Why THYROID Medications Do NOT Work!
Weekly, if not daily, patients reach out to me to voice their frustrations. One of the most aggravating frustrations I hear is, “Dr. King, my thyroid medication is not working!”
All too often, patients follow up that statement with a laundry list of symptoms that have continued to occur while on the medications.
Why, if a patient has hypothyroid, and the doctor puts the patient on hypothyroid medication (ie. Synthroid or Levothyroxine), does the patient not feel better? Do you have any guesses?
After 10+ years of working with thyroid patients, I see a few reasons why patients are not improving, even though they are on their medication…
Autoimmune Disease Will Not Improve With Medication
Short term results do show that when a patient gets on thyroid support (ie. Synthroid, Armour, Nature Thyroid), a majority of them feel better, for a short amount of time. Over time, symptoms begin to return, with many patients having side effects from the medication.
As soon as I hear stories like the one above, I automatically assume the patient has an autoimmune condition, until I prove it otherwise.
“Dr. King, why would you ASSUME an autoimmune condition?”
Great question and statistics prove I am right, 90% of the time. This is because 90% of hypothyroid patients suffer from an autoimmune condition, called Hashimoto’s Disease. You read that correctly, 90% suffer from a disease that the thyroid medication is not designed to help.
Thyroid medication is designed to give you hormones; T4, T3 or a combination of both. Some are synthetic, some are glandulars, some may be bio-identical…but, all are given to support your body with hormone.
Now, giving the body hormones when it’s depleted is fine with me. However, you MUST figure out what is driving the autoimmune condition. Without getting the autoimmune condition under control, the medication will deliver hormones but your thyroid gland is STILL under attack! The medications will NOT stop the autoimmune condition from attacking its target…YOUR THYROID!
Your best bet, combine the medications with an approach designed to manage the autoimmune condition.
The Doctors are Giving You the Wrong Medication!
Wait a minute, the wrong medication? Yep! You bet! I see it all the time.
If you will, pull out your last blood test the doctor ran on you and lets see what thyroid markers they looked at. Chances are, for a majority of you, the doctors only ran TSH and T4. Sometimes, you may get lucky and get a T3 thrown in there.
For this story, I am going to stick with the TSH/T4 markers, since those are the commonly looked at thyroid markers patients send to me.
What is T4?
T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. Your thyroid releases T4 in abundance, about 93% of the hormone that is released from your thyroid is T4, versus T3, which only accounts for 6% of the hormone released (1% is considered unusable).
However, T4 is not enough to supply you with energy, run your metabolism and make you feel well. Your body must convert your T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone.
You want T3 levels to be high enough for your body to use. If not, good bye energy, metabolism, hair, sex drive, sleep, etc.
If the doctor only checks your T4 and gives you a medication that is T4 based (ie. Synthroid/Levothyroxine), your body may be screaming for T3 and you, and your doctor, will never know because the T3 levels were not checked.
How often does this happen? A TON!
It even happened to my father when the doctors destroyed his thyroid gland. The VA doctor (watch out for the VA, I have many horror stories to share) wanted him on Synthroid, but I wanted him on a T3 support. After almost 10 years of my father being on a natural T3 support (glandular), he is still kicking behind and feeling great.
Make Sure All More Than Thyroid Hormones Are Checked!!!
Are Your Other Organs Functioning Properly?
Maybe there are underlying issues that make it “seem” as if your thyroid is the problem, when in reality your thyroid has been affected by other organs not working properly. In this instance, I am referring to the adrenal glands.
Your adrenal glands have a direct feedback loop to your hypothalamus and pituitary glands, located in the brain. I have seen many instances where the adrenal glands were the #1 culprit affecting the thyroid. This is called Secondary Hypothyroidism due to Primary Adrenal Gland Dysfunction.
Your adrenal glands are your stress glands; chemical, physical and emotional stressors affect them. Over time, these stressors can overstimulate the regions of the brain that release TSH. If your TSH appears high on a blood test, and you have classic “thyroid symptoms” (due to adrenal dysfunction), your doctor will want to put you on thyroid medication.
BUT…the thyroid is the innocent bystander in this scenario. Why do the doctors not look at the adrenal glands? I don’t have an answer for that one.
Symptoms of adrenal gland dysfunction include the following:
- Difficulty falling/staying asleep
- Craving salt
- Slow starter in the morning
- Afternoon fatigue
- Afternoon headaches
- Weak nails
- Perspire easily
- Wake up tired even after 6 or more hours of sleep
- Gain weight easily/difficulty losing it
The above symptoms are very similar to thyroid symptoms, wouldn’t you agree?
When a thyroid patient shares they are not improving as they would have hoped, I always look at the adrenal glands.
Your liver and gastro-intestinal lining play a HUGE part in thyroid hormone conversion, and utilization.
Your liver is your body’s filter; filtering out toxins as it cleanses the blood, clearing off exogenous hormones that the body is exposed to, produces cholesterol and clotting factors, and processes most nutrients to help with absorption.
If the liver is not working optimally, one’s health may start to break down.
The liver also helps to convert 60% of T4 to T3 (the active thyroid hormone). That is a large amount of thyroid hormone being converted! Can you see how important a healthy liver is for proper thyroid function?
Your gastro-intestinal tract not only absorbs key vitamins and minerals, but it helps to convert 20% of thyroid hormone.
80% of thyroid hormone conversion is dependent upon a healthy functioning liver and gastro-intestinal lining.
Evaluating the entire body for dysfunction is important for your overall health, but even more important to understand why the thyroid medication may not be working. If any of the scenarios above are occurring, symptoms may still remain after years of taking thyroid medications.
Make sure your doctor is taking into consideration what I discussed. If they are not, print this article out and bring it with you on your next appointment!
If your doctor still doesn’t listen, give my staff a call and schedule a complimentary phone consultation and let’s talk about your situation: (866) DrKing-1.
Unsure If Your Thyroid Symptoms Are TRUE Thyroid Symptoms? Download One of my Health Questionnaires and See If You Have More Than Thyroid Symptoms (Category XIV and XV are the Thyroid Categories).