Thyroid UK

Hypothyroidism symptoms

I have only just been diagnosed with thyroid abnormality level 4.54 from a cholesterol blood test. My GP tells me this is slightly raised and would like another test carried out in 8 weeks time. Meanwhile I am concerned at losing so much hair, putting on weight and losing my energy levels.

I understand that NDT (Armour) is better absorbed by the body than the synthetic drug thyroxine prescribed by most UK doctors and I doubt if my GP would prescribe it, but I believe NDT is only available from overseas. Can anyone indicate the best form of NDT and where to get it online please?

23 Replies

I really don't think NDT is better absorbed than synthetic levo - which is certainly not a drug, it's a hormone, just like NDT. It's just that it suits some people better. Plenty of people do very well on synthetic levo.

But, you do realise that your doctor will probably not agree to monitor you if you jump in with both feet and buy your own NDT, don't you? Doctors only understand levo. The blood tests are designed for people taking levo, so your doctor probably won't understand your results. And, you will need a certain level of knowledge of thyroid to be able to monitor yourself. If I have any advice to give you, it would be to start on the synthetic levo and see how you go, all the while learning about your disease, so that eventually, you can buy your own NDT and take control yourself. NDT might not even suit you, anyway, and then you will have burnt your boats with your doctor. Best not to try running before you can walk. :)


You should really try the Levothyroxin first as i have been on it now for 30 years. Don't stress your self over your hair falling out as it is no differant to you washing it and some come out. And as far as weight gain goes don't stress over that. I have under active Thyroid and with the right dosage i have only put on a stone. Just wait and see what your blood results say in 8 weeks.

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Thank you for your reply. I will take my doctor's advice in the first instance and see if it makes a difference. If she prescribes the synthetic levo then I will give it a try. My hair loss is a problem though. I have never had it coming out in clumps before and it is now thinner and see through now.

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Thank you for your reply. I am not on anything at the moment, apart from vitamins which a friend advised me to take. I have a telephone appointment with my doctor on Monday afternoon and will ask if she can prescribe whatever she thinks best. I am really worried about clumps of hair coming out every time I is so dry and thin now..I'm worried I'll end up bald very soon!!


Which vitamins are you taking? Does your friend know enough about thyroid and nutrients to give advice? You need to be careful you take the right things in the right quantities.

Hair-loss can be caused by many things. But if it's caused by low thyroid, it can usually be reversed.

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I am taking magnesium, D3 and B12, and I thought I was getting selenium from Brazil nuts, but apparently not. My friend is hypothyroid and is on NDT which she gets from the US. Synthetic levo makes her very sick, but I understand everyone has different tolerances. I will take my doctor's advice on Monday.


Did you get your D3 and B12 tested before starting supplementation? It's really, really not advisable to start taking them without getting tested first.


Thanks for your advice greygoose. I will mention the supplements I have been taking to the doctor on Monday and make sure I get tested. It has only been three days since I had a phone message from the surgery that I had a "slight thyroid abnormality". It came as a shock since I had only asked for a cholesterol blood test.


Yes, but the problem is, now that you've been supplementing, you won't know what your base-line was. It could have been that your B12 was so low that it warrented testing for Pernicious Anemia. If you have a normal blood test now, the result will be skewed. You would have to come off the B12 for 5 months to get a true reading. So, your friend didn't really do you any favours advising you to start supplementing.

As for the vit D3, it is fat soluble, so excess won't be excreted, it will be stocked, and too much is toxic. So, you really should get that tested, now.

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Thank you greygoose!

Oh no! Well I've stopped taking all supplements today but I will let her know I've taken them for 3 days though.

I'll ask for the blood test tomorrow anyway, even though it won't be precise because of the supplements.

I also wanted to ask about autoimmune and coeliac. Would that be effected by the supplements? And is there anything else I should ask about?


Ah only three days! OK, I thought it had been longer than that. Well, that should be ok, then.

I think the only supplement that has any effect on antibodies is selenium. But not after only three days. And, I think the only thing that affects the coeliac test is gluten. So, you need to still be eating that.

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Many thanks greygoose for setting my mind at rest.

I just hope the doctor agrees tomorrow to order the full thyroid test earlier than the 8 weeks she mentioned. She may have already decided that my TSH reading is only very slightly over the UK range for under active thyroid and not to do an earlier blood test or to prescribe levothyroxine.

I really don't want to wait another 8 weeks of constant hair loss and feeling tired and edgy all the time. I shall probably have to be very insistent!!

Its great to have all your knowledgeable help, as I know hardly anything at all about the thyroid.


Oh, you'll learn. :) We all had to as a means of self-preservation!

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The majority get on fine with Levothyroxine, or some need Levothyroxine plus T3,

But the standard advice is to try ordinary Levothyroxine first. Getting dose right and making sure vitamins are at good levels too

Ask GP to test thyroid antibodies at next tests see if these are raised. This gives diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease also called Hashimoto's

Important to test vitamin D, folate, B12 and ferritin

Hair falling out can be due to low ferritin

Cholesterol is often high when slightly hypo.


Thank you for your reply.

The doctor has not prescribed anything yet, so I have started taking Magnesium, vitamin D3, B12 and selenium which a friend advised. It was my own idea to eat Brazil nuts for selenium but there is no indication on the packaging, so I need to buy the supplement.

I'll also ask my doctor to test for Hashimoto's and ferritin levels.

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Be better to get some "selenium with vitamin E" supplements.

Unless packet of Brazil nuts says on packet...grown in selenium rich soil, they won't have much in

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Hi there, Thank you for your reply. The Brazil nuts don't give any indication of selenium content on the package, so I will take your advice and get the selenium with vitamin E supplement.

My friend actually advised selenium as well as the other supplements; it was my own idea to eat Brazil nuts for selenium. Ilm sure I will be making lots of changes along the way before I get everything right! But thanks for pointing this out.

My friend is actually hypothyroid and has done a lot of research along the way.

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It's amazing how much advice friends give, but unless they are Hypothyroid themselves they really won't know what's best for a hypo patient.

As for Brazil nuts and selenium, they need to be grown in selenium rich soil to contain any. The packaging needs to state 'Grown in selenium rich soil', if it doesn't then there will be no discernable amount of selenium in the nuts.

For best amount of selenium the nuts need to come from Eastern Amazon or Central Brazil. See the following article with table of selenium content of Brazil nuts

If you can't get nuts stating these facts then you will not get any selenium from them. Supplementing with selenium L-selenomethionine 200mcg daily is the best way to know you are getting the right amount.

Also, you need to know your level of D3 before supplementing so that you know how much to take, excess Vit D is stored and can reach toxicity level. Then there are important cofactors necessary when taking D3

As for hairloss, this can be caused by lack of certain vitamins and minerals

Ferritin level is important for hair growth, see

"Normal ferritin levels for women are between 12 and 150 ng/mL. According to some experts, Ferritin levels of at least 40 ng/ml are required to stop hair loss, while levels of at least 70 ng/ml are needed for hair regrowth. The optimal ferritin level for thyroid function is between 90-110 ng/ml."


Many thanks for your reply. I will get my doctor to check ferritin levels, and I have taken note of the levels you mention for hair loss and hair regrowth. I will also ask for vitamin levels.

My friend suggested selenium; it was my own idea about the Brazil nuts, which probably do not have any selenium and I will buy the supplement. She is hypothyroid and has done a lot of research over the years. She is on NDT as she cannot tolerate synthetic levo. But what suits one person may not be tolerated by another. I will see what my doctor comes up with at my next blood test. Thank you again.


I'm still learning, thanks to the help of people on here...and slowly beginning to feel better.

Has anyone pointed out that you need to have TSH , T4 and T3 tested in order to work out how well (or not) your thyroid is functioning? You can learn "the why" by reading/following posts on here.

I'm not in a position to advise other than to say trust the advice offered here, and be patient...there is no quick fix.




Thank you for your response DD.

My TSH showed 4.54 in a Cholesterol blood test. No other information was apparent. My doctor left a phone message to say that I have a very slightly abnormal thyroid reading and I should have a further test in 8 weeks time!

After a telephone conversation with my doctor yesterday afternoon, she has agreed I could have a further blood test this morning (at the walk in clinic of the surgery) with a further blood test in March. The test today is for autoimmune, various other vitamins and ferritin (because of hair loss). I am not sure about T3 and T4 but lots of blood samples were taken. I will post my results next week when they become available.

I knew absolutely nothing about my thyroid until 4 days ago, and am grateful to all the knowledgeable people on this site who are a great help to newcomers like me.


Good...unless you have T4 and T3 levels as well as TSH you will be unable to evaluate thyroid function. Insist...I had to.

The alternative is to have private blood on here....use search button at top.

Post all results with reference ranges and someone here will advise.

It's a steep learning curve but keep reading...knowledge is power.

Any concerns ...just post on here. Someone will have the answer!

Having followed the advice here, after many years I am now beginning to make progress. Unfortunately there is no overnight cure but you till improve with the right advice.

Be patient and don't be afraid to question what docs tell you - calmly but firmly - and with some back up info from here.

Happy reading and good health



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Please could somebody have a look at my blood test as I am a total newbie and have no understanding of what it all means. I am a total newbie, very recently diagnosed at a Cholesterol test as being very slightly hypothyroid. I had a more complete blood test on the 23rd January and have just received my blood results. I thought I had made an appointment with the doctor today to discuss the results but when I turned up at the surgery, it was just meant to be a telephone appointment. So here I am with the printout of the results which I persuaded the receptionist to give me, but I have no understanding of what it all means.

Most items have been marked (AMO) - No action - Normal result, reviewed by GP

It seems the most relevant tests have been marked with an exclamation mark, so I will give these first:-

! Thyroid peroxidase antibod lev - (AMO) 109 lU/mL <60.00lU/mL - make appt with usual Dr to discuss results.

! Plasma TSH level (AMO) 4.38 mU/L 0.30 - 4.20mU/L - already improving, recheck as planned.

! FULL BLOOD COUNT - FBC - (AMO) - marginal variation from normal - of no significance - No action

Haemoglobin estimation 145 g/L 120.00 - 150.00g/L

! Total white cell count 3.97 x10*9/L 4.00-11.00x10*9/L

Platelet count 239 x10*9/L 150.00-400.00x10*9/L

Haematocnt 0.449 L/L 0.30-0.46L/L

! Red blood cell (RBC) count 5.02 x10*12L 3,80-4.80x10*12/L

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) 89.4 fl 83.00-105.00fl

Mean corpusc. haemoglobin(MCH) 28.9 pg 27.00-32.00pg

Mean corpusc. Hb. conc. (MCHC) 323 g/L 315.00-345.00g/L

Neurophil count 2.08 x10*9/L 2.00-7.00x10*9/L

Lymphocyte count 1.23 x10*9/L 1.00-4.00x10*9/L

Monocyte count 0.38 x10*9/L 0.20-1.00x10*9/L

Eosinophil count 0.23 x10*9/L 0.00-0.50x10*9/L

Basophil count 0.05 x10*9/L 0.00-0.10x10*9/L

There is more which I have not added but they all say No action - normal result, reviewed by GP. Should I add these too?

Many thanks, Kathy


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