Dr. David Clark, DC -Center for Low Thyroid Solutions Durham, NC- guides Hashimoto's sufferers through the debate about synthetic vs. biodidentical thyroid hormones.
Let’s talk for a second about the debate between what is best for Hashimoto's – synthetic thyroid hormones versus bioidentical thyroid hormones.
The answer is... neither one of them is best.
This is a real red herring of a debate that I see a lot of people that are suffering with Hashimoto’s and low thyroid symptoms get sucked into. They get sucked into this debate over, you know, which is better – synthetic or natural. The answer is there is no better one. It depends on what works for the individual.
In reality, the answer to the question to what hormone you should be on if you have Hashimoto’s is only about 10% of the battle. The other 90% of the battle is what are you going to do to calm down this autoimmune response?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of doctor's who don’t understand Hashimoto’s. They don’t understand autoimmune. They don’t understand really what triggers it, what perpetuates it.
So instead we get stuck on these useless moot debates about Synthroid versus Armour. Levoxyl versus Nature-Throid, and it doesn’t matter.
Just this past week, I had to give this speech...
I was talkng with a women whose TSH is over 10.0. She was never diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. We ran the tests....she’s got Hashimoto’s, but she just doesn’t want to be on a medication. She doesn’t want to be on a "synthetic medication." She wants to try one of the "natural things," but she doesn’t know what to do.
I said "Kim, you know, you’re killing yourself. You’re really punishing yourself for no reason. I mean, if you had a leg that was amputated, if you wanted to walk again, you’d get a prosthetic leg. Right? You wouldn’t just hobble around and crawl on the floor. You’d get a prosthetic leg. They make prosthetic legs to help that exact situation."
In Hashimoto’s it’s the same situation. In Hashimoto’s you’re going to lose pieces of your thyroid gland, and you’re never going to get them back. And being worried or having some kind of idealistic problem with being on a medication for that problem means you’re unnecessarily punishing yourself.
You deserve to have some kind of thyroid function. Right? You deserve to be free of low thyroid symptoms like:
- hair loss
- brain fog
If you’ve got Hashimoto’s, there’s a really good chance – I mean a really good chance-- you’re going to have to be on some type of thyroid hormone replacement at some point. But what kind of thyroid hormone replacement is going to vary from person to person. Let me explain why.
Some people do great on synthetic thyroid hormones. However, if you go to the internet and you starting looking in chat rooms, you’re going to see that people say "Synthroid is awful."
And it may be awful for that person who made the post...but synthetics do great for some people....and for some people bioidenticals are awful. They have a horrible time with bioidentical thyroid hormones. And here’s why...
When you have Hashimoto’s, you have an autoimmune attack on your thyroid gland. You start destroying the inside your thyroid gland. You start destroying the enzyme thyroid peroxidase and/or and you destroy thyroglobulin.
When you have autoimmunity and you’ve already targeted and attacked one tissue, the taboo is broken...your whole body is on the menu now.
The autoimmune attack can now progress beyond TPO and beyond Thryoglobulin...progress to now attacking your own hormones--T4 and T3.
If you’re that person who is now attacking your own T4 and T3, and you start taking Armour or Nature-Throid...and you have a really bad reaction to it...There’s a really good chance that what happened is you just put more wood on the burning fire.
You were already attacking your thyroid hormones, and now you just gave your immune system a whole bunch more fuel to attack.
I hope that makes sense.
That person usually does great on synthetic thyroid hormones.
But some people don’t do well on synthetics, and here’s why.
Synthroid, for example, contains fillers. These fillers can stimulate your immune system to be more out of balance, and you can have a reaction to them. You can feel inflamed, oir have more low thyroid symptoms.
That’s the basic two scenarios that happen---attacking your own hormones, or being wrongly stimulated by the fillers.
The fact is, if you’re watching this, you’re just going to have to find a doctor who’ll work with you, and you’re going to find which one works best for you.
Don’t get sucked into the debate about natural versus synthetic. That is so a waste of your time.
What you really have to do is focus on "what am I going to do to get this autoimmune thing under control?" Because the thyroid hormone replacement is going to do very little to address the autoimmune process.
And your autoimmune attack could keep on progressing and can move into other tissues. This is dangerous. Your immune system can attack your cerebellum, your pancreas....any tissue....and cause a more symptoms that are way worse than what you’re already feeling, and those are bad enough.
So you’ve got to find a doctor who understands that it synthetic or bioidentical doesn't really matter... just find out which one works for you. This doctor should understand that you could react badly to either kind, and if you do-- does NOT ignore it.
More important for your long term heatlh---you’ve got to find a doctor who understands how to get this Hashimoto’s autoimmune tissue attack under control and help balance your immune system.
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© 2011 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. David Clark, DC
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist