Understanding Thyroid Health
Get the information you need about effective customized medications from a trusted compounding pharmacy.
Living with low thyroid function, also known as hypothyroidism, is a struggle for many men and women. In fact, the condition affects as many as one in twelve Americans. While women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from subpar thyroid function than men, both can experience problems with thyroid health.
At Towne Lake Family Pharmacy, our team of compounding pharmacists customizes medications to meet unique thyroid needs. We base our holistic approach to treating thyroid disorders on the reputable field of functional medicine and work side-by-side with your personal physician to assess and treat your condition using the highest quality compounded preparations.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a result of the thyroid gland not producing enough specific hormones crucial to the body’s optimal functioning and health. Many other factors and conditions can exacerbate hypothyroidism, making it a complex disorder that does not always respond to traditional medications.
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Excessive fatigue
- Increased cholesterol and blood pressure
- Painful and prolonged menstruation
- Constipation and nausea
- Anxiety, irritability, and depression
- Insomnia and low-quality sleep
One of the primary struggles with hypothyroidism is that many physicians don’t closely assess the underlying issues causing the disease, such as low testosterone, poor nutrition, inflammation, and heavy metal toxicity. And while traditional medications often do not meet patients’ needs, some physicians do not acknowledge that conventional treatments are ineffective. As a result, patients continue to suffer and do not know about more effective options available through compounding pharmacies.
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Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Grave’s Disease
Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is very common, and yet it is an under diagnosed condition. It affects approximately 20 million people, and women are 5-8 times more likely to suffer from it. The most common cause of low thyroid activity is the autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune attack on the body’s thyroid production that significantly inhibits the level of essential hormones in the body. 90% of hypothyroid patients have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis but don’t even know it. In this disorder, the immune system creates antibodies that attack healthy thyroid cells as if they were bacteria, viruses, or some foreign body, leading to the death of thyroid hormone-producing cells.
On the flip side of Hashimoto’s is Grave’s disease, another autoimmune disease that causes autoantibodies to induce excessive thyroid hormone secretion. When not properly treated, some patients go between Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease, with Hashimoto’s being more prevalent.
Testing for just TSH and T4 is not adequate for the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease (which, as mentioned, accounts for most cases of hypothyroidism). But TSH and T4 are all the only lab tests done by most conventional medicine practices when hypothyroidism is suspected. Most patients are told their thyroid labs are “normal.” But is ‘normal’ optimal for the individual patient?
Misdiagnosed Hashimoto’s is more common than most people realize.
Even when patients present with persistent symptoms of hypothyroidism, many physicians still do not test for Hashimoto’s, not even for those on medication like levothyroxine whose symptoms persist. Most patients on levothyroxine still have some or most of the symptoms of hypothyroidism like fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, elevated cholesterol, and blood pressure, painful and prolonged periods, depression, muscle weakness, hair loss, and many more. It is like taking pain medicine for a headache but getting partial relief. TSH and T4 levels do not distinguish between hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. It is therefore important to do a full thyroid panel (TSH, free T4, free T3, TPO, TgAB, Reverse T3, Ferritin, Vitamin D) that includes TPO and TG antibodies. An ultrasound to check for nodules is also important for the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s.
Underlying Causes for Thyroid Dysfunction
Addressing the root causes of an underactive thyroid, particularly Hashimoto’s, is very important for effective treatment. Interference with the function of the thyroid gland can be caused by exposure to endocrine disruptors or toxicants often found in food and items such as:
- bisphenol A (BPA);
- flame retardant compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB);
- xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen);
- chlorine found water systems and pools;
- bromide found in plastic, baked goods, sodas;
- lithium used in medications and drinking water;
- fluoride used in toothpaste, water;
- aluminum found in cooking pans and antiperspirants;
- heavy metals like lead, cadmium, cobalt, etc.
Other factors that can impact thyroid hormone balance include:
- chronic stress;
- chronic inflammation;
- food sensitivities to gluten, dairy, soy, grains (particularly corn), nightshades, nuts, and seeds;
- nutrient deficiencies such as selenium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, Iron/ferritin-iron storage, thiamine, zinc, magnesium;
- digestive issues;
- adrenal dysfunction.
The Right Thyroid Medication Can Make A Huge Difference
The conventional treatment for hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s is to prescribe levothyroxine, which works well for some but many others continue to struggle with the symptoms of hypothyroidism. One of the reasons for that is, for levothyroxine T4 (inactive hormone) to work, it must first be converted to its active form called liothyronine T3. Several other processes and factors have to all be in place for the proper conversion of levothyroxine T4 to liothyronine T3 and most patients do not normally have all the pieces in place for that to happen.
Factors like nutrient deficiencies, bad gut and liver functions, and chronic stress producing excess cortisol, suppress the conversion process. That means a lot of patients on levothyroxine T4, may also need liothyronine T3 medication in addition. However conventional practitioners are hesitant to prescribe T3.
Most patients feel a lot better on a combination of T4 and T3 therapy. Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) and compounded thyroid can make a world of difference in how patients feel. NDT cannot be customized for some patients who may need more or less T4 or T3 medicine in the pre-made tablets, and that is where compounded preparations come into play. With compounded thyroid preparations, the exact dose for an individual patient can be prepared upon the order of a physician.
Why Choosing the Right Compounding Pharmacy Matters
Several strengths and forms of natural thyroid (compounds?) are only available through a compounding pharmacy. Towne Lake Family Pharmacy can blend T4 and T3 powders to achieve a specific ratio by prescription from your physician. Most medications available commercially contain excipients and fillers that some patients do not well tolerate. Our compounding pharmacists can omit the problematic inactive ingredients, substituting fillers that are non-reactive to give you optimal results.
Compounded Thyroid Medication Could Harm You if not Compounded with Skill
Compounding T4 and T3 formulations are the most challenging medications to make. There is extra time and cost associated with properly compounding and testing formulations. Thyroid hormones are so potent that they are dosed in micrograms (mcg) instead of milligrams (mg). If a patient’s prescription requires a 25mcg of T4 capsule, which is a precise and extremely small amount, being off even slightly can have toxic or even deadly effects. It is extremely important to find the right compounding pharmacy with the skill and expertise to make them accurately. There is simply no room for error or cutting corners.
The most common mistakes inexperienced or unqualified pharmacists make with T3/T4 formulations include:
- Miscalculations with the amount of T3 or T4
- Improper or ununiform mixing with the formulation’s filler
- Not thoroughly testing the formulation after compounding
- Not knowing the difference between T3/T4 pre-concentrate and pure T3/T4
A Better Solution to Improve Thyroid Health
The compounding team at Towne Lake Family Pharmacy has witnessed first-hand the dramatic improvement patients can experience when we compound custom thyroid formulations with the proper ratios of T3 and T4. Patients who have not noticed improvement from taking commercially available thyroid hormones, like liothyronine and levothyroxine, often experience improved health and a better quality of life with our unique formulations.
Furthermore, many patients do not tolerate the common fillers and excipients in commercially available medications. Our custom compound dosages do not contain any problematic inactive ingredients, making them a safer choice for effective treatment.
Patients who have used synthetic hormones with subpar results often experience tremendous benefits from our natural compounds. Our compounding pharmacists work closely with you and your physician to develop the therapy and dosage that will help you reverse unwanted symptoms and health conditions related to adrenal dysfunction or thyroid imbalance.
Discover how the right thyroid hormone therapy can help.
Whether you are experiencing adrenal fatigue, thyroid disease or failure, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia; customized compound thyroid or adrenal hormone therapy may be the solution you need.