Thyroid Hormone Replacement Drug Madness!

Thyroid Replacement Drug Madness

I’ve received direct messages on Twitter @HypothyroidMom, on the Hypothyroid Mom Facebook fan page, and on my blog, from readers around the world suffering from symptoms of hypothyroidism while on T4-only drugs, including Levothyroxine, Synthroid, Levoxyl, Oroxine and Eltroxin. Doctors refuse to test Free T3 and thyroid antibody levels. Doctors refuse to work with patients who are currently on natural desiccated thyroid and refuse to accept them as patients unless they switch to T4-only medications. Doctors refuse to prescribe natural desiccated thyroid even though their patients are suffering debilitating even life-threatening symptoms on their current T4-only meds. While mainstream doctors are focusing solely on T4-only medications, they are missing the bigger picture in hypothyroidism treatment options and leaving their patients suffering. What in the world is going on?

Up until the 1950s hypothyroidism patients were treated with desiccated thyroid taken from pigs. Desiccated thyroid extract is prepared from pig thyroid glands. The glands are dried (desiccated), ground to powder, combined with binder chemicals and pressed into pills. Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) includes the entire dried gland and its contents, including all four forms of thyroid hormone (T4, T3, T2, T1), RNA, DNA and co-factors. The pig thyroid closely resembles the human thyroid therefore it provides the multiple components missing in hypothyroid patients.

Then in the early 1960s, pharmaceutical companies entered the picture and began to mass produce isolated T4, which is the predominant form of thyroid hormone produced by our thyroid gland. The generic name for T4 is Levothyroxine. Pharmaceutical companies patented brand names like Synthroid. These T4-only medications were said to be the new improved treatment for hypothyroidism.

Given the number of people suffering from hypothyroidism, T4-only medications presented pharmaceutical companies with an opportunity for big money. Hmmm…

Generations of doctors since the first introduction of T4-only medications, have been trained to prescribe Levothyroxine as the drug of choice for the treatment of hypothyroidism.

A list of the 25 most prescribed drugs in 2011 was released in a report by the IMS Institute of Healthcare informatics. Levothyroxine was listed the SECOND MOST-PRESCRIBED DRUG in the U.S., with 104.7 million prescriptions in 2011.1 Pharmaceutical giants have a lot to lose if doctors stop prescribing T4-only medications, no? Hmmm…

Doctors claim that synthetic T4-only medications are superior to natural desiccated thyroid and consider NDTs outdated and less reliable. Yet there are many thyroid sufferers who claim that synthetic T4-only medications failed to properly treat their hypothyroidism. For example, when I was on Synthroid, I found no improvement at all in my symptoms. It was not until I was prescribed a natural desiccated thyroid that I got my life back. You just have to take a look at thyroid communities online on blogs, Facebook and Twitter to find a multitude of people who swear by natural desiccated thyroid. If natural desiccated thyroid has changed our lives, could it change yours?

Since NDTs come from a natural animal source they cannot be patented. If mainstream doctors began prescribing natural desiccated thyroid over the patented T4-only medications, drug companies would NOT profit from the sales. Hmmm…

Internationally-known thyroid patient advocate Mary Shomon included the following information at About.com Thyroid Disease. This information is particularly important since I have readers from around the world here at Hypothyroid Mom.

Levothyroxine is the generic name for the synthetic form of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone replacement drug. This drug contains the synthetic form of one thyroid hormone, T4. Levothyroxine is the most commonly prescribed thyroid hormone replacement drug.

Brand names in the U.S: Synthroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid

Brand names in Canada: Synthroid, Eltroxin, and PMS-Levothyroxine

Brand names outside U.S.: Euthyrox, Thyroxine, Berlthyrox, Droxine, Eferox, Elthyrone, Eltroxin, Eutirox, Letrox, Levaxin, Levotirox, Levothyrox, Levotiroxina, Oroxine, T4KP, Thevier, Throxinique, Thyradin, Thyradin S, Thyrax, Thyrax Duotab, Thyrex, Thyro-4, Thyrosit, Thyroxin, Thyroxin-Natrium, Tiroidine

According to a post on CNN Health in October 2010 entitled “Does your doc get money from drug companies?”, a project called Dollars for Docs revealed that $258 million worth of compensation from seven drug companies went to health care providers in 2009 and 2010. The team of investigative journalists found that 17, 700 providers received such payments.2 Given that Levothyroxine was listed the SECOND MOST-PRESCRIBED DRUG in the U.S. in 2011 by IMS, is it possible some members of the medical profession have been payed by drug companies to prescribe these medications? Hmmm…

Natural Desiccated Thyroid

The best thyroid hormone replacement drug is the one that works best for that particular patient. Instead of looking strictly at T4-only medications, doctors should look at the bigger picture of treatment options, to find what’s best for each patient to alleviate their symptoms.

Some hypothyroid sufferers respond well to Levothyroxine treatment and that’s great. However what about all the rest of us that don’t respond well to these T4-only drugs? Why are we left to suffer without options by mainstream medicine?

Levothyroxine drugs contain the synthetic form of only ONE thyroid hormone, T4. T4 is only one portion of the thyroid hormone complex. Yes the majority of thyroid hormones produced by the human thyroid gland are T4, however T3 is the most active useable form of thyroid hormone that can be used in the cells of the body. The conversion of T4 to T3 is a critical element in this puzzle. By doctors strictly relying on T4-only medications, they are under the faulty assumption that our bodies are properly converting the T4 to active T3. For many hypothyroid sufferers like me, our bodies don’t convert T4 to T3 properly. In the care of doctors who prescribed T4-only drugs, my symptoms did not improve if anything they got worse. It wasn’t until I changed doctors and my Free T3 levels were found to be abnormally low and treated with a natural desiccated thyroid that I finally felt better and my symptoms improved. Thanks to a great thyroid doctor who knew to test my Free T3 levels, I got my life back. It should be about what works best for the patient, unfortunately in mainstream medicine this is often not the case. Read my post Top 5 Reasons Doctors Fail To Diagnose Hypothyroidism.

T4-only medications are only one component of the human thyroid gland. What about the missing T3, T2, T1, and other biological components of the thyroid gland such as calcitonin that are missing. Doctors are focusing on only one piece of the puzzle, what about the rest? The human thyroid gland is made up of many factors, and T4 is only one component. Aren’t these other factors important? Why would the human thyroid gland include all these components if they weren’t all important?

What brands of desiccated natural thyroid are available?

Brands include Forest Lab’s Armour, and Nature-throid and Westhroid by RLC Labs. There is a generic version of NDT made by Acella Pharmaceuticals. Canada’s desiccated thyroid made by Erfa is called Thyroid. There are also compounding pharmacies worldwide that produce compounded versions using the raw natural desiccated thyroid powder.

Am I saying that all hypothyroidism sufferers should be treated with natural desiccated thyroid? No not at all. We are each unique and what works best for us is individual. All the treatment options should be made available to find what works best for each patient. Some hypothyroidism sufferers respond better to synthetic T4 and synthetic T3 medications (such as Cytomel or compounded time-released T3). They may be allergic to pork or to the fillers in the natural desiccated thyroid drugs, or patients wish not to take desiccated pork product due to religious reasons, or vegetarians may not want to take an animal product. It’s about what works best for the patient and providing them with different possible options to try to see what works best.

Why not offer all the options to see what works best? Why has our freedom of choice in treatment options been taken away?

References:

  1. IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2011. April 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.imshealth.com/ims/Global/Content/Insights/IMS%20Institute%20for%20Healthcare%20Informatics/IHII_Medicines_in_U.S_Report_2011.pdf
  2. CNN Health. Does your doc get money from drug companies? 2010 Oct 19. Retrieved from: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/19/does-your-doc-get-money-from-drug-companies/

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About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. *Hypothyroid Mom includes Affiliate links. Connect with me on Google+

Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you for this article. I have been on T4 only for about 6 years. It seemed to help at first, but then it didn’t. This summer, I was diagnosed with Hashi’s. We are focusing on improving my immune system, healing the gut, etc., however, while my antibody labs have improved slightly, my actual thyroid symptoms have been getting worse it seems. The hair is falling out by the handful and my sensitivity to cold has greatly increased. In the last 6 months, I have lost about half my hair, which has me almost in tears every time I get out of the shower.

    When I first started on my journey to heal the Hashi’s, my MD wanted me to raise my T4 way up. I know that STTM book mentions that it can help, however, I really wanted to focus on the immune system part before adding more medication. At the same time, my ND wanted to start me on a low-dose, time release T3, because she said based on her experience it would really help. I felt confused and overwhelmed and just decided to wait.

    It’s been almost 5 months and I am meeting with a new practitioner this week. Depending on what they say, I might add the synthetic T3 to my regimen. According to my labs, my rT3 is super high and my fT3 is super low.

    I really appreciate the information you share on this website. I am chronicling my health journey on my own website and I am going to make sure to include your site in the next post that I do as a great thyroid resource. :)

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Thank you for commenting Jessica. I am happy you are seeking a second opinion. Your symptoms should not be worsening on thyroid medication. When your symptoms are worsening it’s time to take a closer look. Every person is different and what works best is a bit like a detective game. A good thyroid doctor is one who will do all the necessary tests (thankfully your doctor included the Free T3 and Reverse T3 tests for you) and to then be willing to change medications if the one you are on is not working. Many hypothyroidism sufferers fail to get well on T4 only meds, me included. Take a look at this article attached where thyroid patient advocate Mary Shomon interviews Dr. Kent Holtorf about high reverse T3…

      http://thyroid.about.com/od/loseweightsuccessfully/a/weight-loss-diet_2.htm

      • Dana, I have just started to take Nature Throid half a grain twice a day. I read you take as well. Do you wait and how long to drink coffee or juice after taking the med first thing in the morning. And again at night how long apart you been doing after dinner or supplements as I like to take magnesium at night before sleeping but since now I have to take nature throid before going bed. Would you mind sharing that info .Doc do not tell you much mine told me I could eat breakfast after I took T4 ( when i used to take)but the info I read was different. But I cannot find anything on Nature Throid. Thank-you for the blog and all the info

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Selma,

          Here attached are thyroid advocate Mary Shomon’s recommended rules for taking thyroid medication. I personally take my Nature-throid first thing when I wake up and don’t take anything else not coffee not breakfast for several hours after to ensure nothing interferes with absorption. I eat my lunch then 2 hours later at around 2PM I take my second half of my dose and again I don’t eat or drink anything for a few hours.

          http://thyroid.about.com/library/howto/htthyroid-drugs.htm

          • I find taking half my dose after breakfast and the other half after dinner to work best for me. I tried it several ways and a) I must have my morning coffee and breakfast within half an hour of waking to feel my best all day. The t3 is NOT affected by food actually it is helpful to have food along with t3. I take a total of 180 mgs erfa thyroid per day split 90 am 90 pm. Taking it this way avoids that power surge in would get about 3 or 4 hours after ttaking. B). I take my vitamins and iron at lunchtime, so there’s no problems.

          • I am having difficulty with medications. I had thyroid cancer in 2002 and now have no thyroid. I was first put on Synthroid, which worked for a week or two and then no longer worked. I did my own research and started Armour n 2004 or so and it worked wonderfully for years. Suddenly, this year, I feel I am not absorbing it and wanted to look into changing dosage, or adding something. I switched doctors and went to someone who is very knowledgeable in thyroid cancer and treatment. However, she already told me that after my body scan, etc., she wants to put me on synthroid again which is T4 only. She said that T4 creates T3 so no T3 is necessary. I already am worried about this because I know that I need T3. I’m really not sure what to do. I’m going to wait until Monday to get my bloodwork results and go from there. I am not comfortable not taking T3. What is your take on this? What should I do?

      • Jo Alexander says:

        If you daughter is getting the T3, she has a better chance of getting pregnant than with the T4 alone. I could not get pregnant for 2 years after I married and had a doctor who tested me and gave me the dessicated thyroid and I was pregnant within 3 months. Good luck to your daughter.

        • Dear Jo,
          are you saying that you couldnt get pregnant on ‘normal’ thyroid medicine? Bút on dessicated natural thyroid medication you could?
          Im currently trying to get pregnant. Fell pregnant really easily 3 years ago before I started thyroid medication, and after starting eltroxin I havent been able to. Im not sure its the eltroxin, but my eggs are good, embryos are good etc. Im doing IVF.
          Thanks!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Here is another great post on high Reverse T3:

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/reverse-t3/

  2. Great post HypoThyoid Mom. I just wanted to update you. I did go see my doctor on Friday morning and we reviewed the meds I was taking and the fact that he wanted to run further liver tests. I mentioned to him that I “had a friend” who has a thyroid blog and who insists that I take all the thyroid tests including reverse T3, reverse T4, and the two anti-bodies tests. He smiled at me and said – well if there is one reason alone to get you these tests – it’s so that your friend stops bothering you !! I said that he did test my T3 and T4 but not these other ones and I began to mention all of the symptoms I was suffering from. He interrupted me when I was talking and said the same thing again still with a smile. When I went for the blood work I wanted to mention to the nurse so there was no misunderstanding. She said “I know, I know … the Doctor told me we are doing a full Thyroid today also”. I said to her “yes just making sure with you because there are so many so I wrote them down”. She took a look at the list and said “You want REVERSE!!!” – I said “Yes and the anti-bodies tested too please”. She studied the paper and said – one moment – let me have this please. She left the room for a few minutes and came back with another two empty vials. HM – I really was surprised. I actually needed to present this in written format for them to hear and understand the request. And this is a very upscale outfit in Manhattan! I felt so intimidated asking for this – even despite my professional training. My doctor is very friendly – I wonder what it must be like for people without my professional training or with no higher education at all who go up against a doctor who is less than friendly? Perhaps someone in your community should prepare a sample written formal request form prepared by a doctor. Something like “if you are afraid to talk to your doctor about extra thyroid tests you may need, consider printing this form letter out and signing it and giving it to your doctor”?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Great to hear back from you Peter. Your experience at the doctor’s office is exactly what is happening to hypothyroidism sufferers in doctors’ offices every day. This is the main reason why so many people are undiagnosed and why hypothyroidism sufferers are improperly treated and left to suffer debilitating symptoms. It made me upset to read about your visit to the doctor. One good thing is that your doctor did test your Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies.

      It was the lack of awareness of my doctors that led me to create Hypothyroid Mom. Hypothyroidism is an unrecognized silent epidemic that mainstream medicine fails to address.

      Here is a sample “template” letter that patients can send to their doctors. Great idea Peter.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/dear-doctor/

      • Great website.

        Do you have a list outlining all the tests that should be conducted. I live in a country and do not speak the local language, while English is understood (by doctors) it would be perfect to say, I would like the following tests.

        Thanks,
        Luke

    • Peter, Can you share the doctor where they were willing to do the proper tests, I too live in NYC and can not find a doctor that I can afford. thank you

  3. My symptoms did not go away until I got T3 (Cytomel). When I’ve had to go off Cytomel for a month I quickly feel the lethargy come back. T4 only is not enough for me and others I have spoken to say the same.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Thanks for commenting Jacklyn. Unfortunately mainstream doctors will often only prescribe T4 only medications. Their patients often have no idea there are any other options. Thanks for sharing your experience with Cytomel (a synthetic T3 drug). I am happy you found what works for you. My hope is that my readers will find doctors that will explore all the possible options to see what works best for them.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Absolutely Gloria. Mainstream medicine considers T4-only drugs like Synthroid the “gold” standard for hypothyroidism treatment. The problem is many of us do not properly convert T4 to T3 in our bodies. The T4-only drugs are not converted in our bodies so our Free T3 levels remain low and we suffer debilitating symptoms.

      With Hashimoto’s, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland chewing it up piece by piece so that eventually it is unable to produce the T4 and T3 hormones our bodies need.

    • Jacklyn, why did you go off the Cytomel for 1 month? Is this a cycle you have found that works for you? I tried Cytomel and even at small dosage along with a decreased dose of Synthroid, I had heart palpitations and trouble sleeping. I’m still struggling and considering trying Cytomel again as well as changing to Nature Throid. I tried Armour several yrs ago and my symptoms only got worse!

  4. I have finally found a doctor willing to prescribe NDT for me. However, this doctor considers Armour Thyroid superior to Erfa and told me to chew the pills up. I think it is working pretty well, although I need as much as 6 grains to feel normal and rid myself of all symptoms. I do, however, feel much better on Armour than on thyroxine only, so I’m definitely on the right track. But 6 grains seems to be an awful lot, so that’s why I’ve been wondering if maybe the cellulose in Armour is decreasing its potency?

    In your opinion, is Armour working less effectively since the reformulation? Do you prefer Erfa or Acella to Armour? There seems to be absolutely no agreement on the new Armour – some hate it and some seem to be doing very well on it – so I’d like to know your opinion? Thanks.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hello Monica, Thanks for commenting at Hypothyroid Mom. Great question. When I was first prescribed Armour, I loved loved loved it. However in Spring 2009 they reformulated it and I just didn’t feel well on it. My doctor’s many patients were similarly responding so she started prescribing another natural desiccated thyroid called Nature-throid. I was back to feeling great and I’ve been on it ever since. Now this past summer I heard from a few people that their Armour medication seemed to be working better for them and the suggestion was made that maybe the manufacturers had gone back to the original formulation. See this post for details. However I have remained on Nature-throid because it works for me. I’ve heard great reviews about the Canadian natural desiccated thyroid called Erfa but I have not tried it myself. My advice is to follow your instincts. If you don’t feel well on Armour, ask to try Erfa or Nature-throid or Westhroid or compounded natural desiccated thyroid until you find what works best for you. We are each unique and what works best is different for all of us. Best of luck and stay in touch. Let me know how it goes.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Monica, Here is the link to the post that I mentioned to you above about the recent reviews for Armour.
        http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2012/07/06/armour-5htp/

      • Kim Haras says:

        Hi Dana, I’m new to ndt, and I have a question. I started at .5 grain of Nature=throid and after 2 weeks went up to .75 grain (where I am now) I may be too high too fast? am experiencing more depresson than normal, a little diarreah, and a lot of anger…and numb tingly hands. i need to move up to 1 grain, i think, just afraid. just want your opinion.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Kim, First off it’s great that your doctor was open to you trying Nature-throid. Of course we are all unique in how we react to the different thyroid drugs. I always tell readers to be sure to call your doctor if you start a new drug and you have a negative change in symptoms. I am not a doctor and determining dosages is outside of my expertise, but what I do know is that you have to work closely with your doctor first to figure out the right dose and to determine if that’s the right drug for you. My doctor doses me by regularly testing my Free T4 and Free T3 levels to get them at the optimal level for me to feel great. Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon wrote: “More innovative doctors are beginning to believe that a TSH of around 1 – 2 — in the low end of the normal range — is optimal for most people to feel well and avoid having hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms. Similarly, some practitioners feel that optimal hypothyroidism treatment includes Free T4 in the top half of the normal range, and Free T3 in the top 25th percentil of the normal range.” Ask for a copy of your lab results to see where your Free T4 and Free T3 levels fall in the range. We all have different sensitivities to the ingredients/fillers/binding agents used in these substances and we each react with different side effects. Be sure to call your doctor because it may be that you are reacting to the medication or that you need a change in dosage. Best of luck to you and welcome to Hypothyroid Mom.

          http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hypothyroidism/a/notwell.htm

  5. Hello.
    In 2003 after my daughter birth my doctor diagnos me with graves disease, my doctor advise me to do radiation :( what i really didn’t know what I was putting my self……. after radiation was done. I never been my self again is so hard to lose weight i am always tired very down because the way i feel and main reason my weight!! i been to many doctor asking for advise how can this be possible? always tired and down because i don’t have energy for anything . my doctor respond me was not reason for me to feel that way because my levels were ok… passed 10 years and i was talking to a friend and advice me to speak with my doctor and have him test my t3 and have me asking to changed my prescription to amour….! so i call my doctor and tell him that need to test my t3 and need to changed my med to amour and he refused to do it asked him why?…. and said that my levels were ok… so i recently went to a new doctor and told her that she need to help me that it is not ok for me to be all tired and down and weight problem since 2003 because no one wants to help me and checking my t3 and trying armour she said that she will help me and she will changed to armour as sons she get my blood results and also advs me to get in to this weight program that she is doing with her patients and cost 750 what you think?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hello Elsa, I’m so happy you found me at Hypothyroid Mom. Bravo to you for being persistent with doctors to get Free T3 testing and to request trying Armour. Before spending money on the weight program, first see how a change in thyroid treatment affects your weight. Our thyroid controls our metabolism so if it is not functioning properly and not treated properly with medication then our metabolism slows down and we gain weight. Let’s hope that with proper testing and treatment you lose weight. Just know that which drug works best for people is individual for each person. Some people do great on Armour, others like me feel better on other natural desiccated thyroid brands like Nature-throid, then some people feel terrible on these drugs and do better when they add synthetic Cytomel (which is T3) to their current Levothyroxine. We are each different so you have to work with your doctor to find what works for you. Also speak with your doctor about having your adrenals tested with a saliva adrenal test. It’s important to have strong adrenals prior to starting T3 drugs like Cytomel or Armour otherwise people with weak adrenals sometimes don’t react well to the drugs. Best of luck to you Elsa and let me know how it goes!

      • Dana , thanks for the artical . You mentioned you feel better on Nature thyroid. I have Hashimoto but maybe by now its just hypo . I been on Levoxyl for years and thinking of switching to Nature Thyroid. Did you have Hashimoto or just Hypothyroid.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Shasta,

          Great to hear from you. We are all different in how we react to the different fillers in thyroid drug brands so what might work for some may not for others. Nature-throid is worth a try. It’s about finding a doctor who will explore the different drug options to find the right one for you. My thyroid antibody levels turn back negative however I have the typical pattern of Hashimoto’s with cycling up and down between hypo and hyper symptoms along with symptoms that my doctor has flagged for other autoimmune conditions. So I will be having a thyroid ultrasound to confirm whether or not Hashimoto’s is the cause of my hypothyroidism. Here is a post on Hashimoto’s and at the bottom there is a video with Dr. Alan Christianson who talks about the benefits of natural desiccated thyroid for Hashimoto’s. By view is that you explore the different options to find what works for you. If you are on medication now and you don’t feel well then don’t settle and find a doctor who will try different brands. Be sure to speak with your doctor about testing your iron including ferritin as well as your adrenal function. High or low iron and high or low cortisol levels are common reasons why some people do not react well to natural desiccated thyroid so be sure to have them tested first. Also speak with your doctor about gradually increasing the dosage over time instead of starting at a high dose all at once because some people find the T3 hormone stimulating to their heart and a gradual process of dosage works gives their body time to adjust.

          http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

          http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

          • Do you take Nature Thyroid before going to sleep or any time in eveining is fine?. Normally there is other things to take in the as magnesium and Calcium.Hear Gluten is big problem for Hashimoto .

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Shasta,

          Absolutely a great deal written about gluten and Hashimoto’s so worth it to go gluten-free for 3-4 weeks to see if it helps symptoms.

          I take my Nature-throid half dose in the morning when I wake then the other half in the early PM. I know that some feel it’s better to take at night but for me it keeps me up at night. I also avoid taking any vitamins or supplements for a few hours before and after my medication to ensure there is nothing to interfere with the absorption of my medication.

    • Wow, It’s like I am reading my story.
      Just the same after radio, not the same. My TSH one time is up , then down. I am over weight and don’t know what to do.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Hi Reni,

        If you are on a Levothyroxine drug like Synthroid that’s the first place to look. These drugs contain T4 hormone only and our bodies are supposed to convert it to the active T3 hormone our cells need. However for many of us our bodies just don’t convert it properly so we have low T3 levels and symptoms. Be sure your testing includes not just TSH but also Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid Antibodies, Adrenals, Full Iron Panel including Ferritin, and D3. For me the key to weight loss was reaching optimal Free T3. Here is how:

        http://hypothyroidmom.com/the-thyroid-worlds-queen-t3/

  6. I totally disagree with the comment on treating adrenals first. I’ve learned that hypothyroidism leads to high adrenaline and burnt out adrenals. Fix that first and the adrenals will heal themselves. Adrenal glandulars given to someone with adrenal exhaustion is like beating a dead horse. My adrenaline was high despite lots of rest and thyroid glandulars fixed this, among other things.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Heather, That connection between adrenal and thyroid health is very interesting to me too. Thanks for sharing your perspective. You may very well be absolutely right on that one.

  7. I am dumbfounded why patients are denied the treatment options
    Who settles for the first option before making a commitment to important decisions
    We should be able to try either treatment method and make up our own mind , after all its our body , our health !

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Absolutely Jan! My point exactly. Why don’t we have the right to try all the drug options to find what’s right for us. This is why so many people suffer needlessly.

  8. Exactly. What about those of us who have all the symptoms but no diagnosis? Where did they come up with the “normal” numbers associated with the lab work? So a person can be so exhausted they can’t function and have near hypothermic temperatures with “normal” results….so they are considered sick in the head instead and given “shut up pills”.
    All it takes is some empathy and a willingness to listen despite what the lab work is saying. Does the lab work even detect whether the body is converting T4 to T3 anyway? We’d have a lot less “mental” illness, if the real reason for exhaustion was dealt with in the first place. The solution, is to never give up and to believe in your body’s ability to heal.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      I hear you Heather loud and clear. The mainstream model for diagnosing and treating thyroid disease leaves so many of us falling through the cracks. The mainstream medical profession should be ashamed of themselves.

  9. Hi Dana,

    Great post. You are so right when you say that the treatment really depends on the person. I was on synthetic for 4 years without a single day of symptom improvement. I am now on Nature Throid and the difference is amazing. Still fat as a house (after being thin/normal my whole life), but I almost don’t care. I am myself again. I can go the entire day without falling asleep.

    There is a study taking place right now at Walter Reed Medical Center (double blind) to test to see if there are improvements in symptoms (specifically) on NDT vs Synthetic. A real live study. When finished, the results will probably be published in NEJM in addition to any of the respectable Endo journals. My fear is that, like you say, every person is different. If those in the study are not the people who react well to the difference, then we will never know. Hopefully their study group is large enough where the difference will be statistically significant. Perhaps if we are armed with results from a respected research hospital such as WR/Bethesda, the mainstream Endo population will finally listen.

    In all honesty, I don’t even care what my thyroid number say anymore. I feel good. In the end, that is really all that matters.

  10. Dana Trentini says:

    Ilisa, I’m so happy you’re feeling well!!!! That’s my hope for every reader to explore the thyroid drug options with their doctor to find what’s right for you. As you say there is the very real issue that mainstream medicine considers Levothyroxine drugs the gold standard for treatment. While many people do great on these drugs, there are many of us that don’t.

    My hope is that this research you mention at Walter Reed Medical Center will show how we each react differently and how important it is to provide multiple drug options to find what’s right for each person. I have my fingers crossed that a study like this will bring attention to this very real issue in mainstream medicine.

    Happy to have you on Hypothyroid Mom!

  11. Hi, i have graves disease which was treated with RAI in 1997. I was 20 years old. My levels have been up and down. I have went a few years with it staying in normal range. This all began to change after the birth of my daught 6 years ago. I had really bad post pardum, my weight became so out ofcontrol. I chalked it up to bei g a tired new mom,but now 6 years later, my endometrisos is back, had one ovary and my gallbladder removed, and was recentle diagnosed with fibromaygia. I am in painalmost everyday. I am tired all the timeand at my wits end. I have been on synthroid this entire time, still have allthe symtoms. My primary doc says he is willing to let me try nature-throid, but he would like me to see an endo first. My concern is, i read alot about adrenal fatigue and starting the nature-throid, what can i do to avoid feeling worse? Can u treat the adrenals naturally first? And is the natural thyroid hormonrs better for someone like me

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Amy, your postpartum sounds so much like mine with my first son. I am happy to hear your doctor is open to Nature-throid which many doctors refuse to consider. As you write, we are each unique in how we react to the different medications so while many people will do great on one drug other people don’t. I wish there were one drug that was perfect for everyone. I personally do great on Nature-throid. It’s about carefully exploring with your doctor. You are right to consider your adrenals prior to starting Nature-throid because some people do poorly with the addition of T3 in their treatment, because they have poor adrenal function. The best way to test is by a 24-hour saliva test for cortisol. Ask your doctor about this or you can order a self-test yourself see below. First you want to see if there is an issue. Jane Bowthorpe includes extensive information about adrenals in her book “Stop The Thyroid Madness”. In addition to adrenals, you should also have a full iron panel tested including ferritin, serum iron, TIBC and % saturation because abnormal iron is another reason why people may not respond well to thyroid drugs. It’s good that you are thinking about these things prior to the switch. It is worth it to give Nature-throid a try to see if it works for you. Have you had your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies tested?

      http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/selftesting.htm

      • I had my tsh and free t3 and they were pretty great. I think my tsh wss .98 last week. I have the book stop the madness and it was great. I recently had my cortisol levels and adrenals checked, but have not received the results yet. It was a blood test, not saliva. What do u do to treat the adrenals? And if i dont treat them first what happens if i switch to nature-throid?

        • Dana Trentini says:

          The most accurate way to test adrenals is through a 24-hour saliva test where you take your saliva samples at 4 points in the day and the cortisol levels are tested over the course of that day because cortisol levels can fluctuate over the day. Ask your doctor for this saliva test or order it on your own as included in the post above from the Thyroid About.com website. The treatment depends on how severe the adrenal issue. For mild cases, often times adaptogens are given to the person but again always under a doctor’s supervision. Here is a post on adaptogens. It’s best to test your adrenals first before switching to Nature-throid because there are cases of people with adrenal fatigue who have negative reactions to drugs with T3 like Nature-throid including hyper symptoms such as heart palpitations, nervousness and insomnia. Now most people do great with the switch but since you are looking at your adrenals it would be great to check first to avoid those possible reactions.

          http://thyroid.about.com/cs/endocrinology/a/adrenalfatigue_2.htm

          http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/adrenal-info/

  12. thank you so much. I am axiously awaiting my results

  13. Tricia Crites says:

    I have hypothyroidism I was feeling good at first being on synthroid but now I’m still feeling the way I use to but merely worse and I don’t know what to do I need help n advice

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Tricia, there are many possible reasons for this and you need to be with a doctor who will explore these with you. First, it may be that you need an increase in your dosage. It may also be that you need the addition of T3 treatment. You should be sure to get a copy of your lab results to see if your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies have been tested. If not, ask for them. While some people do great on Synthroid, many do not. For many of us our bodies don’t convert the T4 in Synthroid to the active T3 our bodies need, so we end up with low Free T3 levels despite being on Synthroid. By checking your Free T3 levels you would know if this was an issue. Also it’s important to have good adrenal health in order to respond well to thyroid drugs so it is idea to get a 24-hour saliva test for cortisol levels to see if this may be an issue for you. Also abnormal iron levels including ferritin, B12, vitamin D3, magnesiusm, zinc, selenium, sex hormone levels can all be factors and they should all be tested too. Best of luck to you.

  14. Hi! I was diagnosed with thyroid issues abt 2 1/2 years ago. I’ve been on the t4 the whole time and my levels have continued to plummet. I’m always tired, have constant migranes and have gained almost 100 lbs un 3 years. I eat very healthy and walk as much as can. What can I do?!!!!

  15. Hi, I ‘ve heard that removing fluoride from water helps with hypothyroid function.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zpw5fGt4UvI
    I went to a new endocrinologist today she told me that she is not going to treat me with desiccated thyroid. I have to keep searching for a new doctor… are they all crazy?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Oxi,

      I have no doubt that toxins in our environment play a role in thyroid function. Thank you for sharing this.

      We all react differently to the different thyroid medications but if you are not feeling well despite your treatment then yes you should find a doctor who will explore all the drug options including NDTs to find what works for you. Here are resources to help you find a new doctor.

      http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdrs/

      http://www.thyroidchange.org/list-of-doctors.html

      Also try calling all the local pharmacies for names of doctors who prescribe natural desiccated thyroid. Best of luck.

  16. dominique says:

    Hello
    After 20 years of being ill i was just diagnosed with having chronic late stage lyme disease. Over the past year I have been in and out of hospitals, mostly in, getting diagnosed with everything except the one thing that I actually had. MS, Lupus, ALS, Vasculitis, Parkinsons. They had me on high doses of steroids, Warfarrin and even 2 treatments of Cytoxan(chemo) when all I needed was antibiotics. They wanted to suppress my immune system when in actuality it needed boosting instead. I am now in recovery on IV antibiotics. I have gained 30 pounds in 3 months. I am a vegan, exercise and am still gaining weight. My hair is falling out in handfuls, feels like straw, hair turned almost completely gray in last 6 months. My wonderful LLMD tested me last week for Thyroxine (T4) Free, Direct, S which was 0.95
    range 0.82-1.77 and Triiodothyronine, Free Serum which was 3.0 range (2.0-4.4)
    I am not sure why he didn’t test my TSH. He said I need to begin taking Armoir in 4 weeks(strengthen Adrenals first) and this explains possibly why I am gaining so much weight. I have been taking Natures Throid 2×65 MG each morning when I wake before food now for 5 weeks. I had them left over from another doctor I was seeing a year ago. So these are my results after taking them for 5 weeks. My question is why is my FreeT4 so low at 0..95 and my Free T3 normal? Is Natures Throid only T3? Do my test results show that i am hypo thyroid and need to up my dose of Natures Throid or does one have to know what my TSH level is to find out. Not sure why he didn’t test me for this. What about a Pituitary issue? . Does my results suggest that I only need T4? Is Natures Throid only T3 or both T3 and T4 or only T4? Sorry for all of the questions but I would appreciate any help you can give. So confusing!
    Thanks very much,
    D

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Dominique,

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis of Lyme Disease. I recently watched a speech by the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Yolanda Foster, who was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. When she described her symptoms I couldn’t help but think wow they sound so similar to hypothyroidism. I have several readers on my blog with both hypothyroidism and Lyme Disease and I can’t help but wonder about the connection.

      We all react differently to the different medications so whether you will do better on Nature-throid or Armour is all individual. I wish there were one drug that worked for all of us but we each react differently to the ingredients/binders/fillers in these drugs. I personally reacted badly to Armour but then when I was switched to Nature-throid did wonderfully. I currently take a combination of Nature-throid, which I split half dose first thing when I wake and the other half around 1 or 2PM.

      Both Nature-throid and Armour are natural desiccated thyroid derived from pig thyroid which is biologically similar to the human thyroid and both contain both T4 and T3 hormones. Actually in looking at your results both your Free T4 and Free T3 are low. Your Free T3 is in the bottom half of the normal range. So the NDT will provide you with both T4 and T3 to raise those levels.

      Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon wrote: “More innovative doctors are beginning to believe that a TSH of around 1 – 2 — in the low end of the normal range — is optimal for most people to feel well and avoid having hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms. Similarly, some practitioners feel that optimal hypothyroidism treatment includes Free T4 in the top half of the normal range, and Free T3 in the top 25th percentil of the normal range.” Your Free T3 level is in the bottom half of the range. I personally don’t feel well when my Free t3 level is that low and like Mary writes, I feel my best when my Free t3 level is brought to the top 25th percentil of the normal range.

      http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hypothyroidism/a/notwell.htm

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/which-is-the-best-thyroid-drug-for-hypothyroidism/

      Best of luck to you.

  17. Hi Dana,

    So glad to have found your site. I recently had blood work done and insisted on a full thyroid test. The female doctor looked very surprised because she didn’t think I had any issues with my thyroid when she felt it, even though I provided plenty of symptoms. My periodontist was the one who actually thought my thyroid looked enlarged when he was doing a full exam.

    I received a copy of the results which are as follows:
    TSH – 6.240
    Thyroxine – 6.6
    T3 Uptake – 31
    Free Thyroxine Index – 2.0
    Triiodothyronine (T3) – 80

    I was very surprised on how high my TSH level was though I suspected I had hypothroidism. Can you provide thoughts on the other numbers?

    My doctor now wants me to begin taking levothyroxine which is the T4 version only. I’m very reluctant to begin taking it. I told the receptionist who called me with the prescription information to tell the doctor I don’t do well on synthetics and that I want to take a desiccated thyroid med such as Armour. I’m waiting to hear back, but I suspect I won’t get any support. I’m a little worried on trying to locate someone who is knowledgeable in my community.

    I’m going to begin taking Iodine/Iodide in the meantime to help feed my thyroid. Do you have any experience with that? I’ve been researching both Lugol’s and Iodoral since they both contain Iodine and Iodide. I recently started Nascent Iodine but learned that it only contains Iodine and is missing the crucial Iodide component.

    Any thoughts/suggestions are most welcome!
    Thanks so much,
    Dawn

    • Heather says:

      The following are thyroid myths that have been reported to me from hundreds of clients worldwide over the past 25 years.

      Myth #1: Blood tests for thyroid function are valid and determine thyroid function accurately.

      The truth: The numbers in the thyroid blood panel may be accurate but they do not tell you what the body is doing with the thyroid hormone so they are a waste of money. This was proven over 60 years ago by the late Dr. Broda Barnes, M.D., who wrote Hypothyroidism, the Unsuspected Illness. The only way to determine thyroid function is by the oral temperature in the morning after arising and again at noon or during daylight hours plus the daytime resting pulse, which should be 98.0 degrees F, 98.6-99 degrees F and 85 beats per minute, respectively. Fertile women should do this during menses to avoid the rise in temperature during ovulation. There are some exceptions to this that can be observed in blood tests but most hypothyroid people have what’s considered a “normal” thyroid panel. Many are misdiagnosed as being hyperthyroid because they are thin and have a low TSH (<1.0), when in fact, they are hypopituitary.
      Thyroid nutrition reverses both a sluggish thyroid and a sluggish pituitary gland.

      Myth #2: Synthroid (synthetic thyroid or T4) works and is more effective than thyroid glandular.

      The truth: Synthroid is cardiotoxic, shrinks the thyroid gland, suppresses cellular respiration, suppresses the pituitary and rarely improves symptoms, except in very healthy people who can convert the T4 to T3. Women have more difficulty converting T4 to T3 than men because low thyroid women are estrogen dominant and estrogen inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3. A healthy man has less difficulty converting T4 to T3.

      Myth #3: Synthroid is better than thyroid glandular because the dosage is scientifically determined.

      The truth: The glandular works because it contains a balanced ratio of T4 and T3 colloidal protein precursors. Both are necessary. In addition, many people need additional T3 (Cytomel) because they have thyroid resistance – difficulty converting T4 to T3.

      Myth #4: Supplemental iodine is good for thyroid function.

      The truth: “Some claim that an iodine deficiency can be shown by the quick disappearance of a spot of iodine painted on the skin. Iodine is converted to colorless iodide by reductants, including vitamin C, glutathione, and thiosulphate. I have a newsletter that has some references describing the effect of even moderate iodine excess (even below a milligram per day) on the thyroid. An iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, but so can an excess. A dosage of 150 mcg is a safe amount of iodine.” (Peat) But people take much higher, thyroid-toxic doses of iodine. It is true that there are some areas in the world where there is thyroid deficiency but this is not true in the United States.
      See To Your Health – July 2008

      Myth #4: Don’t take thyroid glandular. It causes bone loss.

      The truth: Synthroid (synthetic T4) causes bone loss. Thyroid glandular prevents bone loss because it promotes both new bone formation and the dissolution (resorption) of old bones. Both are required for healthy bones. Thyroid converts LDL cholesterol into pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. Progesterone promotes new bone formation and stimulates the release of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. Dr. Ray Peat told me that he wonders why doctors say that taking thyroid glandular or being hyperthyroid causes bone loss when they can’t explain why animals given huge amounts of Armour USP thyroid have bigger bones than normal.
      From my own personal experience with "natural" dessicated thyroid glandular and synthetic T4 and T3……I got feeling better much quicker with the synthetic T4 and T3. Most women need the addition of T3 to find real improvement. Your pulse will dictate the dose. 85 BPM is the goal. The patient is the one who has to figure out what dose works the best. Low thyroid function causes high adrenaline, so once you fix the thyroid the adrenaline (thumpy heart) disappears. Hope this helps you.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Hi Heather,

        Thanks for sharing this information. I am so curious about your work with thyroid clients. I always love having people who have experience with thyroid clients to share their recommendations. I am curious about your information on iodine. There is so much controversy over iodine use with hypothyroidism in particular Hashimoto’s. I have readers who do well on iodine and those that do worse. I personally had a bad experience with iodine and my thyroid levels worsened. I would appreciate any material you have on this topic.

    • Heather and Gloria,

      Thanks for your insight and for the suggestion on including ranges. I included them back in to my overall results. Just so it is known, I never thought the bloodwork I had done would reveal anything significant with my thyroid. I thought I would have to fight to get any doctor to understand that I have numerous symptoms as well as a recurring low temperature averaging between 96.6 and 96.8.

      As well as perusing many sources on the web for insight into hypothroidism and iodine intake, I’m reading an excellent book by Mark Starr M.D. called “Hypothroidism Type 2″. I’m also reading up on material by Dr. David Brownstein.

      My bloodwork with ranges included:
      TSH – 6.240 (uIU/mL; range .450 – 4.500)
      Thyroxine – 6.6 (ug/dL; range 4.5 – 12.0)
      T3 Uptake – 31 (%; range 24 – 39)
      Free Thyroxine Index – 2.0 (%; range 1.2 – 4.9)
      Triiodothyronine (T3) – 80 (ng/dL; range 71 – 180)

      Thanks,
      Dawn

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Dawn,

      It’s amazing that your periodontist noticed your enlarged thyroid. Interestingly a few months before my diagnosis, I was having a pedicure done and the woman kept looking at my neck and she said you know when I meet a woman with such dry cracked feet and swollen neck like you, I always wonder if they have a thyroid condition. I just looked at her and said no I don’t have a thyroid problem, then a few months later was surprised with my diagnosis of hypothyroidism.

      We’re all different in terms of what lab scores are optimal for us, however a TSH of 6.24 is high. When I was at a TSH that high I had many symptoms with my fatigue being very intense. On your lab results the normal reference ranges are listed to the right of each score, it’s important to check because the ranges are different depending on the units of measurement used. The first thing I notice in looking at your lab results is that you haven’t had all the testing you should. Here is an article that includes testing that you should request from your doctor.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/recommended-labwork/

      I am happy that you asked your doctor about natural desiccated thyroid. What did your doctor decide about it? Mainstream doctors believe Levothyroxine T4 only drugs like Synthroid are the drug of choice for hypothyroidism and while some do great on them, many of us do not. The fact that you asked about NDTs means you have done your research. Bravo! We’re all different in terms of which drug or combination of drugs is best for us. We all react differently to the different ingredients in the different brands. However it’s important to be with a doctor who will explore the drug options to find which one and at what dosage is right for you. I hope your doctor is open to exploring this with you. If not, it’s worth it to get a second medical opinion. Here are resources to help you find a doctor in your area.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Dawn, you also mentioned iodine. There is controversy over the use of iodine for hypothyroidism sufferers especially Hashimoto’s sufferers. We are all individual in terms of what works best for us. You should speak with your doctor about iodine. I personally used Iodoral and my thyroid levels worsened now this may be because the dosage was too high for me. However the topic of iodine is one you should definitely discuss with your doctor and you should be sure to have your thyroid levels retested several weeks after starting it to see if there is any change.

  18. My niece had a lot of problems which my sister worked tirelessly to find what was causing. Ultimately she concluded it was thyroid related, but when she took my niece in for tests the doctors didn’t agree because their testing indicated nothing was wrong. My sister kept looking for answers, and searched for a doctor who really had a great understanding of thyroid imbalances. His tests immediately showed deficiencies and he started treatment immediately. We saw a huge difference literally over night. I’ve since been seeing doctors at nulife institute in miami for menopause and what a difference it’s making. It may not be for everyone, but hormone therapy can be a real life changer. Thank you and take care.

    • Heather P. says:

      We had a similar experience with my grandson who just about bled out in the hospital because of very low platelets. It was just a wait and see situation and things weren’t getting better on their own. We gave him very small doses of thyroid glandular and slowly increased it. His platelets went from 7 in the hospital to 20 on their own but didn’t go any higher for months until we started the thyroid treatment. Then after adding thyroid glandular it jumped to 77 and then to 223 within a few months. This is not something not to fool around with and we couldn’t just “wait and see”.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        WOW Heather! How is your grandson now?

        • Heather P. says:

          My Grandson is doing great. No more bruising and his platelet levels are normal and stable. Interestingly a “cure” is worth millions of dollars but no one seems interested in how we got from point A to point B with this. It’s a lifesaver!

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Heather, I worry about thyroid glandulars because should a person take it without doctor supervision they may take too much or too little and of course both could be dangerous. So important that readers realize the power of thyroid hormones and to ensure they are being taken properly.

        • Heather P. says:

          Excess thyroid glandular does not cause hyperthyroidism and if it did, decreasing the thyroid would reverse it in three days – this has actually been done as a test. That being said, usually dosing is done by the patient’s symptoms and feeling of wellness. The doctor cannot truly know the right dose. What is dangerous, is waiting to see for months with no improvement in platelet levels. Interestingly, the boy’s father had a hyperpituitary condition as a child that totally destroyed his pituitary gland. When in fact, if he’d been given some thyroid glandular the pituitary gland would not have burned itself out. All because of misdiagnosing a low thyroid condition. I’m just glad we were able to catch this in time before permanent damage was done. I will not let fear dictate what I should or shouldn’t do with my health and that of my family’s. My low thyroid condition wasn’t caught for over 30 years and to me that was almost a death sentence. I was so exhausted, all I wanted to do was die. Now, I’m bounding with energy from dawn until dusk. Hence my passion to make sure no one else suffers the same fate. My experience has made me strong.

          • Dana Trentini says:

            Heather, I’m so happy you knew how to help your grandson. That is so wonderful. So many thyroid sufferers go decades even lifetimes without diagnosis. It’s a very real issue. I just wish all doctors were better educated on thyroid conditions. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Heather, thank you for sharing the story of your niece. It is all too common for a person to have very obvious thyroid symptoms but their lab test comes up normal. I am so happy your sister found a doctor who did more extensive testing to diagnose and treat your niece. There are millions of thyroid sufferers in the world undiagnosed right now. I hope they will find my page and read your comment and know not to be satisfied when a lab test comes up normal. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, push for further testing. Best wishes to your niece.

  19. I just did a out line for Mark Starr MD and it was dumped by permanent failure. Luckily it wasn’t a quantum physics paper.

    My Psychiatrist had me give a blood test to see what my hormones are doing.

    The blood test was conclusive showing over production of thyroid.
    My Psychiatrist asked me if I had any knowledge of Hyperthyroidism..

    I was surprised, scared and relieved…

    I was told to contact my Primary Care Physician and did just that..once, twice and a third time put on hold for 40 minutes…never got to see a Encronoligist so I quit…

    I turned to to change of diet, three types of Ginsing , large doses of raw ginger root, one bulb of raw garlic every day, 2 quarts of all natural juices and 2 quarts of Elitro, Licorice root and hot Ginger root tea..Large meals consisting of higher doses of proteins rather then carbohydrates and ect High Potency Organic Vitamins, Flax Seed oil and Norwegian Cod Oil and powdered capsule Ginsing

    I did everything I could possibly do…nothing has changed except softer hair…lol

    I am a very active and robust type of person. I cross country tour bicycling have been across U.S. three times..

    Backpacking
    I am a member of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. The pacific crest trail is the pacific rim that runs from Campo, California to Manning Canada..The trail is over 2,650 miles long and takes about 5 months for complete passage.
    This is one of three of the U.S. Triple Crown.

    I am currently preparing and training for the class of 2014 and 2015.

    This year I will be heading to the Wonderland Trail in Mt. Rainer Washington….

    I need help.

    I am doing everything I can possibly do but I am still dropping out…
    I have lost muscle mass, I have become thinner my waist size is like it was in junior high..weird…pubetry all over again…ol
    I have sudden severe loss of energy..
    I have to wear glasses today to read.
    I am losing entire days..

    I thought about Testosterone herbal treatment but store clerk said if my libido is functioning correctly then my testosterone is fine…

    My question is where to buy the best desiccrated thyroid medication and which is the best?

    Western Medicine says it can not be trusted because patients have paid for product that was not treated as fresh desiccrated Thyroid thus the the Graham amount of the grain was not fresh and customers were not receiving a adequate amount of T4, T3, T2, T1 for proper treatment.

    What say you?

    Please help the hyperthyroidism dude.

    Randy
    Pasadena, Ca
    rebolives@Gmail.com

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Randy,

      I wish that I knew enough about hyperthyroidism as I do about hypothyroidism to give you the advice you are seeking. Natural desiccated thyroid that you mention is used for hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid. You should read a blog by Andrea Beaman who describes how she healed her thyroid naturally through diet. She was initially diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Also there is a blog by Elaine Moore on hyperthyroidism due to Graves Disease that has very helpful information. Best wishes to you “hyperthyroidism dude”.

  20. Hi
    I was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis a year ago. Settled in 50mcg of Synthroid and was doing well decided to try Nature throid instead. Converted to .5 grain by taking 1/2 Synthroid along with NT for a week, then 1/4 Synthroid along with NT. Ready to go with NT alone, but I am getting more and more fatigued every day. Each day the fatigue starts ealier and earlier for the past 4 days. Tempted to just go back to Synthroid, but not wanting to give up so fast. I only switched bc a friend is so much happier with NT. Advice?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Tgs,

      We all react differently to the different thyroid medications so what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another. Contact your doctor about your increasing fatigue. It may be the brand of NDT or the dosage. Also be sure to have full testing to rule out other reasons. Adrenals and iron problems are two common reasons why people do not react well to thyroid medications so be sure they are included in testing. Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe includes a list of recommended lab work on her site.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/recommended-labwork/

  21. Hi Dana,
    Thank you so much for your articles. I have learned so much from great advocates like you and Mary Shomon. : ) I was diagnosed hypo in October of 2011 after routine bloodwork. I had no symptoms other than not being able to lose a pound no matter how many miles I logged but I was healthy and very active. My doctor put me on Synthoid and I was constantly cold and hair began falling out. I continued to slowly gain weight but remained active. My temps ran around 95. in Jan. 2013 I begged and pleaded to be switched to Armour Thyroid and to my surprise my doctor agreed. I was started on a very small dose of 15mg. My tsh rose quickly to 4.8 so she doubled it to 30mg. I feel GREAT! I also begged for her to test more than just tsh so the last two months she has tested all thyroid labs. TSH is .89 on 30mg dose but Total t3 is 424. All other numbers are in the normal range. Doctor wants to increase me to 60mg dose to correct Total t3. I thought this # meant I already had too much thyroid in blood? Shouldn’t I be decreased? Again, I feel GREAT. Just curious as to why this lab result would be so high. It was tested twice because they thought it was lab error. both times I took my meds before the bloodwork. Could that have caused the spike? I plan to take meds after the next labs but just confused as to if I really should bump up to 60mg like doctor has prescribed. Any insight you have would be most appreciated.
    Thank you

  22. Hi Dana,
    Thank you so much for your articles. I have learned so much from great advocates like you and Mary Shomon. : ) I was diagnosed hypo in October of 2011 after routine bloodwork. I had no symptoms other than not being able to lose a pound no matter how many miles I logged but I was healthy and very active. My doctor put me on Synthoid and I was constantly cold and hair began falling out. I continued to slowly gain weight but remained active. My temps ran around 95. in Jan. 2013 I begged and pleaded to be switched to Armour Thyroid and to my surprise my doctor agreed. I was started on a very small dose of 15mg. My tsh rose quickly to 4.8 so she doubled it to 30mg. I feel GREAT! I also begged for her to test more than just tsh so the last two months she has tested all thyroid labs. TSH is .89 on 30mg dose but Total t3 is 424. All other numbers are in the normal range. Doctor wants to increase me to 60mg dose to correct Total t3. I thought this # meant I already had too much thyroid in blood? Shouldn’t I be decreased? Again, I feel GREAT. Just curious as to why this lab result would be so high. It was tested twice because they thought it was lab error. both times I took my meds before the bloodwork. Could that have caused the spike? I plan to take meds after the next labs but just confused as to if I really should bump up to 60mg like doctor has prescribed. Any insight you have would be most appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Audra,

      I love Mary Shomon’s site About.com Thyroid Disease and her books especially “Living Well With Hypothyroidism”. Do NOT take your thyroid medication the morning of your labs because the T3 in Armour will increase your Free T3 score and not be a true reflection of your level. Contact your doctor and ask to have your levels retested and this time don’t take your meds before the lab. I carry mine in my purse and take them right after my blood draw. Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe writes in this article attached below, “Do NOT take desiccated thyroid before your labs or you can get a false high FT3, patients have learned the hard way.”

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/things-we-have-learned/

      • Dana ,what is best time in morning 9-10 or 8 am to do the blood test?. Doctors of course says it doesn’t matter . Also do you fasting before the blood test?. I have to see doc out of town and it will at least 4 hour since i have taken the nature thyroid you think it still effect the results?.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Selma,

          Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe in this article attached recommends NOT taking your meds in the morning of your labs. Even with a 4 hour drive I still wouldn’t take my meds until you’ve done with your test. I bring mine in my purse and take them right after. I do not fast unless my doctor is doing other tests that require fasting. If you are not sure call your doctor and confirm about the fasting.

          http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mistakes-patients-make/

  23. Hi,

    I just wanted to get back to you after about 6 months. Since then, my labs on Armour really started going in the wrong direction, and I could not get them past midrange, even though I was on as much as 8 grains daily. Finally, my doctor agreed to try Erfa instead. That was in early April, and I have been on it since, so just about two months now. I feel much better, I have lost a lot of fluid while on it, and my hands and feet are warm for the first time in a decade…so I’m definitely sticking with Erfa!

    I just find it so sad that a drug like Armour that was working so well for everyone was reformulated, and everyone ended up hypo and unhappy as a result…I have not heard anyone being happy with the reformulated Armour, but everyone is trying to find alternatives…a shame, really. Why try to fix something that ain’t broken?!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Monica,

      I had the same experience with Armour. I was on Armour and doing great until they reformulated it in 2009 then all of a sudden my symptoms came back. My doctor switched me to Nature-throid and I am doing great on it. I’m happy you found what works for you. We are all different in which drug is best for us. Some readers say they’ve tried the different NDTs and prefer Armour over all. So we’re all different. It’s about finding a doctor who will explore the brands to find what’s right and at what dosage for you. Thanks for commenting.

  24. I am so thankful that I found this site. I have been on Synthroid and Cytomel for many years. My Free t3 was still low even though my TSH was around 1. I have Hashimotos. I just moved to a new state and my new NP switched me to Westhroid 1 grain initially but then had to increase it to 2 grains. I feel horrible!! My levels after one month were the worst they have ever been so she upped it to two grains. I am having my levels rechecked next week but I don’t think I can continue on the Westhroid. I thought natural would be better but I think my body doesn’t agree with something in the medication. I don’t think I have ever felt this bad with my Hashi’s. It has been a very frustrating experience but I am glad to read that I’m not the only one who can’t tolerate the natural thyroid meds. I wish she had just increased my Cytomel….

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Donna,

      Your experience shows how individual we all are in terms of how we react to the different brands of thyroid medication. In case you wish to try other NDT brands there are Nature-throid and Armour too. They each have different fillers/binding agents and some people are sensitive to them. Also you should be sure to have your Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, adrenals, as well iron including ferritin tested. Adrenal and iron issues may cause a person to react poorly to thyroid meds so worth looking into to. I know there are several readers here who say they feel much better on a synthetic combination of Synthroid and Cytomel over NDTs. It’s whatever works best for each person. Best of luck.

  25. Hi Dana,

    Thanks so much for a wonderful and informative blog. In reading most of the comments I have not read any that discuss digestive issues. That is my main problem. IBS, constipation, bloating, gas, etc. And out of the 300 or so symptoms I have too many to count. But my main issue is the digestion. Can you give me more information about that?

    • Heather P. says:

      See litalee.com She is an enzyme therapist Phd who is very helpful. Your health is only as good as what you digest and absorb. She gives ongoing support and uses a very powerful line of enzymes. Her eating plan is easy to follow and I’ve lost almost 30 lbs and have kept it off. After 30 years of very ill health, she’s got me back on track.

      • Hi Heather,

        Thanks so much for the information. As I stated above, my main concern is with the constipation. I just don’t any of that discussed above. I have many other symptoms but this one is the one that really makes me miserable. I want to know if anyone suffers from digestive problems and if being on the medications helps with any of that.

        • Heather P. says:

          I’ve conquered this but it doesn’t happen overnight. Eating gluten free was the first step for me. Bananas, asparagus and green beans don’t encourage good bowel movements. All nuts and seeds are not a good idea because they don’t pass through the bowel easily and then they set up an environment for the wrong bacteria. Oranges and fresh squeezed orange juice proved very helpful to me. Drinking too much water is also not the best thing to do. 4 oz of water on the half hour is all our kidneys can handle and anything more than that is counterproductive. Taking calcium supplements also hinders the proper pH balance so get your minerals from food. White sea salt is the best way to get your minerals, even if you have hypertension. If you crave salt you are not getting enough and your electrolytes are likely out of balance. Eat one raw carrot daily to encourage healthy digestion. You could also make some coconut oil suppositories and keep them in the fridge to get yourself going and then you need to focus on keeping things moving daily. Get enough protein but no more than 4 oz per meal. Anything “white” is like glue so stay away from processed foods and replace them with more root type and squash type vegetables. Check the pH of your urine and try to keep it a little more acid, like the 6.2 range. Pork really messes with the urine pH. The absolute worst thing you can consume is Canola or any vegetable oil that is liquid at room temp except olive oil. What kind of water are you drinking? Make sure it’s none of this altered “alkaline” water. Natural spring water is the absolute best. Take one fresh lemon juiced daily too. Do not juice vegetables, keep fiber intact. I hope this helps you get started. Take care.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Nina, On Monday I will post an article on constipation and what worked for me. Stay tuned for Monday.

  26. Heather, you are wonderful. Thanks for adding this information. I do follow a Gluten free diet but I do eat asparagus, banana ocassionaly and I eat almonds all the time. Oh, and I also eat green beans. Oh well, I thought I was doing well and it turns out not! I have a pretty clean diet, stay away from sugar as much as possible. I don’t drink much water and need to work on that. I drink the bottled kind. I don’t eat pork. I only use coconut oil and olive oil. I am starting the Armour this week but have a feeling I have issues with my adrenal function. I have a great doctor who is so smart and open to new ideas. Thanks again and take care!

  27. Heather P. says:

    Typical bottle water’s pH is too low so your urine pH will go high to counteract the acid upper digestion. It’s always a tug of war between saliva and urine pH. The closer you can keep them the better you will feel. Stop water drinking around 7pm, it is too energizing late in the day. I have a small glass of orange juice before bed and sleep right through the night. None of this getting up in the night to pee! Macadamia nuts are the only low PUFA nuts that I recommend. I use coconut sugar and raw coconut nectar for sweetening because they are low GI. Watch the color of your urine and keep it looking “straw” like that way you’ll know your not dehydrated. Peeing more than once every three hours indicates too much water drinking and or low blood sugar. So the habit of downing a whole glass or two of water first thing in the morning is not a good idea. Sipping more often is the way to go. Perrier water is good for more than one reason. The carbonation is relaxing and it’s pH is neutral. Shallow nose breathing (the way you breathe during sleep) also keeps your oxygen levels in your tissues healthier than if you practice deep breathing. I’ve done some research on various diseases and interestingly these are a result of consuming too much “air”. Never take supplements specifically for adrenal function. It’s like beating a dead horse. When the thyroid heals so do the adrenals. Low thyroid function causes high adrenaline and sometimes high cortisol, thus the adrenals become exhausted. Mild to moderate exercise, nothing “long distance or endurance is thyroid friendly. I do Pilates daily and love it. Peak 8 is also another good cardio workout but only twice weekly. Never push your body beyond what you feel up to.

  28. It does help. Thanks so much. giving up the almonds is going to be hard but I have had some suspicion that they were causing problems for me. I will see what happends with the thyroid meds and take it from there. I exercise several times a week but it’s not moderate, it’s pretty hard. And I have read that over exercising or doing it at a high intensity is not good. Thanks again Heather and I will keep you posted.

  29. Heather P. says:

    So slow down the exercise and you will heal quicker. This does not mean you have to lose muscle mass. Even pilates done right can become cardio. Low thyroid function also interferes with liver function so add some herbs like dandelion and milk thistle. This will also help the bowels. Avoid anything with Carrageenan! It knows no boundaries and interferes with liver enzymes. It can move through cell membranes and is often found in urine and blood. Carrageenan is often added to cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, commercial baked goods and ice cream. Right on, you will get there!

  30. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for the post on constipation. On a different note, I have been on Armour for about three weeks now. For the last two weeks I have been taking 1 grain each morning. This morning I increased the dose by 1/2 grain. I have noticed that I am feeling really achy from the waist up. Shoulders, arms, chest, back. Is this normal? I did not feel this way when I was on the one grain dose.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Nina,

      Be sure to contact your doctor whenever you have unusual symptoms on a new medication or on a new dosage of your medication, any medication for that matter. We are all different in terms of how our bodies react to the different ingredients, fillers and binding agents in the different brands. Many readers rave about Armour, however for me I did not do well on Armour. The manufacturers changed the composition of it a few years ago and my symptoms all started coming back. My doctor switched me to Nature-throid, which is another brand of natural desiccated thyroid, and I do great on it. At the same time there are readers who say they don’t do well on Nature-throid and prefer Armour and others say they’ve tried all the NDTs brands and feel better on a combination of synthetic T4 and T3, so you see it’s about having a doctor who will explore the options to find what’s right for you. Now it may be your achy feeling is not related to your medication at all, but contact your doctor anyway for their recommendation. Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe wrote a great article about mistakes doctors and patients make with thyroid treatment.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mistakes-patients-make/

      • Hi,
        I am 43 just 3 months ago found out in menopause and have Hashimotto, took armour 30mg for a month and a half TSH went from 5.3 to 0.1 , free T3 from 2.9 to 4.3 and free T4 from 0.88 to 0.84 so she changed it to compounded T4/T3 19/4.5mcg synthetic, I have been on it for a month now and also doing Bio identicals estradiol and progesterone I am feeling better last 2 weeks but still loosing lot of hair. I asked my dr today can we change it to natural she said I will loose more hair on natural compare to synthetic, is that true? I m very new to this love your website even reading lots of books one of them is STTM. I am very concerned my cortisol levels are good, ferritin is low….please HELP! Any advice , thanks

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Naz,

          We’re all different in terms of how our bodies react to the dyes, fillers and binding agents in the different brands. I personally take a natural desiccated thyroid brand called Nature-throid and it helped my hair loss. Now I’ve heard from readers who’ve had hair loss when they started new thyroid medications especially synthetics. So you see we’re all different in how our bodies react. When I read your ferritin is low that stood out because low iron is linked to hair loss. My hair loss improved once my thyroid medication was optimal but also once I started taking iron supplements to raise my low ferritin level.

          http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hairloss/a/hairloss_3.htm

          Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon wrote a book about hair loss for thyroid patients.

          http://www.thyroid-info.com/hair/index.htm

  31. Neeters says:

    Great info from you and all posters here! I’ve been suffering for 2 years, through Menopause, or what I thought was all due to the Menopause, but became sicker and sicker and had to stop working, diagnosed with nothing definite other than adrenal dysfunction and hormone imbalance. All the hormones, HRT, BHRT, supplements, magnesium, iron, vitamin D etc. did nothing. Finally went to a Naturopath who got me well by providing adrenal support herbals and recently started on erfa Thyroid. My question is, while I am improving greatly and will be returning to work, I still am not 100 percent well. I have ramped up to taking 90 mgs in the am and 60 in the pm. I am no longer cold , I am way happier, hair and skin better, even oily now at age 52, while for the last year I looked like an alligator. I am still so stiff in the mornings and my knees hurt, so do my hips, and sometime so do my hands, only this is episodic. I’ve been checked six ways of Sunday and I don’t have any other health problems.It’s been 8 weeks since starting Thyroid, and the last increase was a week ago (I’m instructed to increase every 2 weeks half a grain) I still get so tired at times and have moments of cold hands and feet , constipation, brain fog, and still can’t exercise otherwise I am exhausted the day after or sometimes longer plus I have gained 35 lbs in 5 months despite perfect eating and gluten free. Will this go away eventually? am I expecting too much too soon? I am on BHRT (oral progesterone and bi est plus testosterone ) pls advise, I was sick for almost 2 years I just want to be well already!
    thanks
    Neeters

    • Heather P. says:

      Hi Neeters. Healing is not easy work but is well worth the persistence. Low thyroid function does affect the adrenals but they will heal on their own. Taking adrenal glandulars or supplements can actually be counterproductive. Once the thyroid gets well on the way to healing the adrenaline will naturally normalize and the adrenals will heal. Supplementing adrenals can actually interfere with healing the thyroid and is like “beating a dead horse”. Proper sleep is of the utmost importance, so get enough quality sleep where you are not getting up to pee in the middle of the night. Stop drinking water by 7pm because it is too energizing late in the day. Try eating pro thyroid foods listed at litalee.com Lita has lots of free information that will help you get feeling better more quickly.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Neeters,

      I wish that there was a one-day cure for all of us but the truth is it can time to reach optimal. I personally took 6 months to a year for my doctor to finally get the right thyroid drug brand and dosage for me. I too was started low dose and incremented over time which is great that your doctor is doing that and not rising too quickly but giving your body time to adjust. I hope that your doctor will base optimal dosage on how you feel like what my doctor did with me. She raised my levels gradually in increments over time until one day I reported that my symptoms all were better and I felt great. Of course my dosages have changed back and forth over the years but my doctor’s goal is to make sure I am feeling well. I have a feeling your doctor is doing the same. Bring this question up when you meet your doctor next.

      • Hi
        My name is Roe. Loved reading all the stories. I also suffer from hypothyroid. My dr discovered a lump on my neck in 2000. He put on synthroid . Told me this should make the lump go down. I had ultrasounds done and a test with the dye and it never went away or got smaller. In 2005 I had 2 goiters and in the process of making more. In 2005 I had my thyroid removed and they sent it out and it was just goiters, thank God.. So now i’m on synthroid for the rest of my life. Can’t lose weight, always tired. I also come to find out I now have a growth on my adrenal glad that we’re watching. Last month I had blood work done and was informed , besides having high blood pressure and hi cholesterol Im diabetic. My fasting blood sugar was 113 and the 3month part, was 6.1. Im 63yrs old and falling apart it seems. I’m not a medicine person. I hate taking meds. Is there anything natural I could take instead of prescription drugs . I have been on a no sugar,no grain,no dairy diet for a month now. I juice at least 1 or 2 times a day. I want to come off my meds if I can ever do that. I have lost 10 lbs. About 2 lbs a week . This week nothing . I’m 5ft 2in and weighed 190. I’m down to 178 with alot more to go. Before my thyroid surgery I was 130lbs. I still work full time as a server, so it’s not like I sit all day. Any information you can provide would be so helpful.

    • Heather P. says:

      Hi Neeters. When you have lower body stiffness and aches, it is because you have a calcium metabolism problem. Check the pH of your urine….bet it is too alkaline. Do NOT correct this with supplements, especially calcium. Try to shift your urine to 6.2 pH with food choices. Cranberry and orange juice might work. Stay away from bananas, cheese, nuts, seeds and asparagus until you can get that corrected. Do not drink alkaline water unless it occurs naturally. I used to deal with extremely stiff ankles upon rising daily, but not anymore since I corrected my pH.

  32. So excited to find this site. In need of some support. Im 54 years young. At age 15 had Graves’ disease. This was in 1974. After several months of sucking down iodine, etc., the goiter started to strangulate and I was choking. Doctors did a partial thyroidectomy. A year later was diagnosed with Hoshimotos thyroiditis. I’ve been on Synthroid ever since. Throughout the years, the remaining thyroid has contined to shrink to almost nothing. In the past 5 years my Synthroid dose has been reduced from 150 mcg to 112 mcg because of low TSH levels. As low as .001 when on 137 mcg., and .007 on 125 mcg. T4 and T3 remained within normal range during the dose transition. So my body has successfully converted T4 to T3. I was retested for my annual check up with ‘normal’ TSH and T4 and T3. However since the dose was changed to 112 mcg just not feeling well. Constipation although I exercise drink plenty of water and excellent diet. Achy joints. Hair shedding. Forgetfulness. (I would go from one side of room to other and forget what I was going to do). The worse is in difficulty sleeping. I get about 3 to 4 hours a night for over a year. I then found myself saying “If this is how I feel at 54 years old, how am I going to feel at 60?” I made an appointment to see my endocrinologist who is by the way quite wonderful. She did a complete evaluation of my thyroid with tests galore 2 years ago and although she, like many doctors only wanted to run a TSH, I asked for t4 and T3 and antibodies and she obliged. All normal. I told her I can’t sleep, I ache, shedding hair, forgetful, bowels have stopped working. And she said exactly what I expected her to say which was “but all tests are normal”. The same day as my doctors appointment, I was searching on the Internet for supplements for thyroid and for the first time in my life I read about desiccated thyroid. I never knew there was another option. I only learned of this within a few hours of my doctors appt. So I asked her about the desiccated thyroid. She replied that they (The doctors of this particular clinic) don’t write prescriptions for desiccated thyroid. I’m not completely sure what happened next. I just started talking. It went something like this. “Dr., I’ve been on Synthroid for over 30 years and it has helped me and I’m so grateful for that. But what happens if it no longer works for me. What are my options then. Is it possible that the desiccated thyroid could work better for me. I’m scared to death to make this transition but am willing to do so if it will help me.” And . . . she was listening. I then told her about the brand Naturethroid that I read about just hours prior to my appt. I could give that one a shot. She then told me she would be right back, she wanted to look up some information in her office. I wondered if she would return with negative information about desiccated thyroid. Now, I’m not a religious person, but am spiritual and believe in the energetic power of prayer. While waiting for the doctor to return, I closed my eyes and prayed only these words, “I don’t know much about this desiccated thyroid and I knew coming in here that these highly specialized doctors who are very much pharmaceutical oriented practioners would never agree to it, but if its something that could help me, let it be so”. 10 minutes later the door opens and she said she couldn’t find a conversion chart. “WHAT!” What just happened. Is she actually going to do it. It just so happened I had a copy of naturethroid conversion chart in my email on my cell phone that I sent to my husband earlier. She looked at the chart and started writing a prescription. I was stunned. Well I’m on my 4th dose today. I just stopped taking the synthroid and started taking the Naturethroid. I keep waiting for crashes to happen. Heart to start thumping. Brainfogs to set in. My current synthroid dose was 112 mcg and she put me on 1 grain on Naturethroid with following the instructions on the Naturethroid conversion chart. My next appointment for blood work is 8/30. Will ask her not only to do TSH, but T4 T3, antibodies but also wand reverse T3, which I have learned here on this site. I’m scared. I won’t deny it. I can’t find anyone who has made the transition from Synthroid to desiccated thyroid after somany years. I sometimes doubt if I made the right choice, although the achiness is definitely subsiding, my hair is already shedding less, and my stomache actually growled for the first time in over a year and only after 3 days doses. I guess the reality is that I’m more afraid of it not working. I worry when I read posts about people adding 1/2 grains etc. I mean, I get it and all. Just seems to be like the whole body has to make the transition and that takes time, so seems like the thyroid tests can be valuable part of the process. Then balance it from there perhaps? Or does a desperation of needing more set in because our bodies are calling out “more”. I’m going at this blind sighted and not sure what I can expect. Would love to know if you have any advice, suggestions, what to expect. Thanks so much!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      AJ,

      I am so happy you knew about Nature-throid to ask for it. That is the drug that I am on and it literally changed my life. It is unfortunate how doctors focus on prescribing T4 only drugs like Synthroid as the only option but there are other options especially the importance of adding T3 hormone for so many of us just don’t convert the T4 hormone in these drugs to the active T3 hormone our bodies need. By the way, I suffered with constipation my entire life. Nature-throid helped a great deal, but what really made the change for me was when my doctor tested my magnesium levels and found them to be low. Magnesium glycinate has reversed my constipation. Best wishes to you. I do believe things happen for a reason. Welcome to Hypothyroid Mom!

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/constipation-the-embarrassing-hypothyroidism-symptom-that-may-save-lives/

      • Thank you Dana. I’m looking at information about magnesium glycinate right now. This looks perfect. I’ve learned so much on this site and am so grateful. I only discovered desiccated thyroid last week, the morning of my doctors appointment by somehow finding this site. It was from what I read when you said that Naturethroid literally changed your life. That hit home with me. Six days later for me and it is already changing mine. I can’t believe the difference in the way I’m feeling. Saying it isn’t enough really. You have to live in the body to understand it. So again, thank you little healer. Your contributions are greater than what you know.

  33. Forgot to add to the above post, Synthroid use many years, I have great intolerance to cold, body temperature average 96.9 and can get scary if temperature drops from being outside in cold weather. Also put on weight easy, hard to take off. 1200 calories a day. Exercise daily to maintain 160 pounds. 5’6.

    • Heather P. says:

      AJ Other than walking, strenuous exercise is counterproductive to thyroid health. I do cardio only twice a week, and never do anything “long distance”. Peak 8 is a great cardio workout that take only 20 minutes twice per week. During that 20 minutes you are only actually “running or skipping or even speed walking (up a hill) as fast as you can” for 30 seconds and then resting for 90 seconds before you do the next rep. You might not be able to do 8 reps in the beginning. Just do what you can. You will recover more quickly if you breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. Wait at least two days before doing the workout again. Pilates is awesome for strengthening and stretching muscles from head to toe. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn.

      • Hello Heather and thank you. Excercise to me is walking about 1 to 2 miles. But i like your idea very much. The only time I’ve been in a gym is If they provided a tanning bed. I also have a treadmill.

  34. One more comment about the switch from Synthroid to Naturethroid which I wonder if it is related. Seems like that would be a hypo thing. My pulse has always ranged fro 92 to 112 for past 10 plus years. After three days on Naturethroid it’s 69 to 83.

    • Heather P. says:

      Lot’s to explain AJ. I keep myself in a very comfortable range with American Biologics dessicated Thyroid. I prefer this one because it is beef. It is not a prescription item. Most women also need help with converting T4 to T3 and will not reach their goals until T3 is added. LIOTHYRONINE is T3 and a very minute dose can make a huge difference. Your resting pulse should be 84 BPM and this should be measured away from food and water consumption. Often a low thyroid condition will cause high adrenaline and a faster pulse but as the thyroid heals the adrenals also relax and the pulse slows down. The typical small dose of T3 is one tablet broken in three taken throughout the day. I didn’t get anywhere with weight loss until I added the T3. 1200 calories per day is EXTREMELY low and your body needs enough healthy food to heal. Make sure each meal and or snack contains protein, fat and complex carbs. None of this low carb stuff. Don’t drink too much water at one time, it will dehydrate you. Sipping frequently is the preferable way to drink. Keep an eye on the pH of your urine because this is a good indicator of being healthy. Keep it close to 6.2 This can be a challenge. Most people are too alkaline in the urine…..nuts, seeds, bananas, asparagus, pork and cheese are the foods to avoid to bring those numbers down. Macadamia nuts are okay. Hope this helps.

      • This is great Heather. Can’t thank you enough. Since I’ve switched over to the desiccated thyroid 6 days ago, my stomach is actually growling. My stomach hasn’t growled in over 2 years since they lowered my synthroid dose down from 150 mcg to 112 mcg based on the TSH. It’s like my intestines were dormant and they are waking up. Yippee.

  35. Heather P. says:

    T3-LIOTHYRONINE It will warm you up.

  36. Heather, thanks for the heads up on T3 Liothyronine. Glad to know its there if i need it. Hopefully switching over to Naturethroid will alleviate some of the issues with cold. It already has helped some other issues.. Don’t get me wrong. The Synthroid worked great for years. I took it for over 30 years and had 6 children and nursed while taking it.

  37. Hi!
    I am 48 yrs old. 5’5″ 112 lbs. Diagnosed w subacute thyroiditis a year ago. Settled in on 50mcg of Synthroid – finally feeling ok when I decided to try Nature Throid. Within a month my hair was falling out like crazy. Constipation. Extreme fatigue. Took 1.5 grains of NT. Couldn’t take the hair loss. Nails brittle and cracking again.
    Back on my low dose of Synthroid. But, my bloodwork is strange. I’m afraid endo will want to take me off synthroid by looking at TSH. (She would not have approved N, and will be bummed to learn that my family doc let me take it).
    Latest bloodwork:
    6/27 – a week after quitting NT
    TSH 0.02 (0.4 – 4.5)
    FT4 1.3 (0.8-1.8)
    FT3 3.8 (2.3 – 4.2)

    7/3
    TSH 0.04 (0.4-4.5)
    FT4 1.2 (0.8-1.8)
    didn’t get FT3 result yet
    Iron 54
    Ferritin 42
    Dhea Sulfate 29
    Progesterone <0.5 (in luteal phase day 17)
    Estradial 75

    Can you help me understand what I should be taking? My husband is noticing the hair loss. I think it's slowed down since I quit the NT. I want to be prepared when I see endo next week and inform them of NT and it's affect on me and the labwork.

    Thank you.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Tessy,

      Your story shows how we all react differently to the different thyroid medications. It may have been your body negatively reacting to your new medication or perhaps the dosage was not right for you. However there are other factors that may have happened. Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe describes what can happen and why in this article. Note in that article the importance of testing Reverse T3, adrenals and iron.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mistakes-patients-make/

      You write that your Ferritin is 42 and according to this article by thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe for Ferritin the goal is “70-90″ and if you go back to the last article you will note that low ferritin (iron) is one common reason why people react poorly to NDTs like Nature-throid. So be sure to ask your doctor to test your Free T3, Reverse T3, and adrenals. Ask your doctor about your Ferritin level.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ferritin/

      My recommendation would be to get a second medical opinion. I compiled a list of the top 10 resources that I could find to help readers find a great thyroid doctor in their area.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  38. Heather P. says:

    Tessy. The question is, why are lab numbers more important than physical symptoms? These numbers were established by assuming that only 5% of the population back in the 1930’s was hypothyroid. Scientific? In fact your TSH numbers should be zero if your healthy but could also be near zero even if you’re not. It’s the symptoms that your body uses to tell you something is not right. Being told nothing is wrong only contributes to the idea that it’s all in your head and the feeling of guilt for being “lazy” are perpetuated. Your symptoms are not a figment of your imagination. For many women, most things don’t change until the inability of your liver to convert T4 to T3 are addressed. Synthroid is fine as long as it is supplemented with T3. Find someone who will treat you as a person and not a number. Take your power back into your own hands, where it should always remain. Find an eating program that promotes the strength and health of the thyroid. litalee.com provides all kinds of free information and support.

  39. Sandra Duran says:

    Hi.I am so go-to have found you. My thyroid died when I was 20. I gained 75 pounds in a few months. And all other symptoms. Fat face, thick tongue, etc. Well I have been on levothyroxin since then. I still have symptoms. 20 years later. I sleep with a heating pad because of col feet and have been diagnosed with hypersensitivity to cold in my nose. I have gained another hundred pounds in spite of dieting and exercising. I started asking old Dr for t3 about 10 years ago. My insurance said no. I am a teacher and my district changed insurance companies and my new Dr is going to put me on t3. I gave blood this week. However, he states my thyroid is completely gone. The gland itself has been absorbed by my body. How do I treat iodine and things like that? What can I read about what to expect or look for during this process? Thank you!!!!!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Sandra,

      First you have to be sure you have all the right tests. Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe includes a list of the recommended lab work:

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/recommended-labwork/

      She also wrote an article on mistakes patients make so that you know in advance what to watch out for.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mistakes-patients-make/

      Be very careful with iodine and consult with your doctor about it. Iodine if taken too high in amount can worsen a thyroid condition. Ask your doctor to first test your iodine levels to see if you are low.

      http://thyroidbook.com/blog/iodine-and-hashimotos/

      • Hi,Dana . I read carefully all these interesting comments about thyroid deseases. I’m Maria , I live in Romania , I removed my thyroid 20 years ago . Six years I used a natural desicated formula and I felt very well .Because this drug it has not been producedfor 15 years my doctor recommented Euthyrox.And now I have 76Kg. (I had 54) . I read about Armour , I want this natural formula that it isn’t found in my country . Please help me with an email adress from a pharmacy to order it.

  40. Heather P. says:

    Hi Sandra. Use iodized white sea salt. Other than that, iodine is extremely easy to overdose so don’t mess around with it. How’s your resting pulse? Your goal would be to bring it in to the 85 BPM range. T3 usually brings it up slightly and white sea salt and or magnesium will bring it down. Often low thyroid function causes high adrenaline and in turn high pulse, so I’m not sure how your body is responding to your lack of thyroid gland. Dr. Ray Peat (Physiologist) has written some very good articles on thyroid.

  41. Hi there. I’m on day 10 of transitioning from Synthroid to Naturethroid. Synthroid dose was 112 mcg with so called normal TSH. I did convert T4 to T3 effectively but had many hypo symptoms. I started at 1 grain 10 days ago. On day 4, I increased dose to 1.5 Grain because of low pulse, burning tongue, funny chest sensation and inability to take a deep breath. Today is day 7 on 1.5 Grain. (Taking 1 Grain morning and 1/2 Grain afternoon.) I’ve been feeling great. Last couple of days I’ve been experiencing some full body flushes . They are pretty uncomfortable, keeping me up at night. Also wanted to add, that for over 20 years, I didn’t sweat . . . at all. Now, my body seems to be trying to sweat again which I wonder if its part of the transitioning from Synthroid to Naturethroid. I am also getting that funny chest sensation again and burning tongue, approximately 2 hours before my next dose and wonder if its to soon to make another dose change to 1.75 Grain or should I wait. I know that I’m not taking much. I had a partial thyroidectomy with 10 percent removed 32 years ago and was on Synthroid ever since. Tests show some active thyroid, but not sure yet how much replacement I require or whats still working in there. Is it possible that taking only T4 with successful T3 conversion and switching over to desiccated T4 and T3, is my brain still converting the desiccated T4 into T3 causing an inbalance and if so, will it eventually work itself out. Also, can I up my dose now to 1/4 Grain since it hasn’t even been 2 weeks yet? Don’t want to experience the feedback loop in a negative way. Want to reach my optimal dose correctly. Any suggestions. Thank you!

  42. Annette Tweedel says:

    Hi,
    You may have answered this in the comments, but there were so many comments, so I will go on ahead and ask. I know longer have my thyroid glands due to thyroid cancer in 2006. My question is, what ingredients and foods will stop the absorption of Armour Thyroid? My doctor seems to be having a hard time regulating my levels, so I thought, let me check and see if maybe there is an ingredient or ingredients that might be cutting the absorption of my Armour Thyroid. Would you know of any ingredients or foods that cut the absorption of Armour Thyroid. Thank you for your time.

  43. Heather P. says:

    Hi Annette. litalee.com has a prothyroid diet that works great.

    • Annette Tweedel says:

      Thank you, I will check it out.

    • Annette Tweedel says:

      Okay, I found what I think is the diet, but would this also work for someone who’s thyroid glands were removed?

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Hi Annette,

        I am not familiar with that diet. Have you tried a gluten-free diet to see if it helps your symptoms? I’ve personally benefited from gluten-free and so have so many of my readers on the Hypothyroid Mom Facebook page that it’s worth a try.

  44. Annette Tweedel says:

    Hi, Okay, I just looked at that website litalee.com for the prothyroid diet. What do I have to click into to get that diet? Thank you

  45. Heather P. says:

    Annette. You are in a special group of your own when you’ve lost a gland for whatever reason. This would have to be trial and error although I do have to say I have felt better following it. There’s no one size fits all. That being said, keeping PUFA’s at a minimum is beneficial for everyone. The final goal is to drink the right amount of quality water without overdoing it and eating good food that encourages the best balance for your body to function at it’s optimum level. This means sleeping through the night, so that you truly heal. One food additive I can’t say enough about is Carrageenan. It’s used to thicken and emulsify many foods and will do the same to your bodily fluids, once inside your body. People often wonder….why am I so stiff? PLASTIC in our foods!

  46. Hi everyone! 20 years ago when I was 16 years old I had a total Thyroidectomy and had been on synthroid ever since. At the beginning my dose was changed many times because of my symptoms until doctors found what “they said” the right dose. I felt much better but through the years I would experience high pulse rate and then my medication would be changed again. I had increased weight and fertility issues. Anxiety some times. But according to the endo i was seeing back then all these were just related to stress , mild depression because of my job. I’ve seen so many doctors and endocrinologists through all these years and none of them ever mentioned anything about the natural hormone. So I never cared to find out about natural hormones thinking synthroid was the only option I had. So about 3 months ago I was sent by a doctor to the ER because he said i was having a heart attack. I went to see him because I was experiencing palpitations, i felt very exhausted and was having panic attacks. So after many differents tests of my heart everything came out normal. So they sent me to my ob gyn who was the one checking my thyroid hormones and he confirmed it was my medication dose that needed to be lowered from .125 to .100. I felt better for a couple of weeks and then a couple of weeks ago I started to have the same symptoms . I called my obgyn, I visited and endocrinologist and both did some blood testing and both doctors told me my thyroid hormones were normal. Later that night it was a friday, and my obgyn called me again saying that he took a second look at my numbers and asked me to stop the medication over the weekend until I saw the endo again. I did feel better without the synthroid for a couple of days until I saw the endo and she asked me to keep taking .100 , that my symptoms were not related to the thyroid medication. At this point i started my research in the internet about my symptoms, and it was when I started to find out about how the thyroid works and the components it makes to metabolize our bodies. Then I found out about the natural dessicated hormone, freet3 and freet4 . i went back to the endocrinologist and asked to be tested on these, she refused saying they would not be accurate and would not help to find out the correct dose needed. So again I started an internet research on doctors who will test these levels too, I found one in my area, houston, who has great patients reviews, and he did these tests, so I was called today by his nurse and he wants me to take armour .90 . This change of medications makes me a little nervous because according to a hormone conversion chart armour.90 =synthroid.150 and as I said before I felt better without the synthroid and I assumed i needed less medication or less of the synthroid.100.. I would like to know from anyone if this is the correct conversion, im afraid of having the palpitations again and this time have a heart attack..im scared of changing medications because for 20 years its been only synthroid and now armour, I have never known of anybody taking the synthroid for many years as myself and would love to know of anyone who has done the same after many years of taking the synthetic pill if they felt better with it.

    • Whoops. Sorry Annie, I put your response under Heather’s comment. :}

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Annie,

      I completely understand your concern to switch to Armour and absolutely you need to be with a doctor with great experience with Armour that knows how to do that switch because you are right that T3 in natural desiccated thyroid can be stimulating to the heart for some people and there needs to be a gradual increase in dosage over time to give the body time to adjust. Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe has this to say about it.

      http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/natural-thyroid-101/

      My recommendation is that you visit the Stop The Thyroid Madness online community linked below to see if they have guidance on making the switch over smoothly. This group also has a private list of doctors who treat with natural desiccated thyroid to get yourself a second opinion.

      http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/NaturalThyroidHormones/

  47. Heather P. says:

    Annie, it seems to me that part of the puzzle for you has been overlooked. You probably need help with T3. Synthroid alone is not healthy for the heart. The palpitations are likely caused by high adrenaline due to the fact that the T3 part of your thyroid function has not been addressed. The only way for you to fix this is to mimic proper thyroid function including T3 with medication. There is no real advantage to “natural” thyroid supplementation as long as you deal with T3 or lack of it. Find that balance and everything else will settle down, including the “thumpy” heart. This doesn’t happen overnight so use some magnesium and white sea salt to reign your pulse in. Replace most of your water intake with coconut water, not from concentrate. This will help to balance your electrolytes.

    • Hi Annie. Very well said Heather. I could not have said it better even after personally going through it. Annie, I was on Synthroid for 32 years after partial thyroidectomy at age 16 for Graves. For the past 2 years, all my tests were ‘normal’ although I had all the symptoms of hypothyroid. Constipation was the worse. I ended up with a rectocele and prolapse. Thanks to Dana’s advice of magnesium glycinate my bowels are finally regulating. (thanks Dana!) My endo dropped my dose from 150 mcg to 112 mcg in one year after being on 150 mcg for over 20 years. That should’ve been a clue, but the TSH T4 and T3 tests were all that was ordered. I, too just found out about dessicated thyroid. I’ve been on Naturethroid for 3 weeks today. I started out on 1 grain of NT although I transitioned from 112 mcg Synthroid. Within 2 days, I would get adrenaline rushes and a racing and pounding heart. The Naturethroid 1 grain dose was simply not enough for me to start on. My first thought was “oh no . . . to much thyroid. We always think the worse don’t we? Synthroid’s ½ life is 1 week and I believe it was pretty much out of my body after 2 weeks. I increased my dose 1/2 grain and did much better. Day10, I felt a slight adrenaline rise and a racing heart (91), so I dosed another 1/4 grain. On day 17, my heart raced with little adrenaline rush and dosed another ¼ grain for a total of 2 Grains. I also take my temperature first thing in the morning upon waking. Then only 3 times a day at 9:00, 12:00 and 3:00. My very first morning temperature was so low, it didn’t even register to a line on the thermometer (I used 2 thermometers) but after a couple of days, it registered at 95.2, so I knew I was on my way! My first week’s daytime temps were 96.8 to 97.0. After two weeks, my first morning temp went up to 96.2 woohoo and my week average temp was 97.7. (Like a heatwave) After 3 weeks, my first morning temp is 96.9 and my daily average temperatures are now steady at 98.2. I also found this charting on adrenaline and hypothyroid that has helped me. http://www.drrind.com/therapies/metabolic-temperature-graph As tempting as it is, it is so important to go slow. Your body has to get use to it. The transition can be difficult at times, but I will tell you from my own personal experience, I’m already like a new person with the Naturethroid. I’m at 2 grain right now, 1.25 in the morning and .75 in the evening. and I feel good. I get my blood tests at the end of August and will know more then. Many of us seem to be flying solo and so sites like this really do help. It is so important to remain positive through the transition. Think happy thoughts. Its amazing how a positive outlook can make things run smoother. Our adrenaline react to our emotions too. As silly as it sounds, I talk to mine and ask them what they need from me. If I don’t do it, who will? What has also helped me with the transition is I eat a protein with every meal. Nut butters, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, fish, chicken, almond milk, etc. (avoid soy milk). And of course fibers, fruits and veggies along with supplements.

      • Thank you AJ!!!.. You have made my day, you dont know how much your story has made me think positive about my future life! Last night I had some night sweats and was already thinking armour might not be for me . But after reading your story im not going to give up. I will keep trying to have the normal life I’ve never had. I have been sick since I was about 10 years old , the docs misdiagnosed my problem thinking it was my body growing up too fast, at 11 years old I was 5’6″ tall and looked like a toothpick. it wasnt until i turned 16 that i was diagnosed with cancer in my thyroid when my mom noticed a bump in my neck on my left side growing pretty quick, and then after my TT I still had many problems specially IBS symptoms, palpitations, fatigue,anxiety was the major issue. Then later when i got married, infertility, endometriosis and ectopic pregnancies, although im not sure if these are related to my hypothiroidism problem , my ob gyn told me they were not, but now im thinking the opposite. Thank you very much A.J!!!

        • Hi Annie. The thyroid is the master gland of the whole body. It regulates everything. So it’s important to replace it appropriately. You, like most of us here, research and find answers as to what to do. Soon, you will learn so much, the doctor may ask you questions. My Endo has asked me. The transition from synthroid to desiccated thyroid is a process and you will meet with challenging moments. It can be scary, but we somehow work through it. When you think about it, as many as 20,000 people die each year from Gastrointestinal bleeds taking NSAID,s. but I’ve never heard of a person dying from desiccated thyroid. Our common sense must play a role in all of this. When I started sweating again after 20 years just 2 weeks ago, it scared me. Then I realized, that things were waking up inside of me. Just remember. It’s a process. And getting over the humps and bad days will eventually take you to where you need to be. Your going to doubt, and question, and cry and get scared just like we all do going through it. Thats whats nice about finding a support group. Dana has some good ones listed above. Sounds like you found a good doctor to help you through the transition too. I am married to a wonderful doctor who has helped me get through all this and yet its comforting to know someone else out there is experiencing the same thing.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Annie,

          Be sure to let your doctor know your reaction to Armour it may be your body adjusting to the T3 in Armour or perhaps a change in dosage is needed. There are two common reasons why people have hyperthyroid like symptoms when starting T3 besides dosage issues and they are abnormal adrenal function (best test is saliva for cortisol level) and abnormal iron (get full iron panel including ferritin). Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe includes this in this great article attached.

          http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me/

          It may also be your body’s reaction to Armour specifically. There are other brands of natural desiccated thyroid including Nature-throid.

    • Thank you Heather for your response, sorry if I sound ignorant on this question but how will you suggest to use the magnesium and white sea salt? (Teaspoons? With food? How many times a day ? Or can you direct me to a link where I can find out more about this… Thank you so much ! :)

  48. Heather P. says:

    Oh, and most people who are taking Synthroid won’t feel well due to the fact that the T3 part of the thryoid function generally is non existent. Both my Mom and sister had similar problems on Synthroid alone. Liothyroinine (T3) is what you should ask for. The ratio is 4:1 Synthroid to T3. Here is some extra info to help reduce your pulse a bit.

    Most patients who are hypothyroid have a daytime oral
    temperature of less than 98.6 degrees F and a
    resting pulse lower than 75.
    -A few patients have an abnormally high pulse due to excess adrenalin,
    the body’s way to compensate for sluggish thyroid function. All hypothyroid people have from 10% to 40% excess adrenalin. The higher the adrenalin, the slower you must increase your dosage of thyroid. Why? Thyroid will make the tissues more sensitive to adrenaline and some patients feel hyper at the beginning due to increasing tissue sensitivity to adrenalin. But , as the tissues become more sensitive to
    adrenaline, less will be produced and hyperactivity will disappear. That’s why you should heed my advice to increase slowly. It takes several weeks OR months to calm the adrenal glands. If you experience a racing pulse (and your temps are low), it’s due to excess adrenaline, NOT hyperthyroid function. If this happens, drink a glass of fruit juice (orange juice is the best but any good juice will work) to which you add ¼ tsp of organic (non – iodized) sea salt, or better just take some magnesium and/or sea salt (Celtic Salt best). In 30 minutes, your pulse will normalize as your blood sugar rises and your adrenaline decreases. If you hate fruit juices, eat a salty snack. The point is, eating food raises blood sugar and lowers adrenalin.

    • Ooooppsss, sorry heather , nevermind my previous question …I just read on this one how to take the magnesium and sea salt…than you thank you!!

    • Hi Heather,

      I need advice please. So, I am on Armour twice a day. I have slowly been increasing my dosage (1/2 grain every two weeks). I am up to 2 grains at the moment. I take my first dose very early in the morning, at aroudn 4:00 am when I get up for the day. And oh my goodness. About an hour later I have the shakes, can’t catch my breath, heart is racing. It’s awful. I’m almost positive I have adrenal issues. I am due to increase my dose this weekend by another 1/2 grain. Is that too soon? I just don’t know what to do. I did notice in a previous post that you recommend drinking fruit juice with a 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Maybe I should try this? Also, I am having a hard time determining what brand of Manesium Glycinate to take. I have just gone through a round of anit biotics to get rid of H. palori and am taking multiple supplements to heal my gut and also a strong probiotic to restore the good flora. My constipation issues have improved somewhat since I also take digestive enzymes with meals. But it’s still not enough. So you see, I am not only battling thyroid issues but also digestion due to damage to my intenstial tract. I eat a very clean diet, Paleo, in order to prevent and heal leaky gut, candida, etc. I feel like such a mess! Any adice you or Dana can give me will be much appreciated.

      • Heather P. says:

        Hi Nina. The dose early in the morning is a problem if you take it on an empty stomach. Always with food is my rule. Make sure the sea salt is white. Mastic gum would promote the lining of your stomach and intestines to heal. Enzymes are great, but often people are blindly using certain enzymes improperly. Multiple supplements can actually interfere with healing. One of the best ways to determine what you are digesting and not digesting is to do a Loomis test. (litalee.com) Otherwise you could be taking enzymes that are causing problems.
        Cascara Sagrada is very helpful for constipation but remember to start with a small amount even if it means splitting the tablet. How much water are you drinking? Hypothyroid individuals have trouble holding on to salt and sugar, so if you are drinking too much water, this will also cause high adrenaline….leading to the shakes and heart racing. Ultimately, small amounts of fresh orange juice mixed with the same amount of water and a sprinkle of salt would be the best thing for you to drink. Plain water is probably not a good idea for you, unless it’s with a meal. If you are peeing more than once every three hours, you are drinking too much. Everyone is different so I can’t say the exact amount you should be drinking. At any given point in time that your urine is clear, you’ve had enough water for the day. Also water of any kind after supper is a no no. You will sleep better and not wake up hungry in the middle of the night or wake up with a headache in the morning (due to a sugar crash). What are your temps like? I hope this helps settle things down a bit for you.

      • Heather P. says:

        Hi again Nina. As for diet, I’d get rid of nuts and seeds except for macadamia nuts. Most nuts and seeds irritate the lining of the intestines and cause alkaline urine. Until things are healed up, even seeds from fruit (strawberries and raspberries) can cause problems. Potatoes and yams are excellent soothing foods, even with some butter and salt. One thing you can watch for to help yourself is the pH of your urine an hour before or two hours after food. I bet yours is too alkaline (constipated). Do not drink altered alkaline water. It’s better to keep the urine around 6.2 ish. Also, if your stools are floating you are not digesting fats and lipase (enzyme) would be indicated. I didn’t comment on Armour because I’ve never used it because it’s pork derived as far as I know. I have used beef thyroid glandular successfully but am currently using CynoPlus which is a 4:1 ratio of LEVOTHYROXINE-LIOTHYRONINE. This has also remedied the constipation somewhat. I would recommend supplementing your thyroid glandular with a very small dose (increase very slowly) of T3 (LIOTHYRONINE) because for many people this is the missing piece of the puzzle. The thyroid doesn’t heal overnight so patience is highly recommended. My high adrenaline condition much the same as yours, completely disappeared as my thyroid began to function properly with the right protocol.

        • Annette Tweedel says:

          Hi Heather,
          Just to let you know, from what I understand the Armour Thyroid is a part of the pork thyroid glands. I wish I could find something to take that was not pork related, but because of the fact that I don’t have my thyroid glands anymore, the only medicines that I can take are either Synthroid or Armour Thyroid.

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Hi Heather, thanks for sharing great information. I just want to be sure all my readers are safe and under doctor supervision if they take thyroid glandulars which contain thyroid hormone. I worry that readers will not take the right amount and there is danger to taking too much thyroid hormone so I always caution that these types of treatments be done under doctor supervision.

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Hi Nina,

        Be sure to contact your doctor about your symptoms with Armour. It may just be your body adjusting to the T3 in Armour but safer to call your doctor and let him/her know your reaction. There are two common reasons why people experience hyperthyroid like symptoms to T3 meds: poor adrenal function (best test is saliva test for cortisol) and abnormal iron levels (be sure to have full iron panel including ferretin). Be sure also to have your Free T3 and Reverse T3 tested.

        Thyroid advocate Janie Bowthorpe wrote a great article attached about natural desiccated thyroid.

        http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me/

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Heather,

      I appreciate your time to share your answers with everyone. I see Gloria’s point that it is so challenging to make general statements that will apply in everyone’s case. Absolutely there will be readers that have these same issues but others that have completely different ones.

  49. Heather P. says:

    Hi Gloria. This dialogue reveals the importance of having a doctor to help find the right dose and also what to expect. Sounds like that is happening for you. I understand that blanket statements can’t and don’t apply to 100% of people. What I do know, from my hypothryoid condition… I could have a resting pulse of 50 BPM and at times lower during the day……but at the same time I also could have a racing pulse at bedtime for no apparent reason. My doctor told me it was just anxiety. Once I finally got treated properly for hypothryoidsim these wild swings in pulse rate completely disappeared and never returned. My hope is, that someone who isn’t getting the help they need will read this and see themselves. Hope that there is a solution rather than fear of the unknown is of utmost importance here.

  50. Hi Dana
    I have book marked your site, really interesting. I have been diagnosed for about 18 months now and I weigh more now than when I was pregnant, also I still feel tired, acheyand always constipated! I started on 25mg now I am on 75mg Levo. I really want to try NDT but I know that my GP will not allow me, they know very little about the Throid, I think I have been through all the GP’s in my surgery now. I had bloods done yesterday so await the results, I suspect I will be in the range so no changes will be made despite me feeling unwell for the most part. They even told me to take isoflavines for hot flushes which as you know contraindicate with the thyroid, she is unsympathetic and said I’d have to up with them as ‘I am stuck between a rock and a hard place’ I did my own research I now use sage tablets which do the trick.

    I also take magnesium, vitamin D and selenium. What would your advice be to me to try and get NDT from my GP without getting them annoyed at me and is there anything more I can do? Thanks in advance x

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Gilly,

      In June 2013 at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting ENDO 2013, natural desiccated thyroid was said to be a safe alternative for hypothyroidism sufferers not responding to Levothyroxine. Bring your doctor this article.

      http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/highlights-from-endo-2013/desiccated-thyroid-extract-a-safe-alternative-to-levothyroxine-in-hypothyroidism

      What type of magnesium are you taking. Magnesium glycinate at night reversed my constipation. Be sure to have your magnesium tested.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/constipation-the-embarrassing-hypothyroidism-symptom-that-may-save-lives/

      • Thanks for your reply Dana.
        I will read the links thoroughly.
        I take 200mg Magnesium tablets, 1 per day, I have never had this tested but my GP won’t do these kind of bloods they just say well drink lots of water etc and don’t tackle the real root of my problems. Is the glycinate in a different form? I will google! The only think I can do that does help (but I have to religiously stick to it) it I have a huge glass of prune juice each night, not particularly nice ( I add a little lemonade to help) but this does help.
        I have just had my bloods done, they have only tested my TSH level (1.2 lowest ever) so I am of course classed as normal they won’t do any other testing as this meets their standard…..Frustrating

        • Dana Trentini says:

          Gilly,

          It’s time to search for a new doctor, a doctor who will do all the testing for you and who will explore T3 treatment including natural desiccated thyroid with you. I take a much higher dose of magnesium, but that is recommended by my doctor based on my lab tests for magnesium. Without testing you will not know if you are taking enough or too much that is why testing is so important. I compiled a list of the top 10 resources to help readers find good thyroid doctors in their area. I’ve had several readers have luck finding a doctor too by calling local pharmacies and compounding pharmacies for the names of doctors that prescribe natural desiccated thyroid brands like Armour and Nature-throid.

          http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

          • Thanks Dana. I have booked a telephone call from my GP, the way they work is they call you and THEY decide if you are sick enough to warrant an actual face to face appointment. I have a feeling I am going to have to say all I need to in my 5 minute slot, so in this I shall raise:
            Bloods, can I get other tests as well as just TSH
            Vitamins/Supplements – can I get tested for these levels
            NDT – can I trial this and if I choose to buy myself will you support me?
            T3 – If I can’t have NDT would you be willing to let me trial this?
            Hashimotos – As my antibody level was 319 18 months ago.
            Adrenals – As my temperature is low should this be addressed?

            I shall ask if they can support be with symptoms rather than TSH (which she will say is fine at 1.2) and that my temperatures are consistently running low at 35.0 to 35.5 but that I think I know the answer to that one! I shall also ask if I can be referred to an Endo mind you I hope it’s not the local one we have all the controversy with in Sheffield UK!

            Please could you let me know what you think I can say to convince her to help me? Is there anything else you think I could say?
            Many thanks x

          • Dana Trentini says:

            Hi Gilly,
            Yes those are great points that you mentioned. If your doctor tells you that he/she doesn’t prescribe natural desiccated thyroid let them know about this article from The Endocrine Society that came out recently.

            https://www.endocrine.org/news-room/current-press-releases/animal-thyroid-extract-as-effective-as-t4-in-treating-hypothyroidism

            You specifically want testing for Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, adrenals, full iron panel and D3 at a minimum. Best wishes to you.

    • Heather P. says:

      Once again Gilly, the system has made you a NUMBER. Treat the low thyroid condition and the constipation will disappear. The best solution is always with a doctor’s help. Find a doctor to help you, by asking a pharmacist which doctors are prescribing glandulars. A small dose of T3 (LIOTHYRONINE) along with the glandular is always a good idea. Drinking too much water does not correct constipation rather it often makes it worse. Only drink enough water to create urination every three hours during daylight. Stop water drinking at 6pm. Juice and milk are fine in the evening if you are thirsty. Get yourself some Cascara Sagrada to maintain proper bowel function. Start with a half dose even if it means splitting the tablet. I find taking it with meals works best for me. You should have two bowel movements per day if you are eating enough. Your stools should NOT float otherwise you are not digesting fats and should seek out some lipase. As for supplementing with Selenium ….DON’T. It’s too easy to overdose. You can get enough Selenium from eating just one Brazil nut per day. That is the absolute best way of getting Selenium. One a day!

  51. Thank you, Heather. I have eliminated nuts, in particular almonds because I recently found out through food allergy test(blood) that I am intolerant to them, dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, soy. Concerning th pH of my urine, do you recommend I buy the test strips? I found some through Amazon that I can purchase. Also, I have not taken my temperataure since my doc first put me on the Armour. I will do this again since you mentioned it. I agree about taking Armour with food. When I take my afternoon dose I do not get the shakes, palpitations, etc. Today is a really bad day. I will take it with food from now on. And I will speak to my doc about adding a small dose of T3. Thanks again for your help. It can be so frustrating and it’s good to know that there are sites such as this one where people can get help and advice.

  52. Please check out Thyroid Sexy on Facebook. Awesome info and support. I live their posts!

  53. Heather P. says:

    Gilly, your temps are “Subarctic”! It seems that low temperatures are often ignored as meaningless. I hibernated for years with very low temperatures and pulse. For me, treatment with T3 was the ONLY thing that raised my temps. Bringing your temps up to normal will also boost your immune system. Fix the thyroid malfunction and the adrenals will heal on their own. If you try to heal the adrenals without first addressing thyroid issues, it is not only a waste of money but is also like “beating a dead horse”. Many people are mineral deficient which leads to high adrenaline. White sea salt provides the necessary minerals and helps to reduce high adrenaline. It will not elevate your blood pressure, on the other hand table salt will.

    • Hi Heather
      I know they are low but funny thing is I don’t feel cold, far from it I have to take sage to stop hot flushes which were making me so uncomfortable earlier this year. Unfortunately I think my GP will ignore this symptom, I am keeping a chart to monitor this as evidence. Hopefully I may get to trial T3 but at £52.00 per month (according to the BNF – British National Formulary) I doubt my GP will want to do this.
      Prior to be being diagnosed I went through a particularly stressful time just before and after my dad died and I felt on the verge of collapse some days (but still went to work) I had the most terrible low pack pain which I can’t describe like deep within me and I wondered if this was my adrenal glands looking back, I don’t suppose I will ever know it’s just a thought.

      • Sorry, I don’t know what I hit there to end up with the random link!

      • Heather P. says:

        Hi Gilly. You might want to have a look at these links as to using sage. I had some hot flashes happening but they disappeared as my thyroid healed. http://www.litalee.com/documents/Thyroid%20Resistance.pdf
        http://www.litalee.com/documents/Estrogen%20Toxic%20Side%20Effects.pdf
        For pain management, I recommend learning about the Melt Method. It works on so many different levels, including stress.

        • Hi Heather
          The link is very interesting, coconut oil it is then! I am wondering if the fact I have stopped having the hot flushes is due to my thyroid being better medicated, however it co-incides and has many similar symptoms for the menopause so who knows, I tried to pick a herb that didn’t contraindicate, and this is the first time I have seen sage listed as being anti thyroid despite my GP recommending I try soy isoflavines!!! I think I will gradually stop the sage to see what happens..thank you for this useful information.

        • Gilly,
          I too am bothered by hot flashes. How long did it take for the sage to work?

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Gilly,

        Not only have I read about stress as a trigger for thyroid conditions, but I’ve lived it. During extreme stressful times in my life my thyroid meds have increased. No doubt the stress takes a toll on our adrenal and thyroid health which are so intricately connected. Sad part is adrenals are rarely tested so you have to be an advocate for yourself to get testing.

        There is a thyroid advocacy group called Thyroid UK. Check out their site.

        http://www.thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/diagnosis/private_doctors.html

        • Hi Dana
          Stress has a lot to answer for, I have too many in my life but they are not likely to be resolved in the future in fact if anything things are going to get worse so I need to take care of myself to handle it.
          Thank you for the link, it’s a website I frequent often!

          • Dana Trentini says:

            Gilly,

            Stress is a killer for me. We have to try to care for ourselves and relieve our stress. I know that stress played a big part in my worsening hypothyroidism. Take care.

  54. Heather P. says:

    Hi Gilly. Pregnenolone has been shown to greatly reduce hot flashes, increase resistance to stress (converts cortisol), increase sexual desire in those women who are low in estrogen due to peri-menopause, and improve mood and energy. Pregnenolone is a powerful memory enhancer and immune stimulant and is anti-inflammatory.
    Pregnenolone converts to DHEA (it does what DHEA does, but is safer), PROGESTERONE in women and TESTOSTERONE in men without inhibiting one’s own production of the hormone. “Preg” is one of the most effective MOOD AND MEMORY enhancers. Pregnenolone should be taken in the morning and early afternoon, before meals. Pregnenolone can make one feel like one’s “own self” again.
    Pregnenolone is the “mother hormone,” made directly from cholesterol within the mitochondria. In addition to memory enhancement, a partial list of pregnenolone’s diverse benefits include: Complete hormone balance. Does everything DHEA does and more. Unlike DHEA, pregnenolone readily converts into progesterone. Protection from cortisol/cortisone. Cortisol levels increase with normal aging causing immune impairment. Pregnenolone helps protect against the effects of elevated cortisol including atrophy of the skin, osteoporosis, hot flashes in women and possibly adult-onset diabetes.

    • Heather your Pregnenolone info is great , however, I have to disagree with the part where you state it turns into Progesterone in women and Testosterone in men.
      I tried Preg before going on BHRT at Menopause for hot flashes and instead, the Pregnenolone turned into Dhea (levels went sky high, way over range) and into Testosterone, I was so hot to trot and had acne worse than when I was a teenager!
      and it never turned into Progesterone for me as I was at zero (level undetectable) after taking 10 mgs sublingual Preg for 3 months. I am now on Progesterone, Bi est, a small amount of Testosterone, plus, I am on my 4th month of Erfa Thyroid and feeling well again, after having terrible low thyroid symptoms that were passed off as Menopause due to labs being within range. In any case, I did discuss with my BHRT specialist /GP and she prefers to prescribe exactly the hormone needed, rather than take Preg and hope it will convert into what you need. It may work for some, but for me, it didn’t.

  55. I need some help please… After the levoxyl recall I was put on synthroid 150mcg(previously on levoxyl 150mcg). I soon developed insomnia and severe heart and palpitations and anxiety.. My dr switched me to tirosint 150 but immediately after my first pill I had terrible burning in my chest that lasted all day and night( I couldn’t sleep even tho I took lunesta) . I then met with another dr who rxd me naturethroid 97.5mcg after 6 days I had the chest burning return and I’ve been on 1/2 a pill for 2 days with chest burning.. ( I’ve been having to take Xanax to sleep) I have never been on any other sort if pills except adrenal support and fish oil. I need help.. What is this burning from the meds?

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Mandy,

      I am sorry to hear what’s happening to you as a result of the recall. Our bodies are all different in how we react to the fillers and binding agents in the different brands. It’s possible your body is reacting to something in these brands you’ve tried. Also it may be a dosage issue. Signs of over-medication are hyperthyroid symptoms like racing heart, shakiness, heart palpitations, insomnia, sweating, nervousness. So it may be the dosage isn’t right. Then there are two other factors that cause people to have bad reactions to thyroid medications: poor adrenal function (the best test is saliva test for cortisol level) and poor iron (get a full iron panel including ferritin). In case it is that you are reacting to the ingredients in the brands, the other option is to work with a doctor who prescribes compounded medications that are prepared individually by compounding pharmacies where they don’t use the fillers and binding agents that other brands use. The first step is to be sure you have full thyroid testing that includes Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, adrenals, and iron.

  56. Heather P. says:

    Naz. Your hair will keep falling out until you correct your ferritin levels. Pau d arco should help correct that. Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet too. Eat meat.

  57. Perhaps I am the only one who does not know….. in case, here it is so we do know more….

    Please do a post on this bill to ban naturally desiccated thyroid hormone. I will be writing about this on my website too, but here is the active place of all experiences and those who are learning. I am only a storyteller. So am turning this over to ask you to cover it, I know from here it will spread to the other thyroid sites very easily.
    http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/pharmaceutical-companies-want-to-eliminate-natural-thyroid-hormone-with-new-law/

    http://www.anh-usa.org/help-us-protect-natural-thyroid-hormone/

    I just read about it and am quite distraught. I was on Synthroid at top levels and suffering and got breast cancer to boot. After switching to the natural compounded thyroid hormone, I was much improved. My levels raised, symptoms dropped away that with the Synthroid had not given improvement, though there was much improvement, I cannot say there was not. But the natural gave 80% more when there had been little hope of improving.

    I know I am not alone. I know that without the natural compound I would be left to die a slow death. I need this compounded natural medicine for my brain power, heart function, D3 uptake, energy, spiritual ease that does not leave me depressed for no reason, so much more.

    I pay out-of-pocket for all the thyroid medications prescribed by my natural endocrinologist. I stopped using the Synthroid and the insurance does not pay for it any more, so I imagine they have a chart of percentages of patients that switched, easy software. Though it is inexpensive, so to speak, for the prescription, the insurance and prescription drug providers want their take? Instead of allowing us our well-being and renewed health.

    Please do an article and let it spread. We need to stop this bill.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Essa,

      This is something that I’ve posted about and supported fellow thyroid advocates in getting the word out on my Hypothyroid Mom Facebook page. I hear you and I’m upset about it too.

  58. This is really a nice write up Dana., I am male aged 30yrs. I have TSH > 100. I have had high cholesterol (330). I just read your other posts and now understand that we should do complete thyroid panel instead of just TSH and T4, but i want to know, is there any cure for Hashimoto. I mean as of now its targeting thyroid, with any thyroid replacement (natural or levo) we can fix that deficit. But how to stop other auto immune diseases that can happen to me later on?

  59. I used Synthroid for 13 years. I was so sick that I thought I was going to die. I was told that I had Hoshimoto. I was so weak that I could not leave my house.
    Two months ago, I began to use Armour. My head immediately felt better. I no longer felt sick (flulike symptoms) and my headaches went away & my peripheral vision returned.
    However, my body is worse. I have absolutely no strength and I feel like I am going to die any minute. The afternoons are sometimes better. But, I feel like I am at Death’s Door in the morning. My body feels as though it is in emergency distress. Could I be allergic to something in the Armour or could the Armour have something in it that I do not need? Should I try the Canadian Armour or the Compounded Armour? Does anyone have sound advise?
    Also where is the best thyroid doctor that can perform miracles? I will travel anywhere.

  60. Do you know if there is a NDT that is not taken from pigs? I do not eat pork and don’t feel 100% comfortable taking medication made from pork. Or is there another natural alternative? I am currently on Synthroid and still suffering from symptoms. Thanks!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Sarah,

      There are thyroid glandular products made from cow thyroid. Also your doctor can prescribe a compounded medication of both T4 and T3 from a compounding pharmacy. Another option is to add synthetic T3 like Cytomel in addition to the Synthroid.

  61. Hi Dana,

    I am 27 yrs, now I am in 7th week of pregnant with hypothyroid. I got checked in the 6th week and the results are like this, TSH: 24 and FT4: 0.79. Doctor suggested me to go with 75 mcg of levothyroxine per day. Please let me know if there is any problem to the baby and if there is any, Is this medication is good enough to have the healthy baby? Also I am taking Iron related medication along with the thyroid med. but I had seen your comment somewhere, it is better to take iron med at different time.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hello Rajeev,

      Congratulations on your pregnancy. Your TSH of 24 is high and needs to be lowered. This is why your doctor has prescribed Levothyroxine. We’re all different in terms of what dosage would be right to lower your TSH to the ideal. However one thing you should do is bring a copy of the American Thyroid Association guidelines for pregnancy in the link below to your doctor.

      http://thyroidguidelines.net/pregnancy/results

      RECOMMENDATION 2

      If trimester-specific reference ranges for TSH are not available in the laboratory, the following reference ranges are recommended: first trimester, 0.1–2.5 mIU/L; second trimester, 0.2–3.0 mIU/L; third trimester, 0.3–3.0 mIU/L.

      Yes please don’t take your iron at the same time as your thyroid medication because it will interfere with the absorption same with calcium supplements. Even your prenatal vitamin you shouldn’t take at the same time because prenatal vitamins often contain iron and calcium. Wait 3-4 hours between taking your thyroid meds and taking iron or calcium. Thyroid Advocate Mary Shomon has these guidelines for taking your thyroid meds properly. Best wishes to you and your baby.

      thyroid.about.com/library/howto/htthyroid-drugs.htm

  62. Hi Dana. First I would like to say thank you for all your valuable information. I first went to my GP when I was 21 after the birth of my son with symtoms where I was diagnoised with depression. I took the medication for 2 weeks and hated the way it made me feel. 2 years later (living with the symptoms) I went to a walk in clinic for the flu and the dr said my neck felt big. Tests were done and I was then diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease. My heart rate was at 156 bpm I was also put on ratio atenol. The propylthyracil and other meds wouldn’t lower it enough so I was sent to have it removed with an emergancy surgery. I was given an amazing endocryniologist who had me on 150 eltroxin and 25mcg cytomel. It was working very well. Then my specialist retired and said my GP willbe able to takw care of me from now on. After a routine blood test I was told my level was on the higher side (now I’m assuming the TSH, my specialist always tested T3 & T4) I was then put on 100 synthroid and the cytomel was taken away. Now for the last 2.5 years been batteling my GP to test me (every month) who continued to tell me my levels were normal (even when my TSH was 6.2) I recently went to Toronto to a clinic and seen an Internist who told me my levels were low and upped my synthroid to 153 (the max) I did feel better at first my but now 9 weeks later the tired sluggish symptoms are starting to return. My question is how to I proceed from here. I’m so tired of fighting with my GP and I don’t know where to go from here. I askes him to refer me to a specialist and he refuses to do so. I just feel so helpless. He refuses to test any levels other than TSH and refuses to prescribe anything other than the synthroid. I had also been prescribed iron 3x daily from the internist as my levels were low. I also had to go back to a heart specialist because my heart was showing signs of potential heart attack and my enzymes were at .043 when they are suppose to be .015. All due to inproper treatment by my GP. I live in Ontario Canada. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Chauntel,

      I am sorry what’s happening to you with your doctor. Please you must find another doctor. The fact you felt well on the combination of eltroxin and cytomel means like many of us you do better on a combination of T4 and T3 treatment. Since you are now on T4 only medication Synthroid only and you are no longer taking the T3 Cytomel, this is why you are not doing well now. The majority of us do better on a combination of T4 and T3 as you experienced so now you have to find a new doctor who is open to the combination.

      Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon includes a list of thyroid doctors in Canada and I know there are ones listed for Toronto. I am born and raised in Toronto before moving to the US so I’ve checked out her list for Toronto too. Happy to connect with Canadians. Also you can try calling all the local pharmacies and ask for the names of doctors who prescribe Cytomel as well as natural desiccated thyroid such as the brand “Thyroid” by the Canadian company Erfa, and go see one of them.

      http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdrs/canada.htm

  63. Do you know if they have any natural thyroid drug made from an animal other than pigs (sheep for instance)? They have had me in synthetic thyroid hormone for years but my symptoms if anything have worsen. I hardly sleep, continue to have night sweats (even with the temp at 6o degrees!), tire easily and my heart feels like its going to jump out of my chest whenever I try some serious exercise. I have gained over 50 pounds since I was first put in the hormone…

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Susana, I know there are bovine thyroid glandulars in thyroid support products. Since they contain animal thyroid be sure to discuss it with your doctor and have regular monitoring of your levels and recommendation on dosages for you.

  64. Jen Douglas says:

    Hi,

    I was diagnosed as hypothyroid 10 years ago after the birth of my first child. After a few months of figuring out a dose I was put on 75mcg where I stayed for the next 9 years. After the birth of my 3rd child in June 2012, my thyroid went haywire and over the past year I have felt awful – exhausted, achy, forgetful, irritable, constipated. I was finally referred to an endocrinologist recently and he did the antibody test. I received the results yesterday and the number was 804 (normal = <35). When I called his office the receptionist just gave me a message that I should start taking 1/2 my usual dose (currently 150 mcg) on Sundays and take the usual 150 mcg Mon-Sat. I can't find any information on this and he wasn't available to discuss it. Does anyone know anything about this dosing and how it is supposed to help?

    Thanks!
    Jen

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Jen,

      Hashimoto’s is a thyroid autoimmune condition where the body produces thyroid antibodies against the thyroid. The sad part is that like you I have many readers who go decades with hypothyroidism never knowing they have Hashimoto’s until they read an article on my blog and get tested. The good news though is that now you know the cause you can do something about it. I’m not sure why your doctor wants you to reduce your dose on Sundays and I would push to get an answer to that before doing it. Also it sounds like you should get a second medical opinion. Levothyroxine drugs like Synthroid are the main drug prescribed but as you know from this article they don’t work for all of us. The fact you aren’t feeling well means you may not be treated properly or all the potential factors haven’t been tested. Here are resources to help you locate a doctor. Also you should read a new book by Dr. Izabella Wentz on Hashimoto’s.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-thyroiditis-lifestyle-interventions-for-finding-and-treating-the-root-cause/

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

  65. Thank you so much for your blog! It makes me feel like I am not alone on this journey of hypothyroidism. I was very surprised to be diagnosed with a thyroid problem. I was feeling VERY tired and a host of other ailments associated with hypothyroidism that were highlighted on your “list of 300 symptoms” I got initial bloodwork and got the diagnosis. My doctor started me on Synthroid 125mg and I felt great! Every 6 weeks I am going in for blood work and my bloodwork is showing that I am becoming hyperthyroid, so my doctor has lowered my dose to 88 mg and then on my last visit to 75mg. I told my dr that I felt better on the higher doses. He recently added Cytomel about 3 weeks ago and I think that is helping. I have been investigating different blogs on the Internet and was surprised at how some blogs are so negative about Synthroid. One of the benefits Synthroid has is that it can decrease the size of a thyroid nodule and help it to become less vascular. I had an initial ultrasound when I was diagnosed. It showed that I had 1 nodule. I had a biopsy which revealed herthle cells. I saw a ENT and he recommended to have it removed. We decided to wait 3 months and see if the nodule reduced in size with Synthroid before surgery. Fast forward 3 months. I was quite surprised when my doctors told me that the nodule had decreased in size by40%. We decided to hold off on surgery and re-evaluate in another 3 mos. My doctor was quite surprised that the nodule had decreased in size that quickly. I do feel everyone metabolizes medicines and hormones differently. What works for some people may not work for others. I don’t feel that all endocrinologists that prescribe Synthroid are being paid or funded by the pharmaceutical maker.(this is what I have read on another popular website). It all about what works for you individually. My doctor suggested Synthroid, but also told me that there was many other thyroid hormones on the market that I could try too. (I kind of feel like I am having to defend Synthroid) All I can say is that it is currently working for me. I like that fact that you put the information out there on your blog and don’t judge treatment options that work for each patient. I applaud you for empowering us with knowledge so that as patients we can work with our doctors to come up with individualized treatment plans that work for us. I have 4 kids and they are liking this new improved energized Mom!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Gwen,

      I agree with you 100% that we’re all different in terms what treatment is best for us. I have many readers like you that do great on Synthroid. I have others that are doing great on Synthroid along with Cytomel. But then I have others who do terrible on Synthroid and others who like me after trying the options found natural desiccated thyroid was the best for them. It sounds like you are lucky to have found an open minded doctor who was open to the options including Cytomel. The sad part is that the majority of my readers are with doctors who will only prescribe Synthroid and even after changing their dosage for years and suffering debilitating symptoms their doctor won’t consider other options. Many doctors refuse to prescribe Cytomel let alone natural desiccated thyroid. My issue is that patients should have the right to have all the options accessible to them so that if one isn’t working that doctors will be open to exploring the options until they find what works for each patient. We’re all different.

  66. Hi, Glad I have found your web page. I have taken Synthroid for around 6 years and I honestly cannot remember anymore why?? From what I can remember it was because I was tired. So my doctor tested my thyroid and that was it. Synthroid for last years. I am 34 and hope to soon conceive a child in the next year or two. I have decided to go off Synthroid and start from the beginning. I believe to have had only 2 symptoms. Tired and weight gain. I have also been pregnant back when I was 25. And due to a Ectopic pregnancy, I decided not to go forward with it. So being pregnant for that time may have cause some of those symptoms and maybe I did not need any medication. As I have heard that after pregnancy thyroid function usually returns to normal. I just feel really disappointed because when I go to the doctor, they offer no answers, just take the pill. I feel as though I am just a rat. So I hope to just keep you in my loop and hope to figure this out. Do you know if I was to have a severe thyroid problem and if I do stop taking Synthroid , what and how long can the symptoms return?? What should I watch for the most? I also have worked night shift for the past year straight so I already feel as if I am tired and drained all the time??

  67. Hi! My doc just tested my T3, and I was “low-normal. My symptoms are getting bad (my heart rate is in the 40s) and I feel YUCKY. So, my doc put me on Armour. I started just today. My question is this… How long does it take to feel better? She said I should feel better right away. My heart rate is so low right now I feel like I’m slowing to a stop. NOT a good feeling. :(

  68. Wow! Thanks for all of the information. I am having an array of symptoms and I suspect that low T3 levels may be the culprit. For years I had TSH & T4 testing. I bounced around after previous pregnancies, but they never tested my T3. The past year of I have had severe constipation, irregular periods, night sweats, hair thinning & shedding, etc. Finally I switched doctors and discovered that my TSH & T4 are in normal ranges 2.162 and 1.06 respectively. But my T3 is borderline low (2.22) and from what you were saying, it may be much lower than it should be. My doctor prescribed 1500 mg. of L-Tyrosine daily. I have no idea if this is what I need. I am interested in the natural dessicated thyroid but from what I read, it seems to have TSH & T4 supplements in it as well and may not be right for someone who is only low in T3. Is that correct? I want to get my life back, my hair back, and I want to be healthy enough to conceive another child in my 40’s. Any specific suggestions that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Blessings…

  69. Hello,

    I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism three weeks ago. For months I’ve been tired, cold, having joint pain and my hair is falling out everywhere. My Dr. said my THS was boarderline high but due to the severity of my symptoms she was placing me on 75mcg a day. Within three days my joint pain was worse and I had terrible swelling and tightness in my chest. When I called, she reduced my dosage to 50mcg a day. I still have swelling in my hands, face, knees and feet and my hair has begun to fall out again. I’m so tired all the time. I’m at aloss and don’t know what what other tests to ask for. I just want to feel normal again. Any guidance?????

  70. I would like to ask if you are still on Nature-Throid and doing well on it? Wasn’t Nature-Throid also reformulated about a year after Armour was, and in a similar way (addition of cellulose)? In your opinion, what is the difference between the two brands?

  71. Hello:
    I had a question, and I’m not able to find this anywhere through my research. How many Natural Sources Raw Thyroid pills equals the same potency of Armour thyroid (or Westhroid, or Naturethroid, or other). If you or anyone knows, I would greatly appreciate your input. Thanks!

    • Good question! And I’m curious too. I’m on Nature-Throid but just yesterday I took one of my Raw Thyroid pills from Natural Source because I’m in so much pain and don’t think my prescription is strong enough anymore. Here’s the “available strengths” page for Nature-Throid –

      http://www.nature-throid.com/available_strengths.php

      My dosage is currently 32.5mg (my prescription bottle actually reads 32.4). My bottle of Raw thyroid that I bought from Amazon shows it is 390mg.

      The very last pill on that “Nature-Throid Available Strengths” page is 5 Grain @ 325mg. Wow! So if I’m correct in my thinking – Raw Thryroid from Natural Source is higher than the highest dosage of Nature-Thyroid. Of course you’d have to check your Raw Thyroid pill bottle because maybe you have a lower dose than I do .. or higher! Be careful. If you’re hypo you don’t want to throw yourself into hyper. Hope I’ve been a little helpful. – Jodi

      • *ONE Raw Thryroid from Natural Source is higher than the highest dosage of Nature-Thyroid. Of course you’d have to check your Raw Thyroid pill bottle because maybe you have a lower dose than I do .. or higher! Be careful. If you’re hypo you don’t want to throw yourself into hyper. Hope I’ve been a little helpful. – Jodi*

        Sorry, My word of “One” didn’t go through when I edited the post it before it actually posted.

  72. my wife is 7 months pregnant and her tsh came back at 3.5 with her t3 and t4 falling with normal and acceptable range. The midwife wants to put her on medicine, which could mean for the rest of her life-i do not like this option and will try to avoid it at all cost.
    we are very wellness minded and i personally dislike medicines and avoid them at all cost due to the side effects and eagerness of doctors prescribing them to patients without adequate diagnosis. we are organic, natural, non-chemical family and try to fix issues homeopathically.

    would you say that natural desiccated liver could be the answer to helping her thyroid out during this pregnancy? do you have any other suggestions to help her out? i want her to feel good again and make sure our baby is healthy. i also want to avoid medicine at all cost.

    • Hi Lee. I am of the same mind with treating health and well being in a natural way. If you live in the USA, you can buy American Biologics beef thyroid glandular OTC very easily. I don’t view this as a drug but as nutrition and it works. Yes, the TSH is a bit high, but at 7 months, starting drugs IMO is not the answer. It’s no big panic. It takes a full month for “numbers” to respond anyway. It is not an overnight fix. I did find reducing grains and in particular removing gluten helped my thyroid function immensely. Do not let fear mongering enter the equation.

  73. Kathleen says:

    Hi, and thank you for your response. So I have finally went to a Naturopath. She is very willing to help me. As the Dr. I was seeing was refusing to try anything different. I am currently weening myself back off synthroid. I went back on it!! And she(Naturopath) has also added Armour. Yeah finally some help!! She also did the complete blood work. which has shown my antibodies to be at 362. I have gone on a complete Gluten free and No diary diet. It is challenging but have breakfast down pat so far!! I am starting to feel better and will go in a month to run my #’s again. This is such a confusing battle. I hope to have more answers soon!!!

  74. My hope is, that no matter what the “numbers” are….you get some help with symptoms. I find the “system” makes people just “numbers”. Another thing that helped me in a big way, way determining my pH tendencies. Your body has a circadian rhythm but your pH also has a rhythm of it’s own. I’m not encouraging over analyzing pH but if you are tired and can’t get going in the morning it could be that you are over alkaline at the wrong time of day. There’s a scientist named Steve Fowkes in California who has a site called Projectwellbeing.com and his information helped me to get a handle on being healthier overall by paying attention to my pH tendencies. It is not a one size fits all. The key is testing the urine pH mainly in the afternoon for a few days to see what your “pattern” is. As the day progresses you are supposed to become more alkaline which induces sleepiness and proper sleep patterns. The ability to wake and feel good requires that you become a bit more “acid”. That’s why coffee works very well, just don’t make it with alkaline water and only drink it in the morning. Coffee, actually has an acid effect for the first few hours and then becomes an alkaline influence on the body after that. What I’ve learned is that health isn’t just about one body system and that there are other things that can improve your health in a big way. For instance, if I drink or eat something that is extremely alkaline first thing in the morning, it can ruin my whole day. So coffee and protein are great for me. You need to figure out what your particular “chemistry” needs to feel optimal. I hope this helps you to regain some power.

  75. After six weeks of debilitating joint paint and extreme exhaustion as well as many other strange symptoms, I found this website and sought out a doctor to check my thyroid. He did and came back with low thyroid and started me on Armour. I have been on 30 mg of Armour for one week. I’m now having terrible muscle cramps in my calves I can hardly walk, it feels like my tendons are stretched to their limit. And now I’m starting to feel this same muscle pain in my back and arms. I’m also feeling a strange all over tingling and mild migraine headache each day. My doctor is out of the office for a few days. I’m just wondering if this is a side effect of the Armour? I’m also taking vitamin D. Is there something else I need to be doing or have tested that will help the Armour work properly. I’m so confused. I was really hoping to start feeling better not worse. Help! Thanks!

    • Get some magnesium glycinate. Also take one B6 tablet because it will help your body “uptake” the magnesium and get rid of those muscle cramps. Likely some dietary improvements would help as well. You aren’t vegetarian by chance? Eat clean meats, root and green veggies and good fats. Limit grains….specifically gluten and avoid all liquid vegetable oil that are liquid at room temperature except high quality olive oil and don’t cook with it. Low thyroid drags liver function down, so you could be experiencing some detox symptoms. Drink enough water but don’t overdo it. The kidneys only handle 4oz every 1/2 hr so sipping is the best route to go. Get outside in nature as much as possible, this will increase electrons (antioxidants) to help your body recover. Get enough salt and use sea salt without fear. This will help balance your electrolytes.

  76. Hi Dana! What about the glands from animals that you can get from Vitaminshoppe, for thyroid? Do they compare with something like Amor/ are the similar? I was thinking of buying one.
    Thank you!
    Kary

  77. You can, but those products aren’t as powerful as the extract version. You’d be better off with a prescription from a doctor IMO.

  78. I really enjoyed the reading here. Thanks for such a wonderful site. It’s nice to be able to read what is happening with others and compare. To know I’m not alone is this madness. I haven’t read all the comments yet but those that I did read – didn’t address my problem. I was diagnosed as hypo in 2009 and was put on L-Thyroxine. Later I read a lot of reviews on how good (DNT) Armour and Nature-Throid were. I also read the reviews on Raw Thyroid from Natural Source. Desperate I bought a bottle of Raw Thyroid from Amazon and LOVED what it did for me! But I was leery of taking it for too long without being monitored by a doctor. By then I had a different doctor. She said she would put me on Nature-Throid if I promised to stay off the Raw Thyroid from Amazon. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to butt heads with her about being put on a DNT. At first I felt Nature-Throid was doing good but it didn’t take long to be back to the old “full of aches and pain” self. I’m no longer with that doctor either and my current one just left our clinic so I’m in the middle of doctors again. My last thyroid lab work was done over a year ago. When looking at my lab work I’m having a hard time understanding it compared to yours and others. My lab work doesn’t show all the same wording or numbers that others seem to. Looking at my last report –

    TSH – 3.060
    Thyroxine (T4) – 6.8
    T3 Uptake – 26
    Free Thyroxine Index – 1.8

    My Nature-Throid dose is – 32.4

    My question is – is your Free T3 the same as my T3 Uptake? And what is my “Free Thyroxine Index”? And what of Reverse T3. Is it even on here? Also, do my numbers seem right to you? I’ve been thinking for a long time now that I’m on the lower end and need a higher does of Nature-Troid.

    I have yet to see an actual Endocrinologist. Shame on me for that. I’m looking for one now though. Again, thanks for such a wonderful site.

  79. Will A natural thyroid medication work for someone who has had their thyroid removed due to thyroid cancer?

    • Heather says:

      It might but IMO you’d be more manageable with Sythroid and T3 given together. I’ve done both and prefer the drug route and that’s coming from a hard core naturalist.

  80. Dana,
    I am so happy to find this website! I had my thyroid removed in 2009 due to papilary cancer and had the radioactive iodine ablation a couple of months later. I have been on levothyroxine since on various strengths varying from 112 mcg now up to 150 mcg. My t4 blood level is 0.21 which is where the doctor wants it to suppress all thyroid function. However, even though I am clinically hyperthyroid I feel hypothyroid (brain fog, tired, dry skin, etc.) Do you think I could use the natural version of thyroid replacement?

  81. Anabella says:

    Hi there, I have Hashimoto Hypothyroidism and I´ve been taking Thyroid-S for the last 8 months. When I found out that I was pregnant, the endocrinologist asked me to raise the medication. Now I´m 14 weeks pregnant and the last blood results are not 100% OK (my S-FT3 levels are in the normal range (4.1) but S-FT4 are a little lower (9.6). The endocrinologist wanted me to change to the synthetic medication and I don´t want to and at the same time I am worried about the effects on the baby. Since I´ve raised the medication my skin has become terrible, with rosacea and rushes, and I have eye bags. Can anyone recommend me what to do? Thanks for your support.

  82. NoelleSS says:

    Hi y’all!!

    I grew up in a small town in Alaska and have been on Armour Thyroid for two years. Im 20 years old :). While it seems to be helping (somewhat), I still feel a sense of dissapointment with the results.

    I have four questions:

    1.) Which NDT would y’all recommend? I am thinking about asking my doctor to switch over to Westhroid or Nature-Throid. Can someone maybe give me a detailed list of the pros/cons of each? I found an excellent post on the ingredients in each here, however, I’m wondering if someone can attest to the results and articulate the pros/cons. Also concerned about the lactose monohydrate in Westrhoid. If I have a milk allergy, could this cause problems?

    2.) I recently read that chewing up the tablets may help the thryroid release more properly/be better absorbed. Can anyone share personal experience for this? Is it worth trying?

    3.) How do I ensure that my T3/T4 ratio is correct? My doctor is very willing to work with me on this and has tested both levels. My T3 was depleated so he put me on Lyothyronine. Is this a bioidentical drug? Synthetic? NDT? Is there an alternative that anyone may reccomend/be able to provide information on?

    4.) Are there any supplements that are recommened to take with the thyroid medications? I read something about Selenium being beneficial to better absorb thy derived thyroid?

    5.) Has anyone ever tried “Nutri-Pak Natural Thyroid”? Its a natural thyroid supplement derived from bovine (cows) from New Zeland? It is Sometimes I get concerned about the thyroid supplements being derived from pigs in the US, as the way in which the animals are treated is absolutely atrocious, and it seems to me that their diet and conditions to lead to thyroid issues as well.

    Looking forward to hearing some feedback! Thank you all so much in advance :)

    With much appreciation for this wonderful post and the potential replies,

    Noelle

  83. Christiana says:

    Is there a natural thyroid medication that is not from pigs? I try to avoid pig anything since I keep kosher. Thanks.

  84. Rabeya Begum says:

    Dear Dana
    I found your writing about your loss due to hypothyroidism in 5 articles when i was too devastated due to my second loss on this march. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto hypothyroidism in 2012 when i was trying to conceive but failing. Then i went to singapore to see endocrinologist and was on levothyroxin sodium since then. My TSH got into normal range within 3 months from 20 when diagnosed first. And started feeling better and conceived immediately on 2013. But my antibodies (TPO and TG ) was too high like (TPO was >2000 and TG was> 200) when first checked and never checked again as doctor said nothing to do with antibodies. Though my TSH and free T4 level was normal i ended up in miscarriage at about 11 weeks as there not normal growth of the pregnancy. And doctor assumed her back home in Bangladesh told me that it was due to chromosomal abnormality and not due to my thyroid.
    So after 7 months i got pregnant again naturally and my TSH and free T4 was in normal range as i was taking my T4 only medicine. This time pregnancy was good but suddenly my baby stopped growing and there was no heartbeat found. I flew immediately to singapore with my dead baby inside for extensive tests and also for autopsy of my baby. There my doctor wasnt friendly and could not do autopsy. But after that i went to see a reproductive endocrinologist as meantime i found your article and found u told to see reproductive endo insead of simple Oby n Gyn. There the doctor was too good and did several tests and found everything normal about pregnancy just PCOS. And he doesnt seems PCOS as a problem as i conceived naturally. So he referred me an endocrinologist. At that time my thyroid results only Tsh and total T4 was in range but not TPO and TG antibodies. So he told me to see him in 3-6 months time. I again visited him there after 4 months and found my TSH elevated from normal range to 8 which never did since i am on medication. And antibodies also got higher though never was in range. So doctor only increased my dose of T4 only med ( levothyroxin sodium). But i now i have all the symptoms those i had when i was not even diagnosed and even now its worsen. I checked my TSH and free T4 antibodies now after 8 weeks. My TSH and free T4 is in normal range now. But antibodies are still high though a little declined than that of 8 weeks before. So my endocrinologist here back home thinks my antibodies are the main culprit for pregnancy loss and my feeling unwell still.
    But here we don’t have all the test facilities like i found in your post here and also medicine and supplements. And even doctors are not that knowledgeable enough about Hashimoto and others.
    So dear Dana please help me and guide me what to do now. Which doctor to see in singapore . Or should i come to USA? In that case would u please suggest me the doctor, the nutritionist and other things i need?
    Do you think going to USA will be worth as i wont be able to visit there often to be in check?
    Dana may i have ur email address so that i can keep in contact with you because i dont find anyone that knows about my problem
    Thank you
    Regards
    Rabeya Begum

  85. I’m so confused about my thyroid panel. As a background I have a history of adrenal fatigue (current saliva test is within normal range tho it doesn’t feel like it), celiac, and chronic fatigue. After my traumatic last pregnancy and delivery, I developed thyroid symptoms. My natural MD ordered a panel suspecting Hashimoto and put me on WP thyroid.

    My panel results (before starting NDT) are:
    found the results of my thyroid panel done July 1, 2014.

    TSH. 0.95. (0.40-4.50)
    T3 Free. 2.6 (2.3-4.2)
    Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies 2 (<9)
    T3 Reverse 16 (8-25)
    T4 Total 6.9 (4.8-10.4)

    Is my TSH really low? Can I still have Hashimoto without antibodies? Should I be on NDT and increasing my dose? I am on half a grain twice a day. I'm just not sure how to interpret these results. Since starting NDT, I feel like I am having trouble swallowing though my thyroid is normal by palpating. I know you aren't a doctor and don't look to you for that, but if you have any insights, I would really appreciate it.

  86. I had above normal T4 and T3 readings as a teenager, and even higher levels in 1979, at the age of 22. During the 1980s, I got the hormone levels checked when I had symptoms of high, low, and normal thyroid levels. By the late 1980s I had chronic fatigue and activity intolerance, and could no longer work. That situation changed after I searched for medical journal articles about treatment of thyroiditis. I found that there was usually no specific treatment. Patients were often referred to psychiatry and prescribed major tranquilizers or antidepressants for symptoms associated with high or low hormone levels. However, in one article, an endocrinologist specializing in treatment of thyroid disorders reported success in treating patients newly diagnosed as having thyroiditis, including many who might normally have been referred to psychiatry. The treatment consisted of a 5 grain / 325 mg aspirin tablet once per day. All of these patients showed noticeable improvement within 6 weeks, and were asymptomatic within 12 weeks. He then tried the same therapy on patients long disabled due to effects of thyroiditis, including many on major tranquilizers and anti-depressants. All but a few of these patients were successfully weened off of psych drugs, and the majority returned to work. I tried the aspirin a day therapy, then completed a practical nursing course and started working as a licensed practical nurse.

    I began to see signs of hypothyroidism in the early 1990s, but over the course of a dozen years could not get a doctor to start me on thyroid replacement therapy. My activity tolerance decreased, and eventually had signs of end-stage thyroiditis, with myxedema and signs of myocardial ischemia (too little oxygen to heart muscle) after walking a couple hundred feet. My primary physician started me on thyroid replacement therapy based on a TSH of 3.2 and symptoms. The doctor was not familiar with the term myxedema, which I used in referring to the peculiar edema noticeable on my hands, feet and face. The doctor did not want to order T4 and T3 tests for baseline readings. My doctor was very resistant to increasing the dose of levothyroxin enough to relieve the symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism. It took more than a year to get rid of the myxedema.

    Most doctors were not up-to-date on medical research, over-relied on tests of T4, later Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, and generally had idea of how thyroid hormones actually work, and what deficiencies looked like. The term myxedema was deleted from medical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and textbooks in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The rationale was that T4 tests would identify thyroid hormone deficiencies long before the appearance of myxedema. Doctor’s would not likely ever see myxedema in their medical practice. But what actually came to pass is that Doctors frequently see myxedema, but don’t know what it is when they see it. In the 1950s, Doctors stopped prescribing thyroid replacement therapy to patients with clinical signs of low thyroid function, including myxedema, if their levels were in the “normal range.” Doctors could face disciplinary action by their licensing boards if they didn’t follow the new standards.

    T4 has some hormonal functions of its own, including stimulation of gluco-neogenesis (conversion of proteins to glucose), however, its primarily role associated with thyroid function is as a precursor to T3. Most of the cells of your body are equipped to convert T4 to T3, with the exception of cardiac muscles. Some T3 is excreted by the thyroid gland, if it’s working, but most T3 in the bloodstream is the result of peripheral (outside of the thyroid gland) conversion of T4 to T3, principally by the liver. If T3 levels are low enough, a viscous fluid, on the order of synovial fluid in your joints, begins to accumulate in tissues around your heart, and noticeably in the face and the dorsi of the hands and feet (non-palmer and non-plantar aspects). This is similar to congestive heart failure, and leads to a similar outcome if not treated.

    The use of hormone tests alone is not a reliable way to diagnose low thyroid function and to evaluate effects of its treatment, because the interactions of many hormones and variations of hormones. Their are variants of genes that regulate conversion of T4 to T3 at the cellular level, for example. There are both physiologically active and inactive forms of T4 and T3, synthesized in proportions that might change for various reasons, as a homeostatic mechanism that can get out of whack. There is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, Thyroid Releasing Hormone, etc. The thyroid gland is generally believed to secrete hormones are a fairly steady rate, and not once every 24 hours. A once a day dose of oral dose of T4 doesn’t nicely mimic the thyroid gland, and can put the metabolic system through some changes it is not well equipped to deal with. Time released T4 / T3 pills would likely work better than instant release pills that are usually prescribed.

  87. I cannot thank you enough for all you do to educate and help people with the very difficult illness. You are a treasure. Thank you.

  88. i like this article post & web good job

  89. Dear Hypo Mom, is there anything that suggests that its easier to fall pregnant on natural thyroid medication than for instance on Eltroxin? Im curious, cause 3 years ago when my hypothyroidism was still undiscovered I fell pregant the first time I tried for it, but since then, having been put on Eltroxin from my first pregnancy I havent been able to become pregnant again, DESPITE doing IVF and having good eggs and good looking embryos. Id be very eager to swap my eltroxin for a natural thyroid medication. Thanks for this website and for sharing your wisdom! Freya

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