Benefits of Natural Desiccated Thyroid: 3 unique patient stories
If you have hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid, you might have received a prescription for thyroid medication (Read: The complete thyroid medication guide), such as: levothroid Synthroid levoxyl Cytomel
Liothyronine Compounded thyroid Maybe you have a prescription for one of two of the most common alternatives: a T3 and T4 combo—like Thyrolar or Liotrix—or a compounded synthetic medication made up to combine different amounts of either or both T3 and T4 and provide a specific potency for your specific needs, which some patients respond well to 1,2. However, natural desiccated thyroid NDT has some advantages you might otherwise miss out on.
Why the real thyroid?
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.
Julie represents many of the patients that come for treatment for thyroid problems. Married and in her 50s when she came to her first consultation. She had jumped from doctor to doctor trying to find a solution to her weight gain and issues with fatigue for a long time. A business owner and led a very busy lifestyle.
Julie had been taking a compounded formulation containing both T3 and T4 for over a decade, and took levothyroxine (a T4-only medication) beforehand, for some time. She had been feeling increasingly tired recently, as well as depressed. But another very noticeable symptom she had been suffering from was weight gain. Despite the fact that her dietary habits had not changed, her level of stress had also gone up. Not being able to exercise because she’s so tired, Julie told me that her energy levels were a 4/10. And though she did sleep for 8 or 9 hours per night, she would not wake up feeling refreshed. Despite these symptoms, which Julie had been struggling with for a decade, no medical practitioners had ever performed a thyroid ultrasound examination. So the doctor decided to do a comprehensive wellness panel with Julie, looking at her:
-Levels of thyroid hormone
-Iron levels Thyroid
Based on the lab results, which showed low iron storage (ferritin) levels and an inactive thyroid, The doctor decided to prescribe NDT. It took a couple of retests to get the right dosing for Julie (we always begin with a very small dose and slowly increase it), at which point, she reported feeling a lot better. The lab results also showed that Julie had some food sensitivities, so dietitian recommended that Julie eliminate eggs and dairy for 90 days to help get her digestive system and hormones back to where they should be.
After 3 months, Julie reported feeling less tired. She had started to exercise, had lost some weight and was enjoying higher energy levels generally, as well as first thing in the morning. Bottom Line: Six months after her initial appointment, Julie reported good health generally and that she was extremely happy with the NDT treatment.
Adam was in his late 60s, he had problems related to general health and weight gain. He was a business owner, though officially retired, so he had a busy lifestyle. He was feeling less energetic than in previous years and was less active. Concerned that his cortisol levels might have dropped.
Adam had also put on some weight around his midsection. In fact, he weighed 220 pounds at the time and had noticed some muscle loss. He was also having some trouble sleeping and was waking up later in the day after around just 6 hours of sleep. Adam also liked to consume good quality coffee in abundance, as well as alcohol around 4 times per week. He was skipping meals with the hope of losing some of the added weight. No other medical history or symptoms to report. Therefore, the doctor decided to do some general lab tests to make sure Adam’s thyroid and other levels were okay.
Blood work and a thyroid ultrasound revealed that Adam was suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, had elevated liver enzymes and that he was prediabetic. This came as a shock to both Adam and the doctor. It’s no surprise that he was consuming so much coffee to maintain his energy levels. The doctor started him on a low dose of NDT and he responded very well.
Key Insight: At the 6-week follow up, his TSH had normalized, indicating that we had found the perfect dose of NDT for Adam’s body. At the 3-month mark, Adam reported feeling very well, more alert and with more energy than he had had in a long time. He had also lost over 15 pounds, despite adding no exercise into his routine. Bottom Line: At 3 months, Adam was no longer prediabetic. His antibodies and liver enzymes had also normalized and he continued to slowly lose weight in accordance with his original goals.