I have got to admit, I have been very ignorant about how NDT is made. I have believed that NDT and glandular supplements, like Metavive and Thyrogold, were virtually the same. And I have been telling people that. They are not, glandular is a much weaker product. I could be embarrassed about this. But I choose not to. This only proves my point, that there is so much to learn about this thyroid issue. Let’s try to stay openminded, and just admit when we are mistaken. That is the only way to learn something new.
I have this info from Chris at Pim Pom products, also the photos. Most of it is a direct quote from him. I have just added a little. Thanks, Chris!
3 different thyroid products
1. Raw desiccated thyroid powder
This is the raw powder that comes from grinding freeze dried glands into a powder. No further processing is done. Freeze drying breaks the cell membranes and extracts all the water from the sample. So the blood and cell cytoplasm is removed. You are basically left with everything that is not water and that doesn’t sublimate under cold, low pressure conditions. This is typically what you get in low cost supplements, and it can contain up to 40% fat. This is what we sell directly as freeze dried powder.
2. USP desiccated thyroid powder / Desiccated thyroid BP
This is what you get after removing the fat and oil from the raw powder. USP stands for US Pharmacopeia, and BP for British Pharmacopoeia. The US and British versions are essentially copies of each other so it doesn’t matter which book you look at. By removing all fat and oil, you remove the cell membranes as well as all the blood vessels and anything else that was not water soluble. Most of what is left in USP powder is protein, primarily the important thyroglobulin proteins with the hormones, and fiber. This powder reliably contains at least 38 mcgs of T4 and 9 mcgs of T3 per grain. USP powder manufacturers typically add dextrose or lactose to the powder to dilute it down to these numbers if the powder is too strong.
I have found it so difficult to get information about this. Chris from Pim Pom has educated me on this. I also found this explanation in this article, Thaer Idrees et al, 2020.
“Contemporary manufacturing and clinical use of DTE
Today, the manufacturing of DTE must comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) as enforced by the FDA, failure of which may result in product recall. In addition,
companies that manufacture and commercialize DTE in the USA must follow the procedures and standards described in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) monography
(93) . In short, currently thyroid glands are harvested from pigs used in the food supply (USDA approved slaughter houses), frozen and then shipped to manufacturers. The glands are subsequently processed to a fine powder that contains thyroglobulin and very little free T3 and T4: most TH is covalently bound to the thyroglobulin peptide chain. Thus, USP protocol requires proteolytic enzymatic digestion of the powder followed by high performance liquid chromatography to measure T3 and T4 contents followed by, and comparison against the respective USP standards. The thyroid powder is formulated into tablets based on the amount of T4 and the final weight adjusted to ensure that the potency of the resulting tablet conforms with USP recommendations, that is a 1 grain (65 mg) tablet contains 38 mcg T4 and 9 mcg T3 with a margin of error of ±10%; the measured amount of T4 and T3 in a batch of tablets must therefore be 34.2-41.8 mcg T4 and 8.1-9.9
mcg T3. It is up to the manufacturers to review the data for each DTE lot and ensure that their product meets those standards both at release and throughout its shelf life.”
I think this can make for a little confusion. The thyroglobulin is only broken down for the liquid chromatography testing. The tablets we take DO contain the thyroglobulin. We have to break this down in our digestion. For some it might be a good idea to take some protein enzymes with the tablet to help break it down. That might help with absorption. Stomach acid is also very important. Hypo thyroid people are often low on that.
3. Thyroid extract/Proloid
Note the absence of “desiccated” in this one. This is essentially whole thyroid glands that have been blended into a slurry. You then change the temperature and pH of the mixture until the thyroglobulin proteins denature and precipitate out of solution. This used to be manufactured under the brand Proloid, however to my knowledge this product is no longer in production anywhere. It is very complex and expensive to manufacture compared to just making the synthetic hormones directly.
Here you see both the raw thyroid and the NDT, the NDT is the whiter powder to the right. You also see the “sludge” that is taken out of the raw powder. It is gross I know. Yellow and brown fat, as well as blood. This is what we are like on the inside 😏
How it NDT testet?
The gold standard in testing this powder today is defined in National Formulary 24 of the US Pharmacopeia. It is an enzyme test that breaks down the thyroid over 24 hours and then checks for the exact amount of T3 and T4 by using liquid chromatography. The equipment to do this test is extremely expensive, and independent labs charge anywhere from $3000 – $5000 per sample to run the test. We are working with the Thai government to try and develop the capability to run this test locally, however the pandemic interrupted this process when all resources were redirected to vaccine research. Luckily, there is a simpler test that is also included in the pharmacopoeia, the inorganic iodide test. This was the test that was actually used in the 50’s and 60’s before high performance liquid chromatography became practical. This test relies on the known ratios of T3 and T4 in an animal. Since porcine thyroid has a known ratio of about 4:1, then by simply counting the amount of iodide in the sample and verifying it is in the reference range outlined in the pharmacopoeia we can determine that the sample is good. This test can be done with only a few thousand dollars worth of equipment, and we routinely do this in house to verify that our USP powder has been fully processed.
Please, don’t mistake me for someone promoting Pim Pom. I do not get any discount or anything else from them. If Chris offered, I would say no. As I want to be independent and free to write whatever I want. BUT, Chris has been very helpful in providing various info. AND I do appreciate what Pim Pom is doing at this time. That is, providing NDT at an affordable price with raw material sourced from a country not affected by the African Swine Fever, Thailand. My only interest and concern, are all the hypothyroid patients suffering with side effects from the synthetic thyroid medications and or too low FT3 levels.