Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Hashimoto's & Hypothyroidism Specialist
Hypothyroidism patients everywhere have been freaking out ever since their favorite thyroid medication, Naturethroid went on backorder. So on top of the normal Pandemic pharmacy problems I was already having with pharmacies not processing my prescriptions and messing everything I tried to do up... the cherry on top of my horrific 2020 was suddenly having hundreds of patients all need their thyroid medication changed at once when they could no longer obtain Naturethroid.
In my practice full of patients with food allergies and food sensitivities this was no simple task and caused me to work 12-15 hour days constantly calling pharmacists that were also pulling their hair out from stress.
The purpose of this thyroid article is to guide you through the pros and cons of the current thyroid hormone options available, if you are not happy on the thyroid hormones you are currently taking.
When thyroid dose is not correct patients can become depressed, anxious, gain weight and experience worse pain and chronic fatigue. The majority of my thyroid patients in my Holistic Hormone practice feel better on Armour Thyroid (90%) than Levothyroxine (10%).
The reason for this is that the active hormone that boosts energy, boosts mood, and aids weight loss must be converted from inert synthetic T4 in levothyroxine to active T3 that actually burns fat. Most patients that seek me out struggle with this conversion and either need a little bit of cytomel (T3) to assist with this or prefer Armour Thyroid. Women that are menopausal make moire binding hormones that bind up their Free T3, causing weight gain and insulin resistance.
Patients that are Vegan are not comfortable taking hormones from a pig gland or "Porcine Thyroid" and therefore will need to use synthetic hormones if they do not use animal products for spiritual reasons. The synthetic hormones lack the other magical thyroid chemicals that thyroid patients are generally deficient in and I never see my thyroid patients respond as well to synthetic hormones as natural hormones.
The main issue with pig gland thyroid is that pigs have a higher ratio of T3 to T4 than humans generally have and for some patients, the T3 is overstimulating for them and can cause palpitations, hot flashes, chest pain, headaches, diarrhea and increased sweating.
While many patients are completely fine on Armour, many of my patients with food intolerances, food allergies, and sensitivities to excipients and fillers are struggling with this change. Today I will review all of the current thyroid hormone options available to patients so they can determine what their best option is without Naturethroid returning anytime soon.
Naturethroid was recalled due to the medication not being at the correct 100% dose and most doses are coming through at about 75%. If you are feeling fine then you can continue to take the same dose and contact your Naturopathic Doctor for testing immediately to determine if the dose is working for you or not.
If you are having symptoms of hypothyroidism: Fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, depression, or anxiety then we need to check your labs and adjust your medicine accordingly.
Simultaneously NP Thyroid was also recalled as it was measuring at higher doses than the label which explained to me why so many of my patients HATE NP Thyroid. I personally and professionally completely detest NP Thyroid because it is bound with mineral oil which is not safe to consume.
While they did a good job making NP Thyroid gluten-free, it is pretty ironic that they are instead putting poison in my poor thyroid patient's medication! This is by far the worst choice, I now refuse to prescribe NP Thyroid since women notoriously call with adverse side effects, which is literally the last thing my poor thyroid patients need! Please check your prescription when you pick it up and make sure your pharmacist has not changed your Armour prescription to NP Thyroid poison without asking if you want it.
This is an important instance where generic is better than name brand.
This is the #1 reason my Hashimtotos patients that were previously doing well on Naturethorid or Armour Thyroid suddenly feel sick. Being switched over to something with chemicals in it without being told.
If a patient is chemically sensitive they absolutely should NOT take NP Thyroid. I have so many of my thyroid and Hashimotos patients having horrific side effects of hair loss, joint pain, anxiety, palpitations, and autoimmune flares. NP Thyroid now goes on the list of garbage that I hate.
Amour thyroid is the #1 best alternative at the regular pharmacy in my opinion as a Thyroid Doctor that also takes thyroid medicine and specializes in Hashimotos. While it is not my favorite choice it is my #1 substitue. If your pharmacist asks you if you want brand name and you say yes then they are going to give you this horrific NP Thyroid crap, so just tell them you want generic. If your insurance only pays for NP Thyroid you will end up paying more in side effects than if you just pay for the Armour Thyroid up front.
If you have a corn allergy or other issues with the excipients in Armour then the only other alternative is for me to call in a compounded "Natural Desiccated Thyroid" (NDT) or a combination of Levothyroxine/Cytomel (T4/T3) to your regular pharmacy or to a compounding pharmacy. The prescription is not covered by insurance at a compounding pharmacy but the combination is overall less expensive if you do not have insurance at $1/capsule for the compounding pharmacy to make you NDT or T4/T3.
The only issue with T4/T3 is when the dose is not correct, and then the patient spent money on something they cannot take. Follow-up lab testing is advised at 6-8 weeks of making any dose changes with thyroid hormones to ensure the levels are accurate for the long run.
"Should I take Tirosint?"
Tirosint questions and side effects are very common lately. Tirosint is just a brand name for Levothyroxine and shares the same shortcomings as Levothyroxine as discussed above. If you have food allergies you should stick with brand name Synthroid or Tirosint as generic levothyroxine may be purchased from different manufacturers each month and therefore my food allergy patients do not do well with constant change and should eliminate as many variables from their diet as possible including ever-changing binders and fillers in their medications.
If you need help with your Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's simply pop on over to my appointment SCHEDULE page and book a visit, would be happy to help. As a hormone doctor with a thyroid problem myself, I know how important it is that we get your thyroid medication correct.
Why is it SO IMPORTANT? Because thyroid hormone turns every cell in your body on. So when your dose is not correct then nothing in your body is working properly. Nothing.
Thank you for mailing your Naturopathic Women's Health questions to me on a postcard. I love to get something in the mail that is not a bill. Remember, if it cannot fit on a postcard then you need to schedule a visit with me!
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum Depression, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 23 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones, she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 28 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones, and Naturopathy!