Can the right dose of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) help you? Using 3 unique patient stories, I want to talk to you more about the benefits of NDT, and what you can do to start taking steps towards your optimal health today.
What Is Natural Desiccated Thyroid?
If you have hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid, you might have received a prescription for thyroid medication (Read: The complete thyroid medication guide), such as:
- Compounded thyroid
Maybe you have a prescription for one of two of the most common alternatives: a T3 and T4 combo—like Thyrolar or Liotrix—or a compounded synthetic medication made up to combine different amounts of either or both T3 and T4 and provide a specific potency for your specific needs, which some patients respond well to.1,2
However, natural desiccated thyroid NDT has some advantages you might otherwise miss out on.
Key Insight: From our experience, few patients know about NDT, but it can be a terrific ally in the fight against the symptoms of thyroid disease, like fatigue and weight gain.
NDT comes from the thyroid glands of pigs, an animal that produces thyroid hormones that are very biologically similar to our own. It contains all of the four thyroid hormones our bodies produce:
Bottom Line: The truth is that this form of thyroid medication (Read: Medication guide), is not commonly prescribed by mainstream doctors. This is a shame because NDT has many benefits.
The Benefits of NDT
NDT contains T2, for example, which is missing from all synthetic thyroid medications. T2 plays an additional potentially important role in metabolism, fat mass, and insulin resistance.3 (Read: Alternatives for a natural and healthier thyroid)
Key Insight: As a result, many patients may be missing out on this key added benefit, yet many patients report that weight gain and tiredness, which are both symptoms of a slower metabolism, are their main symptoms.
NDT is also useful for individuals whose bodies are poor at converting from T4 into T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, in some cases.4
These individuals may also hugely benefit from taking NDT, which ensures the body receives hormones in the right quantities, guarding against absorption and conversion problems.
Other patients simply do not respond well to treatments they have been prescribed before. NDT might also be an excellent option for those cases.
NDT can also make for a very convenient option. It can be taken just once per day and it’s cost-effective, too. (Read: What is the best medication for an underactive thyroid)
Manufactured by various different brands, including WP Thyroid, Nature-Throid, Armour Thyroid, and Bio-Throid, NP Thyroid, generics, and compounded NDT. You can learn more about types and brands right here.
Bottom Line: NDT may be uniquely suited to resolve hypothyroid symptoms better than other medications, and better than lifestyle approaches alone.
Do You Have Hypothyroid Symptoms?
Thyroid problems can affect anyone of any age and can lead to:
- Weight gain
- Cold intolerance
- Hair loss
- Sleep problems
- Memory loss
- Dry skin
- High cholesterol
- Chronic pain
If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, making changes to your medication or beginning a course of the right thyroid medication could change many aspects of your life on a very deep level.
Interested in evaluating the health of your thyroid? Here’s a starting point you can trust…
Those We Treat With NDT
Personally, I have treated many hundreds of patients using NDT. It’s the main core of my work. At Integrative Health, we see new patients with thyroid problems appear on an almost daily basis.
Key Insight: This is our specialty, and we often find that we’re the last resort for a lot of patients, who haven’t been able to find adequate relief from their symptoms by trying more conventional options, or even alternative options.
We also have the pleasure of working with patients from literally all over the USA. Sometimes they travel across the country to see us. Others like to work with us online.
In fact, around 30% of all our patients now receive our care via secure video conferencing (telemedicine) or phone consultation.
Now let’s look at some example of typical scenarios where NDT has made a difference in a patient’s life….
Case Study 1: Julie
Julie represents many of the patients that come to IH for treatment for thyroid problems. Married and in her 50s when she came to her first consultation.
She had jumped from doctor to doctor trying to find a solution to her weight gain and issues with fatigue for a long time (Read: 12 New revolutionary weight loss strategies for hashimotos). A business owner and led a very busy lifestyle.
Julie had been taking a compounded formulation containing both T3 and T4 for over a decade, and took levothyroxine (a T4-only medication) beforehand, for some time.
She had been feeling increasingly tired recently, as well as depressed. But another very noticeable symptom she had been suffering from was weight gain. Despite the fact that her dietary habits had not changed, her level of stress had also gone up.
Not being able to exercise because she’s so tired, Julie told me that her energy levels were a 4/10. And though she did sleep for 8 or 9 hours per night, she would not wake up feeling refreshed.
Despite these symptoms, which Julie had been struggling with for a decade, no medical practitioners had ever performed a thyroid ultrasound examination.
Thyroid Action Plan
So I decided to do a comprehensive wellness panel with Julie, looking at her:
- Levels of thyroid hormone
- Thyroid antibodies (Read: The 4 things you need to know about thyroid antibodies)
- Iron levels
- Thyroid Ultrasound
Based on the lab results, which showed low iron storage (ferritin) levels and an inactive thyroid, I decided to prescribe NDT in particular Nature Throid.
It took a couple of retests to get the right dosing for Julie (we always begin with a very small dose and slowly increase it), at which point, she reported feeling a lot better.
The lab results also showed that Julie had some food sensitivities, so I recommended that Julie follow the Adrenal Reset Diet (Click Here) for one month and eliminate eggs and dairy for 90 days to help get her digestive system and hormones back to where they should be.
I recommended thyroid supplements and also asked her how she might address the high levels of stress in her life.
Interested in nutrition to change your life? Here is a great place to start…
After 3 months, Julie reported feeling less tired. She had started to exercise, had lost some weight and was enjoying higher energy levels generally, as well as first thing in the morning.
Bottom Line: Six months after her initial appointment, Julie reported good health generally and that she was extremely happy with the NDT treatment.
Case Study 2: Adam
Adam was in his late 60s when he approached me with problems related to general health and weight gain. Was a business owner, though officially retired, so he had a busy lifestyle.
He was feeling less energetic than in previous years and was less active. Concerned that his cortisol levels might have dropped.
Adam had also put on some weight around his midsection. In fact, he weighed 220 pounds at the time and had noticed some muscle loss.
He was also having some trouble sleeping and was waking up later in the day after around just 6 hours of sleep.
Adam also liked to consume good quality coffee in abundance, as well as alcohol around 4 times per week. He was skipping meals with the hope of losing some of the added weight.
No other medical history or symptoms to report. Therefore, I decided to do some general lab tests to make sure Adam’s thyroid and other levels were okay.
Thyroid Action Plan
The blood work and a thyroid ultrasound revealed that Adam was suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, had elevated liver enzymes and that he was prediabetic.
This came as a shock to both Adam and me. It’s no surprise that he was consuming so much coffee to maintain his energy levels.
I started him on a low dose of NDT, Nature Throid and he responded very well. I also recommended that he do a liver cleanse for 3 months and that he embarks on the Adrenal Reset Diet. He agreed, and we had him eat more regular meals, too. (Read: How to cleanse your liver)
Key Insight: At the 6-week follow up, his TSH had normalized, indicating that we had found the perfect dose of NDT for Adam’s body.
At the 3-month mark, Adam reported feeling very well, more alert and with more energy than he had had in a long time. He had also lost over 15 pounds, despite adding no exercise into his routine.
Bottom Line: At 3 months, Adam was no longer prediabetic. His antibodies and liver enzymes had also normalized and he continued to slowly lose weight in accordance with his original goals.
Case Study 3: Catherine
Catherine, a 25-year-old woman, received the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease over three years before she came to see me.
She had been taking levothyroxine since then, but she was still experiencing a number of symptoms, including:
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Brain fog
- Cold intolerance
Her energy levels were around a 5/10, and she felt a distinct energy dip in the afternoons when she would often nap, despite the high levels of stress and pressure she felt due to her job. (Read: 14 Hidden causes of fatigue and their solutions)
Catherine wanted to lose 20 pounds and find a way to better balance her life so she could spend more time with family and friends.
She had tried exercise, but it was hard because it made her feel very tired. Catherine was also having problems sleeping, and waking unrefreshed.
Thyroid Action Plan
Initial lab results showed that Catherine had low ferritin, elevated TSH, and low vitamin D levels.
After a salivary cortisol test, I noticed that her stress hormone levels were also very high in the morning, afternoon and evening, which would explain why she might be having trouble sleeping.
Key Insight: What’s more, we found out that Catherine had autoimmune gastritis, and various food sensitivities. (Read: Can you reverse food intolerances)
I decided to try her on NDT to help balance her thyroid hormones, three series of IV iron to increase her stored iron levels (ferritin) and recommended Catherine take the daily reset multivitamin to support her natural thyroid function.
Catherine was also happy to cut out the foods that she was sensitive to for 90 days, so we could normalize her digestive function. Things went well.
I re-tested and adjusted Catherine’s thyroid levels until we’d reached the right dose to balance TSH levels, and Catherine lost weight.
She also had more energy and could exercise more. We saw her cortisol levels come down and her sleep improve as she was able to follow the recommendations and lower stress levels.
Bottom Line: After 6 months, Catherine’s health had fully stabilized and she continues to do well.
Would you like to find out if NDT could help you with your thyroid imbalance or symptoms? Book an appointment today so we can start reviewing your case as soon as possible.
Written by Dr. Roz Ranon of Integrative Health. Dr. Roz Ranon, NMD is an Arizona board-certified Naturopathic Physician practicing with Dr. C at Integrative Health with a focus on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.