The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just below Adam’s apple. It’s part of an intricate network of glands called the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for coordinating many of the body’s activities. The thyroid gland manufactures hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism (the process of creating and using energy). There are several different disorders that can arise when the thyroid produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism). The four most common thyroid disorders include Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, goiter, and thyroid nodules. (healthline.com)
In the United States, the most common test for thyroid is to test the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels in the blood. The TSH level tells your doctors that the pituitary gland (which produces TSH) is stimulating the thyroid to produce the too much T4 hormone (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism). It can be confusing, but the higher the TSH, the lower your Thyroid function, and vice versa. On average, the normal values for TSH fall somewhere between 0.7-6.4 mU/L.
My doctor said my thyroid level is normal. Is it, really? Which test did your doctor run for you? Educate yourself as much as you can before you go to see your endocrinologist and ask QUESTIONS!!!
Thyroid Panel: “TSH is NOT the only blood test you should get tested “
- TSH (Marker from pituitary gland in the brain is sending signal to thyroid. This is not the one your thyroid makes)
- Free T3 (actual T3 hormones metabolized in the body: Total T3 is total overall T3. Free T3 is the portion of Total T3 and this is the most important marker your liver convert)
- Reverse T3 (peripheral thyroid marker – what’s body is using T3 for. The higher the marker, your metabolism is LOW)
- Anti-TPO (above 32 = Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease *** Attention: many people have NORMAL TSH and never get tested this marker***)
- TgAb (Anti-Thyroid Immunoglobulin) – Antibody to Thyroid Globulin that circulates in their blood
- TG (Thyroglobulin) – the measurement of the protein in the blood. Tumor marker.
T4 to T3 Conversion
Some professionals believe that the TSH test alone is not enough (some even claim it’s useless), and advocate testing both the T4 and T3. T3 is, simply put, the “useful” conversion of T4. T4 must be converted to T3 in your blood, then it can be used by the body. High “Reverse T3” marker indicates your body is not metabolizing. Increase the amount of trace mineral called selenium and zinc (avoid zinc oxide).
- Thyroid Hormones Explained (P. Osborne)
- Free T3 / ReverseT3 Conversion Chart
- About Reverse T3 Article
- Reverse T3 Excess Article
For a more in-depth understanding of T3 and T4, read this article, or watch this great Thyroid related Q&A video series with Alan Christianson. Will Cole’s article, Why your lab results could be lying about your thyroid health, is also a great resource. The article about rT3.
Thyroid Function and Iodine & Selenium
Finally, when you think “Thyroid” you may think “Iodine.” Iodine is an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormone, and since the body cannot create iodine on its own, it is essential that you get it from iodine-rich foods. Check out this list of articles for further reading on iodine and thyroid disease.
Selenium – I recommend 200 mcg of Selenium for all thyroid patients. Here’s an article you might be interested in to read:
- Why Thyroid Health Is Completely Dependent On Selenium
- If you are going to take an iodine supplement, make sure you take this B2 & B3 (Optimox) combination tablets 3 x per day to make sufficient ATP production.
For further reading about Thyroid, check out favorite articles!
Hyperthyroidism is caused by an over-production of the thyroid hormone in the body. Untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause major stress body systems, including the heart and vascular system and the digestive system. For a more in-depth article about hyperthyroidism – symptoms, causes and alternative cure remedies – read this article from Health911.
Graves disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, cause the thyroid to overproduce the hormone responsible for regulating your metabolism. It is the most common form of hyperthyroidism in the United States and can lead to serious medical issues (heart and bone density conditions) if not treated. However, successful treatment for Graves Disease can often result in hypothyroidism. For more information, Dr. Donielle Wilson has a great series about the connection between Hashimoto’s and leaky gut.
Thyroid and Lyme Disease
The Borrelia bacteria have 16 cross-reactive proteins mimic thyroid protein which means the longer you have Lyme disease, very likely you are going to have ongoing thyroid autoimmune disease. If you are not feeling well and you know you have thyroid issues or your close relatives have thyroid issues, you may get tested for Lyme disease. Western Blot test has low false negative test result than Elisa test most of doctors do.
Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. The main purpose of thyroid hormone is to run the body’s metabolism, so people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. However, weight gain or difficulty losing weight are not the only symptoms associated with hypothyroidism(see right). According to EndocrineWeb, approximately 10 million Americans have this common medical condition. Despite the controversial success, Synthroid is not only the most common drug treatment for hypothyroidism in the US, it is both the #1 prescribed medication in the country.
Hashimoto’s syndrome is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system also attacks the thyroid, but, unlike Graves disease, Hashimoto’s slows and eventually eliminates the thyroid’s ability to function. It is the most common form of hypothyroidism in the United States; the test for Hashimoto’s is the anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) test. According to Dr. Isabella Wentz, Pharma D., “estimates are that between 90-97% of those with hypothyroidism in the United States actually have Hashimoto’s.” Andrea Nakayama is also an expert in nutritional support for Hashimoto’s. If you suspect you may have hypothyroidism, visit Stop the Thyroid Madness for more great resources and information, read Tamie’s favorite book on the subject, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause, written by Dr. Isabella Wentz.
Thyroid Nodules (Goiter)
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. It is often caused by hyperthyroidism and major iodine definitely. You may read this article “Natural Management of Grave’s Disease“. Dr. Ruscio explains Grave’s Disease in details and what to do about it. Acupuncture treatment for Goiter along with the proper supplementations help to reduce the size of the nodule.Thyroid nodules are growths that form on or in the thyroid gland. The causes are not always known but can include iodine deficiency and Hashimoto’s disease. The nodules can be solid or fluid-filled. Most are benign, but they can also be cancerous in a small percentage of cases.
This is the 10 min. video about how to self-screen Thyroid Cancer by one of my master, Alan Christianson ND. Please take a look.
Izabella Wentz’s Website – She is one of my mentors for Hashimoto’s Institute Practitioner Training I took in 2016. She writes a lot of thyroid related articles. Please take a look her site to learn more about Thyroid Disease and its manifestation, and what you can do about it. Here’s one of her article ” Where do I start with Hashimotos?” I am more than happy to assist you following her plan I was taught at Hashimoto’s Institute in 2016.