New chemical analysis showing important difference between NDT and T4-only!

I found this fascinating…and I think you will, too.

I got an email from Peter Guagliano, the owner of the website And he directed me his latest post titled “Natural Desiccated Thyroid and Synthetic are NOT the same”.

But this wasn’t the basic information that we all know i.e. comparing a single synthetic hormone to all five natural desiccated thyroid, which makes the latter wonderful.

Instead, it was about a bio-analytical chemist who decided to test synthetic T3 (Cynomel and Cynoplus) as well as the Thailand-made Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) called Thyroid-S, by extracting each tablet with methanol, then diluting and injecting them on an LC/MS system–a sensitive instrument used to detect and identify compounds and molecules in a substance.

And what he discovered and reported is that the thyroid hormones of NDT are tightly bound with thyroglobulin, a large iodine-containing protein….whereas synthetics are bound by nothing. i.e. synthetic hormones are exposed; NDT hormones are protected (until they are released by your digestion). The diagram on this blog post gives you a powerful visual of this reality, but specifically in comparing natural desiccated thyroid with synthetic T4-only. You will see the large mass of thyroglobulin on the left, each containing either T4, T3, T2, T1 or calcitonin within. Then the tiny synthetic hormone on the right, alone.

But is that bad NOT be bound by thyroglobulin?? Possibly yes in the opinion of Peter. As Peter explained: “The [exposed] synthetics might be affected by stomach acids in different ways in different people. Low acid, high acid, various digestive and pancreatic enzymes in varying amounts, bacteria/flora in the stomach and small intestine, all kinds of possibilities here which would vary by the person.” And, he says, that can mean instability!

Peter continues: “Perhaps the thyroglobulin in NDT (and completely missing in the synthetics) is absorbed, or necessary, or utilized, or forms other products during digestion that could affect blood levels of various substances, numerous carrier proteins for example, thereby affecting the results obtained.” And he concludes: “The NDT hormones are bound to thyroglobulin and not available for reaction or breakdown until after they first digested (from Janie: which saliva begins, by the way, even in your mouth). This would be a more stable compound.” His original post is here.

A side note about thyroglobulin and iodine: The protein Thyroglobulin takes up a lot of space in your thyroid with the purpose of taking ahold of iodine and storing it to produce thyroid hormones. That purpose alone tells you how important it is to have healthy levels of the nutrient iodine. And each molecule of thyroglobulin has just over 100 sites where the iodine can take ahold along with the assistance of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and hydrogen peroxide. When you are iodine deficient, it’s been noted that your thyroglobulin will increase, which is why you can see a bulge in front of your neck–also called a goiter. (Even taking too much iodine supplementation can cause this increase, which can block thyroid hormone production).

**Enjoy more scientifically technical information about thyroglobulin? Go here.

**To read about the process of making porcine-derived NDT via thyroglobulin, go here.

**To know more details about Natural Desiccated Thyroid–its history, the breakdown of the hormones, and how patients dose it, see Chapter 3 in the revised STTM book, here.

**To read how T4-only is only a reverse mirror image of the real thing, read my blog post from May 10, 2012.

Whether these findings are completely correct or not, patients simply know from ten years of experience that NDT has been giving them far better results than T4-only…and even those on T3-only who moved to NDT reported they liked the results even more. It’s all important patient-to-patient information.

Important notes: All the information on this website is copyrighted. STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website's information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

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23 Responses to “New chemical analysis showing important difference between NDT and T4-only!”

  1. Su Fairchild, MD

    I think the take home message is that everyone is different, and that what works well for one person may not work for another. The key is having a doctor willing to take direction from you and who is open minded enough to try new things. And also one who does not give up easily when the first few medications tried do not give optimal results.

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Hello! Don’t know if you are referring to NDT vs T4 in your first sentence? Because we see that statement made by certain thyroid discussion group owners (which we know you are not) as a way to pump up their membership totals. In reality, NDT does work for most since it’s simply giving one back what their healthy thyroid would have been giving them. If it doesn’t seem to work, there are correctible reasons:

      But you are VERY right. Informed patients need a doctor willing to take direction from them. Bravo!

  2. Ed Arnold

    I’ve used synthetic T3+T4 since the mad cow scare, during which Andrew Weil advised his readers to use synthetics. I do well on it. Since the most important aspect of thyroid treatment is how you feel (not numbers), it is clear the NDT vs. synthetic T3+T4 question will not be resolved until someone can finance a study that switches a patient who is doing well on one of these therapies, to the other therapy for a significant period of time, and evaluates the results from many patients. Is this going to happen? No, of course not, only BigPharma has that kind of money.

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Over the years, there have been a lot of folks who were on the two synthetics, and who switched to NDT, and then reported they got even better results on the NDT. That was impressive. So STTM relays that. But, being on the two synthetics as you are is definitely better than just being on T4-only.

  3. Mare Moore

    I have Hashi’s, FMS/CFS, probably adrenal fatigue, definitely am gluten-soy-dairy intolerant among other dietary problems. T3-only (Cytomel aka brand name synthetic T3) at least allows me to function at a half life level whereas on nothing and/or T4 only (Synthroid aka brand name synthetic T4), I had NO life at all! Synthroid made all my symptoms worsen every time a doc has insisted that I take it so I just refuse now. Took awhile to convince endocrinologist to give me Cytomel and although it hasn’t fixed me, at least it’s made my life a heck of a lot better than it was along with supplementation with selenium and other things, no raw goitrogens, eliminating gluten, soy and dairy and also fluoride as much as possible from my life. I live in S. Ontario, Canada and cannot get any form of antural thyroid as no doc where I live will even consider prescribing it for me and I don’t have access to a credit card so as to be able order online from Thailand. Ya just do what ya can and can ‘afford’, THAT’s a biggy … and pray that someday the powers that be will become enlightened and take this disease seriously instead of the prevailing thought which is we want to just let the disease destroy your thyroid or else we’ll just cut it out and then you can take our drugs for the rest of your life and all will be well – NOT!:-((((

  4. Dominic

    Hi! Would you mind to send me your experimental data? I’m also a chemist and I would like to know more about it. Thanks!

  5. leelee

    Me too! I’ve been on t3 only for 3 years. I was so sick trying in vain with armour types. This is what keeps me well.

  6. Alyce

    T3 alone has changed my life dramatically for the better. A desiccated thyroid med worked initially then faded quickly. My doc then switched me to Cytomel, which took effect immediately. I’ve had problems with the fillers in some of the generics, though, and now my pharmacy’s distributor no longer carries the brand that worked for me. Having to search for it now. With Hashimoto’s, I can’t convert T4 well if at all. T3 alone has done wonders for me consistently (with the right brand) for more than a year.

  7. Monica

    Question to Armour Rules:

    Interesting post.

    Have you had to raise your Armour dose since the reformulation???

    I have read that the human body cannot really break down or digest cellulose. I guess this means we are not chewing the pills up to break down the celluose, but simply to allow the body access to the thyroid hormones within?

    • Bianca

      Monica, I have tried everything possible with Armour or NDT. My body doesn’t like it, that’s it. I wanted badly to saty on it, but I felt terrible every single day I was on it. I tried chewing it, dissolving it, grind it…under my tongue, etc, etc….it does not work with me. Therefore I am on Cytomel. Ever since my symptoms are gone, have more energy, etc….So I guess everybody is different and only trial and error can give you an adequate answer to what your body likes. All the health in the world, Bianca

  8. Karen A. toth

    Pklease I beg of anyone to get forest chemical to change back their fillers to the original. I went from Synthroid after first being dignosed–should I put it begged to have thyroid checked due to family history and every symptom known then and now. Synthroid -no help- searched to find a Dr that would try alternative—-I finally got my life back!! Thea decline started into roid rage-forgetfulness,weight gain, a fear to be even near or with friends,…back to the search—AHA—-new formula causing havoc!!! I have tried chewing -everything excepted a needle in my veins. Naturethroid same thing as changed Armour. All i want is my LIFE back—-please tell Armour to go back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Anna O'Connell

    For what I have been reading, it sounds correct. I think the people taking Synthetic T3 who actually need it must know that it doesn’t work. So sad what our medicine market has become. They put in so many chemicals that are bad for you. You can see it by all these law suits for damage to people from pharmaceuticals. All they care about is how much money they make. These are harmful chemicals they are feeding people of our country. Such a sad thing our country is solely run on money and not what the “people” need. It should be about us, the people, not money. They make money no matter what they sell or make. Keep it healthy!

  10. Armour Rules

    Heidi:Did you try CHEWING UP the Armour? Ever since it was reformulated in 2009 with cellulose, it is unfortunately now necessary to CHEW it into very fine powder so your body can break down the cellulose, to get to the thyroglobulin. It doesn’t taste great, but it’s not bad. Kinda like a musty old dog biscuit. Other alternatives are, you could try Thyroid S from Sripasit Pharma in Thailand (you can get it over the net without a scrip).
    Chew those, or the other Thai brand, Thiroyd (from Greater Pharma) as well. I’m getting great results in so doing, with all three. I agree with Janie…BAG the Levoxyl!

  11. Lynne Tuck

    Playing devils advocate here – but, if you have Thyroglobulin antibodies (Tgab), then wouldn’t taking the NDT where the T4, T3 etc are bound to thyroglobulin, initiate an immune response/attack to the thyroglobulin
    Think I Have read somewhere (and can’t remember which doc said it) that this may be why synthetics can be better for people with hashimotos.

    (From Janie: Possibly. But there are MANY Hashi’s folks who do wonderfully on NDT and wouldn’t go with synthetics in a split second.)

    • Mark

      I recently switched from 2+ years of T3 monotherapy (starting with sustained-release) to adding NDT. Did not notice much benefit on T3 mono, just a slight decrease in rT3 (which was the goal) and TSH. I gradually worked my way up to 3 grains. During that time, I was listless, had brain fog, and not myself and noticed my TgAb has risen to high normal. Once I got to the 3 grains, I began feeling much better and do to this day (I also added Isocort to help bring up cortisol).

      Good news: On my last labs, TSH dropped significantly within the last 30 days while rT3 remained mid-range. T3 dropped a little and is @ mid-range. At least I know the NDT is working. And better than the T3 did alone.

      Bad news: TgAb has now risen over range for the first time ever; TPO is within range. I am already taking more than adequate selenium. I eat grain and gluten-free LC paleo.

      The question is what caused it to go up in the first place. The only thing I changed was adding NDT and dropping T3 from my previous regimen which was T3 only. I know STTM advises to raise the dose of NDT in this case which I did.

      So, should I stay the course with my current dosing of CT3M/NDT? If I go back in T3 only again as the doc suggested, I feel I will be only going backwards.

      • Janie

        Patients have noted that NDT has, in fact, caused the antibodies to raise….at first. But they then note that it will fall once again, since the NDT greatly improves immune function. If your antibodies are stubborn though, getting on Low Dose Naltrexone is the key. Patients do what it takes to stay on NDT!

        • Mark

          Combining your advice + my gut resulted in a reduction in both TgAb/TPO antibodies. rT3 is @ 16.0 (mid-range) while T3 is @ 4.1. I had dropped 1 grain NDT and increase T3 to 30mcg. Will never go back to T3 only if I can help it! It’s strange that T3 alone did little to suppress TSH, while NDT was very effective within 45 days. It really does work.

          Only issue that remains a mystery: all my autoimmune markers (ANA panel for SLE, scleroderma, Sjorgen’s, etc.) showed negative, however, I showed an elevated “Speckled Pattern”. I had read that Hashi’s can be a cause for this. I also ready there can be a high incidence for false + in normal individuals Any thoughts here?

          Lastly, I see that certain clinics are offering the THYROFLEX thyroid test which measures your brachioradialis reflexometry. I didn’t see it mentioned on the site. Any thoughts on this alternative testing?

          • Janie

            That speckled pattern can have multiple causes. But yes, lots of folks find themselves with false negatives! I’ve read up to 25% of folks. So you end up having to simply evaluate your symptoms of any particular disease or not. The Thyroflex is measuring one’s reflex speed, so there is a possibility that it can detect hypothyroidism. But we need more reports.

  12. Heidi

    We had our saliva adrenals tested – two of us were fine and the other needed cortisol (the 11 year old). We had iron tested and 2 of us are on supplementation. The other looked great (according to your numbers, not the doctor ;)). I’m on very low levels of Levoxyl – 37.5ug/day. I’ve been on 3 grains of the NTH with no effects what so ever. That’s why I’m wondering if we just couldn’t digest the thyroglobulin….

    (From Janie: many many patients will tell you it’s a big mistake to be back on Levoxyl. NDT works. T4-only has caused too many problems. You just have to do more investigation.

  13. Heidi

    I want to take NTH so badly! My children are also hypo. But we’ve tried and it is like we are taking nothing – we’ve tried Armour and NP in equivalent doses to our Levoxyl (and in doses up to 5 grains). All that happens is that we completely lose all ground we’ve gained. Could it be that we can’t digest the thyroglobulin?

    (From Janie: Those equivalency charts suck. Get your adrenals testing via saliva and iron levels tested via blood).

  14. Anna

    I was wondering the same thing that Philip mentioned. Are the enzyme in your saliva already braking up the thyroglobuling…or what’s happening?

    (From Janie: already explained under his post. Saliva is part of digestion, and it’s already breaking it down in the mouth.)

  15. Philip

    “…And what he discovered and reported is that the thyroid hormones of NDT are tightly bound with thyroglobulin, a large iodine-containing protein….whereas synthetics are bound by nothing. i.e. synthetic hormones are exposed; NDT hormones are protected (until they are released by your digestion”

    Digestion is mentioned in the excerpt.How does this affect those who are using NTH/NDT sublingually and are bypassing the digestive system?

    (From Janie: there are enzymes in your saliva breaking the thyroglobulin down, as well)


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