Can I Replace Armour Thyroid with a Supplement?

Q I am a 66 year old woman who has been on a regime of 60 mg of Armour Thyroid for more than 10 years now. I had very subtle symptoms, low temp, low blood pressure, leg cramps and low energy. Now, my doctor tells me that Armour Thyroid is going off the market. He wants me to take synthetic T4 thyroid instead. My doctor refuses to prescribe any whole thyroid product. He gave me a sample of the T4 thyroid to try. I have not taken it yet.

My questions: Does your thyroid product act in the body like Armour Thyroid? How does it compare to Armour Thyroid? My insurance pays for my prescription which is why I went to my doctor in the first place. I have been ordering Armour from International Anti-Aging systems for years now. Apparently, it will no longer be available.

JACQUIE Denver, CO

A There is an enforcement report for a recall of Armour Thyroid on the FDA’s website (www.fda.gov) dated July 22, 2009 [(Recall # D-1379-2009; 43) Armour Thyroid, 60MG (1 gr)]. Furthermore, Time-Cap Labs, producer of a generic version of the brand name drug Armour, a natural and bioidentical thyroid replacement, has been ordered by the FDA to stop production (http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/ WarningLetters/ucm136661.htm). The FDA has apparently decided to classify the company’s product, available for over a century, as an unapproved new drug, requiring a new drug application. Since the new drug approval process is prohibitively expensive for a non-patentable substance, the FDA is in effect banning the natural product.

Adding fuel to the fire, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, editor of the WorstPills.org website, and co-founder—along with Ralph Nader—of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, was appointed earlier this year to a four-year term on the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. It is the Committee’s role to counsel the FDA on the safety of certain drugs and Wolfe is a major opponent of natural desiccated thyroid. He has campaigned against desiccated thyroid and is now in a position to help remove it from the market.

ThyroPlex is a glandular formulation developed by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., one of the leading practitioners of alternative medicine in the U.S. ThyroPlex is a unique combination of glandular extracts, including those from glandular thyroid (¼ grain), adrenal, hypothalamus, pituitary, and testicular (for males) or ovarian (females) tissue.

According to a classic study conducted in 1974 by Dr. James Isaacs, a pioneering cardiovascular surgeon from Baltimore, people who took ¼ grain of thyroid along with vitamins and minerals over a period of 10 years showed significant improvement in cardiovascular function. Dr. Wright recommends ThyroPlex for people over age 40 who have no overt endocrine disease. He points out that, even if one is not experiencing symptoms, all endocrine glands are beginning to slow down at this stage of life. The most common comment from people taking ¼ grain of the natural thyroid component in ThyroPlex (one capsule), according to Wright, is, “I just feel a little more energetic overall. My thinking seems a little clearer, and my bowel function is a little better.”

Even if you already taking thyroid, for most people ThyroPlex will likely provide the benefits of the other glandular extracts, says Dr. Wright. “Unless you are in very brittle condition—and to an endocrinologist brittle means that the amount you take has to be exactly right on—you might consider the use of ThyroPlex as part of your supplementation program because, while it adds only ¼ grain of the actual thyroid glandular itself, it also nourishes the rest of the endocrine network.”

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