Thyroid UK
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I came across this site accidentally - I belong to Health Unlocked because I have other problems. As I also have Hypothyroidism I joined and read some of the current messages.

Can someone tell me what 'Armour' is and also 'Dessicated Thyroid' as I have never heard of these?

I take Levothyroxine daily and that seems to keep things under control, although I have put on weight and my neck feels slightly swollen.

I shall keep reading and hope to learn more about this problem.

Merry Christmas to you all.

7 Replies

Hi and welcome :)

Armour is one make of dessicated thyroid. Dessicated thyroid is made from dessicated pig thyroid and is an alternative treatment to levothyroxine for people who don't respond well to levothyroxine. Most people do very well on levothyroxine but for those of us who don't, dessicated thyroid is one treatment that can work well. Unfortunately most doctors won't prescribe it as they have been told that levothyroxine is fine for most people and have chosen to interpret "most" as "all". Some people have managed to find doctors that will prescribe it though, but often this is on private prescription which can work out quite expensive.

If you are doing well on levothyroxine but you have gained weight and have a sore neck, the chances are you may need a slightly higher dose. Do you have your last blood test results? Do you know if you have thyroid antibodies? The sore neck could be due to inflammation in the thyroid caused by the autoimmune form of hypothyroidism called Hashimoto's disease. If you have other autoimmune disease you may well also have Hashimoto's. Some people find that the hashimoto's is kept under better control when they are taking enough thyroxine to suppress their own production, however this doesn't work for everyone. This is another reason you may find an increase helps you.

There are other things that you should also look into getting tested. Your doctor may or may not agree to do them but there are private labs where you can get them done, unfortunately this costs you money. Any deficiencies in any of the following can make it more difficult for your body to use the thyroxine so it is worth finding out and supplementing if necessary. Here are the most important of the tests;

Serum iron (needs to be well within range and nowhere near the bottom!)

Ferritin (stored iron - really needs to be above 90)

Vitamin B12 (above 500)

Folate (around 12)

Vitamin D (above 80)

Deficiencies in any of the above can also make it difficult to lose weight.

As around 50% of white-skinned people are deficient in vitamin D (and much more darker-skinned people) your GP should agree to this. It has even been in the main news recently. If you are feeling at all tired/fatigued, your GP should also test your iron and ferritin if you ask, especially if you explain you are thinking of supplementing and want to make sure you actually need it first. You might find getting the B12 and folate tests a little more difficult but it is worth asking. If your GP does a full blood count and you notice a test called MCV is high, this could indicate a B12 deficiency. I had this for years before finding out what it meant!

Cortisol is also a good one to look at. If you have hypothyroidism you are more likely to have problems with your cortisol levels and this is often called adrenal fatigue or insufficiency. It is worth looking into this. Recovery mostly involves vitamin supplements and self-help measures. Adrenal fatigue can also make it more difficult for your body to use thyroid hormones.

You can find lots of information about test and treatment on the main Thyroid UK website. Here's the link. Look at the menu on the left hand side for more information :)

I hope I have helped a little without bombarding you with too much info!

Merry Christmas

Carolyn xxx


This is an explanation of Dessicated thyroid Hormone. I am one patient who recovered my health on dessicated rather than levothyroxine. As CarolynB says you may only need an increase in your meds. :-

So what’s the solution? Patients and their wise doctors are returning to a medication that was successfully used from the late 1800’s onward: natural desiccated thyroid hormones, more commonly known as Naturethroid, Erfa’s Canadian “thyroid”, NP Thyroid, Armour, etc. They are made from pig glands, meet the stringent guidelines of the US Pharmacopoeia, and gives patients EXACTLY what their own thyroids give them—T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. It’s powerful and it works. Note that you need to have good cortisol and iron levels for NDT to do the job!! And those on T4-only often end up with poor levels of each.


Thank you CarolynB and Shaws for your replies. This is most helpful and I will see what I can do to follow it up. You learn something new every day eh?

Thanks again.


You didn't say what your 'other problems ' were, but it is quite often the case that the other conditions we suffer are actually symptoms of hypothyroidism, and you will find that the GP will be happy to treat your symptoms individually instead of increasing your thyroid meds to a level that will get rid of the 'other conditions'.

My turning point of getting well began when I read the book by Diana Holmes called ' Tears behind Closed Doors'. It was like a light turning on to what was going on in the thyroid world.

It is also a good first step to get Dr Peatfield's book 'your thyroid and how to keep it healthy' which is a detailed manual explaining all about hypothyroidism by an expert.


My other problems are P.M.R., Osteopena and Lymphoma so it gets a bit confusing.


These are symptoms of badly controlled hypothyroidism. You should be given enough of the hormone so that symptoms go away. Doctors often under-treat and synthetic T4 doesn't suit everyone. I have swollen lymph glands, although these are less bad than they used to be. Fennel's advice is good. Get Dr Peatfield's book. You need to educate yourself about this disease. Doctors don't know very much. Knowing all about the disease and how it affects you will help you deal with the inadequate treatment, often shockingly inadequate.


Hi kavidacat I found Health unlocked by accident to, I've just joined so I've no idea what the answer to your questions are, but I look forward to learning with you.


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