Which Form of Thyroid Hormone Replacement Is Best?

August 3, 2011

Are you wondering which form of thyroid hormone replacement is best?

Synthroid is the number one prescribed treatment for hypothyroidism. In 2002, it was the fourth most prescribed drug in the United States. But remember that a drug’s popularity is no guarantee of its efficacy.

I had been trained to use synthetic thyroid drugs myself, but when I spoke with Dr. Mabray at the 1992 Pan American Allergy Society conference, I asked him which product he used. Dr. Mabray told me that he treated hypothyroidism with ArmourThyroid, a natural prescription thyroid supplement that he felt was much more effective than the synthetic thyroid drugs. While I had great respect for Dr. Mabray, I thought it wise to seek a second opinion. For that, I turned to Dor Brown, M.D., the patriarch and cofounder of the Pan American Allergy Society.

Dr. Brown lived in Fredericksburg, Texas, and even though he was in his eighties, at that time he had one of the largest allergy practices in the country. He is also one of the finest clinicians I have ever known. Although he is board certified in both ear, nose, and throat surgery and ophthalmology, his practice is multifaceted. Patients have traveled from all over the country seeking his expertise for a host of medical conditions.

When I asked Dr. Brown whether I should use Armour Thyroid or the synthetic thyroid replacement drugs, he recommended, “Use Armour Thyroid.” When I asked why, he retorted, “Because it works!”

My clinical experience in treating some six thousand patients over the past thirteen years has convinced me that Dr. Brown was absolutely right. Because thyroid and allergic disorders often go hand in hand, I have had the opportunity to evaluate many patients for allergic disorders who were already being treated for hypothyroidism with synthetic thyroid. Most of these patients had significant symptoms of low metabolic function, even while taking synthetic thyroid. Once these patients were converted to Armour Thyroid and given the appropriate dosage, their symptoms of hypothyroidism markedly improved.

There is a very good explanation for why so many people languish on synthetic thyroid. Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and other levothyroxine sodium products contain only a synthetic version of T4, the inactive form of thyroid hormone. Taking T4 without T3 is like replacing only seven of the eight spark plugs in your car’s engine. Your body’s “engine” will run, but it will never function as well as it should.

In contrast, Armour Thyroid, which is obtained from the thyroid gland of pigs, contains the same thyroid hormone molecules that the body produces, T3 and T4, along with nutrients from the thyroid gland. Armour Thyroid is an FDA-approved product that is formulated according to the exacting standards of the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP). To ensure that the product is consistently potent from batch to batch and tablet to tablet, analytical tests are performed on the raw material and the actual tablets.


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