Choosing The Best Thyroid Medication
The Different Thyroid Medications
Hashimoto's affects 14 million people in the United States, making it the most common thyroid disorder in America. One of the first things the doctor will do when you're diagnosed with Hashimoto's is prescribe you a thyroid medication to take every morning. Most people are only aware of the most commonly prescribed thyroid medication, Synthroid. However, there are multiple different thyroid medications including the following:
Conventional doctors will prescribe Synthroid or levothyroxine, a synthetic form of T4. T4 is an active thyroid hormone that needs to be converted into T3 in our bodies. The downside to T4 medications like these, is that it doesn't contain T3 and instead, your body has to convert T4 to T3. This can be a problem with some people who can't properly convert T4 to T3. Many people with Hashimoto's have trouble converting T4 to T3 and and are often left still experiencing thyroid symptoms even after starting medication.
Natural Desiccated Thyroid
Armour, Nature-Throid, WP Thyroid: These are examples of Natural Desiccated Thyroid medications. These medications contain both T3 and T4 hormones and are derived from the thyroid glands of pigs. A little crazy, I know! Desiccated thyroid medications contain all of the thyroid hormones, T4, T3, T2, and T1, which makes it beneficial for people who have difficulty converting T4 to T3.
These medications sometimes work better for people who did not see results from conventional thyroid medications. There have been a lot of cases where people struggled to lose weight on T4 only medications, and began dropping weight once they started taking a Desiccated thyroid medication. There are a few theories regarding desiccated thyroid medication and how it could elevate thyroglobulin antibodies. Studies show that it is rare, but it can happen.
One thing to keep in mind, lifestyle and diet changes are an important part in your healing journey. Many people are able to reduce majority of the symptoms by pairing their thyroid medication with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle changes. Thyroid medication is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting healthy. The ultimate goal should always be to get to the root cause of what's causing your Hashimoto's, and not to just pop a pill every morning and use that as a band-aid for all of your thyroid symptoms.
Which Medication Is Best?
As far as the "best" thyroid medication, it really depends on each individual person. Some people taking conventional thyroid medication never really fully feel better and continue struggling with symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, and hair loss. Finding the right medication and dosage can be trial and error. What works for one person, may not work for the next person, which is why it's important to work with your doctor and choose a medication that works best for you based on your symptoms and blood work.