Since the 1970s several new health issues and diseases have been "discovered". In 1980, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia were first noted. High cholesterol wasn't considered a widespread health problem until the 1970s, and depression has become an epidemic. In 1982, osteoporosis also became a health issue.
In fact, all these health issues have become closely related to undiagnosed or undertreated hypothyroidism.
For nearly 100 years, hypothyroid patients were given desiccated porcine thyroid (dried thyroid gland from pigs), and doses were increased until all symptoms were gone. Synthroid became the treatment of choice for hypothyroidism by the 1970s. This new drug contains only the storage thyroid hormone known as T4, leaving patients undertreated.
Dr. John C. Lowe has documented clear relationships between fibromyalgia and thyroid function. In fact, fibromyalgia patients benefit from thyroid treatment that includes the T3 hormone. Similarly, in the magazine "Alternative Medicine," Dr. Raphael Kellman indicated that an underactive thyroid may be the cause of Chronic Fatigue.
From an article by Irene Aleger, "The myth of osteoporosis began with the selling of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). With no evidence that HRT would even prevent or treat osteoporosis, a major promotional campaign in 1982 by the pharmaceutical company producing the synthetic hormone, suggested that it could prevent this disfiguring and disabling disease. Most disturbing, was the idea promulgated that all women are at risk for osteoporosis, after menopause."
The truth is that when hypothyroid patients are not diagnosed, or are inadequately treated with T4-only medications, pharmaceutical companies make a fortune from the drugs prescribed to treat what are essentially hypothyroid symptoms. Abbott Labs made $541.3 million in 2000 on Synthroid alone. SSRIs are widely prescribed for depression; add in the profit the drug companies make from statins for cholesterol, pain medications for fibromyalgia, sleep aids for CFS and Fosamax for osteoporosis and the amount is staggering.
Natural Desiccated Porcine Thyroid, also called Natural Thyroid or Desiccated Thyroid, contains the same hormones that your own thyroid would produce: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin, and that's why patients have found it to work so well. T4 is the storage hormone; T3 is the active, energy-giving hormone, and both are found in an 80/20 ratio in each 60 mg of desiccated thyroid. The T2, T1 and calcitonin is not measured, but it's there, according to Forest Labs, the makers of Armour.
Are there any non-prescription desiccated thyroid products?
One more well-known over-the-counter (OTC) natural thyroid is called Nutri Meds which is available in either porcine or bovine desiccated thyroid. You may find other OTC products on the shelf of your local health food store. But, these products are not regulated, and the potency appears to be much less than prescription desiccated thyroid.
Why is desiccated thyroid a better treatment?
Desiccated thyroid is superior to T4-only meds treatment (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Norton, etc) because it is natural (your body accepts all of it, unless you have an allergy to porcine), it contains both T4 (as the storage hormone) and T3 (the most active hormone and necessary for every cell in your body), as well as T2, T1 and calcitonin. T2 has an important role in metabolism. Calcitonin is the hormone which keeps the calcium in your bones, and certain doctors have noticed improvement in bone density with patients on natural thyroid.
Are there any beneficial supplements that I can take with desiccated thyroid?
Many patients take a Selenium tablet with their thyroid medications, which assists the T4 to T3 conversion. L-Tyrosine helps some patients, too. Your need for B-vitamins will increase as you improve your energy levels. Some patients benefit from iodine supplementation. Optimizing your vitamin D levels can also be important.