Armour Thyroid Medication Guide: Weight Loss, Dosing, Side Effects & More

Will taking Armour Thyroid help you lose weight, feel better and have more energy?

That is the question that many patients have and one of the main reasons they want to at least give Armour thyroid a try. 

Armour thyroid is a special thyroid medication that is formulated to include ALL of the thyroid hormones - both biologically active and biologically inactive forms. 

These special properties may be one of the reasons that patients who switch to Armour thyroid experience significant improvement in their hypothyroid symptoms. 

But will it work for you?

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about using Armour thyroid ranging from who should use it, how to use it safely, how to use it for weight loss and common pitfalls patients experience.

Let's jump in:  

More...

Everything you Need to Know About Armour Thyroid


What is Armour thyroid?

Armour thyroid is a prescription medication that is used to treat patients with the diagnosis of hypothyroidism

As you probably know hypothyroidism is a condition in the body which results in a decreased production or utilization of thyroid hormone in the body. 

As a result patients with a "sluggish" thyroid often experience symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, cold extremities, constipation and so on.

These patients (those with hypothyroidism) also notoriously struggle with the ability to lose weight and keep it off. 

conversion to armour thyroid from levothyroxine increased patient satisfaction

So where does Armour thyroid fit in here?

Armour thyroid is unique among thyroid medications in that it contains both the active AND inactive thyroid hormones (1).

This is actually quite important because the active thyroid hormone T3 is what makes thyroid hormone do its job

Armour thyroid is, therefore, a significantly more potent thyroid medication when compared to thyroid medications such as levothyroxine and Synthroid

Patients can take advantage of this increased potency and may actually feel much better when switching from other medications to Armour thyroid. 

The question is why?

Armour Thyroid vs Levothyroxine & Synthroid

I mentioned that Armour thyroid is unique among thyroid medications so let me explain a little bit further here. 

Armour thyroid is ranked among a class of thyroid medications known as Natural Desiccated thyroid medications. 

These medications are created by desiccating (or crushing) up the thyroid glands of certain animals - in this case, pigs. 

Pharmaceutical companies then encapsulate the desiccated pig thyroid gland and standardize the hormones in each capsule and humans then take it. 

I know it sounds weird but it works incredibly well for several reasons:

#1. It contains the ACTIVE and INACTIVE thyroid hormones - Both T3 and T4

When your thyroid is functioning at 100% it naturally produces 2 thyroid hormones each and every day. 

Normally you wouldn't think twice about this, but it matters when you take thyroid medication. 

Why?

Because the conventional treatment for patients with hypothyroidism is to supplement with only the inactive thyroid hormone T4. 

Physicians, such as endocrinologists, give patients T4 only thyroid medications because they assume that each patient (2) will be able to perfectly convert the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3. 

This may work for many patients but it absolutely does not work for everyone!

In fact, it has been estimated that at least up to 15% of patients may have trouble tolerating T4 only medications (3) and they manifest this "trouble" with low serum T3 levels despite a "normal" TSH. 

Let's recap this information because it can be confusing:

The healthy thyroid gland naturally produces about 80% T4 thyroid hormone and about 20% T3 thyroid hormone (4) each and every day.

Your body lives in harmony and functions optimally when it can create the amount of T4 and T3 that it needs on a daily basis. 

Your body has created a special mechanism to "control" the amount of thyroid hormone that it needs on a daily basis through a system known as thyroid hormone conversion. 

In this system, your body takes the inactive thyroid hormone T4 and it can activate it by turning it into T3. 

It can also "inactive" it if it doesn't need any extra thyroid hormone by turning it into reverse T3. 

This is just thyroid physiology 101 (5).

Armour thyroid is special when compared to levothyroxine because it contains at least two types of thyroid hormone: T4 and T3. 

Levothyroxine, on the other hand, only contains T4. 

Which means Armour thyroid may more closely approximate what your body produces in a natural and healthy state. 

I made this point #1 because I think it is probably the most important feature which separates Armour from levothyroxine but it certainly isn't the only one: 

Download my Free Resources:

Foods to Avoid if you have Thyroid Problems: 

I've found that these 10 foods cause the most problems for thyroid patients. Learn which foods you should absolutely be avoiding if you have thyroid disease of any type. 

How to Calculate "Optimal" Free T4, Free T3, & Reverse T3 Ratio: 

Calculating these ratios is important because it can help you determine if your efforts are on the right track and whether or not your medications are working. 

Download more free resources on this page

#2. Armour also contains less biologically active thyroid hormones such as T1 and T2

Another very important beneficial aspect of taking Armour thyroid is that you are getting more than just the combination of T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. 

In physiology, we give all of the credit to T3 because it is the most biological thyroid compound floating around in your blood. 

But did you know that there are other thyroid hormones? 

These other thyroid hormones, known as T1 and T2, also exist in your body but they don't get much credit because they are considered to be "less biologically active" than T4 and T3. 

But emerging research (6) is showing that these compounds are still important nonetheless, even if we don't completely understand what they do or how they work. 

It would be silly of us to assume that simply because we don't know what they do or how they work that they are unimportant, but that is kind of the mentality that we have when it comes to the human body. 

No matter how you look at it though there may be some individuals who benefit from the "extra" thyroid hormones T1 and T2 that come with the whole Armour thyroid package. 

These hormones (along with probably other enzymes and hormone precursors) are present in the thyroid gland of animals and therefore make it into the pharmaceutical medication as it is prepared. 

These extra hormones may not be of benefit to each and every person but it is certainly possible that patients who don't have a functioning thyroid (such as those who have had it surgically removed) may benefit from the extra T1 and T2 that comes in this medication. 

Patients who still have a thyroid gland that functions may be able to produce T1 and T2 in sufficient amounts to not notice a difference, but either way it's worth discussing. 

#3. Armour thyroid requires less "activation" and is, therefore, more active when compared to Levothyroxine and Synthroid

I mentioned previously that Armour thyroid is more "potent" and more "active" than T4 medications such as Levothyroxine and Synthroid and part of this is because it contains the active T3 hormone but another important part is that it doesn't require as much activation. 

Activation or conversion are both words for the same process:

The turning of inactive T4 into active T3. 

This process is controlled by various factors including your genetics so it may come as no surprise that some people are "better" at converting thyroid hormone than others. 

New research has shown (7) that there are some existing genes known as SNP's that may alter the efficiency of this conversion process. 

This means that some of you out there are just not very good at converting T4 into T3 (8) while some of you out there are incredible at doing it. 

natural thyroid supplements version 2

So how does this relate to Armour thyroid?

Because Armour thyroid contains T3 it can directly bypass this conversion process which allows the body to use some of the thyroid hormone immediately after ingestion. 

If we could reliably test for these genetic differences we would be able to more easily determine what kind of thyroid medication that each person needs

Since this testing is not mainstream (yet!) it may be beneficial for certain individuals to use Armour thyroid over the traditional T4 medications like Synthroid. 

Is Armour Better than Levothyroxine/Synthroid? 

When you lay out the benefits of Armour thyroid and compare it to T4 only medications it's easy to come to the conclusion that Armour thyroid may be superior, but is this really true?

I wouldn't jump to that conclusion right away, but there are certainly some reasons that you should consider using Armour thyroid. 

Reasons to try or consider using Armour thyroid:

  • You've tried Synthroid and Levothyroxine and you still experience hypothyroid symptoms even with a "normal" TSH. 
  • You have low reverse T3 levels or low serum T3 levels with a "normal" TSH. 
  • You are gaining weight or remaining weight neutral on T4 only medications even with normal labs and after trying dietary changes and adding in exercise. 
  • You are suffering from infertility or menstrual problems despite taking thyroid medication.

This is not a complete list but instead focuses on our current understanding of thyroid physiology, genetics, and thyroid conversion and attempts to come up with logical reasons why some patients might feel better on Armour thyroid compared to other medications. 

While many patients report almost immediate improvement in their hypothyroid symptoms when switching to Armour thyroid there are plenty of patients who also report negative symptoms (more on that below). 

And these patients may simply do better on traditional T4 medications. 

Reasons to use or stick with Levothyroxine/Synthroid:

  • T4 medications may be better for people who experience heart palpitations, anxiety or other symptoms when taking Armour thyroid or NDT. 
  • T4 medications have many different tablets and variations which means that you can adjust dosing easily. 
  • Patients may benefit from taking the combination of T4 and T3 in individual doses and medications to titrate specifically to the needs of the patient. 
  • Some patients have no issues with peripheral thyroid conversion and they readily and actively convert T4 to T3 when it is supplied.

Instead of focusing on which is the "best" thyroid medication it's more helpful to determine (through testing and symptom management) which is the best thyroid medication for YOUR body. 

This approach will help you achieve long lasting results and help improve your symptoms more than any other. 

Armour Thyroid and Weight Loss - Will it Help you?


One of the biggest (and perhaps more important) question that most patients have when considering Armour thyroid is this: 

Will Armour Thyroid actually help me lose weight?

Most people assume when they switch to Armour thyroid 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 usually isn't enough for weight loss by itself.

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

Why this happens is a long story but the short version 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...

Lack of sleep...

Menopause...

Environmental exposure...

You get the idea.

While your thyroid certainly contributes (at least initially) to weight gain, it almost always isn't the ONLY contributing factor. 

I've discussed the thyroid hormone obesity myth in detail and you can read more about this unique approach to weight loss in thyroid patients here

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. Insufficient Dosing


One of the biggest issues is that many patients may be undertreated or underdosed. 

If a patient is hypothyroid, meaning their thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone naturally, then they must undergo thyroid hormone replacement therapy. 

In order for this therapy to be effective, you must be getting ENOUGH thyroid hormone

For various reasons, physicians may be relying on tests that may not accurately identify the status of thyroid hormone in the body. 

You can read more about this idea in detail here

Relevant to this article it's important to understand that dosing based on the TSH alone may not be the most accurate way to manage Armour thyroid dosing. 

Another reason that physicians may not be adequately dosing certain patients is that they are unfamiliar with dosing thyroid medications that contain T3. 

As we've discussed previously, Armour thyroid contains a combination of T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) and T3 (the active thyroid hormone). 

The portion of T3 thyroid hormone in each "grain" (which is a unit of Armour thyroid dosing) is actually still quite small: 

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

Armour thyroid conversion chart

Doctors know that T3 it is approximately 3.3 times more effective at dropping the TSH than T4 medication alone (9) (Synthroid and levothyroxine). 

This means that when transitioning from T4 only medication to Armour thyroid many patients are usually under treated, especially if physicians rely solely on the TSH as an indicator of thyroid status in the body. 

Other factors such as your sex hormone binding globulin may be a better indicator of tissue levels of thyroid hormone. 

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.

But remember that each grain of Armour thyroid only has 38mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3. 

Even if you assume that T3 is 3x more potent (which isn't the best indicator of biological activity in the body) then you still come up short with this conversion - let's break down the math:

38 mcg of T4 = 38mcg of T4

9 mcg of T3 x 3 = 27 mcg of T4 "equivalents" in each grain of Armour thyroid

38mcg + 27mcg = 65 mcg of T4 "equivalents" in each grain of Armour thyroid total

So suggesting that 1 grain of T4 (which equals about 65mcg) is a substitute for 100mcg of T4 is not necessarily a fair assumption

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

It may be no wonder why some patients who "transition" to Armour thyroid often feel symptomatically worse during the transition. 

This is sometimes used by the physician as "proof" that Armour thyroid doesn't work.

I've even had patients who report that when they switch to Armour thyroid their TSH increases and the physician then states that Armour thyroid is unreliable. 

In reality, it may be more accurate that the patient was underdosed which resulted in a hypothyroid state and a subsequent increase in the TSH. 

This change is not necessarily indicative of the failure of Armour thyroid but more a failure with the conversion and dosing process. 

A more accurate conversion process may look something like this:

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

A couple of important points when considering this information:

First:

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.

Second: 

Thyroid dosing is highly individualized and depends on factors such as your current metabolic rate, your sensitivity to T3 and your peripheral thyroid conversion status.

This means that you can never use a "dosing calculator" to simply determine what your dose should be, instead you may need to use a combination of trial and error along with frequent laboratory testing. 

#2. The Ratio of T3 to T4 in Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy


While Armour does contain some T3 it is possible that your body may actually need more.

Along this same vein, it's also possible that your dose of T4 may be either too high or too low relative to your dose of T3. 

If this sounds confusing, don't let it be:  

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 (this is a good thing from a pharmaceutical and consistency standpoint, but may be a problem due to the inability to titrate individual T3 and T4 doses). 

Unfortunately, some people may require higher amounts of T3 due to reasons such tissue level hypothyroidismeuthyroid sick syndrome/low T3 syndrome, (10) or peripheral thyroid conversion disorders.  

euthyroid sick syndrome

These conditions are characterized by physiologic changes in which the patient 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 may want to consider adjusting the individual dosing of T3 and T4 in your medication. 

In some cases, this may be as easy as adding a small dose of T3, in others, it may mean switching to individual T4 and T3 prescriptions. 

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.

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

Some studies even suggest (11) that temporary supraphysiologic dosing of T3 may help to overcome these hormone imbalances, provided it is used safely and correctly. 

In my experience, (and if used safely) lowering T4 dosing and increasing T3 dosing provides improved weight loss and improved lipid metabolism in a subset of patients. 

This is also confirmed with studies (12) which have shown that transition from T4 to T3 dosing (based off of pituitary and TSH testing) improves all of these markers.

T3 medication vs T4 medication

In some patients dropping Armour thyroid total dosing and adding T3 can be sufficient to improve symptoms and provide improved weight loss without causing negative sypmtoms. 

T3 can be added to Armour thyroid with the following medications: liothyronine, Cytomel or SR T3. 

#3. The presence of Hormone Imbalances such as 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 (13) 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

The presence of leptin resistance creates hormonal havoc which results in weight loss resistance despite changes to your diet and to the amount that you exercise. 

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 (14) 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 the presence of 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 usually indicates that heavy metabolic damage has already 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.

Beyond Armour thyroid, there are other types of natural desiccated thyroid such as Nature-throid and WP Thyroid

While it's true 1 grain of Armour thyroid contains the same amount of active thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) as a grain of WP thyroid or Naturethroid - these medications differ in the inactive ingredients that they contain.

And it is these inactive ingredients that may cause certain people to respond well (or not) to these medications due to how they react to these inactive ingredients. 

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

Some individuals who take NDT (and Armour thyroid) may experience negative side effects while taking this medication which they may wrongly attribute to the active thyroid hormone. 

Instead, it may be possible that they would do much better by switching to a different formulation rather than switching back to T4 medication. 

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. 

As an example Armour thyroid is known to contain both methylcellulose and dextrose and these inactive ingredients are notoriously difficult for some patients to digest and break down. 

You can think about methylcellulose as a glue which holds on tight to the thyroid hormone component of the medication and in order for your body to absorb (and properly utilize) your intestinal tract must separate the methylcellulose from the active thyroid hormone. 

Ingredients of armour thyroid

Unfortunately, many patients with hypothyroidism also have gastrointestinal issues including low stomach acid (15).

This may result in decreased absorption of thyroid hormone or cause 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 may 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. 

It should come as no surprise then to hear that you don't want high levels of Reverse T3 because it competes for binding with T3 which creates tissue level hypothyroidism or thyroid resistance

In general, the higher Reverse T3 the more hypothyroid you will feel and the less active thyroid hormone is in your body (unless the Reverse T3 is compensatory due to supraphysiologic levels of free T3).

High levels of reverse T3 may lead you to experience weight gain, a slower than normal metabolism and other hypothyroid symptoms.  

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

It turns out that many conditions may be sabotaging your thyroid conversion and the presence of these conditions may be causing your body to turn T4 into reverse T3. 

These conditions include: 

  • Taking thyroid medications containing T4 (Synthroid, levothyroxine but also NDT like Armour thyroid) - This acts as a 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 T4 may contribute to elevated reverse T3 levels

And...

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. 

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 and your appetite will increase in an attempt to compensate. 

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 and focus on that issue. 

For instance:

If you have high levels of insulin - your focus should be on reversing this condition.

If your leptin is too high - then you should undergo therapies designed to reduce leptin resistance.

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

If you suffer from chronic inflammation then you may need to address whatever issue is causing inflammation in your body.  

And so on.

If you can identify and treat these conditions then your body will naturally be able to convert T4 into T3 which is exactly what you want. 

Dosing Armour Thyroid


If you decide that Armour thyroid is worth trying, then how do you dose it?

Dosing Armour thyroid is not much different than using traditional or conventional thyroid medications such as levothyroxine or Synthroid. 

The primary difficulties come when transitioning from an existing thyroid medication over to Armour thyroid. 

If you fall into this category then you need to make sure that you are "converting" your dose correctly as we outlined at the beginning of this post. 

Many physicians will tend to underdose you on the transition because they aren't familiar with using medications that contain T3. 

This underdosing may have the unintended consequence of exacerbating (at least temporarily) hypothyroid symptoms. 

If this happens to you don't let it scare you from using the medication further!

Instead, make sure you re-evaluate your lab tests and determine if you are on a sufficient dose or if you need a higher dose. 

Each person will require a unique amount of thyroid hormone but the average dose of Armour thyroid is somwhere between 2-3 grains or 180mg. 

Armour thyroid can be dosed in miligrams or in grains and it's important to understand the difference.

1 grain of Armour thyroid is equal to 60 mg. 

60mg of Armour thyroid contains about 38mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3. 

So 1 grain = 60mg = 38mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3

If you are taking 2 grains of Armour thyroid then you are taking 120mg. 

2 grains of Armour thyroid = 120 mg of Armour thyroid = 76 mcg of T4 and 18mcg of T3. 

If you use the calculation above then 2 grains is equal to 120mg of Armour thyroid or 130mcg of T4 equivalents (if you convert the 18mcg of T3 into T4). 

This is helpful because it can help you determine how much Armour thyroid to start with and what kind of dose you should be looking to hit. 

As a general rule of thumb (though not always accurate) certain patients tend to need higher doses of thyroid hormone. 

Patients in this category include those with higher metabolic demands (those with a higher metabolism), patients who are overweight or who have a higher than average BMI and patients who may be taking medications that block or limit thyroid hormone action. 

If you fall into any of these categories make sure you monitor your dose very closely. 

If you are transitioning from an existing T4 medication then starting your dose off at about 25% of the maximum and then increasing slowly every few weeks is a safe and effective method. 

If you are naive to thyroid medication (meaning that you have never tried thyroid medication before) then starting off at 15-30mg and titrating slowly up every few weeks may also be appropriate. 

While none of these are hard and fast rules they can help you get started. 

In addition to these general rules there are also other factors that you should consider when using armour: 

Tips for Taking Armour Thyroid

#1. Take Armour thyroid on an empty stomach.

No doubt you've heard this one before!

Taking thyroid medication on an empty stomach is usually recommended by physicians and pharmacists because this action may help your body increase absorption. 

Thyroid hormone can bind to certain substances which may reduce the dose of thyroid medication that is delivered to your body. 

For instance:

If you are taking 1 grain of Armour thyroid but you take it with a meal, it's possible you may only be absorbing 70% of that 1 grain. 

Taking your medication on an empty stomach helps fight this. 

#2. Take away from supplements that contain Calcium and Iron but pretty much avoid all supplements if possible.

Along the same vein as taking your medication on an empty stomach is to avoid taking your medication with other supplements - especially those that contain calcium or iron. 

Calcium and iron are notorious for binding to and preventing the absorption of thyroid hormone, but this can also occur with other supplements. 

To play it safe I generally recommend that you wait 4 hours after taking any supplement before you also take your thyroid medication. 

#3. Splitting your dose.

Another strategy worth considering is to split your dose throughout the day. 

Splitting your dose may help reduce the massive swings in thyroid hormone that occur when you take the entire days worth of thyroid hormone at once. 

So if you are taking 2 grains total each day you might consider taking 1 grain in the morning and then another in the afternoon. 

So your total dose stays the same but you are "splitting" that dose throughout the day. 

This can help maintain constant serum levels of thyroid hormone and may be especially helpful for patients who are sensitive to T3. 

#4. Consider taking it at night.

Another strategy that I often recommend is to simply take your thyroid medication at night. 

Taking your medication at night offers several advantages:

First is that you don't have to worry about taking it on an empty stomach because most people generally don't eat right before bed. 

And second is that taking your thyroid hormone in the evening may actually improve absorption because the GI tract tends to be slower in the evening (16).

Side Effects and Symptoms


Are there any downsides to using Armour thyroid?

Well, yes. 

It should be stated that Armour thyroid is not a perfect thyroid medication nor will it necessarily work for every person. 

It's important to remember that Armour thyroid comes from an animal and animal tissue is considered "foreign" to your body. 

The actual thyroid hormones from the porcine derived thyroid gland are EXACTLY the same as the ones your body produce but, as we stated previously, Armour also contains other inactive ingredients that may cause issues when ingested by humans. 

It's theoretically possible that certain patients taking Armour thyroid may experience an "antigenic" reaction. 

What is this?

Basically, it's possible that your immune system may recognize Armour thyroid as "foreign" tissue and react or attempt to destroy it. 

Some people believe that taking Armour thyroid may cause a "flare up" of existing Hashimoto's disease. 

While the research is limited in this area I have seen several patients who develop a rapid and excessive increase in thyroid antibodies immediately after starting Armour thyroid. 

These patients also often experience a worsening in hypothyroid symptoms such as an acute increase in fatigue an increase in weight gain, etc. 

In my experience, this kind of reaction is quite rare but it's worth pointing out for this discussion.  

Symptoms of excessive Armour thyroid dosing (Your dose is too high)


  • Anxiety or Jittery sensation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Trembling hands or extremities
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek help with your physician immediately. 

This sort of reaction tends to be rare, provided you slowly increase your dose over time and monitor your serum thyroid levels as you go. 

More common than excessive dosing is insufficient dosing characterized by hypothyroid symptoms: 

Symptoms of insufficient Armour thyroid dosing (Your dose is too low)


  • Persistent fatigue
  • Weight gain (even while taking thyroid medication which is never a normal symptom)
  • Continued infertility or persistent menstrual disturbances
  • Continued brain fog or reduced mental focus/clarity
  • Constipation
  • Swelling of the neck
  • Swelling of the extremities and around the eyes (especially in the morning)
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Depression/anxiety

The presence of these symptoms may indicate that your dose is insufficient or not high enough for your body. 

They also might be a sign that you are having difficulty absorbing or utilizing thyroid hormone after it is absorbed. 

If you've been experiencing any of these symptoms then you should have your blood work retested and evaluated. 

While these symptoms tend to be easy to diagnose there is actually a third reason you might not tolerate Armour thyroid and that has to do with sensitivities to inactive fillers and dyes. 

Symptoms of reacting to the fillers or dyes in the medication itself (You might want to switch medications)


  • Rashes
  • Acid reflux
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating or excessive gas
  • Headaches

These symptoms tend to be unique in the sense that they are NOT caused by the active thyroid hormone but instead caused by the other "stuff" that the medication is formulated with. 

This includes inactive ingredients such as methylcellulose and dextrose (and many others). 

The good news is that these symptoms often disappear when you switch to "cleaner" medications such as WP thyroid or Tirosint. 

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! 

References (Click to Expand)

This post was most recently updated on October 11th, 2019

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.

156 thoughts on “Armour Thyroid Medication Guide: Weight Loss, Dosing, Side Effects & More”

    • No problem, Teri. I would recommend looking at the 5 areas I listed in the article as a good first step 🙂

  1. . 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • A low TSH does not indicate hyperthyroidism by itself. You can suppress a TSH and still have tissue level hypothyroidism.

    • Hi! So I just had my TSH levels tested and they came back at 3.23. I’m a 31-year-old active female. 2 kids. I want to dig deeper and get my t3 and t4 levels specifically tested also as I suspect hypothyroidism to be my issue.
      Frequent headaches -3x a week
      Hair loss
      High/low moods and fatigue weekly
      Constipation
      Itchy skin
      Overall tired feeling
      Extremely hard to lose weight. I went on keto for 6 months and lost 20lbs. Super easy to gain back. Gained 20lbs in 6 weeks just eating normally including carbs but around 1500 cal a day tracked.

      What are your thoughts? Does this sound like hypo?

    • Hey Diane,

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

    • 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.

      • Hey Adelaida,

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

      • 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.

    • Diane,

      I go to Wiseman family clinic and see Courtney Rau in Austin, TX. She specializes in Hashimotos. Previously I was going to the Austin Diagnostic clinic and they refused to prescribe a NDT. Now I’m on Naturethroid for about a year. I’m still adjusting my meds to get the dosage correct but Courtney is working with me to try different things to help me feel better and lose weight. She does encourage supplements and diet changes like going gluten free. You should give them a try.

      -Michelle

    • Try Dr. Susan Samson in Houston at Baylor. Head of The Pituitary Center there, and people travel from all over to see her. She my doc – highly recommend!

  2. 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

    • Hey Nashwa,

      Unfortunately it’s very difficult to treat patients in Canada unless they also frequently travel to the US.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

          • 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.

  5. 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.

    • Hey Steph,

      All references should be linked to outside web pages when appropriate within the article itself.

  6. 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.

    • 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.

      • Is there a specific reason you do not use NP Thyroid the generic form of Armour Thyroid? I was on it for 2 days it caused all my fibro points to go away, helped my energy levels but made me feel speedy and ruined my good sleep cycle, I sent you a lengthy email. I’ve been searching for such a long time for answers and when I was prescribed NP Thyroid she made it sound like that would take care of the weight. She didn’t check all of the things you talk about. I knew about leptin but no one has suggested testing it. My problem is weight but also adrenal fatigue and I’m told I am not hypo. The NP who prescribed NP Thyroid said I have Hashi’s but no one else has. They say I have pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Isn’t that part of thyroid illness? I’m thinking it’s all double talk with them & hoping I can get help with you, Dr. Childs, if I can get them to read from your website.

        • Hi Kim,

          I have articles on most of the various types of NDT medications. It’s not that I necessarily prefer one over the other, this article just happens to be on Armour thyroid.

    • Palline, My pharmacy switched me to NP Thyroid from Armour before I realized it and I took it several months, so decided to stay on it (probably about 9 months now). I have gained weight and felt horrible. I asked my doctor to call Armour into the pharmacy and within 4 days I started feeling better! I had RAI – so no thyroid. I think you have to try different meds until you find one/combo that’s right for you. Good Luck!

  7. 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

    • 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.

  8. 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 🙁

    • Hey Elaine,

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

  9. 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.

    • 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.

  10. 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.!

  11. 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.

  12. 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

    • Hi Sissy,

      I would make sure that you have a complete thyroid panel including reverse T3 to see if the demand for thyroid hormone in your body has changed. Sometimes we tend to believe that the amount of thyroid hormone that our body needs never changes, but this isn’t entirely true.

  13. 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.

    • 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.

  14. 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)

  15. 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!

    • 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!

  16. 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…

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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!! )

  20. 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

    • 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.

  21. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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)

      • 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.

  22. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  23. 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]

    • Hey Ann,

      I don’t know anyone in any location that practices the way I do. I’m sure they exist, I just don’t know them.

  24. 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

    • 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

    • 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.

  28. 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?

  29. 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

    • Hey Susan,

      Yes, a hyesterectomy can alter progesterone/estrogen levels which may indirectly alter thyroid levels.

  30. 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?

  31. 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?

    • 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.

  32. I take Armour and have been on a roller coaster ride with weight issues, fatigue, pain, mood swings etc. Do you know of a physician in the Birmingham, Alabama area who specializes in your area? Btw I had Graves Disease which led to a total thyroidectomy.

  33. I’ve been taking Arms Thyroid for about 6 months. I started out at 60 mg, and switched to 30 mg. It was working wonderfully for the symptoms and even had lost a few lbs. (I’m usually 127 lbs. 5’3, very active, workout 1-2 hrs 4 times a week and eat mostly healthy) This lasted a couple months then I gained several pounds. Now I am gaining more, am very symptomatic and just had blood work done. Which my doctor said my levels were fine. My T4 was 4.1, TSH 1.64 and Free T3 3.1.
    During this time I even went on a strict diet and still didn’t lose a pound.
    My doctor just started me on a thyroid supplement called T-150. I’m hoping this helps with symptoms and WEIGHT LOSS.
    Any input is appreciated.
    From,
    Frustrated

    • Hi Loti,

      The introduction of that supplement isn’t likely to help with your weight significantly. Some supplements help thyroid function, but they aren’t necessarily a substitute for thyroid hormone.

  34. I have Graves Disease, they nuked my thyroid, now have hypothyroidism. Switched to Armour, didn’t lose weight, but it’s important to note: I quit sodas, high fructose foods, cut my portions, carbs, I don’t exercise much due to having fibromyalgia, also on warfarin for protein s deficiency, caused a blood clot, and cut blood off to my spleen, which they let shrivel up and die inside, no surgery. Lost my ovaries due to tumors. I have lost 37 lbs in 4 1/2 months, and moderate work. I now after switching from synthroid to Armour, after bout a year and a half, I now have 6.0 TSH, Normal T4..why don’t they give a T3 reading on the tests? Struggling with Hypoglycemia, am not prediabetic either. I need some longer lasting carb to keep my sugar up, nothing high in vitamin K, and don’t want to gain weight. I am on 60 mg per day, and 120 on sunday. I think they are going to have to up my dosage even more…when does this end on the increasing of Armour? Also, is there another natural way to increase my T3? Thanx!

  35. I am a 43 year old female, 5’7″ and pretty active. I had been seeing a doctor at a local spa for weight loss since May 2015. By March 2016 I had lost 21 lbs. but I had really stalled in the process. The doctor checked my blood work and saw that my thyroid levels (or whatever they are called) were borderline low, so he suggested trying Armour. My eating habits did not change drastically and I had actually incorporated a gym routine that was a mix of high intensity, circuit and cardio for 45 mins/day 3-5 days a week, on top of my usual walking and being active with my children. By August, 5 months later, I had gained 12 lbs. Now, in April, I have gained back almost all of the 21 lbs. I had lost. I am extremely frustrated and did in fact email my doctor today as well as I hadn’t been to the office since that August date. I am considered pre-diabetic and my temperatures usually run 96.8 (I don’t know if that’s real low or not) and I do have Thalassemia Minor trait which results in me not having as much blood running through me as I should. I am always tired and never have any energy. I also take Wellbutrin, Vitamin B2 and Magnesium (for migraine prevention), Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin C and a cinnamon pill. I also am prescribed phentermine which worked wonderfully for weight loss, but has definitely stalled big time since starting Armour. I don’t want to just stop taking my medications and I will be heading back to the doctor soon to discuss this matter as well. What are some suggestions to talk to my doctor? Thank you very much. Any direction you can give me is greatly appreciated.

  36. Hello Dr. Childs,
    Thank you for the very informative article. I am not sure how I stumbled upon this website but I am immensely grateful that I did. It’s given me a new direction to possibly getting the right fix for my hypothyroid issues. I had no clue about the RT3 thing even though I consider myself very well informed on thyroid :). After going through Synthroid fiasco with the so called expert “endocrinologists” who pushed synthroid on me for 2 years even when it was clearly not working! my research led me to a holistic Dr. who prescribed Armour for me. We started with 1/2 grain and I have stayed on 1 grain now for almost 4 years until recently when I began noticing that it has seemed to stop working for me. All the labs look fine on paper! And I have all those miserable hypo symptoms back. After reading on your website, I figure RT3 could be the reason.My old Holistic MD has moved out of state so I plan on seeking a new Dr. who would be willing to test me for RT3 and prescribe T3( cytomel or bioidentical T3). I have already found that this is going to be challenging. My general physician refused to entertain any talks of anything but synthroid. I was surprised when he told me that he would never prescribe Armour as it is an unsafe medication. Fortunately, I know better than that with a 6 year combined experience with syn and Arm.

    Wish I could become a patient of yours but looks like not an option anymore.If you could please point me to the right direction, it would be very helpful for me to find the right Dr. for myself – When trying out T3 for the first time(adding to armor or trying T3 alone), which is a better medication to try – cytomel or a compounded T3? or you think both are equally Ok depending on patient needs? Would be grateful for any help with my question. There are Drs. who would either work with compounds or Cytomel so I have to decide who I should reach out to first as a newbee trying out T3. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Jules,

      Unfortunately I don’t know any other physicians who practice like I do. I am sure they are out there, I just don’t know them personally.

      • Thank you Dr. Childs. I was actually not asking for physician recommendation. Sorry if it sounded like that.
        Was just asking what you think would be a better choice between cytomel or compounded T3 for someone wanting to add some bit of T3 to armor regimen?
        Hoping you would reply…
        Thanks!

        • Just wanted to pop back in and say I’m still doing great on my combination of meds. Bumped up to .50 cytomel on top of the 1.5 grains of Armour. Iron is finally rising also. Feeling good. Even better once I found out I had a zinc deficiency. Added a small supplement of that to my routine and have started to finally begin slimming down in earnest. Added bonus of the zinc? All the annoying acne that developed after my TT is clearing up once more. Win win.

          Also like to say that my doctor was a bit concerned after she put me on cytomel due to some research she came across… This research apparently claims TT patients cannot handle straight T3 and it is advised against prescribing it. She wanted to take me back off until she saw me at my next visit and realized that I was thriving.

          • Amber,
            Thank you for sharing your T3 story. Good to hear it’s working so well for you. Do you mind sharing what 0.5 cytomel means in terms of dosages in micrograms? From what I understand Cytomel is prescribed in microgram dosages so wondering what 0.5 is? Also is your doctor a mainstream physician or a naturopath or some other type of doctor? I am having a hard time getting any doctor to prescribe cytomel even for trying. They have that look in their eyes that makes me feel like a buffoon. And I am so down in the dumps from my hypo symptoms. I take zinc and selenium supplement daily on top of iodine, vit C. Maybe need to add iron.
            Good Luck to you!

            Thanks again!
            Jules

          • Jules,

            Sorry, yes. It’s 50 MCG of cytomel. Typo on my part. My prescription states: Take 2 tablets by mouth once daily (50 MCG total). My doctor prescribed it this bc it was simpler. She knows I prefer to split my t3 throughout the day.

            My doctor is actually a small town Nurse Practioner who will be the first to tell you she knows nothing about thyroid issues beyond the main idea of prescribing any of the synthroid type t4 meds for hypo.

            However, she was willing to go above and beyond to find me something different due to my total system freak out whenever I take synthetic t4.

            I printed off several articles from sttm.com (stop the thyroid madness), and she looked like a kid in a candy store upon glancing through the papers.

            After that, she was more than willing to ‘experiment’ with me. And use what she learned on other patients.

          • Hi Amber,
            Thank you for sharing that information. You are lucky to have that NP willing to think outside the box.My first Endo(who is actually very well known in my area) asked me after 6months of synthroid ” How can synthroid not be working, we have to give it more time”. Just because you love Synthroid doesn’t mean I can force my body to love it too to make my doctor happy. The Drs. truly believe Synthroid will eventually work for everyone and if doesn’t, you are from Mars 🙂
            My search is still on…
            Best wishes to you for continued success….

            Thanks,
            Jules

          • Jules, I’ve discovered the smaller clinics still have the ability to listen. The clinic I go to is a one horse town office branch attached to a much larger clinic. It would be considered ‘exile’ for most ‘doctors’, but it works great for those that enjoy a one on one experience with their patients. The ‘regulars’ can walk in and be greeted by name before they can even say a word. It’s heaven.

            My NP told me that she’s learned more working out of a small clinic in 6 months than she could ever learn in a large clinic in the course of a year.

            One time I went in with a rash. She had no idea what it was. She left the room and came back in hauling the thickest book I’d ever seen (I work at a library, to give you an idea). We spent the next 30 minutes systematically narrowing down the rash. (rather odd varient of ringworm contracted from a kitten we rescued.)

            Having earned my respect, I believe NPs are the way to go when it comes to doctors. If I never have to step foot back in an Endocrinologists office, I shall bw happy.

          • Thank you for sharing your experience Amber. It never occurred to me that NP could help as well. Will include them in my search. You’re right about the small office setting being more helpful but then not everyone is willing to get out of their comfort zone to help a patient. And believe it or not, they are not thyroid literate beyond prescribing Synthroid. I have ruled out seeing an Endo completely. My Endo’s office was a dark Synthroid maze. Had a hard time but found my way out of it.

            Take care,
            Jules

          • I was 5 when a doctor first prescribed synthroid for me. I’m 27 now. Trust me, I know. I have seen many many doctors in my life, few of them willing to do more than throw synthroid at me. The problem was, my thyroid would slow way down for a while, then something would kick it into hyper mode all of a sudden. It would gradually slow, then kick into hyper again. Even on the meds. Now that I don’t have a thyroid at all, I’ve been able to get my life balanced out. For the first time, ever. Patience and persistence do eventually win out. Good luck.

  37. I’ve been taking synthetic thyroxine for 3 years. My levels are good. I’m about to start natural desiccated one tomorrow. I’ll carrying A lot of extra weight. I have hashimotos. For someone with low thyroid I’m pretty hyperactive. Always have been. Will keep you posted if I lose weight. Gluten free makes a huge difference.

  38. Hi, I had been on synthroid and wasnt losing weigh or feeling more energy. I asked to switch to Nature Thyroid after doing some research that it may helpl. My synthroid dose was 50 mcg and I was put on 113 mcg Nature thyroid and iI gained 20 lbs in 6 weeks. My doctor does not believe that would have done it and when I looked at the conversion of Synthroid and Nature Thyroid I brought this up and he said it should have made me lose weight if anything. Also my testosterone level was really high and I do not take testosterone. I take estrogen and progesterone only. Any thoughts? I am considering stopping the Nature Thyroid and asking to go back on Synthroid and adding cytomel or maybe I should just take T3?

    • Hi Karen,

      Generally it’s best to stay on whatever medication is working for your body. Everyone reacts differently to changes in thyroid medication, often in unpredictable ways.

  39. I would appreciate your advice if you have knowledge of HGH norditropin and thyroid effects. I take 1.2iu/day x of norditropin (10mg/1.5ml) 5 days per week. After 3 years of use, My OB said my thyroid was a little low and started me on Armour 30mg tablets one a day. FYI she does not control my HGH I get it on my own but she does know I take it. I exercise and watch calories strictly for fitness but just can’t lose weight. I am up about 8 pounds and can’t lose it.

    My question is, can the thyroid medicine combined with HGH be causing weight gain? I am thinking about stopping the armour medicine. I appreciate your thoughts and your time. There isn’t much info on HGH use etc.

  40. I’ve been on T/4 T/3 compound med for 1.5 years now. I work out hard 5 days a week at the gym, heavy weight lifting and cardio, plus I work out at home and some days I throw the cross fit gym in. I am not losing fat or inches. I eat exactly like the trainer tells me to eat. Everyone else in my group is losing. My eyebrows and hair have started falling out again. The only positive thing I can say about the meds I am on is I do not have heart palpitations anymore.
    I am going to make an appointment with a different dr to see what she says about switching my to Armour. What do you think?

  41. I recently had my levels drawn. I was on 90mg of Armour daily. (60mg in the morning,30mg in the afternoon) For the test, I held the dose the day before. My TSH was 10 and Free T3 was 2.4 Over the past 6 months I have gained 10 pounds. Because of elevated blood pressure 140/90 my doctor suggested that I use levothyroxine 125mcg. I am concerned that I will gain more weight and not feel as well without the T3. Do you have any advice?

  42. Dear Dr. Westin,
    I’m on Armour Thyroid 90 mg/day since 4 months (I was not on Levo before) after consultation at the famous clinic of Dr. Thierry Hertoghe (Belgium) and I’m not loosing weight !
    I’m eating healthy and only organic food. No meat, no alcolhol, no cigarets, no snacking. Only water and 1 coffee per day. I stopped dairy and eat food low in gluten. So I’m sure that foodwise I’m doing the right thing.
    I’m running 3 x 5 km per week and the other days I do pilates and walk my dog daily for 1 hour. So I’m working out !
    My body temperature is not low. T3 and T4 are at good levels now.
    Still I feel I look bulky and bloated. People find I’m ok because I’m tall (1m76) but with my lifestyle I would expect to have a perfect body which is not the case.
    At the Hertoghe hormone clinic they don’t have an explanation… I’m desperate.
    Next to the Armour I take daily: DHEA, pregnenolone, oestrogel and progesterone and testogel. I’m on a birth control pill called Microgynon.
    Thanks for any advise !!! It’s very frustrating doing the right thing without results.
    Regards, Sabrina (from Brussels, Belgium)

  43. I have been on Armour 240mcg for years TSH level stays around 0.05. I’m pre diabetic & my Dr put me on Metformin. I start loosing weight ,feeling really good. Dr. sends me for another TSH-0.01, she panics & dropped my Armour to 180. I try to tell her the Metformin affects your Thyroid meds, it says so right on the bottle. So now in 6weeks ,another TSH. I was feeling so good. I’m so mad she dropped my meds. I’m afraid I’m going to start feeling bad now.I’m so angry!!!!!!!

  44. Hi, I have been on Armour about a month now. I sleep very sound now but waking up groggy and almost a doped feeling. I don’t go back to my Dr until October to check the thyroid. My Dr said I have to be on it for 3 months in order ot really tell the difference on levels. I also take gabapentin for my numbness in my hands. Maybe it is reacting with that or I have some other undiagnosed condition. Any help or suggestions I would appreciate.

  45. Had my thyroid removed in March 2017 and was prescribed Levothyroxine with no success and convinced my reluctant Dr to change to Armour 90. After a few weeks felt great, sleeping good, thinking clearly and losing a bit of weight. However, at next visit Dr said levels were too low and reduced Armour to 60 mg. Within a few days my metabolism dropped, tired, leg cramps, heat intolerance and feel terrible. Gaining weight even though eating habits have not changed. I’m going to increase Armour back to 90 every other day to see if this helps. My next appt. is not for 3 months and Dr will not see me any. earlier. Is this s good idea? Also, considering asking for Cytomel with Armour. Will this help?

  46. I. Have just switched from Armour Thyroid 120mg to np thyroid 120mg and it seems like I am having problems with it,yesterday I froze so much, I couldn’t get warm. I know this is from to little thyroid meds, should I go back to Armour? I have no thyroid do to the pill I took in 1985, it destroyed to much and now I have none. I’m not looking to loose weigh I’m thin enough already. Do you have any idea what I should do?

    • Hi Marie,

      It would make sense to first check your labs after the switch to see what changes have occurred before making that decision but it is certainly worth considering, especially if you tolerated armour well before the change.

  47. Thanks for the thorough article! Just starting on my “thyroid” journey – have normal levels, but a very large benign nodule and experienced a 4-month episode of heightened low thyroid or Hashimoto’s symptoms with a 25-pound weight gain. Starting Armour Thyroid as my first thyroid medication today, and getting some additional bloodwork done after reading tons or your articles. What a massive amount of information!!! Thanks for all of your help! I love having something to reference with a more functional approach.

  48. I have been on armour for several years. A few months ago I began having vocal tremors with increasing frequency. My doctor switched me to WP thyroid to see if that would help. Unfortunately it did not. I have noticed shortly after taking my morning thyroid my voice becomes bothersome. The past few days I cut my dose in half and my voice has improved. This leaves me low on what I should be taking, but I can talk better….seems like a catch 22

  49. Hey there, great info here! I recently upped my armour thyroid dosage from 1 grain (two small tablets) to two grains (4 small tablets) in the matter of two days… is this too quick to increase that much? My doctor said add 1 tablet every 10 days but i was stupid and wanted fast results… am i safe? Ive been noticing odd symptoms lately. I also take B’s thyroid medication aswell

  50. Hi,
    I have been on 90 Armour for years but recently have been changing my morning routine to wait longer to eat. Now I am having hyper symptoms did blood work and TSH is only .168 my doctor is putting me on 60 now. I am tempted to skip a dose to get rid of symptoms and also on beta blocker til I get regulated. Is there a way to figure out if this is going in the right direction before waiting 4 weeks for lab work? Appreciate your insights. My Free T4 was 4.5

  51. Hi Dr. Childs,

    Thank you for writing this article- it helped explain a lot of questions I have had. I do have some questions and would like to get your opinion on them.

    I am a 28 year old woman, and weigh 134 pounds, have been taking Armour 120mg for about a year now. When I first started on this journey of having hypothyroidism, I showed all signs and symptoms. I really have loved the changes that Amour has done. But, now I am having trouble losing weight again and I am slowly gaining weight, I work out 4 times a week and eat a pretty clean diet (Whole 30, 90% of the time). I am starting to become tired again, and I am breaking out on my face, neck and back.

    Do you have any ideas or suggestions of what I should be testing to see if there is another hormone that is deficient?

    Thank you for your advice,

    A concerned 28 year old

  52. Hi,

    I took Synthroid for 6 years and was impossible to lose weight; changed to Armour thyroid (30 mg and then 60 mg) 2 years ago and lost the weight I needed (very happy about it); it was when my dosage of armour was increased to 75 mg that I have noticed that I put the weight back on completely and I am experiencing itchy rashes, it’s being 5 months on the new dosage; I feel good otherwise but the weight and rashes showed with the increased dosage. any hints???

  53. I have been taking 120mg of Armour thyroid for several months. Prior to that, I was taking 90 mg. My last labs done last week showed t3 level was 275 with the 1.9 and t4 1.15. My doctor didn’t change anything however my heart rate has been 85 to 95 and I have been feeling anxious. I would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

  54. Hello
    I am on 105MG of Amour and I still feel awful. My ears ring nonstop, my hair is still falling out and the brain fog is really making it hard to function every day. I have anxiety so bad that I hide from everyone when I’m not at work. I have lost all hope of feeling normal again. Please advise!!!!

  55. Hi Doc, Great site and article, and you may have solved my problem. I had a partial Thyroidectomy about 20 years ago. About 2 years ago, my remaining gland exhausted itself, and that’s when my problems started. I started to increase my Armour Thyroid dosage slightly, but my hair got thinner and my belly got bloated. When I did the FT3, I always came out very high. Then I did the resisting body temperature test in bed, and I was low 36.4. I have now increased my dosage to about 370 mg, and my body temp is now 36.6 perfect. I still have bloating, and thin hair, but I after reading your article I think I know why I need such a high dosage. I take 4 calcium/ magnesium capsules each day, spread out. I try to wait at least 1/2 hour before taking an Armour tablet, but you are saying wait 4 hours or take them at night. And the bloating problem can be explained as a high dosage contains many impurities, which as you say can cause bloating. In closing, what you have printed here has, or will, change my life for the better. Many thanks, and I hope I have helped a few out there with a similar problem, John.

  56. I just started on Armour Thyroid and find that the joints in my thumbs are sore, could this be related to this? they are sore to the touch. I am taking 60mg

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’ve never seen that as a side effect of armour, at least not in my patients. It may be related to something else! But one way to find out is to switch or temporarily alter your dose.

  57. Hello, I have been taking Armour thyroid for about 7 weeks. I got my bloodwork done last week and my TSH dropped from 3.3 to 2.8 (which is good) but my T4 also dropped substantially from 1.3-.85. I find this concerning especially because I am wanting to get pregnant in the next couple of months. Should I be concerned about this? If so, what should I do about it? Should I switch medications? I really don’t want to go on T4 only medications as I have heard of so many bad side effects from them.

    • Hi Rebekah,

      Not necessarily, many people who start NDT notice a drop in their T4 due to the T3 in the medication itself but it’s not necessarily an indication to stop taking the medication by itself.

  58. Hello.
    I have been taking Armour for about 10 weeks, and I have gained about 4-6 lbs. I am very fit and eat very healthy, and haven’t changed anything except starting armour. I take 30 mg/day (2 x 15 mg in the morning). I swallow the pills. My TSH went from 3.3-1.93 in 10 weeks. Am I on the correct dose? Any explanation for the weight gain? Thank you. Should I speak to my doctor about other medications?

  59. Hi! So my tests came back and apparently my TSH, T3, T4 are all in the lower side of optimal ranges (so I though they were OK) but my physician insisted that they should be on the higher end instead. He started me in nature throid 1/2 grain twice a day and at first I felt like I was drugged and tired plus I experienced extreme hair loss which freaked me out! So they changed me to Armour Thyroid 60mg and hair loss still happening (I have half of the amount of hair I used to have or even less) plus my anxiety and depression came back and I had to stop it …three days free from Armour and I no longer feel depressed ! Do I really need to take NDT if I only want to slightly increase my thyroid levels ?

    • Hi Ximena,

      If you aren’t symptomatic, and your thyroid levels are normal, then you most likely do not need to take thyroid medication.

  60. I suffered from migraines since I had thyroid surgery and I was placed on Synthroid. I finally got a doc who would listen that agreed the headaches were related to the thyroid meds and switched me to Armour. I felt a difference almost immediately, and have not had a migraine since he put me on Armor, and am finally starting to gradually lose weight. I also feel human again. I actually have energy and feel like I can do more than just go to work and then to bed. I feel like a new person.

  61. Hi Dr.Child
    I was on 88mcg synthyroid and 15mcg Cytomel and never felt great always thought my levels were to low but a Dexa Scan revealed osteopenia and my Endo went to toon town telling me my bones are going to crumble and I could have heart failure because my TSH indicated I was hyper…at no point have I ever had hyper symptoms absolutely the opposite I was a wreck with massive body pains,weight gain and terrible mood swing.

    Fast forward to today I MADE the switch to Armour Thyroid and my Endo started me off on 2 grains..am I correct that im taking the equivalent of 120mcg Synthyroid and 18mcg T3? I was also diagnoised with Psoriatic Arthritis and apparently Ive been in a flare that was brought on by having the thyroidectomy and was told I have a lot of inflammation because of it….should my armour increase to accommodate my psoriatic arthritis? I’ve only been on Armour Thyroid for 4 days still tired I know it will take time thats why Im not too worried about it.

    Thanks Grace

  62. I have been taking Armour 30mg for 3 months. I feel amazing! During my last visit, my T3 went down 1 (17). My Dr wants to lower my dosage. What would make the T3 go down?

    • Hi Kim,

      If your T3 went down it doesn’t really make sense to reduce your dose. Many different things can cause your T3 to go down including issues with thyroid conversion and absorption.

  63. Hi, thanks for all the information. I’ve read many of your articles. I am in Canada and have been taking natural Thyroid 90mg (equivalent to 3 seeds of Armour I think). I still feel terrible. TSH and t3 and t4 all normal but I have thyroid antibodies of 300 to 400. No weight loss (i eat very healthy and exercise hard 5 days a week) and all the same symptoms that I initially had before being diagnosed. Could the natural Thyroid meds not be working on me? Should I switch to synthetic meds? I have a specialist appointment in January but I’m sooooo frustrated. This affects every aspect of my life now every day even though I try to be positive and not dwell on it.

  64. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism at age 18, I am now 60. I have been on Armour for the last 15 years (currently 60mg-90mg) and done quite well. Recently I have gained 12 lbs and cannot lose a single pound. I have not changed my diet or exercise. I am only 5’2″ so 12 pounds shows a lot! I have had to buy new clothes even. I am always tired, foggy brain, dry skin, etc. More so than previously. Not sure if I need to switch to something else. My last blood work showed TSH .339, but what I am most concerned with is my Free T3 was 3.47 and my T3 Total was 1.58. Free T4 is 0.65. and T4 is 5.5. What should I do?

  65. Dr.Childs
    I’ve been on Armour Thyroid 2 grains for 7 weeks roughly 4 to 5 hours after I take the 2 grains I get mild heart palpitation and mild breathlessness I’m not sure if it’s the Armour Thyroid since these things happen 4 to 5 hours after I take it or if its something else or just me over reacting.

    Is it possible to be over dosed on Armour Thyroid and not feel it until 4 to 5 hours later? I have no thyroid.

  66. This is all great Information. Ive been taking armor for 6 years now and have been steadily gaining weight since I started taking it. It’s really freaking me out at this point I’m up 25 lbs and can’t seem to lose any of it short of starving myself. I’m active and eat well. I asked my doctor to add T3 but he won’t. I’m being treated by my general practitioner. My question is, how do I find someone that will listen to me and at least consider some of the things mentioned here. I also say and endocrinologist and he didn’t even want me to take Armour. He wanted to switch me to Syntroid. No way!!! I also have low energy and I seriously suffer from the cold weather in the winter. Help!!!!

  67. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I was taking .88 mcg Levothyroxine for about 3-4 years, PLUS 1 drop of nascent iodine and one tablet of Arctic Sea Kelp, and had experienced weight gain and not feeling quite right after taking Synthroid for 40+ years of my life (I have a thyroid gland but it operates as if I don’t). I went to an endocrinologist, and requested to be changed to Armour Thyroid based on my internet research. He put me on 1 grain which I have been on for a little over a month.

    I was feeling better, and less sluggish, but now that the other supplements are most likely out of my system, I’m feeling overly tired again. I go back to the doctor next week for new lab work to see where my levels are now that I’ve been on Armour for about 39-ish days.

    Could it be that I’m underdosed and perhaps need 1 1/2 grains of Armour? No other symptoms except some sluggishness, and a tad brain fog.

    I go to the gym regularly, eat healthy, 62 years old and maybe overweight by 5-10 lbs max, so I’m thinking some of the extra weight may just be mid-life, post-menopausal “gunk.”

    Thank you, this article was incredibly informative!

  68. Excellent article thank you. I’ve been on Armour (Lexi before that) for hypo for years. Was diagnosed with Hashimotos two years ago. Many symptoms are getting worse – sweats, chills, insomnia, brain fog, fatigue, rashes, depression and anxiety, inflammation to the point of being disabling me many days. Do you know of a practitioner in MI who specializes in Hashimotos?

  69. I have tried Armour – 30 mg starting dose. 56-yo woman, went into menopause last May 2018, and then suddenly put on about 10-15 lbs. of weight. After starting Armour, I started having hot flashes, my hair fell out, my fingernails turned to mush, I would have chills in bed in the morning, and I lost about eight pounds. This horrified me, so I started cutting the pills in half, then in quarters. If finally stopped about 12 days ago and, in the last three days, have put on four pounds of water and feel the familiar tightness in my ankles from fluid retention. I am still having hot flashes. I am following dr. Amy Myer’s protocol and diet. No gluten, no dairy, various supplements. Otherwise, I am very healthy. What am I doing wrong? I feel awful without the medication, but I feel worse with it.

    • Hi Vanessa,

      It’s impossible to say for sure what is happening without lab tests both before and while you were taking the medication, but it sounds that you need a tighter dose adjustment and that you were probably taking too much for your body.

  70. I have been on Armour Thyroid for about 18 years. I take 30 mg 3x/week and 60mg/.4x/week. I try to go to endocrinologists to help me regulate this medication. But, they all want to put me on Synthroid or levothyroxine (which I recently tried ..75mcg of levothyroxine…for 5 days and hated the effects…I became jittery and felt as if I was jumping out of my skin, I felt “fuzzy” in my hands and body!) So, I stopped it and went back on Armour. I guess my quandary is this: I look at your symptoms of excessive and insufficient doses of Armour and I get confused. On the EXCESSIVE side…I do get jittery, have excessive and intermittent sweating…I can be sitting and feel so warm…need to put my hair off of my neck…on the INSUFFICIENT side…I have brain fog at times, dry skin, hair loss (I can make a wig out of the hair that is on the floor!) I am extremely sensitive to changes in temperature…On the FILLERS AND DYES side…I have acid reflux and excessive bloating. I can’t seem to find a doctor who is not schooled in Synthroid-type of medications. I struggle with fatigue and that “fuzziness” in my body at times. Would a product like WP Thyroid or NatureThroid be one of my suggestions to my doctor? I know you can’t “prescribe”…but I’m reaching out for some sort of education. Thank you…BTW..thank you for this article.

  71. I had thyroid cancer in 2010, and have been trying to regulate my thyroid medication intake since then. My first endocrinologist had it much too high, which gave me severe muscle spasms and other side-effects, but she refused to lower my medication except in small 6 week changes. The high dose was 150 mg of Synthroid. After about 7 months, I was able to find another endocrinologist who immediately lowered my dose to 75 mg. I asked if I could take Armour thyroid, and he did put me on 75 mg of Armour Thyroid. That helped a lot, but my TSH was still so low it wouldn’t register. We finally were able to regulate it to 60 mg with 15 mg every other day. Unfortunately, he retired and I now have a PA, but she will not do a thyroid panel with T3 or reverse T3. I did finally talk her into doing a Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody, and it came back as 13 IU/mL. My TSH is .26 uIU/mL, so now my PA has dropped my medication to 60 mg only. I am still having both hypothyroid symptoms and hyperthyroid symptoms and I am now gaining weight, even though my food intake is less because I’m not hungry. I don’t know where to turn because doctors here in Boise, Idaho aren’t familiar with Thyroid problems. It seems to be an orphan disease. I’m glad to find your site, so hopefully, I can figure out what to do now. My question is, does my TPOab show that I might have Hashimoto? I’m sure I had it before my thyroid was removed because it started right after my first child was born and I was hyperthyroid. After a year it changed to hypothyroid, and I finally found a doctor willing to prescribe a low dose of Synthroid. After about a year, it went into remission and I could stop taking the medication. About 20 years ago it flared up again, but I couldn’t get a doctor to believe me for 10 years. Then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Could I have had Hashimoto disease and could I have it still? My doctor won’t even entertain the idea since I had my thyroid removed.

    • Hi Lorene,

      It’s impossible to remove 100% of your thyroid gland so it is possible to still have a minor element of Hashimoto’s if there is any thyroid gland remaining. Typically, though, the symptoms in this setting would be very minor compared to those with more thyroid gland tissue.

  72. A very informative post, Dr. Childs. I am on 1.5 grains of Armour since 2013, at 53 yrs was finally diagnosed after an 80lb weight gain on the same controlled -weighed and measured 1200 cal food plan.
    While I was was warmer and the joint pain improved, I have never been able to lose weight no matter what I do. I weigh my food have a journal, construct my macros, etc.
    I have noticed that if my carbs are too low (below 150 net) I feel hypo. HRT also affects something but I’m not sure what. Does it make the Armour more effective??

    I can only eat 1400 cal to maintain but I don’t lose. 204lb, 5’2” obese. It’s disheartening
    Dr. Overwhelmed by my case, I think he thinks I am dishonest.
    I believe I have been hypo all my life judging on symptoms.

    Seeing a new Doc next week.

  73. I have lost weight on Armour, only 10 lbs. but it’s early days. I put up with feeling lousy on Levo for 3 years, but feel better than I have in many YEARS. My endo kept me at 3.8 and thought that was “fine”. She did RAI before I knew better, and she thought thyroid storms were “fine.” Now I’m retraining my GP about thyroid and fired the endo.

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