The thyroid is the largest endocrine gland in the body. It’s main role is to regulate metabolism. It uses iodine from the body to produce T3 and T4. Thyroid function regulates heart rate, cholesterol, breathing, body weight, nervous system, menstrual cycle, muscle strength, hormone health and much more!! The hypothalamus and pituitary glands communicate to maintain T3 and T4 so they aren’t too low or too high. The pituitary gland releases TSH to maintain T3/T4 levels. When values are too high, the pituitary releases less TSH, when values are too low, the pituitary releases more TSH.
Symptoms associated with hypothyroid, elevated TSH and reduced T3/T4, are:
- intolerance to cold
- difficulty with weight loss despite efforts to lose weight
- dry skin and hair
- hair loss
- joint and muscle aches
- irregular periods
Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a condition where a person either produces too little or no thyroid hormones. Treating underactive thyroid is important because if left untreated, it can lead to a number of other health problems, including weight gain, infertility, and heart disease. Fortunately, hypothyroidism is easily treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
While there are many commercially available thyroid medications, these may not be the best option for every patient. Compounded thyroid replacement offers a more tailored approach to treating underacting thyroid. Compounding allows your pharmacist and physician to work together in order to create a medication that is right for you. This includes adjusting the strength, ingredients, and formulation to fit your specific needs.
How does thyroid hormone replacement therapy work?
Several challenges exist with commercially available thyroid replacement therapy, however, many of these can be addressed with compounded thyroid replacement. Commercially available natural and synthetic products come in limited dosage strengths, and are made with inactive ingredients to which some people may be allergic or sensitive.
Compounded thyroid replacement therapy can offer a personalized approach to treatment that may overcome some of the barriers seen with traditional retail products. Some of the custom approaches include:
- Tailored active ingredients: The body makes two types of thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). While T3 is the more active of the two forms, natural or synthetic T4 is the most common commercially available form. The body converts T4 to T3 in order to regulate the hormonal imbalance but a variety of factors including nutrition, non-thyroidal hormones, drugs, and illness can affect this process. Compounded thyroid medications can combine T3 and T4 into a single product, so your body can use the T3 and convert the T4 as needed.
- Customized dosage strengths: Compounded formulations can be made to accommodate the strengths of T3 and T4 needed to address your unique challenges, even if these strengths are not commercially available.
- Alternate formulations: Most traditional retail thyroid medications are immediate release formulations but your compounding pharmacy can create sustained-release thyroid preparations so the hormone can be released continuously throughout the day.
- Personalized inactive ingredients: Thyroid replacement therapy can be compounded without certain inactive ingredients such as dye, sugar, gluten, or soy that may cause sensitivities or allergic reactions.