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February 02, 2023 8 min read

Thyroid hormone replacement medication is an important part of managing an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism, but what happens when the dosage isn't quite right? If you're on thyroid medication and suspect that your dose may be too low, it's good to know what signs to look out for. Read on to learn more about how to tell if your thyroid medication is too low - so you can make sure your health is in its best shape.

What to know about your thyroid gland

Your thyroid is the largest endocrine gland in your body. Located at the front of the neck, this butterfly-shaped gland releases thyroid hormones, which play an important role in converting food into energy (metabolism) – an essential process for the survival of every cell in the human body.

Your thyroid gland produces and releases two main hormones into your bloodstream, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Both of these hormones are collectively known as thyroid hormones because T3 makes up only 20% while T4 makes up 80%.

Although your thyroid produces more T4 hormone, it's inactive. In contrast, the hormone T3 is active and affects your cells. Thus, T4 serves as a backup and can be converted into T3 when needed through deiodination.

Thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism and keep the normal function of most organ systems in your body, such as the brain, heart, muscles, bones, body temperature, etc.

Is there a link between thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and your thyroid gland?

In your endocrine system, the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and thyroid work in synchrony. When your thyroid gland releases hormones, it undergoes a complicated process. First, the hypothalamus releases thyrotropin (TRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH then sends a signal to your thyroid gland to release these hormones. If TSH is increased, it means that the thyroid needs to be more productive and vice versa.


Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid gland fails to produce and release enough thyroid hormone, resulting in a range of physical and mental health issues. These include fatigue, low libido, depression, constipation, and difficulty concentrating. Fortunately, this thyroid disease is easily treated with a daily dose of thyroid hormone replacement medications, which help to regulate levels in the body.


Signs your thyroid medication is too low

The different types of thyroid hormone replacement medication

There is a variety of thyroid medications used to treat hypothyroidism. However, you will often face two popular choices, synthetic or natural products.

Levothyroxine, the synthetic form of T4, is considered the standard treatment for hypothyroidism. In the US, Levothyroxine is available in the generic form and under the brand names Synthroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Tirosint. There's also a synthetic form of T3 known as liothyronine (Cytomel). However, it's rarely prescribed and less popular than synthetic T4.

Although synthetic medications help improve hypothyroidism symptoms, they don't always work well for many people. This is because synthetic medicine contains only a single thyroid hormone, T4 or T3. This won't be beneficial for a lot of people who have difficulty converting the hormone T4 to T3 in their bodies.

Therefore, for many people, natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) is the better option. In fact, a study found that 48.6% of people being treated for hypothyroidism preferred NDT, while only 18.6% said they liked levothyroxine. Also known as desiccated thyroid extract (DTE), NDT is a natural thyroid hormone replacement medicine derived from pig thyroid glands. Not only does it contain both T4 and T4, but it also has the hormones T2, T1, and calcitonin. All of these are also produced by your thyroid gland.

There are many NDT brands available in the market, such as VitaliThy, Armour Thyroid, NP Thyroid, and WP Thyroid. However, the easiest for you to get is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online.

What are the signs thyroid medication is too low?

Thyroid medication is an important treatment for individuals with hypothyroidism, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. It takes some time to figure out the optimal dosage that works best for each individual. If your medication is too low, then you may start to experience symptoms of an underactive thyroid again. Below are some of the signs that your thyroid medication might be too low.

  • Sensitivity to cold

  • Swelling, pain, or stiffness of your joints

  • Muscle weakness

  • Elevated blood cholesterol level

  • Puffy face

  • Constipation

  • Goiter

  • Dry skin

  • Thinning hair

  • Slow heart rate

  • Weight gain

  • Fatigue

  • Heavy or irregular menstruation

  • Fertility problems

  • Impaired memory

  • Sadness and depression

The best solution for this situation is to get regular thyroid function tests for a timely dose adjustment regularly or to switch to a different medication, which is more effective.

Why is an accurate dose of thyroid medication important?

Many people need to take thyroid hormone medication for the rest of their lives. The dose they take may need to be changed if they experience changes in their body, such as weight gain or loss or pregnancy. It's important to take the right amount of medication to keep the thyroid levels stable. If the levels are not stable, it can lead to problems with memory and concentration, as well as more serious issues like high blood pressure, heart failure, coma, and myxedema.

What should you do if you think your thyroid hormone medication is too low?

1. Be patient and get regular test

When you just start taking your thyroid medication, your doctor will prescribe a low dose based on your blood test results. If you don't feel any better right away, it doesn't mean that your medication isn't working. Be patient and give your thyroid some time to work. Some people feel better after just 1 to 2 weeks, while others need 1 to 2 months to see improvements.

2. Adjust your dose

If you have been taking the medication for a while and still don't feel better, speak with your doctor. Your doctor may consider adjusting your dose. Keep in mind that finding your optimal dose take several trials and error, so your first dose might not be your right dose.

It's important that you don't change the dosage of your thyroid medication on your dose. Your doctor will do it carefully based on your thyroid function test results. They also look at information such as your weight, age, and other medical conditions.

3. Take thyroid medication at the right time

Taking your thyroid medication at the right time is key for proper absorption, ensuring that you get the most out of the meds. Studies show that taking levothyroxine on an empty helps improve the absorption of the medicine into our bloodstream. NDT, on the other hand, can absorb well regardless of food. However, if you're taking NDT and you don't feel better. It might be a good idea to take it on an empty stomach.

You can choose to take the pill in the morning or in the evening, but the ideal time for absorption is 60 minutes before or 3 hours after eating.

4. Only wash your thyroid medication down with water

Taking thyroid medication with plain water is important because other types of liquid can affect its absorption and effects. For example, the mineral calcium found in milk reacts with thyroid medication and prevents the thyroid hormone from entering the bloodstream. Caffeine in coffee can also impair the absorption of your thyroid medicine.

Moreover, when you take medicine with a sufficient amount of water, it will be easier for the medicine to travel from your mouth to your stomach and small intestine. As a result, it is well absorbed to produce the desired effect. Conversely, if you swallow the medicine with less water, it can cause the medicine to work abnormally and lead to unwanted side effects.

5. Be consistent with your thyroid medication schedule

Taking your medication consistently can help keep your thyroid hormone levels in balance and maintain a healthy metabolism.

The good news is that taking your medication can be easy with a few simple tips. Start by setting the alarm on your phone to remind yourself when it's time for a dose. Moreover, make sure to store all of your pills in the same place so that they're easy to find, plus set up any other reminders (like sticky notes!) that will help you remember why consistent thyroid hormone levels are so important.

If you take your medication occasionally in the morning and occasionally in the evening, your thyroid hormone levels won't stay stable. Furthermore, it's best not to skip your dose too often. Once or twice is fine, but too many skipped doses won't effectively treat symptoms of hypothyroidism.

6. Monitor your weight

Doctors usually prescribe the dose of thyroid medication based on weight. Weight gain or loss can be a sign of changing thyroid hormone levels in your body, which indicates the need for a dose adjustment. Therefore, in addition to routine testing, you can monitor your weight to assess the effectiveness of thyroid hormone medications.

A study also found that age and gender did not affect thyroid hormone levels in the blood, but the body weight of hypothyroid patients did. Therefore, the authors suggest that a higher initial dose of thyroid medication should be prescribed for heavier patients.

7. Don't switch back and forth between medications

When it comes to thyroid hormone replacement medications, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stick with one. Switching back and forth between different medications can have serious consequences for your health and well-being.

For starters, switching between different thyroid hormones can cause an imbalance in your hormones that could lead to fatigue, weight gain, depression, and anxiety. With each new medication you try, there will be a period of adjustment as your body gets used to the dosage and its effects on your system. This process could take weeks or even months - time that you don't want to waste.

In addition, each brand of thyroid medication has subtle differences. They may contain different fillers, preservatives, coatings, and coloring agents. These can create inconsistencies.

8. Store your thyroid medication the right way

You should store your thyroid medications in a cool place and avoid exposing them to moisture, especially in bathrooms or high temperatures. According to the US According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the appropriate storage temperature is between 59° and 86°F for the drug to work properly and to help you effectively improve your hypothyroidism symptoms.

9. Consider trying a different thyroid medication

Although doctors often prescribe levothyroxine for patients with hypothyroidism, it is not the only treatment and works well for everyone. You can seek out a combination of T3 and T4 hormones or natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) therapy to feel better.

A product from nature helping you to recover health quickly is probably what you are always looking for. For example, VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online, contains the full spectrum of natural human thyroid hormones, including thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), diiodothyronine (T2), iodothyronine (T1) and calcitonin. Their combination can bring many benefits to your body. In particular, it helps improve symptoms of hypothyroidism in people who do not convert T4 to T3 efficiently.

Conclusion: Your dose is not optimal if you still feel bad

If your hypothyroidism symptoms are getting worse, it may indicate that you are not getting enough thyroid hormone. In this case, you should speak with your doctor about adjusting your dose or trying a different treatment. However, if you take too much thyroid hormone, it can lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid gland. It's important to be careful and always consult with your doctor before increasing your dose.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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