-Thinning outer third of eyebrows
-Cold hands and feet
-Low basal body temperature
If those sound familiar to you, you probably suspect a thyroid condition. And you know what? You just might be right! These symptoms are some of the most common warning signs of thyroid disorder. But how will you ever know if you're not tested properly?!
And chances are your doctor is DOING IT WRONG. I have seen thyroid testing done wrong time and time again and it kills me because what happens is you walk away from your drs office thinking either a-it’s in your head and there’s nothing really wrong with you or b-there’s something really wrong but no one can figure it out and you feel totally helpless.
If you're new here you may not know this yet, but it's my passion and mission to educate and empower people to be able to take back their health and take back their health.
Let's break down everything you need to know about thyroid panels so you can understand how to test properly for signs of thyroid disorder once and for all.
What I see happen all the time is women go in to their Dr, complain of the symptoms I just mentioned, and if they're tested at all, they're given a lab req for TSH.
TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. This is a hormone secreted by your pituitary that tells you thyroid to secrete T4, which is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone, but more on that in a second...
If your TSH is elevated what that means is that your pituitary is literally screaming at your thyroid to WAKE UP and make more thyroid hormone.
As you can probably imagine, due to the fact that this is a hormone secreted by your pituitary and not your thyroid, it isn’t the best marker for what exactly is going on with your thyroid. The reason it’s used is because it’s a big giant waving red flag if it’s elevated super high.
But the problem is, our bodies don’t always send up big giant waving red flags, sometimes they’re suffering in silence or whispering to us, kind of limping along.
So for starters, yes you do want a TSH test to check for signs of thyroid disorder... but you want OH SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT to get a true picture of what is going on with your thyroid.
The next set of labs to go along with TSH is free T3, free T4, and total T4 and I’ll explain why.
When your thyroid gets the message from your pituitary to make thyroid hormone it makes T4, this is the inactive form, it then needs to be converted into T3 to be utilized by the body. Sometimes this conversion step is where the error comes in to play.
One area I see issues with conversion frequently is poor gut health. A healthy gut is crucial for optimal conversion of T4 to T3.
Another area where things can go wrong is with THBG which stands for thyroid hormone binding globulin. If your level of THBG is too high, your thyroid hormone will get bound up. Think of it as being wrapped up in a rope or handcuffs, it’s not going to work that way is it?!
This is why you need to look at the free forms of the hormones when testing for signs of thyroid disorder. What that means it’s free and floating around, ready and raring to go and be used.
Asking for this specific set of labs will ensure you are able to see all the forms of the hormone in your body, the first form (T4), the converted form (total T3), and the unbound form (T3 free) and you’ll get to see exactly where the error is occurring which can help formulate a more appropriate treatment plan.
The final set of thyroid labs you’re going to need to ask for is the antibodies. This is crucial and often overlooked when testing for signs of thyroid disorder. What you’re looking for here is to see if your body is launching an autoimmune attack on your thyroid.
The most common form of this is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. If your antibodies are elevated, you may have an autoimmune thyroid condition on your hands and once again this will inform a more appropriate treatment plan. For example, if you have Hashimoto's you should NOT be eating gluten.
I repeat. Do not eat gluten. The gluten molecule looks veerrrry similar to the thyroid molecule and the body, in it’s heightened autoimmune attack state, will mistake the two and every time you eat gluten it’ll launch and even bigger attack on your thyroid.
Ok so there you have it. A full list of super important labs you NEED to have done to properly assess thyroid function.
One more crucial fact you need to know...conventional ranges are average lab ranges (aka ranges of other people that don't feel good) but OPTIMAL ranges, which are what I follow in my practice, are the ranges you want to achieve to see symptoms disappear.
Want to find out EXACTLY what lab ranges your thyroid should be in to show optimal functionality? I have a FREE downloadable PDF that further breaks down the tests and tells your their conventional ranges and most importantly, the OPTIMAL ranges.
If you don't want to trudge down to your Dr's office to beg for proper labs and you want to order them for yourself, I have some really good news for you.
Ulta Labs is an amazing company that helps you take back your power and your health by ordering the labs yourself as easy as 1, 2, 3! (Step one: log onto their website, step 2: select your labs and pick a convenient lab location, step 3: go in to the lab at your convenience and have the labs drawn!).