NDT and fillers/binders

There is one thing I have trying to figure out...if sugar is really necessary for optimal absorption of thyroid hormone?

It is often said that Armour did not work as well after it was reformulated, and sugar was mostly replaced by cellulose.

I have read several times that NDT should be chewed up in order to work better.

I also know that synthetic hormones, both T4 and combination drugs, taste horrible if you happen to keep them in your mouth for a second or two before swallowing them...suggesting to me they don't contain sugar, but are supposed to be swallowed and absorbed from the GI tract. During the ten years I was on thyroxine only, I did not chew it up once, but always swallowed the pill with a glass of water first thing in the morning.

I don't know if Armour went even further downhill after Actavis bought it (some posts seem to suggest this was indeed the case), but I keep coming back to this question: how many prescription drugs are supposed to be chewed up, or taken sublingually?

I take a couple of prescription drugs daily (blood pressure medication and beta-blockers), and they both contain cellulose as an inactive ingredient/filler. This has made me wonder if cellulose in NDT is really such a bad idea, given that cellulose is supposedly inactive...? Both drugs taste awful if I don't manage to swallow them the second I put them into my mouth...I am quite convinced I would never be able to take them sublingually, or chew them up, every day, for the rest of my life...!

The reason I am asking this is because I am trying to figure out what works for me and what doesn't...I have had both good and bad batches of Erfa lately, and I am no longer sure that brand can be trusted, no matter what the medical director says. One thing is certain: it does not seem to be consistent.

Has anyone been taking Armour by Actavis and, if so, did you notice any difference compared to Armour by Forest...?

Another reason I am asking is that only Armour and Erfa are available where I live, and all other brands would have be ordered from overseas pharmacies. While that could work, let's just say that I would prefer the easiest solution...

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15 Replies

  • theCat346, as far as I'm aware sugar isn't necessary for absorption of medication and sugar coating tablets is merely to disguise the bitter unpleasant taste of tablets which may put people off taking them.

  • Thanks, Clutter, that is what I have been thinking as well...!

    Also, the STTM favours sublingual use of NDT, although the manufacturers claim this is not how the drugs are supposed to be taken...I know many users of NDT like to take the drugs sublingually, but what I have been wondering is: does that really make the drug(s) in question work more effectively...I mean, if they contain substances meant to be digested by our guts...?

    The only drug I know of that should be taken sublingually is nitroglycerin...because you need it to start working instantly. That is not the case with thyroid hormones, that will stay in your systems for days...

  • thecat346,

    One of the problems with your question is the meaning of "sugar". Many, many substances are classed as sugars.

    All UK levothyroxine and liothyronine tablets contain lactose (sometimes called milk sugar). Wockhardt also contains sucrose (which is what our usual supermaret bags of sugar contain). It is, in my view, incredibly sweet and I dislike it for that reason!

    Some non-UK levothyroxine tablets, such as Aliud and Henning, contain no sugars.

    Liquid levothyroxine contains glycerol which is a sugar alcohol.

    Chewing or sublingual of any of these tablets is not what the manufacturers will have tested. I doubt there is much, if any, scientific evidence as to the differences between swallowing, chewing or sublingual. (This is absolute NOT to dismiss that some people feel and believe they are different.)

    There are actually quite a number of medicines which are taken in one or other form of sublingually. I was able to readily identify:


     Hydrocortisone (for mouth ulcers)


     Prochlorperazine maleate

     Buprenorphine hydrochloride

     Asenapine maleate

    I don't quite get what you are saying about substances being digested by our guts. The idea is that we take, say, desiccated thyroid, and the levothyroxine and liothyronine contained therein are largely transported across our gut wall into our bloodstream. The rest is simply there to enable that to be achieved.

  • I meant sucrose/dextrose (or whatever was reduced in Armour, a and replaced with cellulose). Many claim Armour stopped working (or started working less well) after sugar was decreased, and cellulose added, although, come to think of it, I am not sure the decreased sugar content is really the problem, but rather the addition of cellulose...?

  • So far as I can ever fathom it out, the change was to the relative quantities of each. Or was it changes?

    Many years ago, Armour used to run a biological testing unit which used animals to check the potency of their product. With the differences between the various possible species and humans being significant, it might not have been ideal for detecting this sort of issue. But I do wonder whether they still do that?

  • I believe that you are right, and that they changed the relative quantities of each. This was big news on STTM back then...

  • I have the same problem with Erfa Thyroid! I am in process to switch for bovine dessicated thyroid

    Looking for replacement ... Found 2 kind . One of them Thyrogold which has

    Forskolin as added filler. Forskolin has ability to increase fat deposition in the liver( I am with fatty liver diagnosis already ) ,second one manufactured by Nutri- Meds by 130 mg in one tablet. I don't know how to convert my 1 grane -60 mg from Erfa to 130 mg bovine by Nutri-Meds? I was reading review about last one and many from forum

    Claim that Nytri-Meds is much weaker . Still surching. Any one can help with this!!!

  • I was on Nutri-Meds 130 mg porcine thyroid along with thyroxine for years, and I can confirm that Nutri-Meds is much weaker than prescription brands. I felt better on it than without it, but I would say one of those capsules equals a quarter to half a grain of prescription NDT.

    Thyrogold on the other hand is quite strong. Many users have estimated that 1 300 mg capsule equals 200 mcg thyroxine, and I think that is a fair assessment. I remember the first time I took it, and I could definitely tell it is strong. Now, there is also a 150 mg capsule, and I think it would be wise to start with that.

    I had no idea about forskolin! That is really too bad:-(

  • I just got this information recently! What do you think about Thyrak it's bovine thyroid . I never got any reviews about this supplement .

  • Please let us know more about it.

    I have been unable readily to find it.

    Is it a prescription-only product?

    (Please don't post sources.)

  • I could not find it either when I did a quick search.

    I have been wondering lately if it's true that porcine thyroid is closer to human thyroid than bovine? What I mean is, are there any objective, health-related reasons to choose porcine thyroid over bovine?

  • Pigs are considered the closet to humans in respect of biological actions and generally porcine products are well tolerated although there are people who are pork allergic so they would have problems

    What all scientists fail to understand is people are becoming hyperallergic to things that years ago had little effect probably because we are bombarded by too many unnatural substances or food

    They scoff at Homeopathy yet I know its only thanks to a dedicated homeopath I am even alive and fit and well despite being left hyperallergic to Aluminium having been poisoned by the use of Aluminium pans

    You have to be like me and experience both poisoning and hyperallergy to understand why Homeopathy works

  • There most definitely are reasons for the choice of porcine. These include:

    Less variation through the year in thyroid hormone levels in pigs than in most other domesticated animals.

    Slaughter takes place throughout the year - not as with some species, at certain times only. Hence there is a relatively steady supply.

    Less variation between individual pigs, between pigs in different areas, between different varieties of pig.

    Sufficient quantities are processed to fulfil demand.

    So it made more sense for Armour and other manufacturers to use porcine in order to produce a consistent product and meet demand.

  • Lots more and many links here:


  • Never heard about it! I will have to look it up.

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