Daily Dose
October 29, 2002

from :William C. Douglass, M.D.

Hypothyroidism is a major illness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 13 million people. This condition is brought on when the thyroid gland does not produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones, which control metabolism and provide energy to every cell in the body. The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are extreme fatigue and weight gain.

For the past 40 years, most mainstream physicians have been treating their hypothyroid patients with a synthetic prescription drug called Synthroid. Unfortunately, this protocol has one major flaw: Synthroid doesn’t work!

In a study, patients scored better after receiving the natural thyroid Armour on 6 of 17 measures of mood and cognition than those on the synthetic drug Synthroid. Results of mood and physical status tests were better in 10 of 15 instances. The authors also detected biochemical evidence that thyroid hormone action was greater after treatment with natural thyroid rather than the synthetic.

I learned the crucial difference when I opened my practice in Sarasota, Florida in 1962. The “detail man” from Knoll Pharmaceutical was just about the first one up to the receptionist’s counter. He was in before I had even nailed my shingle on the front door to give me the gospel according to Knoll on the treatment of hypothyroidism.

So I put all hypothyroid patients I treated on Synthroid. The results were disappointing to say the least. Many patients did not respond. Wondering if the Knoll rep had left something out, I did a little additional research on my own.

Research shows that the thyroid hormone T3 is more active than T4-in fact, it is roughly four times as strong as T4. In the body, all T4 hormone must be converted into T3 in order to control metabolism. Many patients do not have the enzymatic capability to make that conversion. Synthroid is T4. After I discovered this fact, I switched all of my hypothyroid patients to a natural thyroid product (called Armour). Natural thyroid is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs and is a combination of T3 and T4. The majority of these patients experienced an almost immediate improvement.

If you are currently taking synthetic thyroid medication,
consult your physician before making any changes to your regimen. To locate a physician in your area who will be able to assist you with natural thyroid treatments, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine at (800)532-3688 or www.acam.org or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at (703)610-9037 or www.naturopathic.org.