Thought you would all like to have this information — It is from an article
Frequently Asked Questions About Thyroid — From a thyroid website….Dr. Ward Dean, M.D.

Disclaimer: Please note that only your own physician can determine your precise needs, but in order to give you some information about Thyroid issues I post this article.


I am currently taking synthetic thyroid but wish to move to a natural thyroid, what dosage of the natural thyroid supplement is equal to the synthetic version?

This is a difficult question to answer, at least to be precise because there is no standardized equivalent about transferring from a synthetic thyroid to a natural one, much depends on the blood work and how you feel.

One of the issues that can cause complication is that Synthetic Thyroids such as Synthroid® only contain T4, this has to be converted inside the body into T3 the active form of thyroid; however for some patients this process is sometimes poor and therefore leads to lower than required T3 levels. However as a natural thyroid such as Armour® and Westhroid and Nature Throid contains 4 – 5 thyroid hormones (T1, T2, T3 and T4), and not just ONE, it means that the body doesn’t need to struggle to convert into T3 etc. And it is one of the reasons why Armour® and other natural Thyroid supplements are considered by many to be superior products.

A good expression of an active, healthy thyroid is shown by our body temperature. If you take your temperature before getting out of bed, over a couple of weeks it should be pretty consistently in the range of 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is regularly less than that it could be that you are in need of taking thyroid, especially with other hypothyroid symptoms. If you are on thyroid medication and the body temperature is low in the morning, then a little more thyroid may be is required. Yet, if your temperature is high, with a higher than 75 beats per minute when resting, and you are feeling hot with pounding heart keeping you awake at night, and you are taking thyroid replacement, then then perhaps less thyroid is required.

Dr. Ward Dean says, don’t treat the blood, treat the patient so sometimes a little more thyroid can overcome low energy, poor temperature control, poor sleep etc. However you should ensure that your resting pulse rate does not rise above 65-75 beats per minute.

Dr. Thierry Hertogue recommends that the synthetic thyroid is (ideally) reduced by a quarter each week and that the natural thyroid is introduced by a quarter dose each week, therefore within a month the natural Thyroid can be introduced.

A typical regime would be in week 1 the levothyroxine is reduced to 75mcg (I appreciate that tablets are often 50mcg but that would be 1 ½ tablets) and introduce natural thyroid at 15mg. Week 2 levothyroxine 50mcg and natural thyroid 30mg, week 3 levothyroxine 25mcg and natural thyroid 45mg, week 4 levothyroxine 0mcg and natural thyroid 60mg and thereafter 60mg daily.

This regime is of course dependent upon body temperature, blood tests and the health of the patient. It may be that your final natural thyroid dose will be slightly lower or higher than 60mg – but that is the typical average dose for a patient.

Can I take my vitamins, minerals etc at the same time as my natural thyroid supplement?

There is no harm in taking both thyroid (Armour, Westhroid, NatureThroid, Acella NP Thyroid or WP Thyroid) and vitamins together at more or less the same time, except calcium should be separated by 4 hours. Natural Thyroids are often best taken in two or more doses through the day to keep the level of the drug constant in the blood. This can be in the morning, about 20 minutes before food, and try to not have caffeine beverages for 1 full hour, then you can take the rest of the dose around 3:00 pm. Some people like to take the second dose before sleep. (cut the pill in half)

Should natural thyroids be taken on an empty stomach or with food?

Most instructions ask for them to be taken 20 minutes before food on an empty stomach.

Is it a good idea to take a break my thyroid treatment from time to time?

If you need to take thyroid medication, then you must continue taking it daily without missing any days. The dosage should be monitored at least twice yearly by your doctor, and more frequently if you feel fatigue or are hyperactive or have insomnia. It is very common that Thyroid dosage needs to be re-adjusted sometimes two or three times a year, sometimes less.

I now take 100 mcg of Synthroid every day. I want to take a similar amount of Armour. Could your experts advise me on how much Armour I should take a day to be approximately equal?

It is a difficult question to answer, at least to be precise because there is no standardized equivilant. One of the issues that causes the  complication is that Synthroid® only’ contains T4, and this has to be converted inside the body into T3, the active form of thyroid, however for some patients this process is sometimes poor and therefore leads to lower than required T3 levels. However as natural thyroid contains all 4 thyroid hormones (T1, T2, T3 and T4), it means that the body doesn’t need to “struggle” to convert into T3 etc. And it is one of the reasons why Armour is considered by many to be a superior product.

The best way is to continue monitoring the situation as you do now, with blood work to maintain the levels you require. However, some good physiological actions to monitor were recommended by Ward Dean, M.D. as follows:

“In the 1940s, Dr. Barnes realized that the blood tests were usually inaccurate. Consequently, he developed a simple test to confirm suspected low thyroid function using an ordinary thermometer. He found that normal underarm or oral temperatures immediately upon awakening in the morning (while still in bed) are in the range of 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. He believed that a temperature below 97.8 indicated hypothyroidism; and one above 98.2, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Dr. Barnes recommended that the underarm temperature taken immediately upon awakening be used to diagnose hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, even today’s highly sophisticated tests are no more accurate than the tests used in Dr. Barnes’ era. Therefore,

If a patient exhibits hypothyroidism symptoms and his temperature is below 97.8 it is typical to prescribe one grain (60 mg) of Natual, Desiccated Thyroid daily, (ed.With your MD prescribing). If no improvement is noted in two or three weeks, the dose needs to be increased. At each step, the morning temperature and heart rate are monitored. If the suspected hypothyroid symptoms are still present and the temperature is still sub-normal, it is safe to continue to increase the dosage provided that the patient’s heart rate goes no higher than the mid-70s, and no symptoms of hyperthyroidism are evident, (agitation, anxiety, poor sleep, tremor of hand, palpitations).

Treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone is very safe. There is little risk of excessive thyroid dosage if: (1) the patient feels well; (2) the temperature remains below 98.2; (3) the pulse is less than 75 beats per minute; and (4) the thyroid function tests remain normal. (Note that most hypothyroid patients feel best with sub-normal TSH levels).

With this in mind and considering that your current Synthroid® medication is low-mid range in its dose, you may want to start as Dr. Dean suggests at 1-grain (60mg) of natural thyroid and monitor the situation to see if more is required. Please note that natural thyroid  is now also available in 90mg tablets, which means there is now a step between 1 and 2 grains (which probably wasn’t around when Dr. Dean wrote said article).




Reduce or stop thyroid supplementation if you feel unwell, your rising-from-bed-in-the-morning temperature is over 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit, your resting pulse is more than 75 beats a minute or your thyroid function blood tests are abnormal.

The dramatic improvements that many of my patients have achieved on thyroid therapy often appear miraculous! — Ward Dean MD, Florida


About Emi Miller

Emi Miller has practiced Integrative Holistic Medicine for thirty years. She is a Registered Nurse, Nationally Certified Holistic Nurse, NCCAOM Certified Asian Bodywork Therapist, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, and an Interfaith, Stephen Minister. Emi is also a meditation teacher and Pastoral Care Counselor. She has been a student of the world's Spiritual traditions for more than fifty years, and blessed to receive wisdom from many Masters and Saints. She is dedicated to helping bring forth unity of the world's religious Ideals, and the reality of the One Creator of All. Besides her writing and studying the sacred religious traditions, Emi enjoys long walks by the ocean, music and theatre, taking journeys and discovering beauty in natural places, and visiting with good friends and family.
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