Not being in the medical community myself, i'm not hindered by my ortho-education. Whatever they ARE taught is obviously all about drugs or surgery. High TSH with low T, and they medicate; high T and they 'ectomize. Like a lot of allopathic medicine, i think it's lousy and half-assed.
When the "shortage" of natural thyroid happened a couple of years ago, i got mad (with "upset" as an intermediate step). There were no fewer pigs, sheep and cattle than there were before, so it's a "feckin lie" that there was a shortage -- Armour simply wanted to change their formulation, and they were hand-in-glove with the bloody idiots who think that Synthroid is just the same as natural. It's distinctly possible that some entity bought up supplies and dumped them out of the country or in the ocean, too. Some people sneer every time they hear a hint of what they consider conspiracy theory, but there wouldn't be a name for it if it didn't exist. I FIRMLY believe in conspiracies when it comes to parting fools and their money.
At that point, i did what any good internet-lover would do -- MY HOMEWORK. Since then, i've learned a hell of a lot. The way MY situation turned out, i take a generous handful of supplements and no prescription drugs -- though there are those who really ought to take both.
One of the most telling things i learned comes from my much-referenced source, "Strong Medicine." Gettaloada THIS:
Didn't work in simple obesity? This was very interesting to me, on account o' because, "logic" dictates that increasing metabolism burns more calories, and increasing thyroid increases metabolism so WHY DOES EXTRA THYROID HORMONE NOT CAUSE WEIGHT LOSS across the board?"At times thyroid extract can increase the cooking flame in the body, just as new sparkplugs may increase the efficiency of an automobile engine. It used to be thought that feeding it in small quantities might help to burn off excess body weight. With the exception of about four per cent, that happened regularly to people with the disease called exophthalmic goiter. They would usually melt away under the load of too much thyroid hormone in the blood. But it didn't work in simple obesity. Because so many thousands of fat people still uselessly take thyroid extract to lose weight, the subject needs to be more generally understood."*
Short answer: overweight people have messed-up metabolisms. Something "different" is happening within the obese population Donaldson describes -- their bodies are not behaving normally in the presence of a metabolic stimulant. Something in the thyroid-hormone domain has gone haywire, just as their energy-mobilizing/utilizing domain is also awry. Thinking this through simplistically: either the patient is getting T4 only and it's not getting converted to active T3, or there is so much rT3 in the system it's blocking the receptors of T3 so the latter is not getting utilized. Then there are the adrenal complications which are only now gaining a degree of credence....
This is where the nutritional tweaker gets to be creative. What nutrients are needed to make T4? T3? What competes with those? What inhibiting factors hinder creation, conversion and usage? What can we do to optimize every step of the way?
This is also where being a passive patient, popping pills instead of making lifestyle changes, will never make you feel your best. If you're not getting enough sleep, you can take all the Synthroid your sources will allow and you'll be wasting it all down the rT3 slippy-slope. It's like the diabetic woman who thought she could eat danish and take her insulin and everything would be all right -- no!
NO! One has to make efforts to eat an appropriate diet, get appropriate exercise, and take appropriate supplements for anything one may not absorb, convert or synthesize adequately. The hypothyroid body has distinct limitations on what it can absorb, convert and synthesize -- that's why i take so damn MANY supplements, why i take some together, some on an empty stomach, etc. You have to do your own researching and testing. Nobody else has your exact physiological situation. Hop to it.
* Donaldson says a lot more about the subject, and i encourage readers to look at it themselves here.