by Michael T. Smith
What’s your position on using a natural desiccated thyroid hormone such as Armour Thyroid instead of Synthroid?
What’s your position on using basil temperatures as an indicator of a possible low thyroid condition?
I typically do prefer/recommend natural desiccated thyroid such as Armour because it contains both T3 and T4 that is identical to those in our body. Synthroid is only synthetic T4 which is the inactive form of thyroid hormone and then the body needs to convert it into T3. Which we may have a more difficult time to do because it is a synthetic form and not like our natural hormones.
I believe that using basal body temperatures can be useful in indicating potential low thyroid function. It is also important to utilize thyroid blood levels. TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), which is often measured by most physicians, is a useful measure but does not tell the whole story. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland and not the thyroid – it is an indirect measurement of thyroid hormone. I find it is valuable to take a direct measurement of thyroid function so we can best understand what the thyroid gland is actually doing. FT3 & FT4 (Free T3 & Free T4) are the two thyroid hormone tests that I recommend along with TSH. The Free measurements actually tell us the amount of thyroid hormone is available for use and not bound by a protein in the blood. This is an important distinction as bound thyroid hormone cannot be used by our cells and is not “active.” I believe it is also important to check both T3 & T4. Too often only T4 is measured, again this is the inactive form of thyroid hormone and it is important to know how much active thyroid hormone is available (T3). The measure of T4 & T3 also tells us how well the body is converting inactive thyroid (T4) into active thyroid hormone (T3).
With regards to addressing low thyroid function it is most important to look at the whole person and identify what areas of stress or poor health habits may exist that could lead to a lower functioning thyroid. Many times in addressing the overall health of the individual – their thyroid function will improve. I also will recommend thyroid supportive nutrients and/or herbs to help the thyroid return to a normal level on its own. Then as a last resort I may recommend thyroid hormone replacement.
Thyroid issues, like many health problems are complex and involve an indepth look into a person’s current state of health. This is what we do as naturopathic doctors. We work with you to develop individualized recommendations for your health concerns. We are partners with you in your health.
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Michael T. Smith, ND