Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Raw thyroid: Any drawbacks?

What are the drawbacks to taking reasonable amounts of dessicated thyroid, such as from Natural Sources?

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

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

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

107 Responses
Avatar universal
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.
798555 tn?1292791151
I seriously wonder why online sites that sell thyroid-S dont require a script. Someone could get screwed up on meds of the wrong dose.

The fact that Canadian sites selling Erfa require a script is a little more comforting, Guess I just trust Erfa and those sites selling it.

Counterfeit meds are out there now.
You are better off not getting the goverment involved in everything.  They prices go UP, and doctors aren't always willing to prescribe. Im GLAD to have those that will sell thyroid hormones with out scripts!
You are better off not getting the goverment involved in everything.  The prices go UP, and doctors aren't always willing to prescribe. Im GLAD to have those that will sell thyroid hormones with out scripts!
649848 tn?1534637300
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?
798555 tn?1292791151
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.
Avatar universal
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
I wasn't given an option when my thyroid was radiated as a child, but given the choice I would have REFUSED to allow it.  Try nutri meds - they seem to do well.  You just have to take more of them.
649848 tn?1534637300
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.
Avatar universal
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..
649848 tn?1534637300
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.  
3054944 tn?1340325921
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...
649848 tn?1534637300
"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.

Best of luck to you.
Avatar universal
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.
649848 tn?1534637300
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.
1756321 tn?1547098925
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)
Avatar universal
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!
649848 tn?1534637300
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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...
649848 tn?1534637300
As has been stated many times throughout this thread, there is no measurable thyroid hormone in the thyroid products you can buy OTC, including Thyroid S.  It's simply ground up tissue.  
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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).
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
This is to myself. The book is 'Stop The Thyroid Madness' the website is by the same name except no spaces. Or just google it.
Avatar universal
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...
Avatar universal
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:
Avatar universal
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.

Avatar universal
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):

TSH: 1.31 (range 0.30–5.00)
FT4: 1.0 (range 0.6–1.6)

After stopping Synthroid (February 2013):
TSH: 1.78
FT4: 1.1
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.”

From: http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/david-derry.htm

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.
Avatar universal
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.  
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
"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.      

Avatar universal
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?

Thank you for all your help!
Avatar universal
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.        
Avatar universal
I will see if my endo will do the FT3 test. My heart raced when you said the aging thing might not be permanent. How wonderful that would be.

I never did well on drugs, such as antidepressants, so I fear to expect anything but side effects or to make things worse, as you said.

I also use Syngenic B12 cream, which is supposed to be utilized better too.

You are so kind and patient to discuss all of this with me. I went for a little walk a while ago and thought about how a stranger would help so much.
Avatar universal
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...


Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
Thank you Goolarra! These places are between 2 and 5 hours away from me. I live near Gettysburg. If none of the recommended doctors are closer, interview help would be much appreciated.
Avatar universal
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.  


Avatar universal
You got bleeped?

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.
Avatar universal
You might want to read the following:

Avatar universal
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
649848 tn?1534637300
"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.  
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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...
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.  
Avatar universal
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?
Avatar universal
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.  
Avatar universal
Hi, The brand you take also has adrenal gland and this is not suitable for everyone on the long run. If you need raw thyroid, then nothing else should be on the ingrediënt list.
I'm not sure who you're addressing...most of the previous posters are no longer active on the forum at this time and it's unlikely you'll get a response from anyone.
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