For conventional doctors, hypothyroidism is often described as “easy to diagnose, easy to thyroid treatment.” We’ve talked about both the “easy to diagnose” and “easy to thyroid treatment” myths here at the Holtorf Medical Group blog. But one very common part of this myth is the idea that levothyroxine — the generic name for the synthetic T4/thyroxine thyroid hormone — is all you need to thyroid treatment. Conventional medicine believes that if you have an underactive, chemically ablated or surgically-removed thyroid gland, that all you need is levothyroxine – the synthetic form of the T4 hormone. Levothyroxine is also known by its brand names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Tirosint, and Levothroid, among others.
T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone, and must be converted into the active thyroid hormone T3 – triiodothyronine — in order to deliver oxygen and energy to cells, and resolve hypothyroidism. The conventional belief is that the levothyroxine will adequately and effectively convert in the body to T3. As a result, millions of people who are diagnosed with thyroid treatment, or who are hypothyroid after thyroid surgery or Radioactive Iodine (RAI) treatment, are given a prescription for generic or brand name levothyroxine, and sent on their way. Even with levothyroxine thyroid treatment, however, many of these patients, and you may be among them, continue to experience hypothyroidism symptoms, such as weight gain, fatigue, depression, brain fog, aches and pains, infertility, hair loss, and other signs of an underactive thyroid.
The reason? They are still hypothyroid — and don’t have enough T3 available to actually resolve the hypothyroidism symptoms.