Vegan, and taking NDT!

Hiya :) Haven't been around for a while, but wondered if anybody could help. Although, I'm not sure if there is actually an answer. I have been taking NDT for a while now, but have recently decided to go vegan, so I'm having a bit of an issue with the whole pig thyroid thing! I don't know what the alternative is, to be honest, because even if I changed over to synthetic T3 and T4, one has a gelatine capsule and the other has lactose (correct me if I'm wrong).

The way I see it right now is this: I have no choice. I either stop taking it, and go back to being ill, or continue to take it and stay well. It's playing on my mind - I wish their was an alternative, but it seems not??

19 Replies

  • Thank you. Just had a search on the website that sells thyroid meds, but it seems both t3 and t4 have lactose in...... :( So no different really from a vegans perspective.

  • Sip, you can get lactose-free T4 and T3 with prescription

    Make sure you take plenty of B12 and check what other supplements you will need in order to accommodate such a restrictive diet.

  • Veganism is not restrictive, I eat way more things since going vegan 5 years ago, before then most of my diet was made up of meat and dairy

  • Redsparrow77,

    I wasn't suggesting it is restrictive in terms of choice in things to eat but vegan and vegetarians need to supplement B12 because B12 is only available from meat, fish and dairy foods.

  • Supplements are as readily available as meat, so no need to worry

  • It's a tough one, my anti depressantants contain lactose too :(

  • I think, unless you can locate a pharmacy that can compound synthetic medication without anything else, you are going to have to find a way to live with it. I know that really doesn't help, but your own health is important.

  • Thanks :) It's a tricky one!

  • Although I am not vegan though veer towards being a vegetarian I take NDT which is the only form of replacement I seem to be able to tolerate at all. I struggled with the idea for a time but decided me not taking it would make no difference to the pigs as they would be slaughtered anyway and at least it was making use of a part which may be wasted otherwise. I try not to think about it to be honest. Not an answer I know.

  • This may be an impossible question to answer - but do we know if the pigs are bred and raised 'for' their thyroid glands, or are the thyroid glands simply a by product of the meat industry? It would be interesting to know.

  • As I understand it, Armour was a meat packaging company & the thyroid glands were just a waste product. I can't imagine anyone would raise a whole pig just for a tiny bit of tissue, so I think they are raised for meat primarily.


  • This may be an impossible question to answer - but do we know if the pigs are bred and raised 'for' their thyroid glands, or are the thyroid glands simply a by product of the meat industry? It would be interesting to know.

  • sip1,

    The Armour Thyroid product that is so often talked about when referring to desiccated thyroid was made from a by-product. Armour was huge meat-packing company and saw medical products such as desiccated thyroid as a way of making money out of what would otherwise have been waste. (The business has split and changed hugely since the early days.)

    The pigs were ordinary animals raised for human consumption.

  • You have to weigh up the NDT you take at present as necessary for your wellbeing and actually gives you life. It is a tablet/medication and made from a gland and not 'meat' as such.

    There is Thyro-gold which is made from New Zealand Cows if pigs are a problem.

  • I am a strict vegetarian, but I am on levothyroxine, not NDT. I have been so unwell in the last few years, and have had lots of medication and treatments which, I am sure, probably go against every belief in my body.

    It is very easy, when you feel well, to want to stick to your principles. However, I had got to the point that I felt so awful that I would probably have done just about anything to feel remotely normal.

    I really don't like to think about what I have taken (or am taking), but couldn't cope with life as it was.

  • I'm also vegan but stopped taking all my thyroid medication as I wanted to make sure I completely eliminated all animal protein from my diet. From what I've been reading it's the animal protein that is causing the immune system to go haywire.

    I'm also gluten free and since going vegan have managed to get my TPO and TG antibodies down to their lowest level. Both below 55.

    thyroiduk has a list of ingredients and there are some that are lactos free.

    This might help with the moral decision of taking medication that aren't exactly vegan.

    Is Medication Vegan?

  • Thank you for this - only just seen it! :)

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