A few people have asked me this before;
I’d like to try NDT but I’m vegetarian/can’t have pork. What do I do?
They read about how well people do on Natural Desiccated Thyroid, want to try it, then realise it’s porcine (pig) gland.
Whilst this is great in that it’s very close to your own thyroid, so gives you exactly what your own thyroid would be giving you; T1, T2, T3, T4 and Calcitonin, for those who are vegetarian, it’s not as simple.
For some, being vegetarian is a lifestyle choice, cultural or religious instruction.
So what do you do?
One alternative is the combination of synthetic T4 (such as Levothyroxine and Synthroid) and synthetic T3 (Cytomel) medication, but it’s worth being aware that Tirosint (a T4 Levothyorxine medicine) does contain gelatine, so always check what you’re given. Synthetic T3 medication can be prescribed, just like T4.
This is reported to often be more successful at treating hypothyroidism and the associated symptoms than T4 alone, since you aren’t relying on your body to convert the T4 in to T3, T3 being the most active thyroid hormone and one we also need to feel well (and many people have conversion problems). T3 is important for so many things.
The downside to T4 and T3 combination synthetics is that while it’s usually better than T4-only, it’s often reported to not be as successful as NDT at removing symptoms, so if you’re completely ruling out using NDT, this is something you’re going to have to accept. You may still have some lingering symptoms on a synthetic T3 and T4 combo. This is because it’s simply synthetic and not natural, like NDT, but it also misses those other components; T1, T2 and Calcitonin.
However, it often works better than just taking synthetic T4-only and it gets you around the vegetarian issue.
Another option, if you can’t have pork, could be a bovine NDT (made from cows). There is an ‘over the counter’ NDT product called Thyrogold, which you can order online. Thyrogold is referred to as a ‘dietary supplement’.
STTM also state that: although it’s referred to as a ‘dietary supplement’, it can be very effective at treating hypothyroidism. The 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.
You can buy it from Nutri-Meds, here:
Another alternative is to consider looking at NDT in another way. By taking it, it’s saving your life. Without thyroid medication, you would die.
And NDT quite often gives people their lives back.
Does this take precedence over your what your religion/culture/morals dictate? Well, that’s for you to decide. You could speak to a religious figure at your church, temple, mosque etc. and discuss this subject with them. STTM have a piece written by a thyroid patient who spoke to a rabbi about this issue, here.
One thing is certain, though. It’s completely your decision and only you know what you feel comfortable with.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information give. Also see these links:
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six WEGO Award Nominations, a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018. Currently studying to become a Life Coach, she has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community and has relevant qualifications and certificates in Diet and Nutrition, Reflexology, Motivational Speaking and Positive Thinking.