6 Tips to Make Your Thyroid Medication More Effective

How To Make Your Thyroid Medication More Effective

You Don't Need Your Doctor to Improve Your Thyroid

Ok, here's the deal thyroid patients:

I know that many of you are frustrated and feel that you are at the mercy of your doctor for how you feel day to day. 

But the truth is, you aren't. 

This may come as a shock to some of you while other patients may know exactly what I am talking about. 

Here's what I mean:

While it is true that you are at the mercy of your doctor when it comes to your thyroid medication including things like what type of thyroid medication you take and what dose you are taking, you still have complete control over other aspects of your life which help regulate and control your thyroid. 

There are still many things within YOUR power that you can change or adjust or take that can make your thyroid medication even more effective. 

It doesn't matter if your doctor has you on levothyroxine and simply won't entertain a conversation about swapping over to Nature-throid or liothyronine

It doesn't matter if your doctor is underdosing you on levothyroxine

And it doesn't matter if your doctor is unwilling to order tests beyond the TSH. 

There are still things that you can do to impact your thyroid medication. 

And we are going to talk about just that. 

Today you will learn:

  • What to do when your doctor isn't willing to budge on adjustments to your thyroid medication
  • How supplements can naturally how well your thyroid medication is working and converting
  • How making simple changes to when you take your thyroid medication can impact how well your thyroid medication works
  • How to ensure that you are getting as much thyroid medication into your body as possible through your gut
  • And more...

Some of these you may be aware of, and others may be completely new to you so make sure you read ALL of them. 

Let's jump in...

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6 Things You Can do Right Away to Make your Thyroid Medication More Effective

#1. Increase How Well Your Body is Converting T4 to T3 with Supplements

The first thing you should focus on is something called T4 to T3 conversion

T4 to T3 conversion is the process where your body takes the inactive thyroid hormone T4 and turns it into the active thyroid hormone T3.

This process is often neglected by both doctors and patients even though it's probably the single most important aspect of thyroid function. 

If you are taking a thyroid medication such as levothyroxine then this process is even more important. 

Why?

Because medications like levothyroxine (as well as Tirosint, Synthroid, and Levoxyl) only come with T4 thyroid hormone. 

This means that these medications are NOT active when you take them by mouth. 

And in order for your body to use them, they must first be activated. 

This is one of the primary reasons that thyroid patients who use these medications do not feel well. 

How can a medication do its job if your body can't use it?

It's something that should be obvious but, as I mentioned, is often overlooked by doctors. 

The good news is that there are things that you can do to enhance how well this process is working. 

There are several supplements, nutrients, and ingredients that you can take by mouth and in supplement form which help this process. 

In other words, taking certain and specific supplements can improve how well your body uses and metabolizes your thyroid medication. 

If you can brute force your body into activating the T4 thyroid hormone found in your levothyroxine and turn it into T3 then your thyroid medication will be more effective. 

So how can you do this?

There are many nutrients involved in this conversion process but some shine more brightly than others. 

My personal favorite nutrients include zinc, selenium, guggul, and rosemary extract. 

You can take each of these supplements individually and put them together or you can use a supplement such as this one which has all of the ingredients you need to enhance T4 to T3 conversion. 

This is a powerful way to enhance your thyroid medication because supplements are available over the counter which means you do NOT need a prescription to get them!

#2. Change WHEN you Take your Thyroid Medication

What many thyroid patients don't realize is that the time of day that they take their thyroid medication can impact how well their medication works. 

You have probably been told to take your thyroid medication first thing in the morning away from food, right?

This is antiquated advice. 

The reason doctors and pharmacists recommend taking your thyroid medication first thing in the morning is because they want you to take it on an empty stomach. 

While it is true that these things may interfere with your thyroid medication absorption there is nothing magical about taking it first thing in the morning nor is it required. 

It's not as if taking your thyroid medication at another time of day will suddenly render it inactive or make you turn into a pillar of salt. 

In fact, it's the opposite. 

It's fine to take your thyroid medication at any time of the day so long as you take it appropriately (more on this to come). 

It turns out that there are other times that may be more beneficial than taking your thyroid medication first thing in the morning. 

One of those is taking it RIGHT before you go to bed at night (1). 

Taking your thyroid medication right before you go to bed usually allows you to take it on an empty stomach because most people don't eat right before bed. 

In addition, your gut function is slower in the evening than it is in the morning. 

For reference, there is a reason that most people have bowel movements first thing in the morning...

Because this is the time that your gut is most active. 

Most people aren't in the habit of waking up in the middle of the night to have a bowel movement which is a big plus for those who take thyroid medication. 

Taking your medication at night means that it stays in your gut longer which means you can extract as much as possible from your dose. 

This means that your dose of thyroid medication is more effective even without adjusting the dose. 

#3. Improve how well Thyroid Hormone Works at the Cellular Level

Another aspect of thyroid function that you need to be aware of is something referred to as thyroid hormone cellular sensitivity. 

Like thyroid conversion, this is another often ignored aspect of thyroid function that is very important. 

Thyroid cellular sensitivity refers to how sensitive your cells are to the thyroid hormone that they encounter. 

If you've read any of my other blog posts then you probably know about hormone resistant syndromes. 

These are syndromes in which your body (and cells) become resistant to the very hormones that they are supposed to interact with!

When this happens with insulin it's called insulin resistance and the result in high blood sugar. 

When this happens with leptin it's called leptin resistance and the result is weight gain. 

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When this happens with progesterone it's called progesterone resistance and the result is estrogen dominance. 

Well, the very same thing can happen with your thyroid and if it does, it's called thyroid resistance. 

Obviously, if your body is resistant to thyroid hormone you are going to have a problem. 

If thyroid hormone can't interact with your cells then it can't do its job and you will feel it. 

This can occur even if you take all of the necessary steps to ensure that your thyroid medication is getting absorbed and converted! 

So what are you supposed to do?

You can brute force cellular sensitivity by using certain over the counter supplements. 

The two most important include Vitamin A (2) and Vitamin E (3). These vitamins are important because they are fat soluble vitamins. 

We care that they are fat soluble because that important detail means that many people are likely deficient in one or both of them. 

Unlike water soluble vitamins, there is a small risk of toxicity when taking fat soluble vitamins so many manufacturers of these supplements intentionally underdose them. 

It's a "cover your butt" move that happens to have a negative impact on thyroid patients. 

You can easily take Vitamin A and Vitamin E, though, to replace your levels and improve this process. 

I would recommend checking out a supplement such as this which combines Vitamin A and Vitamin E together along with other important thyroid nutrients all designed to help your thyroid function optimally. 

Feel free to get a different supplement, though, but make sure you find one with comparable A and E levels. 

#4. Focus on Gut Health to Increase Thyroid Medication Absorption

Ahh, gut health. It's just something that you can never really escape. 

It's important for just about all health conditions including thyroid function. 

For purposes of this article, we care a lot about gut health because it is the site of thyroid medication absorption. 

Any sort of issue in your gut can act to severely limit how much thyroid medication you swallow by mouth actually gets absorbed in your gut. 

This is important because you could be doing everything else right but it doesn't matter if that medication won't make it into your body. 

Imagine, for a second, that you are taking 100mcg of levothyroxine. 

If you have problems in your gut, you may be losing out on a huge portion of this medication because it can't get absorbed. 

If that portion is a little as 20% then that means you are only getting 80mcg of your 100mcg dose into your body. 

Treating your gut can help you extract more of your thyroid medication to ensure that it actually makes it into your body. 

In this way, targeting your gut can indirectly make your thyroid medication more effective. 

Not because it's doing anything special to the medication itself but because it is helping your gut absorb as close to 100% of whatever dose you are taking. 

Gut health is particularly important to thyroid patients because they tend to have many gut related issues. 

By virtue of how thyroid function impacts gut function, you are set up to develop inflammatory gut conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, fungal overgrowth, acid reflux, leaky gut, and intestinal dysbiosis. 

The first step to treating your gut is to identify whatever conditions you may have and then treat those issues. 

If that sounds daunting then another easy first step is to use daily probiotics and/or prebiotics which can go a long way to helping balance gut function. 

#5. Stop Taking Medications that Prevent Your Thyroid Medication From Working

We've been talking a lot about different ways that you can increase the effectiveness of your medication through direct means. 

You can increase how effective your thyroid medication is by focusing on absorption, by focusing on thyroid conversion, by focusing on your gut health, and so on. 

These are, in a way, like pressing down on the gas pedal. 

Now let's talk about lifting up on the brake. 

One way to do this is by taking a hard look at other prescription medications that you may be taking in addition to your thyroid medication. 

It may surprise you to know that many prescription medications have a negative impact on thyroid function. 

They can cause issues with your thyroid lab tests, they can directly inhibit thyroid function from the thyroid gland, and they can also limit thyroid medication absorption. 

Unfortunately, many doctors aren't aware of the negative interactions that can occur with prescription medications. 

There are a LOT of these medications that can cause problems so I won't list them in this article but I would highly recommend that you see the complete list here

If you are taking any other prescription medications then please see that article. 

It may sound like a complicated issue but it's actually quite easy to fix. 

There are usually many different types of medications that can be used to treat any given condition. 

So, for instance, if your blood pressure (4) medication is interfering with your thyroid function then simply switching to a different type of blood pressure medication should do the trick. 

#6. Make Sure You Take Your Thyroid Medication Correctly

Lastly, you want to make sure that you are taking your thyroid medication correctly. 

It may sound obvious and you probably think you are taking it correctly but many thyroid patients find that they aren't. 

Just double check this list here to ensure that you are doing everything in your power to ensure maximum absorption of your thyroid medication:

  • Take your thyroid medication either first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed
  • Take your thyroid medication at least 30-60 minutes AWAY from food (either before or after)
  • Do NOT take supplements at the same time as your thyroid medication, take them at least 30-60 minutes away from whenever you take your thyroid meds
  • If you are taking a dedicated calcium (5) or iron (6) supplement then make sure to take your thyroid medication 4 hours away from whenever you take these supplements
  • Do NOT take your thyroid medication with coffee (7) or caffeine

If you find that you are not following these rules then make some changes! It might surprise you how you feel afterward. 

Final Thoughts

This list is designed to help YOU as a thyroid patient feel better and take control of your health. 

Each of these things may help increase the effectiveness of your thyroid medication which may help you feel better. 

These things do NOT require a prescription and they can be done alongside other therapies that you may already be doing. 

It also helps put some of the responsibility of thyroid management in your hands which can be powerful. 

Remember:

No one cares more about your health than you do! If you put the responsibility of your health on your doctor then don't be surprised if you don't feel better. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Did any of the things on this list surprise you?

Were you already aware of these things? 

Did any catch your eye? Are you planning on implementing any of the strategies listed here?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

References (Click to Expand)

tips to make your thyroid medication more effective

Dr. Westin Childs

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 45,000+ people have used them over the last 4.5 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do here.

9 thoughts on “How To Make Your Thyroid Medication More Effective”

  1. Hello Dr Child’s
    What caught my eye was taking the Levothyroxine at night instead of the morning. Maybe I’m not getting it into my gut. I took my thyroid test they had to reduce my medication a little and said my cholesterol was a little high and to watch the bread, dairy, sugar I do try watching these foods I feel I ate eggs a lot because I heard they were good for my thyroid so I had eggs, avocado , apples for breakfast because I was trying to stay away from crabs to watch my weight but now I study that I need to eat more so I started a 1400 calories daily low carbs a since they said last my cholesterol went up I’m watching that now taking less. I had been taking spoon fulls of coconut oil because study show good for thyroid but study also show not good and that could have what raised my cholesterol between the eggs, coconut oil, and I was eating bacon in the air cooker too so now after all of that I have been walking I’m eating 1400 Calories daily and eating lots of green leafy salad , avocado, I throw a few pinto beans in with apple pieces. Is Cheerios okay with almond milk the Cheerios have 27 or 29 carbs I’m trying to get it right I stop taking my vitamins because I don’t know if they are right i do need your help I will try my medication before bed it’s only medication I take.
    Sincerely Linda

    Reply
  2. I ordered the thyroidectomy bundle. I am having trouble keeping my blood sugar down. Do you think these supplement will help with that. I did not have high blood sugar until thyroid surgery. Also I have cramps I legs in night and neck and sides but some better since my dr increase my NP thyroid meds. I have a tremor that has also developed in last two years. Isn’t that thyroid related? Please answer my questions.

    Reply
  3. Hello,

    Guggul is a new nutrient to me and I am wondering what you would say about reviews of some that take it that has resulted in hives, itching and even breathing issues. Is it a matter of dose? Thank you. Love all the info you have and share!! Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Hi Beverly,

      Guggul is in my #1 selling product, T3 conversion booster, so I’ve had the advantage of using it on tens of thousands of people. The symptoms you’ve mentioned here are certainly not frequent and I would say they are incredibly rare and most likely dose dependent.

      Reply
  4. I take progesterone at night before bed. If I switch my thyroid meds from morning to nighttime, can Ii take them at the same time as the progesterone?

    Reply
    • Hi Marlene,

      If you are talking about progesterone cream then it doesn’t matter. If you are talking about oral progesterone then it does matter and you wouldn’t want to use them together.

      Reply
      • Im taking
        progesterone orally
        Lio and levothuroxine
        your T3 conversion booster

        Would you please advise as to the optimum times to take these?

        Im also about to re-purchase your Leptin Resistance supplement.
        I intermittent fast with a 16/8 eating window. Cannot lose weight!

        Thank you! Love your helpful information!

        Reply
  5. Hello Dr. Childs,

    I recently had my blood work done for thyroid and hormones.
    I am 54 years old and had a thyroidectomy when I was 29 years old for nodules on my thyroid. I have not gone through menopause yet but going through perimenopause symptoms. I have always been estrogen dominant, which resulted in fibroids and ovarian cysts which I have had removed with surgery. Recently I have been experiencing weight gain and perimenopause symptoms, my doctor says I am not going through menopause because I am still having cycles but they are iregular.
    My question is about my thyroid levels.
    My T4 Free is 1.3 T3 is 4.7 and Reverse T3 is 14
    Estradiol is 291 and Progesterone is 1.4
    tests were taken on 21 day of cycle
    I am currently taking 175 mcg synthroid and T3 Liothyronine SR Veg 60 mcg
    My doctor lowered my synthroid to 150 mcg to lower my reverse T3
    and also perscribed Progesterone SR Veg 100 mg taken at night orally
    to help with perimenopause symtoms and estrogen dominant. My question is will lowering my synthroid help with lowering my reverse T3 and weightloss. In my past tests my reverse T3 has always been around 9-10. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Gina Plant

    Reply

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