Synthroid (also know as levothyroxine) is a synthetic form of T4 and the most common medication prescribed for hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, many people continue to experience chronic and debilitating symptoms of hypothyroidism on Synthroid, including:
– weight gain
– brain fog
– hair loss
– low mood
– and more…
There are three BIG reasons why you still might have symptoms on Synthroid.
1. Your body isn’t using the medication efficiently.
While T4 is the most abundant hormone the thyroid produces, T3 is the most active form. T3 is the hormone that acts on all the cells in your body to create positive changes in energy and metabolism. In healthy persons, T4 is converted to T3 in the body naturally. However, for many people (especially with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease) this doesn’t happen properly.
Want to know if you’re producing T3 in proper amounts? Have your FT4 and FT3 tested, and then do this simple calculation: FT4 divided by FT3
An optimal result should be around 3, which means your body is efficiently producing T3.
Results over 3 indicate what thyroid experts call a “conversion issue”. This is a very common roadblock to feeling better on Synthroid but don’t worry, it can easily be improved.
Bottom line: You can have all the T4 in the world, but if your body isn’t converting it to T3, you may still feel hypothyroid.
2. You’re not addressing the root cause
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Disease. This occurs when the body begins to attack the thyroid and slowly destroys the thyroid tissue, making it impossible to produce adequate hormone amounts naturally.
While medication can be an important part of feeling better with Hashimoto’s, it’s not enough. You need to address the inflammation and autoimmune process that created your thyroid problem in the first place.
If you have symptoms like joint pain, hives, chronic digestive concerns, or already have an autoimmune disease, you need to be properly assessed for Hashimoto’s. Read about The Seven Signs This Common Condition is Causing Your Thyroid Disorder for more information about Hashimoto’s Disease.
3. You have nutrient deficiencies
Low nutrient levels are very common with low thyroid function and can leave you with lingering symptoms of fatigue, hair loss, brain fog and more. I talk about the most common nutrients deficiencies and how to test for them in another blog post entitled The 3 Nutrients I Check in Every Single Thyroid Patient
What can you do?
- Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about how to support optimal T3 levels with nutrient therapy that helps the body use Synthroid more effectively. You can also consider a thyroid medication that already contains T3. While Synthroid works well for some, others finally find symptom relief once switching to a different form medication.
- Assess for Hashimoto’s Disease by asking for your thyroid antibodies (AntiTPO and TgAb) to be tested at your next lab work. If positive, get to work addressing your root cause to decrease inflammation and the autoimmune process.
- Check your nutrient levels and supplement accordingly under the advice and care of your healthcare professional.
Have questions? We’re here to help!
Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND