How long did you stop Levothyroxine before starting NDT/Thyro-Gold/Thyrovanz/Metavive?

I'm not feeling very well. I've been reading past posts and some people have stopped their Levo for upto two weeks. So I stopped taking my 100mcg of Levo and it's only day two but yesterday I felt very tired and today my head is all over the place. I'm beginning to feel very dizzy. I don't think I can keep this up for another few days let alone any longer.

I ordered Metavive iii which is a bovine thyroid supplement and it has arrived today. I prefer a bovine supplement to porcine.

I'd appreciate any advice on how to start taking this stuff. I'm feeling very nervous about starting Metavive given that adding 5mcg of T3 to Levo gave me insomnia not so long ago. Thanks.

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48 Replies

  • How do you know that you have to stop taking Levo altogether before starting a supplement like Metavive? It's possible you need to combine levo with Metavive; as far as I know, the latter is not very strong (not like prescription NDT or T3), so I doubt you'll do fine on that alone in the long run (not if you have full-blown hypothyroidism, anyway).

    It seems common to decrease T4 little by little (for instance, by reducing it by 25 mcg every other week or so), while adding the supplement (or T3 or NDT).

  • Well the functional medicine doctor I saw simply said I could stop taking Levothyroxine one day and start a Metavive iii the next day. Then he started talking about grains and Metavive isn't measured in grains which made me think that he doesn't know much about it. Then I read on the forum that people stopped their Levo for some time before starting NDT/Thyrovanz/Thyrogold etc so I thought it would be a good thing to do the same.

    I know the challenge is I don't know how much is in it. It's probably weaker than Thyro-gold and Thyrovanz but then again that's only a guess.

    I'll taper down to 75mcg and so on and take it from there. Thanks.

  • Serendipitious,

    There is no need to stop taking Levothyroxine before starting NDT, you can switch straight over. ThyroGold does contain active T4 and T3 and 150mg is estimated to be equivalent to 87.5mcg Levothyroxine. Prescription strength NDT contain 38mcg T4 and 9 mcg T3 in 1 grain (60mg) tablets.

    Metavive and Thyrovanz are supplements not NDT. It's not possible to say whether they have any active T4 and T3, let alone how much. You would do better to resume 100mcg Levothyroxine and add a Metavive or Thyrovanz supplement tablet if you need more than 100mcg and can't persuade your GP to increase Levothyroxine dose.

  • I can only agree with Clutter. I think that, if you go off Levo altogether, and rely on Metavive alone, you will soon feel even more hypothyroid. The fact that you are already feeling more tired than usual is a sign your body needs at least 100 mcg of T4 daily, so you should go back on that, add Metavive, and see how you feel in a while. But, like I said before, I don't see how Metavive alone could be enough for's one thing to go from Levo to NDT, because the latter has standardised levels of the two main thyroid hormones, but supplements like Metavive don't (if they did, they could not be sold as OTC supplements)...which is why they are not enough to sustain optimal hormone levels in most hypothyroid patients.

  • Also, since supplements are not allowed to have any measurable amounts of T3 and T4 in them, it's logical to assume that hormone levels (provided there are any hormones to begin with) will vary from batch to batch, or possibly, from capsule to capsule...making it very hard to fine-tune dosage.

  • Rubbish NDT is tested better than levo!

  • I did not say that NDT is unreliable, I said that supplements sold OTC (such as Metavive, Nutri-Meds etc) are not allowed to contain any measurable amounts of thyroid hormone, which is why they are pretty weak and the hormone content can vary literally from pill to pill. Above all, the manufacturers cannot state the hormone content on the label, and I am not even sure they measure it.

  • Have you got ANY evidence for this claim?

  • I see your point anna69 I had no idea that just two days without thyroid medication would have such a stark effect. In fact I was feeling fatigued even after missing one dose. The only challenge and fear I have is getting used to the T3 however I'll never know until I try it. Thanks for your help.

  • "Getting used to the T3"?! But T3 is not an illicit drug, it's a hormone made by both your own thyroid gland and your body converting T4 to T3...constantly.

    If you get used to T3, that is a good thing, IMHO, as that means you were T3 deficient all along...!

    It's often said that T4 has a half-life of +/- one week, whereas T3 has a half-life of 24 h only. However, I have found the statement about the half-life of T4 to be wrong...because, in the past, when on T4 drugs only, I could feel the effects of a decrease or an increase within 24 h...and nobody could convince me otherwise.

    Therefore, I am not surprised you could feel worse in no time after decreasing your usual dose of Levo.

    I hope you work this out. But, whatever you do, don't forget that T3 is a drug normally produced by your body because you need it, so it's not something you should be afraid of getting used to...!

  • anna69 perhaps I wasn't clear. I tried adding Liothyronine to my Levo about a month ago and I just couldn't get past the insomnia. I persevered for 9 days and then had to stop because I couldn't take the lack of sleep anymore. I'm fully aware of the role of T3 in the body and I badly wanted it to work for me.

    So in light of what happened back then I'm just a bit frightened of experiencing anything similar with Metavive iii. I think only time will tell but the purpose of this post was to establish the correct procedure for introducing it.

  • Clutter, I will try Metavive and see how it goes. I ordered it because firstly the doctor I saw recommended it and secondly I figured it would arrive in a day or two unlike Thyro-Gold etc which can take a while. I was feeling impatient. If it doesn't work I'll give TG a go.

    My GP has quite happily increased my Levo recently from 75mcg to 100mcg. I told her I'd been extremely sick on 75mcg for the last year and her diagnosis to reduce it was a disaster. Thing is I had only been taking 100mcg for about 3 weeks so I probably didn't have the full effect anyway. Thanks for the advice.

  • Serendipitious,

    Sorry, do you mean you are going to take 100mcg plus Metavive or Metavive only and stop taking Levothyroxine?

  • Clutter, I was planning on taking the Metavive iii without the Levo.

    Are you recommending I continue with Levo and just add Metavive? I'm just afraid I might overdose and I don't want to experience further insomnia or potential palpitations. I was thinking of splitting the Metavive iii capsule too.

  • Serendipitious,

    Yes I was suggesting Levothyroxine 100mcg plus Metavive. I doubt there's anything in it which can over medicate you but in the unlikely event it does just skip a dose and then reduce the Metavive dose.

  • Seren. I don't know if you are maybe thinking about something I wrote recently... I purposely stopped Levo for 2 weeks before starting NDT because, as I said, I knew what my numbers were at that point on Levo. So, I started NDT then, shortly after - I think it was a month or so, I got my bloods done again. The only reason I wanted the break between Levo and NDT was so that I could have a better idea of how NDT was working for me. It's certainly not something I would recommend. But we are all experimenting, aren't we?

  • Hello steviecat, well it wasn't entirely you so don't worry. Another member also recommended stopping it for two weeks on an older post. Clearly stopping medication didn't suit me. Thanks for clarifying things on this thread.

  • Switching straight over will probably not adversely affect you if you are cautious, however, you should be closely monitoring the way you feel. Pulse, temperature; these things are good pointers.

  • I monitor my pulse and temperature before getting out of bed and before going to sleep every day. So yes I'll be keeping a watchful eye. Thanks.

  • Just a small addition to this... I was looking at the link you gave to Metavive and it so reminded me of Thyro-Gold. And they are not allowed to suggest that there might be active hormones. But I know there are in Thyro-Gold and Metavive appears to have a similar formulation. I guess you'll soon know...

  • I emailed the company that sells the product and yes he gave me the standard line about it being a supplement. There are also some good FAQs on Procepts Nutrition's website which explains that nothing has been removed. Well only time will tell!

  • Yes, as you probably know, they are not allowed by law to claim 'active' ingredients. However, you can be pretty sure that if nothing has been removed, it will have all the bits and bobs we hypos are looking for...

  • That is precisely what was found not to be true in some research.

    Assays of various over-the-counter supplements based on animal thyroids varied very considerable from effectively no hormone to quite a bit.

    Do bear in mind that the whole process of collecting, storing, processing the thyroids and then preparing into tablet or capsule form allows a lot of room for destruction or removal of thyroid hormones.

    Also, unless the amount of thyroid hormone is consistent, it might be very difficult to remain properly dosed. Achieving that requires quite some sophistication.

  • Oh, ok. But my numbers on Thyro-Gold are amazing when compared with Levo. So, I guess that means Dr John Lowe's formulation must have some considerable efficacy.

  • My only concern with Thyro-Gold is that of the addition of coleus forskolii.

    Although I need to lose weight I'm not sure I want to take this herb long term. I'll see how it goes with Metavive iii first.

  • I'm not recommending you try Thyro-Gold, Seren. You should do whatever your research leads you to be best for your own particular circumstances. I might even try Metavive myself when my current batch of Thyro runs out. I was just saying that the formulation appears remarkably similar.

  • If you do, I'd be interested to know what you think too.

  • Sure will, Seren - but do let me know how you find it - it will give me succour :-)

  • Will do!

  • what did you chg from and what mg and what amt of thyroid gold did you end up on...very interested

  • Am quite willing to believe that. Possibly some other products also have controlled potency - but which ones?

  • If we all adhered to the idea that Levo was the only secure option, then nobody would be functioning well on any of the other available options.

  • I have never suggested the levo is in any way the only option. Just hope nothing I have posted has implied that.

  • Then why would you introduce doubt into someone's mind when they are about to embark on something that might well enhance their lives? You appear to be functioning well on Levo, others are not.

  • I also know people who absolutely DO NOT function on levothyroxine.

    It could also be to someone's detriment to choose a product assuming it contains some significant amount of thyroid hormone when it doesn't.

    There are no easy answers. The safest is probably a prescription-quality desiccated thyroid product rather than an over-the-counter "supplement".

  • Always assuming you can get a prescription for the 'supplement'. I couldn't.

  • And my thinking is: If Dr John Lowe cobbled something together, I'd take it if it was called, 'Don't take this it will crush your throid in seconds'

  • Have already agreed that Thyro-Gold is probably the one product we have reason to believe.

    Probably most people here taking desiccated thyroid get theirs without a prescription.

  • Then we are as one.

  • And, of course, Thyro-Gold, as one might expect, makes no claims other than to be a 'dietary supplement'...

  • Hi Serendipitous,

    I'd just like to say I'm taking Metavive (porcine) and it definitely has thyroid hormones in it! I went straight onto that when I was (finally!) diagnosed by a functional doctor so didn't swap over from levothyroxin, but I think the normal way to do it is to stop levo and go straight to a starting dose of one grain of NDT (Metavive) split into two doses. A 30mg Metavive tablet is equivalent to half a grain. After a couple of weeks I added another half a grain and so on until I felt better. It's important to raise the dose slowly as getting a direct dose of T3 (yes there definitely is some in Metavive!) takes getting used to. My temperature came up pretty quickly as did my slow heart rate but I think it takes a while for all symptoms to clear. It also became clear for me that I had to address my adrenal function but that's another story! I hope Metavive works for you.

  • Thanks for the advice Elainemawby . I take it you're on Metavive ii? I'll try and follow your advice. It's good to hear from somebody who is taking the same brand even though its porcine and not bovine.

  • Yes I'm using Metavive II, which is porcine 30mg. I also have Metavive I which are 15mg tablets (1/4 grain) as I found opening a capsule and taking the powder neat a bit fiddly, not to mention a bit yucky! I'm not sure if they do a 15mg bovine one but might be worth investigating. Good luck!

  • Did your functional doctor tell you that a 30mg capsule is half a grain? I wonder how he/she knew that.

    My functional doctor said I should start with 1/4 of a grain but it made me think that he doesn't know that Metavive iii can't be measured in grains.

  • DON'T do a direct swap. Start low and build up over a few weeks. I could notbelieve how well I felt on a low dose! I left off my levo for two weeks as it can stay in your system for 7 weeks.

  • Glynisrose yes it was your posts that I saw earlier which influenced me to think I needed to stop Levo for a while but I couldn't even manage it for two days.

    I'll just stop Levo, split the capsule and start low and depending on how I feel I'll raise the dose. Thanks.

  • Hi,

    Interesting thread.

    I just wanted to add that I went to see Dr P and he recommended Adrenavive I for adrenal support and Metavive II to replace Levo. I was advised to drop my Levo dose by half, start on Adrenavive I (adrenal cortex) for a 7-10 days then, start Metavive half capsule which should be increased as I reduced Levo.

    Haven't started yet as I am dropping dose of Levo ( cannot sleep at all on it).

    Seren - how are you getting on with it now? Hopefully all is well.


  • mb008,

    Apologies for not getting back to you earlier. I couldn't take Metavive without any Levo as the amount of T4 was just too low for me. I found I couldn't even get out of bed. So stopping Levo altogether didn't suit me. It might be the fine for others. Consequently I ended up taking too much Levo with Metavive and in total I was overmedicatedrand a racing heartbeat. However, Metavive had a far positive effect than just Levo alone. I've had to drop everything for a few weeks which hasn't been great but I'm titrating up slowly now and I'm feeling better for it. Still not at a stage where I am optimally medicated but I'm hoping that will happen in the next few weeks. All the best.

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