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Raw thyroid: Any drawbacks?
Avatar_m_tn
by dooright, Jun 06, 2010
What are the drawbacks to taking reasonable amounts of dessicated thyroid, such as from Natural Sources?

I'm a male, 60. My TSH is 5.5 and I have some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. I have tried taking one or less capsules per day of Natural Sources raw thyroid and it seems to help. But I would like to know if I might be harming myself in the long run.

Is there an increasing tolerance level? Is there a harmful effect on what little natural thyroid production I presently have? Once I start will I have to use it for life? Are there better OTC products?

Can I rely on what "feels" like the right dosage?


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Member Comments (675)
798555_tn?1292791151
by LazyMoose, Jun 06, 2010
Your guessing what your hormone levels are. To get healthy, you need get your thyroid lab levels correct, which means going to the doctor. And I,ve never herd of a doc that will order labs for someone on an OTC product. You might find a holistic doc that will do that. Better to get real medical treatment.
Avatar_m_tn
by dooright, Jun 06, 2010
My best to the folks in Frostbite Falls!

I have real lab tests, ordered by a real doctor, who says my 5.5 TSH is outside the normal range. And you are right, he will not recommend any OTC product for hypothyroid. In fact, he will not prescribe desiccated thyroid under any circumstances: "It's too third-world".

We did have a talk about the consequences of following such a course, and it appears that the dangers of non-sanctioned thyroid remedies are far more hazardous for HIM than they are for me.

So here I am,  outside the usual channels, to get the answers my doctor is unable to give me. Uninfluenced, I hope, by trade restrictions, and "business realities".



798555_tn?1292791151
by LazyMoose, Jun 06, 2010
TSH is a pituitary hormone, a messenger. Free T3 and Free T4 is what you need to look at. Most start on synthetic T4 meds - it works for most people. I suspect you are against synthetic hormone replacement for some reason, otherwise you would not be here....? Have you tried it in the past at all?

I take dessicated because I have too (a very small percentage really need it), for me its not a choice. If synthroid worked for me, thats what I'd take.

By the way Armour and Nature Throid brands of US dessicated are not the same after they reformulated them. Read my MCC post.
798555_tn?1292791151
by LazyMoose, Jun 06, 2010
Oh, yea Frostbite Falls, ha! Its supposudly thought of after International Falls, Minnesota, on the North boarder. Nice place, goggle it, a little chilly sometimes, but after -30F, it all feels the same, its called numbness.
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by Barb135Blank, Jun 07, 2010
Have you had anything tested except TSH?  Your TSH does indicate hypothyroidism, but you also need your FT3 and FT4 results as well, in order to know exactly how much med you need.  

Self medicating is never a good idea because you have no way of knowing exactly what you are taking or what the exact dosage is, since OTC products are not regulated the same as those that require a script.  

If your doctor won't prescribe dessicated hormone, and that's all you will take, I'd strongly suggest that you find a different doctor.  When/if you do that, make sure you get your FT3 and FT4 tested straight away; and it would also be a good idea to get tested for thyroid antibodies as well, in order to confirm/rule out Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is the # 1 cause of hypothyroidism in the US.  
Avatar_m_tn
by dooright, Jun 07, 2010
Yes, I understand and agree.

But there are still some questions that I have that weren't answered by my doctor, and I haven't been able to find on the 'net.

The only (US) OTC desiccated thyroid I have been able to find so far is from Natural Sources. Are there better OTC products?

Is there an increasing tolerance level? Is there a harmful effect on what natural thyroid production I presently have? Once I start will I have to use it for life?

Can I rely on what "feels" like the right dosage? What are the drawbacks?

Avatar_f_tn
by goolarra, Jun 07, 2010
You have to realize that thyroid hormone replacement is not a "drug", per se.  It's a hormone that is replacing what your thyroid would produce if it could.  It's not a case of your tolerance increasing.  However, you may require more and more of the hormone as times goes on.  This is because whatever (perhaps Hashi's...we don't know) is causing your hypo keeps compromising your thyroid function, so your thyroid is able to produce less and less on its own.  In the case of Hashi's, this will continue until thyroid function is zip, and you are on 100% replacement.

BTW, I agree with everyone here...with just TSH, you know little, get FT3 and FT4 tested.

Since we don't know the cause of your hypo, it's hard to comment on the possible harmful effect.  In the case of Hashi's, any potential harmful effect on thyroid function is kind of a moot point as the antibodies are going to destroy your thyroid anyway.  The most information I can give you on this question is that, yes, taking unnecessary or unnecessarily high doses of thyroid hormone over a long enough period of time can damage your own thyroid function, not to mention endanger other vital systems, like your heart.

Once again, most of us have to use it for life, but there are a couple of forms of "temporary" thyroiditis that do spontaneously resolve.  This is why it's important to know the cause.

It's very difficult to manage this disease by "feel" alone.  Many symptoms "cross over" and can be symptoms of both hypo and hyper.  For example, people who have a (genetic?) tendency to gain weight can start putting on pounds both hypo and hyper.  Many of us with years of experience with thyroid meds can pretty much tell our doctors whether we're hypo or hyper, but even some of us occasionally get ourselves into trouble this way.  Lab support helps you to distinguish.  The downside is that hyper is even less pleasant than hypo (in my opinion), and swinging back and forth while you "guess" at which way to go will probably get old very quickly.

I have to agree with everyone else here...get FT3 and FT4 tested, test TPOab and TGab to see if you have Hashi's.  I also agree with Moose...if you don't absolutely have to take dessicated, the synthetics are arguably easier to manage and not subject to the supply problems that dessicated is.  A shortage last year wrought havoc for many of our members.  Many people interpret dessicated as more "natural" than synthetics, but I have to ask what's so natural about ingesting the thyroid of another animal?  However, if that's your preference, then I think you should find a doctor who will work with you and get proper treatment.  What's the saying?  A physician who treats himself has a fool for a doctor.  I'll let you draw the analogy to the patient who treats himself.

I can't comment on OTC brands.  I doubt we have many members on OTC thyroid meds, if any.
Avatar_m_tn
by dooright, Jun 07, 2010
Good information, goolarra. Thank you, I do have further tests including T4 that my doctor would like me to take.

If I read your response correctly, properly prescribed FT3 and FT4 replacements do not cause feedback or regulatory complications to the system in general.

Do any of the posters here have experience with desiccated thyroid, or should this be addressed to some other group? So far, I hear no downside to the labeled use of one capsule per day.
Avatar_f_tn
by goolarra, Jun 07, 2010
Lots of our members have experience with prescription dessicated, but I'm fairly certain that very few have experience with OTC remedies.  If you search the archives, you will find many threads arguing the superiority of dessicated versus synthetic and vice versa.  It's really a matter of personal choice, but it takes a fair amount of research as both can have their drawbacks.  It really comes down to what works best for you personally.  

I'm unsure if you're still talking about OTC meds or prescription dessicated in your last question???

Yes, properly prescribed doses is the key...and it's a tough one...it's often a trial-and-error procedure of finding what's too much, what's too little, and settling somewhere in the middle.  Prescribing thyroid meds is a bit of an art form and ultimately has to be very symptom based.