Issue # 137 September 23, 2013
Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.
Today, Tom Brimeyer is going to continue to explain how thyroid medications work and why it is not a one-pill-fits-all solution when dealing with thyroid problems.
You can read his first post here.
Thyroid Medications: Continued
Most people (doctors included) are stuck in the mindset that popping pills solves problems.
This kind of mindset is what really gets you in trouble.
It’s never quite that easy.
But wouldn’t it be nice if it were?
There are far too many variables and medicine is never an exact science.
This is why two different people with the same hypothyroid condition can take the same exact thyroid medication and have two very different results.
One such variable is digestion.
For example, one person may be able to properly digest their medication while the other cannot.
This can drastically affect the effectiveness of any medication.
Another such variable is related to other hormonal interactions.
For example, one person may have higher levels of reverse T3, which can block the T3 you are taking from getting to your cells.
Another person might have higher levels of adrenaline, which can greatly alter your reaction to thyroid hormone.
The important point to understand here is that there is no one single best medication, dosage, etc. that works for everyone.
There never will be…
There’s always going to be a degree of fine-tuning necessary to figure out what works best for you.
And what works best for you today may change as your digestion changes, reverse T3 changes, adrenaline changes, etc.
We’ll be discussing this in more detail…
But first, it’s important to understand some simple fundamentals of thyroid hormone, which really affect how they should be used.
You’re probably well aware of the differences between T3 and T4 and their effects.
But you may not be aware of how long T3 and T4 are active in your body once they are absorbed.
For example, T4 has a relatively long half-life, on the order of 14 days or more.
This means that if you took some T4 today, it would continue to work in your body for at least two weeks before it would be inactivated and leave your body.
When you take T4 daily, it will continue to build up over this two to four week period before it finally stabilizes.
This is why you generally won’t feel the full effects of T4 until after taking it consistently for two to four weeks.
This is also why you can adjust the dosage, skip a dosage, etc. and you typically won’t feel any immediate effect.
The half-life is so long that when used consistently, T4 levels remain relatively stable.
(This is assuming we are not dealing with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which can be a little different)
This is why many doctors believe T4 is safer and easier to manage.
But that’s just very poor justification.
The active form of thyroid hormone T3 is quite a bit different.
The half-life of T3 is much shorter.
We’re talking about hours, not weeks.
So, when you take T3, it is only active for a relatively short period of time before it becomes inactivated and leaves your body.
This is why using T3 has to be done with a lot more care.
Many doctors don’t understand this difference and wrongly prescribe T3 to be taken in the same manner as T4.
If used improperly, T3 levels can vary wildly during the day, which can cause some unwanted and unnecessary problems.
This is why most people respond much more favorably when they use T3 properly, which we’ll discuss next.
Remember how I mentioned that there are many variables that need to be accounted for when using thyroid hormone?
I discussed this at the beginning the email.
Because T3 is far more metabolically active and has a much shorter half-life, there are a lot more variables that we have to account for when using it.
But, if you can understand these variables and how to use thyroid hormone properly, it will make a huge difference in your life.
To learn more from Tom, you can check out his site here.