Quick Post: Thyroid medications

From Web.MD

From Web.MD

From a reader’s comments:

“I take Synthroid. I had thyroid cancer when I was 18. I have a backup stash of medicine, and I rotate into it every time I get a refill.

I do wish there was some sort of “natural” thing I could take to replace it, at least temporarily, but apparently there isn’t.

So, if the world ever goes “Pear Shaped”, I’m already on borrowed time.
This site has a lot of potential, I look forward to learning much more.”

My reply:

There is, in fact, a natural thing you can take to replace it: Desiccated thyroid. I don’t have time for the complete reply, as I am on service in the ICU. Despite being busy, I couldn’t let this one go. Please see here for the general topic and to get you started; Google what you will once you read that.
To make this work in a grid down scenario, you would almost certainly need to live near someplace that runs through pigs at a fast clip, such as a pig farm or slaughterhouse. May not make the best neighbors, but you would be alive to complain about the smell.

9 responses to “Quick Post: Thyroid medications

  1. First, thank you for putting this site together, this is my first trip here since your kick off post and already you’re into meat and potatoes.

    I have a daughter who’s taking synthroid and a friend who does as well. Can you please tell me how natural, dessicated extract as described in the article compares storage wise to the synthetic?

    Can any thyroid (beef, or horses for instance) be used with appreciable effect?

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    • I have no specific information on true shelf life of either thyroid preparation.
      I must note that thyroid hormone is very particular. Some patients note a difference in thyroid levels between different generic manufacturers, despite an identical dose on the label. Docs not infrequently write for “name brand” to avoid this issue.
      Most manufacturers stick with pig thyroid.
      The point of the natural desiccated extract is that, if you have access to pig, you can (in theory) obtain more, even if/when the grid goes down.
      I’ll make the standard disclaimer that if you have access to modern Synthroid or Armour Thyroid, made under FDA approved Good Manufacturing Practices, that is IN ALL WAYS superior to what you are likely to extract from your friendly neighborhood pig. Use your rough pig extract only in times of emergency, grid- or civilization-down situations.
      This is the first description of treatment of a hypothyroid patient with a thyroid extract; it describes the method in detail. Carbolic acid is called phenol, nowadays.
      Also see this link for a listing of references on desiccated thyroid and its production.

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  2. Pingback: Hogwarts: Quick Post On Thyroid Medication | Western Rifle Shooters Association·

  3. Also check out Essential Living Oils they have a supplement that I have been using and works very well the name of the oil is Endoflex

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    • I am approving this comment, but want more information from you on the supplement. As you probably gathered from this post, I am a skeptic when it comes to supplements (and medications), but consider myself convincible.
      I looked up Endoflex, and from the manufacturer’s website the ingredient list is:
      A base of sesame seed oil, spearmint (Mentha spicata), sage (Salvia officinalis), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), myrtle (Myrtus communis), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), and German chamomile (Matriciaria recutita).
      Since you commented on a post about thyroid medications, I’d love to see experimental data that any of the above can replace thyroid hormone or extracts. I am unaware of anything other than thyroid hormone, that can replace thyroid hormone.
      I see a related product you are supposed to use together with Endoflex called Thyromin, which lists “porcine glandular extracts” as an ingredient. They specify that these extracts are “Adrenal and Pituitary Extracts (Argentina bovine source)”, bovine, of course, meaning “cow”, not “pig”.
      I’d be wary of such things. They are self-contradictory when they tell you the source of the extracts (pig vs cow) and it is not at all clear what is in the mix, nor how they standardize it. And more so than any other medication, you have to have standardized dosing with thyroid replacement medications. If you are off by as much as 10 micrograms per day, it really messes with you.
      So again, as I say to all the drug reps: show me the data!

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  4. Dessicated thyroid has been used for quite a long time in fact. It was used to treat hypothyroidism prior to the development of synthetics in the 1920s.

    Pig thyroid is preferred, because the pig thyroid produces T3 and T4 in proportions that are similar to human thyroid. Bovine thyroid is usable, but the T3/T4 proportions are significantly different from normal human levels.

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  5. Pingback: Hogwarts: More On Thyroid Function & Its Sustainment | Western Rifle Shooters Association·

  6. How do the needed hormones handle dehydration and storage? In theory, if you were willing to hit up the right communities, it would be possible to obtain and dehydrate and store quantities of pig thyroid. But if the hormones don’t store well (ie: hardly at all) or are damaged by dehydrating then thats not an option.

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    • Thyroid hormones hold up well when dehydrated and stored. By “well” I mean that the hormone is not affected by dehydration, and you can store it for weeks to months, depending on the quality of the defatting process.
      One of the linked articles indicates that you can actually cook (fry, or even boil) the thyroid and still get active hormone out if it. That’s pretty stable.
      It is certainly true that this hormone will not tolerate the long-term storage you expect from other medications. In our hypothetical grid-down situation, you will need to maintain a relationship with whatever pig farmer can give you the raw supply.
      Of note, it would make sense that if you developed the capability of producing this hormone, end-to-end, that would be a valuable trade commodity when the grid goes down. Same would hold true of insulin, although that is a subject for another day.
      The other thing that you reminded me of is the necessary supply of iodine. The thyroid itself contains a fair amount of iodine, but if a regular healthy person does not have enough iodine they will have hypothyroidism as well. Nowadays we get that from table salt; one could also take potassium iodine. Either are shelf stable for decades.

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