Looks like the best form of thyroid medication you can get is coming from the beloved pig! If you are on thyroid medication, it would be in your best interest to consider “Diggin’ on some swine!”
Thyroid hormone is one of the most, if not the most, important hormones you have in your body. It regulates everything and without thyroid hormone you would not be able to stay alive. You want to make sure you have the best form of thyroid hormone replacement medication available. This is typically Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication such as Nature Throid® or Armour®, or at least a product that contains the active thyroid hormone called T3. NDT comes from pig thyroids that under specific conditions have been desiccated or dried and standardized to contain specific amounts of thyroid hormone. This type of thyroid hormone treatment is my preferred approach for my patients because it helps almost everyone, particularly once the optimal dose is found. That is the key. The optimal dose. Some patients tell me that their doctor prescribed NDT such as Armour® for them in the past and it did not work. This was not necessarily because of the product itself, but because their doctor never gave them a dose high enough to help with symptoms. Once they experience higher appropriate doses of the same product they had before, they experience relief.
Not many medications have such a long track record as Natural Desiccated Thyroid. It has been around for so long because it has helped and continues to help countless patients. In fact, this was one of the first true hormone replacement medications used at the birth of the endocrinology field in the late 19th century and was used in one form or another historically for thousands of years.
NDT has some key components in it that make it highly effective at helping you to feel your best. It contains all thyroid hormones within your thyroid gland, not just isolated singular hormones such as the medication Synthroid®. NDT contains T4 and the active thyroid hormone T3. The T3 content is one of the key reasons patients will feel better symptomatically. T3 packs the punch metabolically. NDT has more secrets though. NDT also uniquely contains small amounts of the remaining thyroid hormones, T2, T1, and calcitonin. T2 has some limited metabolic activity and T1 acts as a building block to create active thyroid hormones such as T3. Calcitonin is also found in NDT in small amounts and is a hormone important to shuttle calcium from the blood into the bones increasing bone density. This fully array of hormones found in NDT makes it a more synergistic product. In other words, it is more than the sum of its parts. In addition, it simply has more parts than isolated synthetic thyroid medications.
In my book, The Hormone Zone, I go into considerable detail explaining why so many doctors do not use NDT and instead almost exclusively use Synthroid®, Levoxyl®, or their generics called levothyroxine. You would think that the answer would be because the doctors believe those medications work better for the patient, and they likely believe this on the surface, but there are deeper reasons for their beliefs. The simple answers are money and politics. Synthroid® is a multi-billion dollar medication and the manufacturers of this medication fund the endocrinology medical specialty. This all funnels down to the general practitioner who is then persuaded and made to believe that synthetic thyroid medication is the best to use.
Another reason that NDT is not chosen by the average doctor is born from a massive misconception that NDT such as Armour® or Nature Throid® is inconsistent in its potency but synthetic thyroid medications such as Synthroid® are consistent. This is simply not completely true. First, it is important to note that the active thyroid hormones in ANY preparation are unstable in light, temperature, air, or humidity and these can lead to issues of any batch of thyroid medication. The truth is that the synthetic thyroid medication called levothyroxine (Synthroid®) has been recalled 10 times from 1990 to 1997 and more recently in 2012 Synthroid® was again recalled for batch inconsistencies. Armour® had a very small recall in 2005, but has had no issues since. Armour® reformulated in 2009 and there was a brief time where you could not get Armour®. Nature Throid®, made by RLC Labs, the product that I exclusively use for my patients, has NEVER been recalled for hormone inconsistencies of any of its batches. They have been involved in the manufacturing of NDT since the 1930s.
One final reason doctors will not use NDT is from their parroted misconception that NDT has a ratio of T4 and T3 thyroid hormones that is inconsistent with the natural amounts of T4 and T3 found in people. Here is an excerpt from my book The Hormone Zone explaining the details behind why this misconception is false. It is a little technical but I believe it is worth putting it here:
The common argument against the use of desiccated thyroid hormone such as Nature Throid® is that the ratio of T4 to T3 of 4:1 within the medication is not physiologic for a human being. The opposition explains that humans have serum blood concentration ratios of T4 to T3 of 85.8 mcg and T4 to about 1.3 mcg of T3 or 65:1 which illustrates in their minds why T3 and desiccated thyroid hormone should not be used for hypothyroidism. But here are two facts regarding thyroid hormone physiology that they continue to ignore, even in the journals. One, production rates of T4 from the thyroid gland are 130 nmol/day/70kg body weight which equates exactly to 101.4 mcg (conversion rate for T4 is 1 nmol = 0.78 mcg) and T3 is 48 nmol/day/70kg which equates to 31.2 mcg (conversion rate for T3 is 1 nmol = 0.65 mcg), which is a ratio of T4:T3 of 3.25 to 1, far closer to the 4:1 ratio found in desiccated thyroid hormone. Two, the clearance rate of T3 from the blood is approximately twenty times more rapid than T4, which means that T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, will often be lower in the blood than T4 because it is busy doing its job at the cellular level.
After treating thousands of patients with NDT and specifically Nature Throid®, I am convinced that it is one of the best ways to help you get the relief you have always wanted. However, there are options to NDT and my unique system will help guide you towards the best form of thyroid hormone with the optimal dose.
To Your (Thyroid & Swine) Health!