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Step 7. Nixon Seven Step Thyroid Protocol

Step 7 - What is Happening at the Cells?

Despite all the available blood tests and other medical tests, there is no test that will reveal categorically what is happening within the trillions of cells of a particular person.  Ultimately our signs and symptoms are the manifestation of what is happening inside our cells, and proper thyroid metabolism is one of the most significant processes involved. 

Several constraints arise when we investigate proper thyroid metabolism. These constraints can be considered in three significant areas, namely:

  1. what restricts thyroid hormone from occupying a receptor on cell membranes?

  2. what health conditions reduce the energy needed for thyroid hormone be transported across the cell membrane?

  3. once inside the cell, what nutrients and enzymes are needed to convert the inactive T4 thyroid into the active form, T3?

Once thyroid hormone has been made by the body, or provided by supplementation, it is bound to certain proteins to enable it to flow freely in the bloodstream without being destroyed or eliminated through normal mechanisms. And each different type of thyroid hormone has a different “half-life”, being the time that it can remain viable within the body.

This is where the distinction between thyroid hormones T4, T3 and their equivalents, free-T4 and free-T3 are relevant. The ATA writes that the “free” portion is restricted to far less than 1% of circulating T4 and T3.

Thyroid hormone has no value just circulating in the bloodstream. It is in the interior of the billions of body cells that the active T3 thyroid hormone takes on its designated role. The questions then become:

  1. how will the inactive T4 thyroid hormone cross the cell membrane?

  2. how will the inactive T4 thyroid hormone be converted to active T3? (and this is where the question of conversion nutrients, and enzymes becomes critical).

The “Overview Booklet” briefly discusses these questions, and the full book “Doctors Don’t Know Thyroid” provides considerably more detail.


The ultimate purpose of the Seven Step Protocol is to prompt your own thyroid gland to produce adequate thyroid hormone for proper metabolism. Steps 1 to 6 may be successful in achieving this aim, but everyone is different, with so many individual health challenges and environmental variables that some people may require thyroid hormone supplementation.

If you do require thyroid hormone supplementation, should you be replacing your missing thyroid hormone with synthetic hormone, or something more closely your own natural thyroid hormone? Is synthetic thyroid hormone treated by your body in the same way as your own thyroid hormone?

The late Dr. Broda Barnes, known as “The Father of Thyroid” clarified the distinction between natural thyroid and synthetic T4 in his 1976 book “Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness”.

“When nature produces a compound for use in living organisms, the compound always has the characteristic of rotating polarized light to the left. When the chemist synthesizes a compound in the laboratory, he may obtain equal amounts of two forms of the compound, one rotating polarized light to the left and the other rotating it to the right. Very often, the compound rotating the light to the right - and known as the dextro form - has less physiological activity that the natural or levo form. Sure enough, when the dextro form of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone, was synthesized, it proved to have only one-tenth to one-twentieth of the metabolic activity of the natural Levo-thyroxine.”

This is not as straightforward a decision as it may seem  at first glance. Natural thyroid hormone is essentially thyroid hormone from hogs or from cattle, and the fact that there may be an element of animal protein in the product needs to be considered, especially if you are low in stomach acid.

On the other hand, synthetic hormone is either T4 (4 iodine atoms), or T3 (3 iodine atoms), or a combination. There is not a synthetic form of T2, nor a synthetic form of T1, so maybe the body needs these also?

Prescribing synthetic T4 is standard practice, but so is ignoring the adrenals, and ignoring a patient’s signs and symptoms, and their Achilles ankle reflex rate.