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Armour thyroid?
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Armour thyroid?

Why does everyone want armour thyroid and why do so many doctors not want to prescribe it?
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613 Comments Post a Comment
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458072_tn?1291418786
there are several reasons people want armour. I will give you a few, and someone else can fill in what I leave out.

It is natural,
Has all the thyroid hormones our own body makes---T1, t2, T3, t4, and has calcitonin.
Your body will not become immune to it, like some people do with synthroid.

Drs don't like it, because Big pharma has talked it down because they can not really make any money off of it because it is natural, like they can the synthetic drugs.

Thats all I can think of for now. I have this memory issue because of this thyroid issue.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you!  Thats great information!
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Avatar_f_tn
Not everyone wants Armour, but for many people, it's the only real alternative out there.  Your choices are T4-only meds, T3/T4-combos, T3-only (rare and usually temporary) and dessicated pig thyroid.  

My endo's reason for not using it is that it has so much T3 in it.  Armour has T4:T3 in a ratio of about 4-5:1.  Our properly functioning thyroids produce T4:T3 in a ratio of about 20:1.  So, Armour has four to five times more T3 than our thyroids would produce.  He feels that if you need to add T3, it's easier to control using a synthetic, where the T4 and T3 are in separate pills and can be manipulated individually.  That said, lots of people do extremely well on Armour

I think it's important to keep as many options as possible open...we have very few.
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458072_tn?1291418786
Actually ratio is 4:1. there are plenty of good websites to check this out.
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Avatar_f_tn
Actually, since Armour is a natural product, the ratio varies...depends on the pig!  It's 4-to-5:1.

My feeling is that the best we can do as thyroid patients is to encourage our doctors to keep an open mind about all therapies.  We have very few choices.
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393685_tn?1325870933
Great thought goolara. I hope that we can get these doctors open to ALL options if needed.

Really - it's the patient that suffers, when the doors are shut on certain meds.

I cringe when I read the "p i g " word put so bluntly though. :)
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Avatar_f_tn
The other reason why many wont prescribe Armour here in Australia is that if you have a heart problems or palps or fibrillations, that it can put your health at risk by taking a high concentrated dose of T3.
Had I not been successful on T4 alone, I would opt for the T3 (cytomel) but I am doing fine on T4 med alone.
My Doc has told me that because of a history of Atrial Fibrillations, there is no Doc on this earth that would prescribe Armour for me.
A lot do well on it, some dont.
Each to their own I say and whatever gives you the quality of life that we deserve.

I have no issues with Armour and doing great on T4 alone.

Armour was banned here in Australia due to the inconsistancy of T3 in each batch of Armour.

My personal attitude is that every Endo should do yearly 'refresher' courses on the Thyroid.
It seems my Doc knows more about it than the Endo who I fired.
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793305_tn?1303671818
I agree that every endo should do a yearly refresher course.  that is a wonderful idea.  I kind of wish the generals would too.  My g.p. was terrified of tracking the T3 and T4.  He was strictly a TSH person and I'm not yet sure that my endo may be that way too.  Will find out in a couple of weeks.  : )
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't mean "pig" to be pejorative.  Should I say dessicated "porcine" thyroid?  I'm not into euphemisms or being politically correct.  ;-)  That's what it is...I have no problem with that whatsoever.  If it helps just ONE person, I'm all for it.
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393685_tn?1325870933
You don't need to explain. Not at all - I know you meant it in a good way.

It still bothers me to some degree on what Armour actually is. BUT it saved my life and I just need to deal with it I suppose.

Thanks for all you do!
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Avatar_f_tn
Stella....

Its strange that people are against Armour YET they use pig valves to fix a mitral valve prolapse.
Work that one out lol.

I guess that if I ever needed a replacement valve, I wouldnt refuse one from a pig lol.
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393685_tn?1325870933
yep - hearts too.

I remember a story decades ago.

whatever works is my motto.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yep..same here.
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Avatar_f_tn
I bless the day my endo thru up her hands and said "I have tried everything and you still have no T3. I have to put you on Armour and we don't prescribe it". She put me on Armour but it was the last day I was in her office. My new PCP asked me right away if I was on Armour, so now he is regulating it. I don't care if it is not consistant, I feel better than I have in years and have lost 12 lbs. I take 210 a day
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803938_tn?1403751853
AMG3369: 210, that's 3 grains a day? That's a lot, did you start slow and increase slowly the dosage? I am currently taking 1.5 grain = 90 and increasing slowly to 2 grains.
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Avatar_f_tn
It really doesn't matter whether your med is natural or not.  Granted, armour contains other forms of thyroid hormones and other stuff and the synthetic stuff doesn't but it all depends on how well one responds to the med.

I highly doubt one becomes desensitized to the synthetic meds (after all, T4 in Armour has the same structure as the T4 in the synthetic meds and the same goes for other hormones in these meds).

You also have to consider other possible factors that are making your thyroid go out of whack.  For example, fluoride.  I am not going to say it is definitely possible for you, but it is possible for some people.  My thyroid did get much worse after moving from well water to city water (and started to drink much more tea), so fluoride as a culprit for my hypothryroidism is a possibility for me.  Another possibility is hashimoto's.  It is an autoimmune disease, so your thyroid hormones are bound to go crazy, no matter what meds you are taking.  It is also possible to have stabilized naturally and taking Armour was just a coincidence.  Lack of vitamin D and/or B can mimic some of hypo symptoms, so without being treated for these makes hypo seems more difficult to treat.

I personally believe that Armour should be a last resort and that other factors should be checked out.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am glad that you are doing good on Armour.
I have nothing against it and wish Australia would 'lift' the ban as it originally was first manufactured in New Zealand.
I have the attitude that if something doesnt work for you then you find something that does...and dont stop until you do get it.

As I said in my posting..if T4 med didnt work for me, then I wouldnt hesitate to take T3 med and if I was able to take Armour..I most certainly would.
I may well just be 'one of those people' who may need the help of a pig with a new vlave somewhere down the line.
I dont' knock' anything that gives quality of life.

I just feel for those that could do well on Armour here in Australia but cant get it.
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1052822_tn?1253927801
I have been on Armour for two years, before that Synthroid for 3. In the last few weeks all of a sudden I felt like my dose was really high. I had not lost any weight but have been back in the gym for 6 months. While I haven't lost weight I have lost fat and gained muscle. How will that affect the dose? I tryed lowering the amount from 90 mg to 75 by cutting the pills down. What a disaster. My hair is leaving my scalp hurts all the time. Memory, what memory! The list of changes is long. Now I am on the lowwww end of the spectrum. Life suffers all around me while I try to be normal.
I will be going to the Dr next week but am dissapointed with the absence of knowledge on my GPs behalf. I have been going to him since the Endo Dr wouldn't perscribe Armour. It has been a crazy few years since I had my thyroid out due to Hasimotos Disease.
Also has any one heard that Armour changed its formula in the past few months. I think they changed the binder. That changes how some people uptake the hormone. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
                         Thanks in advance! Lea (Freedommouse)
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393685_tn?1325870933
There is a bunch of information available and yes the Armour was changed. For most - it has not been pleasant.

I can provide you with alot of information . PM me if you wish to look at some of it.
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734073_tn?1278899925
I'd get off Armour and switch to compounded dessicated ASAP! If you do well on it, great!  If not, Naturethroid/ Westhroid (dessicated porcine) (RLC Labs Pharm.Co.) will be available by mid November, and many people do great on it! They (RLC) are having production issues (supply&demand) due to the issues with Armour (Forest Labs Pharm. Co.) and everyone switching over to them all at once. Their hormone is the same as always and are not having any issues with the FDA.
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798555_tn?1292791151
It would be nice to finally find out why synthetics don't work well for some people. I went round and round with docs on my journey to try dessicated, and of course they all said synthetics duplicated what my thyroid used to make. I then reminded them that my thyroid did not make fillers and release activators ect. just hormone. They could not answer that one. They forget about basic chemistry 101. My GP said he was specifically trained in medical school NOT to use dessicated as it was dangerous. This was a very respected University mind you! That is what we are up against!

It may be the other stuff besides the hormone in the synthetics that our body rejects. Example: synthetic resin stints for arteries mimic a real arteries, yet they need to be coated with a compound to trick the body into thinking the stint is a real artery. Sometime this tricks the body, sometimes the body reject it. A stint really is a synthetic 'artery' that is supposed to work the same. So much for synthetics being the cure all.
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393685_tn?1325870933
The major reason why T4 synthetics may not work for some is b/c it 100% relies on conversion from the liver to make active T3 to balance thyroid hormones. If the liver is unable to convert the med for what ever reason then the ratios of hormones are not correct for the body.

So many - that lose their function either to surgery - RAI - or natural Hashimoto disease, killing it off - and placed on synthetic T4 only find that now the liver is relied upon to do ALL the job that their thyroid did too. The thyroid releases direct T3 - no one can argue that. So when the gland is no longer functioning -no more direct T3 is coming from that and the amount of thyroid T3 hormone - is now dependant on the liver and the T4 meds.

Swollowing the synthetic T4 meds add to the depletion of hormones too. The acid in the stomach will deplete the meds ability to release a higher amount of T4 - that proceeds to the liver for conversion.

That is why you find many are in a high dose of T4 medication. There is no ability to take it sublingually - nor would anyone want to do this alone with a T4 med - so swollowing causes depletion right away.

Its a blessing to find a person with the ability to manage hypothyroidism with a T4 medication, but for so many - it's just not enough. On the flip side of this - adding T3 or going to natural desiccated T4/T3 combos must be watched closely too. The heart is directly effected with T3 hormones. It's thought that T3 (active) is present in many heart failure patients. Studies have proven that a vast amjority of heart failure patients have a higher risk of death - if there is too much active T3 in the system.

we require care from our professionals - all around care - and too just say - T3 is dangerous is wrong. Managing T3 medications for people who need it is what should be taught in these universities.

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798555_tn?1292791151
Ahh!!!!! The liver converts into active T3. I forgot reading about that  some time ago during my brain fog days! Thanks for the simple explanation Stella!

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Avatar_m_tn
Have you ever heard of the Armour Thyroid causing your pituitary glad to fair? My PA refuses to prescribe Armour and seems to think it is what's causing my TSH level to be extremely low(.03). But I think it's because I was taking 300 mcg of sythroid before my old PA put me back on 180mcg. I've been back on Armour for 2 months now and I feel 200% better than I ever did on the synthetic. I took the test after a few weeks to being on Armour so I really don't think my low TSH is do to the Armour. I think I'm going to test my thyroid again, just to proove the Armour is not hurting my pituitary glad, maybe she will then realize I need to stay on the Armour.
What do you think?

JD
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798555_tn?1292791151
The longer and more thyroid hormone your on in time seem to make TSH supres. Some report are close to zero. Thats when you find a Dr that looks at ft3, ft4. TSH is not accurate.
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Avatar_m_tn
When taking large doses of thyroid meds, TSH is frequently suppressed.  TSH can be suppressed from either T4 meds or T3 meds.  That does not mean that you are hyper, unless you also have hyper symptoms due to excessive levels of the biologically active thyroid hormones, Free T3 and Free T4.  When taking thyroid meds, TSH becomes totally inadequate as a diagnostic by which to medicate the patient.  

TSH causes no symptoms directly.  It 's purpose is to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone.  TSH is supposed to accurately reflect the levels of thyroid hormone; however, it cannot be shown to correlate well with either Free T3 or Free T4, much less with symptoms, which are the most important.

T4 meds work well for hypo patients as long as their body is adequately converting the T4 to t3.  When conversion becomes inadequate to keep your Free T3 level high enough to relieve symptoms, that is when T3 needs to be added to the meds.

A good thyroid doctor will treat a hypo patient clinically by testing and adjusting Free T3 and Free T4 as necessary to relieve symptoms, without being constrained by resultant TSH levels.  Symptom relief should be all important, not just test results.  You can get some good insight into clinical treatment from this letter written by a good thyroid doctor for patients that he sometimes consults with from a distance.  The letter is then sent to the PCP of the patient to help guide treatment.

http://hormonerestoration.com/files/ThyroidPMD.pdf

When you do go back to the doctor for testing, make sure to request that they test for Free T3 and Free T4 (not the same as Total T3 and Total T4).  If the doctor resists, then you should insist on it and don't take no for an answer.  Free T3 is the most important, because scientific studies have shown that it correlated best with hypo symptoms, while Free T4 and TSH did not correlate.

By the way, while taking 200 mcg of T4 med,  my TSH was been about .05 for well over 25 years without ever having hyper symptoms.  In fact I continued having hypo symptoms until learning about the importance of Free T3 on this Forum and after testing found mine to be low in the range, consistent with being hypo.  Doctor revised my meds to a T4/T3 combo type (Armour) and after some tweaking I now feel best ever.  My FT3 is 3.9 (range of 2.3- 4.2) and FT4 is .86 (range of .60 - 1.50).
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1139187_tn?1355710247
Gimel,

Can i ask your current protocol for meds?   Im curious to know what you take  if its not too personal.  Bruce
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Avatar_m_tn
Not a problem, Bruce.  I am taking 3 grains of Armour Thyroid.  I've done a bit of experimenting with the time when I take meds, and I'm currently taking 2 grains in the morning and one grain in early afternoon.  Since my FT4 is below the middle of the range, I am planning to ask my doctor to add a bit of T4 med.
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1139187_tn?1355710247
seriously?   so what would you add exactly?   would you add a drop of synthroid or generic, or would it be a compound?
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Avatar_m_tn
Synthroid, or even a generic T4..
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1139187_tn?1355710247
like start with a drop?   I'm curious to know your plan :)  I'm not there yet, but my Goddess of hormones mentioned this to me as well.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have no thyroid gland function left.  So, with my FT4 at a level of .86, and a target of around 1.05, I need to increase my T4 dosage about 20 %.  Since I take 3 grains of Armour daily, which includes approximately 108 mcg of T4, a 20% increase would be about 25 mcg of T4 daily.
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1139187_tn?1355710247
nice...   so you are okay mixing the natural and synthetic?

I had no function left either.  When they took mine out my labs didnt flinch.  The thyroid was yellow and green.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Not concerned with mixing the natural and synthetic.
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Avatar_f_tn
after endo ablated my thyroid and put me on synthyroid i have felt horrible now for 9 months, she said id feel better in one month,  thats a lie. my hair has fallen out, im so tired i want to die, im cold all the time, i loose a pound to gain 5,  im lost, sick and need some really good advice on what to do, i just want to feel normal what ever that is, been so long i dont really know what normal is anylonger...  Vickie
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Avatar_m_tn
I expect that you are being inadequately medicated based on using TSH as the diagnostic.  Please post your thyroid test results and their reference ranges shown on the lab report.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I didnt know that there are  different meds for t3 or t4 . Im on  Levothyroxine ,so which one of those am i taking it for . Been horrible and  getting so tempered about the tiniest thing .. Any advices please before i completely go bald ?? Thanks
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes there are T4 and T3 and Combo meds that contain both. Levothyroxine is a T4 Med as is Synthroid, Levo is the generic for Synthroid
although they have different buffers and/or fillers. Some do well on Levo and some do not, each individual reacts different to Meds. Some people have what is called a "Conversion" issue, this is when your body does not convert the T4 hormone to T3, T3 being the actual hormone your body needs to function. We can help you understand more if you could provide your latest or last labs. If your MD has done Free T3 and Free T4 list the levels and the reference ranges provided with each. If he has not done these labs and only TSH, just post the TSH and the range, then try and get him to do the Free T3 and Free T4, as they are the most important labs to determine correct medication.  Best Wishes FTB4
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Avatar_m_tn
I failed to mention that you are using an old "Thread" or Post, When you post your labs, please begin a new post by going to the <Back to Community button, then go to the top and hit the Red Post a Question Button. Thanks and Good Luck FTB4
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on synthroid for 2 years after a thyroidectomy and did just ok on it. When my feet hurt so bad I could not walk, my dr knew my TSH was too high and he'd raise the Syn. Finally after 2-3 years of that nonsense, he himself said let's try Armour.
I also wanted to lose weight. So I started on 1.5 grains of Armour 2 years ago and did great but they all freaked out cuz my TSH was non detectable. My docs nurse called all excited and said come to the office tomorrow. Good grief.
so they reduced it to .90 and that was ok but my TSH was still low and I was having heart racing issues. Now I am on 60 mcg and doing ok. I no longer feel nervous all the time and my feet don't hurt. In order to lose weight tho, I have to eliminate wheat and sugar and walk. There is just no two ways about it.
To lose just because the Armour is high is very dangerous. It can cause calcium to leach from your bones and also damage the heart muscle. This could be the reason Synthroid was developed so long ago, because Armour was causing side effects.

Synthroid also worked fine for me, but my doc wanted me to try Armour for the additional T3 which he felt I had to have in order to lose the weight. Insist on trying the Armour if you are not happy with Levo or Syn. I would think they HAVE to give it to you. You will know within a year whether it was worth it to switch.
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