Trying armour thyroid, levothyroxine just not working :(

Hi all,

I haven't been on in awhile and only joined thyroid uk today, I am looking for some advice if possible.

I have been diagnosed as underactive and I've been taking between 50mg and 100mg of thyroxine for the past few years, however my tsh is 3.1 at the mo which is quite good it's only ever been at 5.4 so Ihave been currently taking 50mg thyroxine, however ever since I was diagnosed 3/4 years ago I haven't felt 100% I can't really explain it just feel cold lethargic so so tired no energy etc.

I was talking to a friend of mine who said maybe it's my t3 that's out of whack as we obviously don't get that tested in the UK, she is taking 1 grain of armour thyroid a day as she was on 100mg thyroxine and she said she feels absolutely wonderful, she has given me some of her tablets and I have been taking 1 every other day for the last couple of weeks so in effect 7 tablets and obviously as of yet I don't feel any different.

My question is am I ok taking 1 grain every other day is that the equivalent of 50mg thyroxine or would I be better taking a tablet daily I.e 1 grain a day or is that too much for me? Aaaargh sorry for the rant but I am so confused and just want to feel well.

P.s just to advise I have had so many blood tests and they have all come back normal which of course is fab.

I also have fibromyalgia but I am seriously now starting to think maybe it is just thyroid but can it make you feel THIS lousy? Xxx

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30 Replies

  • Dondays, you are undermedicated with TSH 3.1. It should be just above or below 1.0 for most people on medication although some need it in the lower range or even suppressed to feel well. Scroll down to Guidelines and Treatment Options to read Dr. A. Tofts statement to Pulse Magazine

    It may be the T3 in the NDT which is improving your symptoms but T3 has a short half life and wears off in a few hours so it is more likely that 1 grain is roughly equivalent to 75mcg Levothyroxine and the higher dose is making you feel better. I'd be inclined to push your GP to increase your Levothyroxine to 75mcg.

    It's good practice to get a printout of your thyroid bloods with the lab ref ranges (the figures in brackets after your results). You can then post them for advice/comment. FT3 is tested in the UK but usually only when TSH is suppressed <0.04. You can order private tests from Blue Horizon and Genova via

  • Hiya thanks so much for your reply. I think I want to persevere with the armour as I have been on 75mg and as much as 100mg of Levo and still felt rubbish, if I take 1 grain of armour a day that is the equivalent to 75mg levothyroxine? Xx

  • Dondays, I think that 1 grain may be nearer to 75mcg equivalence than the 100mcg the makers suggest.

  • This is an explanation re the action of T3:

    Dr. Lowe: The short time that T3 is in the circulating blood isn’t the limit of its beneficial effects on the body. When T3 binds to T3-receptors on genes, the binding regulates the transcription of mRNAs, and the mRNAs are later translated into proteins. The transcription and translation initiated by the binding of T3 to T3-receptors occur in waves, and these waves far outlast the T3 that started them at the chromosomes. Moreover, the newly synthesized proteins themselves far outlast the transcription and translation. As a result, a single dose of T3 will be long gone from the patient's system before he or she experiences most of the benefits of that dose—a molecular and metabolic yield that may smoothly spread out over one to three days.

  • T3 does not wear off in a couple of makes changes to the body that last 1 to 3 days. Dr Lowe treated his patients with 1 dose a day and had huge success.

  • First off Fibromyalgia is just poorly treated under active thyroid. I hope you didn't just swap your levo for NDT? Its a huge shock to the body suddenly getting a T3 boost. I have to say that when I started on it my doctor said to substitute the dosage but thankfully I was part of a sufferers forum and I was told not to!! I started at a low dose and could not believe how much better I felt even on a low dose. I built up the dosage over a few months and have been fine since.

  • Glynisrose,

    We spend much of our time here complaining that the medical establishment has a one-size-fits-all approach to thyroid diagnosis and treatment.

    Your assertion, without any references or backup other than your own experience, is from exactly the same mould as the medical establishment's approach to thyroid.

    Certainly some cases of fibromyalgia appear to resolve with adequate and appropriate thyroid hormone treatment. We have also seen quite a number who find that it doesn't matter what they do about thyroid hormones, they still suffer. Maybe there is a thyroid aspect to most, even all, fibromyalgia but I don't think your bald assertion would be appreciated by those who have tried, but not found improvement, with thyroid hormone.


  • ALL cases of Fibromyalgia are poorly treated UAT its about time that people woke up to the way doctors can get round treatment. Most people listen to a doctor who tells them to substitute NDT for levo, it will never work, simply because its too much T3 for the system to manage all at once.

  • As always, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    We do appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we also request that posters provide support for their views, if possible.


  • Glynisrose, 1 grain contains 9mcg T3. Hardly a huge dose.

  • Hiya I am taking 1 rain of armour every other day at present and yes stopped levo, however I think I will take 1 grain of armour one day and 50mg levothtroxine the next do you think that's a good plan? I have a GP who is to very helpful with regards to dosage which is why I am coming here for advice. X

  • NDT should be taken daily, with or without added t4. It was designed to be taken 1x per day, but some split the dose.

  • Hi Dondays,

    I recently switched from Levothyroxine to NDT and feel so much better. I have always struggled with Levothyroxine so made a direct swap. I started with 0.5 grain for two weeks, then upped to 0.75 grain for a further three weeks. I've just gone up to 1 grain so waiting to see how that works for me. I asked for advice when I switched and the best I had was to start low and slowly increase. I take nature-throid which have a comparison table to compare doses with levothyroxine. It is a slightly different dose to armour though.

    Hope it helps, Kat

  • Hi Kat thanks so much for your reply I will take 1 grain every day and see how it goes, thanks again x

  • You must not simply swap the dose of levo for NDT, it never works. There is too much T hormone in one go. Building up over a few weeks / months does no harm and will allow your body to get used to the fact that instead of struggling to convert T4 to other T hormones they are available in the NDT. It might not be a huge amount in NDT but it is way more than in levo!!

  • Glynisrose - Some people just swap over without any problems.

    Can I direct your attention back to this post:

  • I Don't understand about not being able to move straight to armour from levothyroxine? Surely the t3 in armour is of benefit as there's nothing in Levo except t4? I am really struggling to understand the doses, most people I have spoke to switched straight to armour... God I'm soooo confused :(

  • Some people just swap over without any problems.

    I would advise listening to personal experiences from people who have actually changed meds! :) x



  • Forgot to say - to reply to someone specifically, you need to make sure to click on 'reply' under their comment, otherwise they will not know you have replied! :) xx

  • Hi Louise,

    Ok so at the moment I have about 30 1 grain armour tablets tht my friend give me to try I was tking one every other day and stopped the 50mg Levo for the past there days I have been tking 1 grain of armour and no Levo, I don't feel any better but I realise it's only been a short time I actually feel more tired but again I have only had about 10 tablets in total.

    Can you suggest going forward what is safe to do, should I ditch the 1 grain tablets and continue with the Levo and order some lower dose tablets or is it safe to carry on with one a day, Some of the comments received has scared me I would ask my GP but as a practice they totally against armour. Thanks

  • I realise this will only be your opinion, I won't hold to you it :) xx

  • The first thing is that Thyroid UK does not condone or encourage taking meds that you have obtained from a friend.

    I would suggest keeping a 'diary' of how you are feeling.

    1 grain would be equivalent to 100mcg of levo, so you may now be on too much and may start to feel over-replaced.

    I would also suggest that you should come clean with your GP (or a different GP) as soon as possible as you need to be monitored.

    In my opinion, you may be doing more harm than good by chopping and changing, so you really need to reach a decision and stick to it for 4-6 weeks in order to see how it is working for you.

    You also need regular thyroid blood tests and also someone should be monitoring your BP and cholesterol levels.



  • Hi Louise, I am going to order some half grain tablets, I have stopped the 1 grain in case it's too much, I haven't taken any Levo fora few days and I must admit my a honest and joint pains feel a bit better being med free......I am tempted to not take the levo anymore and just wait for the 1/2 grain armour to arrive? What do you think or is it best to stay on the 50mg Levo until the 1/2 grain armour arrives? I just find it so odd that I haven't been aching since I stopped the Levo xx

  • Donday, cut the 1 grain tablets in half and hope that your 1/2 grain order arrives before they run out.

  • I can't afford to buy them until the end of the month so I was gonna go med free, didn't think to cut1 grains in half,I did look at the tablets and there's no line. Which doesn't make it easy to cut them in half and I don't have a pill cutter lol, Levo DEFINITELY doesn't agree with me I have now discovered...... After not taking my meds fora few days I do feel better, I will to y and break the tabs in half but i don't hold out much hope, what about 1 Armour every other day u til I can get the 1/2 grains or is that a silly idea? X

  • Donday, it's common to feel better for a few days off Levo but it doesn't last and you will probably feel hypothyroid after 8/10 days.

    A pillcutter is £2.99 from your pharmacy or a thin sharp knife will do it. Most online pharmacies quote 21 days delivery.

  • Thanks Clutter xxx

  • Hi

    Thought I would add my five pence worth.

    I went fro Levo to Armour, started on 1/2grain , uppped it to one grain with a week and eventually to a grain am & pm. My experiance was try it and see, you will need to adjust the dose to how you feel. I tried going back to 1 and 1/2 grain per day & felt awful.

    I recently had to do it in reverse , Armour to Levo and I can honestly say I I have never felt so ill.

    Listen to your body, only you know when you feel well.

    Good luck.


  • If you do a straight swap then it is likely there is too much change for your body to cope with, better to do it slowly.

  • Sorry but no way ever is a TSH of 3.4 normal it should be below 1.0

    has your ferritin been tested because this MUST be over 70 or taking levothyroxine simply wont help as the body cannot utilise it

    1 grain of Armour equals roughly 65mcg of Levo but with a TSH of 3.4 you need far more meds than mere 50mcg

    post all your results and get ferritin done and post that on here and we can help furthur

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