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Cytomel or Armour?

I am hypothyroid/ Hashi's. I have been on 75mcg or Levothyroxine for about 6 months now and still feel pretty crappy and not myself (major fatigue, dry skin/hair, hair loss, anger managment, some depression, adult acne, chest pains and a whole host of respitory and esophageal issues) . I just had a thyroid panel done again although my TSH is 2.2 my FT3 is still on the very low end of the normal range. Prior to the test my doctor said that she would add Cytomel if my T3 was still low, but she said using Cytomel was like "cheating" that my body should be converting the the T3 on its own. If my FT3 is still low, then it seems my body isn't doing the job right. Has anyone had much experience with this? Is it expensive? I have also read about Armour and I am wondering if this might another option. Which is better?

I am also wondering if by supplementing the T3 am I further handicapping my bodies ability to do its on converting. Are there any natural remedies that can encourage my body to so wha *** should naturally? BTW- I have done a lot of lifestyle changes to help with this (i.e. exercise, yoga, almost no caffine, low sugar, low red meat).

5 Responses
Avatar universal
There are many ways to skin a cat. As there are many ways to treat properly with Thyroid.

barb gave excellent advice.  Some people need to supplement with either a T4 med or a T3 med even when on natural dissected Thyroid.

Everyone is different. And what works for YOU is what is best.

Testing FT4 and FT3 and keeping track of the results on your FT3 level with change in T4 med dosage is in order.  

There is absolutely nothing wrong with natural thyroid and you may want to give that a try.  The other way to go about it is to raise your T4 meds until your FT4 levels get to the middle of the range or slightly above.  If your FT3 levels are not in the upper 1/3 or so of the range start slowly and add T3 med like Cytomel.  It sounds like your Dr may be more inclined to go this route.  This way you will not be "cheating" you'll be adding just enough to make up for your body's conversion deficiency.  Thus your body will still need to convert. You'll just be giving it an assist to the minimum extent needed.

Also make sure you are not taking your Thyroid meds too close to eating.  And in particular having Milk as calcium I believe interferes with absorption of T4 meds.

As barb stated Selenium will help promote conversion but don't expect miracles.  I think it is marginal at best but every little bit helps.

Please post your actual labs and the reference ranges.  A TSH of 2.2 is not horrible but also nothing to write home about.  Not that TSH is all that usefull of a test anyhow.
649848 tn?1534637300
Taking cytomel is not "cheating"......... If your body isn't converting the T4 to T3, there's nothing you can do to force it. No, taking T3 med is not going to affect how your body converts.  Taking a daily dose of selenium may help, but that's not guaranteed.

There are different schools of thought on the cytomel vs Armour issue.  Some people do well only on Armour (or other desiccated), others of us do just as well on cytomel or generic T3.  I've been on generic T3 for nearly 4 yrs and doing well with it.

Armour contains much more T3 than your body normally produces.  You may or may not need that much.  

The decision is pretty much a matter of personal preference.

Please post actual test results, along with reference ranges, which vary from lab to lab, so must come from your own report.   You should be getting TSH, FT3 and FT4 each time you test.
798555 tn?1292791151
"Cytomel was like "cheating" that my body should be converting the the T3 on its own"

- Well, there is the theory that assisting your thyroid with T3 will make it more reluctant to even try to convert. I think thats what she meant.

But guess what, you have antibodies eating your gland. You already have to have T4 meds, so whats the difference by adding some T3.

Cytomel is not cheap, but insurance helps. Makes sense to try that first before going to natural. Fully adjustable med combo. By the way I use natural myself, but used cyto/synthroid in the past.

Changing to natural can be uncomfortable for awhile, takes the body time to get used to it. Its best to deliberately go hypo while starting it and move up. Thats better than the alternative, going temporarily hyper. Been there, did both, several times.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the great input. I going with adding Cytomel and see how that works for now.
Avatar universal
I think that makes sense.

Let us know how it works out for you.

Also T3 meds can be a hard adjustment in large increments. If asked to take more than 5 mcg per day to start out you may want to question it.  Also you may want to split the dose to take half in the morning and half in the early afternoon.

T3 is used directly so by taking it twice in the day it helps attempt to level out the amount in the blood for use throughout the day.  Most people say they can't take a T3 med too close to bedtime as they find it hard to get to sleep.  Thus most people take in the 1PM to 3 PM range (or about 5 hours prior to bed time).

Also understand that the Dr may lower your T4 medication. but if your FT4 is still low in the range the Dr might not.

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