I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid was I was about 15 years of age. After 11 years of constant medication changes and 11 years of being tired, I have finally accepted that hypothyroidism is going to be part of my everyday life, forever. That being said, I believe that I am in a relatively good place with my health; almost symptom-free.
When I wrote this blog post (almost a year ago), all of the questions were about how I’d become symptom-free and why I changed my medication so I am sharing my story.
To put it into perspective, for anyone who doesn’t already know, your thyroid controls:
- your weight (Low metabolism means slow conversion of fat into energy.)
- your energy levels (Thyroid hormones power you up.)
- your gastrointestinal health (Thyroid is responsible for stomach acid formation, essential for good digestion.)
- your nervous system (This is why low thyroid causes brain fog, forgetfulness, and depression.)
- your cardiovascular health (Many heart diseases could be avoided if the thyroid was properly checked.)
- your hormonal balance (This is why infertility is often caused by thyroid issues.)
Why did I change my medication?
“Change my medication?” “But there is only one medication for underactive thyroid…”
Ahh, you see, that is what they tell you.
I was on Eltroxin for about 7 years before changing to Armour Thyroid. Armour Thyroid is a desiccated thyroid extract made from pig thyroid and is all natural, while Eltroxin is made completely synthetically. If I had to guess, Eltroxin is what 95% of the underactive thyroid sufferers are on (in Ireland). Eltroxin only replaces Thyroxine also called T4, while Armour Thyroid replaces everything a human thyroid has, namely T1, T2, T3 (triiodothyronine), T4 and calcitonin. All in all, porcine thyroid contains a wider range of hormones closer to that of humans.
PORCINE? Yes, Armour is made from a pig’s gland. Pigs are used a lot as our heart valves are like theirs and we use the skin in burn victims for grafting. After taking Armour for over 4 years now, I feel like a pretty normal person, much more so than I did when I was on Eltroxin alone.
Why won’t my doctor prescribe a natural thyroid medication?
Sadly, TSH and T4 are the “gold standards” in testing for thyroid health amongst most doctors. By testing this way, your results are an indirect reading of your actual thyroid’s health. A good GP would look at a full thyroid blood panel as well as your symptoms and your health history. It’s widely proven that many people have “normal” TSH (within the range) in spite of having thyroid symptoms.
So, the way our thyroid is tested us not very thorough and because the result of Armour Thyroid does not fully show in these standardized tests, the majority of GP’s refuse to prescribe a medicine that is not testable…(Is testable a word, I don’t know)
My advice? Find a doctor who will. It changed my life and it could change yours. I would travel to China for it.
For the past four to five years, I’ve grown back my eyebrows, had consistently good energy levels (for the most part), normal hair texture, I don’t suffer from dry eyes and most importantly, I was able to change my life and get really, really fit.
Read my story and judge for yourself. I am not claiming natural medication is the way to go for everyone’s thyroid problems but it worked for me. I understand there are cons when taking Armour Thyroid (and that it is very expensive) but I am cautious and aware. Right now, this is the best option I have.
More thyroid reading
- Dr. Izabella Wentz, the Thyroid Pharmacist, and her book The Root Cause
- Dr. Kharrazian and his book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?
- Chris Kresser’s blog – well researched and presented
- Janie Bowthrope and her book Stop The Thyroid Madness
- Dr. Osansky’s website – especially good for people with hyperthyroidism
I am not a doctor but if you have a question you think I can help with, I would be more than happy to lend some advice. Message me on Instagram!