thyroid problems: Loss of lean muscle mass

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Hi guys I need some help.

I'm 30 year old male. Last year I came down with a systemic infection and everything went to sh*t after that. There are many symptoms which make my life a living hell at the moment but I'll mention the ones that are relevant to thyroid. I'm getting tachycardia, weight loss, losing muscle mass quickly, severe anxiety, depression, palpitations, insomnia etc etc. I got a thyroid panel done two months ago and the results were normal TSH, Normal free T4, Elevated Free T3. My physician said this is subclinical hyperthyroidism. My question is what can be done to prevent the loss of muscle mass? This is irritating the hell outta me; I used to exercise daily before this disaster happened and was in excellent shape and nowadays I feel so weak and thin. This is so depressing.

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hyperthyroid patients lose carnitine, an amino acid as well as vitamins from their bodies through urination.  Replacing the lost vitamins, minerals and amino acids helps with recovery.   When I read a research article showing that hyperthyroid patients are helped by taking Regular L-Carnitine, 3,000 to 4,000 mg a day and vitamin D being very necessary as well, I had my doctor test me for Total and Free Carnitine and vitamin D and Magnesium.  I was deficient in all of them so added them as supplements to my treatment with meds for hypertyroidism.
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  • Posted

    If you are losing weight you will typically lose some muscle mass as well. It would be more worrying if you have severe muscle weakness and prolonged muscle pain. Hyperthyroidism can cause thyrotoxic myopathy a degeneration of muscle tissue. First symptoms are often a weakness of the large muscles of the legs, arms, and shoulders and could be for example difficulty climbing stairs, or getting up from a crouched position, or lifting your arms. Muscle function can also be impaired if there is a mineral disbalance with low levels of for example calcium or magnesium.

    The obvious thing to help would be to get your thyroid values (you mention elevated T3) back into normal range.

    When I was hyperthyroid the worst symptom was the constant muscle pain. After asking on this forum I found out about L-Carnitine (see replies from linda187).  That is when I started to take L-Carnitine and it helped me (together with thyroid lowering medication) to get my normal muscle function back within 3-4 months. L-Carnitine is an amino-acid, a white powder that tastes sour and a bit salty. You can get it as capsules or in powdered form.

    Btw, I also started to take magnesium because I was experiencing frequent muscle cramps.   

    Forgot to mention nutrition. If you are still losing weight try to eat plenty of healthy food and include a good amount of protein. That will help rebuild muscle tissue lost due to your subclinical hyperthyroidism. As long as you are experiencing palpitations and muscle weakness or pain you should try to avoid any strenuous physical activity.  

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    • Posted

      Thank you both for replying. Where can I get L-carnitine? Is is sold at vitamin supplement shops or at the pharmacist's ?

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    • Posted

      You can get L-carnitine at a pharmacy or supplement shop. I got it online off amazon. 

      Regarding your results I guess your doctor calls it subclinical since your TSH value is normal and T3 is marginally above range. If you had a recent infection and your thyroid was inflamed it might lead to temporary hyperthyroidism that might resolve itself. Besides, thyroid lowering medication can have severe side-effects, needs frequent blood checks to adjust the dose (at least in the beginning of the treatment)  and might make you hypo.

      Your doctor might prefer to rather monitor your thyroid values for the time being since at the moment the risks of taking thyroid lowering medication far outweigh the benefits. 

      If you like you could look up goitrogen food (spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc). By including it in your diet you can try to naturally (slightly) lower your thyroid levels. 

       

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    • Posted

      Can alllergies cause thyroid to leak excess T3? I ask this because after the infection(the infection happened over an year ago) I suddenly have a LOT of allergies(food allergies). I am allergic to 80 percent of food. One of my symptoms is itching in back of the throat and all over the body. The allergies are relieved by antihistamines. Can allergies irritate the thyroid gland to leak more of T3 into blood??

      When I exercise my heart rate increases from 60 to 120 bpm but it doesn't come down. I remain tachycardic for the entire day. Is this due to thyroid dysfunction?

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    • Posted

      I can definitely tell you that it is not a good idea to exercise if your heart rate does not come down after the physical strain. I have tried that thinking it will help me overcome the chronic tiredness and it was a big mistake. Only afterwards I found out that I was in fact hyperthyroid. And one way to increase your metabolism and thyroid output is definitely aerobic exercise.  

      As fas as your allergies are concerned, it is important to single out the food groups you are allergic against. If you continue to consume those food products it might make your allergy worse and can also trigger additional allergies. Regarding the connection between allergies and thyroid disorders I do not know. However, allergic responses involve your immune system and there are some thyroid disorders that are autoimmune diseases. Should you thyroid condition get worse (Which I hope it will not!) your doctor will certainly check your antibody levels to rule out any autoimmune thyroid disease. 

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  • Posted

    Guys can the symptoms(tachycardia, weight loss etc) of subclinical hyperthyroidism(high free T3) be reversed by thyroid blocking medication?

    My thyroid results are -

    Free T3- 3.97 pg/ml (ref 1.71-3.71)

    Free T4- 1.26 ng/dl (ref 0.70-1.48)

    TSH- 1.39 µIU/ml (0.35-4.94)

    Also why does my doctor calls this condition as a subclinical hyperthyroidism? Various web sites report that in subclinical hyperthyroidism TSH is low whereas T3 and T4 are within normal range. So isn't this like T3 toxicosis or something?

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  • Posted

    I know it's been 9 months but how do you feel?? I have exactly same thing and scared about mass loss!!!

    Please let me know!!!

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    • Posted

      I am glad you feel better, did you treat the hyperthyroidism with Ned's or did you get better on your own?

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    • Posted

      I dunno what "Ned" is.

      When I calmed down(realized that i wasn't dying) and had my thyroid function checked it came back alright.

      I treated anxiety with psychiatric meds which stopped weight loss. In fact now a days I'm a bit overweight.

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    • Posted

      I misspelled meds with Ned's sorry, did you actually loose muscle mass or lost weight? I am freeked out about my hands looking like skeleton hands 😕

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    • Posted

      i lost both muscle mass and weight. The more you worry the worse this condition seems to become. Anxiety will itself cause weight loss by dumping stress hormones into the bloodstream.
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    • Posted

      hi, can I find out what psychiatric meds you took? thank you

      I too lost muscle mass and weight, and suffer from anxiety which led to horrible panic attacks that messed up my heart. just awful

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    • Posted

      Lidia,

      I've lost muscle in the back of my hands over the last year. Has yours come back? Have you resolved your thyroid issues?

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