All you need to know about thyroid medication!
I get asked a lot about thyroid medications including what medications I've taken in the past and what I'm taking now. And even what worked and what didn't work. I want to give you some insights so you could make a better educated decision on the thyroid medication that you're taking or if you want to talk to your doctor about it as well. As always, you need to talk to your doctor about this.
I want to talk a bit about thyroid hormones first. You have active thyroid hormone and you have inactive thyroid hormones. T4 is inactive and T3 is active thyroid hormone. Remember, you only make about 20% of the active thyroid hormone so you have to convert over from T4 to T3. This is the reason why medication that only has T4 in it sometimes is not very beneficial for people. Most people with hypothyroidism cannot convert over to T4 to T3. There are a lot of things that can affect thyroid hormone conversion but with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, they have a really hard time with this conversion.
So the conventional way to address a slow thyroid (elevated TSH on a blood test) is they get put on something like Synthroid. Remember that's T4 only. So what I see happening is a lot of people get on these medications and they feel crappy. Not only do they feel crappy, they don't feel any different. They don't feel better sometimes and they can actually feel worse. More than likely, they're not converting their T4 medication over to T3.
Another reason why a lot of people end up getting put on T4 only medication is the conventional way for doing a blood panel for your thyroid panel is usually only checking TSH. And then every once in a while, the doctor may throw a T4 in. But a lot of times they are not checking T3 which is your active thyroid hormone is. And because they're not checking T3 on a blood panel, they can't prescribe T3. So they only prescribe a T4 medication because that's what the doctor is only checking.
Remember, if you're working with a functional medicine doctor they are more likely going to do more work with you. You are going to get a full panel and you will probably be put on medication that has T4 and T3 in it if you need it.
So what are the T4 only medications? The typical medications that people end up getting put on is something like Levothyroxine or Synthroid. Unithroid is another one that is becoming more common more as well as Levoxyl. And then Tirosint is also gaining popularity. The one thing I do like about Tirosint is it has no fillers in it. So it's actually a very natural T4. So if your doctor refuses to not put you on any T3 and they only want put you on T4, then go for something like Tirosint because it is more natural with no fillers. Unfortunately, if you have a conversion issue that's won't matter too much since you actually still need some T3
What about T3 medications? Cytomel and Liothyronine are just straight T3 but keep in mind these are synthetic medications. They're not natural medications. They have fillers and other things in them that sometimes people won't absorb that medication the best.
The combo medications are amazing because they have T4 and T3 in them and they're way more natural. These are things like Armour, Nature-Throid, and NP-Thyroid.
Another option is compounded and that's what I have to do now. One of the reasons why I had to go to a compounded medication was because I needed a more specific amount of T4 and T3.
So something to keep in mind with medications is that a lot of those synthetic medications have a lot of fillers in them. Some of these things are gluten, lactose, corn, sucrose and dyes.
Hope this information helps you. I would love to know if you have or had ever taken thyroid medication or if you currently are.....what's working for you?
Want to know more? Please reach out to me.
You can also grab my FREE guide on The Secret to Reading Your Thyroid Blood Test right here.