Is Cellulose the real problem in desiccated thyroid meds for many?

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.53.55 PM(This blog post was updated in 2015. Enjoy!)

When Forest Labs reformulated Armour desiccated thyroid in early 2009, they stated they increased the filler Microcrystalline Cellulose, and decreased the Sucrose (sugar). And all of sudden, the tablets became impossible to do sublingually–a method so many of us loved and which seemed to give even more of a punch.

And we were left wondering in 2009 why they would change a particular quality (being able to do the tablets sublingually) that thyroid patients praised so heavily?  Positive opinion among patients for Forest Labs back then slipped several notches. (Forest Labs was bought out by Actavis in 2014)

But the real cuckoo’s nest for many thyroid patients still on Armour in 2009, who knew firsthand the life-changing benefits of natural desiccated thyroid, was a maddening return of serious hypo symptoms on the 2009 Armour with its increase in cellulose, and subsequent new stress on their adrenals, sooner…or later! You can read several horror stories in the comments of the post below, or go here.

So patients turned to other alternatives, which at the time was Naturethroid and Westhroid by RLC Labs.

So what has been the common thread in the most problematic desiccated thyroid products?

It has always been CELLULOSE, a plant fiber, and more commonly known by the trade name Avicel. And what does fiber do in your stomach? Inhibits absorption. Armour’s cellulose was raised, and bamm…problems.  Compounded desiccated thyroid, with cellulose as a filler, has been problematic for many patients with a return of hypo symptoms, especially if it was Methyl Cellulose, a larger particle size product. But some have even had problems with compounded containing Microcrystalline Cellulose, the smaller cellular product. And a certain body of patients even had problems with Naturethroid back then before it became scarce for awhile. And Naturethroid used cellulose as a filler.

Note: With all the complaints, Forest Labs did change something about Armour by mid–to-late 2010. Though it never returned to what it was before 2009, it did become a softer tablet and patients did better on it. But we certainly learned a big lesson about cellulose in our NDT pills..

Is this problem true with T3-only products?

Yes. Patients noted that generic T3 was far less effective than the brand name Cytomel (both Liothyronine Sodium)  And what filler is up to 70% in the generic T3?  CELLULOSE.  

What does literature say about the use of Cellulose as a filler in medications?

Plenty. Cellulose is from wood. Wood is fiber. And fiber in your gut affects absorption. From we get this:

* Dietary fiber has been reported to lower the blood levels and effectiveness of tricyclic antidepressant medications…Reduced dietary fiber intake increased the blood levels and improved symptoms in these patients.

* While fiber supplements may help to regulate blood sugar levels, they may also interfere with the absorption of anti-diabetic medications….Therefore, fiber supplements should not be taken at the same time as these medications.

* Taking soluble fiber such as psyllium with carbamazepine (Tegretol), a medication used to treat seizure disorders, may decrease the absorption and effectiveness of carbamazepine.

* Fiber in the form of pectin (from fruit) and oat bran reportedly reduces the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol-lowering medications known as “statins,”… and could lead to decreased effectiveness of these medications.

* Fiber supplements may reduce the body’s ability to absorb digoxin (Lanoxin), a medication used to regulate heart function.

* Clinical reports suggest that psyllium or other soluble fibers may lower lithium levels in the blood, reducing the effectiveness of this medication.

* In one clinical study, the fiber supplement guar gum reduced blood levels of penicillin.

Fast forward to the present

Granted, many thyroid patients soar on about every brand or kind of desiccated thyroid as long as they raise it high enough, plus have discovered and corrected potential low iron and/or high or low cortisol. i.e. if you have had problems with NDT, your answer is here.

If you are using a compounded desiccated thyroid medication, it’s strongly recommended to request powdered acidophiles, also spelled acidophilus, as your filler.  One gal states her compounding pharmacy uses powdered Ginger (but beware of too much Ginger if you have Mitral Valve Prolapse. It can cause palps if you take too much–my experience).  Others might use powdered Vitamin C.  See what other fillers your compounder can offer.

Another possibility is Cellulase, an enzyme which helps the splitting and breakdown of cellulose, and which was proposed to me by Naturopathic doctor Stephanie Buist. It’s found on most supplement websites.

You can also study the ingredients of different brands, of which there are now some which have no cellulose!


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69 Responses to “Is Cellulose the real problem in desiccated thyroid meds for many?”

  1. Marie Poling

    Hi. I am getting Armour thyroid from a compounding pharmacy without fillers. They simply put the powder into a gelatin capsule. So that’s also an option.

    • Michael

      You are likely not getting Armour compounded, you are almost certainly getting NDT powder (dried pork thyroid) and you are DEFINETELY getting filler as NDT is just a micro amount (you would not even come close to filling a cap with it. Call your compounder and ask if your script is NDT with filler, 99.9% chance you will get a yes…

  2. Paula

    I’d been on Armour since 2002. I didn’t think I was having an increase in symptoms until I switched to compounded thyroid capsules. My symptoms were subtle: increased hair loss, but not tons, an increase in fatigue, but my hours aren’t the most regular so I wasn’t sure. After taking the capsules for a couple of weeks, it was obvious I was having a return of symptoms. My pharmacist uses microcrystalline cellulose, but I don’t appear to be having a problem with it. Perhaps it’s the quantity of cellulose or a difference between tablet vs capsule…???

  3. Julie

    Very interesting. I feel the best on Erfa and now this makes sense. Being hypo we already have absorption issues so this really does explain a lot. I do believe you are on to something big here.

  4. nutralady2001

    Makes sense to me……… that batch of Armour starting April really did me in.Am still struggling to get back to where I was (including a 12 kilo weight gain which I’ve just managed to lose….yeah)
    They could rap Armour in gold leaf, stud the bottle with diamonds and I still wouldn’t touch it again

  5. Hardasnails1973

    I have been dealing with thyroid issues for over 8 months because of the nonsense that has been going on with armour. I have tried Natural throid,west throid, compounded armour, t-4, t-3, and still no resolution. I just ordered from canada erfa as all patients are being switched over to this to see if there is any resolution to the absorption issues. My system can only take it sublingually. I have lost over 20 lbs of muscle when all this circus started and some times left me feeling disabled as well as help to end my past relationship because of the irregular mood swings. When research the symptoms began right after starting the new batch of armour in april. Even on 4 grains of new armour i tested below reference range. T-3 give some relief but not like I felt on the old armour. As many of you I have been through the ringer. If it was not for me going through it patients would not have a clue what was going on resulting in potential unneeded trips to the head shrinkers. I warned every one starting new armour if they feel a drop in 2 weeks please let me know. My phone was ringing off the hook and the lab test reflected this change. I hope erfa will be the missing link to finally put people back on the road to recovery which has already taken many years to achieve then to have it all taken away because of the FDA change in formulation. Wish we could some how get compensation for this error.


    I was wondering if you have to have a doctor’s prescription to order Armour thyroid.

    (From Janie: Yes. Even some of the Canadian pharmacies are now carrying Armour. )

  7. gigilaroux

    Yes its all about the filler. I had problems with Armour this year it sometimes would be great then it would reak havoc with my TSH levels. I would take 60mg & 90mg alternating days. When I found out 2 months ago about this issue I started dissolving it under my tongue so it would bypass my stomach- it takes about a half an hour before its all dissolved. I could feel it though start working again because my jitteryness came back a bit. And for those who don’t know one of the biggest arteries is under your tongue so if you ever need meds to work right away that the way to get in your system quickly it is absorbed thru your arterial wall there. I got my new levels 2 days ago and my TSH was back down to 1.5 from the 2 previous tests 6 & 9 months ago of 5.5 and 4.5. And I have just been taking the 60mg, the 90 makes me really jittery now its too strong under the tongue. Also I could tell it was working because I am seeing more baby hair sprouting up around my temples, and my eyebrows. Also all my other levels were totally in balance including reverse t3. Other than that I’m kindof excited to try the Erfa though, my doctor was indifferent of my ordering it from Canada, its sitting the closet waiting to be used. Armour though it just doesn’t work if its swallowed, If you have any left just let it dissolve under tongue just try it for a month see what happens you’ll see it working. It’ll take about a half an hour though to dissolve.

  8. Traci

    It makes sense to me that the cellulose is probably causing problems. I have noticed that I seem to be doing so much better on ERFA than even old Armour…. I did okay on Armour before they changed the formula, but I haven’t had ANY problems with ERFA, even when I take it late in the day or miss a dose. I haven’t had heart palps in a long time, and I feel fine. I’m planning on staying with ERFA even if they fix what’s wrong with Armour.

  9. Nell

    Hi all,

    I don’t know how this will equate to theories already suggested but I really crashed on the new armour and I did what gigilaroux has suggested – well almost, I put it in my cheek. It made no difference to me despite my having it in my mouth for at least 1/2 an hour. When I changed to Westhroid (did thryoid-s in between times) I continued letting it absorb in the mouth and that worked. I’m almost back to where I was before the placebo-like armour arrived but I’m mystified as to why it didn’t work.

    Does anyone have any feedback about thiroyd please. This is the thyroid from Greata Pharma which I got from Canada. I can’t find details of the filler it contains and few people have given their experiences of how it’s worked for them.

  10. Nan

    Hearing the feedback about ERFA excites me as I just faxed my prescription.

    The cellulose in the new Armour caused SERIOUS problems for me. Lucky for you I’m too tired to recant my tale of woe.

    I switched to NatureThroid 3 months ago and improved in some ways but not in others. It too has cellulose although not as much. I suspect I’m getting more uptake but not quite as much as my body needs. Would ask my Dr. if I can boost the dose a little but am afraid of increasing the cellulose.

    Am counting the days until the ERFA arrives and will hold onto the info about acidophiles as a filler.


  11. nutralady2001

    Dissolving it under my tongue made absolutely no difference to me, it was how I had always taken it. I thought I was going mad and emailed Janie and the other NTH mods because I didn’t want to raise it on the list at that time (still thought it was me) and within a week the other complaints started coming in.

  12. Lynn Dunning

    Nell- I have been using thiroyd for 10 months and it is great. I am celiac and it does not afect me in any bad way. I emailed them and got this:

    “Thank you for your inquiry.

    The product contains a minimal quantity of corn starch, and contains T3 at 8.31 microgram; T4 at 35 microgram, which is 0.013% and 0.058% respectively”.

  13. shae

    Again, I experienced no problems whatsoever. I take 45 mg and my TSH levels are at my norm with that does (somewhere around 1.0). The only problems that I have is that I am out and using Levothyroxine. Now THAT is a problem!

  14. Sandy

    WHY can’t we just have the old Armour back?? It’s bad enough dealing with this stupid disease – no we all have to be chemists to get the right meds?? INSANE!!

  15. valerie

    lm sure the cellulose is a problem…l was chewing my armour b4 all of this happened….but chewing the new didnt work and it was gross with NT…but b4 l chewed my dessicated l had bought a pill crusher and was crushing my meds cause swallowing armour had not worked for me and l found great improvement with that method…l have been on NT since June and it hasnt worked that great..just been swallowing the pills…l forgot about my pill crusher…but l remembered the other day…my results again are good…l warm up…my ears stop ringing and my energy level is way better…l have been taking t4 along with NT since l started it and l will probably continue with that as l feel it really makes a difference for me…l just feel more ups and downs….l crush the NT into a fine powder and swallow with a big glass of water….working good….l recommend it…Val

  16. Shantygirl

    I have been taking Erfa sublinqaly for three days. I have done nothing else and lost 2 pounds. A friend who is also taking Erfa has noticed her depression lifting already. To me, the flavour and aroma is even stronger than the Armour before it was reformulated.

  17. Linda

    I did really terrible on the new Armour, but wonder if cellulose is the only problem with it. I did better on Naturethroid when I could get it, but still had symptoms. A few weeks ago, though, I got some thyroid-s and feel really great! But looking at the ingredients on this site, I see it also has cellulose. So if that is the problem with new Armour, why am I feeling so good on thyroid-s?

  18. Nell

    Lynn, thanks for the feedback, that’s very reassuring. I’m tempted to switch over to thiroyd now rather than wait for the westhroid to run out.

  19. angela elser

    Just diagnosed in July (after 10 yrs of misery). Tried just T4 generic, had relief of most of my symptoms immediately although hair loss accelerated. Doc switched me to Armour in August – in 2 weeks I was a mess again – all symptoms returned. Switched to Synthroid. Then doc suggested to try Armour again but “up” the dose. (same bottle) Got worse AGAIN! Back on Synthroid. But heart palps and now heart pain are making me NOT want to take it. Afraid of switching back to Armour. I never got a chance to try the original formula. Any suggestions? In the dark here. Not too many Docs are willing to even discuss thyroid alternatives like Elfa…

  20. Jessica Williams

    I personally feel better on my compounding pharmacist’s Dessicated Thyroid USP, using porcine material from New Zealand. Avicel is the filler (Microcrystalline Cellulose). Besides the question of Methyl Cellulose as filler, the conditions for pig farming in the US are criminal, causing untold misery and damage to the smart little creatures before we ever get our medication from them. They’re penned so tightly that they chew each others tails off, they are left in pens standing on the corpses of dead pigs, they actually eat swill that is produced containing the feces of other livestock… it’s evil and totally uncalled for. I gather that the pigs in New Zealand are treated and fed well.
    The new CODEX (international food law) is almost in place, and we’re all hoping that the compounding pharmacies aren’t shut down as the new law goes into effect. We live in a nation now that isn’t very sympathetic to our health and welfare unless we are very very rich.
    I want to commend all of the people here for doing such a great job of researching for their own welfare and realizing that our doctors know very little. I have been lucky to have a PCP who listens to and trusts me. I would be long dead from myxedema coma otherwise.
    And yes, a class-action suit against Armour (and the FDA) seems appropriate. Lawyers, step forward!

  21. angela elser

    Dearest Jessica Williams – Where on the planet are you. And would you be willing to share your Docs name with me. I’ll travel. I’m sick and getting sicker.

    I live in Minneapolis – you?

  22. Leah Schmaman

    Reading all this about ERFA, what is the best way to get hold of some? I could get a scrip from my Dr. Whom do I contact to get it?


    (From Janie: )

  23. Jessica Williams

    To Leah, re ERFA and “Thyroid from Canada”:
    And please, we all need to stock up and keep the meds cool, dry, and stored in different containers from the ones we open and close daily. My research says no to refrigeration, but if anyone knows otherwise, let me know.

  24. Tom @ Wheat Fiber

    I know it’s a sad thing when a company doesn’t listen to it’s customers, but the reason is most likely to increase profits, as cellulose fiber can be cheaper than sugars to add for companies.

  25. Andy

    Been having digestive issues on the Nutri-meds Thyroid (but…I am awake!) Because of this article I started taking it with yogurt, no more stomach problems! Thank-you much!

  26. Sue McGuire

    (From Janie: For clarification: not all facilities mistreat their pigs.)

    I am new to this blog. I was just diagnosed and today ordered my pills called ERFA’s “Thyroid” from Shipping is free whereas it is more expensive to order directly from ERFA. Genevieve the rep from ERFA said that the pig material in “Thyroid” is from American pigs…(I agree they are not treated well and we need to stop animal abusers!) and the problem that Armour was reformulated was because some people had an adverse reaction to the fillers. She said the pills are actually made in Belgium and sent back to Canada. ERFA’s fillers are different from the reformulated Armour.

  27. Kelly

    I don’t think Cellulose was the issue for me with Armour. I had two great months and then two really awful months when the formula changed (worse than before medication). I had my levels checked and they were almost the same as prior tests, even though I felt terrible. I then switched to Nature Thyroid and felt better within 2 days. Of course, now this is in short supply as well so I have been on the compounded capsules, rather than tablets, for nearly three months and I have never felt better.

  28. MH

    I have a question for you Janie, and anyone else who want to reply.

    What filler(s) would you recommend in capsules? I guess there has to be something?

    I plan to open them and take the medication sublingually.

    (From Janie: if compounded, acidophiles.)

  29. Judith

    Jessica Williams–Could you share where your compounding pharmacy is that gets porcine material from New Zealand? Thanks!

  30. Judith

    Alternative filler material–I was confused by the spelling, “acidophiles.” It might be good to change it to “acidophilus,” although the link spells it correctly. Seems like a great idea. Are there other filler materials in addition to this and ginger?

  31. KK

    Has anyone experimented with opening their compounded thyroid (with microcrystalline cellulose as filler) capsule and letting it absorb sublingually?

  32. Alixe

    Marie Poling – or anyone else who reads this – what pharmacies can compound without any fillers?

  33. Denice

    I was on the new Nature-throid for the last 3 months and it seemed to cause my heart to go crazy. I added levothyroxine and that helped – but now I think I need to get off Nature-throid – I am sorry to say.

    Anyone else having heard issues on the new Nature-throid?

    (From Janie: Denice, you need to either chew the Naturethroid up before swallowing it, or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle and add a touch of honey or sugar. Doing either breaks down the cellulose and makes Naturethroid work better. Or use this page: )

  34. Lynne

    Can leg cramps be a symptom of the New Armour? I do chew the tablets. It seems like I am gaining weight as well….
    I have been on Armour for over a month now, gradually increased the dosage, but just don’t feel great at all…

    If my doctor won’t use compounded or ERFA, what do you suggest??

    (From Janie: use patient groups for good feedback: )

  35. Eva Bladh

    Hello. It is a misunderstanding that it is the cellulose that makes people feel worse. The most important difference is: Before, the drug was put under the tongue (sublingual absorption), the tablet was containing sugar, which quickly disintegrated. The new tablet must be swallowed, which leads to impaired absorption, hence the worsening effect.

    When you swallow a substance, it must pass through the stomach (destroyed by stomach acid). What is absorbed by the intestine then goes directly to the liver – where it breaks down. Therefore, you always need a higher dose when you swallow a drug than when it is given under the tongue or through the skin (such as estrogen patches). The problem is apparently that the dose had not been increased enough in the new tablet to offset the deterioration in the uptake.

    In fact, water-soluble, gel-making fiber inhibits the absorption of various substances. But microcrystalline cellulose is NOT water soluble, does not make any gel, and has no impact on the uptake. A common form of microcrystalline cellulose is Avicell PH-102 NF. According to the specification, see the link below, it contains only 0.25% soluble fiber. The rest (99.75%) is insoluble and can not influence uptake.

    How can I see the difference between water soluble and insoluble fiber? Try this: Soak flaxseeds in water: They become “slimy” Soak bran: nothing happens. Soak cellulose: nothing happens. The water soluble fibers produce a gel that slows absorption of drugs, sugar and others substances. Bran/cellulose does not. Since no mucus formation, it can not slow down the absorption. So you have to be aware of the difference between these two types of fibers.

    • Janie

      Eva, you have given good information. But the problem is that there are some patients who did not do the old Armour sublingually, and felt great. When Armour was reformulated, they felt much worse. When they raised it, they had no improvement. We then discovered that by chewing it up, there was a notable difference in the removal of symptoms. So, we concluded that the cellulose was the problem, and later, I have proposed that it’s the way the tablet is “compacted” into a pill that could be the problem. Your comment about the removal of sugar is a good one. Whatever the cause, Armour became an inferior product, even when folks raised the amount. Chewing it up thoroughly has been the only resolution.

      Additionally, we also find that if one does the compounded route, which usually has microcrystalline cellulose, the capsules are nowhere near as effective. When patients instruct the pharmacy to make the filler as something else, like acidopholus, the patient nearly always says there is better removal of symptoms. That is very telling, since there is NO compacting into a tablet going on. So once again, all we are left with is the cellulose…..

      There may be more to this story than you realize, Eva, just as there may be for my understanding, too.

      PS: I also get emails here and there from folks who claim the new Armour just does NOT work. When I probe deeper, I always discover that they are either not chewing it up, underdosing themselves even if they are chewing it up, or now have adrenal fatigue that needs addressed.

  36. AJ

    Hello, I am a 24 year old male who has suffered from hypothyroidism for the past 3 years. I took Synthroid for two years but saw zero improvement with my brain fog, sluggishness, and skin rashes. I was excited to go on Armour but the complaints about the reformulation of the drug have me worried. What do you guys recommend that I do? Has anyone had success with the reformulated version of Armour? Will chewing Armour fix all of the problems?

    I really appreciate everyone’s help and look forward to hearing your feedback!

    • Janie

      AJ, I see comments on patient groups on folks who are doing well after starting the newly formulated Armour, but for some, it doesn’t last. We then found out from experience that chewing the tablets up give better results. so we started recommending that. Some will report they aren’t doing well on it, but when digging deeper, you see they have undiagnosed or undertreated adrenal fatigue. If you have any doubts, there are other options:

  37. Packer

    Janie- Any updates on this topic? You might have saved me by posting this information. Was on Armour for years. Went to compounded and did awful- TSH went to 22. Guess what compounding RX used- Methyl Cellulose. Went to Armour when it came back on market. TSH improved but I didn’t feel as good. Hair started falling out at alarming rates. Nobody would believe me it was the Armour. Finally after just under 2 years I talk doc into trying Nature-Throid. Whoa that was a mistake. Gi symptoms galore, return of bad menstrual cycle, and migraines. I went off to research what could this be and found this article.

    I am going to try compounded again this time with acidophiles unless you have an update that would change my mind.

    (From Janie: the answer is: some say they are doing well on Armour now, especially if they chew it up; many say they are doing well on Naturethroid, others do well on Erfa, etc. Sounds like you could have adrenal fatigue and/or low ferritin/iron impeding your progress.)

  38. Autumn


    I am very confused about what is causing this neck
    and chest (almost like a necklace)rash. I am also
    extremely tired and have no energy to do anything.
    I’ve gained weight (am now over 201!) and yet I have
    too fast a heartbeat, wake up and can’t get back to sleep
    even when taking melatonin. I have been on a beta blocker
    for over 40 years along with postnatal thyroiditis and
    hashimotos hypothyroid (altho’ now my naturopath says I
    don’t have antibodies. The first several days on Armour,
    my thyroid hurt and the rash started and even on Naturethroid (tried to get to 3 gr. but too fast heartbeat)it continues. I also have periodic diarrhea.

  39. gretta

    while not related to thyroid problems, i am trying to see if there is a connection in the acidophilus/ with
    cellulASE and increased hair loss. I eat a sugar, gluten, soy free diet. Mostly lean meat, vegetables and fruits (apples bananas, pears… carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, baby lima beans, green beans pan cooked chicken, salmon (canned but salt rinsed off) lean turkey, occasionally lean beef. I read on a site i needed cellulase with high fiber intake. This supplement did wonders to clear up my painful cystic acne that i’ve suffered from for YEARS…but i notice i am really loosing my hair. Just wonder if there is a connection. I drink 10 – 12 8 oz of water per day. No caffine or alcohol, no smoking. Had hysterectomy and not on hormones. I take saw palmetto, liver supplement, candida clear supplement (had bad thrush about a year ago, so take maintenance dose) zinc, B5, D….any suggestions?

  40. Samantha

    I’m so gutted to have only just read this. I’ve recently spent a fortune on medications, thyroid hormones and hydro-cortisone compounded but I had cellulose as the filler put in without realising the problem. I knew I wasn’t having much success with it. The only other filler is calcium carbonate, does anyone know if this filler is ok to use? Or any other filler I could use in it’s place? Thanks xxx

  41. S&TofbeingS&T

    Some minerals including calcium (one other that I know of is iron) block absorption of thyroid hormone. Maybe your scrip can be compounded without any filler at all. Talk to your pharmacist — good luck to you.

  42. Kelly A Snay

    I was given new armour and never was told of a change in the fillers. I even asked and because they didnt change ingdients only amounts of ingredients they said no chnanges were made. Old armour worked great but when it was taken off market i was put back on snthroid. Now given the new I have inner ear issues that im afraid is ruining me .. The noise in my head is so loud I cannot function nor sleep. They say its tinnitis.. which started right away. I hear tinnitis is ringing in ears ..myne is a loud rao and loud ticking thumping .Its a nightmare. Some have perminant inner ear changes. If this is perminant My life is ruined. I cannot live with this. The Drug co has ruined my life just to save a few bucks.I pray that my inner ear can be helped and that synthroid fixes my issue. Im angry and scared. 23 yrs ago i had RAI to kill glands for hyper .. never had an issue till new armour was given.And I never had a clue that a drug co could be so irresponsible with lives. My life is ruined.This is a nightmare.I cant live like this.

    (From Janie: there are other good desiccated thyroid products besides Armour! Don’t let Synthroid ruin your life, as so many have stated it has, including me! Get on NDT!

  43. Maria Bacchin

    Iam on compound dessicated thyroid med I feel better my blood pressure is very low and after taking the medication my ears feel blocked and sometimes I am dizzy
    I was on Syntroid and was very sick I had my right thyroid removed because of a nodule can anyone please share their experiences thanks very much


    (From Janie: go here for good patient groups:

  44. Christine

    I was on Armour from 2004-06. I didn’t realize then how great it was, I just took it for granted. Then I switched doctors and found nobody willing to prescribe it, so I had to go back to thyroxine. Last year, I found a doctor prescribing NTH and was put on Armour once again.

    It’s not been a disaster, but it definitely is not as good as it used to be. Eight years ago, I was on 180 mg daily. Now, I am taking 300 mg daily and I feel OK but not great. Chewing the pills up is the best way for me to take them. If I swallow them, it feels like I’ve taken nothing at all.

    So I decided to try Thyroid-S from Thailand. I’ve read so many glowing reports on it that I decided to order a bottle of 1000 pills right from the start. I started taking 5 60 mg pills a day. Within hours, I started feeling more hypothyroid than usual. Within three days, I was barely functional. So I went back to Armour and stayed there. I feel better on Armour than on Thyroid-S.

    Many patients say they have to lower their dosage when they start taking Thyroid-S, that it is very potent and that it is even better than the old Armour. So I was very surprised when 300 mg seemed to do nothing for me.

    Does anyone have an idea why that is? Could it be a problem with the fillers/binders, making them ineffective for me? I swallow the pills because of the sustained-release component (Eudragit). Is it preferable to chew them up, just like Armour?

    If I did great on the old Armour, could Thiroyd be worth trying? I have not found so much information on it, but it seems that it is possible to take it sublingually, which must mean that it does not contain as much cellulose as Armour?

    When I wrote a review saying that I was unhappy with Thyroid-S, the seller responded that I am the only patient so far to have had any problems, and that everyone else is very happy with this products and that it consistently get four or five star ratings…

    • Karen Gardner

      Christine. Thiroid S made me very weak also went back to Armour. Just tried the chewing the Armour 60mg tablet this morning. In an hour ready for urinating and bm like I always did on the old Armour. About 3 hours later started to feel a little jittery and chewed a 1/2 of calcium took an Adrenal Complex a Dhea 10mg and a magnesium. Vit C and a Vit E. calmed down but eyes are bit blurry. I had tried Bilberry and that seemed to help eyes have to get more. I am older now 68 been doing this since 2000. Did fine on Armour for 13 years. Now I am low energy. Eyes blurry. Head does feel a bit clearer from chewing Armour. I also take Alive vitamin 1/2 way in day chew it up too. Karen.

  45. Christine

    What Eva Bladh writes makes sense to me. I was on 180 mg of the old Armour and now need 360 mg to get the same effect. I took the old one sublingually and crush the new Armour up and mix with a teaspoon of honey. As long as I do that, it works just as well as Erfa that I have also tried. Although I like Erfa, I find myself feeling slightly “stressed” by it about an hour after taking it, whereas Armour seems to be more slowly released into the bloodstream.

    There are rumours about Armour being reformulated a second time, decreasing cellulose and increasing dextrose. But nobody seems to have been able to verify them.

  46. minkster

    I’m taking westhroid. I took armour before reformulated and it worked straight away. But now I also have low cortisol so I’m not sure if that’s why the westhroid doesn’t seem to be helping very much…still have low mood bloating, dehydrated skin, episodes of anxiety, not wanting to socialise, spasm…:( could westhroid be better if I crushed it ..up?)…

    I’m also taking cortef 15 mg …

    Also on antibiotics so maybe they are affecting t
    westhroid working frustrating …


    • Janie

      Minkster, if saliva testing proved you needed HC, you’re doing it wrong!! Read Chapter 6 in the revised STTM book on how to use HC correctly, according to a lot of patient experience and wisdom before you! Share the info with your doc, as well.

  47. Marie

    Can today’s Armour thyroid by Forest be used sublingually?

  48. Janet

    Thyroid medications for 33 years. I first was on Synthroid, then Thyroxine, then Levothyroxine and now Armour for the past 5 years. I have felt the best on the Armour. That is just me. Mine are tablets. I don’t know who the maker is for them. I get them at CVS.

  49. Julia

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. Could there be an additional reason why cellulose as a filler in Thyroid meds stimulates flares of symptoms? I believe so and I wanted to share some thoughts about cellulose. I am not sure if this is mentioned somewhere else on this site (I apologize if this is duplicative).

    First let me start with this… By some estimates, 60-95% of hypothyroid cases in the US are due to Hashimoto’s (autoimmune attack on the thyroid that causes hypothyroid symptoms) yet many of them are undiagnosed autoimmune disease because doctors do not check antibodies and because they figure that the course of treatment is the same no matter the cause of the hypothyroid symptoms.

    So, with autoimmune disease there can be a situation where either you are TH1 dominant or TH2 dominant in your immune response. Feel free to google TH1/TH2 dominance in autoimmune conditions.

    There are food/compounds that trigger either TH1 or TH2 dominant responses (which can feel like a flare of thyroid symptoms). One of these triggers is pine tree bark or pine tree pulp which is used in microcrystalline cellulose and is used in methyl cellulose depending on the manufacturer.

    As a person with Hashimoto’s/Hypothyroidism, I react to any cellulose product that uses pine tree-sourced pulp/bark to make the cellulose in the product.

    Just to be sure that I was, indeed, reacting to the cellulose from pine source, I asked my pharmacist if she could create a “dummy pill” in a gelatin capsule with JUST the filler Avicel in it. I took it last night making sure that I did not eat or do anything different than normal. By this morning, 6 of my major thyroid/autoimmune symptoms were in FULL EFFECT. Thankfully, I know that the reaction will go away after about a 24-hour period.

    So, I am currently working with a compounding pharmacist to create a medicine using some form of probiotic as the filler (thanks to this forum and web site for the suggestion!).

    I hope that this might be helpful for folks to consider.

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Thank you Julia! To everyone: to read more, here are some links….
      Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book

      Plus a video:

      • Talee

        Hi Janie
        Wondering if you can help.
        I’m in Australia and have just been prescribed Natural Dessicated Thyroid “Slow Release” from my Dr. (woohoo! love my Dr!) … BUT it was made at a compounding pharmacy and they use the filler “Methocel” which I have Googled and found is actually methyl cellulose!! Nooo! Apparently the reason they use it is to make the Thyroid release in the stomach slowly but I don’t think it works that way!
        I have been taking 90mg capsules everyday and haven noticed any difference. After 2 weeks I started taking 2x of the caps daily (which equals 180mg) and have noticed a racing heart and that’s all….. still constipated, still feeling cold (and I am in Australia!!), and I don’t want to lose any more hair!
        I am worried that I am close to Adrenal Fatigue – in June 2014 my salivary tests were all LOWS for Cortisol and then this year in April 2015 my salivary tests for Cortisol showed all HIGHS (except for the 4pm sample)
        So I am worried that I am close to Adrenal Fatigue and what do you think I should do? I am seeing Dr. again in December so plan to ask for a different filler (which would mean it is not a “slow release” type but I done mind) but until then how should I dose? I don’t want to damage my adrenals further . . . should I take 1x capsule daily (90mg) or 2x (which is 180mg) just until I see my Dr.
        Thanks Janie, you really are a lifesaver xxxxxxx

        • Janie Bowthorpe

          Well, I’ll tell you this: we learned the hard way never to double it like that i.e. 90 to 180, especially because some become optimal in the 2 grain area, even if some need to go higher. And, if one has an adrenal problem, we saw that going up that drastically puts us in a hyper mode. We just go up by 1/2 grain, which is 30 mg. And yes, it sounds like you have an adrenal issue, which needs discovery and treatment. 🙂 P.S. I know I’d get them not to do the cellulose either, and to compound it to where I can take it twice a day i.e. no slow release.

  50. Talee

    Thankyou xxx

  51. Chelsea

    I just purchased a 30 day supply of compounded medication at a hefty price. It is made with cellulose, is there any way I can counteract that when I take it, at least until I can get the next batch without it?

  52. Brian Haviland

    Generally fillers should be inert and not interact with the medication. As your article indicates cellulose may not be inert in that sense. At an LDN group it’s suggested that people not use acidophilus for a similar reason. Hypo sucrose seems to be the safest choice. Why not to use acidophilus………

  53. Lynn

    I am not on Facebook but google pages I like and I just found out that Cytomel now has gluten in it. An appeal has been posted on Change.Org to Pfizer to remove it. Apparently this change took place 1.5 years ago. I take 25mcg Cytomel twice a day (can’t convert T4). Now I am in search of what to do now. Have you heard about this and if so, do you have any suggestions to those of us who take Cytomel? I wish I could just get off thyroid meds altogether, it just disgusts me what these companies do, what the government did to our access to Cynomel, etc. I would LOVE to be prescription drug free, and this is the only prescription I need so if I could stop using it I would. I remember Dr. Shames used to have a product but was never sure it would work for me, and then there was the Nutri-Med products. I just can’t seem to remember whether they were reviewed well. I use to take Cynomel years ago when I had a RT3 problem and signed up for some of the Yahoo boards to learn all about that, but that was years ago. I found out that Cynomel changed too and had to stop at that time and finally went to the expensive Cytomel. Now I’m starting ALL OVER AGAIN!?!?!?!! What a PAIN. Thanks in advance for any information you might have.

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      The gluten may be in the inactive ingredient excipient within Cytomel which is labeled “starch”. But that starch can be either corn, potato, tapioca, or wheat derived.

  54. Lynn

    So you are saying one batch could be wheat and irritate me, and the next batch could be potato and not be a problem? That seems like such a gamble for my poor tummy.

  55. Helen Hancock

    I had a real problem recently with a compounded time release t3/t4 medication that had methyl cellulose a filler. After taking it strictly as prescribed for a month my TSH. Free T3 and Free T4 results came back with a TSH of 11.5, previously all my TSH results are usually very low and my FT3 and FT4 came back lower than the low end of the range. Clearly, I derived no benefit whatsoever from the medication. I had the potency of the drugs tested and except for the T#3 being a bit low, pharmacist’s quote, the drug was fine as per the prescription. I can only think it must have been the fault of the methyl cellulose and its effect on my body’s ability to absorb it. I have since gone back to Nature Throid at a slightly increased dose and I feel so much better.


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