Something made you decide to get your thyroid checked. Maybe your hands and feet were always freezing and your face and tongue felt puffy. Perhaps your eyebrows and hair were thinning. Were you fatigued and/or having trouble losing weight or sleeping? Were constipation or infertility an issue? The list of signs that your thyroid may be out of balance is a long one and thyroid disorders are skyrocketing. Did you have blood tests for your thyroid and your doctor told you that your test(s) were in the “normal” range? Here’s what you should know:
The “normal” range for thyroid testing isn’t based on a healthy population, it’s based on the bell curve of people who are having their thyroid tested. Who has their thyroid tested? Probably people who suspect their thyroid isn’t working optimally. So the test range, aside from varying from state to state, is skewed.
Most docs will only test TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) which is actually not made by the thyroid, it’s made by the pituitary based on signals from the hypothalamus. If your hypothalamus detects low levels of T4 (inactive form of thyroid hormone) it tells your pituitary to tell your thyroid to make more T4. Then, T4 has to be converted to T3 – the active form of Thyroid Hormone. You can have plenty of T4 and have a conversion problem which makes your inventory of functional T3 insufficient. But if your TSH level comes back in the “normal” range, your doc most likely won’t look any further – often your insurance company won’t let them.
In most states, the “normal” TSH range is 0.5-5.0. In the holistic world we feel better if it is lower than 1.5, ideally 1.0 or lower. Here is a list of where you may want to be when it comes to thyroid blood testing:
- TSH: 1.0 or less
- Free T3: Top 25% of reference range
- Free T4: Middle or slightly above the middle of the reference range
- Reverse T3 (RT3): Low end of the reference range
- Thyroid Antibodies: Within range
If your tests come back and you are not within these ranges, you may want to pursue some natural thyroid support and possibly the help of a wellness practitioner. Some options to consider include glandular supplements (pills containing dried thyroid tissue of animals), homeopathy, iodine, tyrosine, zinc, selenium, and herbs like bladderwrack, bacopa, withania, bugleweed, and others.
Aside from blood tests, you can get a pretty good idea about how your thyroid is functioning simply by monitoring your basal body temperature. Click here to access a free download to monitor yourself from home.
Even if your doc or or your insurance company says you’re normal. If you are demonstrating signs of low thyroid function, seek another opinion.
The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prescribe for any disease or condition. It is not a replacement for medical care.