Years ago it was reported that Armour thyroid, U.S.P., released T3 and T4, when digested, in a ratio of 1:3, and that people who used it had much higher ratios of T3 to T4 in their serum than people who took only thyroxine. The argument was made that thyroxine was superior to thyroid U.S.P., without explaining the significance of the fact that healthy people who weren’t taking any thyroid supplement had higher T3:T4 ratios than the people who took thyroxine, or that our own thyroid gland releases a high ratio of T3 to T4. The fact that the T3 is being used faster than T4, removing it from the blood more quickly than it enters from the thyroid gland itself, hasn’t been discussed in the journals, possibly because it would support the view that a natural glandular balance including T3 and T4 thyroid therapy was more appropriate to supplement than pure thyroxine.
The brain concentrates T3 from the serum, and may have a concentration 6 times higher than the serum (Goumaz, et al., 1987), and it can achieve a higher concentration of T3 than T4. It takes up and concentrates T3, while tending to expel T4. Reverse T3 (rT3) doesn’t have much ability to enter the brain, but increased T4 can cause it to be produced in the brain. These observations suggest to me that the blood’s T3:T4 ratio would be very “brain favorable” if it approached more closely to the ratio formed in the thyroid gland, and secreted into the blood. Although most synthetic combination thyroid products now use a ratio of four T4 to one T3, many people feel that their memory and thinking are clearer when they take a ratio of about three to one. More active metabolism probably keeps the blood ratio of T3 to T4 relatively high, with the liver consuming T4 at about the same rate that T3 is used.
Since T3 has a short half life, it should be taken frequently. If the liver isn’t producing a noticeable amount of T3, it is usually helpful to take a few micorgrams per hour. Since it restores respiration and metabolic efficiency very quickly, it isn’t usually necessary to take it every hour or two, but until normal temperature and pulse have been achieved and stabilized, sometimes it’s necessary to take it four or more times during the day. T4 acts by being changed to T3, so it tends to accumulate in the body, and on a given dose, usually reaches a steady concentration after about two weeks.
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