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Does Armour Thyroid Cause Weight Gain

Armour Thyroid Vs Levothyroxine & Synthroid

Weight Gain-Thyroid Problems

I mentioned that Armour thyroid is unique among thyroid medications so let me explain a little bit further here.

Armour thyroid is ranked among a class of thyroid medications known as Natural Desiccated thyroid medications.

These medications are created by desiccating up the thyroid glands of certain animals – in this case, pigs.

Pharmaceutical companies then encapsulate the desiccated pig thyroid gland and standardize the hormones in each capsule and humans then take it.

I know it sounds weird but it works incredibly well for several reasons:

#1. It contains the ACTIVE and INACTIVE thyroid hormones – Both T3 and T4

When your thyroid is functioning at 100% it naturally produces 2 thyroid hormones each and every day.

Normally you wouldn’t think twice about this, but it matters when you take thyroid medication.


Because the conventional treatment for patients with hypothyroidism is to supplement with only the inactive thyroid hormone T4.

Physicians, such as endocrinologists, give patients T4 only thyroid medications because they assume that each patient will be able to perfectly convert the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3.

This may work for many patients but it absolutely does not work for everyone!

In fact, it has been estimated that at least up to 15% of patients may have trouble tolerating T4 only medications and they manifest this “trouble” with low serum T3 levels despite a “normal” TSH.

This is just thyroid physiology 101 .

What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

There are many symptoms of hyperthyroidism and they can impact your entire body. You may experience some of these symptoms and not others, or many of them at the same time. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:

  • Swelling and enlargement of the neck from an enlarged thyroid gland .
  • Hair loss and change in hair texture .
  • Bulging of the eyes .
  • Muscle weakness.

Weight Loss Does Not Always Equal Health

If your doctor thinks you have hyperthyroidism, you will be referred to a thyroid specialist. Your thyroid specialist will pay thorough attention to your symptoms and will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and treatment. But what if your only symptoms seem to be weight loss and increased appetite? Should you still follow through with treatments when all you suffer from is eating anything you want and still losing weight? The answer is a resounding yes. You may only have these symptoms now, but symptoms of untreated hyperthyroidism get progressively worse.

Untreated hyperthyroidism may be due to Graves disease, in which case your eyes may protrude out of your eye sockets. Youll experience throbbing in your eyes, headaches, swollen, dry, red, and itchy eyes, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. Even if you do not experience symptoms of Graves disease, untreated hyperthyroidism can also result in goitre, swelling of the thyroid gland. This is expressed in a painful swelling near the base of the neck. You may also experience difficulty sleeping, sensitive, thin skin, and excessive sweating. These are all signs that you absolutely need to go to the doctor.

If you have questions or concerns about hyperthyroidism or thyroid problems, see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.

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Can Synthroid Be Crushed Split Or Chewed

Yes, you can crush, split, or chew Synthroid tablets. For example, to give the drug to children or infants, Synthroid tablets can be crushed and dissolved in 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. If you dissolve the drug like this, youll need to give the dose to the infant or child right away.

Be sure that you dont mix crushed Synthroid into any foods. This is because Synthroid should be taken on an empty stomach.

Synthroid And Herbs And Supplements

Why Am I Gaining Weight on Armour Thyroid?

Certain mineral supplements may interact with Synthroid. However, there arent any herbs that have been specifically reported to interact with Synthroid. But you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any herbs or supplements while youre taking Synthroid.

Synthroid and mineral supplements

Certain mineral supplements interact with Synthroid by binding to Synthroid inside your stomach. When these supplements bind to Synthroid, your body cant absorb Synthroid. This means that you wont get the full amount of Synthroid thats in your dose.

For example, the following mineral supplements are known to interact with Synthroid:

If youre taking any of these supplements, you should take them at least 4 hours before or 4 hours after your Synthroid dose. Doing so will help make sure your dose of Synthroid is absorbed like usual.

If you have any questions about taking Synthroid with mineral supplements, talk with your doctor.

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Reasons Armour Thyroid Isnt Helping You Lose Weight

This article was completely written by Dr. Westin Childs. He nails everything and I hope it can help you. All I did was copy and paste it for you. Here is a link if you would like to sign up for his blogs. Here is a link to the actual blog that I copied and pasted it from . Excellent.Excellent. Excellent read for those on Armour Thyroid.

Are you taking Armour Thyroid and not losing weight?

Would it surprise you to know that MANY people are in the same position as you?

The truth is that Armour Thyroid CAN help with weight loss, but it is definitely NOT a magic weight loss pill.

Having said that

There are several reasons why Armour Thyroid isnt helping you lose weight and there are several things YOU can do to fix them.

Alternatives To Armour Thyroid

Natural desiccated thyroid is the original treatment for hypothyroidism. It has been used for more than a century.

In the mid-1900s, a synthetic version of thyroxine one of the two primary hormones the thyroid gland produces was developed. This synthetic form of thyroxine is called levothyroxine or l-thyroxine.

Even though natural desiccated thyroid contains two key thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine as well as other elements found in an organic thyroid gland, levothyroxine has become the preferred treatment. Brand names for levothyroxine include:

  • Levoxyl

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Causes Of An Overactive Thyroid

There are several reasons why your thyroid can become overactive.

These include:

  • Gravesâ disease a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid
  • lumps on the thyroid this extra thyroid tissue can produce thyroid hormones, causing your levels to be too high
  • some medicines such as amiodarone, which can be used to treat an irregular heartbeat

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How Long Does It Take To Work

Does Levothyroxine Cause Weight Gain? What to do if it is slowing down your metabolism

It may take some time for you to feel any difference when youre taking Synthroid.

The drug usually has its maximum effect in your body about 4 to 6 weeks after you start taking it. If you have thyroid-related symptoms, you may notice your symptoms are decreasing within 4 to 6 weeks after starting the drug.

After 4 to 6 weeks of treatment, your doctor will check blood tests to monitor your thyroid. And your doctor may adjust your dosage of Synthroid if needed based on your lab results.

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Synthroid And Birth Control

In most cases, youll continue to take Synthroid during pregnancy if you were using the drug before becoming pregnant.

But if youre sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, its still important to talk with your doctor about your birth control needs. Theyll recommend whether you need to use birth control while youre taking Synthroid.

Its important to note that Synthroid may interact with certain birth control drugs. For more information about birth control drugs that may interact with Synthroid, see the Synthroid interactions section above.

Armour Thyroid Vs Synthroid: How To Choose Which Is Best For You

The first line of treatment for hypothyroidism should be Synthroid .

This is due to the possible side effects and lack of evidence for the use of either Armour Thyroid or combination therapy. Essentially, T3 given in medication makes regulating blood T3 levels difficult. As a result, acute or chronic side effects may occur.

Synthroid produces more consistent hormone levels and fewer side effects. For the majority of people, Synthroid will correct thyroid hormone levels and symptoms will resolve.

A minority of people may not find symptom relief with Synthroid. In this case, experimental therapy with a combination of synthetic T4 and T3 may be warranted under the supervision of an endocrinologist.

While there are anecdotal reports of Armour Thyroid producing superior results, theres a lack of evidence to support this. It appears that using synthetic T3 is more reliable than using Armour Thyroid.

It should be noted that hypothyroidism associated with thyroid surgery, cancer or pregnancy may require a different treatment plan. The information in this article mainly refers to idiopathic or autoimmune causes of hypothyroid such as Hashimotos disease.

About Eleise Britt

Eleise is a university qualified Nutritionist from Melbourne, Australia.

After studying a Bachelor of Health Science , she later went on to follow her passion for nutrition science and completed a Master of Human Nutrition at Deakin University.

Learn more about her on the About page.

Joe Leech, Dietitian

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Thyroid Medications And Weight Loss

It can be challenging to lose weight when you have hypothyroidism, and your thyroid medications may have something to do with it.

Getting the dose just right is critical, as is the timing of when you take it. In some cases, you may need to supplement with another medication.

For the sake of your overall health, as well as your weight-loss efforts, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to get the most out of thyroid hormone therapy.

What Is Armour Thyroid

Armor vs synthroid . armour vs synthroid free PACK

Armour Thyroid is an all-natural thyroid replacement medication that is derived from porcine adrenal glands. It is most commonly prescribed for hypothyroidism, but can also be used to treat goiters , nodular thyroid disease, and thyroid cancer. Generally, this type of medication is referred to as a natural desiccated thyroid drug, or NDT.

Armour Thyroid contains both the biologically active form of thyroid hormone , along with the biologically inactive because of this, many patients report feeling an improvement in their symptoms within an hour or so of taking a dose.

The T3 provides more immediate relief while the T4, which takes time to process into T3 inside the body, offers more long-term thyroid regulation.

Because of Armour Thyroids classification as an NDT, some doctors may be reluctant to prescribe it over a laboratory-created artificial thyroid replacer like Synthroid or Cytomel. However, Armour Thyroid has seen a high level of success among many thyroid patients, and is especially popular with those who prefer more natural or holistic therapies.

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Armour May Impact Your Thyroid Lab Tests Differently Than Other Thyroid Medications

Lastly, you should be aware that Armour thyroid causes some changes to your thyroid lab tests which are not necessarily the same as levothyroxine.

Because Armour contains T3 it tends to cause a more pronounced and powerful drop in your TSH.

It has been estimated that T3 is roughly 3-4x more potent than T4 at reducing the TSH.

This may cause more of a drop in your TSH than you are used to with other T4 only medications.

In addition, because it contains T3, Armour will cause a more pronounced increase in your free T3 levels.

It may also cause a drop in your free T4 levels as well.

This pattern may be confusing to newer patients so it is something you should be aware of.

The pattern itself is not necessarily an issue but it may make interpreting your lab tests slightly more difficult.

To recap, you may find the following changes to your thyroid lab tests when transitioning to Armour thyroid:

*Note: These are only rough guidelines and may not apply to all patients.

Thyroid And Your Weight

Your thyroid gland sends hormones into the bloodstream that help keep your metabolism in check. When you donât make enough of these hormones, that process slows down.

That puts the brakes on body functions. You might feel cold, tired, or sluggish. Your body may also hang on to salt and water. That causes bloating.

You might put on a few pounds â a few. Only about 10% of your total weight gain is likely due to the water and salt that your body keeps because of hypothyroidism.

If extra weight is the only symptom left after thyroid medication brings your hormone levels back to normal, hypothyroidism probably isnât directly to blame for it.

âPeople with hypothyroidism often have gained quite a bit of weight before their diagnosis,â says nutrition coach Cheryl Harris, RD. âThey may experience fatigue, and that makes it harder to have the energy to eat well and exercise regularly.â

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Your Reverse T3 Is Too High

If you arent familiar with Reverse T3 please read this article.

To recap:

T4 = INACTIVE storage form of thyroid

T3 = ACTIVE thyroid hormone

Reverse T3 = INACTIVE thyroid metabolite that competes with T3 for cellular binding

Obviously you dont want high levels of Reverse T3 because it competes for binding with T3 which creates tissue level hypothyroidism or thyroid resistance.

The higher Reverse T3 generally the more hypothyroid you will feel .

Because T4 has the ability to turn into T3 or Reverse T3 we need to concern ourselves with what causes the body to preferentially create more reverse T3.

Reasons your body may produce Reverse T3 from T4:

  • Thyroid medications containing T4 This acts as substrate and in the presence of inflammation or other hormone imbalances your body may produce Reverse T3 over T3
  • Inflammation From conditions like SIBO, Hashimotos, Food allergies, nutrient deficiencies, medications, etc.
  • Obesity
  • LPS Usually caused by increased intestinal permeability
  • Certain Medications: Anti-depressants, diabetic medications, anti seizure medications, blood pressure medications, Narcotics, etc.

Two things should pop out to you after reading that list:

1) Thyroid medications containing can contribute to elevated reverse T3 levels

2) If you fall into one or more of the categories listed above AND you are taking T4 medication then your medication may be contributing to your inability to lose weight.

What happens when Reverse T3 levels are too high?

For instance:

Have You Lost Weight Taking Armour Thyroid

What Causes Thyroid Weight Gain? (And How to Fix it for Weight Loss)

If youve taken Armour Thyroid and lost weight during treatment, leave a comment mentioning how much weight you lost. Did you notice if the weight loss occurred in any particular area of the body or if it was widespread throughout the entire body? To help others get a better idea of your situation, mention: your Armour Thyroid dosage, how long it took for you to lose weight, and how well you are tolerating the treatment.

Do you believe that the weight loss occurred mainly as a result of an increase in BMR ? Or do you think that other effects of the medication such as: appetite changes, diarrhea, increased energy, and/or decreased food cravings helped you lose some weight during treatment? Can you be sure that the weight loss was strictly from Armour Thyroid or did you make changes to your diet, exercise, sleep, etc. throughout treatment?

Realize that most people taking Armour Thyroid will end up losing a bit of weight throughout treatment. That said, you shouldnt automatically assume that normalizing your thyroid levels will get you a perfect physique or is some magic bullet for weight loss. Usually it takes a combination of Armour Thyroid, regular exercise, and a nutritious diet to lose a healthy amount of weight.

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How Armour Thyroid May Cause Weight Loss

Below is a list of possible ways by which Armour Thyroid may cause weight loss. While increases in BMR as a result of normalized T4/T3 concentrations is the primary way by which most Armour Thyroid users lose weight, it may not be the only way. Specific causative factors that influence weight loss among those taking Armour Thyroid may be subject to significant interindividual variation.

Note: While most individuals will lose weight as a result of increases in BMR, others may lose weight from increased energy, appetite reduction, and/or a combination of factors. Understand that weight loss from Armour Thyroid is often subject to interindividual variation.

Signs Of Overtreatment To Look Out For

Its important to be familiar with the signs of overtreatment for hypothyroidism. Symptoms of mild overtreatment include:

  • Inability to sleep and/or focus.
  • Abnormally increased heart rate, even at rest.
  • Forgetfulness.

Two groups of people with hypothyroidism are at high risk of complications from overtreatment: those with heart rhythm disturbances and elderly people with weak bones. One study reports that hypothyroidism is more common in older women due to Hashimotos disease.

Whether youre young, old or in between, dont adjust the dose yourself if you think youre being overtreated, says Dr. Skugor. Call your doctor and explain your symptoms. They will check your blood levels of thyroid hormone. The correct dose adjustment will soon have you feeling a whole lot better.

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Armour Thyroid & Weight Loss: The Research

There is limited available research documenting the effects of Armour Thyroid on body weight. That said, one study suggests that average weight loss is around ~3 lbs. While ~3 lbs isnt a significant amount of weight, some users may experience more significant weight loss than others, possibly increasing treatment satisfaction.

2013: Desiccated thyroid extract compared with levothyroxine in the treatment of hypothyroidism: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study.

A study conducted by Hoang et al. sought to distinguish the effects of desiccated thyroid extract from those associated with levothyroxine . Researchers set-up a double-blinded, randomized, crossover study design at a tertiary care center with 70 patients. All patients had been previously diagnosed with primary hypothyroidism and were on a stabile dose of L-thyroxine for 6+ months prior to the study.

For the first 16 weeks, all 70 patients received either DTE or L-Thyroxine . After the initial 16 weeks, patients were then crossed over to receive the opposite treatment for an additional 16 weeks. Neurocognitive and biochemical tests were administered to the participants at pre-treatment baseline, as well as after ach of the 16 week treatments.


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