Armour vs. Other Brands (NDT, T3, etc)
Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) products in BLUE. You will also find additional and excellent information concerning NDT in general, including historical information, in Chapter 2 of the revised STTM book.
T3-only brands in PINK.
This page is to help thyroid patients decide which product works best for them. Check with your doctor if there are any concerns, please.
1) All natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) products below contain T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. Some are measured, as shown; some are not, as shown.
2) Prescription brands meet the strict guidelines of the US Pharmacopeia.
3) NDT in total is measured in milligrams (mg), i.e. one grain equals 60 or 65 mg; the individual hormones like T3 and T4 are measured in micrograms (mcg).
4) When mentioning the T4 and T3 in these natural products, the companies use the “synthetic” terminology, like “levothyroxine” for the T4, and “liothyronine” for the T3…but they are NOT synthetic products.
NP THYROID, aka just called “ACELLA” by many patients, is a newer brand of desiccated thyroid since 2010, and has always received good reviews via patient reports. Made by the company called Acella, you can do it sublingually, which patients like. Active ingredients are listed as 38 mcg levothyroxine (T4) and 9 mcg liothyronine (T3) per one grain (60 mg), though like all desiccated thyroid, has all five hormones. Sometimes pharmacies will call it generic.
NATURETHROID by RLC Labs (formerly Western Research Labs) See Westhroid-P below. The most current list of Ingredients are:
- Colloidal Silicon Dioxide (from mined ore: natural desiccant to protect from moisture and humidity)
- Dicalcium Phosphate (from mined ore, holds tablet together)
- Lactose Monohydrate (traceable amount as part of desiccated thyroid powder USP)
- Magnesium Stearate (from a vegetable source like palm oil; lubricating agent for tablet compress)
- Microcrystalline Cellulose (synthetic fiber base to provide volume & bulk: also binds thyroid hormones, sadly)
- Croscarmellose Sodium (aids in disintegration in stomach and sadly, even more cellulose!)
- Stearic Acid (from vegetable source–typically palm oil; holds ingredients together)
- Opadry II 85F19316 Clear
- Porcine Thyroid Powder, U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)
One grain is 65 mg (actually 64.8) and contains .038 mg (or 38 mcg) of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, plus unmeasured amounts of T2, T1 and calcitonin. Strengths are 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 grain, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 3/4, 2 grains, 2 1/4, 2 1/2, 3, 4, and 5 grains. Before Naturethroid was reformulated in early 2010, it was stated to contain all the above, but the Opadry was listed as simply Opadry White (Titanium dioxide used as whitening agent, but also contains trace amounts of PEG (polyethylene glycol), Polysorbate 80, and Hydroxypropyl Methycellulose.) It also used to contain Sodium Starch Glycolate (synthetic and aids in disintegration in stomach), Carnauba Wax (sealed tablet) and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) (clear coating)
Note: As compared to Naturethroid before the 2010 change, the typical smell of desiccated thyroid is now less intense. The tablets are now stamped with RLC on one side, and N over 1 on the other, whereas before you’d see just NT1 or a reference to the fact that Time Caps Labs (TCL) used to make Naturethroid for RLC Labs. Calcium filler has moved up from 16 mg to 17 mg. RLC states the old contained Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium (each at less than 1 mg), whereas in the new, potassium is now removed. You may need to chew the tablets up to break down the cellulose.
WESTHROID-P — now called WP Thyroid Also made by RLC Labs (see Naturethroid above). Stated to contain natural desiccated thyroid (porcine) plus only three fillers (they advertise that there are only two, but inserts in bottles are showing the third–Lactose): inulin (from chicory root), medium chain triglycerides aka MCT from coconut, and Lactose Monohydrate. NOTE that the latter three are miniscule. Strengths are 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 grain, 1 1/2, 2. One grain equals 65 mg total, which is composed of 38 mcg T4 and 9 mcg T3–the others (T2, T1 and calcitonin) aren’t measured, but are there. RLC states it’s gluten free. http://wpthyroid.com/
ARMOUR It’s made by Activas Pharmaceuticals/used to be made by Forest. Note: From 2015 onwards after Activas bought out Forest Labs, some patients were reporting their symptoms returned and they noticed a difference in the tablet (similar to what happened in 2009). We also saw it TRIPLE in price in 2015. Click here. Patients are moving away from Armour to the other brands.
It is made in the following strengths: 1/4, 1/2, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4 and 5 grain tablets. The 3 and 5 grain tabs are scored., One grain is 60 mg and contains .038 mg (or 38 mcg) of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, plus unmeasured amounts of T2, T1 and calcitonin. The latter three are not removed, as rumor occasionally states. Each tablet contains:
- Porcine Thyroid Powder, U.S. Pharmacopeia
- Dextrose, Anhydrous (anhydrous means any water has been removed and makes the tablet more stable)
- Microcrystalline Cellulose, NF
- Sodium Starch Glycolate, NF
- Calcium Stearate NF (stabilizer and lubricant)
- Opadry White (Titanium dioxide used as whitening agent, but also contains trace amounts of PEG (polyethylene glycol), Polysorbate 80, and Hydroxypropyl Methycellulose. See below.) Armour Thyroid does not contain gluten or lactose. Neither does Westhroid-P.
THYROID-S (non-prescription) is from Sriprasit Pharma Co., Ltd. in Thailand (sister company of Sriprasit Dispensary R.O.P.) Advertising states that Sriprasit Pharma is “a leading importer of pharmaceutical products, and has been a GMP and ISO 9002-certified manufacturer of pharmaceutical products.” Patients report they are quite pleased with this product. Sriprasit states Thyroid-s is gluten-free, but a patient has reported classic gluten digestive symptoms with it. To see a photo of the tablet, go here. Tablets are light brown, round, coated. The ingredients, according to Pongsak Songpaisan of Sriprasit are:
- Thyroid extract USP
- Lactose (a milk sugar and is a filler)
- PVP K90 (Polyvinylpyrolidone; water soluble coating/binder; no known hazard)
- Avicel (microcrystalline cellulose; holds product together)
- Aerosil (silicic acid powder; help disperse the ingredients)
- Sodium starch glycolate (helps dissolute/disintegrate the pill)
- Magnesium stearate (filling agent)
- Eudragit (a common sustain-released coating)
- Methocel (a water soluble cellulose — helps bind pill)
- Talcum (a filler)
- Ponceau 4r lake (red additive-aluminum)
- Tartrazine lake (yellow additive-aluminum)
- Brilliant blue FCF lake (blue additive-aluminum)
- Sunset yellow FCF (yellow additive)
- Titanium dioxide (white)
- PEG 6000 (water soluble polymer; binder)
- Dimethicone solution (Thanks to Ruth-Ann for obtaining the ingredients list above; descriptions added)
On 8-2009, received an email from a US Doctor who received the following list after emailing Sriprasit:
Fillers used: Corn starch, actose, Avicel (microcrystalline cellulose; MCC); Binders used: PVP K-90 (Polyvinylpyrrolidone); Preservatives used: Methyl paraben, Propyl paraben; Content in one tablet (60 mg thyroid extract): approximately 38 mcg Levothyroxine (T4) and 9 mcg Liothyronine (T3); Source of extract: Porcine
Patient states: The Thyroid-S tablets are brown with a hard coating, they do not dissolve well as is, but can be chewed. They have a papaya like taste similar to “Thiroyd” below. They are ordered over the internet.
THIROYD (yes, that’s how they spell it, non-prescription) by Greater Pharma Ltd., a leading Thai Pharmaceutical Manufacturer. An email to a patient by Greater Pharma states that “thiroyd” at one grain contains T3 at 8.31 microgram; T4 at 35 microgram, which is 0.013% and 0.058% respectively. Thyroid patient Samantha states: The Thiroyd tablets are white and have a sweet taste almost like papaya or a similar fruit. They dissolve very well sublingually and seem to have a very good potency. Entire paper insert with info is written in English: Greater Pharma Manufacturing Co. Ltd , 55/2 Phutthamonthon, Nakhon, Pathom. LikeThyroid-S, this is ordered over the net.
Another thyroid patient, Daniella, was told by the makers of Thiroyd that is free of aluminum, which is good news if you are avoiding excesses of aluminum for any reason.
As of 5-2013, here are potential fillers as sent to me by a patient in Guam: Lactose, Tapioca Starch, Sodium Starch Glycolate, PVP K-30, PVP K-90, Isopropyl Alcohol, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate.
To see a photo of the Thiroyd tablet (and two others), go here. They are ordered over the internet.
T.R. (non-prescription) is a desiccated thyroid product from Thailand that has been seen in 2015 more than previous years. It’s a hard-coated tablet that patients have to swallow, but seems to work according to the few patient reports we have seen. We know abysmally little about the ingredients, so it’s at your own risk. To see the tablet, go here. It is ordered over the internet.
AUSTRALIA’s compounded thyroid: Desiccated thyroid in Australia is mostly done through compounding pharmacies and is usually called “thyroid extract”. A patient asked Australian Custom Pharmaceuticals, Australia’s largest compounding-only pharmacy, about their ingredients. It was stated that the only ingredients put in the capsules are the active ingredient (thyroid extract) and microcrystalline cellulose as the filler. At ACP 60mg (equivalent to 1 grain) contains 33.4mcg T4 and 8.37mcg of T3. However , together T4 and T3 may potentiate each other giving a therapeutic effect equivalent of 25mcg of T3 and 100mcg of T4 per 60mg. The thyroid extract in porcine derived, and it is bought from an overseas supplier. Australian Custom Pharmaceuticals Ph. 1300 853 620 Fax. 02 8536 4155 (Thanks to Juanita for providing this information)
CANADA’S “THYROID” aka ERFA, formerly by Phizer and is now by Erfa. Note: beginning around May 2014 and continuing to today, many patients have reported Erfa was now causing a return of hypothyroid symptoms. Erfa denies a change, but there are too many negative reports from some patients now to think there hasn’t been a change, somehow. Click here.
Tablets come in 30, 60 and 125 mg tablets. They contain:
- Dried Thyroid
- Magnesium Stearate
Erfa’s Canadian Thyroid has slightly different ratios than the USP ratios of US brands:
In each Erfa 30 mg tablet embossed “ECI 30”, there is 18 mcg. of T4 and 4 mcg. of T3 (as compared to 19/4.5 in US brands) This is equivalent to the US one-half grain.
In each Erfa 60 mg tablet embossed “ECI 60”, there is 35 mcg. of T4 and 8 mcg. of T3(as compared to 38/9 in US brands) This is equivalent to the US one grain.
In each Erfa 125 mg tablet embossed “ECI 125”, there is 73 mcg. of T4 and 17 mcg. of T3(as compared to 76/18 in US brands) This is equivalent to the US two grains. http://www.erfa-sa.com/thyroid_en.htm, plus they have a question & answer forum: http://erfa-sa.erfa.net/
DENMARK’S THYREOïDUM for NETHERLANDS from Biofac in Kastrup, Denmark. Imported into the Netherlands from BUFA/Fargo, importers of pharmaceutical products.
½ grain = 29 mg (12.7 mcg T4 and 4.5 mcg T3)
1 grain = 57 mg (25.3 mcg T4 and 9 mcg T3)
2 grain = 114 mg (50.6 mcg T4 and 18 mcg T3)
Some websites state the T4/T3 ratio can vary from 2.3: 1 to 3.8: 1 depending on the lot. Meets standards of US Pharmacopoeia. Contains Microcrystalline cellulose as a filler. Also may contain lactose, sodium, chloride, starch, sucrose or glucose. (Thanks to thyroid patient Julia of the Netherlands for alerting me of this desiccated thyroid!)
DENMARK’S COMPOUNDED: The Thyroid in Denmark is made as a compound Thyroid, and is made at this pharmacy: Glostrup apotek. Contact person: Kristian Østergaard Nielsen, Phone number: (??)-43960020; mail: 109KN@apoteket.dk
60 mg Thyroid from Glostrup pharmacy contain: 9.15 mkg T3 and 36,3 mkg T4. Filler: lactose, potato starch, gelatine, magnesiumstearat og talcum. Glostrup pharmacy have Thyroid in 60mg and 125 mg.
(Thanks to thyroid patient Lone for this information)
GERMANY’S THYREOGLAND from Munchen (Munich), Kloesterl Apoteke, Waltherstrasse, 80337 Muenchen. Phone: 089 54343211. Requires prescription.
1 grain Armour=100 mcg levothyroxine=40 mcg Thyreogland. Clear gelatin capsules with loose powder inside. May have magnesium searate as a filler. The 25 mcg tablet specifies “25 mcg T4 and circa 6 mcg T3” on the label. Thanks to thyroid patient Amy for the above information.
Anna sent me this: the Kloesterl Apotheke (pharmacy) Munich Tel: 0049 (0)89 / 54 34 32 11 offers 4 different strengths: 25 mcgr T4+5.9 mcgr T3; 50 mcgr T4+11.8 mcgr T3; 75 mcgr T4+17.8 mcgr T3 ; 100 mcgr T4+23.7 mcgr T3. The 75 mcgr one is nearly exactly the equivalent of 2 grains of armour. Also they add the amino acid tyrosine in the capsules as a filler. She advises all Germans to phone them and get the leaflet. It’s more or less the only information about natural thyroid treatment available in Germany that one can take to a doctor.
Also available in Germany: compounded pork thyroid, aka Schilddruesen-Extrakt, in different grains. Obtained from pharmacy Receptura, Altenhoeferallee 3, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Phone: +49-69/92 880 300 E-Mail: email@example.com (not for shipment to USA or Canada) Fax: +49 (0)69-92880 333 PC-Fax: +49 (0)69-92880 25 460 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (thanks to Debby for extra info)
NEW ZEALAND’S Whole Thyroid, which is compounded desiccated thyroid by Pharmaceutical Compounding New Zealand (PCNZ). Phone: 09-442-1727 Fax: 09-442-5851 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.pharmaceutical.co.nz/
OVER THE COUNTER
NUTRI-MEDS PORCINE or BOVINE, a non-prescription brand of natural desiccated thyroid. The porcine CONTAINS:
- Whole Desiccated Thyroid Glandular Concentrate – Porcine
- Raw Porcine Thyroid Tissue 130 mg.
- Dicalcium Phosphate
- Magnesium Stearate (Natural Tableting Agent)
The bovine version (as of 2011) contains:
- Whole Desiccated Thyroid Glandular Concentrate – Bovine
- Rice Powder
- Magnesium Stearate
- Gelatin (from free range sources)
Other comments from the Nutri-Meds website: “Our glandulars are imported from New Zealand and Argentina, countries with long histories of grass-pasturing their animals, using no hormones or antibiotics, and have no proximity to countries with BSE. The gelatin we use for our capsules are from the same sources. We do not use USDA gelatin. We consider it way below par. ” (Thanks to Dave for providing this. 3-2011)
Patients report that over-the-counter thyroid products, including Nutri-meds, are far weaker than all the brand names, so they have to take quite a lot.
THYROGOLD, called a “dietary supplement” to meet FDA rules, though patients report it working very well. Was created by the now-deceased John C. Lowe, and his wife currently sells it. Comes in 150 mg and 300 mg tablets. The mgs is NOT equivalent to the same mgs in prescription NDT tablets. i.e. 150 mg may be “similar in effect” to 1 1/4 grains, but that’s a subjective opinion by some. The thyroid powder in the tablets are from New Zealand pasture-fed cows, plus there is 25 mg of Coleus forskohlii, which is said to promote thyroid function. It is a popular OTC product!
*More information on the use of BOVINE for religious reasons here.
T3 MEDICATIONS (synthetic, also called Liothyronine Sodium)
All the below except the “Other” at the end have been reported by patients…ingredients listed to help patients who may need to avoid certain fillers…
CYTOMEL by King Pharmaceuticals and includes
starch (from corn)
CYNOMEL, a Mexican version of T3 only, a shortage started in 2016…
Calcium Sulfate Dehydrate
Sterate acid powder
LIOTHYRONINE SODIUM (Generic) by Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Has ML on side; 11 on the other.
calcium sulfate anhydrous,
LIOTHYRONINE SODIUM (Generic) formerly by Paddock Laboratories and now by Perrigo. 5 mcg and 25 mcg and they have 220 on one side of the tablets, and the 5 or 25 on the other side. The 25 mcg has a score line.
colloidal silicon dioxide
LIOTHYRONINE SODIUM (Generic) by Sigma Pharm, 5 mcg, 25 mcg and 50 mcg. Has an 18 on one side, a greek E on the other.
Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate
LIOTHYRONINE SODIUM by Uni Pharma in Greece
They are 25ug tablets. Nothing written on tabs. A slightly rounded off white kind of magnolia colour.
Sodium Starch Glycolate
Egg Yellow Lake
Silicon Dioxide Colloidal
TIROMEL from Turkey and said to be made by Abdi Ibrahim. 25 mcg tablets. Ingredients stated as following:
Polivinil pirolidone (mineral origin binder)
Starch (unknown source)
TERTROXIN by Aspen (also Glaxo) which comes in 20 mcg tabs, and contains
acacia (used as a binder)
TRIOSTAT is an injection version of synthetic T3 (1), where each ml contains 10 mcg of liothyronine, as well as
alcohol, 6.8% by volume
anhydrous citric acid, 0.175 mg
ammonia, 2.19 mg, as ammonium hydroxide
“CYNOMEL” LIOTHYRONINE SODIUM by SANOFI-AVENTIS This a french pharmaceutical, now known as simply Sanofi as of 2011. 0.025 tabs.
May contain gluten–need more specific ingredient list
LIOTIR, a liquid form of Liothyronine and is taken in drops. Said to contain alcohol. (Patients have expressed fear of accuracy if it’s just based on drops.)
OTHER BRANDS OF KNOWN T3 (though more info needed in ingredients):
Berlin-Chemie Trijodthyr (headquartered in Florence, Italy, though a German subsidiary of the Menarini group)
Henning Berlin – Thyrotardin N
Merrell Dow- Cynomel of France
Nycomed AB Liothyronin (contains Lactose Anhydrous)
Tijodthyronin (available in Austria)
COMBINATION OF THE TWO SYNTHETICS
DIOTROXIN by Aspen Pharmacare Ltd of South Africa, a combination of T4 thyroxine sodium at 90 mcg and T3 liothyronine sodium at 10 mcg.
THREE DEFUNCT DESICCATED THYROID MEDS, i.e NOT AROUND ANY LONGER:
GENERIC NATURAL THYROID (which includes one called Qualitest) by TIME-CAPS LABS (as of 2009, this one appears to have been discontinued). It contained thyroid powder, microcrystalline cellulose, Dicalcium phosphate, Colloidal silicon dioxide, Sodium starch glycolate, Steric acid, Magnesium stearate, Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, and “other ingredients” (which we did not know). It was unpopular due to being weaker. Another generic maker was called URL, or United Research Labs, which is a sister company to Mutual Pharmaceutical. As of 8-07, it’s reported by a patient that Qualitest had the same smell as Armour, which is different than the lack of smell it had before. As of 2009, it may have also been discontinued. In 2009, an active generic still around by Major Pharmaceuticals, simply called Thyroid, or generic Thyroid, 31778 Enterprise Drive; Livonia, MI. 48150
THYROLAR: Thyrolar (liotrix), combination of synthetic T4 (levothyroxine sodium) and synthetic T3 (L-triiodothyronine), has not been available since 2009 with no explanation from Forest Labs. It had a ratio of four parts T4 to one part T3. No T2, T1 or calcitonin. The tablets needed to be kept refrigerated. Patients who’ve tried both Thyrolar and desiccated thyroid report the latter gives them far better results.
ITALY’s “CINETIC” dried thyroid (Sadly, this ceased being produced in 2011, bu), produced by Teofarma srl – Pavia, Italy, contained: Dried Thyroid, Dextrate, dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, talc, sandarac resin, gum arabic, gelatin, saccharin, titanium dioxide, indigotine (E132), PVP, white beeswax. Active ingredients: 75 mg dried thyroid (equal to 25.5 mcg T4 and 7.5 mcg T3); organic iodine 0.150 mg in thyroid combination). Tablets were coated. 75 mg with 50 tablets in blister pack. Package insert recommended 1-2 tablets, 3 times a day (though that may end up being different according to your needs). They also recommended to swallow pills with water, without chewing and without dissolving. To be stored not above 77F/25C )Thanks to Beatrice for translating and sending the above information!)
Want to order your own labwork to later show your doctor?? We have recommended labwork with several lab facilities, plus two on the top with STTM created labwork!
Need help interpreting your labwork? Go to www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
***Order your copy of the revised STTM book here.
SOME INGREDIENT EXPLANATIONS:
- Microcrystalline Cellulose
- synthetically derived fiber base (similar to plant-derived). It is typically utilized as a filler in a tablet (to provide volume and bulk).
- Dicalcium Phosphate
- derived from a mined ore. It is typically utilized as a binder in a tablet (to hold all the ingredients during compression).
- Colloidal Silicon Dioxide
- derived from a mined ore. Typically utilized as a natural desiccant in a tablet (to provide barrier from moisture and humidity).
- Sodium Starch Glycolate
- Synthetically derived starch molecule (similar to potato starch). It is typically utilized as a disintegrating agent in a tablet (to aid in proper disintegration of the tablet in the stomach).
- Magnesium Stearate
- Derived from a vegetable source (typically palm oil). It is typically utilized as a lubricating agent in a tablet (to aid in proper compression of the tablet).
- Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose
- Derived from a plant cellulose base (typically cotton blend or wood pulp). It is typically utilized as a granulating agent in a tablet (to provide bulk and density to the tablet for proper compression) as well as part of a clear coating solution (with PEG).
- Polysorbate 80
- An inactive water soluable emulsifying agent which blends the ingredients of mixtures and prevents separating.
- Stearic Acid
- Derived from a vegetable source (typically palm oil). It is typically utilized as a binder in a tablet ( to hold all the ingredients during compression).
- Carnauba Wax
- Derived from the pores of the leaves of the Brazilian wax palm tree. It is utilized in the final stage in tablet coating (to provide a complete seal).
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Synthetically derived, water-soluble, waxy solid. It is utilized with Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose as part of the clear coating solution.
- Lactose Monohydrate
- Present in traceable amount as part of Thyroid USP (diluent)