10 Things Patients Should Know About Armour Thyroid (Before using it!)

10 Things Patients Should Know About Armour Thyroid (Before using it!)

I'm a big fan of Armour thyroid (and other formulations of NDT) and have used it on many, many patients. 

But, like any prescription medication, Armour thyroid has some important aspects that you should be aware of as a patient. 

If you are someone who is considering using Armour thyroid, if you are someone who is already taking Armour thyroid, or if you just want to be an informed thyroid patient, then this is the article for you. 

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10 Important Facts About Armour All Thyroid Patients Should be Aware of

Armour thyroid is one of many available thyroid medications which your doctor can prescribe. 

Among thyroid medications, Armour is unique because of the hormones that it contains, how it is sourced, and how it impacts your body. 

structural formula of armour thyroid

As a thyroid patient, you should be aware of all of the potential side effects (and benefits) that come from ANY therapy that you are taking. 

In my opinion, the benefits of Armour far outweigh the potential downsides (for most patients). 

Let's dive into some important facts you should be aware of...

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#1. It's not the only NDT formulation. 

Armour thyroid is one of the oldest drugs available to treat hypothyroidism. 

It has fallen out of favor but because it's so old many physicians (both old and new) are aware that it exists. 

And, believe it or not, this plays a big role in why so many people are taking it. 

Many physicians are simply not aware of the newer medications (some of which have come out in the last year or two) such as Tirosint and Tirosint-Sol (these are T4 only medications but I'm using them to point out that most physicians are not educated when it comes to thyroid management). 

It's very possible, and perhaps probable, that your doctor is really only aware of a handful of thyroid medications. 

These may include medications such as Synthroid, levothyroxine, and perhaps Armour thyroid. 

If Armour thyroid is the only formulation of NDT that your doctor is aware of then it's probably the first thing that he/she will put you on if you don't do well on Synthroid/levothyroxine. 

This may be fine for some of you, but I want you to at least be aware of the other formulations as well. 

Why?

Because these formulations can be used in instances where you may not respond to Armour thyroid. 

Due to reasons such as inactive binders/fillers, you may not respond to Armour thyroid and it may actually make your symptoms worse. 

But, even if this does happen it doesn't mean that you need to avoid all formulations of NDT!

In fact, simply switching to another formulation of NDT may be enough to resolve your symptoms. 

Before you jump off the NDT bandwagon be sure to at least check out these other formulations. 

I've written in detail about these thyroid medications (and others) and their pros and cons on other articles which you can look to for more information. 

Other formulations of NDT include:

#2. Armour thyroid may be better for weight loss compared to other thyroid medications. 

I go over this topic a little more in detail on #7 when I discuss that many people actually prefer NDT formulations over T4 only formulations. 

You can skip there to see the studies which cite that Armour thyroid helps promote weight loss more than T4 only medications. 

Here, I just want to introduce you to that fact and explain it in a little more detail. 

Are some thyroid medications better at helping with weight loss?

The answer to this question is quite complex but I can say the answer is a definitive yes. 

I'm not going to go into all of the details why this is the case but I do want to point out one major reason. 

And that reason has to do with T3 thyroid hormone. 

T3 thyroid hormone is the most active thyroid hormone and Armour thyroid contains this medication. 

This is unique because most patients are taking Synthroid which does NOT contain T3. 

T3, because it is the most potent thyroid hormone, has been shown to directly stimulate your metabolism (2). 

By revving up your metabolism it will help increase your basal body temperature, normalize your heart rate, and improve the amount of energy that you burn. 

weight loss when using armour thyroid

All of these things contribute to the thermogenic effect (3) seen when using T3. 

So, T3 absolutely can help with weight loss but it shouldn't be used as a weight-loss therapy. 

What do I mean?

I mean that T3 thyroid hormone should only be used if you are deficient in this hormone. 

If you abuse it (meaning if you take it while still having normal thyroid function), you open the door to potentially causing harm to your body. 

The good news is that most people with thyroid-related issues ALSO have low T3 levels

This means that using T3, in this setting, is perfectly safe and healthy. 

In fact, it's probably just bringing your metabolism up to what it should be assuming you had a normal and healthy functioning thyroid. 

The fact that many people with thyroid disease are overweight probably suggests that many of these people have a sluggish metabolism due to their thyroid

#3. It's the most expensive formulation of NDT. 

Believe it or not, Armour thyroid is the most expensive formulation of NDT!

This information is according to the cash price (also confirmed by calling local pharmacies) on goodrx.com

This website shows the cash price of a 30 day supply of 60mg of Armour thyroid: 

cash price of armour thyroid

It will run you around $30.00 per month if you don't have insurance (sometimes it will be that price even if you do have insurance). 

You can compare this to other NDT formulations, such as Nature-throid, which is around $8.00 per month for 30 tablets of 60mg:

cash price of np thyroid

So, that's potentially a savings of around $20 per month (assuming cash price) if you use one formulation over the other. 

While price is certainly not the only thing you should consider, or even the most important thing you should consider, when looking at your thyroid medication, it can still be an important factor for many people. 

If you find that you've already tried Nature-throid or NP thyroid and they don't work for you then paying more for Armour thyroid may make sense. 

But if you are paying just because your doctor put you on it without trying other formulations then you may want to at least consider them. 

You can switch to a different formulation of NDT such as NP thyroid or Nature-throid on a grain for grain basis. 

So, let's say you are currently taking 1.5 grains (90 mg) of Armour thyroid. 

If you wanted to switch to Nature-Throid you would switch over to 1.5 grains (which happens to be 97.5mg). 

This would get you the same equivalent doses of T4 and T3 even though the mg dosage is slightly different (this doesn't affect the amount of T3 and T4 that you are consuming). 

#4. Armour thyroid contains animal products. 

Hopefully, this doesn't come as a surprise to you but Armour thyroid contains animal products. 

In fact, it is sourced from the thyroid glands of pigs (porcine-derived). 

Armour thyroid is created by taking the thyroid glands, mashing them, drying them out, and then ensuring that each 'grain' of medication contains a specific amount of T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. 

The fact that Armour comes from pigs is not necessarily a big deal by itself, but it certainly should be something that you are aware of. 

Why?

For a couple of reasons:

The first is that it contains animal proteins in addition to the thyroid hormones that your body needs. 

These animal proteins are important because they are not HUMAN proteins. 

It is possible (though it does not happen often) for your immune system to react negatively to these proteins and to trigger an immune response. 

This immune response may lead to the triggering of autoimmune thyroid symptoms from thyroid antibodies or other low-grade symptoms such as headache, fatigue, etc. 

This problem remains mostly a theoretical problem in that it's something that can potentially happen but doesn't occur in most people. 

For most people, your intestinal tract and stomach acid are sufficient to completely (or at least sufficiently) break down these animal proteins so that they don't enter into your bloodstream. 

natural thyroid supplements version 2

As long as your body is producing sufficient stomach acid then this is probably not an issue you need to worry about. 

Also, by the way, there may also be some additional benefits to consuming animal glands beyond the benefits that thyroid hormone provides directly. 

Many supplements, including my thyroid/adrenal supplement, contain what are known as animal glandulars. 

These are desiccated and concentrated components of the glands of animals which seem to provide a stimulatory response in the body. They probably also contain ingredients which can help stimulate our own target organs. 

You can read more about these glandulars and how they may positively impact health here

While it may seem weird to consume the gland of another animal it's not that weird when you consider humans have been eating the organs of animals (such as the liver) for many health benefits. 

Liver, for instance, is incredibly high in Vitamin A and iron (4) and, as an organ meat, is considered to be a healthy source of vitamins and nutrients. 

nutrients found in liver

These organs meats were considered to be the healthiest part of the animal in some modern hunter/gatherer tribes. 

So try to forget about how weird it is and keep your eye on the benefits. 

#5. Armour Thyroid contains both T4 and T3. 

This one probably isn't a surprise for many of you but it's still worth pointing out. 

Armour thyroid falls into the class of Natural Desiccated Thyroid medications. 

These medications are notoriously beneficial because they contain more than just the standard T4 thyroid hormone (known as Thyroxine) in medications such as levothyroxine and Synthroid. 

Armour thyroid contains BOTH T4 and T3. 

Each grain of Armour thyroid contains 38mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3. 

This ratio is roughly about 77:23 which is somewhat close to the 80:20 ratio of T4:T3 that your thyroid gland produces naturally. 

Some doctors will suggest that Armour thyroid (and other NDT formulations) should not be used because they contain too much T3 compared to what the body produces naturally. 

But more recent studies (5) show that healthy thyroid glands produce around 80% T4 and around 20% T3. 

Some doctors try to suggest that the thyroid gland produces 95% T4 and 5% T3 (or somewhere near that amount) but these values are not supported by more recent studies. 

Why should you care that it contains T3?

I think the most important reason is that T3 is by far the most biologically active thyroid hormone (6). 

It's roughly 300x more potent than T4 at stimulating the thyroid receptors on your cells. 

Pretty much everything you want thyroid hormone to do stems from the direct actions of T3 thyroid hormone. 

Why isn't it used more frequently?

Most doctors are simply not comfortable using it or feel that it is too powerful or too difficult to dose. 

They can't, nor should they try, to downplay the effectiveness of T3 in stimulating thyroid receptors. 

This is probably one of the main reasons that many people do better on Armour thyroid compared to thyroid medications which contain just T4. 

#6. Armour thyroid contains other ingredients beyond just thyroid hormones. 

I mentioned this previously in another section when I discussed that Armour thyroid contains both T4 and T3. 

Because Armour is sourced from animal thyroid glands, it also contains additional ingredients which are also found inside of thyroid glands. 

This includes hormones, proteins, additional thyroid hormones, and probably other pre-cursors that we aren't aware of. 

Most important to this conversation is the fact that Armour contains the thyroid hormone T2 and Calcitonin. 

T2 is a biologically active thyroid hormone which is found in humans and seems to play an important role in regulating fat burn and metabolism (7). 

As long as you have a functioning thyroid gland your body will produce T2 in addition to T3 and T4. 

But, if you have had your thyroid gland removed by surgery or destroyed by RAI then your body isn't producing it anymore. 

For this reason, it has been suggested that Armour thyroid (and other brands of NDT) may be preferable to this patient population over T4 only formulations such as Synthroid. 

Why?

Because it can be argued that Armour provides a more complete array of thyroid hormones and other hormones which the body needs. 

It's of course still possible to not have a thyroid and do somewhat well on T4 only medications, but the chances are high that you will feel even better on a T4 + T3 combination, especially one that includes the other thyroid hormones such as T2. 

This concept has become more popular recently as studies have shown that people without a thyroid tend to have lower T3 levels than healthy people if they only take T4. 

I suspect that over the coming years (perhaps around 10 years or so) it will be much more common for people without a functioning thyroid to be placed on a combination of both T4 and T3. 

#7. It has a better track record compared to levothyroxine/Synthroid. 

Surprisingly, this is not only my own personal opinion but also the opinion of certain clinical studies. 

Researchers have already done some of the heavy lifting for us so let's evaluate one study to get a better idea of how people respond to medications such as Armour thyroid. 

In this study (8), researchers placed patients on either levothyroxine or thyroid extract (another name for NDT). 

They kept these patients on these medications for 16 weeks and then swapped them to another medication. 

So some patients were placed on levothyroxine first for 16 weeks and then transitioned to thyroid extract for another 16 weeks. 

The other group of patients were on thyroid extract first for 16 weeks and then transitioned to levothyroxine for another 16 weeks. 

At the end of this 32 week period they then simply asked patients how they felt on the different medications. 

What did they find?

They found that those people who were on thyroid extract (abbreviated DTE which stands for desiccated thyroid extract) experienced more weight loss compared to the people who were only levothyroxine alone. 

comparison of weight loss on armour thyroid vs levothyroxine

The study also concluded that about half of the people or around 48.6 percent of people had a preference for DTE over levothyroxine. 

They also showed that patients lost around 4 pounds simply switching thyroid medication and had a subjective improvement in their symptoms (meaning they felt less fatigue, less hair loss, fewer aches/pains, better concentration, better sleep, improved memory, etc.). 

One important factor that this study revealed was that people who are overweight and those with a higher reverse T3 level tend to prefer NDT over T4. 

So if you are someone who has some extra weight to lose your body may do better on Armour. 

If, on the other hand, your weight is relatively normal (or just slightly higher than you'd like), T4 only medication may be preferable. 

This isn't an exact science but something to consider. 

Lastly, another important point worth mentioning is that people in this study did NOT experience any negative side effects on either therapy which suggest that Armour (if dosed correctly) is quite safe. 

#8. It is not the name brand of NP thyroid. 

This is important to understand because your pharmacy likely considers Armour thyroid to be the name brand for NP thyroid

Both medications are formulations of Natural Desiccated Thyroid but they are certainly not the same. 

Both medications have the same amounts of T4 and T3 in them grain for grain but they do differ in their inactive ingredients. 

Armour thyroid contains the following ingredients (9):

  • Triiodothyronine (active ingredient)
  • Thyroxine (active ingredient)
  • Calcium stearate
  • Dextrose
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Sodium starch glycolate
  • Opadry white
  • Minor amounts of calcitonin, T1, T2, and proteins
inactive and active ingredients found in armour thyroid

NP thyroid contains the following ingredients:

  • Triiodothyronine (active ingredient)
  • Thyroxine (active ingredient)
  • Calcium stearate
  • Dextrose monohydrate
  • Maltodextrin
  • Mineral oil
  • Minor amounts of calcitonin, T1, T2, and proteins
active and inactive ingredients found in NP thyroid

Why does this matter?

Because the inactive ingredients found in these medications may have an impact on how well you tolerate it! 

Switching from Armour to NP thyroid or from NP thyroid to Armour may actually be enough to trigger the onset of hypothyroid symptoms. 

You should be aware of the difference between these medications so that you know if your pharmacy tries to swap the medications on you without you knowing it. 

And yes, pharmacists can do this because these medications are considered "bioequivalent" (10) from the insurance perspective. 

So if your insurance wants the cheaper formulation (which is NP Thyroid), your pharmacist can make the switch. 

If you want to ensure that you get Armour thyroid filled you may need to have your doctor write "dispense as written" on your prescription. 

In addition, you can make a special request for Armour thyroid when you go to pick up your medication and just pay the cash price. 

Don't be afraid to do this, especially if you feel worse on NP thyroid, because the cash price is typically around $20-30 per month. 

It may be worth the extra expense if it dramatically improves your quality of life. 

#9. Transferring from levothyroxine to Armour requires dose adjustments. 

If you are switching from levothyroxine or Synthroid over to Armour thyroid then you must consider how to adjust your dose during the transition. 

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just saying "well, I'm taking 100mcg of levothyroxine so I will need 100mg of Armour thyroid". 

Why is the transition so difficult?

The main reason has to do with the fact that Armour thyroid contains T3 in addition to T4. 

And, because T3 is so much more powerful when compared to T4 it's difficult to pinpoint what an equivalent dose would be. 

Most standard textbooks will give you a conversion chart which looks similar to this:

converting T4 to armour thyroid

The standard conversion states that 100mcg of Synthroid/levothyroxine is equal to 60mg of Armour thyroid. 

But there's one big issue with this conversion chart...

Most people who go by this conversion chart end up with a rising TSH and persistent symptoms of hypothyroidism when they transition. 

These symptoms seem to suggest that using this chart results in insufficient dosing. 

In fact, newer studies (11) suggest a conversion which is more similar to this:

updated armour thyroid to levothyroxine conversion chart

This chart suggests that 100mcg of T4 is equivalent to 68mg of Armour thyroid (which is more than the "standard" conversion listed above). 

My own personal experience suggests that 1 grain of Armour thyroid is probably closer to 75mcg of T4. 

Because there's quite a bit of debate about how to transition appropriately, just be sure that you give your body enough time to acclimate to the changes and be sure to monitor your thyroid lab tests

Also, don't be alarmed if you suddenly increase some worsening symptoms upon transitioning. 

This will most likely be temporary and is probably related to your dose, especially if it is insufficient. 

#10. Armour may impact your thyroid lab tests differently than other thyroid medications. 

Lastly, you should be aware that Armour thyroid causes some changes to your thyroid lab tests which are not necessarily the same as levothyroxine. 

Because Armour contains T3 it tends to cause a more pronounced and powerful drop in your TSH. 

It has been estimated that T3 is roughly 3-4x more potent (12) than T4 at reducing the TSH. 

This may cause more of a drop in your TSH than you are used to with other T4 only medications. 

In addition, because it contains T3, Armour will cause a more pronounced increase in your free T3 levels. 

It may also cause a drop in your free T4 levels as well. 

This pattern may be confusing to newer patients (and plenty of physicians) so it is something you should be aware of. 

The pattern itself is not necessarily an issue but it may make interpreting your lab tests slightly more difficult. 

To recap, you may find the following changes to your thyroid lab tests when transitioning to Armour thyroid:

*Note: These are only rough guidelines and may not apply to all patients. 

Conclusion

Armour thyroid is a great thyroid medication but it's certainly not the only game in town. 

I find that Armour thyroid is a great option, especially for patients who do not have a thyroid or in whom their thyroid has been destroyed. 

This is probably because it contains special ingredients and thyroid hormones not found in other formulations. 

But, that doesn't mean it won't or can't work for other patient populations as well. 

I find that Armour (or other formulations of NDT) represent a GREAT starting point for many thyroid patients. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you someone who is currently using Armour thyroid?

Are you someone considering using Armour thyroid?

If you are taking it, how are you responding?

Do you feel your dose is adequate?

If you are considering it, what things are preventing you from using it?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

References (Click to Expand)

armour thyroid
Dr. Westin Childs

Dr. Westin Childs is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He provides well-researched actionable information about hormone-related disorders and formulates supplements to treat these disorders. He is trained in Internal Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Integrative Medicine. His focus is on managing thyroid disorders, weight loss resistance, and other sex hormone imbalances. You can read more about his own personal journey here.

63 thoughts on “10 Things Patients Should Know About Armour Thyroid (Before using it!)”

  1. Started Armour a month ago. T3 was below range, Reverse T3 was above the range. I feel worse on it. Dr is switching me to T3 only to see how I do which he is only doing because I suggested after binging on all your great info. Appreciate all the info you put out. I get more clear info from you over all the Drs I have seen year to year. Now to just get whatever undiagnosed autoimmune disease under control. I look much younger than I am and although T3 is low I am very lean and in good shape. So every Dr assumes I am healthy. Sick of hearing why are you here your young and in great shape. And then they have no answer and just refer me to the next Dr.

    Reply
  2. My endocrinologist says it would be too difficult to regulate Armour. I am currently on a Levothyroxine dose of .075, 6 days a week. She has steadily decreased my Levothyroxine over the past 9 months. I feel worse now then I did last October—anxious, unexplained sweating, hair loss, achy joints, heart palpitations. I’ve about had it. Would Armour be an easy switch?

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara,

      Most endocrinologists believe that NDT is somehow more difficult to regulate compared to T4 but this just isn’t the case. I think it’s used as an excuse so they don’t have to try.

      But, to answer your question, the switch isn’t always an easy one. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t and there just isn’t a great way to tell if it will be before hand.

      Reply
      • My question is: WHY would anyone be put on ANY thyroid meds for “6 Days/week”⁉️
        The normal human thyroid doesn’t take a DAY OFF, every week‼️‍♀️

        Reply
        • Hi Susan,

          I would never do it but other doctors do that sort of thing all of the time due to the long half life of T4. And, trust me when I say, doctors don’t care about what the normal thyroid gland does because if they did then everyone would get T3 🙂

          Reply
  3. Dr Childs,

    You mentioned a potential increase (or decrease) in Reverse T3 after switching to Armour. What do you think the causes are of an increase and any way to combat it other than switching medication?

    Many thanks!

    Reply
  4. In 1997 I had to take radioactive iodine for Graves disease. I have been on all different thyroid medication and doses trying to feel as good as I did before thyroid disease and get my levels corrected. I was prescribed 180 mgs of Armour Thyroid by a holistic doctor recently and I was starting to feel halfway decent. This doctor has since moved and so I went to an endocrinologist. He feels that dose is too high and it is not good for my heart because my TSH was out of range. My Free T3 & Free T4 was in range, but very low. He now has me on 135 mg of Armour and I feel terrible (I slowly weaned off the higher dose). I see him again on the 27th of this month. Is it true the higher dose will affect my heart even though I had no hyper symptoms? I thought if your T3& T4 is in range then you are not taking too much thyroid medication. Your thoughts?

    Reply
  5. Hi Dr. Childs, April 10, 2019, I had a total thyroidectomy, papillary thyroid cancer 3 nodes removed. Left vocal chord paralyzed, but slowly coming back. Put on Levothyroxine 100 mg. Have conditions of unable to lose weight, intolerance to heat, excessive sweating (like really bad), blurred vision, headaches, and brain fogs. Went to eye doctor and vision has definitely worsened since last year. The endocrinologist has taken me off of thyroid medication for 3 wks and going to test my thyroid globin levels. If cancer is back will zap it. Will be back on thyroid medication in 3 wks.

    Reply
  6. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I have been taking Armour Thyroid for about 10 years. I started with Synthroid but still felt awful. My endocrinologist said my levels were fine and to keep taking the meds. I found a natural doctor who prescribed the Armour and it changed how I felt… I felt normal again. I had a lot of energy and my weight stabilized. I started at 90 mcg then eventually now at 120 mcg. I am a 58-year-old female who is post-menopausal. I have experienced a significant issue with hair loss. Arms, legs, eyebrows abs now my head. I wondered if the Armour would cause this but my doctor thinks that I am deficient in another hormone. Overall, I still do well on Armour.

    Reply
    • I was diagnosed with a low thyroid when I was 16 years of age and put on armor thyroid. After about 30 years most doctors would only prescribe me the synthetic hormone level thyroxine. It took me a long time to find a Doctor Who knew about armor thyroid because I always felt better on it and have been on it now for six months. I am back to feeling normal, my weight has decreased, And I feel normal

      Reply
  7. Presently taking NP 120mg-2grains.
    Having problems with weight gain.
    Age: 57.
    When switching to Armour, what mg should I start with.

    Reply
  8. I’m presently taking 15mg of NPThyroid, dr is switching me to Armour 15 mg. Does this sound like the correct dose? Thanks!!

    Reply
  9. I am 52 years old. From the age of 46-49, I self-diagnosed as going through menopause and having arthritis (my mom has 2 types- made sense to me). I went to a doctor for my allergies who is an endocrinologist and she asked some questions. The end result she completed a full thyroid panel and diagnosed me with Hashimotos. I was really surprised because 18 yrs prior I had hypothyroidism after my daughter’s birth, but through prayer and God’s healing power I was able to quit taking my Synthroid. I had my TSH checked through the years and it always came back normal. So rolling forward I felt amazingly improved after I started taking Armour thyroid. No joint pain, nodules are smaller, etc. I have struggled TREMENDOUSLY with brain fog, weight gain and low energy. Of course doctors are busy and you are left to figure out how to help yourself get better. I have been drinking Kombucha and Kefir plus taking a good pro/prebiotic and FINALLY I am getting relief in my weight (have lost 13 lbs 2-2 1/2 months). I seem to have more energy, but get tired especially in the evening when I need to get more done at home after working all day. When I am tired, brain fog is HORRIBLE! So I try to rest better by getting more of it and better rest by using Melatonin. I thank you Dr. Childs for all of your informative articles.

    Reply
  10. My dr. took me off of Armour thyroid because she said it can damage the heart. I do have a heart valve leak. I was on Armour for many years, and was put on it by another dr. I actually asked for it. However, my dr. now is an osteopathic dr. and does some manipulation, so she knows a little more about muscles. What do you think? I do have trouble losing weight now.

    Reply
  11. I was on armour when first treated for hashimotos 25 years ago, I didn’t feel good on it, especially regarding depression and brain fog. I feel much better…more like myself…on combo of synthroid and cytomel, although I do have complaints of hair falling out and very low body temp.
    Thank you for all the information! I had wondered why my TSH is so low on my blood tests. Glad to know it’s expected!

    Reply
  12. Dr. Child’s
    I was just recently on 2 grains of Armour Thyroid until I had endocrinologist remove me from it (I had severe hand shaking) after a year and he then put me on 100mg synthyroid and 10mg cytomel and now my Cholestrol has jumped almost 30 point in 8 weeks and the Endocrinologist says my change/dose have “nothing” to do with thyroid meds/dose, I don’t believe this since I’ve actually read lots of medical publications talking about uncontrolled hypothyroidism and cholesterol levels rising.

    In fairness my cholesterol has never been good my entire life being overweight and thin its never been good. I have a few autoimmune diseases and now no thyroid and inject monthly with immunosuppressive drug.

    Is armour better for keeping cholesterol down? It’s sad to say I survived ovarian and thyroid cancer to only go out with heart disease…its never ending.

    Reply
  13. I was on synthroid for about 10 years, struggled with weight issues from the time i was diagnosed at 45 yrs old, in 2007, continuing to gain weight, regardless of how much I dieted. In 2016, my tsh dropped to .04 and my endo tried a few things but couldnt get it to go back up. I moved and with my new dr I asked about armour and gave it a try in late 2017. My tsh was at 3.55 when i started taking 90mg and then dropped to .2 after i went up to 120mg. Its been around .01 and .05 since then and my dr keeps saying i am hyperthroid now. I asked her to test my free t4 and free t3, and both of those are at the lower end of their ranges…free t4 at .65 and free t3 2.9. I lost 15 lbs my first year on armour and as a result many of my other labs improved..cholesterol, ast, alt, etc. Is .01-.05 ok, for my tsh with armour? Especially given my free t3 and free t4 levels? I also seem to be getting some brain fog…are any of the ndts seeing better results than others with this?

    Reply
      • Thank you! I read the article. I am post-menopausal, 57 and my free t3 and free t4 are low end of ranges. With a tsh of .01 to .05, what else can I try? Would different NDTs have different outcomes? My endo just didnt have an answer why the tsh would be low, and the ft3 and ft4 would be lower end of range. I have quit losing weight, and in fact am up 5 lbs! I do take both calcium and low dose estrogen. K

        Reply
  14. You didnt mention that if you have a pork sensitivity then NDT wil make you crazy. I had to go back to compounded T3 and t4 . I had severe anxiety and insomnia on NDT for years. . My pork sensitivity was mild.

    Reply
  15. Do you have any thoughts on the recent reformulation of NP Thyroid – apparently it is no longer working for many people. Have you noticed an impact on your patients and do you still recommend NP Thyroid? Thank you!

    Reply
  16. I have been trying to find other natural thyroid meds but nature throid and armour are the only two available. I remember in one of your articles you stated that WPthyroid had fewer fillers and additives, but i have had no luck at all in finding it, and have been asking pharmacists in my area and online for two years now. Do you know where it can be purchased? I’m still losing a lot of hair and I was hoping that it would resolve if I tried the WP but I know it’s a crap shoot.
    Thanks, Doctor Childs! Your information is very helpful and I very much appreciate it!

    Reply
    • Hi Adrienne,

      WP thyroid and Nature-throid have both been very difficult to get while they have been on back-order. I still believe that WP thyroid is the best but my patients haven’t been able to get it for over a year or so. Hopefully, they can get things back in stock come 2020.

      Reply
      • I was using WP thyroid for more than a year. Last time I was due for a refill on my prescription, I was told multiple times that it was on back order. I contacted the company and they said production was increasing and distribution would be happening soon. Meanwhile, I learned that CVS has decided to no longer fill WP thyroid prescriptions!!!! My pharmacist did not even know this.
        I switched to NP thyroid, which was available through Costco pharmacy.

        Reply
        • Hi Marcia,

          Unfortunately, it is still on backorder (according to the information I last saw). CVS also does not carry NP thyroid but there is a workaround there as well (I have a blog post on it). There are still ways to get your medication you just have to be very creative and persistent.

          Reply
  17. I have been taking Armour for about maybe 9 months now and tho the Dr says my numbers all come back good I don’t feel like they are good. I’ve been on thyroid pills for 50 years. I took synthroid for a lot of years but it stopped working on me, I was on Levo, and then nature, then here in Texas we couldn’t get it so I went in Armour. I just feel crappy. I also have low sugar.

    Reply
  18. I have been on and off of one type or another of thyroid since I was 11 years old. Some Dr believe in it some don’t. When 11 I was put on Armour the only thing that changed was I began to have regular bowel movements. I was on and off various thyroid meds with no dr taking it very seriously. I was so exhausted, gained weight and living like a zombie. It cost me my marriage and I had to hide my fatigue to keep my career as a engineer going. It was really bad after having my one and only child. Today I am on Armour again and immediately I felt better. I tried a different NDT for years and not much help for me. I also found taking progesterone is a wonder drug for me. I read low thyroid usually means low progesterone. I tried OTC nature source raw thyroid also helped me. It is a blend of Thyroid Tissue, Adrenal Tissue, Pituitary Tissue, Thymus Tissue, Spleen Tissue, Any thoughts on why this OTC supplement would give me such a boost? I have tried using other supplements and another puzzlement is any thing that effects GABA makes me overwhelmingly fatigue, like maca. Maca is recommended for balance, Ashwagandha does the same thing, I become fatigue within 2 to 3 days of using. Any thoughts on why? I have tried different brands with same results.

    Reply
  19. After 14 years of taking synthroid and a compounded T3 (25mg), it wasn’t working for me… weight gain, sensitivity to foods etc. My doctor suggested WP and for the first time in 20 years, I felt I had my life back. I used it for a year and a half, and then, in Aug 2018, I was not able to get it anymore. My doctor switched me to Nature thyroid, and 10 days after using it, I started huffing and puffing, and having difficulty breathing. Never having experienced asthma, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I developed what the doctors said was pneumonia, but I had terrible reactions to the antibiotics, to the inhalers, etc. I was a mess. After months of constant bronchospasms and my doctor saying that they couldn’t be related to the Naturethyroid, I stopped taking it for 1 day, and had such relief…. in the end, I switched back to synthroid. I loved all the wonderful effects of taking WP, but Naturethyroid gave me asthma. Then, come March, 2019, my doctor got some WP. To my great disappointment, I had the same bronchospasm effect.. something was wrong with WP too. I did take it for 3 more months, at a lower dose, but then I began to have hypothyroid symptoms. I don’t believe it’s the fillers and inactive ingredients. I think it’s the source of thyroid gland. Now I am back on synthroid /compounded T3…. I don’t feel great, weight issues are huge, and I do have to use inhalers. I’m wondering if Armour might be different ?
    I signed up for a telephone consult with you, but I can’t get all those blood tests as I am in Canada and doctors here have to write out a requisition for blood work. I also fried my computer where I had archived that order. Is there any way I can get a reimbursement for that consult? It was $800.00 candian, so not a small amount. I would really appreciate a reimbursement.

    Reply
  20. Newly diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I am on compounded Armour. Only symptoms I had that led me to a Dr. were hair loss and not being able to sleep. I don’t feel any different on Armour, I’m still not sleeping very well but the hair loss is less. Like I said, I never felt bad, and now I don’t feel any different. I think we caught this in the early stages. All of this is super confusing to me.

    Reply
    • Hi Kristel,

      If it’s in the early stages then you might be able to get away with supplements and lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc.). You should also test for Hashimoto’s antibodies (thyroid antibodies) to ensure that you don’t have autoimmune thyroiditis which is a common cause of hypothyroidism.

      Reply
  21. I have been on Armour Thyroid for 25 plus years with 3 month trials on other thyroid meds. I went back to the original Armour Thyroid…I felt wonderful after starting and have so much more energy. When on the others, experienced hair and eye brow loss, severe dry skin and itching, low energy and fatigue. Have to keep checking the script as it is sometimes substituted for others at the big box pharmacies…even though my physician has noted to dispense as written…

    Reply
  22. Hello,

    I have had a total thyroidectomy… I was on 137 of Synthroid and 10 of Cytomel but didn’t feel well. My doc switched me to 120mg of Armour and I felt better but not as good as I had hoped. Then he put me on 150mg of Armour and I’ve started to finally lose weight for the first time in years (5bls in 6 weeks). I feel great on the 150mg but the doc says because my TSH and T4 is 1 – 2 points over the high range I have to go back to 120mg and take more estrogen. Shouldn’t I be paying more attention to how I feel and the weight loss versus some random lab range? FYI I am post menopausal, have autoimmune issues and reactivated EBV.

    Reply
    • Hi Donna,

      The lab tests have value but I don’t think they should be used as the only metric to determine if you need to lower your dose. You also want to pay attention to other metrics such as heart rate, metabolism, symptoms, and other lab tests such as reverse T3.

      Reply
  23. Dr. Child’s,

    Do you know what would cause a small percentage of people to not do well on NDT’s? I took Naturethroid for six years without a challenge and during the shortage was switched to WP and then back to Naturethroid in 6/19 when my problems began. Major hair loss, joint pain, brain fog and fatigue. Switched to NP Thyroid which helped the hair loss but not the rest (and the pills smelled terrible on the second refill). Then tried synthetic t3/t4 and all got better but left with a headache on crown of head. Now I have been on Armour for a month and all seemed better but my hair is getting frizzy again and started to fall. Not sure if Armour isn’t working for me or it is a dosing issue. Blood test last week showed not optimal yet but going slow.

    Reply
  24. Thanks, for your advice on Armour. I was on Synthroid for about 6 years and it started to make me feel terrible (I have Hashimoto’s) it was causing vertigo off and on! Now after reading about Armour, I decided to try it; my Endocronolgist had no problem changing. After 3 days on Armour my vertigo disappeared! I take it at night and feel much better!

    Reply
  25. Dr. Childs – I have been on Armour for 2 years. It has been life changing for my deep existential state, lack of physical and mental energy and unrelenting feeling of coldness. I take 60mg in the morning and 30mg in the afternoon, all with 30mg tablets. For some strange reason, I don’t respond to 60mg tablets, so always stick to 30s. In the last 3 weeks, the 30mg tablets have also stopped working. I just got another refill to see if the others had maybe expired. But not luck. I continue to have substantial hair loss, gained weight, constipation, feel cold constantly again, have little energy and see the dark mood returning. When I originally ran into problems with Armour 60mg tablets, I tried to switch to a synthetic. I tried Levo, and Synthroid with Liothyronine but still had all my symptoms so returned to Armour. I have gone up to 90mg in the morning and 60mg in the afternoon and still feel no relief in my symptoms.

    My diet, lifestyle and stress levels are really good and haven’t changed in the last year. Any theories as to what could be causing my lack of response to my Armour or ideas what I could try?

    Thank you,
    Christina

    Reply
  26. Hello Dr. Childs
    Switched from 88 mcg Synthroid w/ 20 mcg Cytomel per day to 120 mcg Armour Thyroid. I am feeling hypo and having a hard time focusing, severely fatigued, shortness of breath off and on with inability to lose weight. Does this mean I cannot take Armour or is it my dose may be off? Doc said this is the transition dose for the Armour but why am feeling so off? concerned the transition is not correct for the amount of T3 I was on. Thanks for all your research we that suffer have a hard time researching and figuring out what we need.

    Reply
  27. I have been taking Armour for at least 10 years. I did great until they changed the formulation years ago and experienced muscle pain throughout. I adjusted after a month. In the last 6 moths something changed. I have severe tenosynovitis and arthritis symptoms. I looked up the inactive ingredients and noticed there is dextrose listed. I have an issue with corn among other food allergies. Currently gluten free. Mostly dairy free (only occasionally eat sheep/goat cheese), avoid corn, soy, etc. Considering compounded thyroid medication to see if there is some relief.

    Reply
    • Hi Allison,

      It’s certainly worth a try but you should be aware that the actual amount of dextrose in each capsule is quite small so it could also very well be something unrelated to your thyroid medication.

      Reply
  28. I’ve been on NP THYROID for two years then they change the formulation of it. I am going to go back to armor in one month I sure hope that it works well for me i used to be on it a few years ago but it did cause some heart palpitations so I’ll keep everybody informed.

    Reply
  29. i do not have a thyroid (cancer 20 years ago) and was recently switched from Tirosint 137 and cytomel 5 to armour (taking two 75 + 25 grams) my TSH jumped from 0.1 to 8,7.
    I am really concerned. Should i be looking for a new doctor or is this a normal process of adjustment? (this is a supposedly renowned one around southern ca and not cheap…)
    Since doing radioactive iodine I was told i need to keep my tsh suppressed, so seeing this this high is freaking me out. Thoughts?

    Reply
  30. Dear Dr Childs,
    I am of the Muslim faith and would prefer a desiccated thyroid medication that is not ” pork-derived ” like Armour Thyroid which my CNP at my request recently put me on (30 mg) in addition to Levothyroxin (100 mcg) which I was on for several years and on it’s own did not help my extreme fatigue and weight gain problem despite eating healthier and exercising. I am getting an upset stomach with the addition of Armour Thyroid to the Levothyroxin but I am loosing weight, thank God. Is their any non-pork derived desiccated thyroid medication you recommend and am I better off on this combination or is a switch to total desiccated thyroid better? Thank you for your anticipated response. God bless.

    Reply
  31. I am on Armour Thyroid. I was originally on Synthroid. I changed meds because I didn’t like being given an additional medication for each symptom I stated like depression I was given an SSRI medication and soon those meds would not work for me. Sleeping pills for sleeping problems. Etc. Etc. I am on 90mg of Armour. I am still having hair loss and mood problems but now there is another really bothersome symptom: cold. It doesn’t matter what I eat be it ice cream or hot off the stove: I will freeze. I will get extremely cold. Sitting here writing this I am getting cold. The house can be 75 degrees (F) and I will freeze. I do have high ferritin levels and have seen a hematologist for it. But even they are saying it is my thyroid. I am tired of being cold. I am also gaining weight like crazy and I only eat TWO meals a day. I am somewhat of a picky eater due to my autism which we think my thyroid caused that too. You see my mom and I learned that I have a size three thyroid and a normal is a size 5.

    Reply
  32. I am currently taking 100
    Mcg of synthroid and 15 mcg of cytomel. I am working with my doctor who is also a D.O. And I want to try and switch to armour. Would I still take the cytomel with the armour?

    Reply
  33. Because of the widespread recall of Nature-throid, I have been substituted Armour. First thing I noticed is it smells like cat spray. I’ve googled it and the only answer I’m seeing is that it can smell like pork. But does pork smell like cat spray or do I have a rancid bottle?
    It also has a very sweet taste. Nature-throid has no smell and taste like medicine.
    Is the taste and smell normal?

    Reply
  34. I am a 70 year old female post menopause who has been taking armour thyroid 30 mg for one year. I am normal weight. 130 pounds 5’7″. I would like to stop. I do not like taking any medications and this is the only one I take. Having some hair loss, heart palpitations, fatigue, mood swings, etc. I am still very athletic and active. Can I just quit cold turkey? I take an iodine supplement and try to eat thyroid supportive foods. Thanks!

    Reply
  35. I am just now considering this product. I have been on synthroid for years. Last 4 years doesn’t seem to be helping and doctor seems unconcerned. Symptoms are back. Tired all the time. Hair thinning. Can’t focus. I only take .25mcg which doesn’t seem like a lot to me but doctor never changes dosage and says results are fine. This is from the family physician. What would be a recommended dosage. ? I have asked her about it before but she doesn’t prescribe . What are your thoughts? Desparate at the point. Thanks. Karen

    Reply

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