Dieting with Obstacles - Anyone switched from Synthroid, etc to Armour?

09-26-2008, 03:29 PM
I've been hypo thyroid for 8 years, adn I take Levoxyl. My weight loss has been very slow for the amount of exercise and clean dieting that I do. I'm also insanely tired, hair falling out, etc. I had a dr appt this am with my internel med Dr, and I was going to as about having my meds increased, or to try somethign else, b/c I knew something was wrong.

My dr. thinks that my bloodwork shows teh right TSH level, but that my cells are not takins teh hormone in. So she wants to switch me to Armour.

Anyone BTDT? She also is testing me for IR. (PCOS was ruled out)

Fun Size
10-03-2008, 11:27 AM
I had a similar exp. I tried Armour and had stomach bloating. Then switched to Thyrolar and did very well.

There is lots of discussion about how some women need to take T3 in their thyroid preparation. Doctors sometimes assume that we are all, women, young, old, etc. and this is not the case. Armour can be a good solution. Thyrolar is similar, but not always readily available. If you are taking Synthroid, still having trouble losing weight and your hair is falling out....these are signs that you might need separate T3 or a combination medication.

There is a woman by the name of Mary Shomon (might not have that exactly spelled right). She has written books on the thyroid and a thyroid diet. She is very good. She advocates using Armour. Regarding the diet...if I recall correctly, she talks about cutting way back on bread and sugar, exercising regularly and taking certain supplements.

10-27-2008, 09:07 AM
My doctor had me on both Armour Thyroid AND Synthroid (Levothyroxin)... But I have issues with taking pills, and always start, stop, start, stop... But that did more harm than good...
Does anyone know WHY my doc would put me on both?? It seemed strange to me..:dizzy:

10-28-2008, 11:29 AM
Why didn't you ask the doctor? I never just take medication without knowing the reason. Thyroid medication must be taken 1 hour before eating on an empty stomach to be effective.

10-28-2008, 08:50 PM
I have been diagnosed now for 3 1/2 years. My issues are still uncontrolled by the Synthroid that I take. I asked my Dr. about switching to Armour. She said that she would do that if my numbers looked a little better, but because it is still so far from where it should be, she would only do it if I insisted. She said that her other patients on Armour had difficulty finding it earlier this year (that is that there wasn't any available to fill prescriptions).
I did convince her to test my T3 and TSH level rather than just my T4.

11-06-2008, 05:33 PM
you might want to check out the info at

i know MANY people that have switched from synthetic thyroid meds to Armour and are doing much better on the Armour. Synthetic thyroid meds only contain T4, and Armour contains BOTH T4 and T3. it can make a world of difference.


11-09-2008, 08:49 PM
I've been hypo thyroid for 8 years, adn I take Levoxyl. My weight loss has been very slow for the amount of exercise and clean dieting that I do. I'm also insanely tired, hair falling out, etc. I had a dr appt this am with my internel med Dr, and I was going to as about having my meds increased, or to try somethign else, b/c I knew something was wrong.

My dr. thinks that my bloodwork shows teh right TSH level, but that my cells are not takins teh hormone in. So she wants to switch me to Armour.

Anyone BTDT? She also is testing me for IR. (PCOS was ruled out)

Hi honey... I'm in the same boat as you. What are your TSH levels? Mine are still elevated, but they don't think they need to increase my meds or put me on anything else... but my weight won't budge. It's a neverending battle, I tell ya!
I was also tested for IR, and they said I didn't have it. However, when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time, I told the fertility doctor that I knew I was, despite what everyone said, he put me on IR meds (Metformin) and after 2 years of infertility, I got pregnant. So, even though my tests all came back normal, something was obviously going on. Now I have 4 kids, LOL!
Good luck honey, doctors can be so worthless sometimes.

11-19-2008, 10:29 PM
Why didn't you ask the doctor? I never just take medication without knowing the reason. Thyroid medication must be taken 1 hour before eating on an empty stomach to be effective.

Not only do you need to take it on an empty stomach, you need to wait 4 hours before having anything with calcium (calcium can block the absorption of many meds). Makes breakfast tricky, but I have whole wheat tost with PB & J every day. I went to a really great workshop about thyroid disorders and learned a lot. The biggest tip I got was to have TSH, T3, and T4 all tested to be sure that ALL of your levels are normal. If your regular doctor won't do it, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist who specializes in thryroid dysfunction.

11-20-2008, 07:25 AM
I just want to clarify so nobody gets confused. There are so many thyroid tests that it is easy to ask for one thing and get another. But when you say to get your T3 and T4 tested, you mean the FREE T3 and FREE T4 tests - right?

11-23-2008, 12:22 PM
I'm at 137mg of Levothyroxine per day. I was pretty stable at 125mg, but my numbers started changing a bit. Prior to dx, I had frequent pins & needles through my neck, shoulders, arms. I started having rapid heartbeat, problems with my hair & skin, etc. I was falling asleep at my computer by about 9PM (I'm usually up til about midnight). Getting on the meds has certainly been good for me, though it never did much for my metabolism/weight.

11-23-2008, 03:17 PM
I've been on Armour for about 8 weeks, and I think it;s just starting to make a difference. I feel less tired in teh afternoons. I'm still not losing weight like i think I should, but at least I am feeling a bit better.

I took a GTT to test insulin levels for IR, adn my insulin levels were low, so my dr says no IR or met for me. I saw a new endo 2 weeks ago who ran a ton of tests. some of my levels, like cortisol, are near the high range of normal, but everythign is within normal range. I think I'm just one of those people who has to work harder than most to lose weight...sigh!

12-15-2008, 01:47 AM
You guys in the states are so lucky you have more brands and choices of thyroxin to try than we do in Canada. There are only 2 here both synthetic thyroid name brand and generic. After an off handed comment I read here I started asking my internal med Dr to switch me over... he said that they were both the same... it would make no difference. Finally he told me that if I really wanted he would but really I was not going to see any changes. That was just over a year ago. I have lost over 60 pounds!! I even have dropped my dose. I haven't change much of my eating habits, but after I started losing weight I moved more got a job that is better than joining a gym (they pay me to lift and run). My blood results are good on both. But I really felt bad on the other one... my gp had gave me meds for depression. No wonder I didn't feel any real diff on the depression meds. Anyway keep trying you can feel better even with a thyroid problem

12-31-2008, 06:48 PM
Housewife, what meds did your doctor change you to? I have been on Synthroid and Levothyroxine for a # of years. They said my t3 was normal (after I asked to have it tested) But, even on Weight Watchers and other programs I lost very little and gained it back. I was on prednisone for one year (autoimmune disease) and maybe adrenals still not working properly. I do wish doctors had more training. I was going to an endo but the internist put a nix to that. (long story) I have had a small adrenal cyst for years but have been told that it is o k. Really at my wit's end because of the weight and now--knee problems and getting around. Dead tired all the time! Wish I knew what to do. Anyone who has lost weight with hypothyroid is doing something right. Thanks for listening.

01-02-2009, 06:13 PM
After almost 4 years, 2 endos and back to my regular GP I am finally feeling like I might be able to rejoin the world.
I had RAI twice and the waiting and waiting to see if anything was going to happen was cruel. As with so many others my body was on a downward roll. All of the bad things were happening to me (make the list so I can check all of the boxes) plus the worst, the weight gain and depression.
I was on levothyroxine (and others before) and just still felt so bad and getting fatter by the day. I even went to part time and lost my health insurance and other benefits at work and took my widows Social Security because it was too too hard to drag my aching body through what seemed like quicksand at work everyday and act like a happy person.
Anyway, at my wits end I went to my GP and told her that if I got to 200 lbs I could not be sure what I would do. Drama! She added the Armour Thyroid. What a wonderful relief but still no weight loss and here I am starving, not really but being good. I just couldn't get it out of my mind that I had to get off of the Levothyroxine. On my own, bad bad bad, I started taking 2 Armour in the morning and stopped the other completely.
Wow, talk about a new life. It has been 5 days and my world is coming back into color instead of black and white. Not enough time to be able to tell? Do I care if it's just the placebo effect? Not a bit! With the reading that I have done it appears that there might be an advantage to taking the Armour twice a day. That will be addressed later with my doctor after I get the courage to tell her that I have started dosing myself without going to medical school.
My take on doing all of the lab work is that it is Almost a waste of time and money. Many of you know how hopeless it is to be told that your labs are fine and there you are about ready to fall out of the chair in agony with a body that you feel is betraying you and no one will help.
In the few days since I re-medicated myself I have lost 3 lbs. Sounds like very little but since it was going up every day for months there is a small ray of Hope in my life.

01-02-2009, 06:20 PM
Uneducated guess: Doctor realized that you needed the T3 so added the Armour since you weren't making it on you own. You must try to find a doctor that will help you and then take your meds. I hate taking pills and even will suffer with a simple headache forever before taking anything. But, there are life threatening things that could happen without the thyroid meds so get yourself going, I know it's hard, and insist on being treated until you are feeling well. Good Luck!

01-08-2009, 02:31 PM
I was just recently (November) diagnosed with hypo. I was first put on levothyroxine and then switched to synthroid. I just had blood work done and all t4, t3, and tsh levels are fine, but i'm still gaining weight. is there a real difference between synthroid and armour and can it affect my weight loss?

01-08-2009, 03:24 PM
Yes there is a huge difference between synthroid and armour!!!

you said your t4 and t3 levels are fine. are they running the FREE T4 and FREE T3 tests??? and are those levels fine? do you have a copy of your blood work so that you can look at the exact tests that were done and what your levels are?

you might want to check out the info at


01-12-2009, 01:23 AM
Wow, I was told by my doctor that all of the thyroid medicines out there were the same with different names!! I am going to make an appointment with a NEW doctor and find out if a switch could help me...sometimes I feel like I will be bald in a day or so!! :)

01-30-2009, 06:47 PM
Another big test in the thyroid department that is usually overlooked is the thyroid antibody test. If your body is producing those, it diminishes the effectiveness of thyroid hormones. It's called Hashimoto's disease and is quite common. Keep trusting yourself and if a doctor isn't interested in getting you to the results you want, keep looking until you find one you like!!!


01-30-2009, 09:54 PM
that is exactly right Beth! those tests are very important too!

these are the exact thyroid tests that you should request your doctor to run


please check out the info at


02-14-2009, 10:27 AM
Are you still taking metformin?

My thyroid symptoms still exist and my doctor straight out said it doesn't matter as long as your blood tests come back okay (dumb@ss). Anyway, i was just recently tested and had a fasting blood sugar of 106. I exercise all the dame time and can never loose weight. I was just wondering if you had any more exp you could share with me? I trust people experiences more than my doctors single mindedness.

Thanks! Hope ur great!

02-14-2009, 12:05 PM
I'm curious if anyone has gotten that panel of tests mentioned by cathyxxx through a regular doctor and if insurance covers it.

I've been on synthetic thyroid for 32 years and in the past several years, my dose has been decreased. I was never told about the calcium issue until after I developed bone problems so I hope that you're taking calcium and taking it appropriately.

02-14-2009, 12:37 PM
sheila - my sister just had the blood work done. her gyno ordered them without her even requesting it and her health insurance is paying for the bloodwork like they would any bloodwork ordered by the doc.

drea - this is just my 2 cents - but if my doc told me that i would find another doc. he should be paying more attention to your symptoms then he is to your lab results. grrrrrr please be sure to check out the info

Yes I still take metformin.

02-24-2009, 10:03 PM
I switched to Armour from Levoxyl exactly a year ago. It did take me a while to get balanced again but it was worth it. I really think that if synthetic thyroid isn't working for you then switch. It's better to be foggy-headed for 3-4 months than not being sure if you are at 100%. I gained about 12lbs during that time, but honestly once I felt better it came off very easily (even with no thyroid!).

I just want to reiterate what others say about how important it is to take your thyroid medication. The risks are very, very real.

It's confusing, especially if you're having brain fog LOL, but well worth acquainting yourself with the info. Empower feels amazing : ) Good luck!

02-25-2009, 12:27 PM
So after reading this thread and doing some research, I finally asked my doctor if it would make sense to switch me from Synthroid to Armour. I told her that I was tired all the time, that my endurance was gone, my cholesterol was going up and that I was still gaining weight despite the fact that I was working out for 2+ hours a day. She said that she wasn't sure what to tell me because all my hormone levels were normal, but that it wasn't a good idea to switch me because of the "severe side effects" of Armour. She then said she thought I was depressed and would rather put me on anti-depressants instead. Well, no kidding I'm depressed...I workout for 2 hours a day and I'm giving myself a borderline eating disorder in order to lose weight only to have the opposite effect!!?! Wouldn't any normal person be upset about that??!

Anyway, sorry to rant there for a second, but I was just wondering if anyone else had a doctor say the same thing to them? I was also wondering what "severe side effects" she might have been referring to. I checked out some other websites and I didn't see anything that bad.

02-26-2009, 01:42 AM
Huh, "severe side effects." Before I switched I researched Armour and I did not find any info with such a warning. My endo said nothing about that either. Perhaps your doctor thinks the time it will take you to adjust to Armour is an issue? Even so, it isn't that drastic. Many of us have done it. You aren't going to feel any worse, that's for certain.

Is your doctor an endocrinologist?

I have to say I'm not surprised your doc suggested upping your antidepressants instead. Some just think that way because many docs are familiar with Synthroid and less so with Armour.

The fact is, based on my experience and experiences from other thyroid patients like on the thyroid-info site, if you aren't responding to Synthroid even though your levels are within "normal," then it's time to look at another thyroid hormone replacement medication.

If you are in a position to see another doctor, I'd recommend that. There are endos who listen to their patients and know from experience that some of us just do better on Armour. The fact that your doc didn't even raise the question of Cytomel, which works on T3, like Armour (which works on both T4 and T3, Synth. only on T4) in response to your explanation of your current condition shows she is probably only familiar with Synthroid and you need a physician who understands that each patient is unique.

I know this can be very stressful and definitely frustrating, but you're going in the right direction. If you haven't looked into it already, get Shomon's 'Living Well With Hypothyroidism.' I got my first copy from the local library. It will help you feel less alone and frustrated. (I swear, I'm not getting paid by Shomon to promote her work, it's just great info! : ) ) :hug:

02-26-2009, 08:22 AM
Thanks JustFluffy! I didn't think there were that many side effects to Armour, but I started to think that maybe my md knew about some research that I didn't. I'll try and be more persistent to see if she'll switch me and if she won't, then I'll just switch mds!
Oh, and she suggested that I try anti-depressants instead of switching me to Armour. I'm not on them now nor do I think I need them...I just need to get this stupid weight off me!

02-27-2009, 01:50 AM
I'll try and be more persistent to see if she'll switch me and if she won't, then I'll just switch mds!

Yeah, just tell her you feel comfortable trying another approach because you aren't feeling any better. Print out info about Armour from WebMD or from another very mainstream source and bring it with you.

Go through the list of typical hypothyroid symptoms and stress that you have them.

Also, go to Armour's website, they give dosage levels based on what one's Synthroid, Levoxyl, et al was.

Oh, and she suggested that I try anti-depressants instead of switching me to Armour. I'm not on them now nor do I think I need them...I just need to get this stupid weight off me!

I assumed you were already on them and that's why she mentioned it.


02-27-2009, 10:44 AM
Onsecondthought - please please please check out the info posted at you will find all the info you are looking for on this subject

there are no "severe side effects" of Armour!!!!

I cannot tell you how many docs tried to put me on antidepressants when all I needed was Armour.

your doc said your levels were normal - do you happen to know what thyroid tests she is running? and do you have copies of the bloodwork to see your results? I seriously doubt they are running the more accurate thyroid tests (FREE T3 and FREE T4) and if by some miracle they are, just bec you are somewhere within the range does not mean that your levels are normal. If your results are low in the range then you need more. I feel sure that if a FREE T3 test was run on you that they would find your FREE T3 level to be low in the range or below the range - simply bec of a few things you have mentioned along with taking a synthetic thyroid product whic is only T4.

Also, the direct T3 that is in Armour (that is NOT in any synthetic thyroid med like synthroid or levoxyl) makes a big difference in weight loss.

Again, please check out the info at stopthethyroidmadness and let me know if I can help with any of the info there.

take care,

02-27-2009, 01:44 PM
i've been to the website quite a few times which is why i asked for armour when my symptoms weren't getting any better. at first, i thought it was just me or it was something i was doing wrong, but when i read through the website, i realized that it might actually be my meds. my doc at least knows enough to run the right t3, free t4 and tsh...but i don't think she knows what to do with the results. my last labs came back last week and it showed that my free t3 was at 2.2 which i think is just below the minimum of 2.3. she saw that it was low, but said that it was "fine." also my cholesterol is shooting up and i've never in my life had high cholesterol. it's always been around 150 and now it's over 200. both these things really made the lightbulb go off about the it's a matter of convincing my doc.

on a separate but somewhat related topic, i know that adrenal fatigue sometimes coincides with hypothyroidism...has anyone else experienced pain in their adrenal glands? i know that this sounds so odd, but for the last couple of months i have had this squeezing/cramping pain on the sides of my back. at first i thought it was my kidneys, but when i asked my doctor about she said that it was too high to be my kidneys. she of course dismissed it as a back spasm so i did some research and figured out that right above my kidneys are my adrenal glands. i keep mentioning it to her and even told her i thought it was my adrenals, but she's convinced i pulled a muscle or that it's just some sort of spasm. has anyone else had this type of pain? any idea what it could mean?

02-27-2009, 02:35 PM
Onsecondthought - I'm impressed that your doc is running the Free T3 and Free T4 tests....that's great....but as you said she may not know what to do with the results, especially if she only prescribes T4 products.

A Free T3 result below the range is NOT fine and can make you feel like a big pile of poop!!! most people with a thyroid problem find that they need their Free T3 result to be in the upper one third of the range (or even higher) to feel good, especially if they are dealing with mental problems like depression, anxiety, ocd, etc. No wonder your doc thinks you need an antidepressant....your Free T3 result is way too low and you would notice a world of difference if you could get some direct T3 like in Armour.

If you cannot get your doc to switch you to Armour and you do not want to change docs at this point, then you could ask her to prescribe Cytomel which is a synthetic T3 product and can be added to Synthroid. If she isn't willing to do that...then I would find a doc that prescribes Armour.

I prefer to take Armour that contains both T3 and T4 and is a natural product (made from a pigs thyroid), rather than taking two synthetic products (synthroid & cytomel) but some people do ok on them.

I'm really glad you've checked out the info at STTM. did you happen to see the info on depression at:

and in particular the info on that page about the connection between low T3 and depression an other mental problems.

Also high cholesterol is a hypo symptom or another indicator that you are undertreated on the synthroid.

I have not had the pains you've mentioned, but as best I can tell I have not dealt with adrenal fatigue.

take care,