Desiccated thyroid remains one of my all-time top 3 medications I take every day for fully optimized health.
Unlike the constant changes seen with testosterone therapy or Metformin, I haven’t made any updates to how I use desiccated thyroid since 2015.
And there’s a good reason why: It works for increasing metabolism and restoring thyroid gland function, plus the original tried-and-true formulation has remained effective, and I see no point in fixing what isn’t broken.
But hundreds of millions of people are silently suffering from a broken thyroid gland, according to the American Thyroid Association:
- 60% of people with an improperly functioning thyroid gland don’t even know about it!
- Over 12% of Americans will develop a problem with their thyroid gland at some point in their life
- People who don’t fix this problem face an increased risk of lifestyle diseases such as infertility and cardiovascular problems
And I strongly hold the position that thyroid resistance will soon become the new Type 2 diabetes crisis.
Therefore, I’m writing the long-overdue article on how desiccated thyroid can help you fix your hormonal health.
You’ll know where to source it, the blood work you need, why thyroid health matters, and more!
Why Should You Care About Your Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is around 5 cm in length, located inside your neck and right below your Adam’s apple.
But don’t be fooled by its small size — it bears a heavy responsibility in keeping your body’s natural processes going 24/7:
“The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones, which control the speed at which the body’s chemical functions proceed (metabolic rate). Thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate in two ways:
By stimulating almost every tissue in the body to produce proteins. By increasing the amount of oxygen that cells use
Thyroid hormones affect many vital body functions, such as the heart rate, the rate at which calories are burned, skin maintenance, growth, heat production, fertility, and digestion.”
It produces several key hormones, some of them more important than others:
“Of the several “thyroid hormones” produced by this gland, there are two that are clinically relevant. One is called thyroxine, also known as T4, while the other is named triiodothyronine, commonly referred to as T3. They are both heavily involved in energy management and a variety of biochemical and metabolic reactions and functions throughout the body.
While T4 is more abundant in the bloodstream, it is T3 (which is derived from the conversion of T4 in the kidneys and liver) that possesses the most potency and is thus responsible for most metabolic activity”
“TSH, also known as thyrotropin, is actually not a thyroid hormone; rather, it’s a pituitary hormone that stimulates the production of thyroid hormones”
“T2 and T1 are thought to play minor roles in the thyroid and rest of the body, primarily serving as precursors to and byproducts of T4/T3 formation. They may be more involved in thyroid function, but as far as we can tell right now, they have little impact beyond that noted. “
<NOTE> Just because T2 and T1 are poorly understood, doesn’t mean they don’t play a critical role in helping regulate optimal functioning of the thyroid gland, especially as we age.
Treating T3 and T4 primarily and in lieu of addressing T1/T2 has always been a big mistake in medicine and why porcine ‘dessicated’ thyroid is a better solution to optimize the gland as one ages.
As you can imagine, there are numerous lifestyle factors that can interfere with the production of said hormones:
Just by fixing this tiny little gland in your body, the health benefits are numerous in scope and depth:
- Feeling less depressed
- Stronger immunity
- Increased blood flow to the brain
- Improved fertility
- Better insulin sensitivity
(Of course, there is always such a thing as too much T3/T4 production, known as hyperthyroidism)
Let’s look at the flipside and see what happens when the thyroid gland is damaged…
This section will be especially helpful for people who experience brain fog and depression despite using testosterone optimization therapy.
Taken directly out of Chapter 17 in The TOT Bible, allow me to summarize the findings of Dr. Rob Kominiarek findings on subclinical hypothyroidism (i.e. when there is insufficient thyroid hormone production).
Symptoms associated with the condition include:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty losing weight
- Sensitivity to cold
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
Lab markers that need to be considered along with the patient’s symptoms include:
- T3/rT3 ratio
- TSH index
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- TPO (thyroperoxidase) [associated with increased risk of developing hypothyroidism]
Add on a specific questionnaire, and you have a diagnosis of a condition which is heavily under-detected yet very prevalent.
Moreover, treating subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with better health outcomes:
“Recent studies have confirmed that even mild thyroid disease can affect metabolism. Despite normal laboratory results, patients with subclinical hypothyroidism warrant treatment of their symptoms. Evidence of an association between subclinical hypothyroidism and cardiovascular disease is mounting.
The impact of thyroid hormone on lipid levels is primarily mediated through triiodothyronine (T3). The resulting decrease of T3 levels seen in hypothyroidism may result in increased serum cholesterol levels. Current data suggest that normalizing even modest TSH elevations may result in improvement of the lipid profile.
As essential elements of DNA binding proteins that regulate transcription, thyroid hormones influence the utilization of essentially all substrates, vitamins, and hormones. Replacement doses of T3 sufficient to return levels to normal enhance left ventricular function of the heart and normal expression of T3 responsive genes, thus supporting the therapeutic utility of combination therapy.”
Worth thinking about if your efforts in testosterone optimization haven’t been going the way you want!
But why bother with desiccated thyroid if it’s nothing more than a treatment for an existing medical condition?
The Importance Of Your Thyroid Gland In Losing Fat & Building Muscle
This is arguably the main reason to start using desiccated thyroid, if not fixing your thyroid gland altogether.
Desiccated thyroid can speed up fat loss in the presence of caloric restriction via elevated basal metabolic rate (BMR), while enhancing the optimization of other hormones like testosterone and estrogen in a synchronistic manner.
In other words… it is possible to safely manipulate your thyroid for fat loss.
Yet if you’re in a caloric surplus for building muscle, desiccated thyroid can allow for more efficient hypertrophy via more lean muscle gain and less fat gain.
Such is the benefit of thyroid up-regulation… but why is this happening?
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: If you have high body fat and insulin resistance, your thyroid gland is most likely compromised:
“Body composition and thyroid hormones appear to be closely related. Thyroid hormones regulate basal metabolism, thermogenesis and play an important role in lipid and glucose metabolism, food intake and fat oxidation. Thyroid dysfunction is associated with changes in body weight and composition, body temperature and total and resting energy expenditure (REE) independent of physical activity.
Hypothyroidism is associated with decreased thermogenesis, decreased metabolic rate, and has also been shown to correlate with a higher body mass index (BMI) and a higher prevalence of obesity. There is clinical evidence suggesting that even mild thyroid dysfunction in the form of subclinical hypothyroidism is linked to significant changes in body weight and represents a risk factor for overweight and obesity”
Which means your thyroid is now “set” to your new higher weight, and it takes years of intelligent training, hormone optimization, and clean eating to “reset” your thyroid to a normal healthy weight.
Of course, the gut instinct to crash diet and do hours of cardio doesn’t fix the issue:
“Cut calories -barely eat protein – try to RUN 4-6 days a week… And they lose weight, due to the thermodynamic equation. But they also lose what little muscle tissue they have. Its a NONSUSTAINABLE deficit. And it causes major rebound in FAT gain, because your body hates being starved and underfed. This ultimately leads to some form of thyroid issue.
The ONLY way to alter how your body uses fat, stores fat, eats food, produces hormones, partitions nutrients, the ONLY way to dramatically change your central nervous system health, your thyroid, your brain the ONLY way to permanently lose fat and never gain it back, is to build MUSCLE.”
EVEN if you eat at a slight caloric deficit and get your macronutrients right, you’ll still see a reduction in T3 hormone production and consequently a lower metabolic rate.
Funny enough, The Metabolic Blowtorch Diet is specifically designed to overcome this common dieting issue seen with intermittent fasting:
“…it allows for the body’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) to remain elevated over time through regular every other day (EOD) fluctuations depending on whether one is experiencing a fasting day (downregulation of appetite/thyroid/BMR and increase in GHRELIN/AMPK) or a training day (upregulation of thyroid, BMR, etc).”
“AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) is an enzyme that plays a role in cellular energy homeostasis. High levels of AMP/ATP (low energy status) lead to the activation of AMPK, which triggers cellular processes such as: increased oxidation of fatty acids, and increased glucose uptake inside the muscles.”
“…the body is always adjusting both resting energy expenditure (REE) and total energy expenditure(TEE) in times of caloric scarcity and abundance.”
“Eating 15% above your maintenance daily intake in calories on training days (focusing on increasing the consumption of clean carbs) will usually up-regulate your thyroid hormone, increasing thermogenesis and accelerating the burning of carbohydrates for cellular energy. Fat loss should accelerate again once the body recognizes it needs to expand BMR to burn the excess calories it’s not used to having come in.”
Here’s where bodybuilders ruin all the fun: They use T3 in extremely high doses… not only screwing their thyroid hormone production, but their metabolism is further elevated through the use of anabolic steroids.
But supraphysiologic doses of thyroid hormone can be catabolic (i.e. muscle-wasting), thus needing more anabolic to counteract this effect, and the cycle continues until people cannot recover from the damage done.
(I highly recommend reading the Reddit post above as it goes to show just how stupid the bodybuilding community can be sometimes).
Long story short: Just like we use THERAPEUTIC doses of testosterone to optimize hormonal health, we are using therapeutic doses of a safe thyroid medication(one that encompasses T1/T2/T3 and T/4 to give us a slight fat loss advantage without compromising the body’s thyroid gland and its ability to regulate thyroid hormone production.
Desiccated Thyroid Is the ONLY Treatment You Should Be Using
The two FDA-approved medications most doctors use to treat thyroid issues/imbalances are Synthroid / levothyroxine (T4) and Cytomel / liothyronine (T3).
However, both of them are “harsh” with respect to their negative side effect profiles and can permanently alter your body’s natural thyroid output if used incorrectly:
“Research conducted by Bianco and other Rush colleagues published Oct. 6 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that individuals on levothyroxine who had normal TSH levels were significantly more likely to be taking antidepressants than peers with normal thyroid function.
The individuals taking thyroid medication were also less physically active, suggesting lower energy levels. They weighed about 10 pounds more than peers of the same height even though they consumed fewer calories, after adjustments for body weight. Plus, they were more likely to be using beta blockers, a drug frequently prescribed to lower blood pressure, and statins that reduce cholesterol levels.”
Add in hair loss to the mix, and you have a resounding “HELL NO” from me.
So instead of taking the risk of compromised thyroid function and other nasty things, go for desiccated thyroid instead.
Desiccated thyroid is made up of a combination of four active thyroid hormones:
- T4 (thyroxine)
- T3 (triiodothyronine)
- T2 (3,5-diio-Lthyronine)
It is known as a “natural” medication because it is directly derived from desiccated tissue, usually from porcine (i.e. pigs), and a pig’s thyroid receptors are molecularly identical to human thyroid receptors.
Consider it a better form of the synthetic medications — the same slight increase in base metabolic rate, and enhanced optimization of essential hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, without the associated risks.
(Also, Knoll — the pharmaceutical company that made Synthroid — faked a good deal of their research and got caught red-handed)
And as I wrote in The TOT Bible, desiccated thyroid is especially helpful for people who are genetically predisposed to inferior thyroid function:
“Additionally, genetic variants of deiodinase activity are associated with decreasing activity at various end organs as a result of one of two common single nucleotide polymorphisms (Thr92Ala). These changes in deiodinase activity play an important role in an individual’s response to replacement therapy.
A significant reason as to why some individuals fail to respond to L-T4 therapy alone and feel significantly better on combination L-T4/L-T3 replacement therapy. This is why many of the Dessicated Porcine thyroid medications discussed in Chapter 15 are the optimal therapeutic solutions due to their having a combination of all 4 forms of active thyroid hormone.”
Not to mention the growing preference for desiccated thyroid from patients who have been burned by synthetic thyroid medications:
“Toloza and the team retrieved 1235 posts and analyzed the data of 673 posts from 3 forums: WebMD, Patients Like Me, and Drugs.com.
When examining the posts, the investigators found that 45% of patients said their clinician is the reason they were interested in trying desiccated thyroid extract. Reasons for switching to desiccated thyroid extract from a different therapeutic approach included lack of symptom improvement (58%) and side effects (22%).
A majority of patients (81%) reported that desiccated thyroid extract was moderately-to-majorly effective overall, while 77% said it was more effective than a previous therapy they had (77%).
Benefits associated with desiccated thyroid extract included an improvement in clinical symptoms (56%) and a change in overall well-being (34%).”
Granted, you’ll find a lot of voices speaking out against desiccated thyroid.
Most doctors in the mainstream medical industry vehemently recommend Levothyroxine over desiccated thyroid, the FDA themselves have stated desiccated thyroid medications vary too much in potency, and some of the manufacturers have had recalls (here and here).
Yet as with anything… if you really dig deep in the data, Big Pharma bias and selective omission of key info can do wonders in misleading patients.
The three brands I highly recommend for getting your hands on desiccated thyroid are the following:
Aside from differences in inactive ingredients, they are practically identical and you won’t go wrong with either one.
The BEST Dose Of Desiccated Thyroid For Rapid Metabolism
My recommendation for the best desiccated thyroid dose has remained consistent across all of my published books (Guaranteed Shredded, TOT Bible, Metabolic Blowtorch Diet, Living A Fully Optimized Life):
30-60 mg taken 1-2/xday, once in the morning on an empty stomach for best absorption, and once in the mid-afternoon (3-4 pm) between lunch and dinner if you are taking a second dose.
The timing of the mid-afternoon dose allows me to increase energy levels for early evening activity while also preventing any disruption my sleep cycle.
This protocol allows me to increase fat loss via up-regulation of thermogenesis and my basal metabolic rate (BMR).
I go for 60 mg in the morning and 30 mg in the afternoon when following Guaranteed Shredded to reach sub-10% body fat.
I’ll max it out to two 60 mg doses within the day if I AM going for low single digit body fat percentages for a photo shoot or fitness competition.
However, there are several important caveats to keep in mind…
- Make sure you co-administer CoEnzyme Q10 (200 mg daily), as it’s the final major enzyme along the mitochondria thyroid pathway.
- Also, supplement with zinc orotate/gluconate daily as the T3 peripheral receptors need zinc to function properly.
- Peptides and Growth Hormone are more effective when thyroid health is first optimized… however, peptides such as Ipamorelin and Tesamorelin do not interfere with TSH levels.
- Generally, men can handle a higher dosage (60-120 mg per day) than women (30-60 mg per day).
- Side effects are rare and include nervousness, headaches, a fast/irregular heartbeat, and changes in appetite — usually present when somebody overdoses on desiccated thyroid.
But don’t be so quick to buy desiccated thyroid just yet, as you need to know two more things before your very first dose.
Important Blood Work To Take When Using Desiccated Thyroid
Part of using desiccated thyroid responsibly involves getting a comprehensive thyroid panel via regular blood work.
Ideally, you will do this before you do any kind of hormone optimization for the very first time.
Too many doctors make beginner-level mistakes when evaluating patients for thyroid health:
- Not checking for iron (ferritin > 100 ng/mL), which is important for thyroid function.
- Failing to distinguish between “normal” (sub-optimal thyroid levels) levels of thyroid hormones and fully optimized levels.
- Only looking at your TSH readings without evaluating your symptoms and gauging how you feel.
So to clear the misinformation once and for all, here is exactly what you should expect when you order a thyroid panel and what to look out for alongside your doctor:
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Optimal Levels: < 2.5 units/mL
- When to test: 1-2 times per year. If high, perform additional thyroid hormone tests such as free T3 (triiodothyronine), free T4 (thyroxine) and other antibodies to detect possible subclinical hyperthyroidism.
- Optimal Levels: Between 3.7 pg/mL and 5.0 pg/mL
- When to test: 1-2 times per year. If low, hyperthyroidism may be present. If high (>5 pg/mL), explore hyperthyroidism.
- Optimal Levels: Between 0.9 to 2.3 ng/dL
- When to test: 1-2 times per year. Lower values indicate possible hyperthyroidism, higher values indicate possible hypothyroidism
Make sure your physician has the experience needed to evaluate your thyroid levels and decide the best course of action for health optimization.
How To Buy Desiccated Thyroid Online
I do not have a “source” where you can go online to buy desiccated thyroid as I have recommended.
All three brands I endorse — WP Thyroid, Nature Throid, Armour Thyroid — require a physician’s prescription in the USA.
Furthermore, the thyroid gland biomarkers I just described should demonstrate an observed clinical need in combination with your symptoms PRIOR to desiccated thyroid use.
This is critical because patients suffering from inadequate thyroid hormone production are suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism, and are thus attempting to move their levels from the lower range to the higher (i.e. optimal) range.
You will also have to follow their recommended dosing instructions and stay proactive in monitoring your blood work.
NOTE: If you live in a country where the manufacturer clearly states desiccated thyroid can be purchased without a doctor’s script, follow their dosing instructions and get regular blood work done.
But in the event you don’t qualify for a prescription, or you can’t bill the cost of desiccated thyroid through insurance and are unable to afford it…
…there are several alternative over-the-counter (OTC) desiccated thyroid formulations available in pill or capsule form.
I don’t have any particular favorites at the moment, yet a quick search on Amazon or a reputable place like Vitamin Shoppe should give you some optimal choices.
Armour Thyroid is just slightly stronger than OTC options for keeping thyroid levels in the high range, but you won’t miss out severely if OTC is your only available route.
Should you go down this route, follow the dosing instructions provided by the manufacturer and simultaneously monitor blood work.
Additional Reading Resources For Desiccated Thyroid
Desiccated thyroid is by far one of the simpler Golden Age agents I have in my toolbox.
I use it to give myself a fat-loss advantage while complementing my hormone optimization protocol — under the supervision of a progressive physician, of course.
But if you want to go down this rabbit hole as much as I have (or deeper), here are two helpful resources.
This website compares every single form of desiccated thyroid against each other, and against the synthetic thyroid medications to help you make the best decision possible.
This 22-minute YouTube video is an extensive review of thyroid hormones, how they’re made, what they do, and all the lab tests used to detect them for diagnostic purposes.
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PS – If you want my personal guidance in optimizing your thyroid hormones (and all the others in the human body), join The Fully Optimized Health Private Membership Group.
It’s your greatest opportunity to fully optimize your health, gain total access to myself and network with high-level men and women looking to 10X their life.