What is Armour Thyroid?
Armour thyroid is a drug for treating underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism. It can also be used to reduce enlarged thyroid gland, a condition called goiter and also manage thyroid cancers5.
Armour thyroid is natural since its ingredients are obtained from porcine thyroid gland which is derived from pigs. These ingredients contain levothyroxine (T3) and liothyronine (T4) hormones.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder where your body has inadequate thyroid hormones. This condition can slow down your body metabolism. Hypothyroidism is a common condition globally and studies reveal that many people have it but they are not aware. 6
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of this condition include:
Patients feel tired and weak. There is also weight gain in some patient while others may find it difficult to reduce weight. Patients have dry and pale skin and loss of hair on their skin. They are easily irritated and feel depressed.
Side Effects of Armour Thyroid
The use of armour thyroid can cause the following side effects:
Armour thyroid can also cause headaches in people using it. Headaches are pain people feel and most of the headaches can be treated by taking pain killers.
Armour thyroid can cause your heart to beat hard, faster or skip a beat. Most of these heart sensations are not harmful and resolve on their own. In case palpitations occur along with other symptoms, seek medical treatment. The symptoms that can accompany palpitation include:
- Sweating excessively
- Having difficulty in breathing
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling weak and confused
- Feeling pain in your chest, arm, neck and upper back
- When you find yourself fainting easily.5
This drug can increase your body temperatures which can lead to fever.
Armour thyroid drugs work by raising the level of thyroid hormones in your body in order to relieve you from the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It speeds metabolism which helps to reduce weight but this takes time for you to see the benefits.
However, many people who use armour thyroid drugs do not lose weight as they expected. This is because of the following:
- Wrong dosage– People with underactive thyroid may be taking too little or excess armour thyroid drug. Normally, T 3 levels in armour thyroid drugs are too little to initiate weight loss. In case a patient is concerned about under or overdosing, talk to your doctor who will test your hormone levels and adjust the dosage accordingly.
- Leptin resistance– This is a hormone manufactured by fat cells in your body. This hormone instructs your brain to increase the rate of metabolism so that your body burns fat quickly. When you have resistance to leptin, your brain is unable to receive signals that inform it to burn fat as a result you will still be heavy.
- Reacting to passive ingredients- Armour thyroid is derived from pigs and it also contains other ingredients other than thyroid hormones. You may react to passive ingredients in armour thyroid. In case your stomach acid is too low, it will affect digestion of the medicine and hence it will be difficult for you to obtain thyroid hormone sin the drug.
Armour thyroid drugs are associated lowering weight and as you lose weight, you may experience fatigue easily.
Other side effects of armour thyroid include:
- It can cause your heart to fail; this mostly damages the heart muscles and thus affects how blood is pumped around the body. When your heart fails to function properly, it may cause you to become fatigued easily and experience short breath whether at rest or active.
- It causes patients to be too anxious, nervous and be easily irritated.
- Armour thyroid also makes patients sweat excessively.
- It also makes patients become more sensitive to heat.
Merits and Demerits of Thyroid Supplements
- One of the merits of thyroid supplements is that they are similar to human hormones since they are derived from animals. Because the supplements are from animals, there are minimal challenges as compared to synthetic thyroid hormones. The pig hormone and its DNA is the same as that of human beings and it is for this reason that pig hormone is mostly used to produce thyroid hormones supplements. These supplements are all natural without other substances.
- Armour thyroid is not pure as compared to synthetic thyroid. This means that some ingredients that are not naturally found are left in the drug. For synthetic thyroid supplements, they contain only those ingredients the body needs.
- There are also wide variations among producers about the amount of hormones to be included in animal thyroid supplement. This makes it difficult to determine the exact dosing of animal thyroid supplement.
- Animal hormones have been used for a long period because they have T4 and T3 hormones. Research has shown that the body is able to change T4 hormones to T3 over time. Also, producers have also discovered how to manufacture synthetic versions of T 3 hormones. This makes the use of animal thyroid supplements obsolete.2
Prescription of Armour Thyroid
Before your doctor prescribes armour thyroid, you are required to inform the doctor the following: Past health record and your current health condition.
This medication should be avoided if you are suffering from adrenal gland problems. There are some health conditions which are not severe but you have to inform your doctor. They include:
- Heart diseases
- Coronary artery disease
Armour thyroid drugs are not harmful to the unborn child. But you have to inform your doctor if you are expectant so as to adjust the dose for you.
You should also tell your doctor any drugs you are currently using. There are some drugs that can interact with armour thyroid and cause severe health issues. They include:
- Estrogen and oral contraceptives
- Oral anticoagulant1
How to Take Armour Thyroid?
You must take medications prescribed by your doctor only and consume the right recommended dosage. Your doctor may conduct several tests on you to ensure that the medicine is working well; this requires that you go for checkups and do not miss.
In case, you begin experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism and side effects of this medication, talk to your doctor. Even if you are feeling better, continue to take the drug to finish the prescribed dose. Since hypothyroidism can occur throughout your life, you need to use armour thyroid more.4
- Armour thyroid http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-3694/armour-thyroid-oral/details
- Hypothyroidism. Available at https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone