It is very common for me to get calls from women, who are at their wit’s end, having been given the all clear by their GP, regarding their latest TSH result.

“Your TSH is normal, it’s all part of getting older, and you do have three kids.” And so she goes back home, she’s worn out, deeply fatigued and putting on weight daily it seems. Her feet are freezing even in the middle of summer, and her sugar and caffeine cravings are out of control. Her memory and concentration is not what it used to be and it’s making her feel depressed.

Thyroid Hormone

Strictly speaking TSH is actually not a thyroid hormone at all. It stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and is produced in the brain by the pituitary gland. This release of TSH stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone, specifically T4. T4 then, given the correct nutrients, (and a toxic-free liver) will convert to T3. T3 is what gets you out of bed in the morning. T3 is the thyroid hormone that produces energy, increases metabolism and stimulates weight loss.

Many doctors, may never request T4 or T3 bloods, but these two markers are essential to understanding a very important part of the thyroid jigsaw puzzle.

The Symptoms

The symptoms bellow are common in people who suffer from hypo-thyroidism, If you recognise yourself in some of the symptoms bellow, it may be worth requesting a more comprehensive thyroid blood panel.

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

If your local GP does not understand the need for thorough thyroid testing, then your complimentary health care provider may be able to request these bloods, from a private integrated pathology service.

Thyroid Blood Panel

  • TSH
  • T4
  • T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid Anti-Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iodine Loading

The Optimal Range

With TSH, T4 and T3, there is the normal finding when you get your bloods back from pathology. However there is also the optimal range, whereby a client will be experiencing abundant health, vitality and easy weight loss. Find a practitioner who will aim to get you within the optimal range. Optimal TSH to T4 to T3 conversion is achieved through accurate supplementation and diet, and often with the elimination of heavy metal toxicity. Optimal (not normal) levels of vitamin D and B12 are essential to the optimal levels of T4 an T3 and should not be over-looked.

Reverse T3

Reverse T3 can be over-elevated in a client with high stress levels and adrenal fatigue. Instead of T4 converting to the active form of thyroid hormone T3, it may shunt in the opposite direction, to the in-active form, Reverse T3. This client will be extremely tired as Reverse T3 in the body, does nothing. As you can see, getting the Reverse T3 picture is an essential component to accurate thyroid analysis. Another important part of the puzzle.

Thyroid Anti-Bodies

Thyroid Anti-Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin are both anti-bodies that will be raised in the case of an auto-immune thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s. Sometimes one or the other will be raised, however both raised together, if only slightly, will give the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. With a Hashimoto’s diagnosis it is essential that a person come off gluten and dairy as this helps to regulate the immune system. Gut health must be addressed, including the elimination of candida, rampant, unhealthy gut bacteria and dormant viral infections that hide in the liver, including the Epstein Bar Virus.

It is much rarer for TRABS, or TSH Receptor Anti-bodies to be raised, this is in the case of hyper-thyroidism, a much rarer condition. Always worth testing for, however, as some people swing between hyper and hypothyroidism.

Iodine Deficiency

As part of a thyroid panel, ‘Iodine Loading’ also needs to be completed. This tests for stored iodine, and is very different to ‘Spot Iodine’ which merely test for circulating iodine levels. I have never met a single hypo-thyroid client, whereby their Iodine Loading result, has come back as normal. Alongside magnesium, selenium and zinc, iodine is also deficient in our soils, and therefore the food that we eat.

Seaweed or Sea vegetables, such as kelp, kombu and nori is high in iodine and should be consumed daily as part of a dietary plan. However to turn hypothyroidism around, a much higher of iodine is often required.