Is Prescription Thyroid Hormone Necessary?

Prescribing Bio-Identical thyroid hormone is becoming more and more popular among doctors when treating patients with fatigue, memory loss, cold hands and feet, muscle and joint pain, depression, high cholesterol, hair loss, constipation, and other general symptoms that are difficult to manage with traditional medical treatments. Over the past several years, I have seen a large influx of patients that had been placed on hormone replacement. These individuals responded well to thyroid hormone initially (2-3 months) but were no longer receiving benefit from its use.  Furthermore, many of them reported symptoms such as dry eyes, dry and bleeding nasal passages, and dry hair and skin. Most of them were also experiencing greater
loss of hair.

What you should know about Thyroid Hormone:  Your body makes thyroid hormone (T-4) from food constituents that we obtain from the diet (amino acids from protein and certain minerals). This form of the hormone, T-4, is not active and must be activated by other nutrients (vitamins and minerals) into something known as T-3. T-3 is the active form of thyroid hormone that works to increase an individual’s metabolism thus giving them energy. Certain nutrient deficiencies and stress can lead to the production of Reverse T-3. This form of T-3 is not effective and leads to symptoms of hypothyroidism. Reverse T-3 is cannot be distinguished from T-3 in traditional thyroid lab reports. In addition, other nutrient deficiencies can decrease the responsiveness of our body’s cells to T-3, thus also causing symptoms of hypothyroidism. For these reasons lab reports commonly performed by physicians that look at TSH, T-4, and T-3, can be misleading.

Remember that prescription thyroid hormone whether bio-identical or not will have an immediate positive effect, but keep in mind that your body has the ability to make it’s own thyroid hormone providing that all the essential nutrients necessary are present in the diet or through supplementation. Many patients that come to me initially are taking some form of thyroid medication. After addressing their nutritional deficiencies it is very common that the medication becomes unnecessary.

Want to know more?

Read Dr. Osborne’s column on Thyroid Disease in Fort Bend Focus.