Dr. Eric Osansky, Natural Endocrine Solutions
Dr. Osansky discusses Synthetic vs. Natural Thyroid Hormone to help you decide which one might work best for you.
Most people with a hypothyroid condition take some form of thyroid hormone to help manage the symptoms of their thyroid condition. Most people take a synthetic form, such as Synthroid, although some do choose a natural thyroid hormone, such as Armour or Westhroid. You might be wondering which one of these options is the best for you? Besides discussing this, I’m also going to discuss a different treatment option that potentially can be a much better choice than taking either synthetic or natural thyroid hormone.
Both synthetic and natural thyroid hormone can do an excellent job of managing one’s hypothyroid symptoms. However, there are some people who don’t respond well to one type of thyroid hormone, but do better while taking the other form of thyroid hormone. It seems as if it’s more common for people to switch from synthetic thyroid hormone to a natural form, as many people on synthetic thyroid hormone get some relief from their symptoms, but still don’t feel as good as they should. On the other hand, some people don’t do too well on natural thyroid hormone, and do better when on synthetic thyroid hormone.
And then there are people who don’t feel great while on either synthetic or natural thyroid hormone. Sometimes it’s just a matter of adjusting the dosage of the thyroid hormone you are taking. In other cases, some people who are just taking T4 and are not responding well will do much better when T3 is added. It might be necessary to change to a different endocrinologist or general medical practitioner if they refuse to add T3, as some will simply give thyroid hormone with T4 and adjust the dosage if you’re not responding well.
Is It Really Necessary To Take Thyroid Hormone For The Rest Of Your Life?
While most people with hypothyroidism, including those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, are told they need to take some type of thyroid hormone for the rest of their life, for many people there is another treatment option. In fact, many people who were told they would need to take thyroid hormone forever have restored the function of their thyroid gland back to normal through natural thyroid treatment methods.
In order to understand how it is possible to restore the function of the thyroid gland, one must first realize that in most thyroid conditions, the malfunctioning thyroid gland isn’t the direct cause of the actual problem. In other words, another area of the body is affected, such as the adrenal glands, immune system, or another area of the body, and this in turn is causing the thyroid gland to slow down the production thyroid hormone. So if one addresses the actual cause of the thyroid disorder, and doesn’t just try to manage the symptoms by giving thyroid hormone, then in many cases it is possible to cure many cases of hypothyroidism.
But how about if you have had your thyroid gland removed through surgery, or received radioactive iodine therapy? Or what if you didn’t receive any of these harsh treatment methods but have been taking thyroid hormone for many years? Will natural thyroid treatment methods still be an option? Without question there are cases where people can’t have their thyroid condition cured. Obviously someone who has had their thyroid gland completely removed will need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their life. On the other hand, there have been people who have had their thyroid gland partially removed or received RAI and have responded well to a natural thyroid treatment protocol. The same can be said for those who have been taking thyroid hormone for a long period of time. So while not everyone can be helped through natural treatment methods, many people can, and it’s definitely worth consulting with a natural endocrine doctor to find out if you’re a good candidate.
The goal of a natural thyroid treatment protocol is to get to the underlying cause of the condition. For example, many people with thyroid conditions have weak adrenal glands. Such problems don’t come along suddenly, but instead take years to develop. In any case, weak adrenals can put your body into a catabolic state, which means that your body is in a state where it is breaking down, which as you can imagine isn’t a good thing. In order to slow down this process, the body will frequently slow down the thyroid gland, thus resulting in hypothyroidism.
So what usually happens is that this person will begin experiencing hypothyroid symptoms, and will be told by their endocrinologist or medical doctor that they need to take thyroid hormone to “correct” this problem. The problem with this is that it’s not the thyroid gland that is the cause of the condition, but instead the weak adrenal glands. So in this scenario, the thyroid hormone won’t do anything for the cause of the condition.
On the other hand, someone who is following a natural thyroid treatment protocol will be addressing the actual cause of the problem, which in the example above is the adrenal glands. There are many different factors that cause problems with the adrenal glands, and two of the most common ones are poor eating habits and not doing a good job of managing stress. Both can lead to issues with the cortisol levels, which not only will stress out the adrenal glands over time, but will most likely lead to other problems in the future. So a natural thyroid treatment protocol will look to strengthen the weakened adrenals, which not only can cure the hypothyroid problem in many cases, but will also help to prevent any future conditions from developing.
And the same concept applies with other affected areas of the body that might be problematic. As another example, people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis have a compromised immune system, and therefore the goal of a natural thyroid treatment protocol will be to eliminate the autoimmune response, as well as address other areas of the body that might be affected. So even someone with an autoimmune thyroid condition can be helped through natural treatment methods. But if all they are told to do is to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their life, then obviously they won’t be cured, and their condition will probably continue to worsen over time, and potentially lead to other autoimmune problems.
Consult With A Natural Endocrine Doctor
In order to achieve optimal benefits from a natural thyroid treatment protocol, it’s a good idea to consult with a competent natural endocrine doctor. Some people with hypothyroidism will no doubt attempt to self-treat their condition, which almost always is a big mistake. While it may seem easy enough to visit your local health food store and purchase some thyroid support supplements or thyroid boosters, most of the time you’re just wasting your money by doing this. Even if it does help with some of the symptoms, chances are it won’t cure your condition.
Of course there is no guarantee that following a natural thyroid treatment protocol will cure your thyroid condition either, but you stand a much better chance of restoring your health back to normal under the guidance of an expert. While you might not know of a natural endocrine doctor who practices in your area, the good news is that in most cases it’s fine to consult with one remotely over the phone, assuming you’ve already been diagnosed and received a physical exam from a local endocrinologist or general medical doctor.
If you don’t want to give natural thyroid treatment methods a try and want to continue taking thyroid hormone, then that’s fine too. As for which type of thyroid hormone you should take, the best answer is to try both types and determine which one is best for you. If neither one is giving you the relief you want, then consider changing doctors. But I would encourage you to keep an open mind and consider giving natural thyroid treatment methods a try, as it very well might be one of the best health decisions you ever make.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Osansky received a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. Dr. Osansky is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, which requires advanced-degree education qualifications, completing and passing an examination, and substantial nutrition experience. Although he’s not an herbalist, Dr. Osansky has received a certificate of herbal therapy through the Australian College of Phytotherapy. is a licensed healthcare professional who focuses his practice on conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. For more information, please visit his Facebook fan page.