Thyroxine is the most widely prescribed medication to treat hypothyroidism. It is a synthetic form of thyroxine (T4), one of your key thyroid hormones.
How effective is thyroxine for hypothyroidism?
Many individuals fail to experience improvements in their hypothyroid symptoms by taking thyroxine.
They continue to suffer with the frustrating symptoms of a low thyroid.
Looking at the role of the different thyroid hormones it becomes clearer why a single prescription of thyroxine may be inadequate.
The thyroid normally manufactures and releases two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
While T4 does have some effects, it is considered the ‘storage’ thyroid hormone. T4 is converted to T3 by the cells of the body when a greater thyroid response is required.
T3 is more potent than T4 and has far greater effects on your overall health and vitality.
This means T4 needs to be converted through to T3 to be the most effective.
The same scenario applies when you are taking a prescribed T4-only medication. The effects are more noticeable when the T4 is efficiently metabolized to T3.
Low T3 leads to a range of low thyroid symptoms.
If your T3 has been low you will notice significant improvements in your hypothyroid symptoms when your body is able to convert a larger portion of T4 to T3. T3 helps stimulate your body’s ability to burn calories for energy which has far reaching effects in the body.
T3 helps spark energy production, weight loss and can help fire up brain activity to improve memory and concentration. This scenario also applies to prescribed thyroxine; the effectiveness of this drug is more noticeable when the body is able to convert the T4 to T3.
It is widely assumed the body will efficiently convert a T4 based thyroid medication without any problems. This assumption seems to go unquestioned by many medical practitioners. However this fails to occur for many individuals. You do not get the full benefit of your T4 medication when it is not being converted to the active T3 form.
Do you have a T4 to T3 conversion problem?
The process of converting T4 to active T3 is dependent on optimal amounts of zinc and selenium. When there is a deficiency of either of these two minerals you will experience far less activation of your T3.
Lowered conversion of T4 to T3 also occurs in response to dieting, stress, toxicity and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Many thyroid health experts advocate the use of a T4/T3 combination medication, or even a T3-only medication. Using a combination of T4/T3 or single T3 can compensate for the body’s reduced ability to effectively convert T4 to T3.
The most commonly prescribed T4/T3 medication is called Armour Thyroid. This alternative thyroid medication contains a precise mix of T4 and T3.
A Naturopathic viewpoint
From a Naturopathic viewpoint there is a broad range of factors that influence thyroid health. To see real improvements in thyroid health it is important to identify and address the underlying root causes.
A nutritional product that provides a comprehensive range of nutrients to assist healthy thyroid hormone activity is recommended. A good quality product features at the very least iodine, zinc and selenium.
Note: Leveothyroxine medication is typically advocated for life and requires ongoing monitoring. Do not discontinue or change your medication without the informed consent of your prescribing medical practitioner.
Watch the following videos
Louise O’ Connor, the author of The Natural Thyroid Diet –The 4-Week Plan to Living Well, Living Vibrantly, who is a specialist in Thyroid Health. She is a highly regarded Australian Naturopath and founder of Wellnesswork.
The Natural Thyroid Diet goes beyond diet advice and offers practical and effective ways to achieve healthy thyroid levels within just a short period of time. For more details, Click on The-Natural-Thyroid-Diet.com