As many of you know I have hypothyroidism. My particular diagnosis is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’ve often felt there was a correlation between hypothyroidism and anxiety, since I’ve seen literally hundreds of patients over the years who suffer from both. (of course when I asked my primary care doctor about this he looked at me like I had two heads, but I digress…)
I have been taking Synthroid ( levothyroxine) since I age 15 years as a replacement for my underactive thyroid. You should also know that over the past decade or so, I suffered from a lot of night time and day time heart palpitations. They could strike out of the blue and happen even when i was not feeling emotional or anxious at all. In fact, they became a regular nighttime occurrence when I laid down to go to sleep at night. And I would make myself cough to get them to stop (something I learned from working in a cardiac catheterization lab- coughing can reset your heart when you are having erratic beats). Having those palpitations all the time really sucked!
In thinking back, I remember my anxiety problems also started around age 15. So is it really outlandish to wonder if taking Synthroid kept me feeling anxious and having disturbing heart palpitations? I don’t think so.
As it turns out, I work with a surgeon who does a lot of neck and thyroid surgery and I noticed that a lot of his patients with hypothyroidism take a medication called Armour Thyroid. I started asking his patients why they take it and not Synthroid. Some of the patients said they didn’t like how they felt when taking Synthroid.
I decided to research Synthroid vs Armour Thyroid and was really surprised at how many people said they felt better on Armour Thyroid. Armour Thyroid is a desiccated thyroid extract made from pig thyroid and is all natural, while Synthroid is made completely synthetically. Also Synthroid only replaces Thyroxine also called T4, while Armour Thyroid replaces everything a human thyroid has, namely T1, T2, T3 (triiodothyronine), T4 and calcitonin.
What I found in my research is that when T3 levels are low, a lot of people feel just awful. Other people said they lost weight and regained energy on Armour Thyroid. Here are some user reviews for Armour Thyroid.
When I asked my primary doctor if he would switch me from Synthroid to Armour thyroid, he said “why do you want to be on Pig thyroid? That’s for pigs!” and refused. (jerk!) So I took matters into my own hands and switched to the doctor I work with. He tested me and put me on Armour Thyroid right away.
Long story short, my palpitations are pretty much gone and I will never ever go back to Synthroid. Overall, I think my anxiety is also a little better, but I also feel that’s a bigger nut to crack. Having dealt with it for 35 years, it’s not likely to disappear overnight. A new medicine won’t just erase decades of unhealthy thinking.
Apparently a lot of doctors are reluctant to use Armour Thyroid because it is a little harder for them to adjust levels, but I don’t care. I am feeling better on the natural thyroid and I know it’s better for me. There is nothing normal and healthy about having to cough several times a day and every night to stop your heart palpitations and being anxious for no discernible reason.
My sister also has Hashimoto’s and when I told her about Armour Thyroid, her doctor also refused to put her on it. She had to go to a different doctor as well. She also had heart palpitations like me and feels better now that she is not taking Synthroid.
Thyroid health involves more than just replacing the hormone. There are a lot of diet changes that are recommended as well, such as going gluten free. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause and Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You… That You Need to Know are two comprehensive books on the subject if you’d like to learn more.
I know a lot of you also suffer with hypothyroidism. I just wanted to put it out there that there is another alternative to Synthroid (Levothyroxine) and it might make you feel better. Switching to Armour Thyroid definitely did the trick for my heart palpitations.
I wish you peace,