Levothyroxine, or Synthroid, is the main drug doctors prescribe for an underactive thyroid. But I’ve found that many of my patients don’t like the way they feel — or just don’t feel like themselves — when they take it.
That’s why I always prescribe a natural thyroid preparation that has both T3 and T4 in it — and I’ve found that my hypothyroid patients respond very well to it.
That’s because T4 and T3 are different forms of thyroid hormone. Bascially, your body needs to convert T4 into T3 (the more active form of the hormone) in order to use it. And as you may have guessed, this conversion rate isn’t always so great in those with hypothyroidism — which is why replacement with both forms of thyroid hormone is so helpful.
But unfortunately, most conventional medical doctors hate using this combination. They’ve been brainwashed into thinking that all you need is T4 — which is far from the case.
So today, I’d like to talk a little bit about my preferred natural thyroid treatment. Because a lot of my patients have hypothyroidism — which means a lot of my readers probably do, too. And if you’re one of them, there’s no reason why your treatment should suffer just because your doctor doesn’t really understand how it works.
Low heart risk — high quality of life
First, let’s talk safety and effectiveness. Because in addition to questioning the necessity of combination treatment, a lot of conventional doctors will also plant fears about the cardiovascular risks associated with natural thyroid replacement therapy.
Needless to say, these “concerns” are unfounded. And it’s my hope that a recent study on the effects of long-term T4 and T3 combo therapy will silence those naysayers once and for all.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of hypothyroid patients will still struggle with symptoms like low mood, weight gain, and fatigue — despite having passable levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which stimulates T4 production. So one of the goals of this study was to assess how six years’ combination therapy affected the subjects’ quality of life as well as TSH levels.
But maybe more importantly, quality of life questionnaires showed that more than 92 percent of these subjects reported feeling “excellent, very good, or good” in comparison to subjects on levothyroxine monotherapy alone.
Last (but certainly not least), researchers found that there was no added risk of atrial fibrillation, heart disease, or death among these patients during the study’s observation period.
Doctors should treat patients, not numbers
Currently, levothyroxine monotherapy is the top recommendation for treatment of primary hypothyroidism — endorsed by the American Thyroid Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Conventional wisdom dictates that it’s the safest, most effective, and cost-efficient option. But it isn’t the first time that this assumption has been called into question. And I doubt it’ll be the last.
And seeing as how levothyroxine is the most commonly prescribed medication in the country — with well over 100 million scripts filled just in 2016 — I’d say it’s pretty important that we get this one right.
Nearly ten percent of the general population struggles with hypothyroidism. As a doctor, I would hope these patients would receive treatment that actually does something beyond altering their TSH levels.
I hate it when docs only use a number to treat patients and don’t take into account how the patient may feel. Because I want my patients to feel their best — and that will always be my number one priority.
In my experience, natural thyroid hormone serves this goal the best. Desiccated thyroid extract has been in use since at least 1891, before the FDA even existed. And yes, it was “grandfathered” in, so technically it’s not FDA approved. But you can say the same thing about aspirin — and I don’t see mainstream docs clutching their pearls over that.
So please, next time a doctor suggests that natural thyroid replacement is unsafe or unproven, show them this e-letter. And then show yourself out the door.