As we discussed last week on my blog, the first step to getting your thyroid in check is an accurate diagnosis. Once you get over that hurdle, you may feel like relief is just a prescription away, but for many of us diagnosed with thyroid disorder that is far from the truth. After my diagnosis with hypothyroidism and Hashimotos, I spent months advocating for a prescription that worked for me, but I found most doctors simply wanted to use the same solution over and over.
It was extremely frustrating – From my holistic standpoint, I was confused by conventional medicine’s “one size fits all” solution, which is in prescribing the thyroid drug Synthroid (or generic version Levothyroxine) at a rate of 70 billion scripts per year! It’s a 100 million dollar per year “business” for doctor’s and pharmaceutical companies, but it’s not working for many of us! This left me wondering why should big pharmaceutical business get in the way with my quality of life?
The most prescribed and profitable treatment, Synthroid is a patented synthetic chemical reproduction of isolated T4 (our most prevalent thyroid hormone). When first released, this T4 treatments set the bar as the treatment for thyroid. Ever since, generations of new doctors have been taught to simply prescribe Synthroid for any one suffering from hypothyroidism. But, doctors who use only T4 as an indicator for prescribing thyroid medication, are leaving out a big chunk of information – Several of us do not respond to T4 drugs, and doctors relying strictly on T4 medications for their patients are not always taking other measurable factors into consideration. They are assuming that each patient is properly converting T4 to active T3 and we now know this isn’t the case.
My other issue is that Synthroid is anything but natural! It is not bio-equivalent to the natural hormone thyroxine, but is instead a synthetic, hormone-like substance with very different properties. In conventional medical treatment for hypothyroidism, once blood results fall into “normal” range again (in this case, due to synthetic chemicals) the prescription/treatment is deemed a success. Unfortunately, your quality of life can suffer as the synthetic chemicals compete with the remaining natural hormones still being produced by your thyroid. Often a worsening of symptoms is a common response to your body letting you know Synthroid is not the right treatment for you. The most common feedback I hear from patient’s previously on Synthroid is “I just didn’t feel right while taking it”. Your body will guide you in the right direction, simply listen to your body to guide you on a decision.
From a purist standpoint, I have found the best treatments options are based on individual cases and incorporate the option for natural treatment. Often, what works best for you is NOT what is easy and profitable for your doctor to prescribe, so you must “go there” when seeking treatment and really advocate for more than Synthroid.
Some hypothyroidism sufferers respond better to synthetic T4 and synthetic T3 medications (such as Cytomel or compounded time-released T3). Other sufferers respond better to a dessicated natural thyroid option like Armour or Nature-throid. My personal choice is WP Thyroid – while I did use Armour for some time, I also felt a little “off” and after my switch to WP Thyroid, my body is definitely more comfortable taking this. The chart below shows the more significant differences in common treatment options. As you can see, my body responds better to both natural T3 and T4 replacement, as well as WP thyroid being a corn, peanut, soy, rice, gluten, and fish free option!
|Natural T3 & T4 Hormone Replacement||Gluten & Corn Free||No FDA Recalls for Inconsitencies||No Artificial Colors||Only 2 Active Ingredients|
|Nature – Thyroid||✔||✔||✔||✔||–|
Whatever choices you make with your thyroid prescription, be honest with your doctor on how you’re truly feeling and insist on results. You do not have to resolve yourself to thyroid disorder for life, and when you combine the right prescription option with diet and lifestyle changes, you have the best chance to live a more fulfilling, healthy life! You can also take your good health into your own hands by making thyroid condusive changes to your diet and lifestyle that will support the treatment plan you create with your doctor. I suggest the following diet and lifestyle changes to compliment your prescription regimen for thyroid disorder:
- Eat a low sugar, gluten free, dairy free, anti-inflammatory diet, like my 21 day program “Cleanse Your Body, Cleanse Your Life”
- Avoid processed soy products altogether and decrease intake of whole, organic soy foods
- Add Brazil Nuts into your diet, 1-2 nuts per day will increase your selenium intake
- Optimize your vitamin D levels, through daily sun exposure or vitamin D3 or vitamin D3 supplementation. 15-20 minutes a day is all you need!
- Create an infrared sauna routine to detoxify heavy metals (check out Shapehouse)
- Replace your cooking oils with organic, unrefined coconut oil
- Add more sea vegetables into your diet (wakame, hijiki, arame, dulse, and nori)
- Increase your vitamin A intake, by adding in dark leafy greens like dandelion greens, spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and beta carotenes from carrots and sweet potatoes