Levothyroxine With Moringa Interaction

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the interaction between moringa and levothyroxine.

Question

I have had a total thyroidectomy and I am on levothyroxine 175 mcg (micrograms) per day. I have been reading about the benefits of moringa when I discovered that you shouldn't use it if on this type of medication. Is this correct?

Asked by Colonel On May 23, 2019

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On May 24, 2019
Levothyroxine Prescription Vial With Pills Spilling Out With Text - With Moringa

Overview

There is a potential drug interaction between levothyroxine and moringa, but more information is certainly needed to understand the full extent of it.

Nevertheless, morgina has been shown in numerous studies to have anti-thyroid actions, by decreasing the conversion of T4 to the active T3.[1]

Therefore, in theory, moringa could decrease the effects of levothyroxine, which contains T4. Overall, your levothyroxine may not be as effective, potentially leading to symptoms of hypothyroidism.


Moringa Thyroid Effects

Moringa Powder Leaves And Crushed Leaves On Table

Moringa is a flowering tree, native to such areas as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It is widely cultivated and used for a variety of medicinal purposes, including as a treatment for:[2]

  • Hyperthyroidism[3]
  • Asthma[4]
  • Diabetes[5]
  • Lactation difficuilty[6]
  • High cholesterol[7]
  • Obesity[8]

In regard to the thyroid effects of moringa, although human studies are lacking, animal research suggests that moringa can reduce T3 (triiodothyronine) concentrations by inhibiting the conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to T3 (triiodothyronine).[9]

It is important to note while T4 is the major hormone secreted by the thyroid gland, it must be converted (via deiodination) to T3 in peripheral tissues. It is essentially inactive on its own. T3 is the active thyroid hormone and exerts numerous effects in the body.[10]

Since levothyroxine is essentially T4 (it is technically the L-isomer of thyroxine), its conversion to T3 could be significantly inhibited by moringa.

As nearly all the activity of levothyroxine is due to the conversion to T3, moringa could render the drug less effective (by decreasing this conversion).[11]

Although more studies are needed (especially human ones), those taking levothyroxine for the treatment of hypothyroidism should likely avoid supplementation with moringa to avoid any disruption of therapy.

At the very least, you should speak with your doctor first before taking moringa so you can be appropriately monitored.


Summary

Moringa can reduce the effectiveness of levothyroxine by decreasing the conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to the active T3 (triiodothyronine).

References
  1. ^ Moringa oleifera: a food plant with multiple medicinal uses.PubMed
  2. ^ A Comprehensive Review on Pharmacotherapeutics of Herbal Bioenhancers. PubMed
  3. ^ Bioactive Components in Moringa Oleifera Leaves Protect against Chronic Disease. AccessFDA
  4. ^ Antiasthmatic activity of Moringa oleifera Lam: A clinical study.PubMed
  5. ^ Effect of Moringa oleifera Leaf Capsules on Glycemic Control in Therapy-Naïve Type 2 Diabetes Patients: A Randomized Placebo Controlled Study.PubMed
  6. ^ A Review of Herbal and Pharmaceutical Galactagogues for Breast-Feeding. PubMed
  7. ^ Therapeutic Potential of Moringa oleifera Leaves in Chronic Hyperglycemia and Dyslipidemia: A Review. PubMed
  8. ^ Safety and Efficacy of Banaba-Moringa oleifera-Green Coffee Bean Extracts and Vitamin D3 in a Sustained Release Weight Management Supplement.PubMed
  9. ^ Role of Moringa oleifera leaf extract in the regulation of thyroid hormone status in adult male and female rats.PubMed
  10. ^ Thyroid Hormones, T3 and T4, in the Brain. PubMed
  11. ^ Levoxyl Prescribing Information. AccessFDA

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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