Question: I recently had a blood test done to check my thyroid antibodies and it came back extremely high. I have been on levothyroxine since 2002 when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism. I am now also suffering from premature ovarian failure at the young age of 40. Do you think I would benefit better from Armour Thyroid versus the levothyroxine that I am currenly taking?

Larry’s Response: I am one of the few people in the world who has decided that levothyroxine (alone) is basically useless – and may be harmful. Yes, levothyroxine (T4) is one of the important elements in good thyroid health, it is mostly inactive. The body normally converts T4 to T3 (liothyronine), which IS the active form. Many people suffer thyroid problems because of a lack of active T3. If they also have a diminished ability to convert T4 to T3, they will continue to have low T3, regardless of how much T3 is administered. The difficulty in giving larger and larger doses of T4 is that it can become harmful. T4 has side effects and in high doses a person can suffer from them – and still not obtain the benefits from the more active T3.

Yes, it seems confusing. However, low T3 levels (accompanied with elevated T4) can have a negative impact on other hormone systems – even the sex hormones. I often suggest combinations of T3 and T4 when a natural thyroid supplement is not available (or not wanted – some people reject products derived from animals). In recent months natural thyroid (Armour) has been hard to find. It is coming back on the market – slowly – and people are switching from a compounded combination back to Armour Thyroid. Some of these folks are complaining that changes in the Armour formulation has altered the way the product works. I don’t have personal experience with the new formulation. If all is working well in the manufacturing arena, I think the natural thyroid products (like Armour) are superior. They offer a mixture of thyroid hormones.

Simply, I’d think Armour Thyroid would be a better choice for someone with low thyroid. It is a topic you must discuss with your doctor.