Obesity can be caused by a variety of factors, including hypothyroidism (low-functioning thyroid gland). This diagnosis is more likely if the patient also has other symptoms such as extremely low energy, “fuzzy” thinking, thinning hair and brittle nails. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your physician may prescribe one of several pharmaceuticals, or he may have you take a raw thyroid supplement.
What It Is
Raw thyroid supplements are made from the desiccated (freeze-dried) thyroid tissue of pigs, cows or sheep. This tissue is powdered and sold in pill form, in varying degrees of potency, by prescription or over the counter.
How It Helps
The theory is that if your thyroid is sluggish and not functioning properly, ingesting healthy tissue will help improve your glandular function. The thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are important in regulation of weight. Stress produces a chemical called cortisol, which can block the production of T3. It is thought that supplementing these hormones directly from actual thyroid tissue supports efforts to get the body back to a healthy weight. This medicine has been shown to increase energy as well as improve other symptoms of hypothyroidism like slow speech and hair loss.
Is It Safe and Effective?
Prescription glandulars such as raw thyroid extract are considered safe because these pharmaceutical brands are standardized and regulated by the FDA. Because of this they may also be more effective than over the counter preparations. As with any drug or supplement, there may be side effects such as diarrhea and headache. These are usually mild and improve by themselves. You should always check with your health care provider if you are taking other meds or if you have diabetes. This supplement may affect your blood sugar. Health food stores and some pharmacies sell raw thyroid supplements without a prescription. These are also considered safe to use. However, the potency may not be standardized from one brand to the next, so their effectiveness may or may not be the same as the prescription brands.