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5 Reasons Armour Thyroid isn’t Helping you with Weight Loss

Are you taking Armour Thyroid and not losing weight

Would it surprise you to know that MANY people are in the same position as you? 

The truth is that Armour Thyroid CAN help with weight loss, but it is definitely NOT a magic weight loss pill.

Having said that...

There are several reasons why Armour Thyroid isn't helping you lose weight and there are several things YOU can do to fix them.​

More...

Does Armour Thyroid Actually Help with Weight Loss?

Armour thyroid picture

The biggest and most important question of all:

Will Armour Thyroid actually help you lose weight?

Most people when they switch to armour thyroid except that their extra weight will magically start shedding off...

And about 90% of people who make the switch don't see those results.

Why does this happen?

​While Armour Thyroid is a great medication (that will probably help reduce your symptoms even if it doesn't help you lose weight) it isn't enough for weight loss by itself.

conversion to armour thyroid from levothyroxine increased patient satisfaction

If weight loss were that simple, then Doctors would be prescribing low doses of Armour to every patient!​

The truth is that your thyroid is probably only contributing to about 10-20 pounds of extra weight you may be carrying right now.

NDT vs levothyroxine
NDT causes more weight loss than levothyroxine

If you have more than that to lose there is a good chance your extra weight is from something else entirely.

Another hormone imbalance...

Poor diet...

Too much stress...

You get the picture. ​

So let's talk about the 5 main reasons that patients who make the switch to Armour Thyroid don't lose weight and what you can do to FINALLY lose those extra pounds: 

1. You Aren't Being Dosed Correctly

One of the biggest issues is that many patients are being under treated or under dosed. 

Armour thyroid contains a combination of T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) and T3 (the active thyroid hormone). 

One of the main reasons that patients feel BETTER on Armour Thyroid is because of the active T3 portion. 

This portion is actually still quite small: 

1 grain = 38mcg of T4 and 9mcg of T3

Armour thyroid conversion chart

The point is that whenever you give a patient T3 it is approximately 3.3 times more effective at dropping the TSH than T4 medication alone (Synthroid and Levothyroxine). 

​This means that when transitioning from T4 only medication to armour thyroid many patients are usually under treated!

It's also important to note that many providers aren't as comfortable dosing Armour Thyroid as they are levothyroxine and so they will intentionally under dose patients because they are concerned about side effects. 

Transitioning from T4 only Medication to Armour Thyroid​

​If you transitioned from Levothyroxine (T4 only medication) then you should know how to properly convert your medication.

Most conversion charts will show that 100mcg of T4 = 1 grain of Armour thyroid.

In my experience 1 grain of Armour Thyroid is closer to 50mcg of T4.

Using this conversion you can see how most people end up under-treated.

They are previously on 100mcg of T4 medication and are subsequently switched to 1 grain of Armour and they feel no different, when in reality they have most likely just cut their thyroid dosing in half.

More accurate conversion looks like this:

  • 50 mcg of T4 = 1 grain of Armour
  • 100mcg of T4 = 2 grains of Armour
  • 150mcg of T4 = 3 grains of Armour 
Thyroid Conversion chart - revised

​But remember:

If you are transitioning from a T4 only medication do NOT start yourself off at the maximum dose of Armour.

If you dose your Armour too quickly you are likely to end up with side effects from the T3: Heart palpitations, Anxiety, Heat intolerance, etc.

Instead start off on a lower dose and titrate up SLOWLY every 10-14 days. ​

2. You Need More T3 Added to your Thyroid Hormone Replacement

​While Armour does contain some T3, your body may actually need more. 

Armour thyroid (and other forms of Natural Desiccated thyroid) contain fixed ratios of T4 to T3.

Meaning the amount of T3 in each grain of Armour is always the same.

Unfortunately some people may require higher amounts of T3 due to tissue level hypothyroidism or the euthyroid sick syndrome

euthyroid sick syndrome

In both of these conditions patients may require higher doses of T3 to saturate cellular receptors and allow thyroid hormone to get into the cells. 

How do you know if you are someone who needs more T3?

Patients ​who need more T3 usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • They have high levels of Reverse T3
  • They have Leptin Resistance
  • They have Diabetes, Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance
  • They have extremely low body temperatures
  • They have a personal history of bipolar disorder or a strong family history of mental health disorders
  • They have a personal history of Fibromyalgia or Chronic fatigue syndrome

​If you fall into any of the categories above AND you aren't losing weight on Armour thyroid then you should talk to your Doctor about adding T3 to your regimen. 

Adding T3 to Armour Thyroid

One problem with armour thyroid (and NDT in general) is the static dosing in each individual grain of hormone. 

Each grain gives you 38mcg of T4 and 9mcg of T3.

This is ok for some patients but doesn't allow for altering individual dosing of the T4 and T3 if necessary.

Thyroid diet 4 week plan side bar

​Patients with high stress, high levels of inflammation, leptin resistance, insulin resistance, etc. will generally require more T3 relative to T4. 

Supraphysiologic dosing of T3 not only helps to overcome these hormone imbalances.

In my experience (and if used safely) ​lowering T4 dosing and increasing T3 dosing provides improved weight loss and improved lipid metabolism. 

This is also confirmed with studies which have shown that transitioning from T4 to T3 dosing (based off of pituitary and TSH testing) improves all of these markers.

T3 medication vs T4 medication

In many patients dropping armour thyroid total dosing and adding T3 can be sufficient to improve symptoms and provide improved weight loss by itself.

​T3 can be added to armour thyroid with the following medications: Liothyronine, Cytomel or SR T3. 

3. You are Suffering from Leptin Resistance

​If you aren't familiar with Leptin resistance or the hormone leptin please read this article

​As a quick primer:

Leptin is a hormone that is pumped out by your fat cells (yes they pump out hormones!).

​As fat cells grow, leptin levels increase. As they increase they are supposed to tell your brain to increase metabolism and start burning off that extra fat you just gained. 

When you have leptin resistance ​the exact opposite happens: your body thinks you're starving so it decreases metabolism and increases appetite (even though you have plenty of fat). 

definition of leptin resistance

If you have leptin resistance it doesn't matter how little you eat, how much you exercise or what your dose of thyroid hormone is...

You simply won't lose weight until it is treated.

And, to make matters worse - high levels of leptin actually decrease T4 to T3 conversion in the body.

How do you know if you have Leptin resistance? 

Leptin levels can be tested easily in the serum and fasting leptin levels higher than 10-12 indicate leptin resistance. 

Patients with leptin resistance generally require higher levels of T3 only medications to help reduce the T4 to reverse T3 conversion that occurs with this condition. 

It's important to note that leptin resistance is generally a late finding and indicates that heavy metabolic damage has occurred. 

Leptin resistance is often accompanied by insulin resistance and thyroid resistance (all three conditions are caused by the same thing). ​

Patients with leptin resistance generally require aggressive treatment to reverse leptin​ levels to help with weight loss. 

To see a case study example treatment plan please refer to this post

You can find supplements to treat leptin resistance here. ​

​I've outlined how to treat leptin resistance in this article

4. You are Reacting to Inactive Ingredients in Armour Thyroid

Not all forms of Natural Desiccated thyroid are created equal.

While it's true 1 grain of armour thyroid contains the same amount of active thyroid hormone (AKA active ingredients) as a grain of WP thyroid or Naturethroid - they differ in the inactive ingredients that they contain.

And it is the inactive ingredients that may cause non specific reactions in the body.

In addition these inactive ingredients may alter the breakdown and digestion of which then alters the absorption of thyroid hormone in the body. 

It's also possible that you may simply be reacting to the inactive ingredients and wrongly attributing your "negative" symptoms to thyroid hormone component. 

Using the table below you can see that the NDT form of thyroid hormone with the least amount of ingredients is WP thyroid - though this doesn't necessarily mean that it is the "best". 

Naturethroid comparison table

These changes in inactive ingredients help to explain why some patients react poorly to Armour thyroid with symptoms like headaches, worsening fatigue or rashes - only to find that these symptoms completely resolve upon switching to naturethroid. 

Again it's not the difference in the concentration of thyroid hormone in each individual medication but most likely a reflection of digestion and absorption. ​

The armour thyroid preparation ​

In line with that, Armour thyroid contains methylcellulose and dextrose

These are the inactive ingredients in armour thyroid that may cause some patients to either do better on the medication or worse. 

You can think about methylcellulose as a glue which holds on tight to the thyroid hormone component of the medication, and in order for absorption your body must break the grip. 

Ingredients of armour thyroid

Unfortunately many patients with hypothyroidism also have gastrointestinal issues including low stomach acid. 

This may result in decreased absorption of thyroid hormone or a "delayed" release of the medication into the blood stream.

This exact process is what happens when patients take Sustained release T3.

​The "slow release" comes from the fact that it is harder to digest and absorb in the body, but this also reduces the overall amount of hormone available in each dosage. 

In general patients with GI related issues tend to do better on WP thyroid or tirosint which both have fewer inactive ingredients and absorption tends to be better. ​

  • Bottom line: If armour thyrod isn't helping you (either with weight loss or you still remain symptomatic) you might consider switching to a different from of NDT like Naturethroid or WP thyroid. 

5. Your Reverse T3 is too High 

If you aren't familiar with Reverse T3 please read this article

To recap:

T4 = INACTIVE storage form of thyroid

T3 = ACTIVE thyroid hormone

Reverse T3 = ​INACTIVE thyroid metabolite that competes with T3 for cellular binding

Obviously you don't  want high levels of Reverse T3 because it competes for binding with T3 which creates tissue level hypothyroidism or thyroid resistance

The higher Reverse T3 generally the more hypothyroid you will feel (unless the Reverse T3 is compensatory due to supraphysiologic levels of free T3). 

Because T4 has the ability to turn into T3 or Reverse T3 we need to concern ourselves with what causes the body to preferentially create more reverse T3. 

Reasons your body may produce Reverse T3 from T4: 

  • Thyroid medications containing T4 (Synthroid, Levothyroxine but also NDT like armour thyroid) - This acts as substrate and in the presence of inflammation or other hormone imbalances your body may produce Reverse T3 over T3
  • Inflammation - From conditions like SIBO, Hashimoto's, Food allergies, nutrient deficiencies, medications, etc.
  • Leptin resistance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • LPS - Usually caused by increased intestinal permeability (SIBO, SIFO, SIBO, leaky gut, etc.) 
  • Certain Medications: Anti-depressants, diabetic medications, anti seizure medications, blood pressure medications, Narcotics, etc. (Please don't stop taking these medications if you are on them, but consider discussing options with your Doctor)

Two things should pop out to you after reading that list: 

1) Thyroid medications containing can contribute to elevated reverse T3 levels

2) If you fall into one or more of the categories listed above AND you are taking T4 medication (including Armour thyroid, but especially T4 only medications like Synthroid or Levothyroxine) then your medication may be contributing to your inability to lose weight. 

1 on 1 help

What happens when Reverse T3 levels are too high?

As Reverse T3 levels climb your cells will have more difficulty taking up active thyroid hormone.

This leads to a situation where you will have the symptoms of hypothyroidism but your lab tests may be "normal".

Your temperature will drop, your metabolism will drop, your appetite will increase in an attempt to compensate for the low metabolism, etc. 

All of these changes ultimately lead to weight gain. ​

The real question is what do you do about it? 

​How do you fix high Reverse T3 levels? 

Because high levels of reverse T3 can be caused by different factors, the best way to treat it is to identify the cause in your body and attack that.

For instance:

If you have high levels of insulin - you need to lower them (use this as a guide

If your leptin is too high - you need to lower it (use this as a guide)

If your ​T4 containing medication is too high you may need to decrease your T4 dose and/or increase your T3 dose. 

Etc. ​

BUT addressing and fixing the cause of the high reverse T3 usually isn't enough by itself. 

For the most benefit this therapy should be coupled with a reduction in the total amount of T4 medication and an increase in the total amount of T3 medication you are taking.  

This will allow your body to "flush" out the Reverse T3 and help improve your symptoms. ​

Wrapping it up

​Armour Thyroid is a great medication and it CAN help you lose weight but it is not a magic weight loss pill. 

At most it will help you lose 10-20 pounds. If you have hypothyroidism and are more than 20 pounds overweight there is a high chance your weight gain is due to some other hormone imbalance.

​If you switched to Armour recently and haven't lost ANY weight then make sure you have addressed these 5 areas: your dose, how much T3 you are taking in addition to Armour, your leptin levels, your allergies and sensitivities to inactive ingredients in medications and finally your reverse T3 level. 

Remember:

You won't be able to lose weight unless all 5 of those areas have been addressed and reversed (if necessary).

​Now I want to hear from you: 

​Are you taking Armour Thyroid? Has it helped you lose weight?

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below! 

Dr. Westin Childs
 

I'm Dr. Childs and I write these posts. I'm a physician that specializes helping patients lose weight, have more energy and FEEL better. My practice focuses on hormone imbalances, thyroid issues and weight loss resistance. My goal is to provide the BEST information out there on the internet that is both actionable and trustworthy. Get my free ebook: Hashimoto's Diet Guide here. You can also find more about my personal journey back to health here.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 78 comments
Teri Burton - July 13, 2016

Hi, I have been taking Armour for quite some time and cannot lose weight. Would love more conversation. Thanks for the great article.

Reply
Linda D - July 13, 2016

. I had taken synthroid for 15 years. Gained 47 pounds. A year ago I switched to Armor. I lost about 7 lbs, then the doc lowered my dose to 1 grain 2 times a day. I gained my weight back. And haven had much “hope consuming moments”. After that.
I had a prescription of 5mcg Cytomel from a year ago. I decided to cut it into 1/4 th I notice it peps me up after a few days of adding it and my armor a couple times a week.

Before the Cytomel My TSH has been .01. So they don’t want me to up my dose ( I didn’t tell them I have added any armor. But my A1c is 5.7 and they say I’m pre diabetes. I don’t want to take more added meds. I just think I need a little more T3, like your article said.

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - July 13, 2016

    Hey Linda,

    Insulin resistance is definitely contributing to your weight, but it sounds like your thyroid isn’t quite optimized either. It’s a good sign if you’ve been able to drop the weight relatively quickly after changing your dose, but it can be an issue if your Doctors keep changing your doses – it seems to cause some receptor issues so previous doses don’t seem to work quite as well as they did previously.

    Reply
    Terri - July 13, 2016

    Q for the doc, but it seems like .01 is a very low TSH level. I would think this means your dose of Armour is a bit too high. And correct me if I’m wrong but that can affect insulin and blood sugar.

    Reply
Diane - July 13, 2016

Really difficult to find a Dr here in Austin Tx! Any suggestions?

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - July 13, 2016

    Hey Diane,

    I wish I had an answer for you, the hardest part is finding someone who is willing to work with you.

    Reply
    Adelaida - August 8, 2016

    I agree Diane, I live here in Corpus Christi, Texas and I have not been able to find a Doctor that knows and understand this condition fully. They all tell me ” how I am feeling” I am the one that recommends the usage dose or what we should try. I like this article but there isn’t anything new as of information for those of us diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Thank you for this article and hope to read more options or new technology.

    Reply
      Dr. Westin Childs - August 8, 2016

      Hey Adelaida,

      It’s very true, the hard part isn’t treating so much as it is finding someone to help treat you 🙂

      Reply
      MLongo - October 5, 2016

      Have you seen Dr. Cohn? She’s been my endo for 9 years and she’s amazing. She switched me over to Armour about a year ago and I love it.

      Reply
Nashwa - July 13, 2016

I had been on Synthroid for about 15 years. It seemed to do little to help with my insomnia, tightness in the throat, palpitations and hair lose. I asked my Dr. to switch to a NDT medication ( Thyroid). I still have not seen the results I want. In the last year I have gained about 10 pounds. I just turned 50. Is there any possibility that you can treat me? I live in Montreal Canada. I am so desperate for help and have no idea where to get it.

Thank you

Reply
Terri - July 13, 2016

I was on Synthroid for a couple years and in that time I gained 40lbs. 18lbs in the first 6 months. Switched to Armour and the weight gain stopped but I did not lose any weight in spite of working out 5 days a week and walking the dog a couple times a day. Last 3 TSH tests were over 10.00. Just made the decision to go off because I just see no benefit. It basically just made my thyroid completely stop working and I’m supposed to believe that the synthetic stuff is the same as what my body was making. So now my shrink has me on cytomel alone (primary care doc wouldn’t prescribe it). TSH isn’t going down, 10.51 the other day (not sure how concerned I should be about this). But I feel so much better, more energy, less debilitating depression. We’ll see if any of the weight comes off.

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - July 13, 2016

    Hey Terri,

    I’m glad you found someone who is willing to help you!

    Reply
      terri - July 14, 2016

      So do you see any reason why I would add T4 back to my regimen? And are there risks to taking T3 alone?

      Reply
        tina - July 14, 2016

        Yes, I read taking t3 only can increase bone loss more so than t4 alone. T4 at high doses raises your risk anyway but more with t3.

        Reply
Tina - July 14, 2016

Hello Mr. Childs-

My RT3 has been 16, 18, and 17 the past three readings. It was at its lowest point of 16 when my TSH was around 3 on T4 only. When I inc my T4 med my RT3 goes up to 18 and my TSH goes down to around 1 or a little below. What should I be focusing on: a TSH around 3-3.5 with a lower RT3 or a lower TSH with a higher RT3.

Thanks

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - July 14, 2016

    Hey Tina,

    It depends on you and your symptoms, never base your thyroid dose off of lab work alone.

    Reply
      tina - July 14, 2016

      Should my goal (at least one of them) be to keep rt3 15 or below?

      Reply
        Dr. Westin Childs - July 14, 2016

        Not necessarily, I have some patients with RT3 > 15 who feel great. It just depends on your body.

        Reply
          Tina - July 14, 2016

          I don’t know that I can tell how I feel with an RT3 > 15. I certainly know when my tsh is over 2.0 I think because once I get out of bed all I want to do is nap on the couch all day. I rotate between 100 and 88 mcg of T4. 100 mcg is too strong if I take it everyday and 88 mcg is not strong enough. i really need 93 mcg but cannot find a way to get it. I have tried pretty much all the medication combinations. Armour gives me a headache after I take it steady but I feel more like myself. 5 mcg of T3 and 50 mcg of t4 makes me anxious. I am still trying to find the right med but it seems that the t4 only works the best due to side effects.

          Reply
Steph - July 15, 2016

I have hypothyroidism due to RAI and I’m in the process of figuring out my thyroid medication. I would love some references from your article so I can read more.

Reply
PALLINE - July 16, 2016

1.I don’t see any thing about NP thyroid , made by Acella. As fr as I kow it doesn’t have microcellulose fillers, and probably is cheaper than the name brands you talk about.

2.I have had trouble obtaining T3 meds that don’t have the microcellulose fillers. Any info on that issue?

3. In the meantime I continue to have very high RT3, but get very bad PVC’a when I reduce my NP Thyroid dosage.

4. ALso I wonder about the effect of thyroid antibodies on a person who has had a total thyroidectomy.

Thanks for responding.

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - July 16, 2016

    I only use Armour, Naturethroid and WP thyroid so I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about NP thyroid. High reverse T3 levels aren’t necessarily a bad thing if your Free T3 is very high (if it’s low then that’s a different story). And thyroid antibodies are still damaging to the body even after total thyroidectomy because no TT is ever 100% complete.

    Reply
debra - July 16, 2016

I’m 58 struggling to help myself. lost my home in Sandy Oct 2012, been thru hell trying to get it rebuilt. At that time I gained 30lbs 3 months, went to Dr with every ailment of thyroid and I couldn’t breathe , tested me and said no thyroid problem told me to join Weight watchers. Found a Dr who told me by my skin I had thyroid problems tested me went on Armour. He moved.Had to go thru 3 more DRs till I found my sons friend who is a DR who LISTENS to me and how I felt. My last labs for 4/28/16 my ft4 (free) 1.23, t3 (total) 113, T4 (thyroxine) 7.0, T3 uptake 31.6, anti-TPO Ab <10 and my TSH low 0.010……………says I'm hyper on Armour 135 a day………..No way am I HYPER…I have all symptoms of Hypo, I eat a clean low under 20 carbs a day diet (no gluten) if I cheat once I gain weight, no weight loss here, skin that's to to dry, constipated, lost eyebrows and hair, tired all the time, if i go lower on my meds I just feel awful. My MD wants to keep where I am because I'm ok on it. He had switched to Natur throid ( I liked it about last Nov 2015)but at that time I went on a Keto diet lost 20 lbs but found out I was having bloody stools. I thought it might be the natur throid was on it for 8 weeks because I am allergic to Polyethelyne Glycol (which is in it & i get instant hives.I suffer with hives thats why I gave up gluten.Or it could have been the high amount of dairy in my diet after not having dairy. Quit both of them went back on Armour and took supplements to heal my leaky gut. Well anyway Its this year and I cant loose weight and I started taking gaia thyroid support and this week I'm having hot flashes…………I havent had them in over a year. I think I will quit them. keto diet cant pass 2 weeks no weight loss.I need help in weight loss. I also take, B12, Vit D, probiotics, Magnesiuml threonate,fish oil, olive leaf extract,tumeric curcumin(terrific for arthritus, or carple or whateverpain in my left hand) What else do I need to supplement? HELP

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - July 16, 2016

    Hey Debra,

    You really need a full evaluation (much more than just your thyroid), most people seem to fixate on thyroid problems as the cause of ALL of their problems but I very rarely find that the case. Start with someone who can look at all of your hormones and is experienced in treating complex patients.

    Reply
elaine - August 5, 2016

I had complete thyroidectomy 20 years ago, and shortly after i switched myself from synthroid to Des. THyoid( Live in Canada) under the care of Endo. However, I have never felt right and struggled with energy fibromyalgia symptoms and weight issues for years. Going thru menopause was even worse! I recently have been increasing my dosage, since I think for years I was underdosed: 90 mg of des. thyroid. I am now up to taking 90mg in am and 90mg at night. No change in weight!!! and still having hypo symptoms. I am sure there are more hormone issues going on! I wish you were in Canada 🙁

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - August 5, 2016

    Hey Elaine,

    Unfortunately switching to NDT rarely results in significant weight loss, it’s usually due to other imbalances as you suggested.

    Reply
Jon Wallace - August 9, 2016

Dr. Childs, thank you for taking the time to explain the various issues revolving around our thyroids. I too have been recently diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. My levels are far below what they should be. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones who has located a physician that has listened; and taking the necessary steps in helping me resolve this issue. I do have one question though… Any relation between insulin resistance medication such as Metformin and Armour Thyriod to help in losing weight? Again, I appreciate your insight.

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - August 9, 2016

    Hey Jon,

    Yes, insulin resistance will make weight loss impossible unless it is addressed. I usually don’t recommend metformin because it’s not very effective in reversing insulin resistance, there are better medications and therapies out there.

    Reply
Ashley - August 15, 2016

Such as ?

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Nikki - August 18, 2016

I’ve been on 15 mg of Armour for 8 years, and happy with it. I suddenly was low in my blood tests recently and my Dr doubled my dosage. That was 2 weeks ago and I don’t feel Any better, or have any less swelling/bloating, and no weight loss. I’m 40 and I’m really only about 10lbs overweight but I get swollen in my face and upper body, and find it very hard to lose even 1 lb. Also I get So sore from any little work out, which I try to do every other day. I walk at least 3 miles every day according to my fitbit. My real concern is what all of a sudden caused the change in my hormones/thyroid. This is excellent info above and also your article on Lepton resistance was very helpful. I feel I should give it a good month before speaking to my Dr (or seaking out an endocronologist) but I also feel there is more going on than just “oh your thyroid is suddenly changing”. Thanks for the info to bring to my Dr.!

Reply
Colleen Baker - September 24, 2016

Hello. To make a long story short, I have been treated as a Hypothyroid patient and found out a couple years ago I am suffering from Hashimotos instead. Armour was working for me and than I began getting symptoms back so a new doctor prescribed Nature Throid this year. Nature Throid made me feel worse and I had horrible headaches, nausea and I was exhausted. I was on 5 grains of Armour to feel “normal”. When my new doctor saw me, he switched me to 3 grains of Nature-throid and moved me up to 5 grains, but still that did nothing. Now, I have been switched to NP Thyroid as of today and he’s starting me on 90mg, which is 1 1/2 grains. I cannot find any information on the conversion chart on how to convert Nature-throid and Armour, both 5 grains, to now NP Thyroid. The doctor doesn’t know much about NP Thyroid either so he is starting me off low and working his way up to possibly 3 grains, than going from there. I have been doing all my research for years and I am an informed patient. I have gluten sensitivities, dairy and soy so I removed all of those from my diet years ago and felt/feel much better.

I eat organic and take supplements although I should take more iron I know. So, any information on what to do for NP Thyroid would be great so I don’t revert back into a hole of symptoms. I need to also inform my doctor of this new drug too as he is also researching to inform himself. I have asked my family practioner to take over all my healthcare needs and he is trying to learn the thyroid better for me since I won’t take Synthetic due to the horrible symptoms I suffered for years.

My last doctor who I quit seeing recently had me taking my lab work after my thyroid dose and he wasn’t getting all the necessary labs needed to see where my levels were. He sort of listened to my symptoms but seemed more concerned about my labs so he had to go. He was also a DO; a naturopathic doctor. My lab work was all over the place due to getting labs a couple of hours after taking it and the consistent switch of medications.

Example of last 2 lab works:
6/24/2016 Armour:
T3, free Range: 5.1 H out of a range from Quest labs of 2.3 – 4.2
He did not check free T4 or TSH.
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies: Range: 3 out of Quest lab range of 0.0 – 8.9

Nature-throid, 8/31/2016
T3, free, Range: 7.1 H out of Quest lab range of 2.3 – 4.2
T4, free Range: 1.6 out of 0.8 – 1.8 Quest lab range.

Please help. =)
Thank you.

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Sissy - September 28, 2016

Hi i started taking armor about 7 yrs ago. I was 160 lbs and lost 40 lbs. But for the last 4 yrs ive been slowly gaining weight and now back up to 152 from 120. Im tired all the time, have no energy at all and just fed up with all of it. Im 48 yrs old and feel like im 80.my body aches all day, its just frustrating

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Robin - October 23, 2016

In 2005 my thyroid was removed due to papillary and follicular cancers. I was placed on Synthroid and always felt tired and gained a lot of weight. In October of last year I was switched to Armour 90mg and felt a little better but soon gained even more weight. I was increased to 120mg and my blood pressure which had always been very good increased to an average of 138/90 and I felt agitated. 3 months later I was increased to 150mg due to more weight gain. My blood pressure increased with the change and was now 150-164 (systolic) and 100-110 (diastolic). As a result I am now on 75mg of Synthroid and 60mg of Armour. Blood pressure is now normal again but I am struggling to remain below 300lbs (90 lb weight gain) and I still feel horrible. I’m not sure what to do.

Reply
    Dr. Westin Childs - October 23, 2016

    Hey Robin,

    The best thing you can do is to find a Doctor who understands hormones and weight loss, generally you will have to look outside of the insurance model.

    Reply
Dennis A - October 24, 2016

I have been taking Thyroid 1GR NP now for two years, and I have noticed that as my TSH is closer to an “optimal range”, my weight keeps increasing. I started with a TSH level of 11.95 & T4 Free 1.1. Then I had a 9.860 TSH & .96 T4 Free. In June 2016 I had a TSH of 2.44, T4 FRee 1.0, and T3 Total of 137.
I exercise 4-5 times a week, burn an extra 350-500 calories, eat well, and I still gain weight. And the last time I saw the endo., he said because my BMI was not at or above 30 YET, he was not going to check if I had any other issues attributing to my weight gain!
Dennis (De-nees)

Reply
Laura - October 31, 2016

Hi Dr. Childs,

My doctor wants to put me on cytomel with my armour thyroid because my t3 is low. I feel horrible, despite being on the shape reclaimed program for 4 weeks (only protein from meat, vegetables, and apples). I deal with extreme fatigue every day still. I used to be on Nature-throid but had anxiety on it, and had to switch back to armour. I did see that cytomel isn’t gluten free. What would you suggest? She said she can either put me on more armour to up my t3 or put me on cytomel. I’m not sure which direction to go from here. I have a horrible time losing weight since I have hashimotos. I’ve tried almost everything. The Shape program is the first glimmer of hope as I’ve lost 10 lbs in 4 weeks, but it’s probably because I’m eating almost nothing ha ha. I would love to know your thoughts!

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    Dr. Westin Childs - October 31, 2016

    Hey Laura,

    I can’t provide specific medical advice to you because you aren’t my patient but I would be very cautious with calorie restricted diets. You may lose weight but you stand a 99% chance of gaining those 10 pounds back over the next 8 weeks and you will have damaged your metabolism further in the process. If you have a history of chronic yo-yo dieting you would most likely benefit from more T3, however.

    Good luck!

    Reply
Suzy - November 10, 2016

Hi Dr. Childs,

Do you have any Docs that you may know in the Northwest Indiana area? I am having a hard time finding one that knows what YOU know.. I have also tried ARMOUR by the way, and now I know why I kept getting this horrific rash on my lower legs only. I stopped for a few months (went away), then went back to Armour…it came back. I stopped Armour again, and the rash is gone… I have now been started on something new called NP Thyroid (at my own request). I just need to start fresh with someone new… The weight is a killer for sure, but I am also Menopausal. I have done everything right..I eat very healthy, with the occasional cheat, I exercise, etc.

Thank you for your very helpful info…

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Lillian - November 29, 2016

I have been taking Armour for years. I started out with Synthroid, but it fluctated a lot. Fifteen years later I switched to a more natural approach Armour it too fluctated and still fluctates. Right now I am 4’7″ and 160 lbs. My sysmptoms are still the same when I was first diagnosed and I am frustrated trying to find answers for my problems. Right now I am on 60mg Mon-Fri. and 30 mg Saturday and Sunday. My face is puffy, my ankles are swollen every night when I go into a house it doesn’t matter what season as soon as I start working I am sweating like crazy have to go outside to cool off. I do have night sweats as well, but not all the time. I am frustrated. I started myself on probiotics 10 billion it is not soil based. I have tried liquid iodine, I have tried zinc supplements, selenium supplements nothing seems to help. And no, I did not lose any weight while on Armour, it seems I have gained a lot of weight. I also take vitamin D 2,000IU every day. When tested several years ago I was at 13 was tested two months later I was at 50, have not been tested in awhile still continue to take 2,000IU a day.
Any suggestions. I cannot afford your reset program WOW!!! But found your website and am going to try the Pure zinc, and Selenium. It seems every supplement out there has Magnesium Sterate.
I have always been sensitve to everything such as: soaps, shampoos whatever. I use only natural stuff as much as possible and only eat organic food. We grow our own except we don’t grow our own meat, but do buy organic.
Anyway, I submitted.
Thanks
Lillian

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Renee P - December 1, 2016

Hi Dr.,

I am post menopausal. I was on Armour for about 6 months. I did not lose weight and my stomach was so extended I looked 6 months pregnant. I was losing my hair and during that time went on anti anxiety medicine. I took myself off and my stomach went down but did not lose any weight. I don’t eat that much and eat healthy, but can’t lose weight. However, I do gain weight very easily.

I just had my blood work done 3 months after going off the Armour – My Endo did not order T3 or T3 free bloodwork but my TSH was 15.5 with in-range levels for T4 and T4 free. My endo put me on Levoxyl 50 mg and after just three days my stomach is already bloated. I can’t take this anymore. Any suggestions for me.

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Shawn Blakley - December 7, 2016

I’m in desperate need to talk to you I’m 39 yr old man that has been hypothyroidism since the age of 19 & has had severe weight issues!! I’m currently 6’4 & 407lbs I just read & listened to your video on being Leptin resistant & it’s my life to a T!! I’m currently on 500 much of livothoroxine & constantly gaining weight I need your help please contact if you can please & thanks Shawn ( tired of living like this!! )

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Janett - December 16, 2016

I was just told that am having problems with my thyroid and hormones. I was prescribed Armour and DIM to help me regulate everything, I wanted to ask, about how long does it usually take to see and feel a difference. I have been overwhelm with the weight gain, depression, and low energy. I like to be active and work out but I have not even had energy to do my daily routines. I have also been having arguments with my husband do to me hating the way I look and is becoming problematic in our relationship. I know that is me, my husband is so good and contently reminds me of how much he loves me but what he doesn’t understand is that I need to love myself first. Please tell me that the medication will help me to get back to my old self. Janett

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    Dr. Westin Childs - December 16, 2016

    Hey Janett,

    It may or may not help, it’s too hard to say. Picking the medication depends on multiple factors and I would say that dosing is even more important than the type of medication you use. Most providers fall short on the dosing side of things which means many patients don’t get the improvement they are seeking.

    Generally you should notice a difference within 4-6 weeks if it’s the right med/dose for you.

    Reply
Mary - December 28, 2016

I have found some success being on armour, I have been working hard and have lost about 35 pounds, than all of a sudden I gained 12 lbs, have been extremely exhausted and have started the constant menstruation that always happens when my thyroid is low. Is it normal for weight loss to cause your thyroid levels to drop? It’s very frustrating. Also I noticed on your chart that Armour isn’t gluten free, is this true? I am allergic to gluten so this could be part of my issue I guess.

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    Dr. Westin Childs - December 28, 2016

    Hey Mary,

    Armour thyroid is gluten free (that chart isn’t entirely accurate), and weight loss should not negatively alter thyroid levels (usually positively). Your change in weight probably reflects changes in other hormones and symptoms like you are experiencing aren’t uncommon near/around menopause.

    Reply
      Mary - December 28, 2016

      Thank you Dr. Childs I appreciate the response. I don’t think I am near menopause and I have had the same issues since I was 18. It’s so aggravating and I don’t know what to do after 15 years of fighting for normalcy I am just frustrated and ready to just throw in the towel and accept that this is the way life will be for me.

      Reply
    PALLINE - December 28, 2016

    Re the methylcellulose issue:

    NP thyroid doesn’t seem to have this, and works better for me, and some other patients with GI issues. I believe it is also cheaper.

    I have had very high RT3 for years, but when I was prescribed extra T3, I found the methycellulose issue rearing its ugly head again ( I felt truly awful, had long strings of PVCs etc.).

    I was not able to get information about which manufacturers used it as a binder, except for Mylan who said they did not.

    Then I found that my, (and other) pharmacies could not specify which manufacturers provided their T3 meds, and could not get info on the binders until they had the insert and the drug hand!

    I live in poverty, (the official kind) so can’t afford compounded drugs.

    So then I gave up, and went back to NP thyroid alone.

    By the way, I had a complete thyroidectomy in 2006, so these issues become truly scary pretty fast)

    Reply
      Mary - December 28, 2016

      Thank you for the information, I should see if my doctor will switch me to another med. I know how it is to not be able to afford the medicine. It’s hard dealing with conventional doctors that don’t see the benefit of using natural thyroid and anytime my levels start to get out of whack they want to switch me back to synthetic medicine. It just seems like it’s a constant battle. It’s very frustrating.

      Reply
Sue - January 17, 2017

Hi, I have enjoyed your post as I struggle to feel better. I am printing it and brining to Dr tomorrow. Quick rundown; thyroid removed 10/2014 due to rapid growth and difficulties swallowing. After removed found out I had cancer. Had radiation, 2 withdrawals and body scans. Was put on Synthroid and over the course of 1 year was so sick ended up at Mayo Clinic. I was put on Armour and started feeling better that first week. While I am SO much better than 1 year ago, I can’t lose weight for nothing and I have such HIGH cravings. My current Endocrin doesn’t like Armour and is concerned with my levels/labs. I have asked a number of times for the Total T3 and the Reverse T3 and she will NOT do those test. In the process of finding another Dr. From the reading I may be Leptin resistance. When I go to new Dr tomorrow, I am going to see if she will run more labs so I can find a better balance(more energy and weight loss). Where are you located and do you take new patients?

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    Dr. Westin Childs - January 17, 2017

    Hey Sue,

    Thanks for your comment.

    One thing you have to be careful of is assuming that doctors know what to do with abnormal lab tests once they see them. This is usually not true, so even if you get them to order tests like leptin or other advanced thyroid lab tests they usually don’t know how or what to treat them with. As a rule – if you have to ask for tests from your doctor there’s a good chance they won’t be able to treat your properly, because if they knew how/what to order they would have done it a long time ago.

    I am no longer accepting new patients, but I am located in Arizona.

    Reply
      Sue - January 17, 2017

      Hi Dr Childs,

      Thanks for the quick reply and I get what you are saying. I would rather have the test results and know from my research where something is “off” vs never testing and not knowing where I am having trouble. It makes it super difficult for us “everyday” people who don’t feel right to get the help we need. Western Medicine Drs don’t seem to care and specialized holistic Dr are so incredibly expensive that it is not even feasible. Leaves us with researching and coming across posts like yours and diving into our own health and treatment to get any relief or direction. I have to believe that is a better route than going to the Dr office, get meds to fix the symptoms/not the problem and sitting feeling worse because it’s not helping the problem and the side-effects of the medication are worse than the symptoms…viscous circle! thank you again for your post and I hope to find the right direction to feel better.

      Reply
Ann - January 26, 2017

I live in Norwalk, OH 44857 and my daughter lives in Savannah, GA 31419. Both of us are looking for a Dr. such as yourself to treat our hypothyroidism and help us with weight loss and other issues related to hypo as well. Both of us have been on various meds throughout the years, but we both feel we could be doing better with an appropriate Dr. Do you have any doctors you would recommend for us in the areas we live to seek such help? We would be so thankful for your help! We have searched FOR YEARS to find answers and the right medical help that suits us and each of our particular health issues related to hypothyroidism.
With Utmost Respect and Sincerity,
Ann
[email protected]

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Candace Gurley - January 27, 2017

I have been on 120 mg of armour for over 10 plus years and have had pretty good effects with minimal symptoms. I have to watch what I eat and workout routinely I do not use as a weight loss as much as the energy it provides to work out. What problem I have is getting a physician to write the script I am on because of how the blood panel always shows low tsh. They refuse to write it and insist that I need to come off it. What am I missing I thought that is what you would want is a low tsh if you are on a good dose of hormone replacement. Frustrated and confused

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    Dr. Westin Childs - January 27, 2017

    Hey Candace,

    TSH is largely useless as a measure of thyroid function in the body, it’s really only helpful in diagnosing hypothyroidism initially (sometimes) and in determining the total dose (in some cases) based off the velocity of decrease over time. There are much better markers than TSH to determine what dose you need to be on like reverse T3, free T3 and sex hormone binding globulin.

    Reply
Candace Gurley - January 27, 2017

Can you recommend a physician in the Nashville area or do you treat long distance. Desperate for a knowledgable physician on the matter. Thank you

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Laurie - January 28, 2017

I was a little confused when reviewing the charts. I am hypo and also have hashimotos, psoriasis, and IBS. I was on armour 60 initially for some time and dropped weight but continued to feel tired. I was switched to armour 90 but began to put on weight and continued fatigue. At my last visit My doc said she could either switch me to WP thyroid 97 or keep me on the current dose of armour and add in cytomel 5 mcg. My reverse T3 was 14, free T4 was 1.1, and free T3 was 2.5. She also added in rhodiola. I chose to switch to WP thyroid. I think now after reading all your info maybe I should have stayed on the armour and added in the cytomel? I’m now feeling extremely itchy with my psoriasis acting up, headaches, and have gained another 5 pounds.

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Amber - February 12, 2017

I just wanted to say that I started having thyroid problems at the age of 5. Every doctor I went to practically threw synthroid at me. But that junk made me sicker than anyone could imagine. So I always took myself off of it. Fast forward 21 years. My thyroid begins swelling. I hage a new doctor that tried to convince me to take synthroid. I refused. Then she told me about a medicine called Armour that she wasnt experienced with. I took a quarter grain for 9 days. Neither one of us knowig that the dose should be ramped up (I probably should have started on 1/2 or 1 grain). Anyway. At that mark… I started having black outs. This was in march, and it scared me. So I stopped the meds.

Fast forward… Thyroid swells. Cant breath. Cant swallow. Cant talk.

TT August 3rd, 2016. Biopsy showed cancer.

Surgeon insists on synthroid. I go home and break out the Armour meds instead. No ill side effects this time.

My doctor ramped me up to 2 grains slowly. Discovered conversion problem. T4 was going to RT3. Decided to work on b12. D3. And iron. Which I’ve learned can effect conversion.

Dropped Armour down to 1.5 grains and added in Cytomel.

Oh, my gosh! I’m up to .4375 of cytomel on top of the 1.5 grains of armour. I have been on that dose for 2 weeks now, and I tell you, I stun my family by rolling out of bed bright and early and charging full force through the day. Then sleep hard core at night.

The extra t3 was a game changer. I eat what I want, when I want… No exercise (need to get on that now that I have energy again), and maintain my weight. Although Ive lost nothing weight wise, I have managed to slim down enough to loose a size in jeans.
Just so you know… There are chases when the meds work. I guess I just wanted to pass on a success story. I wish everyone else good luck. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you keep fighting to find it.

Ive been told by fellow thyroid patients that I am on quite a low dose of meds considering I have no thyroid at all. But I guess we’ll just have to see how that all plays out.

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    Dr. Westin Childs - February 12, 2017

    Hey Amber,

    Thanks for sharing your story. T3 certainly is a game changer for many patients. I would also caution against listening to other patients as most aren’t really doing well themselves and they tend to echo the same recommendations back and forth.

    Reply
Andrea - February 16, 2017

I recently started on naturethroid, I’ve been taking it for about 3.5 weeks (low dose- 35mg) and my body temperature has not improved. I usually am around 96.5-97.4. Is 3 weeks not enough time for it to fully take action, or is this a sign I need an increase?

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susan webre - March 7, 2017

I have been on armour for probably 12 year. Same exact dose. I’ve ok on it not able to lose weight although all ranges fall in guidelines mary shomon talks about. Last year I had a complete hysterectomy. Now my tsh is low and in last 2 Mos crazy fatigue, extreme hot flashes and extreme exhaustion. Can hysterectomy affect thyroid. I’ve recently moved to little rock AR. How do I go about finding a physician who understands and works with armour

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Patricia - March 14, 2017

I guess I am in the minority, but I’ve lost too much weight and it’s starting to worry me. I had a thyroidectomy (no cancer) and was on Synthroid for a year or two, but doctor was not happy with my labs or my continued hypothyroid symptoms. He switched me to Armour and via diet and exercise I lost 25-30 pounds. A new doctor put me on 130 mg of NatureThroid plus .5mg of Cytomel and I’ve lost an additional 10 pounds without trying and it’s really too much. Somewhat concerned I quit the Cytomel on my own and gained back a few pounds. Is this typical or might there be something else going on here?

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Debra - March 15, 2017

Hi Dr. Childs.
I was taking synthroid medication for 3 years. I gained alot of weight. i just recently changed to Armour Medication 90MG. Iwas having pain with the synthroid. I find with the Armour Medication. I am also having alot of leg pain and stiffness.Why am I havng these pains?

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Tori - March 22, 2017

I have be using Armour thyroid for several years and have lost no weight.

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    Dr. Westin Childs - March 22, 2017

    Hey Tori,

    Believe it or not that is quite common. I would recommend you start with evaluating your reverse T3 and other thyroid lab tests.

    Reply

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