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April 14, 2023 9 min read

Living with a thyroid condition can sometimes feel like navigating through a maze, with twists, turns, and challenges along the way. Finding the right balance for one's body might seem overwhelming, especially if you've been taking the same medication for a while but hasn't experienced any improvements. But that's why we're here for!

If you're on the journey to find the perfect thyroid hormone treatment, you're in the right place. Whether you're considering switching from levothyroxine to natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) or vice versa, we've got you covered with our thyroid conversion chart. Let's dive in!

Thyroid hormone basics

Before we jump into the conversion chart, let's quickly recap the basics of thyroid hormones. Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Simply put, T4 is a prohormone that your body converts into the active T3 hormone. These two hormones work together to regulate your metabolism, body temperature, and energy levels.

When your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones, you have a thyroid disease called hypothyroidism. In this case, you may need to take thyroid hormone replacement for life. The main choices are levothyroxine and natural desiccated thyroid (NDT). Supplementing your body with either levothyroxine or NDT helps to restore normal hormone levels, regulate metabolism, and alleviate symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

What are levothyroxine and natural desiccated thyroid (NDT)?


Levothyroxine is a synthetic (man-made) form of T4, which is one of the primary hormones produced by the thyroid gland. It's available in various brand names, such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Tirosint. It is typically prescribed in the form of oral tablets, with dosages adjusted based on individual requirements and regular blood tests to monitor thyroid hormone levels.

Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT)

Also known as desiccated thyroid extract (DTE), NDT is derived from the dried and powdered thyroid glands of pigs (porcine). It contains a natural source of both T4 and T3 hormones.

In addition to T4 and T3, NDT may also contain other thyroid-related substances like calcitonin and thyroid cofactors. This can provide a more comprehensive approach to hormone replacement therapy for some patients. That's why many patients prefer NDT compared to T4-only synthetic medications.

NDT has been used for thyroid hormone replacement since the late 1800s, and it remains a popular choice for some patients who do not respond well to synthetic thyroid hormone medications like levothyroxine. NDT is also a popular choice for individuals seeking to lose weight related to hypothyroidism, as this medication has been linked to greater weight loss results compared to other treatments.

Common brand names for NDT include Armour Thyroid, NP Thyroid, and WP Thyroid. It also comes in supplement form, such as VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online.

Can you switch between the two?

Yes, switching between levothyroxine and NDT can be done, but it's crucial to do so under the supervision of a healthcare provider. This is because the two medications have distinct hormone compositions and dosing requirements, which need to be carefully considered for each individual. Moreover, transitioning between these medications is not a universal process, as each person's body may respond differently to the change, and many other factors come into play.

When considering a switch, it's essential to discuss your symptoms, medical history, and any concerns with your healthcare provider. They will help you determine the most appropriate course of action and guide you through the transition process. This may involve gradually adjusting the dosage of your current medication and monitoring your thyroid hormone levels to ensure a smooth and safe switch. Remember that finding the right thyroid hormone treatment may require some trial and error, so it's essential to be patient and maintain open communication with your healthcare provider throughout the process.

What should you consider before switching?

Before deciding to switch from levothyroxine to natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) or vice versa, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider and take into account several factors. Here are some important aspects to consider:

  1. Thyroid hormone levels: Having recent thyroid hormone test results is essential before contemplating a switch. Thyroid lab tests enable your healthcare provider to determine if a medication change is required and the appropriate dosage.

  2. Symptom control: Discuss the effectiveness of your current medication in controlling your symptoms with your healthcare provider. If symptoms of hypothyroidism persist despite adhering to the prescribed medication, a switch might be necessary.

  3. Personal medical history: Your healthcare provider will consider your personal medical history, including other medical conditions, medications being taken, and any allergies. Certain medical conditions or medications could influence the effectiveness or safety of particular thyroid medications.

  4. Potential risks and benefits: Your healthcare provider can help evaluate the potential risks and benefits of switching medications. They can address the specific risks and benefits relevant to your individual situation.

  5. Thyroid medication availability: The availability of certain types of thyroid medication may vary depending on your location. Discuss medication availability with your healthcare provider to ensure the most suitable option is accessible. If you want to try NDT but can't find it anywhere or your doctor refuses to prescribe it, you can consider VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online.

  6. Dosage adjustments: When switching medications, dosage adjustments may be necessary to ensure the appropriate amount of thyroid hormone is being received. Your healthcare provider will guide you through this process to achieve the optimal balance for your needs.

What is the key to a smooth transition from levothyroxine to NDT?

A woman sitting down in a doctor's office. She's having a consultation about her thyroid hormone replacement therapy

Before we delve into the chart, remember that it's always best to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication. Ready? Let's go!

Step 1: Determine your current dosage

First things first, you'll need to know your current dosage of levothyroxine or NDT. This is typically measured in micrograms (mcg) for levothyroxine and grains or milligrams (mg) for NDT. 1 grain of NDT is 60 to 65 mg.

Levothyroxine is available in various dosages, including 12.5 mcg, 25 mcg, 50 mcg, 75 mcg, and 100 mcg tablets. It also comes in liquid form, and 5 ml of liquid levothyroxine may have 25 to 125 micrograms in it. On the other hand, NDT comes in 15 mg (¼ grain), 30 mg (½ grain), 60 mg (1 grain), 90 mg (1 + ½ grain), 120 mg (2 grains), 180 mg (3 grains), 240 mg (4 grains), 300 mg (5 grains) tablets. In general, each grain of NDT contains 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3.

Jot down your current dosage, as you'll need this info for the next step.

Step 2: Consult the conversion chart

After discussing the switch with your healthcare provider, it's essential to consult a thyroid hormone conversion chart, which will serve as a helpful tool in determining the appropriate dosage for your new medication. The chart provides a general guideline for converting your current dosage of levothyroxine to NDT or vice versa. It's important to remember that this chart is not an absolute rule, as individual responses to medication can vary, and your healthcare provider may need to make adjustments based on your specific needs.

Using the conversion chart as a starting point, you and your healthcare provider can work together to establish the proper dosage for your new medication.

Levothyroxine and NDT conversion chart

Here is a list format of the levothyroxine and natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) conversion chart:

  • 25 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1/4 mg of NDT.

  • 50 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1/2 mg of NDT.

  • 75 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 3/4 mg of NDT.

  • 88 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 7/8 mg of NDT.

  • 100 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1 mg of NDT.

  • 112 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1 1/8 mg of NDT.

  • 125 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1 1/4 mg of NDT.

  • 137 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1 3/8 mg of NDT.

  • 150 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1 1/2 mg of NDT.

  • 175 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 1 3/4 mg of NDT.

  • 200 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 2 mg of NDT.

  • 300 mcg of levothyroxine is equivalent to 3 mg of NDT.

Keep in mind that this chart serves as a general guide, and individual responses to medication may vary. The right dose for you depends on your specific needs and medical history.

Step 3: Understand that the initial dosage may need to be adjusted

When switching between levothyroxine and NDT, it's important to remember that the initial dosage of the new medication may need to be adjusted.

  • If switching from levothyroxine to NDT, the starting NDT dosage is usually lower than the equivalent dose of levothyroxine. This is because NDT contains both T4 and T3, and the T3 component can be more potent than T4 alone. A common starting NDT dose is about 25-30% lower than the previous levothyroxine dose.

  • If switching from NDT to levothyroxine, the starting levothyroxine dosage is typically higher than the equivalent dose of NDT. This is because levothyroxine contains only T4, which the body must convert to T3. A common starting levothyroxine dose is about 25-30% higher than the previous NDT dose.

These guidelines are, of course, not set in stone, and the appropriate dosage must also be determined based on factors like age, weight, thyroid hormone levels, and overall health.

Step 4: Make the switch gradually

When transitioning between thyroid medications, it's essential to take a gradual approach. This allows your body to adjust to the new hormone levels and minimizes the risk of side effects. A common method is to start with a quarter to half of the new medication's equivalent dosage, then gradually increase the dose every 1-2 weeks until you reach the full amount and find your right dosage.

For example, if you're switching from 100 mcg levothyroxine to 1 grain NDT, you might start with 1/2 grain NDT for the first 1-2 weeks, then increase to 3/4 grain, and finally reach 1 grain.

Step 5: Monitor your symptoms and adjust your dosage as needed

As you transition between medications, keep a close eye on your symptoms. This can help you and your doctor determine if the new dosage is working for you. Remember that finding the right thyroid hormone balance can take some time, so be patient and don't get discouraged!

Common symptoms to watch for include:

  • Fatigue

  • Weight changes

  • Changes in mood (anxiety, depression)

  • Sensitivity to cold or heat

  • Dry skin or hair

  • Constipation or diarrhea.

Step 6: Regularly check your thyroid levels

Lastly, make sure to have your thyroid hormone levels checked regularly, especially during the transition period. This will help your doctor fine-tune your dosage and ensure you're on the right track to optimal thyroid health.

What would happen when you start the switch?

A woman sitting in her bed looking distressed and fatigue due to hypothyroidism

When switching between Levothyroxine and NDT, it's important to be aware of potential changes in thyroid hormone levels and possible side effects.

Initially, hormone levels may fluctuate during the transition. NDT contains both T4 and T3 components, while levothyroxine only contains T4. As a result, some patients may experience a temporary increase in T3 levels when switching from levothyroxine to NDT, leading to symptoms such as a racing heart, agitation, and difficulty sleeping. On the other hand, some individuals may experience a drop in T3 levels when transitioning from NDT to levothyroxine, resulting in symptoms like fatigue and low mood.

Fortunately, adjusting the dosage and implementing other interventions can often effectively address these side effects. If a patient experiences hyperthyroidism symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, during the transition between levothyroxine and NDT, the healthcare professional may suggest reducing the dosage. And if If persistent hypothyroidism symptoms occur, your doctor may recommend increasing your dosage.

Why is follow-up care necessary?

Follow-up care with a healthcare provider is crucial for managing thyroid health and medication effectively, especially when you're switching your medication.

Here are some reasons why follow-up care is essential:

1. Monitoring thyroid function

Regular blood tests to monitor thyroid function are important to ensure that thyroid hormone levels are within the appropriate range.

2. Adjusting medication dosage

It's quite common not to hit the perfect dosage right away when switching medications, even when following the conversion chart. That's why follow-up care and regular testing are super important. It ensures you're receiving just the right dosage for your needs. And keep in mind that our thyroid hormone requirements can change over time, so adjustments in medication dosage might be needed to maintain those optimal levels. Healthcare providers can help monitor symptoms and thyroid hormone levels, making adjustments as needed to keep us feeling our best.

3. Monitoring other medical conditions

Thyroid function can impact other aspects of health, and conversely, other health conditions can affect thyroid function. Regular follow-up care allows healthcare providers to monitor changes in overall health and adjust treatment plans accordingly.

Conclusion: Switching between levothyroxine and NDT can be complex but worth it

Switching between levothyroxine and NDT can be a complex process requiring careful monitoring and guidance from a healthcare provider. During the transition period, changes in hormone levels and potential side effects may arise. However, with proper guidance and monitoring, you can successfully transition between medications to find the optimal thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

It's crucial to remember that each person's needs and responses to treatment can vary. Individualized treatment plans that consider your unique circumstances and thyroid hormone levels are vital for achieving the best outcomes. Regular monitoring of thyroid function and ongoing communication with a healthcare provider can help ensure that the chosen medication and dosage effectively meet your needs and improve your quality of life.

If you're currently in search of NDT, check out VitaliThy. This NDT supplement is made of Thyroid (USP). Plus, it doesn't contain lactose and gluten. It's also free from eggs, fish, shellfish, artificial coloring, and artificial flavoring. And best of all, you can buy this desiccated thyroid online.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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