Synthroid® (also known by Levothyroxine and Thyroxine) is a medication often prescribed for the treatment of Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease. While some patients see improvement from Synthroid, many get no relief from taking this medication.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck. Its function is to regulate metabolism, heart rate, bone development, mood, brain function, and muscle function.
If the thyroid is not producing enough hormones, it can cause symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Hair falling out
- Increased cold sensitivity
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Brittle nails
- Decreased sex drive
- High cholesterol
- Infertility in women
The thyroid regulates T1, T2, T3, and T4 hormones. Generally speaking, it is very common for a doctor to order lab tests to only check levels for TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). If the test indicates that the thyroid is not producing enough hormone, then the patient is usually prescribed Synthroid, which is the inactive version of T4.
Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, this does nothing to alleviate the symptoms or to help the patient as there are other conditions that can occur with the thyroid gland that do not show up on a TSH blood test and which should not be treated with Synthroid.
In some people, T4 is being produced in sufficient amounts, but their T4 is not being converted into T3, which is the ACTIVE form of the thyroid hormone. It is T3 that the cells need in order to function properly. If this is the case, and your doctor has prescribed you Synthroid, you are most likely not going to feel any better by taking this. You may even feel worse, as this can contribute to another imbalance known as Reverse T-3 where your symptoms of Hypothyroidism are further exaggerated.
Think of it like a car that starts sputtering and then stalls out. The first thing that should be checked is to see if there’s gas in the tank. If there is, then you move on to what else might be wrong that’s causing the problem. In this comparison, it would be that the gas (T4) isn’t able to convert into T3, and thus, be utilized by the engine (cells) so that it can drive. Adding more gas (Synthroid, i.e., T-4) isn’t going to solve the problem because it’s not the right kind of fuel. This isn’t realized when the correct diagnostics are not used.
Another factor that should be taken into account is Hashimoto’s Disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your own immune system’s antibodies attack the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s is a fairly common cause of Hypothyroidism. However, if it’s not able to be diagnosed and treated, then the root cause will never be identified. T4 Synthroid will not only be useless in treating it, the condition will worsen over time. The thyroid testing that we do at Renewed Vitality includes checking to see whether antibodies are present, which are a strong indicator of Hashimoto’s.
Other factors can contribute to Hashimoto’s including depletion of cortisol, which is affected by traumatic and/or chronic stress, and this can be both physical and emotional stress. As well, there are numerous other factors that can send your immune system into overdrive and these need to be isolated and addressed as part of treating Haashimoto’s.
Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease do not usually just go away. They can be treated IF the treatment is the correct protocol (and the doctor knows how to interpret the lab results). There may be other underlying deficiencies which may be contributing as well, so it’s crucial that all functions of the thyroid be checked. Imbalances with the thyroid gland can wreak havoc on our health and the way we feel.
At Renewed Vitality, our providers specialize in treating disorders of the thyroid. We don’t want to just treat symptoms and thus always look for the underlying causes. We want you to feel your best again.