We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Differences Between Armour® Thyroid and Synthroid® Medications?

By Christina Hall
Updated Feb 02, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The difference between Armour® Thyroid and Synthroid® medications is that they contain different substances to combat thyroid issues. There is significant debate among the medical community as to which substance is more effective, but the general consensus is that the effectiveness of each medication varies from patient to patient. Armour® Thyroid and Synthroid® work in relatively the same way, but Synthroid® only contains one of the thyroid hormones that are essential to normal thyroid function. This hormone, T4, can be processed into the other essential hormone, T3, by the body. If the body has a hard time with this synthesis, or if it seems to have a hard time assimilating a synthetic substance, the more natural and complete alternative, Armour® Thyroid, is given.

Armour® Thyroid, the more natural of the two medications, is made from the desiccated thyroid of an animal, most commonly, a pig. It contains both necessary thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, which is a benefit for patients who need substantial supplementation of both substances. Doctors sometimes hesitate to prescribe the more natural form of the drug because some studies have shown that the amount of the needed hormones cannot be adequately measured from an animal’s thyroid, and in return, the patient may not get the needed dose of the substance. As research advances in this field, however, these concerns are being shown to be unwarranted, and Armour® Thyroid is given to many patients because they seem to tolerate a natural substance better than one made exclusively in a lab.

Synthroid®, a synthesized form of the hormone T4, has one major disadvantage because it does not contain T3. The debate among Armour® Thyroid and Synthroid® is fueled by this fact. This deficiency is often offset by taking another thyroid supplement, Cytomel, which contains the T3 hormone exclusively. Synthroid® is given alone and is then rated for its efficacy first, because often times, the patient’s body can use T4 as a precursor to make adequate amounts of T3.

The time frame for observation used for all thyroid medications is about six weeks, because this is the time it takes for the body to adjust to the supplemented substance. Some physicians prefer prescribing Synthroid® because they can be assured as to the dosage of the substance as it is made exclusively in a lab. The other factor, however, that must be considered when choosing a regimen to place a patient on is how the person feels overall. Armour® Thyroid and Synthroid® each have pros and cons, but the majority of thyroid patients seem to feel better overall on the more natural alternative.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon937997 — On Mar 07, 2014

What about if you had thyroid cancer? Is there any evidence that Armour is better than Synthroid? What if the patient decides not to take anything due to side effects of these drugs? How can you naturally get the levels of T3 and T4 you need?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.