To understand your thyroid is a complex issue it works in many different ways throughout the body. Thyroid issues a becoming the most talked about health problems in functional medicine, naturopathic and nutritional medicine in recent times, it includes males as well not just females.
Thyroid imbalances and hypothyroidism are getting undiagnosed or under the radar when been tested via a blood test through your GP. It is important to understand that testing for TSH levels which is the standard test is not always the most accurate forms of Thyroid pathology testing.
What is TSH anyway?
TSH is your thyroid stimulating hormone and sits in your pituitary gland, it determines how much your thyroid hormone is making, it is a delicate guide fo an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid. However, it usually doesn't give you an overall look at your thyroid.
Have you had your Total T4 & TSH checked as well?
The MINORITY of Doctors usually have you tested for this. T4 is the major thyroid hormone manufactured in the thyroid gland. Approximately 95% is made by T4.
What is left is our T3.
T4 is a good way of seeing how your T4 is performing. T4 results may also come back normal, but this still may not be an accurate guide on how your entire thyroid is functioning.
T3 is what?
T3 is the remaining hormone, this is really how the thyroid is functioning at a cellular level in the body, it is the higher metabolic or active form of the hormone, and what it is actually doing in our body.
T4 may not be transforming to T3 properly. T3 gets processed in the liver, gut, and inside our cellular tissues, a common issue with people, who can still have underactive thyroid symptoms.
Therefore, Total TSH - T4 and T3 need to be done. But even though most Doctors test for these, it is still not an ideal indication of how your thyroid is performing.
T4 + T3 - are bound to protein carriers through the blood.
How are hormones transported?
All hormones are fat soluble and are tagged to a protein carrier, our blood is water soluble. The T4 and T3 need a protein carrier for it to be transported properly in our blood, this is a TBG (Thyroid Binding Globulin.) TBG is also important for thyroid function.
Free T3 and Free T4 is the remaining hormone which circulates in our bodies. These should be included in a thyroid function lab test, Low levels of Free T3 and T4 and high levels of TBG, can be from excess estrogen along with hypothyroid.
Lower levels of TBG (Thyroid Binding Globulin) and excess levels of Free T4 and T3 leads to hyperthyroid or overactive thyroid.
What is Reverse 3 R3? Why is it important for thyroid testing?
The R3 component is what is left circulating that is not converting to T3, this is usually elevated in times of stress. When we under stress, our cortisol levels are also elevated, causing adrenal problems. High-stress levels or when we are constantly stressed is causing problems on our thyroid levels and production, stress is one of the big drivers for Thyroid problems.
The DUTCH test can be also done, which test cortisol levels, adrenal function, a dried urine test is performed, this can be done through me via Nutripath pathology.
Why should you get your Thyroid Antibodies tested?
Thyroid antibodies TPOab and Tgab, are antibodies that circulate throughout our body, these can be elevated, which points to an inflammatory immune response. This test is essential for autoimmune Thyroidism, either Hashimoto's or Graves Disease.
Autoimmunity Thyroidism occurs when the cells and antibodies cause an immunity which attacks the cell and over time decreasing the function of the thyroid cells, damaging it, therefore, reducing the function of the thyroid. I
Autoimmunity diet, therefore, would be beneficial in Hashimoto's or Graves,
In naturopathic or holistic perspective, and functional medicine, subclinical lab results are important for finding the cause and prevention of disease, and Thyroid issues is a classic example.
In normal blood testing many doctors look at ranges, and what levels are acceptable, in functional pathology the results are looked at it differently, elevated levels in holistic or functional medicine it is not seen as optimal. This is where we look at further investigations, to get to the root of the cause.
IODINE AND HASHIMOTOS AND GRAVE DISEASE
Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, some evidence research has found excessive iodine supplementation may cause problems on autoimmune Thyroidsim. Due to the fact that the autoimmune on the thyroid is already having issues in processing Iodine, iodine supplementation does have benefits. Iodine levels do need to be checked after supplementation or during as excessive or insufficient iodine is not ideal. Once levels are optimal, a good way to supplement would be through food, kelp flakes are a good source and can be used in dishes or as a condiment.
WHAT NUTRIENTS CAN HELP SUPPORT THRYOID IMBALANCE?
There are a few key nutrients that can benefit and support your thyroid. Selenium is one the most important nutrients for help regulation thyroid metabolism, selenium is excess doses can be toxic, Vitamin D is also found to be deficient in autoimmune conditions and thyroid problems, healing your gut, avoid toxins and chemicals, avoiding fluoride has been found to also inhibit iodine production.
As with all supplements and treatment plans, supplements and treatment differ from person to person.
If you need support or would like some testing done, and nutritional healing., for your thyroid.
Enquiries or bookings can be made here on my webpage.
- Walsh JP. Managing thyroid disease in general practice. Med J Aust 2016;205(4):179-184. [Full Text]
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My Virtual Medical Centre 2008. Viewed 30 Jan 2018,[Source}