Expert Guidance From Louise O’Connor - The Thyroid Naturopath { Discover More! }

What You Need To Know About Thyroid Testing To Gain The Most Valuable Insights

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thyroid testingEven a small drop in thyroid hormone activity has a dramatic effect on your emotional and physical well-being.

It’s therefore essential to get proper testing if you suspect you have a thyroid problem.

The Conventional Approach To Thyroid Testing

The conventional medical approach is to test thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

If the results of this thyroid blood test are found to be above normal the test is repeated within 2–8 weeks. Often the TSH is then done along with thyroxine (T4). The TSH and T4 results are used to confirm a diagnosis.

What Does it Mean When TSH is High?

TSH is a messenger hormone that’s not actually made within the thyroid. It’s produced by the pituitary gland which is located deep within the brain. When the pituitary senses your body requires more thyroid hormones it releases TSH into the bloodstream. The TSH then travels from the pituitary to the thyroid to stimulate production of the thyroid hormones.

For this reason, a high TSH indicates your body requires more thyroid hormones. In effect, you are in a hypothyroid state.

A Normal TSH is Not Necessarily Optimal

Whenever I hear people say they have been told their thyroid is normal my first thought is…yes, but what was tested?

All too often individuals are told their thyroid is NORMAL after only testing TSH. Furthermore, a normal result may just mean your results fall within a very wide reference range.

You see, the standard reference range is not an optimal reference range.

Current research shows the optimal TSH reference range is 0.5-2.0 mIU/L. However, most pathology companies continue to use the standard reference range of 0.5-5.0 mIU/L which is much wider. This makes it far more difficult to pick up a thyroid problem.

There Are Drawbacks To Conventional Thyroid Testing

The single TSH test, or even the TSH plus T4 test is often inadequate to truly understand the state of your thyroid health.

There are three main drawbacks to the conventional approach to testing.

+ Both free T4 and free T3 need to be tested.
When you test both free T4 (FT4) and free triiodothyronine (FT3) you can assess your body’s ability to convert T4 to T3. T3 is your most active thyroid hormone so it makes a lot of sense to test it along with T4.

+ The thyroid antibody levels need to be checked.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a debilitating autoimmune thyroid disorder. It’s the leading cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries, especially among women. For this reason everyone should be screened for this common autoimmune thyroid disorder.

To get tested you need to have these two tests done; thyroid peroxidase Abs (TPO Ab) and antithyroglobulin Abs (ATG Ab). It’s important to know the single TSH test will not pick up an autoimmune thyroid disorder.

+ Reverse T3 (RT3) needs to be checked.
T4 normally converts to active T3, and inactive RT3. If you are experiencing excess peripheral conversion of T4 to RT3 it triggers a range of hypothyroid symptoms.

In simple terms, RT3 has the reverse effect of T3. Only a specific test of RT3 can test for excess reverse T3.

The Top 5 Thyroid Tests I Recommend

Comprehensive testing is essential to assess overall thyroid function. It helps with an accurate diagnosis, and is useful to track improvements in your thyroid health.

Very briefly, these are the five thyroid tests you need to check for a thyroid problem;

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Free T4 (FT4)
  • Free T3 (FT3)
  • Reverse T3 (RT3)
  • Thyroid antibodies: thyroid peroxidase Abs (TPO Ab) + antithyroglobulin Abs (ATG Ab).

Are you getting this type of thyroid testing done?


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Comments

  1. These are my daughters recent labs she’s currently on Levothyroxine for hypothyroidism. TSH – 4.130 T4Free – 1.19, Thyroglob Ab, Quan – 0.9
    Thyroid Peroxidase Ab – 1647.3, are these results “normal”

    • Louise O'Connor says:

      Hi Rhonda, your daughter’s test results would not be considered normal especially in regards to the reading for the thyroid peroxidase antibodies. These results should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner who can discuss the most effective treatment plan. Louise

  2. Diane Picha says:

    My thyroid results in October 2015 were: TSH–4.62; Free T4–1.1; Free T3–3.0; and Reverse T3–13.

    A couple months ago, I switched from Naturethroid and Idiozyme to 2 to 3 GTA from Biotics Research capsules; and the doc also added Cataplex F from Standard Processing (2 tablets, 3 times/day) and Mo-zyme by Biotics Research 2 to 3/day.

    I just had a new thyroid panel done. The blood was drawn 4 hours after taking my morning dose of the above protocol. Results: TSH — .5; Free T4–1.13 ng/dL; Free T3–3.6 pg/mL; and Reverse T3–17 ng/dL Based on everything I’m reading, it appears the new protocol has everything on my thyroid panel where it needs to be. Would you agree? If I took the protocol 4 hours before the blood testing (and no food since the day before), would you consider this blood test pretty accurate?

  3. Alanyo Alice Grace says:

    I did the tests in Nov. 2015 and the results were:
    TSH 3.27 uIU/ml
    T3 5.14 pmol/L
    T4 12.30 pmol/L
    All lying within normal ranges. Am yet to go for biopsy (a 2nd time). I will share with you the results.
    However the swelling continues but no significant symptoms/signs.
    I want to thank you endlessly for your concern and goodness in sharing your expertise
    thanks again,
    Alice

    • Louise O'Connor says:

      Hi Alice, when you got tested in November last year did you get your thyroid antibodies checked? This is important when you have swelling in the thyroid region. Louise

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