Why Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic

ThyroidRadionuclideScanThyroxineWhy Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic

This article is part one of a series.
For part Two, Click Here
For Part Three Click Here.

by Jeffrey Dach MD

We use exclusively natural thyroid in our office, and a few times every day, I find myself explaining why natural thyroid is superior to Synthroid.  In this article, we will explain why natural thyroid tablets are better than synthetic T4 only tablets, also called Synthroid.

Left Image: Thyroid Gland on Radionuclide Scan Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

What is Synthroid? What is in it?

Synthroid contains the L isomer of Thyroxine (also called T4) ,which is produced by the thyroid gland.  Levothyroxine is the generic form of Synthroid.  Common brand names include Thyrax, Euthyrox, Levaxin, L-thyroxine, Eltroxin and Thyrax Duotab in Europe; Thyrox in South Asia; Eutirox, Levoxyl and Synthroid in North America.  Even though Synthroid is a synthetic L isomer of Thyroxine, it is considered to have similar biologic activity .

Why Natural Thyroid is Better than SyntheticWhat is in Natural Thyroid?

Natural Thyroid pills are made from desiccated porcine (pig) thyroid glands which contain Thyroxine (T4), T3, T2, T1 and Calcitonin.

Left Image: courtesy of wikimedia: Natural Thyroid tablets come from this animal, the pig.

Economics of Synthroid

As of 2005, 10 million people in the U.S. take thyroxine. When one considered that  Abbott’s Synthroid is the most popular form of thyroxine, and the second-most prescribed drug in the U.S., one starts to understand the financial rivalry between Synthroid and natural thyroid competitors.

Why Natural Thyroid is Better than SyntheticLeft image: chemical structure of Tri-Iodothyronine (T3) notice three Iodine molecules.  Add a fourth iodine molecule at the far left ring to make thyroxine, T4.  Image courtesy of wikimedia commons.

What Does Mainstream Medicine Say ?

Here is a typical statement by Mainstream Medicine found on a popular medical information web site called medicine.net. Armour is a natural desiccated porcine thyroid preparation containing T1, T2, T3, T4 and calcitonin.  Synthroid contains only T4.

From Medicine.Net : Answering a Viewer Question

What is your feeling regarding natural vs. synthetic replacement therapy in hypothyroid situations? Armour, for example vs. Synthroid? from L.H.

Doctor’s Answer:  While it is reasonable to assume that synthetic medications are less desirable than natural counterparts, in this case- natural thyroid hormone replacement is definitely not an ideal solution for the vast majority of people.

Here’s why: Armour thyroid is derived from desiccated pig (porcine) thyroid gland. A number of years ago, these natural preparations were our only alternative. Replacement with desiccated thyroid creates dosing problems because there is no way to standardize the exact amount of the dose for each batch. As a matter of fact, these preparations do not report their dosage strength in milligrams, but rather, in grains of thyroid. This is because, they don’t really know the milligram equivalent in each dose. Dosing is also based on the assumptions that each gland has equal amounts of hormones as the next gland, and that the ratio of T4 and T3 (the more active hormone) are similar and constant in each gland from the pigs. There is no way to be certain of this, and patients on these preparations often have fluctuating hormone levels, which may or may not result in symptoms.

Regardless of symptoms, the goal of replacement therapy is to keep the hormone levels as stable as possible. This is much easier to achieve with synthetic preparations such as Levoxyl and Synthroid. These preparations come in a vast number of standardized doses, allowing for minute adjustments in hormone dosing. There is another comment that should be made. With all the issues surrounding “mad cow disease” and other ailments, I personally am reluctant to offer animal based therapy to patients when a safe effective well studied synthetic preparation is widely available.

I hope this helps answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your question.

Medical Author: RM, M.D.

“Natural Thyroid is Not an Ideal Solution” ? !!!!

This nonsense really makes my blood boil and my eyes pop out of head.

Let’s start by doing a little research. If the above statement is true, we should expect to find that the FDA HAS NEVER recalled Synthroid because of problems with stability or potency, and we would expect that the FDA HAS recalled natural thyroid pills because they are unstable, and vary in potency. So let’s ask the FDA about this.  What do we find?  In reality, the FDA says Synthroid is unstable and varies in potency, while natural thyroid from RLC labs HAS NEVER been recalled for instability or variation in potency.

FDA LOGOIs Synthroid a Reliable and Stable Drug?

No, Says the FDA.

Synthroid was marketed in 1955, but not FDA approved until July 24. 2002 because of a “history of potency failures…indicates that Synthroid has not been reliably potent and stable.”– United States Food and Drug Administration Letter  to Synthroid Manufacturer, Knoll Pharmaceuticals, April 26, 2001 (link )

Unstable, not of Consistent Potency from Lot to lot

Here is an FDA document  August 14, 1997, Docket No. 97N-0314, which says:

“The drug substance levothyroxine sodium (also called Synthroid) is unstable in the presence of light, temperature, air, and humidity. Unless the manufacturing  process can be carefully and consistently controlled, orally administered levothyroxine sodium products may not be fully potent through the labeled expiration date, or be of consistent potency from lot to lot.

There is evidence from recalls, adverse drug experience reports, and inspection reports that even when a physician consistently prescribes the same brand of orally administered levothyroxine sodium, patients may receive products of variable potency at a given dose. Such variations in product potency present actual safety and effectiveness concerns.

However, no currently marketed orally administered levothyroxine sodium product has been shown to demonstrate consistent potency and stability and, thus, no currently marketed orally administered levothyroxine sodium product is generally recognized as safe and effective. ” end quote source: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1997-08-14/html/97-21575.htm
FDA Document [Federal Register: August 14, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 157)][Notices][Page 43535-43538]

donewitharmourArmour Thyroid Pill Recall 2005

To be completely fair, there was a recall of Armour thyroid in 2005,  Lots manufactured in 2003 were found to have lost potency 2 years later in 2005, so Forest Labs recalled all tablets made in 2003.(21)  Since it was 2 years later, very little product from these lots was still in distribution, so it was actually a small recall.

Left Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Change in Armour Formulation

Armour changed their thyroid tablet formulation in 2009, after which our patients reported they were not happy with the new formulation.  To avoid any questions, we use exclusively Naturethroid from RLC labs.  After five years of clinical experience with Naturethroid from RLC labs, I can fully endorse the product as an excellent form of thyroid medication.

Naturethroid Manufacturer Speaks Out: Natural vs Synthetic

From John Lowe’s article: Stability Effectiveness Desiccated Thyroid VS Levothyroxine John C Lowe Thyroid 2009 (14)

“In contrast to Naturally Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) containing T3 and T4, most synthetic medications contain T4 (or T3) only. In reality, many patients don’t start to feel normal again until they switch from synthetic to NDT (Thyroid USP). Natural Desiccated Thyroid hormone replacement has been used since the late 1800s, and it is one of the safest drugs available. It contains a full spectrum of thyroid hormones, T4 and T3 and also T2 and T1 as well.

The typical indication by the proponents of synthetic T4 is that NDT is unstable and inconsistent in its dosage. However, under the full USP monograph of both Thyroid USP as an ingredient and Thyroid USP Tablet as a finished product establishing full prescription status, this conventional argument could not be further from the truth. Unlike Nature-Throid™ and Westhroid™, synthetic medications have often been recalled due to batch inconsistencies. Yet most doctors are led to believe that desiccated thyroid is unstable.

To ensure that Nature-Throid™ and Westhroid™ Thyroid USP tablets are consistently potent from tablet to tablet and lot to lot, analytical tests are performed on the raw material (Thyroid USP powder) and on the actual tablets (finished product) to measure actual T4 and T3 activity.”(14)

By the way, contrary to the Medicine.net comment above, natural thyroid tablets are labeled in milligrams.  For example, Naturethroid (RLC Labs) One Grain tablets contain 65 mg of natural desiccated thyroid.

Conversion of T4 to T3

IodothyroninedeiodinaseLeft Image courtesy of wikimedia: Conversion of T4 to T3 with IDI Deiodinase enzyme.

A common problem for many patients who don’t feel well on Synthroid is the inability to convert T4 to T3.(15-18)

Synthroid contains T4 which must be converted to T3 by the body for it to work.  This conversion is done by the De-Iodinase Enzyme (see image above).  Sometimes this enzyme is deficient or not working, and many patients have an inability to convert T4 to T3.(15-18)  They feel much better on a natural thyroid medication which contains T3 and T4.  In my experience, most patients feel much better, with more energy, and relief symptoms when switching from synthroid (levothyroxine) to a natural thyroid such as Naturethroid.

maryshomonnaturalthyroidadvocateMary Shomon on Natural Thyroid vs Synthetic

A 2002 article, Treating Hypothyroidism Naturally, by Mary Shoman in the Townsend letter explains why natural thyroid treatment is better, that Synthroid and Levothyroxine are unstable, with dosage varying according to batch, and subjected to multiple recalls.  Natural thyroid from RLC labs has never been recalled and is the preferred solution. Mary Shomon’s blog is an excellent resource on natural thyroid.  Left Image: Courtesy of Mary Shomon

Can I Get Mad Cow Disease from My Pig Thyroid Pill?

Millions of Americans have enjoyed ham sandwiches and pork products for decades without a single case of Mad Cow Disease ever reported.  This essentially invalidates the fear of Mad Cow Disease as an argument.  However, Mary Shomon advises caution with over-the-counter glandular supplements, which may contain unregulated meat products from areas of Europe known to have mad cow infected livestock.

Stop the Thyroid Madness

Another excellent resource is the Stop Your Thyroid Madness Blog and Book by Janie Bowthorpe.  Janie suffered for years with low thyroid symptoms wven while on Synthroid, and had a dramatic recovery after converting from synthroid to natural thyroid.  With her blog and book, she is one of the strongest advocates for natural thyroid medication.

Why Natural Thyroid is Better than SyntheticLeft Image: Stop theThyroid Madness Book Cover, courtesy of Janie Bowthorpe

Our Program: 
For diagnosis of low thyroid, we use a lengthy questionnaire which reviews over 70 symptoms of low thyroid, a complete thyroid blood panel including TSH, free T3 and free T4, Thyroid antibodies and a physical examination which includes measurement of reflex time. Also included is a basal body temperature chart filled out by the patient at home.   We also measure selenium and iodine levels and supplement when found low.

Once it has been determined that thyroid hormone is likely to be beneficial, a trial of low dose Nature-Throid from RLC labs is started with a Half Grain (32 mg) tablet every other morning.

A log book is kept by the patient describing benefits of increased energy, clarity of mind, etc, or adverse effects such as palpitations, feeling of warmth, anxiety or insomnia. At the end of a week, the log book is reviewed to determine if the thyroid was of benefit.

We have found that monitoring symptoms with a log book, and the Half Grain gradual increments in thyroid dosage every two to three weeks makes this program very safe. In the event of rapid heart rate or palpitations, the patient is instructed to hold the daily dosage of thyroid medication and inform the physician. This program is also excellent for switching patients from Synthroid to Natural Thyroid, with patients invariably reporting dramatic improvement afterwards.

Instead of Natural Thyroid, Why Not Use Cytomel and Synthroid Together?

Cytomel is T3 and Synthroid is T4, so why not use the two together? The Cytomel provides the missing T3 to make a combination that is closer to the Natural Thyroid.  Some patients arrive at my office having been given this combination from the doctor.  The advantage for the prescribing doctor is that both items, Synthroid and Cytomel are available at the corner drugstore, whereas natural thyroid is available from a compounding pharmacy.

(Note: update 2015: Nature-throid from RLC Labs is now available at most local  corner drugstores)

Natural Thyroid is still the preferred choice. Among other missing ingredients, the Synthroid and Cytomel lacks Calcitonin which is present in natural thyroid.  Calcitonin production may be deficient or absent in patients after total thyroidectomy which may remove the C cells (parafollicular cells) responsible for Calcitonin.  Giving back the missing calcitonin makes sense, and patients usually feel better.

Natural Thyroid Toolkit

If you liked this article, you might like my new book, Natural Thyroid Toolkit available on Amazon. If you purchase a book, remember to  leave a favorable review. That would be much appreciated. See the book cover, left image.

Update 10/14: New study: Patients are more satisfied when converted from  Synthroid to Armour: Click here to read the pdf of the study Conversion to Armour Thyroid_endocrinology-2-1055.

Update Aug 2015: Hillary Clinton discloses she takes Natural Desiccated Thyroid.

This article is part one of a series.
For part Two, Click Here
For Part Three Click Here.

Articles with Related Content:

Hillary Clinton Takes natural Desiccated Thyroid

New Study Shows Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic

Hashimotos Thyroiditis and Selenium Part One

Hashimotos, Selenium and Iodine, Part Two

Ann Nicole Smith and Hypothyroidism

Why Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic Part One

Why Natural Thyroid is Better Part Two

The TSH Reference Range Wars – Part One

TSH Wars, Part Two

The Thyroid Nodule Epidemic

The Strange Case of the Autonomous Thyroid  Nodule

Books Recommended:

Hypothyroidism the Unsuspected Illness, by Broda Barnes MD

Iodine, Why You Need It and Why You Cant Live Without It by David Brownstein MD

Hypothyroidism, Type Two by Mark Starr MD

Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 180/190
Davie, Fl 33314
954 792 4663

Links and References

1) Treating Hypothyroidism Naturally TOWNSEND LETTER Mary Shomon 2002 (note: this is a WORD File)

Willmington, Sunny, Howard Hagglund, and Mary Shomon. “Treating Hypothyroidism Naturally.” TOWNSEND LETTER FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS (2002): 80-81.

2) http://thyroid.about.com/cs/synthroidlawsuit/a/settlement.htm
The Synthroid Settlement: Fair Payoff or Patient Ripoff?
By Mary Shomon, About.com  December 14, 2003

3)  Nature Throid RLC Labs Home Page  Natural vs Synthetic

4) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/83/8325/8325thyroxine.html
Chemical and Engineering News. The Top Pharmaceuticals That Changed The World Vol. 83, Issue 25 (6/20/05)
Today, more than 10 million people in the U.S. take thyroxine. Synthroid, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and the most popular brand of thyroxine, is the second-most prescribed drug in the U.S.

5) Larry Frieders, the compounder,
THYROID MADNESS DEFINITION (personal communication):

1.Treating hypothyroid patients solely with T4-only meds (synthroid)
2.Dosing solely by the TSH and the total T4, or using the outdated “Thyroid Panel”
3.Prescribing anti-depressants in lieu of evaluating and treating the free T3
4.Telling thyroid patients that desiccated natural thyroid like Armour is “unreliable”, “inconsistent”, “dangerous” or “outdated”.
5.Making lab work more important than the hypo symptoms which scream their presence
6.Failing to see the OBVIOUS symptoms of poorly treated thyroid, and instead, recommending a slew of other tests and diagnoses.


Common brand names include Thyrax, Euthyrox, Levaxin, L-thyroxine, Eltroxin and Thyrax Duotab in Europe; Thyrox in South Asia; Eutirox, Levoxyl and Synthroid in North America. There are also numerous generic versions. Synthroid is the most prescribed brand of T4 in the United States. Synthroid was marketed in 1955, but was not FDA approved at that time as it was “generally regarded safe”.[5] In the 1990s, in response to debate as to whether Synthroid was more effective than other levothyroxine preparations, (which ended up concluding that there was little difference between Synthroid and generic brands) all levothyroxine preparations were required to undergo the formal FDA approval process. Synthroid was approved by the FDA on 24 July 2002.[6]

6) http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/synthroidproblems.htm
Synthroid Has a Long History of Problems, Says FDA
In Denying Synthroid’s Request for Special Approval Status, FDA’s Scathing Letter Outlines History of Subpotent Product, Inconsistency and Poor Stability by Mary Shomon

7) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=17253
Medicine net web site

8) http://www.naturalthyroidchoices.com/FDANT.html
What’s up with desiccated thyroid & the FDA?

9) http://www.life-enhancement.com/article_template.asp?id=907
Between 1991 and 1997, there were ten recalls of synthetic T4, involving over 100 million tablets.9 In nine of these recalls, the tablets had been found to be subpotent, or they were losing their potency before their expiration date; in the tenth recall, the tablets were found to be too potent. For patients, such unreliability means that the synthetic T4 they receive could be either too strong or not strong enough to treat their condition properly
Source: Federal Register 62, No. 157, 14 August 1997, pp. 43535-8.

10) http://thyroid.about.com/od/thyroiddrugstreatments/a/recall2005.htm
As with all drugs, Armour’s manufacturer, Forest Laboratories, holds back samples from every lot it produces, and periodically tests those samples. When Armour Thyroid is manufactured, it has a 24-month expiration date. That means that Armour Thyroid should maintain its potency for a full two years.

What Forest found in recent sample testing was that there were several lots of Armour Thyroid that were not maintaining full potency. These lots were manufactured between March 2003 and August of 2003, and therefore they were set to expire between March 2005 and August of 2005.

11) intentionally left blank.

12)  http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/madcow.htm
Is There A Real Risk of Mad Cow Disease from Armour Thyroid?
An Update on Armour Thyroid and Glandulars by Mary Shomon
If you are willing to eat American pork products, you shouldn’t be any more concerned about Armour thyroid, as far as risk of mad cow disease. Caution is encouraged, however, with over-the-counter glandular supplements, which may contain unregulated meat products from areas of Europe known to have mad cow infected livestock.

13) intentionally left blank.

14)   Stability Effectiveness Desiccated Thyroid VS Levothyroxine John C Lowe Thyroid 2009  Lowe, John C. “Stability, Effectiveness, and Safety of Desiccated Thyroid vs Levothyroxine: A Rebuttal to the British Thyroid Association.” Thyroid 4.3 (2009): C1-12.

15) New Study Reveals Why 1 in 6 Hypothyroid Patients Still Feels Bad on Levothyroxine by Joe Graedon January 15, 2015 peoples pharmacy

16) de Castro, Joao Pedro Werneck, et al. “Differences in hypothalamic type 2 deiodinase ubiquitination explain localized sensitivity to thyroxine.” The Journal of clinical investigation 125.2 (2015): 769.

17) McAninch, Elizabeth A., et al. “Prevalent Polymorphism in Thyroid Hormone-Activating Enzyme Leaves a Genetic Fingerprint That Underlies Associated Clinical Syndromes.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 100.3 (2015): 920-933.

18)  Panicker, Vijay, et al. “Common variation in the DIO2 gene predicts baseline psychological well-being and response to combination thyroxine plus triiodothyronine therapy in hypothyroid patients.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 94.5 (2009): 1623-1629.

19) How to Diagnose and Treat Thyroid Disease October 28, 2015 Joe Mercola

20) Armour Thyroid – FDA Recall October 6, 2010

Armour Thyroid (thyroid tablets, USP), 1/2 grain (30 mg) , each tablet contains 19 mcg levothyroxine (T4) and 4.5 mcg liothyronine (T3), 100-count bottle, NDC 0456-0458-01. Recall # D-231-2011
Lot #: 1077413, Exp. 9/30/2011
Recalling Firm: Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc., Earth City, MO, by telephone and letters on October 6, 2010.  
Manufacturer: Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cincinnati, OH. Firm initiated recall is ongoing.
Labeling: Label error on declared strength; some bottles are mislabeled as containing 1/2-grain tablets but actually contain 1-grain tablets. The entire lot is being recalled even though some bottles are labeled correctly because bottles of 1/2-grain and 1-grain could be shrink-wrapped together.
31,172 bottles approx.
Nationwide, PR, Belgium and the United Kingdom

21)  Understanding the Armour Thyroid Recall of Spring 2005 From Mary Shoman:

22)  The Complete Guide to using Naturethroid:  Westin Childs

Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 180/190
Davie, Fl 33314

Link to New Book

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Last updated on by Jeffrey Dach MD

Why Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic
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Why Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic
Natural Thyroid Pills from RLC Labs are superior to Synthroid or Levothyroxine.
jeffrey dach md
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About Jeffrey Dach MD

Medical Director of TrueMedMD, a Clinic in Davie Florida specializing in Bioidentical Hormones and Natural thyroid. Office address 7450 Griffin Road Suite 190, Davie, Florida 33314 telephone 954-792-4663

86 thoughts on “Why Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic

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  7. I sure like your info about natural thyroid medications, and I would surely take them instead of synthroid were it not for the “mad cow” question. BTW, that prion is also found in pigs. You quote Ms. Shomon in saying that it is no more dangerous than eating a ham sandwich—but, this quote shows a lack of scientific knowledge. Elementary statistics will point one to the realization that the occasional ham sandwich, usually from only one pig offers far fewer chances to ingest prions than a daily dose of “pig tissue” compounded from myriad pigs. Your statistical chance of ingesting prion infected tissue is significantly greater from the meds than the sandwich. Also, she fails to note that many people AVOID any ham because of prion or other concerns with eating animal tissue–or pigs specifically.

    • Hi Kate,

      Millions of people in the US and globally have consumed dessicated thyroid pills for decades with no reported cases of neurological disorders from “prions” contained in the medication. In my practice over ten years, we have had no patients with neurological disease from their dessicated thyroid pills. So I think this is an unfounded fear which is not based on fact, and these types of concerns are simply ignored.

      Natural dessicated thyroid pills, in my opinion, are the best form of thyroid medication, and we have many happy patients who can attest to that statement.

      regards from

      dr d

    • After ten years of use, we have not seen any reports of mad cow disease from natural desiccated thyroid in our patient population or in the medical literature. Our patients are healthy and thriving on the natural desiccated thyroid pills. That is what we see every day in our clinic. Your fears seem to be overblown. Thanks for your comment.

      • Thanks much for your reply. Wondering however, how long does it take for prion disease (mad cow) to show up–and how many studies have ever been done on the patient population who takes natural thyroid? The latest scientific literature indicates it takes more than 10 years–in most cases–for “mad cow” to manifest. In fact, many researchers are hypothesizing that the increase in Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases may actually be linked to the prion. Even if any researchers are actually spending the money to do studies on this specific group, which I doubt very much, It is very hard for scientific studies to prove what consequences there may be to the natural thyroid population because the disease takes so long to manifest, and is usually
        attributed to other causes when it does manifest because the only way to prove it is with post mortem autopsy, which most people don’t get.

          • Wow, you sure seem upset that anyone would dare want to discuss or avoid “mad cow!” If there is aluminum in Synthroid that doesn’t sound good either. But what does that have to do with a concern about prions in animal tissue? That is a different issue, obviously. This is supposed to be an informative discussion here–not a childish game of “tit for tat.”

          • Had you done even a cursory bit of research on your aluminum concern before posting this, you would have quickly learned that the kind of aluminum in medications is not the same as the harmful kind of aluminum that is a metal and found in frying pans etc. This is FACT. Please look it up for yourself. Are you aware that there is naturally occurring aluminum in water, vegetables—and most everything else organic that we need to ingest to live? Also, if a person did want to take something like Synthroid, there is a 50 mg dose that has no aluminum or any other filler ingredient.

    • So why is bovine serum found in many vaccines that are injected into our bodies if there is a risk of mad cow disease? Eating that would be immensely safer than injecting it directly into the body! I call big pharma BS on this one!

      • You are contradicting yourself. You disparage “big pharma BS,” on the one hand, then you express disbelief that the same “big pharma” you so deride, would sell injections of vaccine that could contain “risky bovine serum?” As a medical professional, I can assure you that many things found in serums manufactured by “pharma”–including the “bovine serum” you mention–are less than “safe.”

      • GMO is not poison. Also a genetically modified pig does that exist. Do you eat fruit? Vegetables? All of those have been genetically modified over the years. GMO is perfectly safe and will not cause any harm as all scientists have been saying for years. Be smart and use critically thinking skills before prescribing to everything you hear.

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  10. I do not have my thyroid glands anymore because I had thyroid cancer in 2006. I have been on Armour Thyroid since 2006 but because of the Dietary Food Laws in the Scriptures Armour Thyroid is unclean. A doctor wants to put me on levotiroxina. Which is better for me to take, Armour Thyroid or levotiroxina?

    • I was on synthetic when i was first diagnosed. I was wobbly and miserable. I asked Mt doctor to prescribe a natural compound, naturThroid. Within three days i was feeling normal again. I’ve been on natural for for years and it’s been fine. I switched to a cow based product from new Zealand, where voters are highly regulated, no hormones, no antibiotics or GMO feed. It also works very well and had no pig derived components. It’s called thyro gold. So you have a choice there. There a ensure with lots of information and many people who use Thyro Gold recommend it

    • I know this may be late, but if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you can take the kind I do, which is Natural Sources Raw Thyroid. It’s over-the-counter, though. If you’re Hindu it would be unacceptable though, since it’s made from cows.

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  12. Oh my goodness…. I just happen to find this site and I am so thankful I did! Here I thought I was going out of my mind, that I was crazy all these years and it ‘may’ be this stupid medicine??
    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism just months after my first child was born – 43 years ago! I am just realizing that all my endless physical pains, weight gains, craziness may have all been because of the thyroid meds I have been taking!? WTH! And when I think about it, I can’t really remember ever feeling really good since I started taking synthroid or some form of it. Where the hell is the FDA in all this?

    I am almost 66 years old on medicare who happen to choose a prescription company that ‘forced’ me to change my thyroid meds and the one side effect I am aware of, is my hair is falling out so fast that I am afraid I will be balled by the new year! I have long long hair or should I say I ‘had’ long hair, cause it almost gone. :(
    All the years of pains, never feeling well, always something making me ill, never ever knowing what was causing it. Going to the doctors endlessly for all kinds of pains, etc. never finding out why or what was the cause? Having my gall bladder removed and having to deal with constant diarrhea not to mention intense intestinal cramping and pain for the last 15 years! Its ruined my life! I mean really??? I am so angry, I want to sue some one for all the hell they have put me through! I feel as if I have been putting poison in my body all with the FDA’s approval and all because some greedy company’s lies and who can’t do their job correctly! I don’t even know where to start after reading all this but I do need to do something! One is find the ‘right’ doctor for me! And I am also going to be informing all my doctors about this! I am angry, very very angry! This shouldn’t have happened…

  13. I had a total thyroidectomy 3.5 years ago because of multinodular goiter that was getting bigger and hypo symptoms. Normal levels at the time. Pathology revealed small cancer and hashimoto’s. No other treatment for cancer was needed. What is the ratio of T4 to T3 in natural thyroid. I currently take 100 MCG of levothyroxine and 5 MCG of liothyronine and my doctor said that ratio in the natural is not a good choice for me. I was taking 112 MCG of levothyroxine, 7 days a week and dropped to 112 MCG 6 days a week then half pill on the 7th day along with 5 MCG of liothyronine. I have both hyper and hypo symptoms. It seems like they switch? I am 51 and supposed to be post menopause.

  14. So the good doctor is discouraging people from taking desiccated thyroid orally for fear of possible mad cow disease? Im sure that he is perfectly fine with patients taking a vaccine injection with bovine serum in it though!!!! Injecting it directly into your body without the protective mechanisms like those found in the digestive track sounds like a much safer idea! What a load of crap!

    • Wow! Here you are again. You are practically a ZEALOT at this point–you are going all accusatory on anyone who dares worry about problems with natural thyroid. You need to get a grip and stop going off on other people. Other people have just as much right to worry about prions as you have to zealously take natural thyroid and risk them! And what is this fixation on “bovine serum?” It’s not that ubiquitous–and it’s also perfectly logical to assume people who don’t trust any risk of prions in thyroid preparations probably avoid that type of vaccine as well. A lot of people don’t like the idea of eating pigs—whether there is a small chance of prion infection or not. But no one is telling you you can’t eat all the pigs you want. So don’t go off on those who don’t want to.

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  17. I want to take a natural thyroid med but after finding a Naturopath to save me from the MD/clinic who had me on straight compounded T3 (& theirs was a super duper special one they made themselves) till I thought I was going to die night after night (hyper symptoms though clinically hypo), he tried me on Armour and BAM same symptoms. I simply could not take any T3. Synthroid/T4 gave me back my sleep. I still get some symptoms at night but only occasionally, but why can’t I take any T3?

  18. My thyroid was removed and followed with a dose of radiation (it was found to be cancerous). I have been on levothoroxine since before the removal. Would the natural thyroid still be a better option for me since I constantly chase my levels and feel awful?

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  20. My endocrinologist recently allowed me to switch from ( many years of) Synthroid to Naturethroid . We are monitoring my blood work and I definitely feel better on Naturethroid. Today ,he tells me my United Health Care Medicare Advantage plan sent him a letter advising that because I am above the age of 65 (70), it is bad for my heart. I have normal blood pressure and pulse and no palpitations or heart disease. What’s your opinion?( I think the FDA is influencing Medicare because big pharmacy makes so much money on Synthroid.)
    I would appreciate your advice or thoughts.
    Mrs. J. Douglass

    • Listen to your body and observe how you feel. The FDA is corrupt and gets HUGE benefits from Monsanto and Big Pharma. They are in their pocket and are bullies. They are not looking out for us and I do not trust them. Your body is the ONLY and best judge. If you feel good and even BETTER right now, than ever on the synthetic garbage, take what makes you feel well. These goons make me so mad. Grrrr.

          • You should probably read the post I am replying before making smart-ass comments.

            “The FDA is corrupt and gets HUGE benefits from Monsanto and Big Pharma. They are in their pocket and are bullies. They are not looking out for us and I do not trust them.”

            Armour is an FDA approved medication, but the poster seems unaware of this.

            T4 as the first line treatment has nothing with the FDA.These recommendations are from professional organizations and their consensus guidelines. The FDA does not participate in the creation of professional guidelines

        • Of course, but most my thyroid has been removed when I was 5 yrs old. I have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life, but if I have to I will choose the one without garbage in them. I take WP-thyroid because it has no fillers, or excipients. Even natural supplement companies have to be researched and look how much they charge for everything. Vitamin C of better quality
          is always around $30 WHY? BComplex another $30, amino acids, enzymes etc, it all adds up, they make people feel as if healthy foods and supplementation is only for wealthy people.

          I will never take A-Z supplements because my body needs different amounts of certain nutrients on any given day. Some days I need more B-Complex, some I need more C, some days I really need more fulvic/humic mineral. I take complete EFA’s, complete amino acids, complete enzymes, I juice and cook healthy, chosose mostly grass fed, organic, I shop from local farmers and farmers markets and ask questions before I buy anything, I avoid GMO’s and pesticides and research daily for new findings. I update my knowledge constantly and I make sure my info is not based on some fraudulent Big Pharma Website posing as a natural health info page. There are so many of them out there now, misleading people, using fear mongering and posting side effects for natural supplements which do not exist.

    • Whether using Synthroid or Naturethroid, thyroid replacement therapy can shorten your life if levels are too high. It is an unfortunate fact of these replacements, and this is why it is so important to keep levels within a proper therapeutic range. Very often a person may feel a lot better, but higher levels can increase that risk. This is difficult to explain to people, however, because feeling good is often the most important issue.

      The difficulty with desiccated products, or any T3 product, is that T3 is difficult to monitor and it can vary greatly during the day. A big reason for the T4 preference is that it can be converted to T3 in peripheral tissues and its half-life is ~7 days, so that levels are fairly stable for monitoring purposes. In this way we get a better handle on keeping the dose both safe and efficacious. The problem with utilizing T4 is that not everyone can properly convert it to T3 (the more active form) in peripheral tissues. Thus, people with this issue can benefit from T3, but are at higher long-term health risk because of the difficulty of monitoring T3.

      Currently, we just don’t know enough, but that doesn’t make desiccated products the answer for everyone. I would simply say that if you are comfortable shortening your lifespan, then do whatever makes you feel best. If you want to take a balanced approach to feel better while limiting the effect on your longevity, I’d stick to T4 and MAYBE add a T3 product if necessary. You’re physicians tend to avoid desiccated products because they might make you feel better but they aren’t the best balance between safety and efficacy.

  21. I’ve suffered from extreme hormonal imbalances since I was at least 15 years old and I’m 27 now. I have no insurance and doctors at free clinics in my area are generally HORRID. I gave up long ago getting the treatment I needed. I recently bought some very high quality over-the-counter natural bovine (cow) thyroid supplements, as well as uterine and ovary supplements for my female issues, from a company that sources its organs from grass-fed cows raised in New Zealand that aren’t given antibiotics, hormones, etc. The stuff they eat has no pesticides either, so I’m not at all worried about mad cow or anything. I feel much better, more clear, already and have more energy and have started to get my periods, but for some reason my liver has reacted to it very poorly. I was born with jaundice and may have some liver damage from prolonged use of painkillers over the years, so I don’t know if that’s it….but I had to stop taking them because the symptoms from my liver were/are rather alarming. Has anybody else heard of this? I’m going to get my liver checked but I honestly don’t want to tell the doctor about the supplements because I think they’ll blame it on that. I feel like I’m in a catch-22 with this here. Any help or advice would be really appreciated. Thank you!

    • try to take care of your gut bacteria (essential to our overall health) and find sylimaril caps (milk thistle) + dandelion root supplements and other really good liver supplements. To strengthen your immune system through your gut flora =Make sure you do get the probiotics which are LIVE, not the dry ones off the shelf. Get the ones which have to be refrigerated and are refrigerated in the store. Just eating yogurt does NOT provide the pre and probiotics we need to restore our gut flora to complete health. :)

      • Thank you so much! I got a liver support complex from GNC and it seems to be helping some, but it was so expensive I couldn’t afford the probiotics for now…I’m going to try water fasting tomorrow for a while as well. Thank you again for the advice! :)

  22. My doctor “kind of” gets it. What would be really nice is a short paper I could print for him that explains overall the lab results we are aiming for and the dosage range. He’s concerned with dropping the TSH too far and only wants to give me about a grain. At 200 lb male, I’m pretty sure that will be very insufficient. My adrenals are back in pretty good shape and I think I’m ready for proper NDT supplementation.

  23. Back in 2003 I had a complete thyroidectomy after being diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma and was placed on generic Levothyroxine then specifically Synthroid and have never felt the same since. I was in the military at the time and now receive all my medical care through the VA. Ever single military and civilian health care provider and Endocrinologist I have had ignored my complaints of constant fatigue, weight gain, mental fogginess and forgetfulness and flat out refuse to listen to my symptoms, concerns or my desire to switch to a natural Thyroid hormone replacement to ensure that I am getting the ALL of the Thyroid hormones and not just T4. They all believe that the rest are not important. Well if they were unimportant then the Thyroid wouldn’t make them. How do I go about getting a natural Thyroid replacement?

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  40. Dr. Dach,
    What is your medical opinion on synthetic thyroid increasing the risk of breast cancer?


    A study conducted by Ferdinand-Sauerbruch Hospital in Wuppertal, Germany found that women taking thyroid medication were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as women who were not taking synthetic thyroid hormone replacement. What’s more, 20% of the women who had taken this medication for 15 years or more had developed breast cancer. Those who had taken it for 5 years had only a 10% incidence of breast cancer.


    High thyroxin levels result in cancer. Fact. (Ghandrakant, C. et al Breast Cancer Relationship to Thyroid Supplements for hypothyroidism JAMA, 238:1124, 1976) In research amongst a group of women having screening mammograms – research that everyone seems to have ignored for 30 years – the incidence of breast cancer was twice as high in a group taking synthetic thyroxin for hypothyroidism. (12.1% in supplement group; 6.2% in controls). Worse, the incidence of breast cancer was far higher still where the women had taken synthetic thyroxin for more than 15 years (19.5%).

      • I see Melodi Bowman must be getting around to her trolling rounds as I asked Dr. Dach to comment. I did not ask for a troll to answer my questions regarding these scientific studies. I don’t consider a paid troll qualified — no matter how well trained in disinformation.

        • You asked him 6 months ago. At least someone replied to you. It’s up to you if you believe fact or not. There are many scientific papers that get cited incorrectly and this is a prime example of that. Continue to wait around for a reply. Continue to get your information from biased sources. Don’t take your own learning and knowledge into your own hands. The only person being affected is you.

          • Oh now THAT’s good logic: just because you reply 6 months later, the troll’s lies become truth? And you’re right about many scientific papers being incorrect or more succinctly down right fraudulent. A good example being Monsanto’s industry-sponsored claims that legit studies countering their crap are not legit. I don’t need to go into detail because I’m sure you know all about the Seralini study in France. Monsanto does its GMO study for THREE MONTHS on rats and says GMO’s are safe (with multiple FDA scientists demanding longer term studies but were overruled by bureaucrats). Dr. Seralini repeated same study and after FOUR MONTHS the rats get tumors, liver, kidney organ, adrenal glands, heart damage. Gees….wonder why Monsanto cut its study off after THREE MONTHS? So what does Monsanto do? Criticizes the the Seralini study when it was their own design!

            You are charlatan my dear…and I do take “learning and knowledge into my own hands.” That’s why I can smell a rat, even on the internet.

  41. “In reality, the FDA says Synthroid is unstable and varies in potency, while natural thyroid from RLC labs HAS NEVER been recalled for instability or variation in potency.”

    According to the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, desiccated thyroid products are SUPPLEMENTS. Supplements DO NOT undergo the FDA approval process and they are not held to the same standards as approved medications. Thus, it is not possible for the FDA to monitor them for instability or potency. So, sure, there has never been a recall for instability or potency. . . because that’s not even a possibility.

    Synthroid, on the other hand, went through a Phase I, II and III trials along with post-marketing Phase IV trials. In the event that there are issues with particular lots, the FDA can request a number of varying levels of recall. Again, the FDA doesn’t even monitor desiccated thyroid products because they are not FDA approved drugs.

  42. Natural thyroid hormones was never recalled by the FDA, because it is NOT approved by the FDA. It is considered a supplement and therefore not classified by the FDA. You cannot say synthroid is “bad” because it had FDA recalls when natural thyroid hormones did not because again, it is NOT approved by the FDA.

    Also the argument you presented for not taking natural thyroid hormones and to take synthroid is very sound. There are no issues in it. The fact that you tried to create issues in that arguement shows how biased you are towards your own products.

  43. Please help. I have been on bio-identical thyroid medicine for 3 months. The last few weeks I have had heart pounding every night and last night chest pressure and pain. My BP and pulse are normal. /Cardiologist does not see a problem. Another woman online who is taking it also has the same symptoms. I don’t know what to do.. I am not going to take it today and will “try” to see the very busy doctor.

  44. Dear Dr Dach,

    There is an error in your article, “Why Natural Thyroid is Better than Synthetic.”

    Your article repeats the misleading lie that mainstream medicine propagates that synthroid is bio-identical to T4.

    It is not! It is is an isomer of T4. It is most likely less effective than T4 because it is NOT T4.

    It is widely found that isomers do not have the same properties as the original molecule. I.e. we buy l-theanine, not r-theanine; l-methyl-folate, not r-methyl-folate.


    Joanne Gorelick

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