Thyroid disease involves changes in the immune system that causes it to attack the thyroid gland. This is called autoimmune thyroid disease. Once the gland is damaged, it is unable to make enough natural thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs. There are many important steps to getting thyroid health back on track, but for many, thyroid replacement is extremely vital.
Thyroid replacement is taking thyroid hormones to compensate for what is not present. When done well, it can make up for the vast majority of thyroid symptoms. Thyroid replacement can be done with natural or synthetic versions of thyroid hormones. Natural thyroid hormone has the advantage of being the same as what the thyroid makes when it is healthy. This is also called Natural Desiccated Thyroid or NDT for short.
Many ask, “What is thyroid hormone?” It is a group of hormones that control how much energy the body makes from its calories. When there is too little thyroid hormone, we burn fewer calories. This causes two changes at once. One is fatigue the other is weight gain. The fatigue comes from the lack of energy production. The weight gain comes from excess energy storage in the form of fat. When we are healthy, we can maintain our weight even with substantial fluctuations in caloric intake.
Hibernating animals, for example, are able to gain fat even when they don’t have access to extra food. Laboratory studies have shown that they are also able to shed the fat in the spring even if they are forced to limit their movement and eat excessive amounts of food. What is thyroid hormone? It is what allows the animals to adjust their weight independent of their food intake.
When humans have a lack of thyroid hormone, they gain weight more easily just like hibernating animals do. Thyroid replacement can help, when it is done effectively. Unfortunately for many, the types of thyroid hormones given are synthetic and only make up for 1 of the 3 important hormones needed. Natural thyroid hormones contain all 3 necessary hormones and give the body the greatest capacity to burn calories like it would when it was healthy.
Some mistakenly believe that natural thyroid hormones are unsafe or poorly made. In reality they have been used safely for over a hundred years and are regulated as carefully as any other prescription medicine. Not only are they safe for those with autoimmune thyroid disease, but they are more effective at helping the immune response than synthetic versions of thyroid are.