A few months ago, I ran out of my Levothyroxine prescription. It was time for my six-month thyroid checkup, which meant that my doctor’s office wouldn’t renew the script unless/until I came in for the blood work. Unfortunately, money was super-tight at the time, and as a self-employed freelancer, I don’t have insurance (and not sure if Obamacare’s actually going to be of any help in that regard, but that’s a whole ‘nother post). With having to pay out-of-pocket for both the office visit and the labs, we were looking at having to scrape together a pretty big chunk of change. So I had the bright idea of seeing how long I could go without my thyroid medication.
The answer: about two weeks. That’s how long it took for the Levo to work its way out of my system completely, and once it did, hoo boy did I notice! One day I was relatively fine. The next, suddenly I felt like I had the flu, except without all the fun snot and hacking up a lung that goes with it. But I had the fatigue and the body aches, and a thick fog that seemed to settle over my brain permanently, making it so I couldn’t concentrate to save my life. Pretty much all I wanted to do was sleep.
I suffered through that for a couple of weeks, all the while trying to figure out how we could work my thyroid checkup into the budget. And then, thank the Lord, a Facebook friend reminded me about the existence of OTC desiccated thyroid. I did some research on the available brands, and settled on Natural Sources Raw Thyroid, a bovine thyroid supplement available at health food stores without a prescription.
So, after praying about it and discussing it with my husband, I ran out to my local health food store and bought myself a bottle. I came home and took my first dose with a meal, as advised. Within an hour, I felt SO much better. It worked so well that at first I was concerned that it might just be a placebo effect, but after taking it a few days, I felt my normal self again. I’ve been taking it for a couple of months now, and I don’t miss my Levothyroxine at all.
When doing my research, I found that there’s a lot of controversy surrounding desiccated animal thyroid, which usually comes from either cows or pigs (although porcine thyroid products, like Armour Thyroid, usually require a prescription). Opponents say that this treatment is old-fashioned (it was the generally accepted treatment before the invention of Synthroid in the 1950s) and that animal thyroid is unregulated, so you’re not getting the same amount of the active ingredients in every pill as with lab-produced thyroid medications. Proponents argue that desiccated animal thyroid provides both T3 and T4 hormones, whereas synthetic thyroid meds only provide T4. They also point out that the doctors who seem the most down on the use of desiccated thyroid receive a lot of money from the pharmaceutical companies that produce Synthroid and Levothyroid.
I’m not going to argue which side is the right one. All I know is, the Raw Thyroid supplement I’m taking seems to be working as well as — possibly even slightly better than — the Levothyroxine I’ve taken for years and years. Of course, I still haven’t gone to the doctor to check my thyroid levels yet, which is something I intend to do as soon as I can. Thyroid disease is serious business, and it’s just not a good idea to self-medicate like this without a doctor’s supervision.
That said, I did notice some side effects in the beginning (warning – male readers who get twitchy about discussions of lady plumbing should just skip on down to the next paragraph). When reading reviews before I bought the product, some female users mentioned that it caused breakthrough bleeding and spotting. This happened with me as well, and my first period after I started taking it was a few days late. But the spotting stopped after that first period, and after I got through an entire cycle everything was back to normal.
The other side effect was hair loss. Not overly excessive, but a lot more than usual was coming out whenever I combed or washed my hair. This used to happen on the Levothyroxine whenever I would take it too close to meal time or taking my multivitamin. Since the instructions on the Raw Thyroid bottle said to take it with a meal, that’s what I was doing, mainly out of fear that it would make me nauseated otherwise. But eventually I got up the courage to try taking it without food, and my stomach was fine. So I started taking it first thing in the morning and waiting an hour before my first meal, just as I used to do with my prescription med. Once I did that, my hair stopped falling out.
So if you’re like me and getting by without insurance, I definitely recommend this thyroid supplement as an affordable solution when you just can’t make it to the doctor. It’s also a good choice for anyone who prefers homeopathic remedies to big medicine — just, like I said, you still want to be sure to get your thyroid levels checked regularly. Also, from a prepper standpoint, it would be a lot easier to add several bottles of this stuff to your emergency stash than it would be to get your doctor to write you a prescription for extra Synthroid.
Do you have any experience with this product? Have you tried any other desiccated thyroid brands? Talk about your experience in the comments. I love to hear from you!