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This is a common question that a lot of people have: what’s the main difference between Armour Thyroid and Synthroid? Which one’s best?
The answer: it depends on what kind of thyroid condition you have. In any case, it’s important to have all your facts so you can make an informed decision.
Let’s dive into this topic.
In this article, I will cover:
- Basic information about Synthroid
- Basic information about Armour Thyroid
- Understanding your hypothyroid condition
- Final verdict
Synthroid is a synthetic T4 thyroid hormone. Another name for T4 is levothyroid or levothyroxine.
To really get what this means and how it works in the body, you have to understand basic thyroid function.
The pituitary gland releases a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The purpose of this hormone is to tell the thyroid to release T4 and T3. T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone and T3 is the active thyroid hormone, and the T4 actually converts to T3.
We have about 20 times more T4 in our bodies than we do T3. A good way to think of it is that T4 is kind of like the pre-hormone or the reserve. T3 actually does the work in all of the cells. It controls:
- The speed of your metabolism
- Body temperature
- Heart rate
Because Synthroid is a synthetic version of T4 - and not T3 - there’s going to be a slight delay in function when you take Synthroid.
In general, it will take about four weeks before you start seeing improvements on this medication. The T4 needs that time to convert into T3, and almost every single cell in your body will use that T3 once it’s converted.
Unlike Synthroid, this is not a synthetic hormone; it’s a natural extract that comes from a pig’s thyroid.
Armour Thyroid doesn’t only contain T4. It also contains T3 and other thyroid hormones, including calcitonin. Calcitonin is a hormone that you don’t really see a lot of data on, but it’s a very important compound that only the thyroid makes. It primarily helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the blood. It can also, by extension, regulate bone density.
Because it has such a combination of compounds, Armour Thyroid takes two weeks (rather than Synthroid’s four weeks) to really start making changes in the body.
If your doctor is recommending that you start on Synthroid, mention this alternative and ask your doctor why he/she is not giving you calcitonin. This is especially important if you’ve had your thyroid removed.
Which Is Right For You? It Depends on Your Hypothyroid Case
Here’s the thing - if you want to understand which medication will work best for you, you first have to understand what thyroid problem you’re dealing with.
Overall, you will take these medications if you have a form of hypothyroidism. If you have hypothyroidism, you can experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Hair loss
- Mental sluggishness
- Weight gain
That said, there isn’t one type of hypothyroidism, and you have to understand what kind you’re dealing with in order to pursue the appropriate treatment plan for you.
Do You Have Problems With Hormone Conversion?
If your problem is that you’re not converting T4 to T3, then Synthroid is not going to work at all.
There could be many things that cause a hormone conversion problem.
First, realize that the conversion mostly happens through the liver and the kidneys. So there could be a problem with the liver or your gallbladder.
Specifically, you could have problems like:
- Fatty liver
- Liver inflammation
- A congested gallbladder
- Problems with the kidneys
All of these things can interfere with the conversion, as well as certain missing nutrients. In any case, do your due diligence and determine if this is the source of your thyroid problem. If you have a conversion issue, you will likely present with hypothyroid symptoms, normal TSH and T4, and low T3.
Other Conditions Causing Hypothyroidism
I believe that most hypothyroid problems are secondary to something else. For example, too much estrogen, cortisol, or insulin in the body will suppress thyroid function. You can have an overproduction of these hormones for various reasons, including poor diet, stress, and other day-to-day factors.
Keep in mind that, if you are concerned about your thyroid health, there are also a few other natural thyroid extracts out there. One of them is called Nature Throid, and the other one is NP Thyroid. Feel free to research these on your own and discuss these alternatives with your physician.
Word of Caution: Hashimoto’s
If you are reacting negatively to any of these medications and you get the symptom of extreme fatigue or flu-like symptoms, then you probably have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, which is an autoimmune condition.
The way to look at Hashimoto’s is that you basically have an allergy to your own thyroid gland and you are making antibodies. These antibodies are preventing the thyroid from working correctly because they raise inflammation. You also have histamines involved, which make you tired.
So if you have Hashimoto’s and you take more thyroid extracts, you’re taking things that your body is reacting to or allergic to.
As a result, you’re going to be excessively tired. Now, this excessive tiredness could also be caused by the extra ingredients that they put in these medications - things like corn starch and dextrose that can affect your blood sugars.
Now I did create a video of a potential solution for this exact situation, and you can check that out here.
So Which One Would I Recommend?
I do like Armour Thyroid simply because it has the whole package, so it’s something to consider.
That said, I really can’t tell you to take one versus the other. All I can do is give you plenty of information so you can do your research, consult with your doctor, and make an informed decision.
Overall, though, if you’re taking any medication and you’re not seeing a change in the symptoms that you went in with, then you may want to consider another solution.
Up Next: -
- Does Ketosis Cause Hypothyroidism
- Hypo and Hyperthyroid Simplified
- Use Vitamin B1 for Hyperthyroidism Symptoms
Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.