Daring to hope

As a teenager, I was never still for a moment. Always on my feet, trotting hither and thither, bursting with energy.  Skinny as a rake.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when that energy level started dropping, but it was certainly at least 15 years ago. I’d find myself feeling suddenly overwhelmed with fatigue, falling asleep if I sat down. Being a vegetarian I put it down to possible anaemia, and took iron tablets or tonics, which helped a little, but not a lot.

Five years ago I seemed to be asleep more than awake, always, always tired. Sometimes too tired to clean my teeth, to get dressed, even to read. If I started reading, I’d be asleep in seconds. Likewise if I sat in a parked car. Zzzzzzz

During a routine visit to the doctor a couple of years ago, I mentioned in passing that I was always tired and needed to buy some iron tablets. No, he said, you need a thyroid check. Which I had and which revealed that I was indeed suffering from hypothyroidism.

I’ve been on thyroxine since then, and haven’t really felt any better. My idea of a perfect day would be to stay in bed and do nothing. That’s neither practical nor possible. I drag myself around, plucking up a weed from time to time, loading the washing machine, cooking a meal, when in truth I’d sooner be sitting doing nothing. The tiredness is like a veil hanging over me, draining my energy.

Since we came to live in France, I’ve always bought natural Guérande salt, both in crystal form for cooking, and fine for seasoning. But having high blood pressure, I was told by the doctor to minimise my salt intake, so I use it sparingly.

Recently I was reading an article on hypothyroidism, and the fact that lack of iodine can be a contributory factor.

A couple of weeks ago I began taking iodised salt. Natural sea salt does not contain iodine. During the last week I have felt definite small spurts of energy. I’m less lethargic, less prone to falling asleep during the day, and also finding it a little difficult to get to sleep. Dare I hope that iodised salt could be the answer?


Bearing in mind the doctor’s stern advice to limit my salt intake, I have to balance the increased risk of heart attack against constant draining weariness. Thinning eyebrows, dry skin and the impossibility of losing weight I can cope with, but the fatigue really drags me down. So I’ll take the risk.



15 thoughts on “Daring to hope

  1. I just read this out to my husband (with two brains) who nodded sagely at the connection between iodine and thyroid and said ‘seaweed’. Its the richest source of iodine apparantly. Might be worth a check out and a little research. I don’t want you to have a heart attack – I enjoy your writing too much 🙂

  2. How very kind of you and Two Brains. 🙂 One of the very few cuisines I cannot stomach is sushi, which of course contains seaweed in various forms. I was considering taking kelp tablets, but then I read advice against doing that, because apparently the ruddy thyroid is so finely balanced that too much iodine can tip it t’other way. *Sigh* For now I’m going to continue with the iodised salt and see if the improvement lasts. It may, of course, be purely in my mind, but I jolly well don’t care if it is, because anything that lifts the veil of fatigue is welcome. It sometimes feels as if I am walking around wearing a full suit of armour.

    • Susie, I read with interest your hopes for this Iodine Salt. Your description of feeling tired and lacking energy; a similar thing happened to me a while ago. My brain felt like I had my head in a fog. Then by chance, I was out one day and as it was so hot, I stopped for an ice cream. I normally am very diet conscious, I stay away from high fat and sugar the only sugar I eat is in fruit. Anyway, I suddenly started feeling wide awake, the fog had lifted it was such a nice feeling. I have since learned I’m Hypoglycemic, but not diabetic. When my blood sugar level drops my brain wants to go to sleep. I’m wondering if you’ve had your blood glucose level checked. I now make it a point to drink a glass of orange juice each morning, this has really helped me feeling wide awake again.

  3. My sister is going through this exact same thing. She finally went to the doctor two weeks ago, and he checked her thyroid but said NO! Her bloodwork was fine. Probably just your age and hormones he said (60). But she knows something is wrong. Her first symptom before the thin eyebrows and tiredness was that her neck itched all the time ( in the thyroid area), and she would scratch til the area was raw. When she looked that up herself it said “thyroid.” She’s also cold and her fingertips tingle, other symptoms which point to thyroid. She farms and NEEDS her energy ! Now she doesn’t know WHAT to do. I feel so sorry for her. Hope your iodine helps you!

  4. Hi Judy. Thank you for your comment, and I’m SO sorry to hear about your sister. It seems that many doctors don’t know enough about thyroid problems, and do not always send patients for the right tests, or full tests. Can she see a different doctor, or an endocrinologist to find a correct diagnosis. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to do something as physically demanding as farming when you are feeling exhausted. I sometimes cannot even face filing a few pieces of paper. Not being a doctor there’s nothing I can suggest, except maybe trying to include some iodised salt in her diet to see if it helps at all. Did the doctor prescribe anything for ‘age and hormones’?

  5. Depression can also cause lethargy, anhedonia, etc….some people gradually slip into depression as a result of unresolved childhood or other issues,for example, & are not aware that they are depressed because it has been such a gradual thing and, of course, the depression can be part of a thyroid problem, as well.

    • I did read that depression is yet another symptom of thyroid insufficiency, or is it caused by thyroid insufficiency, I can’t remember which. Thankfully it is one symptom that I don’t have, although if I did I wouldn’t be surprised. 🙂

  6. That’s interesting, and worth a try. I don’t add salt to anything – just have what comes in food I guess. Perhaps i should up my intake and I might become more perky! Good luck anyway. You’ll be dancing at the Civray market before you know it!

  7. I would not go along w/ “age and harmones” diagnosis nor with the doctor…I would find a “real” doctor who could give me a “real” dx….just saying…

  8. Potatoes contain masses of iodine, especially baked ones. Are you on statins for the high blood pressure? The tiredness could be side effect. Also have you had your salt levels checked? Too little salt can leave you feeling very tired. It’s blanket advice to cut down if you’ve got high blood pressure (apparently some American doctors are questioning whether salt is really that bad for you) but when the OH was in hospital having a gamut of tests they found he was salt deficient, despite having high blood pressure. It’s relatively common in older people, especially those who drink a lot of tea.

  9. Victoria – i LOVE you! Potatoes are my favourite food. We could both live on them, and have always had them sprinkled with Guerande fleurs de sel. Change of plan now to good old Baleine.

    I don’t take statins but something different for hbp. I hardly ever drink tea, except for Earl Grey, and probably no more than 1 cup a month.

    I hope your OH is OK now. Salt has been demonised for such a long time now, a bit like eggs were for decades, before scientists decided they were not bad for us after all. All these theories make you wonder how much they really know. Anyway, I’m thrilled to say that I definitely do have a little more energy now and am not falling asleep on the keyboard. 🙂

    Thank you again for the potato advice – guess what’s for lunch? 😀

  10. I’m going to ask my endocrinologist about my sister and see if she will see her. I had one of my four parathyroids removed last year (didn’t even know we had even one, ha) because of a calcium problem and she is great. Thanks for the warning on kelp, and thanks for the potato info. I’ll tell her today!

  11. That’s a good idea, Judy. Your sister needs to see somebody who can take her problem seriously and find a way to treat it. Eeek, you mean we have more than one thyroid? That’s great news – NOT. 🙂 Enjoy the potatoes. Seriously, I have felt more energetic over the last few days than I have for several years. That’s not to say I have an urge to go and run 10 miles, but I can at least stay awake during the day, and not feel overwhelmed and defeated by a small pile of filing. I can’t think what could be the reason other than the salt.

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