By Alane Stieglitz, ND, CNC
When you are first trying to figure out if you have hypothyroid, things can be tricky. Most traditional thyroid tests only include TSH and maybe T4 levels. There is so much more to the thyroid working correctly than just TSH and T4! What about T3, Free T3, thyroid antibodies? I am still baffled why so many people come in with thyroid tests run, but only TSH was done. Their symptoms worsen with time, and many people are getting frustrated and desperate for answers to why they are told that they do not have hypothyroid, and deep down inside, they know that they do!
Is it hypothyroid? If your TSH is 0-4.5, you are likely told that you do not have hypothyroidism. BUT in functional medicine, we are taught that TSH levels should be 0-2 for our patients to feel their best. So what happens to all the people with a TSH of 2.0 or 3.0 or 4.5.? It is simple; they are told they are fine even though they have had hypothyroid symptoms. We call a TSH between 2.0 – 4.0 a “functional hypothyroid.” It means your thyroid is slow but not slow enough that you may need medication. A supplement may be enough to help you feel better.
What about T4 (Thyroxine) And Free T4? T4 is a thyroid hormone that is stored in the liver. Alone is does not help deliver oxygen or produce energy. It must have an atom of iodine that enables it to convert to T3 to be used by the cells.
What about T3 (Triiodothyronine? And Free T3? T3 is an active thyroid hormone. Because the free levels of T3 represent immediately available hormone, free T3 is thought by some integrative practitioners to best reflect a patient’s hormonal status, compared to TSH or total T3.
Without optimal Free or bio-available T3 levels, the person may be suffering needlessly from hypothyroid.
What about the thyroid antibodies? Now, your thyroid really may be working perfectly, but your immune system may be causing you to have hypothyroid symptoms because it is attacking your thyroid gland. This is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and many people do get it. If your labs are normal, make sure to check TPO ab and thyroid ab and if they are positive, consider an autoimmune diet lifestyle.
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Each thyroid test result comes with a personal protocol to help your thyroid gland work at its best so you can work at your best!
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Medical disclaimer: Our tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.