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February 14, 2023 10 min read

Most people with hypothyroidism might be familiar with levothyroxine. But did you know that this synthetic medication only appeared in the mid-20th century? Before levothyroxine was available on the market, people with hypothyroidism were treated with natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), also known as desiccated thyroid extract (DTE).

Although no longer used as the standard treatment for hypothyroidism, NDT is still widely used and even preferred by many people. One of the most popular brands of NDT is Nature Throid. It's particularly sought after among those who want an all-natural treatment option. But what exactly is it? Should you take it? And why is it so hard to find in pharmacies? Keep reading to find out the answer.

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is an essential endocrine gland, which is located in your neck. Its main role is to control the process of converting food into energy in the body. When your thyroid works properly, it secretes two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which affect most bodily functions like breathing, heart rate, weight, body temperature, etc. 

What is an underactive thyroid?

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, occurs when your body doesn't have enough thyroid hormone. There is no cure for this thyroid disease. But you can manage it using thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This therapy includes two common options, man-made or natural thyroid medications.

When it comes to man-made thyroid medication, doctors can prescribe Levothyroxine (LT4) or Liothyronine (LT3) for you. So how are they different? In fact, levothyroxine is a synthetic version of the hormone T4. In comparison, Liothyronine is a synthetic version of the hormone T3. However, because they synthesize only one of the two thyroid hormones, they might not work for everybody.

In this case, people with hypothyroidism often switch to the natural option: Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) or Thyroid USP. This medication is considered to be the first hypothyroidism treatment. It's made of dried pig (porcine) thyroid glands and contains hormones that are naturally present in your body, including T4, T3, Diiodothyronine (T2), Iodothyronine (T1), and Calcitonin. Some of the most popular NDT brands are Armour Thyroid, WP Thyroid, NP Thyroid, VitaliThy, and Nature Throid.

A study found that up to 48.6% of people with hypothyroidism prioritized NDT because it improved subjective symptoms better and caused moderate weight loss. In comparison, only 18.6% preferred levothyroxine.

What is Nature Throid (Thyroid USP)?

Nature Throid is a prescription medication that belongs to the natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) category. It's manufactured by RLC Labs, the same company that manufactures WP Thyroid. Released for the first time in the 1930s, it was one of the first available medications for hypothyroidism.

Available in 11 strengths starting from 1/4 grain (16.25 mg) to 3 grain (195 mg), Nature Throid offers a wide range of dosages for hypothyroid patients. Grain is an imperial unit of weight used in the past in the USA and the UK. It's still used to measure NDT. One grain of Nature Throid is 65 mg.

What are the ingredients of Nature Throid?

Every grain (65 mg) of Nature Throid contains 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3, as well as trace amounts of naturally occurring thyroid cofactors, such as T2, T1, Calcitonin, and iodine. These are known as active ingredients.

Nature Throid also contains inactive ingredients, such as Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Croscarmellose Sodium, Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Stearate, Lactose Monohydrate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Stearic Acid, and Opadry II 85F19316 Clear.

Since it doesn't contain artificial colors or flavors, peanut, corn, gluten, rice, yeast, soy, egg, shellfish, or fish, Nature Throid is considered hypoallergenic.

Is Nature Throid the same as Armour Thyroid?

Nature Throid and Armor Thyroid are prescription drugs used to treat symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, slow heart rate, etc. Both are available as oral tablets and are derived from desiccated porcine thyroid, and contain the same ratio of T4 and T3 hormones. However, they're not exactly the same.

Armour Thyroid and Nature Throid contain different inactive ingredients. While Nature Throid is considered hypoallergenic, Armour Thyroid isn't. This is because Armour contains corn. Plus, Nature-Throid is certified gluten-free Moreover, Armor Thyroid has a stronger characteristic odor than Nature Throid.

Is Nature Throid the same as WP Thyroid?

While Nature Throid and WP Thyroid are manufactured by the same company and contain the same active ingredient (Thyroid USP), they're actually different. WP Thyroid is only available in 8 strengths (1/4 grain to 2 grain), while Nature Throid is available in 11 strengths.

The biggest difference, however, is in the inactive ingredients. WP Thyroid is often considered the purest thyroid medication as it only contains 2 all-natural inactive ingredients, including Inulin (from chicory root) and Medium Chain Triglycerides (from coconut).

Nature-Throid buy online alternatives

What is Nature Throid (Thyroid USP) used for?


Nature Throid, even WP Thyroid, Armour Thyroid and NP Thyroid tablets can be used for people with hypothyroidism of any cause except transient hypothyroidism caused by subacute thyroiditis. This is an inflammation of your thyroid gland that usually goes away within a week.

Other forms of hypothyroidism that usually use Nature Throid for treatment include

  • Cretinism is the result of hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency in the diet during pregnancy, and myxedema, a condition of severe hypothyroidism.

  • Ordinary hypothyroidism is usually caused by Hashimoto's disease and can occur at any age or gender.

  • Primary hypothyroidism is caused by damage to the thyroid function after surgical removal of the thyroid gland, radiation, or atrophy of the thyroid.

  • Secondary or tertiary hypothyroidism is caused by the pituitary gland or hypothalamus not secreting enough hormones to control the thyroid's performance.

Other uses

First, understand that your thyroid doesn't work on its own. In other words, the amount of thyroid hormone it secretes is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by your pituitary gland. 

At the same time, TSH levels are controlled by your hypothalamus through thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). High blood levels of TSH are associated with the growth of thyroiditis, multinodular goiter, thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer.

Therefore, doctors will prescribe high doses of Nature Throid to suppress TSH and maintain euthyroid status. The goal of TSH suppression in people with thyroid cancer is to avoid hypothyroidism and prevent the growth or recurrence of thyroid cancer.

In addition, Nature Throid tablets are also used as diagnostic agents to differentiate suspected mild hyperthyroidism in suppression tests.

What is the recommended dosage for Nature Throid?

Dosages of thyroid hormone preparations vary from patient to patient. It is individualized depending on each person's needs and blood test results.

Doctors often start hypothyroidism patients with a low dose and then gradually increase it according to their test results. The starting dose is usually 32.5 mg daily and may be increased by 16.25 mg every 2 to 3 weeks. However, people with severe hypothyroidism, such as myxedema, have an even lower starting dose, less than 16.25 per day.

People who take Nature Thyroid for pituitary TSH suppressants, usually for thyroid cancer treatment, are prescribed much higher doses than those who need to take this medication as thyroid replacement therapy.

Is thyroid hormone supplementation in children the same as in adults?

Children with congenital hypothyroidism can be treated with low or high doses depending on age and body weight. Children aged 0 to 6 months are prescribed about 16.25 mg per day. In contrast, children over 12 years of age can usually take 97.5 mg per day.

What are the benefits of Nature Throid?

You usually don't notice the effects of Nature Throid within one to two weeks of starting it. In general, you may start feeling better after taking medicine regularly and properly after 1 to 2 months.

1. Improve hormone regulation

Endocrine glands secrete many different hormones, which interact with each other. Thus, if you have too much or too little of a hormone, it will greatly affect the functions in your body.

For example, insulin is the hormone that keeps your blood glucose levels within the normal range. Thyroid hormone deficiency is associated with insulin resistance, leading to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, etc.

Therefore, maintaining normal thyroid levels will help improve hormonal regulation and avoid the risk of other potential diseases. If you are taking Nature Throid to manage hypothyroidism, you should take the full prescribed dose daily.

2. Enhance metabolism and increase energy

One of the main benefits associated with this particular type of therapy is that it helps to enhance metabolism or the process of converting food into energy in your body. When you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down, which is why you always feel tired and sleepy. Even walking the dog or shopping takes a big effort. Enhanced metabolism allows patients to better utilize energy from food sources and can have a positive effect on overall health.

3. Better mood

Hypothyroidism often affects your mood. You may find it difficult to concentrate, be stressed, short-tempered, even depressed, or have sleep disturbances.

However, these symptoms will improve if you take Nature Throid. Studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between TSH and Cortisol levels. Supplementing enough thyroid hormone tailored to the body's needs helps maintain optimal TSH levels. As a result, it leads to a balance of Cortisol, an anti-stress hormone, and reduces mood swings.

4. Improve cognitive function

Many studies have proven that mild hypothyroidism can significantly reduce the brain's information processing speed, leading to reduced efficiency at work and study. Even if thyroid hormone levels change within the normal range, it can make a difference in a person's cognitive function.

This shows the importance of thyroid replacement therapy. Hypothyroid patients who want to restore normal cognitive function must take Nature Throid under the direction of experts. Any small change in dosage can have a significant impact on cognitive function.

5. Help people who can't convert T4 to T3 properly

Your thyroid normally produces 80% of the T4 and 20% of the T3 hormones. But most T4 is inactive, while T3 is highly active and affects metabolism. Therefore, the hormone T4 works as a reserve of thyroid hormones for your body to convert them to T3 through deiodination.

However, many people have difficulty converting T4 to T3 effectively. As a result, they often feel that levothyroxine doesn't seem to work because it contains only one thyroid hormone, T4.

In contrast, Nature Throid is preferred by many people because it contains the full spectrum of thyroid hormones that are naturally produced, including T4, T3, T2, T1, and Calcitonin. Therefore, it doesn't rely solely on T4 to T3 conversion and may work better in some hypothyroid patients.

What are the common side effects of Nature Throid?

Nature Throid side effects usually occur when you take too high of a dose, resulting in excess thyroid hormones. It may also happen when you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

If your dose is too high, you can experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. These include:

  • Chest pain

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

  • Excessive sweating

  • Increased sensitivity to heat

  • Worried

  • Hair loss

  • Rapid weight loss

There are also more serious side effects of Nature Throid. These include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Swelling of the face, lips, or throat

  • Rash

  • Diarrhea

  • Swollen hands and feet

  • Convulsion

  • Heart attack or heart failure.

These side effects are rare. However, it's important that you seek immediate medical help if you experience any of them.

What precautions should be taken when using Nature-Throid?

Thyroid hormones are naturally present in the body. This means that almost anyone can take medications made of desiccated porcine thyroid like Nature Throid. However, you may have to avoid this medication if you have thyrotoxicosis or an untreated adrenal gland problem. You should also tell your doctor if you have any other disorders aside from hypothyroidism, particularly heart disease, congestive heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, and any type of diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, your doctor will likely prescribe you smaller doses.

Moreover, thyroid hormone preparations like Nature Throid should not be used as a weight loss tool. It won't help you lose any weight if you don't have hypothyroidism in the first place. In fact, taking this medication when you have normal thyroid function will only do more harm than good. This means that you also shouldn't take Nature Thyroid to enhance fertility unless it's associated with an underactive thyroid gland.

Only use Nature Throid exactly as prescribed. Plus, don't stop taking it or adjusting your dose unless your doctor says so.

How does Nature Throid interact with other medications?

Nature Throid can react with many other medicines, causing unwanted side effects or reducing their effectiveness. Therefore, make sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter. You should also let your doctor know if you are taking supplements.

Some of the medications that can interact with Nature Throid include colestipol (Colestid), cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran), and antacids. You can still take these medications, but make sure to take them 4 hours before or after you take Nature Throid.

Why was Nature Throid taken off the market?

In 2020, several batches of Nature Throid and WP Thyroid products were found to contain less thyroid hormone than indicated on the label. Thus, RLC Labs, Inc. voluntarily recalled them despite no complaints of adverse events related to patients. This makes the Nature Throid even harder to find. 

What are the alternatives to Nature Throid?

Currently, the return date of Nature Throid has not been announced. And many assume that it won't be coming back. But even when it was still available on the market, it was still hard to find in pharmacies. This is due to many adverse marketing strategies related to NDT. Furthermore, the companies that manufacture levothyroxine are major donors to the thyroid and endocrine associations. Therefore, many doctors tend to encourage levothyroxine more and avoid prescribing NDT.

Therefore, many people with hypothyroidism are looking for an alternative to Nature Throid. In this case, you might consider VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online. It is reported to help patients restore energy and improve symptoms of hypotension better.

VitaliThy is actually an NDT supplement rather than a medication. But what makes it unique is that it contains Thyroid USP, just like Nature Throid. And similar to Nature Throid, VitaliThy successfully mimics human thyroid hormones. It contains all the hormones T4, T3, T2, T1, and Calcitonin. In particular, the hormone T2 can increase fat metabolism, leading to effective weight loss. Plus, it's also hypoallergenic since it doesn't contain gluten, lactose, eggs, fish, and shellfish, as well as artificial colors or flavors.

Conclusion: Nature Throid provides many benefits for hypothyroid patients

Nature Throid can be a great supplement to improve thyroid function. Its natural ingredients provide many benefits, but it's important to remember that each individual's body is unique, so caution should be taken when taking any supplement. It is also essential to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing Nature Throid into your daily routine in order to ensure its safety and efficacy. With the right precautions and care, Nature Throid could potentially help restore balance to an individual's thyroid health.

Among the drawbacks of Nature Throid is that it's hard to find because it was taken off the market. Fortunately, numerous alternatives are available. One great option is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online. It contains the same active ingredients as Nature Throid. Furthermore, it's also hypoallergenic.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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