Thyroid & Adrenal Support
What is Thyroid Support?
Thyroid support is the use of thyroid hormones to:
- Replace hormones that a damaged thyroid gland is not producing (replacement therapy)
- Prevent growth or regrowth of thyroid tumors (suppression therapy)
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck that makes T4, the thyroid hormone. This hormone helps you use energy, stay warm, and keep your organs up and running. When your thyroid doesn’t make as much T4 as your body needs, you have hypothyroidism. This can be caused by disease, surgery, radiation, or a pituitary gland that isn’t sending your thyroid the right signals.
Hypothyroidism is the most common reason for needing thyroid support. According to the American Thyroid Association, up to 60 percent of individuals with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. While there is no cure, if you keep hypothyroidism well-controlled, you can live a normal active life.
Types of Thyroid Medications
T4, the primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland, gets converted to the active hormone T3 in tissues throughout the body. Both of these hormones can be used in thyroid support therapy.
The goal of thyroid medication is to replicate normal thyroid functioning. Pure, synthetic T4 works in the same way as your own thyroid hormone. The body converts it to T3 for use. Taken just once a day, it will help your T4 levels stay very stable in the bloodstream. Some patients, however, do better on a combination of T4 and T3, which is available in a synthesized form or from porcine thyroid. Your doctor will monitor your symptoms and levels to make sure you get the right dosage of the right hormones for your condition.
Low dose naltrexone also may help in treating autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s), a condition in which your own immune system attacks and damages your thyroid.
Who May Benefit From Thyroid Support?
When thyroid hormone levels are too low, the body’s processes slow down. You may feel colder, tire more easily, have dry skin, become constipated or forgetful and depressed. However, the symptoms vary and aren’t specific to thyroid problems. The only way to know for sure if you have hypothyroidism is with a blood test for TSH, the hormone produced by the pituitary gland that regulates thyroid function.
Consider taking the test if you have any of these symptoms or if you have family members who’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It can run in families.
Who Should Avoid Thyroid Support?
Your doctor needs to find and treat the cause of your particular symptoms.
In general, thyroid hormone treatment is quite safe. But let your physician know if:
- You have or get symptoms of an overactive thyroid — fatigue but with trouble sleeping, increased appetite, nervousness, shakiness, heat intolerance, weak muscles, shortness of breath, or a racing heart.
- Your menstrual cycles become irregular.
- You have postmenopausal bone density loss.
What is Adrenal Support?
The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can’t live without, including cortisol and sex hormones. Your body may fail to produce enough adrenal hormones if you have problems with your adrenal glands themselves, or if your pituitary gland or hypothalamus are malfunctioning.
When your body doesn’t produce enough adrenal hormones, it needs help. The primary prescribed medications for adrenal insufficiency are corticosteroids, drugs that replace the body’s cortisol. Cortisol regulates how the body converts food to energy and helps regulate cardiovascular function, so it’s important to maintain normal levels. However, the adrenal glands also produce other hormones; new therapeutic options are being developed and used today alongside corticosteroids to help patients feel better and live fuller lives.
What Belmar Medications Are Used in Adrenal Support?
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can be beneficial for women with adrenal insufficiency. A daily dose of DHEA, a hormone that your body uses to make sex hormones, may boost libido and provide an improved overall sense of well-being.
Low dose naltrexone may also be of benefit in autoimmune adrenal diseases (Addison’s and Cushing’s).
Who May Benefit From Adrenal Support?
The most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are:
However, as with thyroid problems, symptoms can vary and suggest other conditions as well. This makes testing essential. If your body is producing too little of the important adrenal hormones, your doctor may recommend some type of adrenal support.
If you’re already being treated for adrenal insufficiency, but still feel that you’re not able to live a fully normal life, you and your doctor should discuss additional treatment options.
- Long-lasting fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
Who Should Avoid Adrenal Support?
If you have symptoms that sound like adrenal insufficiency but your tests are normal, you should work with your doctor to find and treat the true cause of your symptoms. There are other conditions that produce similar symptoms and need to be treated differently.
If you do need adrenal support, there are a variety of adrenal medications, each of which has potential side effects. Your experience will depend on the dosage used, your medical history and the specific way your body responds. Make sure your doctor knows about any unexplained changes in your appetite, weight, energy level, sleep patterns, stress level, libido, productivity, focus, etc. Adrenal hormones affect most of your body’s functions.
Learn More About Thyroid and Adrenal Support
If you’re dealing with or concerned about one of the conditions listed above, visit our Conditions page to find resources and guides to help you discuss compounding solutions with your doctor.
If you’re a clinician who’s interested in prescribing compound medications for your patients, visit our Treatment Options page to find a formulary and learn more about the solutions Belmar offers.
Contact Belmar Pharma Solutions
If you’re a patient, we’re here to help you fill prescriptions or provide you the information you need to work with your doctor to help decide if a compounded prescription might be a good treatment for you.
Prescribers, for a complete formulary or access to our clinical resources fill out the form below and one of our Solutions Engineers will be in touch shortly. If you are new to compounding, you may also find our page on How to Write a Compounding Prescription helpful.
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