Believe it or not, mainstream medical outlets are actually talking about the benefits of natural thyroid replacement. And you know what? It’s about time.
I’ve been using natural thyroid replacement for my entire career—and I was often ridiculed for it and told off by conventional endocrinologists. Why? Because thanks to the makers of Synthroid® (levothyroxine) and their devious ways, many docs were convinced that there was just no other way to ensure stable thyroid function… and that prescribing anything else was tantamount to blasphemy. (Levothyroxine is a drug used to treat thyroid conditions.)
But, once again, it looks like I’ll be the one getting the last laugh…
Natural works as well as synthetic
Case in point: New research showed no significant difference in thyroid function among hypothyroid patients who took natural desiccated thyroid versus those who took levothyroxine (T4)—the standard drug therapy—over the course of three years.
That’s right! It looks like conventional endocrinologists’ love affair with levothyroxine is going to need to make a little room for its “natural” cousin. Because according to this study, both groups were able to maintain the correct level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) 80 percent of the time.
I can just imagine the outcries now: “How could this be?! The batches of desiccated thyroid are too variable!” It’s all I can do to refrain from yelling a resounding, “I told you so!”
I have always said that desiccated thyroid is a great option for patients who still struggle with symptoms on standard drug treatments. But let me revisit for a moment why this is so common…
There are a number of different thyroid hormones in the body—levothyroxine is a synthetic form of T4. But here’s the problem: Our bodies don’t use T4—instead, we need to convert it into T3, which is the active form in the body.
So, when you just take T4, your body may struggle to convert it into its active form. Therefore, you may still have symptoms of low thyroid, despite conventional treatment.
But if you ask me, the solution couldn’t be simpler (or clearer): Why not give the body what it needs… naturally? This is how I have always practiced. And truthfully, so many of my patients feel better when I switch them off of just T4, and include a little T3 in the mix as well.
A critical advantage
Just so you know, natural desiccated thyroid was the standard of care for a long time. And plenty of doctors (like me) still use it to treat of hypothyroidism—despite falling out of favor in the 1970s when synthetic levothyroxine came on the scene. (That’s when the “experts” started to claim that the natural stuff was too variable. Thanks again, Big Pharma!)
Nevertheless, desiccated thyroid is still legal to prescribe in the United States. (You’ll find it under the names Nature Thyroid, Thyroid USP, and Armour Thyroid.) And as many as 30 percent of hypothyroid patients continue to use it.
Plus, as this new study found, there were some remarkable benefits in the desiccated thyroid group—outside of thyroid health. Namely, these patients had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and HbA1c (blood sugar) levels than patients taking levothyroxine.
Hmm… healthier weights and better blood sugar control. Isn’t that exactly what this country desperately needs if we ever have hopes of curbing the diabesity epidemic? Why aren’t more patients on natural thyroid preparations for this reason alone?
As always, I think you can guess the answer to that question. But luckily, you can also take it upon yourself to make sure you’re getting properly diagnosed and treated.
Hypothyroid symptoms—like fatigue, weight gain, low mood, and increased sensitivity to cold—often persist despite normal TSH values. And this is precisely why I don’t stop my testing at TSH, like most doctors.
Instead, I measure all of my patients’ thyroid parameters: T3, T4, TSH, reverse T3 and thyroid autoantibodies. If your doctor doesn’t do this, simply ask them to. And if they refuse? Don’t hesitate to order the blood work for yourself… and to find a new doctor while you’re at it.
P.S. I talk about more thyroid basics in the August 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The lesser-known, more lethal thyroid disease”). Not yet a subscriber? Become one today!
“Keep Desiccated Thyroid as a Treatment Option for Hypothyroidism.” Medscape Medical News, 09/22/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/937812)