nutrients.
This means that your amino acid requirement is even higher because your digestive tract won’t even absorb the majority of them.
Why the T4 to T3 conversion often doesn’t work?
✅ #1 Most women have a deficiency of essential amino acids because the requirement is very high and digestion is impaired in many women.
✅ #2 The liver – the place where the conversion takes place – is restricted in its function. More precisely: the glutathione level is too low and must be increased with amino acids.
How to finally fix your thyroid
You need essential amino acids.
Effectively there are 2 options:
Option 1: Eat more meat and check which foods have the highest bioavailability,
Option 2: Supplement the essential amino acids.
In endocrinology it’s called “amino direct method”
The second option is especially good for people who have issues with their digestion as well.
It’s also much cheaper than eating meat every day.
But first I had to find out which amino acids I absolutely needed.
Which amino acids are particularly important for hypothyroidism?
- Proteins consist of amino acids that are arranged in different structures. There are so-called essential and non-essential amino acids.
- Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body itself. They must therefore be supplied from outside.
- The body can produce non-essential amino acids itself. However, only if your body stores enough essential amino acids in the first place.
The most important essential amino acids for Hashimoto’s
The following amino acids cannot be produced by the body itself and are particularly important in the case of hypothyroidism (click on the amino acid to learn more about it):
Methionine is the starting point for the synthesis of glutathione in the liver. T4 to T3 activation in the liver can only take place with sufficient glutathione.
Methionine is also important for the absorption of zinc and selenium.
If you suffer from a methionine deficiency, this affects the absorption of zinc and selenium.
This means that even if you consume plenty of zinc and selenium, there is no guarantee that your body will be able to utilise them.
Phenylalanine is the starting material for the even more important tyrosine, which is the basic component of thyroid hormones. If the body lacks phenylalanine, various hormones cannot be produced in sufficient quantities, which causes depression and tiredness, among other things.
Lysine plays a major role in immune cells, which is why a deficiency makes people more susceptible to viruses. This is one reason why people with hypothyroidism are sick more often.
In addition, iron requires lysine for its absorption. This explains, among other things, chronic tiredness and fatigue in patients with hypothyroidism. If you eliminate the lack of lysine, iron is better absorbed and you feel more active.
The most important non-essential amino acids for Hashimoto’s
Once you have covered all the essential amino acids, the body can also produce the non-essential amino acids by itself again. Because these are also important:
Tyrosine is a precursor for the production of thyroid hormones, namely thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Without sufficient amounts of L-tyrosine, the thyroid hormones cannot be produced in sufficient quantities, which can lead to impaired metabolic performance and other health problems.
To avoid a lifelong dependence on the intake of L-thyroxine (T4), it must be ensured that the body always has sufficient tyrosine available.
Together, these three amino acids form the antioxidant glutathione, which is so important for the liver.
As explained above, glutathione is particularly important for the conversion of T4 to T3.
However, it also has numerous other positive effects on liver health.
If sufficient essential amino acids are available, non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body itself.
For example, the non-essential amino acid L-cysteine, which has a positive effect on thyroid antibodies.
Or the amino acid L-glycine, which is important for T3 activation.
The Human Amino Design
Vanessa Blumhagen also writes about amino acids in her book.
She recommends amino acids that are based on the so-called Human Amino Design.
The Human Amino Design was researched at the International Nutrition Research Center (INRC) in Florida by Prof Dr Luca Morretti.
It is a combination of 8 essential amino acids and is produced from purely plant-based substances (chickpeas) – making it 100% vegan.
The body can then produce all non-essential amino acids from them.
This means you don’t have to take glutathione, glycine, glutamine or cysteine separately.
It is also much better if the body produces the non-essential amino acids itself.
This way your body’s own metabolic processes start up again.
When Vanessa Blumhagen wrote her book (2013), there were no amino acid supplements available in English-speaking countries that resembled the Human Amino Design.
Fortunately, this has now changed!
AminoPro from Naturalis is based exactly on the Human Amino Design.
And I can tell you right away: For me, AminoPro was the missing puzzle piece which provided me with more energy and a better sense of well-being.
On the product page, you can see that the London-based manufacturer Naturalis works closely with experts who specialise in autoimmune diseases and intolerances.
What ultimately convinced me, however, were the many positive reviews on their website.
That also gave me a good feeling.
If you are interested just click this link: www.naturalislab.co.uk
How well does AminoPro work?
AminoPro contains exactly the essential amino acids which are so important for people with hypothyroidism.
It contains 2 other essential amino acids which have numerous positive effects on top:
L-isoleucine and L-tryptophan
What makes AminoPro so special is that that the amino acids are obtained from the fermentation of chickpeas in a process similar to digestion.
They are absorbed directly via the mucous membranes and therefore no autoimmune reaction can be triggered.
AminoPro is completely vegan, free from lectins and lactose, gluten-free and contains no sugar or other additives.
The advantage of 100% pure crystalline amino acids is that they have a higher purity than amino acid sources from food and other sources which makes them easily soluble and the body absorbs them quicker.
The self-test – better thyroid values with AminoPro
I ordered AminoPro from the Naturalis online shop that same evening.
As the studies previously mentioned: You have to supplement the amino acids for multiple weeks so I ordered 3 bags straight away.
Perhaps I should mention this again at this point: although some customers mention in their reviews that they feel an improvement immediately, you have to realise that this is a longer process.
Personally, I have set myself an ultimatum of 3 months.
My first weeks with AminoPro
The order with the 3 bags arrived after just two days.
One bag contains 30 servings.
I continued to take my Levothyroxine to be on the safe side.
Many customers report an immediate improvement.
After testing AminoPro for four days, I knew what they meant.
I noticed two things in particular straight away:
Even after taking it for the first time early in the morning, I felt energised.
I have never experienced anything like it with any other food supplement.
You can really feel how your body gratefully absorbs the amino acids.
My usual midday slump has completely disappeared.
After one month: better digestion
After just under a month, I realised why my midday slump had disappeared – it was due to my improved digestion.
And that’s no surprise either: a quick Google search shows that amino acids can improve gut health.
My other symptoms have also improved.
I feel really energised throughout the day.
I feel stronger and more active.
Afternoons at the office used to be a real horror because I had absolutely no energy left.
It was all about getting home as quickly as possible and flopping down on the sofa.
I’m now thinking about signing up to the Pilates studio again and doing sport.
My mood got drastically better.
After two months: improved thyroid values
The first 2 bags of AminoPro are now empty.
Since I’ve been taking AminoPro, my life has turned around 180 degrees.
No more tiredness, no more fatigue.
I have lost around 5 kilos without changing my diet.
My thyroid indicators have also improved, which is amazing.
Together with my doctor, I then started to reduce my Levothyroxine dosage.
Over several months, I managed to reduce it from 125 micrograms to 25 micrograms.
Despite reducing the dose, I felt better and better.
My TSH is now at 1 and my fT4 (free T4) is in the green range and for the first time, the T3 value is in the green as well!
Out of curiosity, I also had my liver values analysed.
Who would have thought: my liver values slightly improved at my last check-up!
I’m really looking forward to seeing what they will look like in a year’s time.
I am glad that I came across AminoPro and can only recommend it to anyone with an underactive thyroid.
I have linked you to the Naturalis online shop here.
The company behind AminoPro
Behind AminoPro is a biomedical business from London called Naturalis.
Naturalis produces food supplements and cosmetics without the use of artificial drugs or chemical agents.
Almost all of their products are vegan (including AminoPro, by the way).
They also work a lot with experts who specialise in autoimmune diseases and intolerances.