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Cow’s Milk- Decreasing your body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone medication

October 11th, 2017

Are you diagnosed or know someone with an under-active thyroid?

A recent preliminary study finds that ingesting the common oral hormone medication levothyroxine with cow’s milk, can significantly decrease the body’s ability to absorb the drug. The results were presented at ENDO 2017, the Endocrine society’s 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Levothyroxine is prescribed for patients with an underactive thyroid to replace the natural thyroid hormone thyroxine. Primary investigator Deborah Chon, M.D stated that “These findings support previous research that calcium supplements can interfere with levothyroxine absorption. Decreased absorption means that patients may not get the full dose of thyroid hormone that they are prescribed.”

The research consisted of 10 adults, 6 men and 4 women who were studied; with an average age of 33.7 years. Those investigated had no known thyroid disease, and had normal thyroid function at the start of testing. No one involved was allergic to either cow’s milk or levothyroxine.

Participants began by fasting overnight before two study visits, spaced a month apart. At the first visit candidates took 1000 micrograms of oral levothyroxine alone and at the second visit, they ingested the same quantity in addition with 12 ounces of 2% milk. Candidates gave regular blood samples throughout the study to measure their total level of T4.

Investigators measured levothyroxine absorption as the concentration of total T4 in the blood. Results revealed that those who consumed both medicine and milk in conjunction had a lower T4 level.

The brand manufacturer of levothyroxine has recommended that the medicine should preferably be taken on an empty stomach, 30-60 minutes prior to eating or taking any other medication or supplements.

Given the study’s findings, a correlation can be seen that cow’s milk could have an interference with those who manage with thyroid replacement therapy.

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