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The International Hormone Society takes the position that "conjugated" oral hormone preparations of any type are only appropriate treatments if no other effective treatment is available.
The question has been asked, "We have learned that horse estrogen is not good for us, because we are human females and not horse females ... [Why is] pig thyroid so excellent for us? We are not pigs either."
The most widely known conjugated drugs are estrogen products processed from pregnant mare urine. Hormones and nutrients already processed by the cells are marked by the liver as waste once they have performed their function in the body. The liver actually adds a chemical marker that alerts the kidney to remove the molecule as waste.
Conjugated oral estrogens have two problems. First, they are already marked as waste. Second, they are delivered to the body orally. Anything that enters the body orally passes through the gut into the bloodstream. The first stop is the liver! Nothing that enters the liver on a first pass should be already marked as waste! However, conjugated oral estrogen is already marked as waste by the horse when it arrives in the human liver. It causes chaos with the chemical process in the liver! It interferes with processes such as the conversion of growth hormone into IGF/1.
Desiccated porcine (pig) thyroid preparations (such as Armour® Thyroid) are made directly from dried thyroids. They are not marked as waste. They are processed on the first pass through the liver and then by the cells of the body as unspoiled material. On second pass through the human liver, the thyroid hormone is marked as waste and then removed by the kidneys.
It should be noted that the primary problem with estrogens made from horses is not that it is made from horses. The problem is that it is made from horse urine and is, therefore, waste! Porcine thyroid is made from pig organs, not urine. That is the key to the discussion. The fact that something is an animal product is not, in itself, bad for humans. Grilled pork chops, chicken breasts and cold milk are all animal protein, which used in appropriate moderation, are good for you.
Not all patients respond well to desiccated thyroid products. The benefit of desiccated thyroid is the combination of T4 and T3 in the same preparation. T4 is converted to T3 in the body. If the body converts sufficient T4 into T3, the patient may do just fine. On the other hand, many patients do not convert enough T4 into T3. They will probably do better on a combination of synthetic T4 and synthetic T3 or perhaps on desiccated thyroid. Desiccated thyroid contains a 4.22:1 ratio of T4 to T3.
Also, if needed, thyroid preparations can be custom blended by your friendly compounding pharmacy. Your doctor can specify the ratio of various types of thyroid ingredients and order a custom blend made specifically for your system and needs.