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Over 110 years ago, thyroid patients and their doctors knew about and used Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) for their hypothyroidism successfully, whether it was made from pig or sheep glands. And it worked beautifully for the next seven decades because it provided the same hormones one's thyroid would be making: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin.
Fast forward to 1963 when a so-called large batch of NDT hit the US and UK market, but it wasn't thyroid at all. It was simply a hoax, as stated in the 1970 4th edition of Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. And it caused all sorts of consternation in medical journals, as well as a strong promotion towards the "new and modern" synthetic T4-only medication, aka Synthroid (https://www.synthroid.com/), then made by Knoll Pharmaceuticals. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoll_Pharmaceuticals)
And the switch began en masse. Doctors were now encouraged to treat their patients with the new-fangled T4-only, whether Synthroid or many other brands which cropped up over the years, such as Levoxyl, Oroxine, Eltroxin and more. T4 is a thyroid storage hormone meant to convert to the life-giving T3, aka Triiodothyronine (https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/summary/summary.cgi?cid=5920).
But the poop began hitting the fan, as many patients then and now discovered that the body is not meant to live for conversion alone, i.e. T4-only treatment misses the direct T3 that a healthy thyroid would be giving. All too many T4-treated patients worldwide report a continuation and/or worsening of their hypothyroid symptoms in their own degree and kind, whether from the beginning or the longer they stay on T4.
What happens while on T4?
It's not a pretty picture. Globally, thyroid patients on T4 report all-too-many symptoms of their hypothyroid state while on T4, either from the beginning or cropping up the longer they stay on it. (https://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/long-and-pathetic) Those symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- The need to nap
- Lack of stamina
- Poor recovery from activity
- Dry skin or dry hair
- Joint aches and pains
- Feeling cold
- Rising blood pressure
- Rising cholesterol
- Heart issues
- Constipation or hard stools
- Air hunger
- Brain fogginess
Even worse, all too many T4-only treated patients end up with the misery of low cortisol (https://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/adrenal-info), low iron, low Vitamin D, low B12 and more—all due to the inadequacy of the treatment.
What hypothyroid treatment works better?
If the hypothyroid state is caught early enough, and if an iodine-loading test reveals one is low in iodine, supplementing with iodine (Lugols https://www.lugols.com/, the liquid version or Iodoral the pill) has helped some patients get out of their hypothyroid state, even if they have the autoimmune version of thyroid disease called Hashimotos. It's individual.
Better nutrition has helped others, even if it's rare to see it being enough to rid one of the hypothyroid state for many.
Instead, the treatment of choice the last decade, as reported by a large and growing body of thyroid patients worldwide, is the return to Natural Desiccated Thyroid (https://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/natural-thyroid-101). It's usually made from porcine thyroid, but there are some over-the-counter desiccated thyroid products which are bovine.
Symptoms are removed, lives are returned to being active, moods are improved as is one's entire health and well-being.
What about patients who feel NDT doesn't work for them?
There are two main reasons why NDT doesn't seem to work: a cortisol problem and/or low iron https://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ndt-doesnt-work-for-me, both the result of too many years being undiagnosed or poorly treated with T4-only. And either of both will cause an overreaction to NDT as it's raised, so discovery and the right treatment are needed. The lab test of choice for one's cortisol levels, is saliva testing, not blood.
Even if thyroid patients find themselves with good cortisol and iron levels, it's been imperative to raise desiccated thyroid high enough i.e. to not be held hostage to the TSH lab test, but to be dosed according to the removal of symptoms and the Free T3 and Free T4 labs tests.
Natural desiccated thyroid changes lives!
Janie A. Bowthrope, M.Ed is the creator of the current thyroid patient movement for better education and wisdom, as well as the founder of the patient-to-patient website Stop the Thyroid Madness, aka STTM, (https://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com) and author of a book by same name, now in English, Spanish, German and Swedish, plus more languages coming.
Bowthorpe owns the largest thyroid group on Yahoo Groups since 2002, is the main contributor to the STTM Facebook page, plus has both owned and worked one-on-one in numerous thyroid patients groups for eleven years.
She does patient coaching via Skype plus is a speaker and blogger about thyroid patient experiences and wisdom.