Synthroid vs. Pig Thyroid


Oink, oink. Have you tried Pig Thyroid, also known as desiccated thyroid or Armour Thyroid? Well, I did just that. I’ve been waiting for an appointment with a doctor who prescribes it, but given the long wait for a new Endocrinologist, I decided to talk to my primary care physician about it.  I walked right into my doctor’s office and plead my case. After two years on synthetic, lab produced Synthroid, I was ready for a change.  I flat-out told my doctor I wanted to give Armour a try. As a patient, I’m entitled to options and a good doctor will listen to what a patient wants, one would think. Miraculously, my family doctor agreed to let me try Pig Thyroid, a  more natural form of treatment. Desiccated Pig Thyroid or  more commonly known as Armour Thyroid, is made from pig thyroid glands. Only USDA inspected, grain-fed pigs are used.

Armour Thyroid is a thyroid hormone replacement used for thyroid disorders and contains both T3 and T4 hormone versus Synthroid that only contains T4 hormone.  T4 is thyroxine and T3 is known as triiodothyronine. The issue with Synthroid is that it only offers the body T4. Now T4 is supposed to make T3 but without regular blood testing how can we be sure T4 is converting into T3? Too much or too little of these hormones can cause ill effects and a multitude of symptoms. This begins my story of Synthroid versus Armour.

For almost the past year, I’ve been taking 100mcg of Synthroid. Do I feel 100%? No. In fact, everyday is a toss-up. One day I wake up and feel like I could rule the world. Other days I wake up…well, I’m up but can’t get out of bed for the life of me. And so that’s how it goes living with thyroid disease. It’s been a huge adjustment, not only for myself but for my family, as well. They, too, struggle with my disease. My husband and daughter have been extremely supportive and when I need to stay in bed and sleep, they let me. There are days I sleep for 15 to 20 hours, at a time. How on earth can a person sleep that long? I’m not quite sure, but those of us with hypothyroidism sure can knock  sleeping out of the park!

As I said, it was time for a change and trying a new medication might be the answer. Or so I thought. About a month ago, I finally got my wish and was prescribed Armour thyroid (desiccated pig thyroid) by my family doctor. The first week I had noticeable energy. I also noticed mild headaches. Into the second week, I still had a boost of energy but the headaches became increasingly worse. By the end of the second week, I felt like I was going to die. My head felt like a 10lb sack of potatoes and I could  no longer fake a smile. I couldn’t see straight and my blood pressure had spiked to unsafe levels. Ugh. Just what I need. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, but so does high blood pressure. The two were a lethal combination. Help!!!

Now, to discuss the conversion between Synthroid and Armour. As I stated, I’ve been taking 100mcg (micrograms) of Synthroid for the last year. My doctor prescribed me 30mg or 1/2 grain of Armour Thyroid. See the conversion below:


I was prescribed 30mg or 1/2 grain of Armour Thyroid. That’s equivalent to 50mcg of Synthroid. I started taking 50mcg of Synthroid two years ago, at first diagnosis. Every six months my doctor increased my dose. I’m by no means a doctor but considering I’ve been taking 100mcg of Synthroid for the last year, shouldn’t I have been prescribed the Armour equivalent of 60mg or 1 grain? Remember me saying that too little or too much thyroid hormone replacement can cause ill affects? Yep. Ill effects all right. I felt like death was ensuing me.

Needless to say, blood pressure is nothing to mess with and with mine being 160/110, it was pertinent that I be taken off  Armour Thyroid. I’m back on 100mcg of Synthroid and already feeling much better. I’m back at it in the gym and cooking for the family, again. Has anybody had ill effects from taking Armour Thyroid? If so, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

For now, I’ll stick to my Paleolithic diet and daily exercise.

I know what works for one person doesn’t work for all, but at least I gave Armour a try. Remember that show Baywatch? A former Baywatch actress, Gena Lee Nolin is one of the biggest advocates of hypothyroidism. She takes Armour Thyroid and loves it. Check out her site here for some really great resources.

As always, go to my Pinterest page and follow my Hypothyroid Board!


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