Last week we unravelled the mystery of finding underlying issues with the thyroid. We specifically looked at how blood tests should be read to give a clearer picture of the thyroid function.
I got a whole bunch of emails thanking me for the clear explanation but also asking me how they can get the correct tests and what they can do about their numbers.
In this episode, I share a few strategies for getting the right tests done to get the full picture of what your thyroid is doing. I include options that will hopefully help you find someone locally who can help (and who is covered by insurance).
Once you have your numbers, that’s another story. The truth is, every case is different; their symptoms are unique to them. It’s important to look at all levels to determine what is happening and what pathways are driving it. To give you a sense of how different each situation can be, I wanted to share a few of my past clients’ stories with you.
Click play to hear about Cindy, Cara, Melody and Erin and their struggles with underactive thyroid glands.
Case #1 – Cindy:
- Cindy’s TSH was deemed fine by her doctor despite being low at .5 (optimal range is 1.8-3)
- She was cold all the time, had trouble losing weight, and felt unwell all the time.
- Further tests revealed that T4 was low at 4.5 (normal range is 6-12) and her T3 was low at 68 (the optimal range is 100-150).
I suspected that the problem was further ‘upstream’ from the thyroid in the pituitary gland. We supported pituitary function with supplements and within 3 weeks, she was feeling better. It took 6 months to see her levels move back into optimal range, but we did that without treating the thyroid at all.
Case #2 – Cara:
Cara’s TSH was elevated at 6.5 (the optimal range is 1.8-3), her Total T4 was 5.5 (ideal is 6-12) and her T3 was 75 (ideal is 100-150). Note that her TSH is high while her T3 and T4 are low.
She was often tired, experiencing bad PMS and constipation.
She was negative for the Hashimoto’s antibodies.
She needed proper thyroid support but wanted a more natural option so she opted for dessicated thyroid extracts or DTE.
After 6 weeks, all of her levels were back in the normal range. And, her very next menstrual cycle was balanced and devoid of those extreme PMS symptoms.
Case #3 – Melody:
- Melody was already taking Synthroid, a medication to support her thyroid function.
- Thanks to the medication, her TSH and her T4 were right where they should be.
- However, she felt tired and often foggy and wondered if it might have to do with her thyroid.
- Further tests revealed that her T3 was very, very low at 70 (optimal is between 100 – 150) and her free T3 was also low at 2.4 (ideal range is 3 – 4).
I could see immediately that she wasn’t converting her T4 into T3. We knew that the solution was going to involve the liver. She did a liver cleanse and also took supplements to support the conversion of T4 to T3. After 6 weeks of liver support and supplements, Melody had increased energy and improved mental clarity. Test revealed that total T3 was now back in range at 100 and her free T3 was also back in range at 3.1. Her T4 and TSH maintained their healthy levels.
Case #4 – Erin:
- Erin’s TSH, T3 and T4 were all in the optimal range and she did not have Hashimoto’s.
- She was seeing classic hypothyroid symptoms like coarser, frizzier hair, thinning of the eyebrows, difficulty sleeping, and brain fog.
- She also didn’t feel well and wondered if it had to do with her high stress levels.
There was one thyroid test that was missing from her workup that I wanted to run – the reverse T3. Sure enough, it was at 29 when the reference range is 8-24 (optimally it should be under 17). Stress (and the cortisol associated with it) can cause reverse T3 to rise. Helping Erin’s thyroid issue started with stress management techniques including meditation. She also took a natural supplement to lower her cortisol. Erin noticed he symptoms decreasing almost right away and within 2 months her reverse T3 had gone from 29 to 15!
As you can see from these four cases, thyroid was behind all of their health mysteries but solving each one was vastly different. If your thyroid numbers are out of line, make sure you thoroughly investigate what can be at play. It could be a version of hypothyroidism, a thyroid conversion issue, something to do with the pituitary function or a high reverse T3 pattern. The answers (and treatments) are out there and there is hope!
If you have symptoms of a thyroid condition but your lab tests say otherwise, it may be time to look a little deeper to make sure all the labs were run and interpreted properly . I put some links to labs below but I do encourage you to work with a healthcare professional who is willing to help you dig deeper. Your health and well being are worth it.
For Cara, Cindy, Melody, and Erin we were able to find that missing piece of the health puzzle and help them regain her health. Could this be the missing clue for you or someone in your life? Please share this episode with them so they can feel better too.
Related Podcast Episodes:
EPISODE #027 Solving the Thyroid Mystery w/ Inna Topiler
EPISODE #023 The Case of Bloating, Gas, and Irregular Bowel Movements
EPISODE #012 The Case of Daily Bloating and Gas w/ Dr. Seth Osgood
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