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?
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'd like to nail this down a little tighter. I understand you to say:
1) Conventionally-prescribed FDA-approved FT3 and FT4 replacements do NOT cause feedback or regulatory complications to the system, in general.
2) Pharmaceutical FT3 and FT4 are not the same as desiccated thyroid. Got it!
3) There is a practical difference between FDA-approved (Armour), and OTC (Natural Sources) desiccated thyroid. I understand that one is porcine, and the other is bovine; that one is of approved quantity/quality, while the other is not. But is there any other practical difference?
4) (Reasonable, as directed) desiccated thyroid use has drawbacks. This is my primary question and it has not been answered. What are they? Are they better or worse in magnitude than, say, eating a bag of potato chips every week, or ??
Thanks for your help! I'm not sure where else I can get this sort of information.
1 - Correct - whatever thyroid function you have available (left) at any given time can coexist with meds. Meds just add the amount that your body can no longer produce, when prescribed in proper doses. However, if someone with good thyroid function were to take thyroid meds (like to lose weight or for body building) and the natural production were in effect "shut down" due to excess thyroid hormones, then function can be permanently compromised. But no tolerance is built in the body to the meds...we often find ourselves increasing, but that's due to further thyroid damage, not to tolerance.
2 - Pharmaceutically, here's what we've got: synthetic T4, synthetic T3, a couple of T3/T4 synthetic combos and prescription dessicated porcine thyroid. They're all legit, regulated, consistent, etc. In addition, there are dessicated porcine products that are sold OTC. These are not controlled substances and vary in quality and content. Thyroid hormones are tricky, so I would not want to mess with something that might vary from batch to batch...consistency in thyroid meds is all-important.
3 - I think all the differences you've listed are VERY practical differences. Thyroid meds have to be fine-tuned into very precise doses (which vary person to person). Any inconsistency in the product is a recipe for disaster. You just don't know what you're getting from on time to the next. Those of us on synthetics even have a tendency to stick to the same brand as variations from one to the next, use of different fillers or binders, etc. can all cause imbalances.
4 - Once again, are you talking about prescription or OTC? If prescription, are you referring to drawbacks from dessicated as opposed to synthetic? I'll be happy to try to answer your question, but not sure I completely understand what you want to know yet.
4) I wouldn't actually do this, but let's say I took ten times as much of the OTC desiccated thyroid as the label recommended, and I did it over an extended period. What consequences could I likely expect?
I agree with Deb. IF (the big fat IF) the OTC meds are effective at all (and I don't know that they are) in controlling a thyroid condition, then taking too much of them would be equivalent to taking too much of your prescription thyroid meds. Twice would probably do you in...ten times, no way.
In addition, dessicated thyroid products have a high T3 content compared to the T3 that our thyroids would produce if they were working properly. T3, unlike T4, is very fast-acting, so it could get you into trouble almost immediately. Deb's also right about the heart issues...T3 meds do not mix with heart issues.
There is just no way with thyroid meds to say "take one capsule per day". It totally ignores the fact that we are all comfortable at different levels and all react to the meds differently. You might have the exact same numbers (lab results) as someone else, but might respond to half as much medication as that other person. This is like being diabetic...you take your meds...you monitor your blood levels...you adjust your meds until you feel good.
My best advice to you would be to forget OTC remedies. If you're convinced that you want to go with a non-synthetic product, then it would behoove you to find a competent doctor to manage prescription dessicated for you after a cardiac workup to rule out any contraindications. I don't think you want to mess with this, and Deb's also right that it gets even trickier for oldies like you (I'll be sixty on my next birthday)!
Gee, Deb, somehow you just made me feel like a relic! LOL
No, none of it is "fairly benign"...hormones are powerful stuff. Synthetic or "natural", you have to adjust, adjust, adjust to get it right. It's all very potent, and dessicated (prescription) even more so than synthetic since the high T3 content makes it that much more volatile. You really have to know what you're doing.
Thyroid hormones affect every cell in your body, so the repercussions can be quite ubiquitous.
The problem is that T3 is very fast-acting. The effects are apparent almost immediately. T4, on the other hand, has to build in your system to a stable level, which takes 4-6 weeks between each meds adjustment. However, these two (T3 and 4) interact to create your whole thyroid profile, so you can see where it can get complicated. It can be a bit of a juggling act until you find the right dose with any of the (few) options we have available.
You've probably never been hyper, but take my word for it, hypo is better any day.
BTW, you have to make the distinction between OTC animal products and prescription dessicated thyroid hormone. They are two very different things..one an accepted treatment, the other questionable. So, I really don't know what you're referring to when you say "dessicated thyroid is fairly benign".
"BTW, you have to make the distinction between OTC animal products and prescription dessicated thyroid hormone. They are two very different things..one an accepted treatment, the other questionable."
How can you say this? I consistently made a distinction:
In my first post I referred to "dessicated thyroid, such as from Natural Sources".
In my second post I referred to "any OTC product for hypothyroid" and "non-sanctioned thyroid remedies". We both know that Armour dessicated thyroid, and T3 thyroxine and T4 triiodothyronine do not fit either description.
In my third post I referred to "properly prescribed FT3 and FT4 replacements". We are both aware that OTC desiccated thyroid does not fit this description.
In my fourth post I referred to "Conventionally-prescribed FDA-approved FT3 and FT4 replacements" ditto above, and specifically differentiated "FDA-approved (Armour)" from "OTC (Natural Sources) desiccated thyroid". I asked if you knew of any practical difference. You responded by saying there "are VERY practical differences".
You must have understood at this point that this thread discussed two classes of substances, or there wouldn't have been any differences to comment on.
In my fifth post I concluded that "desiccated thyroid use would be self-limiting; if it's effective at all" further establishing my understanding that the (admittedly unstated) OTC product is not in the same class as regulated pharmaceuticals.
If there was ever any doubt that publicly-available OTC remedies are not in the same class as government-sanctioned physician-prescribed FDA pharmaceuticals, let it be known now. Otherwise, let's get on with the purpose of this thread.
The title of this thread is "Raw thyroid: Any drawbacks?" And my question, repeatedly stated, is "What are the drawbacks to taking reasonable amounts of dessicated thyroid, such as from Natural Sources?"
Other than the extreme example of a massive heart attack, nothing was said to contraindicate responsible use of OTC desiccated thyroid. Opinions were given to show that possible strong effects make the use of this product self-regulating, if effective at all.
Based on this, and on information that I have gathered elsewhere, I conclude that this substance (OTC desiccated thyroid) is fairly benign if used responsibly. I am open to changing this impression, and would welcome any further information you might have on this subject.
Hey Dooright, are you just naturally rude, or just trying real hard to be? People here offer their help to others for free. Do not boss them around.
"If there was ever any doubt that publicly-available OTC remedies are not in the same class as government-sanctioned physician-prescribed FDA pharmaceuticals, let it be known now. Otherwise, let's get on with the purpose of this thread."
-This is the 'dessicated' line in question- "It appears that T3 and T4 levels are so critical, that desiccated thyroid use would be self-limiting; if it's effective at all, you will know when you've had enough."
"The title of this thread is "Raw thyroid: Any drawbacks?" And my question, repeatedly stated, is "What are the drawbacks to taking reasonable amounts of dessicated thyroid, such as from Natural Sources?" "
-Drawbacks? read between the lines, its not regulated, so how do you know each dose is close to the other in strength? You dont. And that could cause cardiac issues. And how do you measure 'reasonable amounts' ?
"Other than the extreme example of a massive heart attack, nothing was said to contraindicate responsible use of OTC desiccated thyroid"
- responsible use would mean using this with proper lab tests and under the guidance of a doctor. And as I said, good luck finding a doctor that will work with a patient on OTC gladular thyroid.
In all honesty, I personally would be weary of OTC thyroid medications and I think the best thing would be to research on the exact ingredients in the OTC medications,
There tends to be a lot of 'fillers' which in actual fact can upset the thyroid.
This is something you have to look at and decide on your own personal merit as to whether you would benefit or not benefit from.
In regards to 'large doses' of OTC meds, this can in turn 'fire up ' the thyroid too much and as I said cause atrial fibrillation (thyroid storm) where the FT3 and FT4 levels are too high.
Your TSH is not really that high and as there is no FT3, FT4 levels given...it is hard to speculate whether you are Hypothyroid or suffer from Hashimotos (an autoimmune disease).
You really do need a full blood panel done of the thyroid including antibody testing to see whether this is a lifetime condition or whether the it is the thyroid that is malfunctioning.
The reason I say this is......you could take OTC thyroid meds and find that the TSH of over 5 is not actually the thyroid causing this level but the Pit. Gland is instead.
I had Hyperthyroidism, have Graves Disease, had RAI (radioactive iodine ) then Thyroidectomy(2008) when Thyca was found and got my levels with a T4 med to a perfect level for myself, enabling me to have a normal life again.
Then in January 2010, I felt strange and knew something was wrong..yet my FT3 and FT4 levels were perfect yet my TSH was over 7.
It was found I had a Pit. Tumour which was casuing the TSH to go into 'overdrive'.
It was telling my body that I needed more FT3/FT4 hormones when in actual fact I didnt.
Needless to say..this tumour was removed surgically.
This is where the thyroid can be a very complex gland and it does regulate every organ in your body.
It can upset your liver enzymes, your heart, your kidneys...just a few to mention.
It has been proven that the prolapse of my mitral and tricuspids valves in the heart was caused by Hyperthyroidism not being 'picked up' and for many years, producing too much thyroid hormones.
This is where thyroid storm comes in.
I had 3 episodes of thyroid storm in 2 weeks, requiring on the 3rd episodes..paddles to be used to get back a regular rythmm of the heart as the thyroid hormones sent them into massive overdrive, damaging muscles and valves.
By all means..research all you can on OTC meds if that is your choice but also be aware of the damage that" too little or too much " thyroid hormones can do to your body.
If it wasnt for my thyroid being ablated (killed off), I know I would not be here today to write this post.
My one request to you is that you have a thyroid panel done and then research all you can on all forms of thyroid treatment.
If your FT3 and FT4 is in the normal range ...usually Ft4 2/3rds of the reference range, and FT3 near top of the reference scale...then it may be the Pit, Gland causing the problems and not the thyroid.
Hopefully you will post back and let us know how you go.
All the best.
Wow! Didn't think I was unleashing such a flood of emotion!
You and I are not going to be the only ones reading this thread. Threads are around for a long time, often read by newcomers searching the archives. I, therefore, think it's very important to be very specific about what we're talking about.
Let me repeat that where hormones are concerned, nothing, OTC or script, is "fairly benign". I have no idea what the nominal content of T3 and T4 is in the OTC products. If you'd like to research that, I'd be very interested to see what you come up with.
There are two distinct possibilities. 1 - The OTC products are so "watered down" that you could not possibly get into a whole lot of trouble using them (except, of course, in the event of extreme abuse). Obviously if this is the case, then they are more likely to relieve you of your cash than your symptoms. 2 - The OTC products contain what could possibly be a therapeutic dose of T3 and T4. In this case, there is absolutely nothing benign about them. If they can relieve your symptoms, then they also have the potential to make you hyper, a more dangerous state than hypo.
Yes, pooh-pooh a massive heart attack as extreme if you will, but those of us with heart issues are only too aware of how quickly slight overmedication can exacerbate those problems. If you have any heart issues that you aren't aware of, you could be finding out about them the hard way.
So, please try to find out the T3 and T4 content of the OTC meds. If you get that information, we can further qualify which of #1 or #2 above is the case.
Since dooright never came back, do you know the nominal T3 and T4 content in the OTC product he takes? I have been googling, but can only find sales sites. Do you know the company website?
I'm happy to hear that this has worked for your husband. He is taking this under the supervision of his doctor, which is so important, and he continues to monitor FT3 and FT4 levels. My biggest fear with OTC meds is that most people are using them specifically so that they can avoid medical supervision. As you said, body awareness and symptoms are very important in treatment decisions, and newcomers to thyroid disease are often not aware of how they will react when hypo or hyper, since, as you pointed out, symptoms are so individual.
Has your husband experienced any consistency issues?
Sorry, I don't know the nominal T3 & T4 in Raw Thyroid, nor a web site for them. I do know that they order in bulk from New Zealand and capsule and bottle it here in the US. Although I can't find the sources again, it has been recommended as the best brand by some doctors who prefer the whole thyroid instead of the pharms...especially because of the synergenic factors included which could make it safer & more effective for Hashamoto's. It may have been while researching the Armour brand & its revised formula.
My husband has not found any consistency issues with NS Raw Thyroid. His labs were consistent for many years except when taken off for surgery, then he has needed to up the dose after he does get back on. The labs then confirm what we already know from symptoms...mostly falling asleep when trying to read or watch TV after getting at least 9 hours of sleep at night!
"A British inquiry into BSE concluded that the epidemic was caused by cattle, who are normally herbivores, being fed the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal (MBM), which caused the infectious agent to spread." This is not done in New Zealand, and as far as I could find, there have been no cases of mad cow disease in New Zealand. In reference to a human patient, with a brain disease, in a New Zealand hospital, "New Zealand, which has an economy heavily reliant on agriculture exports, has never had a recorded case of mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Those who have died of the illness here had eaten infected meat while overseas."
Natural Source Raw Thyroid is OTC, sold as a food supplement, not prescription. My husband has used this for over 10 years and found it to be very consistent & effective. It is not as strong as the scrip meds. There are other brands claiming natural raw thyroid from New Zealand OTC as well, but I've only found the Natural Source brand recommended in any independent (not sales) website by anyone in the medical profession. With any natural glandular, there will be slight inconsistencies from extreme weather out of the norm which causes unusual stress to the animals from which it is taken. Also, I don't know about other countries beyond the USA, but the big pharms do their very best to discredit any natural substance which might interfere with their expensive meds and try to get them banned...and also discontinue any old and effective scrips with which they can't get top dollar for. That's the name of the game straight from the horse's mouth (former drug salesman who quit just a few years away from retirement when the smaller company was bought out by one of the biggest). He was told point blank that the bottom line was all that was important!
As far as inconsistencies go, I don't know about the other OTC brands, but life style choices by the patient probably cause more problems, especially when hypo &/or autoimmune. Lack of exercise, eating wrong, lack of sleep or too much sleep can make more difference than meds sometimes.
What I have gathered from my reading and from own use over this past month is that the labeled use of NS Raw Thyroid is both effective and benign. It replaces diminishing hormones without increasing tolerance or affecting natural production.
Drawbacks seem to be summed up by LazyMoose; "it's not regulated".
I'm still curious about the T3 and T4 content. Do you have a link to the company website? Googling "Natural Sources" brings up tons of unrelated sites. All I can find is sales.
As far as thyroid meds are concerned, "effective and benign" is an oxymoron. If they are effective in increasing FT3 and FT4 levels, then they also have the potential of sending those levels over the top. If they can't send the levels over the top, then they can only be minimally effective.
There are no increasing tolerance issues with any thyroid meds. You do not build up a tolerance and have to increase. So, too with affecting natural production. If properly dosed, all prescription meds will work in parallel with natural T3 and T4 production. It's only if overdosed that natural production is suppressed. What have you read that makes you think there are tolerance and production issues?
I agree with everything goolarra, Deb, and LazyMoose have said and there's not a lot I can add except:
Self medicating always has the potential to get one into trouble, whether it be with OTC products or those obtained by script. Even the poster whose husband is using the product you are referring to, is using it with the blessing of his doctor; getting regular blood work.
Did a quick search and copied the label of Source Naturals Raw Thyroid.
Per Serving % Daily
Thyroid Tissue 50 mg **
Adrenal Tissue 20 mg **
Pituitary Tissue 10 mg **
Thymus Tissue 5 mg **
Spleen Tissue 5 mg **
Kelp 300 mg **
* Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
** Daily Values not established
Other Ingredients: Thyroid Tissue, Adrenal Tissue, Pituitary Tissue, Thymus Tissue, Spleen Tissue, Kelp. Raw Thyroid Glandular, Synergistic Complex. Magnesium Stearate.
Recommended Use: As a dietary supplement, take one capsule daily, following a meal.
The ingredients are actual thyroid (and other organ) tissues; says nothing about the hormones they contain. I'd like to know what the synergistic complex is.
Would also like to point out that kelp has iodine, which is often contraindicated in those with Hashi's (if you don't know if you have Hashi's, you need to get tested). Will the adrenal tissue provide cortisol and other adrenal hormones? Will the pituitary tissue raise your TSH - isn't the TSH already high and you want to lower it? These are MY questions about the product.
Definition of benign - having no significant effect. Both effective and benign? Hmmm!
I'm having a hard time - wondering why you prefer to use OTC products, rather than seek medical care for your issues. Both Deb and goolarra have pointed out things that can go wrong using products of this type, especially in one your age, not under a doctor's care --- *I* happen to be 61, so that's not a slam.
The other reason raw thyoir was banned in Australia and New Zealand (prescription) was that exports from China were found to contain melamine ( a form of plastic).
Thats the main reason it was banned here.
Australia and New Zealand have to import raw thyroid if it is to be used here.
And imports found grave consistancies in it to the stage regarding T3.
Wish there was more I could add regarding product composition or company information. All I know is they are at POB 4298, San Clemente, Calif. And no, that does not inspire my confidence.
Goolara, I wish I knew about the T3 and T4 levels too! I can infer that they are not very high, especially if following the label: Two or three cardiac arrests would give the industry all the ammunition they need to shut this maverick down. Regarding tolerance, the people here have said there are no issues to T3 and T4 in this thread above.
Smilerdeb, the label says that this product is imported from New Zealand, not China. Can you substantiate any contamination?
Barb135, life experiences have made me just as distrustful of the medical profession as I am of any other business. I only wish I had taken more responsibility sooner!
I know I'm taking the "conventional" approach here, and you probably won't believe this, but I don't think you get much more distrustful of the mediacal profession than I am. Perhaps more so than many other businesses.
Yeah, a POB is not real inspriing, is it?
In my search, I did find a couple of interesting things. They were from other forums, thus opinion, which I couldn't substantiate. However, I will repeat them here, not endorsing them, in case you find them interesting. One thread I read said that the FDA prohibits the distribution, without prescription, of any substance with a "measurable amount" of T3 and T4 meds in them. The poster contended that the T3 and T4 was stripped out of raw thyroid, and all that was left was the thyroid "tissue". His thought...if you have a heart problem, do you eat the heart of another animal to get well. Also found this as the opinion of another doctor who I am not familiar with.
My personal suspicion (take it for what it's worth) is that there is little to no FT3 and FT4 involved.
I hate doctors, too, but there are times when you can't avoid them, if only because they CAN write prescriptions, and WE can't (unforunately). If I were you, I'd seek professional help (and I don't say that lightly). I've found a great endo (and I was totally prepared to hate him)...they're not all bad (oh, BTW, he's neither young nor good looking!).
Are you continuing to take the raw thyroid, and is it helping?
I've been taking 1 NS Raw Thyroid a day for over a month. I feel better when I take it, and not as good when I don't. $15 well spent. I can envision another $1500 before I make it to the next level, and I'm going to hold off on that as long as I can.
There is a better raw thyroid product from Nutri-meds.com. They sell porcine raw thyroid, which is from pigs. That means there is no worry about mad cow disease. It does come from New Zealand where the animal is pasture fed with no hormones or antibiotics. It also does not contain all of the ingredients that are mentioned in your post, namely iodine. That can go either way with Hashi's. I too am sick of trying to get my doctor to listen. He just says your numbers have never been better. Then why do I continue to have thyroid symptoms, and also other auto immune diseases such as Vitiligo. My mother is also fighting added auto immune diseases, and these are directly related to the anti bodies that continue to damage our tissues. This continues because we are not being treated properly. If all of our doctors prescribed desiccated thyroid it would resolve that issue. I went through two doctors that never even tested my F3 or F4, absolutely refused. I am taking matters into my own hands, and will begin taking raw thyroid supplements in an effort to feel normal. I take both T4 and Cytomel after internal medicine finally did the necessary testing. Now that I have no insurance the Cytomel is out of my tight budget. I was taken off of Armour to go back on synthetic after my thyroid panel showed low T3. After much research, I have come to the conclusion that big pharma and doctors are the only one benefiting from the treatment of a disease gone rampant in this country.
Hi- If you ever get an answer to your question, please let me know.
For 2½ years I've been on an artificial T4-product. Since the beginning I've had a progressive number of more and more debilitating symptoms.
In my country, as in the rest of Europe, you cannot get a doctor to provide you with Armour Thyroid. So in my despair, I first started taking large amounts of iodine and now 1 capsule of Raw Thyroid each day. The thing is that the iodine got rid of more symptoms than the raw thyroid, but for about 10 days after starting RT,everything was fine. Now I've started to get pain in my knees. The moist of winter is setting in but I'm not sure that's the reason.
According to my blood tests I do not have Hypothyr. because they've all been normal the whole time, though the seem to indicate that my problem is insufficient conversion of T4 to T3, but all the classical symptoms I've had.
One last thing, I have read in more than one web-site that Raw Thyroid is actually approved by the FDA.
Can someone help me figure out my t3 and t4 I had them tested because of low energy and joint aches. My T4 is 6.2, T3 is 105 and my TSH was 1.82 and I'm interested in taking the raw thyroid and wondered if I needed it with those numbers??
Those tests are for Total T3 and Total T4, which are not nearly as useful as tests for the biologically active thyroid hormones, which are Free T3 and Free T4. Most thyroid hormone is bound up with protein molecules and thus not "free". Only the small, free portion is active. For the future, you should insist on being tested for the Frees rather than Totals.
That said, to try and give you as much info as possible, we need the reference ranges for those T3 and T4 tests. Test results and reference ranges vary from lab to lab, and it is important to know where your results fall within the range.
Also, please have a look at this list of 26 typical thyroid symptoms and tell us how many you have.
First off, the raw thyroid in Natural Sources, is virtually non-existent, since there can be no measurable T3 or T4 in OTC products.
That said, with a TSH of 0.3, you probably don't need any type of thyroid replacement hormones, but if you'll get current tests and post results (FT3 and FT4), with reference ranges, we might be able to help you.
A friend of mine has recently started taking raw thyroid and swears it is improving her symptoms. I am very unsure about taking OTC anything.
A little background...
My mom, grandma, and great grandma on maternal side all have had thyroid issues. (unsure about paternal side) I have spoken with the PA at my doctor's office several times now and she has attributed my symptoms to stress and doesn't really explore other options or ask me questions. My blood levels were checked about a year ago and about 4 months ago. Neither doctor explained levels but just told me they were within normal range.
Fatigue (experienced in the last 6 months)
Weakness (experienced in the last 6 months)
Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight (experienced in the last 6 months)
Coarse, dry hair (last year)
Hair loss (last year)
Depression (this has been the most severe symptom lately)
Irritability (past 6 months)
Distracted easily or trouble answering questions
Abnormal menstrual cycles
Decreased libido (past 6 months)
I understand I got off subject a little but it seems there are very knowledgable people on this thread and I just need some advice. Am I crazy for believing I have a thyroid malfunction? Or am I just trying to self diagnose? I would appreciate any guidance for me and any advice I can take back to my friend that has recently started taking raw thyroid and its drawbacks...
As Barb pointed out above, nothing with a measurable T3 or T4 content can be sold OTC in the U.S. So, since those are the only two substances that will improve hypothyroidism, I'd say your friend either has a very minimal condition or may be seeing a placebo effect.
Your symptoms sound very hypo. If I were you, I'd call my doctors office and ask for the actual results of the thyroid tests they ran (they have to give you those upon request), not just that they're "within normal limits". Ask for reference ranges on these tests as well since they vary lab to lab and have to be posted with results. Thyroid test result ranges tend to be too broad, so many people remain symptomatic within range.
Once you get those, why don't you start a new thread with your concerns in the headline? You'll get more attention to your individual concerns that way. We can help you to interpret your results and see if your doctor has done adequate testing.
Thank you.. I realized I posted within this thread and started a new one. First time to use a forum such as this.
I believe she is feeling a placebo effect. Her PTA told her to try the supplement and her and her mother are very into trying things they hear work wonders. I just hope she isn't harming herself. I don't believe she has ever had her thyroid levels checked or has any family history.
Dessicated Thyroid sold OTC does indeed have T3 and T4. OTC is sold as a food product, no different than going to the butcher and buying sweetbreads. The butcher doesn't remove the hormones. Only if it is sold to treat does it need to be devoid of hormones. Most is weaker because the OTC doesn't refine as much therefore in a 60 MG pill there is more fat and connective tissue. What I'm taking now has 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, same as Armour. As far as self-treatment I'd take most hypo-patients advice over most Drs. I do regular TSH, FT4 and FT3 test every 3-4 months. You order online($85 for the 3 tests or $50 for FT4 alone), go to the lab and have blood drawn. 7 days later you have your results.
Perhaps you can help me out. I can find absolutely nothing on that website that actually states it contains T3 and T4. Is there anything on the label stating it contains T3 and T4 and in what amounts?
I see a lot of very carefully worded implication: that it's "equivalent" to Armour, that it can be imported into the U.S. because it's not listed as one of the drugs containing T4 that is prohibited from importation (perhaps because it doesn't contain T4?). The wording is SO careful that it makes me very uncomfortable.
The only reference I've found to its T3 and T4 content is a "he said, she said when he emailed the company" reference on the STTM website.
STTM website - "Neither Thyroid-S or Thiroyd from are by prescription, and patients report them working quite well."
I have read that Thyroid-S from Thailand was supposedly good, like old Armour. BUT - I assumed it was prescription! It isn't, which is new news to me. How it can be shipped into the US without a script is baffling. And you can get it other places on the net as well. I bet if a health food store tried selling it OTC, they would get busted. Otherwise, they would be selling it OTC right now you would think. Have you in person seen this in a retail store?
This does not really fit into the OTC category, like the other lesser strength types.
The website selling it does not have much technical info on it though, almost none.
These questions come to mind since Erfa from Canada (like old Armour) is only sold by pharmacies and they require a script from a Dr for shipping. It could also be sold as a food product, but is not.
FYI - the old Armour was used well before the FDA came into power in the U.S.. I imagine it was available with out a script untill the FDA came along. When Armour production was shut down in '09 the FDA required them to file as a new drug (which costs a lot of $), since it never was in the first place due to it being older than the FDA. So, technically Armour was not a drug even though at some point the FDA began requiring a script for it, circa 1930's ?
In 2009, two generic U.S. manufactures of an "Armour equivalent" choose not to pay the new drug filing fee forced upon them and were told by the FDA they could not legally sell it here, so they stopped producing it forever - I personally spoke to one of those companies- thats what they told me. Thanks FDA.
Why the FDA does not require a script for Thyroid-S to ship to the states is the big question. That may be why the T3 and T4 content is not easily found on the website (At all?), they're possibly hiding this info - from the FDA, so they can sell it as a 'food' product. I don't see how this can remain on the free U.S. market for much longer. Bet its in the FDA's sites.
What about the other alternative, Moose? What if all the T3 and T4 has really been stripped out of it and all that's left is the fat and connective tissue? Perhaps that's why it's being shipped into the states with impunity???
Sriprasit Pharma was among the first group in Thailand that adopted the GMP standard of pharmaceutical manufacture in 1989, and later was awarded the ISO 9001 version 2000 standard. The company has a policy of maintaining and developing quality standards that are recognized internationally.
Sriprasit Pharma’s products come in tablets, capsules, liquids, creams and ointments. All production processes meet strict quality control standards. Hygienic inspection is regularly imposed in every manufacturing facility. Pharmaceutical raw materials used come from the best chemical sources such as those in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, USA, Japan, etc.
New products are constantly being researched and developed in response to the growing demand from the pharmaceutical markets, both at home and abroad.
Strictly following international manufacturing standards of the GMP and ISO, Sriprasit Group is trusted in all aspects of the medical and pharmaceutical fields, including state and private hospitals and medical schools.
According to the STTM website, Thyroid-S contains a water soluble coating/binder called polyvinylprrolidone (PVP K90). One of the main uses for this polymer back in the 1950's was hair spray. Yum yum!!
The Fisher Scientific web site provides an MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) for polyvinylprrolidone and states the following:
"Potential Health Effects:
Eye: May cause eye irritation.
Skin: May cause skin irritation.
Ingestion: May cause irritation of the digestive tract. The toxicological properties of this substance have not been fully investigated.
Inhalation: May cause respiratory tract irritation. The toxicological properties of this substance have not been fully investigated.
Chronic: Animal studies have reported the development of tumors."
This is just one of the ingredients; I didn't research them all.
It is used as a binder in many pharmaceutical tablets; it simply passes through the body when taken orally. However, autopsies have found that crospovidone does contribute to pulmonary vascular injury in substance abusers who have injected pharmaceutical tablets intended for oral consumption.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this chemical for many uses, and it is generally considered safe.
Its been known to work as well as Armour, so it must have active hormones in it. I read about it 3 years ago, I assume its still the same.
Me thinks they're just being very sneaky about marketing as in not displaying the whole truth of ingredients.
Shipping laws are very odd. Could be transcontinental shipping laws diff from inner-continental? Could just be a technicality. You can buy generic synthetic T3 on web auction sites too (amozon, ebay ect)- why and how? That's how body builders (with no brains) get it.
I'm personally glad to have found out about Thyroid-S. I take Armour and am very happy with it but I would consider Thyroid-S. As far as the amount of T4 and T3 I would think anyone who's taking it and getting labs can attest to it's efficacy. If it didn't have enough they would know.
I've checked several sites and have yet to find one that says how much T3 and T4 is actually in these pills. Wouldn't you think it would be on the bottle someplace, so patients would know exactly what they're getting?
An actual Erfa Thyroid bottle (big 500 count) has a folded up info sheet glued to the top that says every thing, even dose info, warning signs ect. But when its divided into small counts, its no longer in the original bottle.
If I remember right, Nature Throid came that way too.
Same goes for anything I would assume, if bought on-line.
My present concern is how to adjust from Armour 2 60MG to Nt'l Raw Thryroid. I am now deathly allergic with bloood tests confirming highly toxic binders in the New Patented Forrest American Armour Also Levithroxine & it's buddy synthetic friend T4. My quest if to find a readily available source of thryoid for my personal well being & overall health in replacement therapy. Big mistake to have ever let any surgeon take out my functioning organ! Life mistake now maintaining management techniques. I am presently take the original Canadian armour thryoid doing fine test wise, feeling & functioning well. Yet trying to get any American Dr. to give a script to use in Canada is a challenge. Thanks Onward Friend
This is a very old thread; you would get better response to your question if you start a new thread with your own particular information. You can do that by clicking on the orange "Post a Question" button at the top of the page.
That said, you might talk to your doctor about trying Tirosint, which is a T4 gel cap. Its only ingredients are the active ingredient, levothyroxine, water, glycerin. Being a gel cap, it's as hypoallergenic as you will get. Like other T4 medications, it comes in a variety of dosages, beginning with 13.5 mcg.
Because Tirosint is a gel cap, it's much better absorbed than pill forms of the medication; therefore some people find they have to start at a lower dose than they otherwise would.
I have been on Pharma Synthroid and Levothyroxine since 91 when the Drs shut my thyroid down... had I know what I now know I would not have allowed them to do that... but that said... both meds I did not do well on... truth be told my body rejects almost every Pharma med given me... it makes me sicker than the symptoms I originally start with... duh!!... I got laid off, and tried for several months to get into the clinic just to have blood work... I called every day for that time at 7am... always booked?? ... you would think you could just walk into the lab have the tests done you know you need and go from there... I finally went to an outpost clinic that charged me 85 dollars for an 8 dollar prescription.. 2 months... then was told to come back and do it all over again... I asked for a years prescript and they said no... I had to pay the 85 dollars again and redo the blood work and 2 minutes with the dr... I did not have the money to do that... I still can't get into the clinic... so much for ObamaCare... and I've paid my taxes since I was 14, I am now 60... so I resorted to the Natural Thyroid, not wanting to die at this point... an organic diet... and I have more energy, feel better than I have ever felt.. I'm going to the Health Fair where I can get Blood work done for 30 bucks ... I do know how to read them... wish me luck..
Not sure where you're located, but most places won't do blood work without a doctor's order. Maybe you should have tried for a time, other than 7:00 am; I know at my lab, that time goes quickly and I have to make my appointments weeks in advance in order to get that time.
Not sure what you mean "so much for ObamaCare"...... I'm not a big fan of it myself, but most of it hasn't even gone into effect, so we can't blame too much on it yet.
As has been stated several times throughout this thread, the Raw Thyroid purchased OTC, are prohibited from having any measurable thyroid hormones.
It took my dopey, HMO-controlled doctors 3 years to diagnose my hypothyroidism. They did only the standard blood test and my T4 was normal. Finally, I found one who tested the transition of T4 to T3 and found I was significantly low on T3. I had dozens of symptoms (thinning eyebrows, dry skin, orange toes, huge weight gain, depression, bad nails and hair, etc.). Synthroid T4 and kelp worked wonders, at first. I lost 50 pounds and the symptoms resolved.
However, over the past year, I've gained weight, feel depressed and have had other symptoms return. The doctors are putting me through the same BS again. My blood tests say my thyroxine levels are fine, but they won't do the T3 test.
I ordered Nature Throid (T3 and T4) through InHouse Pharmacy, and have noticed a difference in the 6 weeks I've been taking it. I am also taking Lugol's Iodine which also helps. I have lost 5 pound already with no changes in my diet. I too would like to try the dessicated OTC meds, and I think I'll try the porcine one mentioned above.
I agree that HMOs have caused a serious deterioration in healthcare. I cannot stand dealing with doctors anymore...
"Finally, I found one who tested the transition of T4 to T3 and found I was significantly low on T3." Only way to do that is to test for Free T3; is that what they did?
If, over the past year, your symptoms have returned or become worse, you should get retested again, because you most likely need an adjustment of your synthroid dosage.
You should be tested regularly, for TSH, Free T3 and Free T4; if your levels aren't right, you need a med adjustment. If your doctor refuses to test FT3, you need a different one. Or you can order a thyroid panel online for approximately $85 for TSH, Free T3 and Free T4....... you can do this without your doctor's order. Once you order the test, you are e-mailed a lab order, they tell you which lab to go to in your area, you get the blood draw and in a couple of days, they e-mail you a result. Healthcheckusa is one that I and some other members have used with great success.
Do you know if you have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis? Hashi's is the # 1 cause of hypothyroidism in the developed world. If you have it, thyroid function gradually declines and you will require increasing doses of thyroid replacement hormones.
As has been stated above, many times, the "desiccated" products you buy OTC have, by law, no measurable hormones, so would, at best, be considered a placebo.
It seems that your money would be better spent getting tested, as I suggested above, taking those results to your doctor and getting an increase in your synthroid, or convincing her/him that you need a T3 component.
There is a small number of people (myself included) that find on synthetic thyroid hormone replacement, they should be well but feel very hypo. I believe, and this is only a hypothesis, that some people that have been on synthetic for a long time their body becomes resistant to it. Particularly those that have an autoimmune thyroid issue. I had Grave's disease as a child, and was treated by having my thyroid burnt out, with meds. At 36 now, I can only take desiccated thyroid. I don't know the differences between the porcine and bovine. I am in the UK at the moment and the dr.'s here won't prescribe any desiccated thyroid. I may be forced to take an OTC for a year until I can get to my GP back home. Can anyone recommend a brand? For those of you that are just learning about all this, OTC's aren't reliable but in a pinch you gotta do what you gotta do. I admit taking bovine, which seems to be the one at my disposal kinda creeps me out because of the mad cow disease factor, though I can't imagine that is a real threat anymore.
Many people are still hypo, when they "should be well", because their med is not adjusted properly. This happens when they, and/or their doctors focus on TSH and don't test, or pay attention to, the FT3 and FT4.
Synthetic T4 is identical to what your body would produce if it could. There are people who do better on desiccated med, because of the amount of T3 it contains. Pigs produce much more T3 than humans do.
Additionally, there are many of us with autoimmune thyroid disease who do very well on synthetic medications.
I don't know about UK, but, as has been stated several times, in this thread, there can be no measurable T3 or T4 in OTC thyroid supplements. Since doctors in UK do not prescribe desiccated hormones, it's unlikely that any of their OTC supplements would contain actual T3 or T4, either.
You might find a doctor who is willing to give you a script for T4 med and add some T3, with it, to get you by.
There are no UK manufacturers of desiccated thyroid hormone or synthetic T4/T3 combinations. The only way to be prescribed natural desiccated thyroid hormone or synthetic T4/T3 combinations in the UK is through "Named Patient Basis". This means in certain circumstances the doctor can prescribe a medication because you have a special need for a certain medication. There is a lot of information on the Thyroid UK website.
The following are the non UK manufactured prescription thyroid medications that may be obtainable on prescription in the UK through the "Named Patient Basis":
Natural desiccated: Naturethroid, Westhroid, Thyroid (Erfa), NP Thyroid, Armour Thyroid (Note: all listed are porcine based - pig's thyroid gland)
Synthetic T4/T3 combination: Thyrolar
Synthetic T3: Cytomel, Paddock. (A synthetic T3 is already available in the UK called Goldshield)
Sorry Lazy Moose....but people are listening to their bodies, becoming better informed and now taking their well being into their own hands, and more and more are moving away from ' real medication'! Many now realise that doctors, no matter how well intentioned they may be, do NOT know it all. Also sad to say, many many doctors really don't care any more.....too many people and too little time.
So I really believe it is time to come out of the 'dark ages' and become an informed patient........and less critical of those of us who have had zero joy from doctors and their 'real medication' and are doing some research and yes, experimentation of our own. Many of us, I do believe will find the answers we are looking for!
Not sure what you're referring to; LazyMoose is a very informed and respected member on our forum.
I think most/many of us would agree that some doctors don't care anymore, and they certainly don't know it all. Very few of us have an "joy" from doctors, but there are some things that simply can't be treated adequately, without the proper medication.
As always, we encourage our members to do their research and be their own advocate.
I found Nutri-meds online a while back and wondered if it was any good. Thank you for the recommendation. I have a lot of health issues. It is all a bit unclear. And while I've had multiple thyroid tests, they fluctuate quite a bit. And even when they've shown there was a problem, they're subclinical and the doctors have all refused to address the issues despite the fact that my symptoms are so severe. I have had no luck in getting doctors to prescribe a significant amount of thyroid hormone.
I did finally manage to get an endocrinologist to prescribe 25 mcg of Levothyroxine. But it wasn't really doing anything, he just prescribed it to shut me up. I increased it on my own, as he'd given me a 3 momth supply, but also experienced quite a bad reaction to it. But found that many of my symptoms not alleviated by anything else were getting better: muscle weakness, depression, memory, hair problems. But then I had to go back to relying on my herbal supplementation.
I see a specialist who treats me for chronic fatigue, but despite my stimulants for fatigue and my pain meds I'm hving worse pain and muscle weakness. I can't seem to shake it. I can't clean my house or do anything, despite being more awake. I apologize if this post is a bit scattered. I just took an oxycodone (don't take them often) after already taking my meloxicam and feel a bit spacey at the moment. Please reply and perhaps my next post will be more coherent.
Addendum to my previous comment: I went and looked at the site for Thyroid-S and decided on it instead. I ordered it from Amazon. Pleasantly suprised to find it on there. It's gonna take forever to arrive, sadly, but I'm hopeful and optimistic. If it works, then I can say "In your face" to all the naysayer doctors who won't take me seriously. Fingers crossed...
I've skimmed thru the history. I was looking for some info on taking OTC, as well as hoping to find info on the company Natural Sources that is the distributor of the Raw Thyroid product I've been using for the past 60 days so I can try to find a local distributor.
I've been out of insurance for almost a year after a job didn't work out while I had moved to FL, so my doc will no longer renew my prescription, and I'm not wasting money on seeing a doc to renew my prescription after running blood tests that I can also not afford. I start a new job soon, but I won't have coverage until April, so I've been taking a daily dose and it's worked out fine. At first, I felt a little boost and actually felt more focused, now it's kind of the same routine as taking synthroid.
One thing I noticed is that is says to take with food, and my synthroid was to be taken before a meal or else hours after. That makes no sense to me at all.
Here's one thing I see missing from this whole discussion forumn, unless I missed some posts...nobody searching for what actually causes hypothyroidism. I know there are a number of types of thyroid illnesses from different thyroid functions...Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves disease, etc...but what I mean is: What makes the thyroid go haywire??
I've done some reading in the past that it may not be the thyroid itself, but the parathyroid and other glands that are not functioning well because of adrenal exhaustion, and if you can heal that, you can heal the thyroid and/or other glands.
I consider this kind of the same thing as diabetes type II. In USA, we just treat it by giving medication to stimulate the islets of langhorn to produce more insulin and when we get too bad of shape, then just take insulin shots...we don't address diet, weight issues, stressful lifestyles, etc that are the real culprits to causing type II diabetes.
I kind of feel that we have a magnified problem here because of other triggers. I think that maybe many of us could be avoiding having to take it. I know that many years before I started to take synthroid my weight had crept up, and I was borderline hypothyroid. I lost 15-20 pounds and I was testing normal again for a good while. I don't think weight is the ONLY factor, and indeed, when you acquire hypothyroid condition, it exacerbates weight problems, and don't know if is always cause and effect or becomes part of the problem, but I think there is a better approach than just taking meds.
Furthermore, I think some of the negative comments above that were directed towards physicians and some of the senior members of this forum were probably not clearly articulating what they meant to say, which is that typical AMA physicians tend to treat symptoms not root issues, and that's the big beef that they are too much in bed with the big pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The earliest doctor school was started around 1850, Allegheny General in Pittsburgh, PA, was of the homeopathic variety, as opposed to what has evolved into todays modern medicine. Although they have tried to inject more preventative medicine into todays practice, the emphasis is really not there.
Don't get me wrong. Hey, if you have a heart attack, the USA has the best emergency medicine in the world. If you're dying, they'll keep you alive, but what I think is missing is that it doesn't address quality of life, and the underlying issues, many of which are emotional and lifestyle, which cause illnesses that are absolutely real.
Why am I struggling to lose this 15-20 pounds I gained back? Lifestyle. We are too tied into an economy that is not self-sustaining, and lifestyles that are wasteful and stressful and not healthy. I left a job where I commuted an hour each way M-F. Ridiculous! Does a family of 2-4 people that doesn't entertain guests or relatives really need a home of 2500 sq feet?
But nobody is making smaller, practical homes. The school districts don't want them, they want higher taxes. I want to know what percentage of workers in the US are public employees. Probably a third or more. Then a third are service employees like me, a computer analyst, and then there are the people who really make something or grow something.
The president passed a bill last year to control what seeds we buy. Monsanto controls patents on many or most of the plants we eat. More and more control and not in a good direction.
Then there's moral decay. Gibbons classic book on the Rise and Fall of Great Civilizations showed that to be true. Moral relativism. They are already trying to push for minors to be able to have sex with adults. You cannot have good health without a good moral compass.
This may sound far afield, but the Bible says, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." and that's another reason why I don't trust modern science fully.
Well, there's a lot there to contemplate, and a lot of it very interesting. Unfortunately, this is a very old, long thread that is taking forever and a day to load. Would you consider going to the top of the page, clicking the orange "Post a Question" button and starting a new thread so we can do your topics justice?
One comment: Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most prevalent cause of hypo in the developed world (where iodine deficiency isn't a factor). Hashi's is autoimmune, and the analogy is to Type I diabetes, not Type II. Unfortunately, selectively suppressing the immune system is still a distant hope. Medicine can only address lifestyle marginally (since it depends so on the cooperation of the patient), morality not at all.
Why not try "natural sources" raw thyroid and compare to synthroid? Cannot hurt much short term and you can get a decent Thyroid panel "Thyroid Panel, Special" for TSH, FT3 and FT4 at www.directlabs.com for $89. Insurance is accepted as the doctor is in your state (some states excluded).
I am a 48 year old Male. I am hypo. I did not know it for many years 18 yrs to be exact. Here is what I do know. Symptomology is a little different for each person. My Adrenal compensated for the most part up unitl the end. I did not lose my hair, but my symptoms started with increase in weight, loss of motivation, depression, Severe headaches driven by atmoshperic pressure changes, dry skin, and i can go on. I say this to come to this point that drive me into the doctors office. I had massive fatigue and was falling asleep at the keyboard and leaving key prints in my forehead. I wasn't even aware of the insominia issues that Hypo drives until then and I did not associate it with Hypo until later. Next was I began short term memory loss and then began the thoughticus interuptus. I started not being able to process singlular thougts. I went to the doc thinking i was loosing my mind! He ran tests but said nothing was wrong. He gave me some Anti-narcoleptics. They didn't even phase me.
One month went by and i did some research. I went back to my doc and told him things were worse. He ran more tests. This time my Cholesterol was through the roof. 435! Never had that problem before. I asked him about Hypothyroid and at first he dismissed it. Then he ran some tests. The "Ah Ha!" moment came when he saw the results.
He sent me to an Endocrinologist. When in her office final after three months and now march in Texas. Warm, breezy and moist. I was shrivled up in a heavy winter coat with the lights off and semi-conscious. She read my chart upon entry and asked what i thougth was wrong. I told her that I think Hypothyroid. She emphatically stated, " Yes you are! your numbers are off the chart! You are about 2 weeks from a coma." She immediately started me on Synthroid @ .50mcg to keep me from that coma. I would liek to say that was the end and all ended well. Alas no. I did not do well on Sythroid. Eventually and after much research I asked for Armour and she agreed.
One of the research books I read was just fantastic. It can be ordered from the following site: http://www.*************************
Someone on this post -posted about why would you comsume a heart to fix a heart problem. That logic does not work. Thyroid tissue(dessicated) contains the hormones that are in teh cells of the tissue. It has been proven to work for generations and is NOT third world.
I would like to point out that when you are hypo, it is not just T3 and T4 that are low. It is all the T factor of the thyroid that are low. The Thyroid makes T4, T3, T2, T1, Calcitonin and facilitates T4 to T3 conversion. Th only difference being T4 loses an Iodine atom to become T3 and active in the system. That free iodine atom gets recycled in the Thyroid to help make new T4. Many who are Hypo find this process is not efficient or lacking in viability or non-existent in some cases.
Get the book I mentioned. Read it. Become educated and discuss with your doctor.
Synthroid only gives you T4 in a mirror form. Armour or any good Dessicated Thy. gives you all the T factor hormones.
Also something to consder. TSH is not a Thyroid hormone. It come frmo the Pituitary. It's function is to simply signal the Thyroid to make more or less T4. When you are hypo and well regulated your TSH will be low to really low like .25 and that is fine. Don't let that scar you or the doc. It will do that because if you are on Hormone replacement and regulated then there is nothing for it to do. So it will just kind of sit there and keep an eye on things so to speak.
The medical establishment wants to do everything by TSH for thyroid and that is bad. It is not a good indicator except for UN-regulated folks who are discovering they are hypo or hyper. Once regulated it sort of just marks time. Also make sure your doc doesn't just look a the blood tests and see if yo are in the "range" but also have them do a symptomology check. You may be presenting but your blodwrk shows your fine by their standards. Anyway I seem to be a bit long winded here.
Get the book I mentioned on http://www.************************* it is a patient to patient book just full of knowledge and helps.
I tried and I tried and I tried to keep making the distinction between "raw thyroid" and "desiccated porcine thyroid" (like Armour). They are two different substances. "Raw thyroid" is bovine thyroid tissue from which T3 and T4 have both been removed. Armour is porcine thyroid, which contains all the hormones the pig had. Raw thyroid can be purchased without a script, desiccated (armour) cannot.
Yes, read, read, read, but don't just read the book referenced...read both sides of any controversy. One author...one opinion...what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. We all do well on different meds...
I came across this post because, like Dooright, I wondered if Raw Thyroid could be an acceptable alternative. My TSH and free T4 are in the normal range, but my TPO is 503. My endo prescribed Synthroid, but I quickly gained 8 pounds and did not feel any better on the drug in the 3 months I took it. In fact, the only way I can describe it is I felt like it interfered with something that was previously working. I know that is vague, and I know that 3 months may not be long enough to evaluate a drug.
However, what strikes me about this conversation, and in consideration of all the Synthroid drug reviews I read (752 with an average rating of 2.7 of 5), there is a lot of guessing and inappropriate dosing for people who are taking the conventional route (seeing an endo, getting regular labs, readjusting dose). The side effects that people describe in the Synthroid reviews are mostly not side effects but hypo or hyper symptoms that continue or flip-flop over sometimes many, many years despite taking the drug and “doing all the right things.”
I understand that self-medicating is dangerous, but the yo-yo drugging pattern with Synthroid doesn’t appear any less dangerous. I am not advocating self-medication, and I strongly believe in watching the numbers and seeing a doctor, but I am left very confused about what to do. … Dooright, it would be nice to know what you decided to do and how you are doing.
Here is a link to the reviews:
First thing I should mention is that diagnosing and treating a hypothyroid patient with TSH and Free T4 tests is totally inadequate. 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, and especially not TSH results.
Free T3 is the most important of these tests because it largely regulates metabolism and many other body functions. Scientific studies have shown that Free T3 correlated best with hypo symptoms, while Free T4 and TSH did not correlate at all. Many hypo patients taking only T4 meds find that their body does not adequately convert the T4 to T3, so their Free T3 levels are too low in the range, with resultant hypo symptoms. Many of our members report that symptom relief required Free T3 in the upper third of its range and free T4 around the middle of its range.
I suggest that you should request to be tested for Free T3, along with Free T4 and TSH that they always test. It would also be good to test for Vitamin D, B12, and ferritin. If you will get those done and then post results and their reference ranges shown on the lab report, members will be glad to help interpret and advise further. While at the doctor, you should also try to find out if the doctor is going to be willing to treat you clinically as described above. If not, then you will need to find a good thyroid doctor that will do so.
Thanks so much Gimel. In the last post, I meant to thank you all for the helpful comments through this thread. Over time, you recognize responsible advice.
I don’t think I ever had my T3 tested. I have had 2 endocrinologists over the years; the first one left his practice for medical reasons. After I had my daughter in 1999, I was hyper, then hypo, then stabilized, and I have nodules, the largest of which was biopsied and was okay. I was told that I would eventually have Hashimoto disease. Over these 13 years, my TSH and FT4 have been relatively the same. Here are my numbers before Synthroid (September 2012):
After stopping Synthroid (February 2013):
range the same.
It seems I have always had symptoms: at least mild depression, low blood pressure, brain fog, constipation, difficulty losing weight, and cold. I am 54, by the way, and 4 years past menopause.
I was struck by something I read from a doctor who believes in treating the whole patient. He said:
“People who have had terrible childhood experiences (sexual abuse, physical abuse, personal tragedies etc) for whatever reason have altered thyroid metabolism. They are more complex to treat. They are different from everyone else biochemically and pharmacologically. The blame for most of their residual difficulties is not with their brains and minds but with their chemistry. I believe also other areas of their biochemistry are not normal. I don't think this has been generally recognized yet.”
I strongly believe this to be true. I had a difficult childhood and have always had Hashimoto tendencies, if you know what I mean (depressed, low blood pressure, panic attacks, constipation, cold …). I know I speak for many when I say that I wish more doctors treated the whole person.
… I don’t understand why my numbers remained within range all these 13 years, and I’m afraid of going on the drug before I need to or possibly making it worse. Maybe I risk damage by waiting, but I think this has become a psychological hurtle for me. I appreciate your advice, Gimel, and I will take it. Any other comments would be most appreciated.
How long after stopping Synthroid were your second set of labs? How much Synthroid were you taking?
We can have antibodies for years, or even decades, before they do enough damage for our labs to go out of range and/or for symptoms to appear. So, the fact that your labs stayed in range between your postpartum thyroiditis and now isn't entirely unusual.
As you said, the "side effects" ouf Synthroid are mostly the result of inept practitioners dosing improperly. However, an educated patient who seeks out a responsive doctor willing to work WITH him/her, can achieve health with conventional approaches.
Thanks Goolarra. I was off of Synthroid for about a month when I got my last labs. While I was on Synthroid, my TSH was the same as it was in September. My endo said that shows it was the right dose, which I really don't understand. Do you think it is harmful to wait until labs are out of range to begin treatment? I have been living with the symptoms so long that I can endure, but I don’t want to be foolish either; I know that this could lead to other autoimmune issues.
I try to eat whole foods, have gone gluten-free, and avoid sugar. I have found that for my joint pain—mostly in my hips—yoga is a great help. My instructor said that women carry their stress in their hip joints, and it is important to make room in the joint by proper stretching/movement. I take magnesium, B12, multi with herbs, and fermented cod liver oil. I think all of these changes have helped.
Just a final thought. Without "normal" health to compare, I think it is sometimes hard to distinguish whether our symptoms are from Hashimoto, menopause (or hormones in younger women), or aging.
"While I was on Synthroid, my TSH was the same as it was in September. My endo said that shows it was the right dose, which I really don't understand." Neither do I. That does not make a lot of sense. What was your FT4 while on meds? Did it change? Would you post some of your medicated labs? How much Synthroid were you on?
Once we have one autoimmune disease, we are more likely to develop another than the general population is to get their first. However, treated or not, the antibodies are still there. So, treating or not treating neither decreases nor increases the possibilty of getting another autoimmune.
Symptom relief is what's important. It sounds like you've been living with them long enough!
"Do you think it is harmful to wait until labs are out of range to begin treatment?" Tough question because of all the variables...the speed of the progression of the disease, symptoms, etc.
Though terribly unpleasant, I don't think it's harmful to be even "very" hypo for a short period of time in most cases. However, being slightly hypo for a very long period of time definitely takes its toll on your body. While hypo, we accumulate a lot of "little" injuries that take time to heal once we get hormone levels back on track, and putting up with symptoms can lengthen that whole healing process. That might be part of why "I...did not feel any better on the drug in the 3 months I took it." (And that's IF your meds were, in fact, ever properly adjusted for you.)
Make sure your magnesium is citrate or glycinate (or almost anything but oxide).
I totally agree that Hashi's, reproductive hormone inbalance, menopause and aging can all have similar symptoms, and it's very difficult to separate them.
Your symptoms are your body telling you that something is wrong. They're more important than any lab work you could have done.
On Synthroid, 50 mcg, my FT4 was 1.0 (range 0.6–1.6) and TSH was 1.31 (range 0.30–5.00). I don’t think T3 was ever checked.
If my TPO hadn’t been checked in September (503), I wouldn’t know I definitely have Hashi’s and I don’t know how long I had antibodies, but probably a long time. Yes, I am tired of the symptoms, especially the bad memory. I don’t know if this is part of Hashi's, but I have aged rapidly in the past 4 years. The little injuries you describe make sense. Logic tells me I need the drug, but I don’t know how to overcome the psychological block ... It's good to know that treating or not treating doesn't change the risk of other autoimmunes.
I am using Syngenic activated ionic magnesium cream (magnesium chloride). Is that good?
As gimel mentioned above, FT3 is really the most important of the tests. We have a tendency to say that a lot...can you hear the drumbeat??? LOL
So, when you were on Synthroid, your FT4 level never changed. It was 1.0 before meds, 1.0 on meds and 1.1 after meds. In order for you to feel better, you have to raise your FT3 and FT4 levels. It's little wonder your symptoms never improved. That 50 mcg was doing absolutely nothing for you.
Fifty mcg is really just a starter dose. It obviously did absolutely nothing to improve your lab profile.
That rapid "aging" may have more than you think to do with being a little hypo, and it might not be a permanent state of affairs. A lot of us had symptoms that we never thought could possibly be hypo symptoms...until they went away on meds.
By "psychological block", do you mean the feeling that you're making things worse by treating?
Oh my, I just did a whole lot of research on magnesium and never even encountered anything about magnesium chloride or creams. I just had a quick look, and it's supposted to deliver elemental Mg very well, so i would think it's a good one. Apparently, applied to the skin, it's absorbed much better than through the gut.
If your endo won't do the FT3 test, you can order it online. Self-ordered tests are also self-pay...about $85 for a full thyroid panel. A doctor isn't involved, and the results are sent directly to you.
I've never done well on drugs, either. I'm hyper-sensitive to just about everything. I think the big difference for me when it came to thyroid was that I couldn't continue with the symptoms I had. I was almost narcoleptic. If I sat down, I was asleep in minutes. I was hypo (very) for about 18 months before anyone thought about testing my thyroid. I had a tough time the first year on meds, mostly due to an inept PCP, who had no clue how to dose, but I also knew I couldn't go back.
Take the time to find a good doctor you can work with. I was so down on doctors when I went looking for my endo that I was fully prepared to storm out of his office, telling him what an idot he was and slamming the door behind me! I was very pleasantly surprised.
I don't know how your endo could tell you that you were on the correct dose when it didn't change your labs at all. Perhaps you should think about doctor shopping.
Well, you know, you get interested in a subject, and suddenly it becomes an obsession! LOL It is fascinating...
I am most grateful for your obsession. :) Oh my, 18 months of very hypo and a year of med adjustments is a lot to endure. So glad you found your way to better health. Being your own advocate had to be a big part of it.
It would be great to find a doctor who is willing to look at the big picture and offer more than one treatment. Doctors will complain when patients don’t take an interest in their own health, but when you ask too many questions they become ruffled too. Can you suggest how I might find a doctor and recommend a lab for the self-ordered tests? I live in southcentral Pennsylvania.
I know members have had good luck with healthcheckusa (*******). They will send you to a local lab for the draw and send the results (very promptly) to you. If they're not available in your area, there are lots of others online, but I have not heard reports about them.
Gimel keeps a list (of which I have a copy) of doctors recommended by forum members. Are you close enough to Erie, Westchester or Tunkhannock? The last, I believe, is an exceptional thyroid doctor. If so, I'll PM you names and numbers. It's frowned upon to post doctors' names on the open forum.
Barring that, remind me to tell you about interviewing them over the phone before making an appointment.
Being my own advocate and this forum helped me tremendously. I have a lot of wonderful people to thank.
Oh, gee, I wasn't swearing and I got bleeped! You get the idea on the site.
Those are the only ones in PA. How about Baltimore or Pikesville, MD?
When I was looking for en endo, I wrote up a questionnaire that I faxed to all the endos in the area in my health plan. It was multiple guess so it wouldn't take up much of their time. It's also possible to call the office, and tell whoever answers that you'd like to ask someone a few questions about the doctor's practice before you make an appointment. That will usually get you to a nurse.
One good question is which tests the doctor customarily orders for hypo patients. Of course, you want to hear FT3, FT4 and TSH. If you hear TSH only...run!
Another is which meds the doctor is open to using. Ideally, T4 only therapy, synthetic T3/T4 combos and desiccated is what you want to hear. Practically speaking, very few doctors prescribe all three. They tend to fall into the synthetic-only or desiccated-only camps. If your medical market is limited, you might have to consider a doctor the doesn't like to prescribe desiccated. I live in a small, rural area, and this was one concession I had to make. If I hadn't, I'd be driving 2-3 hours to see my endo.
Those two questions will weed out the worst of the worst, but you can ask anything else that's important to you. For example, you might ask if the doctor will treat Hashi's in the presence of symptoms before labs go out of range. Some flat out won't.
I am over an hour away from Pikesville. I think I’ll start with the interview questions with local doctors. I feel fully prepared. :) You helped me to understanding Hashi’s/drugs/tests better than I thought possible. You can’t imagine how confused I was. Thank you so much.
In my experience, my Mom died from Thyroid Cancer which started out with untreated nodules. I find myself with a normal TSH and other 'normal' tests but with Hypo symptoms. Due diligence, 'know thyself" and do not give up. My Endo is good for tests and a sonogram that is about it. Synthroid eventually fails all who take it because the output of T4 will eventually cause too much reverse T3 and what we need it T3 to feed ALL systems not just the Thyroid...so even if the Thryoid and Pit are good the whole Hypothamus, Pit Axis could be off....or one could have an issue converting T4 to T3 properly. Cytomel can be good but once again like Synthroid needs constant adjustment. Taking supplements that support Thryoid, T4 and T3 function like Guggul, Ashwaganda, Selenium, Iodine and Iodide (need both), tyrosine, coconut oil. One can also check into Estrogen Dominance, insulin resistance and supplement accordingly. One of the most important things is to check your Liver. Do a liver cleanse ---many issues can come from the liver being out of balance and gut issues. Do you have IBS, constipation, low body temperature---all related to inflammation issues that could cause the thryoid to get out of wack or the thryoid may be causing them.
Get on iherb do some research like Brownstein, Wright, Mercola etc. There are plenty of websites. Get tested, due diligence research and know all your symptoms because Synthroid just Does Not work in the end. Nourishing your thyroid is the permanent solution. Start small then increase until symptoms start to subside. Good luck and peace and good health to all
"Get tested, due diligence research and know all your symptoms because Synthroid just Does Not work in the end."
I agree that one must get tested and do plenty of research of to find the best options. I not, however, agree that Synthroid "just does not work"... because there are a lot of people who take Synthroid and do just fine with it. Those are the people you don't find on web sites like this.
Hi, I just wanted to reply & maybe head u in the right directions. Are u on Facebook? If so I am on a site called"Crazy HPTH." It's a site for people with thyroid problems & people that have had parathyroid problems removed. They would probably help u if u had never had ur thyroid removed & were just having problems with adjusting with medicine.Crazy Hpth is a closed site on Facebook. But they are very helpfull. Hope u try it
Depending on the lab, the labs use different levels & ranges according to geographical location, don't believe it? Check out http://****************.com or what America's favorite pharmacist Suzy Cohen has to say on you tube. Also check out Dr. Brownstein. Check out the 700 club Suzy Cohen on youtube, she was a guest, enlightening stuff. If your doc only goes by your FREE T4 & gives you a script, find another doctor!!! There's much more to it than T4 & TSH...
Great thread. As someone who's been hypo/hashi's for 20 years, AND on 300mcg of levothroid, I got here because I was looking for an alternative to artificial hormones that clearly aren't working. Even at 300mcg, I'm sitting here dazed, sleepy, exhausted, depressed, and barely able to function mentally. Anything that could help, doesn't. I tank up on coffee, Spark, B-12, and green tea just to make it through the day. I want to try the natural thyroid. Anything that might help. Anything.
Great thread. As someone who's been hypo/hashi's for 20 years, AND on 300mcg of levothroid, I got here because I was looking for an alternative to artificial hormones that clearly aren't working. Even at 300mcg, I'm sitting here dazed, sleepy, exhausted, depressed, and barely able to function mentally. Anything that could help, doesn't. I tank up on coffee, Spark, B-12, and green tea just to make it through the day. I want to try the natural thyroid. Anything that might help. Anything.
Many hypo patients taking large doses of T4 med find that their body is not adequately converting the T4 to T3. Since Free T3 has been shown to correlate best with hypo symptoms, it may be that your Free T3 level is too low in the range, due to inadequate conversion of T4 to T3. Please post your thyroid related test results and reference ranges shown on the lab report.
My dad has been having hypothyroid symptoms for the past several years with the major complaint of fatigue. Just recently, thyroid tests were done and the came back normal again like always. He is also a type 2 diabetic.
The results were as follows:
TSH 1.27 range 0.50-5.0
T4 1.23 range 0.7-1.85
T3 1.46 range 1.45-3.48
Could you or any other member help us interpret these results?
From those results I'd say that the Free T4 is okay, but the Free T3 is very low. Just being anywhere within the range does to mean it is adequate for him.
We seem to do best when FT4 is at mid-range, at minimum, and Free T3 is in the upper third of the range, or as needed to relieve symptoms. The lower Free T3 is indicative of inadequate conversion of T4 to T3. Conversion can be adversely affected by several things, including ferritin and selenium levels. I think he should request to be tested for both of those and then supplement as needed to optimize. Ferritin should be about 70 minimum. I don't know of an optimal level for selenium, so I would just make sure it is not in the very low end of its range.
Also I suggest that he should test for Vitamin D, and B12. D should be about 55 and B12 in the very upper end of its range.
So I think he should get those tests done and then supplement as needed to optimize and then see what effect that has on his symptoms.
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