Reviews on armour thyroid

Contents

 

This article was completely written by Dr. Westin Childs. He nails everything and I hope it can help you. All I did was copy and paste it for you. . Excellent.Excellent. Excellent read for those on Armour Thyroid.

Are you taking Armour Thyroid and not losing weight?

Would it surprise you to know that MANY people are in the same position as you?

The truth is that Armour Thyroid CAN help with weight loss, but it is definitely NOT a magic weight loss pill.

Having said that…

There are several reasons why Armour Thyroid isn’t helping you lose weight and there are several things YOU can do to fix them.

Does Armour Thyroid Actually Help with Weight Loss?

The biggest and most important question of all:

Will Armour Thyroid actually help you lose weight?

Most people when they switch to armour thyroid except that their extra weight will magically start shedding off…

And about 90% of people who make the switch don’t see those results.

Why does this happen?

While Armour Thyroid is a great medication (that will probably help reduce your symptoms even if it doesn’t help you lose weight) it isn’t enough for weight loss by itself.

If weight loss were that simple, then Doctors would be prescribing low doses of Armour to every patient!

The truth is that your thyroid is probably only contributing to about 10-20 pounds of extra weight you may be carrying right now.

If you have more than that to lose there is a good chance your extra weight is from something else entirely.

Another hormone imbalance…

Poor diet…

Too much stress…

You get the picture.

So let’s talk about the 5 main reasons that patients who make the switch to Armour Thyroid don’t lose weight and what you can do to FINALLY lose those extra pounds:

1. You Aren’t Being Dosed Correctly

One of the biggest issues is that many patients are being under treated or under dosed.

Armour thyroid contains a combination of T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) and T3 (the active thyroid hormone).

One of the main reasons that patients feel BETTER on Armour Thyroid is because of the active T3 portion.

This portion is actually still quite small:

1 grain = 38mcg of T4 and 9mcg of T3

The point is that whenever you give a patient T3 it is approximately 3.3 times more effective at dropping the TSH than T4 medication alone (Synthroid and Levothyroxine).

This means that when transitioning from T4 only medication to armour thyroid many patients are usually under treated!

It’s also important to note that many providers aren’t as comfortable dosing Armour Thyroid as they are levothyroxine and so they will intentionally under dose patients because they are concerned about side effects.

Transitioning from T4 only Medication to Armour Thyroid

If you transitioned from Levothyroxine (T4 only medication) then you should know how to properly convert your medication.

Most conversion charts will show that 100mcg of T4 = 1 grain of Armour thyroid.

In my experience 1 grain of Armour Thyroid is closer to 50mcg of T4.

Using this conversion you can see how most people end up under-treated.

They are previously on 100mcg of T4 medication and are subsequently switched to 1 grain of Armour and they feel no different, when in reality they have most likely just cut their thyroid dosing in half.

More accurate conversion looks like this:

  • 50 mcg of T4 = 1 grain of Armour
  • 100mcg of T4 = 2 grains of Armour
  • 150mcg of T4 = 3 grains of Armour

But remember:

If you are transitioning from a T4 only medication do NOT start yourself off at the maximum dose of Armour.

If you dose your Armour too quickly you are likely to end up with side effects from the T3: Heart palpitations, Anxiety, Heat intolerance, etc.

Instead start off on a lower dose and titrate up SLOWLY every 10-14 days.

2. You Need More T3 Added to your Thyroid Hormone Replacement

While Armour does contain some T3, your body may actually need more.

Armour thyroid (and other forms of Natural Desiccated thyroid) contain fixed ratios of T4 to T3.

Meaning the amount of T3 in each grain of Armour is always the same.

Unfortunately some people may require higher amounts of T3 due to tissue level hypothyroidism or the euthyroid sick syndrome.

In both of these conditions patients may require higher doses of T3 to saturate cellular receptors and allow thyroid hormone to get into the cells.

How do you know if you are someone who needs more T3?

Patients who need more T3 usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • They have high levels of Reverse T3
  • They have Leptin Resistance
  • They have Diabetes, Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance
  • They have extremely low body temperatures
  • They have a personal history of bipolar disorder or a strong family history of mental health disorders
  • They have a personal history of Fibromyalgia or Chronic fatigue syndrome

If you fall into any of the categories above AND you aren’t losing weight on Armour thyroid then you should talk to your Doctor about adding T3 to your regimen.

Adding T3 to Armour Thyroid

One problem with armour thyroid (and NDT in general) is the static dosing in each individual grain of hormone.

Each grain gives you 38mcg of T4 and 9mcg of T3.

This is ok for some patients but doesn’t allow for altering individual dosing of the T4 and T3 if necessary.

Patients with high stress, high levels of inflammation, leptin resistance, insulin resistance, etc. will generally require more T3 relative to T4.

Supraphysiologic dosing of T3 not only helps to overcome these hormone imbalances.

In my experience (and if used safely) lowering T4 dosing and increasing T3 dosing provides improved weight loss and improved lipid metabolism.

This is also confirmed with studies which have shown that transitioning from T4 to T3 dosing (based off of pituitary and TSH testing) improves all of these markers.

In many patients dropping armour thyroid total dosing and adding T3 can be sufficient to improve symptoms and provide improved weight loss by itself.

T3 can be added to armour thyroid with the following medications: Liothyronine, Cytomel or SR T3.

3. You are Suffering from Leptin Resistance

If you aren’t familiar with Leptin resistance or the hormone leptin please read this article.

As a quick primer:

Leptin is a hormone that is pumped out by your fat cells (yes they pump out hormones!).

As fat cells grow, leptin levels increase. As they increase they are supposed to tell your brain to increase metabolism and start burning off that extra fat you just gained.

When you have leptin resistance the exact opposite happens: your body thinks you’re starving so it decreases metabolism and increases appetite (even though you have plenty of fat).

If you have leptin resistance it doesn’t matter how little you eat, how much you exercise or what your dose of thyroid hormone is…

You simply won’t lose weight until it is treated.

And, to make matters worse – high levels of leptin actually decrease T4 to T3 conversion in the body.

How do you know if you have Leptin resistance?

Leptin levels can be tested easily in the serum and fasting leptin levels higher than 10-12 indicate leptin resistance.

Patients with leptin resistance generally require higher levels of T3 only medications to help reduce the T4 to reverse T3 conversion that occurs with this condition.

It’s important to note that leptin resistance is generally a late finding and indicates that heavy metabolic damage has occurred.

Leptin resistance is often accompanied by insulin resistance and thyroid resistance (all three conditions are caused by the same thing).

Patients with leptin resistance generally require aggressive treatment to reverse leptin levels to help with weight loss.

To see a case study example treatment plan please refer to this post.

You can find supplements to treat leptin resistance here.

I’ve outlined how to treat leptin resistance in this article.

4. You are Reacting to Inactive Ingredients in Armour Thyroid

Not all forms of Natural Desiccated thyroid are created equal.

While it’s true 1 grain of armour thyroid contains the same amount of active thyroid hormone (AKA active ingredients) as a grain of WP thyroid or Naturethroid – they differ in the inactive ingredients that they contain.

And it is the inactive ingredients that may cause non specific reactions in the body.

In addition these inactive ingredients may alter the breakdown and digestion of which then alters the absorption of thyroid hormone in the body.

It’s also possible that you may simply be reacting to the inactive ingredients and wrongly attributing your “negative” symptoms to thyroid hormone component.

Using the table below you can see that the NDT form of thyroid hormone with the least amount of ingredients is WP thyroid – though this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the “best”.

These changes in inactive ingredients help to explain why some patients react poorly to Armour thyroid with symptoms like headaches, worsening fatigue or rashes – only to find that these symptoms completely resolve upon switching to naturethroid.

Again it’s not the difference in the concentration of thyroid hormone in each individual medication but most likely a reflection of digestion and absorption.

The armour thyroid preparation

In line with that, Armour thyroid contains methylcellulose and dextrose.

These are the inactive ingredients in armour thyroid that may cause some patients to either do better on the medication or worse.

You can think about methylcellulose as a glue which holds on tight to the thyroid hormone component of the medication, and in order for absorption your body must break the grip.

Unfortunately many patients with hypothyroidism also have gastrointestinal issues including low stomach acid.

This may result in decreased absorption of thyroid hormone or a “delayed” release of the medication into the blood stream.

This exact process is what happens when patients take Sustained release T3.

The “slow release” comes from the fact that it is harder to digest and absorb in the body, but this also reduces the overall amount of hormone available in each dosage.

In general patients with GI related issues tend to do better on WP thyroid or tirosint which both have fewer inactive ingredients and absorption tends to be better.

  • Bottom line: If armour thyrod isn’t helping you (either with weight loss or you still remain symptomatic) you might consider switching to a different from of NDT like Naturethroid or WP thyroid.

5. Your Reverse T3 is too High

If you aren’t familiar with Reverse T3 please read this article.

To recap:

T4 = INACTIVE storage form of thyroid

T3 = ACTIVE thyroid hormone

Reverse T3 = INACTIVE thyroid metabolite that competes with T3 for cellular binding

Obviously you don’t want high levels of Reverse T3 because it competes for binding with T3 which creates tissue level hypothyroidism or thyroid resistance.

The higher Reverse T3 generally the more hypothyroid you will feel (unless the Reverse T3 is compensatory due to supraphysiologic levels of free T3).

Because T4 has the ability to turn into T3 or Reverse T3 we need to concern ourselves with what causes the body to preferentially create more reverse T3.

Reasons your body may produce Reverse T3 from T4:

  • Thyroid medications containing T4 (Synthroid, Levothyroxine but also NDT like armour thyroid) – This acts as substrate and in the presence of inflammation or other hormone imbalances your body may produce Reverse T3 over T3
  • Inflammation – From conditions like SIBO, Hashimoto’s, Food allergies, nutrient deficiencies, medications, etc.
  • Leptin resistance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • LPS – Usually caused by increased intestinal permeability (SIBO, SIFO, SIBO, leaky gut, etc.)
  • Certain Medications: Anti-depressants, diabetic medications, anti seizure medications, blood pressure medications, Narcotics, etc. (Please don’t stop taking these medications if you are on them, but consider discussing options with your Doctor)

Two things should pop out to you after reading that list:

1) Thyroid medications containing can contribute to elevated reverse T3 levels

2) If you fall into one or more of the categories listed above AND you are taking T4 medication (including Armour thyroid, but especially T4 only medications like Synthroid or Levothyroxine) then your medication may be contributing to your inability to lose weight.

What happens when Reverse T3 levels are too high?

As Reverse T3 levels climb your cells will have more difficulty taking up active thyroid hormone.

This leads to a situation where you will have the symptoms of hypothyroidism but your lab tests may be “normal”.

Your temperature will drop, your metabolism will drop, your appetite will increase in an attempt to compensate for the low metabolism, etc.

All of these changes ultimately lead to weight gain.

The real question is what do you do about it?

How do you fix high Reverse T3 levels?

Because high levels of reverse T3 can be caused by different factors, the best way to treat it is to identify the cause in your body and attack that.

For instance:

If you have high levels of insulin – you need to lower them (use this as a guide)

If your leptin is too high – you need to lower it (use this as a guide)

If your T4 containing medication is too high you may need to decrease your T4 dose and/or increase your T3 dose.

Etc.

BUT addressing and fixing the cause of the high reverse T3 usually isn’t enough by itself.

For the most benefit this therapy should be coupled with a reduction in the total amount of T4 medication and an increase in the total amount of T3 medication you are taking.

This will allow your body to “flush” out the Reverse T3 and help improve your symptoms.

Wrapping it up

Armour Thyroid is a great medication and it CAN help you lose weight but it is not a magic weight loss pill.

At most it will help you lose 10-20 pounds. If you have hypothyroidism and are more than 20 pounds overweight there is a high chance your weight gain is due to some other hormone imbalance.

If you switched to Armour recently and haven’t lost ANY weight then make sure you have addressed these 5 areas: your dose, how much T3 you are taking in addition to Armour, your leptin levels, your allergies and sensitivities to inactive ingredients in medications and finally your reverse T3 level.

Remember:

You won’t be able to lose weight unless all 5 of those areas have been addressed and reversed (if necessary).

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you taking Armour Thyroid? Has it helped you lose weight?

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below!

This is a New Year and a new you. I want you in 2017 regardless of the many daily issues and tasks that life throws at you. I want you to start putting YOU and YOUR health first. Try a new recipe, pull out that blender and make a smoothie, throw some ingredients in a crockpot, stop grabbing that take out burger. At the end of the day, the food we eat is the most important step in achieving best health. Eating is also entirely within our grasp. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, famously said, ” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. In other words, food can be your friend and it can be your foe. It’s all up to you. It’s always been up to you. Eat with thought!

You and your health are important to me, Bon Appetit!

-A.L. Childers aka Thehypothyroidismchick

I want to thank you for reading my latest blog. Please let me know if you need any support with it.

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Health and Happiness,

Audrey XoXo Audrey Childers is a published author, blogger, freelance journalist and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She is also the creator and founder of the website the hypothyroidismchick.com. Where you can find great tips on everyday living with hypothyroidism. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. She is the published author of : A survivors cookbook guide to kicking hypothyroidism booty, Reset your Thyroid, Hypothyroidism Clarity, A survivors cookbook guide to kicking hypothyroidism booty: the slow cooker way and Hypothyroidism: The Beginners Guide: How to stop surviving and start thriving. You can find all these books on Amazon. You can also find her actively involved in her Facebook Group : Healing Hypothyroidism. This blog may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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Reset Your Thyroid: 21-day Meal Plan to Reset Your Thyroid

This is a 21-day Meal plan to reset your thyroid and jump start your weight loss journey. It is filled with 21 smoothies breakfast recipes( bonus 14 other thyroid friendly breakfast idea’s) , 21 lunch recipes and 21 dinner recipes. They are packed full of nutrients, healthy fats and proteins. All are easy to make and I’ve done all the thinking for you! All you have to do is prepare the foods and eat. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, it will most likely take that long for your mind and body to stop opposing your new lifestyle change. Three weeks really isn’t a very long time. If you find yourself in a rut and coming up with excuses. You can regain control by reminding yourself that you only have to do it for 21 days. Motivate yourself to exercise. Choose something you honestly like to do and won’t loathe at least 3 times a week. Create an exercise plan that seems easy to accomplish. (And, stick to it!) Give yourself a chance and commit to yourself to stay with the program for 21 days.

Food is thy medicine, right? Actually it can work one of two ways. Food can be thy medicine or food can be thy death. This book is a guide that will inform you from the perspective of a women. You will also be able to determine what areas in your life that may need a little bit of work and the skills needed to improve those issues along with some fabulous recipes to help get you started on how to eat KETO AIP. I will also help you understand how to fix your gut, strengthen your immunity and fight inflammation with an autoimmune approach. The Keto AIP removes all the common inflammatory food triggers that stimulate a possible autoimmune reaction in the body. We’re going to start resetting those adrenals, boosting that energy and doing a little booty kicking to those hormones that have decided to act like a wild college student and pull an all-nighter the day before final exams.

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Throughout my latest book, you will find useful, informative and easy to understand recipes for your mind, body and spirit. When I started writing this book, I wanted to introduce you to the idea of a cleaner less toxic world and for you to learn just how simply easy it is for you to start creating your own cleaning recipes throughout your home but this book has transformed into so much more than just a book full of all natural DIY recipes.

This book will enlighten you and help you have a deeper understanding of not only why you should be more aware but how to be more aware.

Fresh and Fabulous Hypothyroidism Body Balance: Learn How to Create Organic Non-Toxic Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health and Home

Disclaimer

The information and recipes contained in blog is based upon the research and the personal experiences of the author. It’s for entertainment purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate, up to date and reliable information. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. Readers acknowledge that the author is not engaging in the rendering of legal, financial, medical or professional advice. By reading this blog, the reader agrees that under no circumstance the author is not responsible for any loss, direct or indirect, which are incurred by using this information contained within this blog. Including but not limited to errors, omissions or inaccuracies. This blog is not intended as replacements from what your health care provider has suggested. The author is not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the suggestions, preparations or procedures discussed in this blog. All matters pertaining to your health should be supervised by a health care professional. I am not a doctor, or a medical professional. This blog is designed for as an educational and entertainment tool only. Please always check with your health practitioner before taking any vitamins, supplements, or herbs, as they may have side-effects, especially when combined with medications, alcohol, or other vitamins or supplements. Knowledge is power, educate yourself and find the answer to your health care needs. Wisdom is a wonderful thing to seek. I hope this blog will teach and encourage you to take leaps in your life to educate yourself for a happier & healthier life. You have to take ownership of your health.

Hypothyroid in photos–Before and After

Befores and Afters are wonderful and inspiring!

No, this is NOT a page just about weight loss. NDT or T3 are not “weight loss drugs”. But they are excellent treatments for our hypothyroid state, improving one’s metabolism and giving great health improvements, even if for some, that equals weight loss…and their happiness is in the photos.

Do YOU have a Before and After? Just combine them into one JPG, and use the Contact form to let me know you want to be on this page. I’ll respond to the Contact, and you will then reply with the attachment and a few sentences!

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Check out Sandra’s before and after, left. Not only did she lose weight due to consuming less sugar, less carbs and increasing her water intake, but changing to Natural Desiccated Thyroid increased her energy, strength, mind focus, less body aches….and helped break anxiety!

Check out Mahgan. On the left, she was on Synthroid, having been chastised for suggesting being on NDT. She gained weight, was “zombie tired”, had brain fog, and suffered “crazy pain”. She found a doctor who was willing to prescribe NDT, got on a modified version of the AIP diet (Autoimmune Protocol) and she lost 60 lbs! Mahgan states: “Not only are the symptoms from the hashis starting to subside (not always, but most days) but my PCOS has basically all but gone into remission. Woop woop!!”

Hello to Charlotte of Australia! She was first diagnosed 15 years ago after having her first child. After being put on Thyroxine, she wasn’t told anything other than “You’ll have to take this for the rest of your life” and “The thyroid is like an accelerator in a car” story. Charlotte states: “I was getting nowhere and getting bigger, plus was beginning to fall asleep at my work desk. Something had to change!! She then came across Stop the Thyroid Madness, found a doctor that knew something about Natural Desiccated Thyroid, and got a chemist who compounds her NDT with Turmeric. She made the switch and the picture on the right is one year later. She says “This has been a real life changer for me. There is hope and I knew I wasn’t going crazy!!”

What an inspiration. That’s Tracey who had her thyroid removed due to cancer, spent two very miserable years on Synthroid, even 300 mcg, and had her life change by reading STTM and moving to Natural Desiccated Thyroid. The picture on the right is just six months after she had switched to NDT. What a beauty. You can read her full story here.

How inspiring if you have goiters! This is Carolyn of Australia. She states: My goitre was more an internal problem but was visible on my neck. My voice went croaky, lost the use of my higher note vocal chords. I had difficulty breathing at night and some days my airways were 95% blocked. My ultrasound showed 16 nodules with one being 1.5cm. Old dr didnt know enough so I changed drs! I moved from T4-only to NDT as well as a LCHF diet. Best thing I ever did. Goitre took a year to shrink and disappear and I have my voice back!”

These photos of Lois are approximately one year apart. She started Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) in 2015 after 6+ years on Synthroid (the left photo is her Synthroid photo). Says Lois: “After 6 months, there was a very noticeable difference in my health and my appearance. Still working on extra weight I’m carrying on my body, but my round puffy face is gone (the right photo). Carrying on to better health in 2017.”
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Check out Cammie’s before and after, with the left being on Synthroid and the right being on Naturethroid. She’s got Hashi’s, not optimal yet, needs to test her adrenals just to be sure, and has sex hormones that need tweaking, but like so many, you can see the difference in her spirit and face from being on all five thyroid hormones and not being forced to live for conversion alone as she was on Synthroid.

Check out Shantel to the left. Yes, she’s adorable in both pics, isn’t she! The left pic shows her on 1 grain Naturethroid and 50 mcg t3, and she still had issues, including heat intolerance, rising blood pressure etc. On the right, she has raised the T3 another 25 mcg to 75 mcg total and feels fabulous—resting heart rate down, handles heat better, more energy, sleeps better, even lost 7 lbs. She splits the T3 into 45 and 30 mcg. She’s got a twinkle in her eye! She hopes to move totally over to NDT.

Check out Gina! On the left, she was with former American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard & too tired to enjoy the moment or to stay awake during his concert. Her doctor chocked her symptoms up to “old age & meno”, arguing, “your TSH is 1.6…you are not hypothyroid.” Yet, she was exhausted, dry skin, “crunchy hair”, unexplained weight gain, depressed mood, carpal tunnel, severe constipation, nausea and poor appetite, hypertension, high cholesterol and low body temp.

Fast forward to 2014: Gina found Dr. Barney Van Valin through STTM who said her presentation and the history were all he needed. Says Gina: “Photo on the right is peppy me and my darling husband. I am on Acella and doing quite well. I also take DHEA 2 to 5 mg daily which has also increased my energy and helps with the hormones for those nearing or past menopause. I went from 117 lb to 111 with no significant dietary changes, have more energy, eye circles going away, constant fatigue and napping mostly gone. Every day is a gift and I am so grateful for the awesome work you have done here at STTM, Janie. You are truly a wonderful woman! Best wishes to everyone on their journey to wellness.”

These are Angela’s combination of pictures from over the last 1 1/2 years. She switched from Synthroid to Armour and is now on NP thyroid. She lost 30 pounds and has had the energy to join a workout bootcamp. Says Angela: I also take T3 (Cytomel) for reverse t3 and working on iron problems. I was on T4 meds from 2010 and continued to get worse until I found STTM and groups with knowledgeable people. I just like giving people hope they it can be done.”

This is Lori with her remarkable transition! Says Lori: “The top two pictures were taken in July and September 2014 while being treated with Levothyroxine since 2008.The bottom left picture was taken on Halloween October 2014 (one month after the top left pic and one month to the day after being switched to Natural dissected thyroid.) The bottom right picture, taken July 4th 2016, I am still taking Naturethroid, going gluten free and have added 3 mg of LDN which has helped lift the brain fog and done away with my fatigue!”

Top left is Helen’s pre-thyroid 5 years ago; top right is 2 years ago and very sick with fatigue, ballooning weight, sleep problems, diagnosis of Fibromyalgia; bottom left is a year ago and taking an herbal thyroid support and feeling a bit better; bottom right is after treating her cortisol issues and now on Natural Desiccated Thyroid. Big difference, Helen!!

Wow! This is Sharon of the UK. Left photo is July of 2015 on 200 mcg Levothyroxine, which is T4-only. The photo on the right is after adding T3 to the mix–i.e. 150 mcg T4 and 20 mcg T3! States Sharon: “I received the T3 on NHS Prescription but my battle for it was a long, long 2 years. I started being ill on Levo 5 years ago, and I had to give up work. I battled with my first Endo to at least try T3 (NDT is a big no no in my area) but to no avail. My GP doctor asked me for more info about T3, so I printed off info and also took with me the STTM book. Thankfully he parked the ordinal diagnosis of ME and CFS (first Endo diagnosis) and searched for the private doc on the NHS. He found him and I then waited 32 weeks to be seen by him!! But it was worth the wait and since starting T3 treatment my condition has improved tremendously.”

This is pretty Jacquee. The left was taken in August 2015 while she was on levothyroxine for hypothyroidism for 6 years, and she hadn’t yet been diagnosed with Hashimotos or chronic fatigue syndrome. Says Jacquee: “The photo on the right (though taken at a slightly better angle) was 8 months after the left photo. I switched to a Naturopath and had gotten on Naturethroid in December 2015, was diagnosed with Hashis and chronic fatigue syndrome the same month (probably had Hashis for years, but my Endo said it was irrelevant to diagnose), and went gluten free. I have not lost any weight, but I feel like my face has changed a lot!”

This is Gosia in the United Kingdom. The bottom one is exactly year ago. The top photo is after being on NDT for six months…and her smile says it all. She says it was the best decision she made. Says Gosia: “In the last couple weeks my weight seem to drop off on its own (with help from local slimming world). I feel like human being again. No pain in my joints. I’m sleeping much better and amount of energy I have now is sky high. Just make sure you have your ducks in row and you will never look back. Good luck.”

This is Teresa and the left is two years after her “Total Thyroidectomy For No Good Reason”, says Teresa. She was on Synthroid, and suffering from severe adrenal dysfunction (notice her orange skin) caused by the loss of her thyroid and the accidental removal of her parathyroid glands during my thyroidectomy. The photo on the right is after 5 years on NDT, and healed adrenals! Congrats Teresa!

You can tell Mandy is a creative, free-spirited and fun gal. She was diagnosed with Hashimotos two years ago although she had been ill for at least 20 years, which the left photo represents. Many began taking a brand of NDT that gave slow results, so she decided to change to another brand & go gluten free 6 months ago. She says “The changes were quicker than I expected! Feeling human again!” 😊

Kelsey states: “I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 13 years ago, gained 40 pounds! My face was constantly swollen and I was miserable. Became obsessed with doing research about natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). Went to my doctor and got changed from Synthroid to NDT I told her to give me 3 months and see what happens. After 2 weeks, the swelling in my face and neck went down & the weight started coming off. I stopped all dairy and sugar and went on a gluten free diet. I took 2 multi-vitamins per day, with Vit. D, fish oils and calcium and had B12 injections. Down 35 pounds and I feel great! No more body aches and no more afternoon naps!!”

Wow, this is Connie. On the left is when she was on Synthroid, and on the right is one year of being on Natural Desiccated Thyroid. Connie states: “I’ve been on NDT for almost a year now and just realized how much puffiness is gone and my skin is better. I haven’t lost any weight, but I take other meds that contribute to weight gain. So…this really shows how puffy I was on Synthroid. Hang in there everyone!😊”

This is an amazing transformation by Joanne and it happened fast–the two photos are barely two months apart! On the left is right when she had started moving up on NDT, started eating gluten free to lower antibodies (lowers inflammation, too which could have caused the facial and neck swelling) as well as focusing on protein & decreasing dairy. On the right, she’s 17 lbs lighter and power walks 5 times a week. Congrats Joanne!!

This is Tammy. The pic on the left was taken four years previous when she was very sick with adrenal problems and Hashimoto’s. Tammy says she felt like she was dying. The pic on the right was after 4 years of being gluten and grain free, getting off Synthroid and starting NatureThroid (NDT). She states: “I still focus on my health daily and fail occasionally but WOW due I feel and look different and better. Never stop trying!”

Mel has had quite the transformation! The picture on the left is after struggling with Hashimoto’s and being on Synthroid for eight years. Says Mel “I was sluggish, exhausted and had cystic acne. I was a mess!” The picture on the right is taken almost 2 years later, after being on NatureThroid and raising up slowly to the 4 grain mark. Congratulations Mel!!

This is Emily and on the left, she was suffering from chronic inflammation, brewer’s/bakers yeast allergy, low iron, adrenal issues, low B12…and on too low a dose of Armour natural desiccated thyroid. She thought she’d never feel normal again. The right is over five months later, having corrected her issues, raised to 3 grains of NP Thyroid (instead of Armour) thanks to information she read on STTM, and is now yeast-free and alcohol free. Says Emily: the “buffalo hump” I’ve had for nearly 5 years is almost gone!!

Check out Barbara’s before and after, above. On the left, she was told she was “normal” because her labs fell in the normal range. So she put herself on Thiroyd, a natural desiccated thyroid from Thailand, and the right represents six months later! She feels so much better. Her hairdresser even told her how much nice her hair feels now! Barbara says she hasn’t lost weight like some do (NDT is not a weight loss drug) but her face is definitely less puffy and she feels so much better!

This is Kathy of Australia! On the left was just 9 months ago when she found had she had MTHFR issues, hormonal issues, adrenal issues, low Vitamin D on top of being undiagnosed for 13 years! So she knew she had to start getting her Ducks in a Row! On the right, Kathy is just two weeks away from being 50, on 3 1/2 grains NDT, 4.5 mg of LDN, plus supplements to treat her other issues…and Kathy says with joy “I can dance at my own party!”

This is Casey, and it’s not that she’s changed so much because she’s adorable in BOTH…but here’s what she had to say: The pic on the left is me at the beginning of my NDT journey 6 months ago. After a total thyroidectomy in 2011, I had been on 150mcg thyroxine daily and felt like a depressed, cranky, unmotivated lump of lard. I made the switch to NDT, discovered and addressed a B12 deficiency, adrenal fatigue, estrogen dominance and added a whole heap of supplements to my diet. In the photo on the right is me today, I just finished a 45 minute pilates workout, because I can WORKOUT NOW!!! 6 months ago I would laughed in your face if you asked me to work out, but now I do it 4-5 times a week and love it!!! I still have a long way to go on this epic journey back to optimal health, but I am well on my way!

Check out this incredible Before and After of Jennifer, above. She states: After being diagnosed with lupus, Hashimotos soon followed. I gained 100 lbs in just a few months!! It took a long time, but the Natural Desiccated Thyroid finally kicked in over the previous T4-only medications.

This is beautiful Cindy, who stated that the photo on the left was before she started on Armour, and before detoxing or addressing her adrenal issues or eating clean. On the right is feeling like the living again with decreased mental fog, decreased anger, no bloating, no fatigue, & lost weight! Cindy says “Thanks, Stop The Thyroid Madness for getting me started on the right path!”

Check out Sallyann of the UK who is such an inspiration. She states: “Thanks to NDT, I feel alive!! Amazing!! Full of energy, back to myself and ready to take on the world. In the one on the left, I was utterly fed up, couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, no energy, and dragging myself through each day at 37! I knew I had to find an answer.”

Hello from Courtney of Canada. For the first time in 28 years, she says she feels almost human again thanks to Erfa desiccated thyroid, daily supplements, immune boosters, and adrenal support! And she’s lost 50 lbs! Photos from upper left to lower right in just four months, Courtney says she’s got her chin and nose back that she remembers from so long ago!

Says Dana of Spain, above: “What a difference Natural Desiccated Thyroid makes! One year ago today on Synthroid on the left, and today on the right after not quite 6 months on NDT, 27 lbs lost.” Dana didn’t count calories, but did stop drinking cola and increased her veggies!

This is Aimee, above! On the left was nine months ago while taking levothyroxine, held by the TSH, and on very few supplements. On the right is Aimee taking 4 grains Armour thyroid, treating her sex hormones, plus lots of vitamins and minerals. She’s now able to workout, her bones don’t ache, and she feels alive and healthy again.

This is Eileen 10 months previous, being on too low a dose of Armour for too long followed by being on Synthroid for 36 years! To the right, she’s been on Armour a year, feels great, and her cholesterol is down 102 points. She wants everyone to know that that there is a light at the end of that seemingly endless tunnel.

Here is Michaela’s Before and After…and it’s the After that tells the story! With Hashimotos, she’s now on 270mg of NP Thyroid and feels much less swollen, as her face shows. She has been gluten and dairy free for 2 years, and recently reduced her grain (rice) intake. She has always had chronic urticaria (hives) which was triggered by the Hashi’s, and since increasing her NDT dose, she’s now HIVE FREE!!

Above is Brooke! The photo on the left was over a year ago on Synthroid, “looking puffy all over my face and especially my neck! I remember looking in the mirror thinking ‘Who is this person?!’”. Her after photo on the right was taken while on Cytomel only. Says Brooke: “I look like me again! This is the face I remember and I feel so much better at 30 than I ever did in my early 20s.”

This is Betty. She hated her size and felt like it wasn’t her at all. She wondered how she got so lost. On the bottom, says Betty is “the real me”. She’s been properly treated on NDT for seven months. She wants to lose more weight, but 40 lbs is a good start and incentive, says Betty. “For those at the beginning of your journey…..be persistent, don’t let the hard work get you down!”

With her little one, Trisha was lovely in her before photo on the left taken one year ago, but here’s what she says: It’s my one-year NDT anniversary! The Christmas photo on the left was taken on Levothyroxine (10 years of increasingly larger doses). I was pretty sick with Hashimoto’s at that point. The second photo is from now, 2015. I’m 10 pounds lighter, and more alert and active, due to NDT, supplements and AIP diet. Hooray Trisha!

Here’s Debbie–First photo, she had been trying to get anyone to believe that she was hypo despite my “normal” labs. Second picture is after 3 months Paleo (since she refused to take statins and diabetes meds) and Natural Desiccated Thyroid. Says Debbie: “Stupid doctors and I saw 9 of them and worked for 4 others!”

This is Amanda. The first two pics are her at her heaviest while on Oroxine (T4-only), around 109 kilos and going downhill fast with heart rate of 35 beats a minute and severe breathlessness, fatigue and not wanting to live. The third pic was about three moths after starting NDT. The last pic is today (January 2015) weighing in at 94 kilos and now also on adrenal support. She is aiming to be totally gluten free.

Check out Jamia above. The photo on left was Jamia 4 years after her thyroid cancer and being on levothyroxine. The photo on the right is 2 years later after successfully convincing her doctor to switch her to Armour.

Check out Kellymarie before, during and after! She had Hashi’s a long time and didn’t know it. Even with a massive amount of nodules, no doctor said Hashimotos. She found STTM, avoided Synthroid, got on NDT, then T3 for the surgery that removed her badly-noduled thyroid with unhappy Hurthle cells…and she has lost 45 lbs and doing well. She says “I learned everything not to do and everything right TO DO from STTM.”

The above is Kate S., who on the left, was still on T4-only, and on the right while on Natural Desiccated Thyroid. She also removed gluten from her diet, which helped her face so much. She continues to fight her doctors to allow her to stay on the right dose!

That’s Maria, above on left, in 2012 BEFORE childbirth! Pic on the right is Maria two years later, over 60 pounds lighter and down 5 sizes! She had a thyroid cancer diagnosis, plus two surgeries in 2014. She’s on 245mg WP Thyroid, split 3 times a day, 25mg hydrocortisone dosed as per STTM. No sugar, dairy, caffeine, gluten, soy, etc, and still working on the balance of thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones, low iron, etc. Says Maria: “I was feeling crappy for over 10 years and my doctors told me it was in my head. I know now to trust my body, trust my instincts, educate myself, and fight for the care I deserve.”

Above left is Sophie one year ago. To the right is after six months with a change of lifestyle and diet, plus adding vitamin, porcine desiccated thyroid and adrenal supplements.

After being on NDT for only two weeks after 17 years on Synthroid, Christy’s before and after (above) doesn’t show obvious changes, but she says her swelling is less. And you can see by the smile on her face that she’s already feeling better. 🙂 And hopefully, Christy will send a third photo in several months after she’s found her optimal dose of NDT. We’ll probably even see more changes!!

Nona on the left was on levothyroxine for 2 years with no relief at all from hypothyroid symptoms. She could barely get from one room to another six months later. After going on the Autoimmune Protocol diet, supporting her adrenals, starting on LDN to treat her Hashi’s antibodies, then moving to WP Thyroid and Cytomel, Nona lost 34 lbs, 5 sizes, and sleeps much better with great energy during the day!

Betty’s pictures are 1 year apart. She gained 60 pounds taking Synthroid only; switched to Nature-Throid and lost all the weight she gained. Congrats Betty!!

OMG, said VICKY above! The pic on far left was taken Sept. 2013 at the Omaha Zoo–she was on only 90 mg NDT because her doctor refused to let her raise it. The picture in the middle is after self dosing Armour at 5 grains about five months later while out to dinner with her husband. She didn’t realize the difference! The one on the far right is August 2014 and she has lost a total of 42 lbs!! She is thyroidless, on 6 grains, and is wheat/grain/gluten free due to having Hashimotos.

Above in 2007, Paula had been suffering from Fibromyalgia for 17 years; by 2013 with a combination of Isocort, Naturethroid and T3, she was pain free, the goiter was gone, and she was hiking the Appalachian Trail!

Jennifer, above, has come a long way with easy weight gain since childhood, lots of poor diagnosis and treatment, and finally Lyme…but she is now using T3 in her treatment and is still work in progress! You can read her story here.

Here’s DIANE above, before and after. She started Erfa in September 2013, and along with the Paleo AIP diet + coconut oil 2 tablespoon a day, she’s down 48 pounds and feeling great!! She says her biggest thanks go to the revised STTM book which also told her to make sure her iron was optimal!!

MATTHEW started back on Armour on August. He lost 66 lbs total in 2013, 50 of them since starting Armour. The left one was 15 months ago at his heaviest. He is now at 3 grains and holding. Looking good. Only 30 more lbs to “Normal” range. (1-2-13)

Above is ANGELA. On the left–April 2012 in Synthroid hell. She felt suicidal, despondent, angry-depressed, fearful/terrified, confused, lonely, and absolutely nowhere to turn. The pic on the right was taken six months after switching to Armour and she is feeling alive again, and got weight loss as a perk!

Check out VICKY above. The left photo was taken May, 2013 after 13 years on Levothyroxine. The right photo was taken November 2013 after being on Armour since June, 2013. She lost 8 lbs. No more swelling under eyes! Less going on under chin!

Check out Vicky’s daughter “ZOE” above through the years, who had to suffer from being undiagnosed with hypothyroidism. As a result, she had weight gain plus symptoms her pediatrician would blame on her being obese. Vicky states she used to trust doctors, but now questions every decision they make. She is now on 90 mg of Amour and still has symptoms but they are fewer and less severe.

The upper left photo is Amy before she realized she had a thyroid problem in 2009. Middle is 18 months on natural desiccated thyroid. To the right is 2013 after three years being on NDT! Her hair has started to grow back and has lost between 10 – 15 lbs since 2009.

Above, SUZIE was a beaut before diagnosis, but you can see the new sparkle in her eye after NDT (and the loss of a swollen thyroid gland)!

Here’s KAREN above–the upper left was 2009 when she was very sick, and the bottom right today after being on NDT since January, 2013. Way to go, Karen!

Check out CATHY on the right, above, after getting on NDT and improving her Vitamin D and B12 levels! Good job, Cathy!

35 lbs down, say MANDY, above, and only 4-5 mos on NDT & 10 weeks post op surgery for excision of endometriosis and adenomyosis. She really saw a big difference with the NDT following surgery!

ELIZABETH’S pic on left is when she had an undiagnosed thyroid problem, along with a myriad of wrong diagnoses from post-partum depression to fibrocystic breasts and everything else in between. Her photo on the right is just one year later on NDT!

Is this cute or what? Precious NORAH above. 🙂 Gone is the depression in her nasal bridge area, better cognition, better strength, reduced tongue size. Her ability to execute skills learned increases substantially within days of beginning desiccated thyroid. Her growth resumed. Her hole in her heart is now considered resolved. NDT works!!

CLARA above. Left is her before…chubby, rritable in 2006, OCD, depression, heart palpitations, air hunger, Etc. Right is after being on NDT for over 2 years and paleo for several months (and about to meet Betty White!) in November 2012

GRANT, above, is on cortisol for adrenals, Armour for thyroid, Testosterone. He is allergic to rice, slightly to milk and can only have breads occasionally. He also takes B12 and vit D.

KRISTEN, above. First pic while treated with Synthroid. Second after she had switched to desiccated thyroid–she lost 70 lbs in 9 months while going gluten, dairy, and soy free. She is also a brain cancer survivor! She firmly believes the information she received from STTM saved her life!

BARBARA above. On the left she was on Synthroid, where she felt like her gas tank was always 1/4 full and her life was not the same. Middle photo after switching to NDT, and on the right, down 13 lbs and still losing plus feeling better again!

YASMIN, above, who started Thyrogold, lost 35 pounds and got her life back.

Above is ERIN–left in September 2011 at her heaviest and unhealthiest weight while on Synthroid. On the right is 23 pounds lighter on NDT vitamin D, B12 and iron. Feeling so much better, she says (even though we all feel she looked great then!).

NIKKI above: before NDT, middle at 2 months,then 4 months after starting NDT, 9 lbs lighter with far less weight in her face and feeling so much better!

DIANE Marie Wilson, above.

Before and after pictures of SHELLEY Soden Crocker, 2-3 weeks after start of NDT! Amazing!!

NINA OF SWEDEN (Hashimotos) Left: still healthy on T4-only medicine, Levaxin Middle: Real sick, got edema and adrenal fatique thanks to being on T4-only Right: Almost well again with natural desiccated thyroid!

JULIANNA, 8 years old, before thyroid treatment on the left, one year after on the right.

NICOLE–before and after with better treatment!

*** YOUR BEFORE/AFTER PHOTO SHOULD GO HERE!! ***

Do you have a before and after picture? Use the Contact below to send Janie the JPG of your photo, which must already have both photos side-by-side, please. Give me the name, age, and thyroid treatment detail in one sentence or less.

Important note: STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website’s information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

Which is Better, Synthroid or Armour Thyroid Medication

Which is the best thyroid medication for hypothyroidism?

I am asked this question all the time and my answer is always the same, “It’s individual.”

While some do great on T4-only levothyroxine medications like Synthroid, commonly prescribed by mainstream doctors, many of us continue to feel horrible on these drugs. My life changed when I found an open-minded thyroid doctor who listened, really listened, to me and my symptoms. Careful trial and error with thyroid medication brands and dosages and I found my “sweet spot”. With stress, age, and the onset of perimenopause, my “sweet spot” has changed over time, and thankfully each time we find my new “fabulous”.

I take a combination of Nature-throid (a brand of natural desiccated thyroid) and a compound time-release T3 (created by a compounding pharmacy). Oh boy does dosage ever make a difference for me. I feel terrible when my Free T3 is low or even middle of the range. I feel fantastic when its at the top quarter of the normal range. Finding what is right for my body has been life-changing. I feel better today at 46 years old than I felt at 30…yes really. I hope the same for you.

Written by Suzy Cohen, RPh

When you’re taking medicine, eating properly and still suffering, you might begin to wonder if your thyroid medication is the problem. It’s a valid thought process. Medication should help you feel better.

I am often asked, which is the best medication to take, but there is not a simple answer to that because we are unique individuals. Because I have been a Registered Pharmacist for 26 years, and I’m a thyroid expert, I’m also asked “What’s the difference between Synthroid and Armour Thyroid?”

While both are used to replace thyroid hormone, the differences are pretty substantial. I’d like to share those now so you can make more informed decisions about what you take. I think this could really help you figure out how to make the most of your medicine, lab work, and dietary supplements.

Synthroid is a pure T4 drug and Armour Thyroid is an NDT drug (Natural Desiccated Thyroid) drug. The very names of these medications cause confusion.

From now on, whenever you read “T4” you can think of that as the same exact hormone that is secreted from your thyroid gland. Synthroid is just a T4 hormone that is a medication. It requires prescription, and your own thyroid gland makes this naturally. T4 is not active in the body, it has to be processed and turned into T3 which does all the good stuff.

Armour Thyroid is an NDT drug, which stands for Natural Desiccated Thyroid. It is a glandular medication that comes from animal sources. It combines T4 and T3 so sometimes people feel better on this because they are actually taking T3 hormone.

Pure T4 Drugs by Other Names
Synthroid is a very popular medication that is pure T4, but there are other names this medication goes by. For example, Levothyroxine, Levothroid, Unithroid, and Tirosint.

NDT Drugs by Other Names
Armour Thyroid is an NDT medication that combines T4 and T3. There are other brand names that work in a similar way that are porcine-derived as well. These include Nature Throid (which is gluten free), WP Thyroid, and Erfa Thyroid (from Canada).

There is also synthetic T3 (like Cytomel) and Compounded T4/T3 (created by specialty compounding pharmacies).

This is how Synthroid and Armour Thyroid differ
(They are different in 8 ways)

1. Synthroid is bio-identical to human T4 (thyroxine) hormone. Armour is derived from pigs, then purified, so it is not bio-identical to human thyroid hormone.

2. Synthroid is not derived from animals, it’s made in a laboratory. Armour is animal-derived and purified in a laboratory. More specifically, Armour is known as an NDT medication, short for Natural Desiccated Thyroid, and it is porcine-derived from the thyroid glands of pigs.

3. Synthroid contains T4 (thyroxine) only, whereas Armour contains both T4 and T3 (tri-iodothyronine). T3 is more biologically active than T4.

4. Synthroid’s actions may take a few hours, whereas Armour Thyroid will begin to work within an hour. What you should feel is more energy, some warmth if you are frequently cold, and more mental clarity. Your heart rate may increase a bit, but not to an uncomfortable level.

5. While possible, it’s unusual that Synthroid triggers an autoimmune response in a person with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Sometimes for people with Hashimoto’s their bodies ‘see’ the porcine-derived thyroid hormone and launch an attack against that because it is glandular. While rare, this explains why some of you with Hashimoto’s might feel a little better on Synthroid or a synthetic combo of T4 and T3 (such as taking a combination of Synthroid and Cytomel). It’s very individual of course. This is not a blanket statement, merely a consideration if you have Hashimoto’s and you feel worse on NDT drugs.

6. The inactive ingredients differ. Our bodies are all different in terms of sensitivities to these various ingredients which explains why some people react poorly to certain brands of thyroid medication.

Synthroid- Inactive ingredients include acacia, confectioner’s sugar (contains corn starch), lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, povidone, and talc.

Armour Thyroid- The inactive ingredients are calcium stearate, dextrose, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate and opadry white (colorant).

7. Synthroid may take approximately 4 weeks to cause any real alterations in your labwork, whereas Armour (and other NDT drugs) may impact your labwork within 2 weeks. Labs are usually drawn every month or two until symptoms have stabilized so expect to do a little trial and error.

8. Synthroid is measured in milligrams, Armour is measured as “grains” so if you switch between these medications, it’s difficult to figure out what dose you need. Later on in this article, you will find a handy list I created for you titled, Thyroid Hormone Dosage Equivalents. See below.

This is what Synthroid and Armour Thyroid have in common
(They are similar in 8 ways)

1. Neither one corrects auto-immune dysfunction they just help to restore thyroid hormone levels. This means that if you have an over-reactive immune system, it will continue to destroy your thyroid gland tissue despite the medicine you take. This is why there is more to Hashimoto’s than taking thyroid medication. Hashimoto’s is the number one cause of hypothyroidism, yet many hypothyroid patients have no idea because thyroid antibodies are not often tested in mainstream medicine.

2. They both have the potential to form Reverse T3 in your body. Both Synthroid and Armour Thyroid have the ability to create the hibernation hormone rT3 after you take them. If you have Reverse T3 levels that are high, the way to help yourself is not by changing medication, but rather by forcing the conversion of your medications in an active direction. Since T4 (thyroxine) can be metabolised in two directions, forming an active hormone, and an INactive hormone (rT3), it’s best to test yourself for levels of both free T3 and reverse T3.

3. Both medications are best taken in the morning because they produce energy, so if you take them at night, it could cause insomnia. (Although some people do great taking their medication before bed. We’re all individual. If you’re taking a T3 medication like natural desiccated thyroid, also speak to your doctor about whether splitting your dose so that you take half of your dose two times a day, for example half first thing in the morning and the other half in the early afternoon, instead of all at once might be more effective for you.) Both medications should be taken on an empty stomach.

4. For all practical purposes, the side effect profile is similar. Thyroid medications are stimulants so regardless of their brand name, they do the same thing. They turn on your fat-burning switch and they improve energy levels.

5. They both require a valid prescription in the United States.

6. Taking these medications will necessitate the need for the same exact lab tests.

7. Neither medication will prevent the development of thyroid cancer, one of the fastest growing cancers in the world. These medications are not anti-cancer, they are hormone replacement drugs.

8. Drinking coffee within 30 minutes of these drugs might significantly reduce their effectiveness. Wait at least one hour before eating and at least three to four hours before taking any vitamin with iron including multivitamins and prenatal vitamin supplements with iron.

You have to convert medication for it to work

Synthroid doesn’t work until your body activates it. It is a T4 drug and your cells require T3 to effectively wake up, burn fat, and feel happy. So you have to convert the T4 into T3 and some medications get in the way of that. See below. Remember this point, if you’re low in T3 and you take a T4 drug, it’s like putting wiper fluid in your gas tank. It does you no good.

Medications interfere with conversion of T4 to T3

Some drugs practically put a STOP sign in front of T4 and prevent its conversion to T3 which is biologically active. Among the most common offenders:

Beta blockers

Chemotherapy

Oral contraceptives (pills, patches, shots, etc)

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Lithium

Anticonvulsants

Corticosteroids (Prednisone, Hydrocortisone, etc)

Theophylline

If you are taking any of these medication, you may feel better on an NDT drug because a T4 drug will not easily convert to T3.

Feeling good requires vitamins and minerals

Feeling good requires conversion of Synthroid (or any T4 drug) to its biologically active metabolite T3.

In order for you to convert a T4 drug into a biologically active form, you need several vitamins and cofactors. So if you’re taking Synthroid, for example, then it might be a good idea to have the following nutrients on board (to help drive the conversion into a biologically active form). You don’t have to necessarily supplement (ask your doctor to test your levels), you could try to eat a clean, healthy diet.

Iodine

Selenium

Vitamin A

Zinc

Iron

Riboflavin

Methylcobalamin

Vitamin B6

Vitamin D

Estrogen

Cortisol levels

Having imbalances or deficiencies of these nutrients can prevent your ability to get well. Many people don’t realize that acid-reducing medications, estrogen-containing hormones, benzodiazepines, opiate analgesics, blood pressure pills, diuretics, statins, even coffee and wine could deplete levels of these nutrients, thus getting in the way of you feeling good. It’s what I call the Drug Mugger effect, based on the title of my book Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients–and Natural Ways to Restore Them. If you take any of those medications, you might need to supplement with the above nutrients if you take a T4 drug. It’s a conversation to have with your physician because you might feel better on a pure T3 drug, a combination of T4 and T3, or NDT options.

Iron deficiency, for example, leads to very poor T4 to T3 conversion, so you become clinically hypothyroid which slows metabolism. The net result is weight gain.You may think you’re tired because you have low iron, and less oxygen is carried around your body, but you’re probably not terribly anemic, it’s more likely that you are “thyroid sick” due to poor T3 activity. Take a look at all the drug muggers of iron on page 89 of my book Thyroid Healthy.

So what is the right dose of medication?

Your dosage is based upon several very important factors, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. Initially dose determination should be based upon:

1. Your age
2. Other health conditions
3. History of heart problems
4. Other medications you take which might interact
5. Severity of symptoms that you’re facing
6. Length of time you have been chronically ill
7. Laboratory tests that evaluate T3, T4, rT3, TSH, and antibody levels to TPO and TG
8. Morning basal body temperature

Have you checked your morning basal body temperature?

Here is page 52. Get a copy of your lab results and check that you’ve had all these tests done and that your levels are optimal not just normal.

Most of you will begin a medication dose and based upon how you feel, you will either increase or decrease your dose. Hopefully you have a doctor who listens to you and your symptoms. If you develop palpitations, sweating and insomnia, you are taking too much. If you still feel cold, tired and remain overweight, you might need a higher dose, or a second dose during the day. Dosage changes should always be discussed with your physician. There will be times when you will go through life and have to increase your dosage. It’s hard to know exactly, but here’s a good rule of thumb.

When to increase dosage

Based upon labs, if your free T3 is low, you might need Cytomel or Compounded T3 or NDT.

Big life changes, maybe you’ve moved or lost your job, maybe you had a baby.

During a crisis, you may need more adrenal support, you cannot have thyroid problems all by itself. The thyroid and adrenal work together.

After surgery, it’s very common to need more medication or supplemental support.

Keep in mind we are all unique and we have various sensitivities. Please don’t ever double up on your medication, that is dangerous. If you forget a dose, do not double up, just take it the next day when it is due.

Thyroid hormone dosage equivalents

NDT porcine-derived drugs like Armour Thyroid are measured in “grains” not milligrams.

T4 drugs like Synthroid are measured in milligrams.

It’s sometimes difficult to figure out what you are taking, and how your dose has changed if the doctor alters your medication. The following chart might come in handy.

What if you’re doing everything right, and you still feel bad?

If you are taking thyroid medication, and still not feeling well, one big secret is that your adrenal glands are still not nourished. Your recovery will go faster if you think of your adrenal glands whenever you think of your thyroid gland. These two organs are connected through the HPA axis, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. There is a connection that most physicians dismiss, and if you only treat your thyroid gland, your recovery will be slower, or incomplete. Ashwagandha is a wonderful adaptogenic herb that supports both thyroid and adrenal health. It also induces relaxation, so if taken at night, it could help with relaxation.

About Suzy Cohen, RPh

Suzy Cohen has been a licensed pharmacist for 25 years and is a functional medicine practitioner for the last 15. You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health, and hundreds of morning shows. Her supplement line called Script Essentials includes a supplement specially designed for thyroid disease called Thyroid Script.

READ NEXT: 10 Things That Stopped My Thyroid Hair Loss

CLINICAL THYROIDOLOGY FOR PATIENTS
A publication of the American Thyroid Association

Summaries for Patients from Clinical Thyroidology (from recent articles in Clinical Thyroidology)
Table of Contents | PDF File for Saving and Printing

HYPOTHYROIDISM
Desiccated thyroid extract vs Levothyroxine in the treatment of hypothyroidism

BACKGROUND
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, is a common endocrine problem and requires lifelong treatment with thyroid hormone pills. Untreated hypothyroidism is associated with a wide variety of symptoms, many of which are nonspecific. In particular, memory problems and depression (psychometric problems) as well as weight gain are very common symptoms in hypothyroidism but also have multiple other nonthyroidal causes as well. Levothyroxine is the main thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland and the synthetic form is the most common form of thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Prior to the availability of the pure levothyroxine, desiccated animal thyroid extract was the only treatment for hypothyroidism. Today, some individuals prefer dessicated thyroid extract as a more “natural” thyroid hormone. In addition, some patients who continue to have symptoms of hypothyroidism when taking levothyroxine report improvement in these symptoms when switched to desiccated thyroid extract. This study was performed to compare levothyroxine to desiccated thyroid extract in terms of thyroid blood tests, changes in weight, psychometric test results and patient preference.

THE FULL ARTICLE TITLE:
Hoang TD et al Desiccated thyroid extract compared with levothyroxine in the treatment of hypothyroidism: A randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Clin Endo- crinol Metab 2013;98:1982-90. Epub March 28, 2013.

SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
This was a study of 70 patients with hypothyroidism who were treated with either desiccated thyroid extract or levothyroxine for 12 weeks followed by a switch to orgthe other option for another 16 weeks. The participants were “blinded” during both phases – they did not know the type of pill they received. After each treatment period patients were weighed, had blood tests, underwent psychometric testing and were asked which therapy they preferred. The researchers report that 49% of the patients preferred desiccated thyroid extract, 19% preferred levothyroxine and 23% had no preference. Desiccated thyroid extract use was also associated with more weight loss. There was no difference in the psychometric testing or in any symptoms. Both types of thyroid hormone were able to normalize the abnormal thyroid blood tests.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS STUDY?
Although desiccated thyroid extract is not widely used, this study showed that many patients preferred this option as compared with levothyroxine. This result was observed despite there being no differences in thyroid function blood test and psychometric test results, although use of desiccated thyroid extract was associated with some weight loss. These results suggest that there may be a certain number of patients in who desiccated thyroid extract might be a reasonable treatment option. Further research is needed on this topic to confirm which patients this might benefit the most form desiccated thyroid extract therapy.

— Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc

ATA THYROID BROCHURE LINKS

Hypothyroidism: http://www.thyroid.org/what-is-hypothyroidism

Thyroid Hormone Treatment: http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment

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