Natural Thyroid Replacement Therapy Basics: Are You a Candidate?
There are a lot of questions about thyroid replacement therapy, and you may be wondering if you’re a candidate. This article will discuss how the thyroid works, and then provide an overview of what’s involved with thyroid replacement therapy.
The thyroid uses a negative feedback system. This means that it puts out thyroid hormones and when these hormones reach adequate levels they tell the pituitary that there are enough thyroid hormones. The pituitary then decreases the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) it sends to the thyroid. In response to the lower level of TSH, the thyroid decreases the amount of thyroid hormones it is producing. When the levels drop too low, the pituitary senses the drop and so it increases the amount of TSH it sends to the thyroid, and the thyroid, in turn, produces more thyroid hormones. This is the normal feedback loop of the thyroid.
If the thyroid is dysfunctional, for whatever reason, it may not be able to sense the elevated level of TSH and it results in the pituitary increasing the TSH to even higher levels. This may or may not be enough to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones, but, if left unaddressed, it can cause a “goiter.” This is why most doctors check a TSH level when addressing thyroid function even though the TSH comes from the pituitary.
If the TSH is elevated, most doctors will start you on Levothyroxine which is a synthetic form of the T4 hormone. T4 is just one of the hormones produced by the thyroid, and in a normally functioning system can be converted into T3, which is the active thyroid hormone. Even if you have had your thyroid checked and told it was okay, there is a good chance that your T3 was not checked or the level was lower than optimal.
A lot of individuals with hypothyroidism are now known to have a thyroid dysfunction that extends to an inability to effectively convert T4 to T3, or even a thyroid receptor dysfunction or resistance. Levothyroxine does not work well in these individuals since it requires the conversion of T4 to T3. Also, the thyroid is now known to make other hormones besides the ones discussed above. And so, when the negative feedback from the Levothyroxine decreases or even shuts down the amount of TSH, the thyroid does not make the other hormones either. This explains why a lot of people do not feel “normal” or even “okay” on Levothyroxine.
These individuals usually respond quite well to a naturally desiccated thyroid (NDT) replacement regimen if done correctly. NDT replacements have T3 as well as T4 in them, but also contain the other hormones secreted by the thyroid, and so they are a better form of thyroid replacement therapy. Some opponents of NDTs are concerned about a higher T3 to T4 ratio than is normal for humans but this may be required if you have problems with conversion or receptor resistance.
However, following and adjusting an individual on an NDT is quite different than one on Levothyroxine and should only be done by someone experienced and trained to do so.
If you believe you may be a candidate for natural thyroid replacement therapy, make an appointment at Mosaic Life Care Journey’s Healthy Living Clinic and let us guide you to good thyroid health.