Getting the correct labs tests are important to learning more about your thyroid. The second of the "Getting To Know Your Thyroid" handout series (see the 1st and 3rd handouts) dicusses which lab tests are important for your MD or ND to run.
It is important to have your medical or naturopathic doctor run certain tests to see how your thyroid is functioning. A proper physical exam of the thyroid should be completed as well. The following are a list of tests that will give you an clearer indication of how your thyroid is doing.
The typical thyroid test measures TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which signals the the thyroid to produce hormones. When a TSH is below 1.0, it means that your thyroid is producing too many hormones and needs less TSH (hyperthyroidism). When it is over 3.0 (medically over 5.0), your thyroid needs too much stimulation to produce hormones (hypothyroidism). It is an important test to run but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
fT3 (freeT3): T3 (triiodothyronine) is the more metabolically active thyroid hormone. Most of the time, T3 is inactive and bound to thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG). fT3 measures the amount of unbound T3 that can be metabolically used.
fT4 (freeT4): T4 (thyroxine) is produced in higher amounts than T3 but needs to be converted to T3 to be more usable. It is important to know what your T4 levels are to understand how your thyroid is functioning.
Reverse T3 (RT3): T4 needs to be converted to T3 before the body can use it. Sometimes, especially under extreme stress or chronic illness, your body will turn T4 into Reverse T3 (which is inactive). This is important to test as your T4 might be in normal range but your RT3 might be high (and your body is not getting the active T3 that is needs).
Thyroid Antibodies: Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin antibodies are two important antibodies to check to for thyroid health. If positive anti-thyroid peroxidase and/or anti-thyroglobulin antibodies are present, this could indicate you have Hashimoto Thyroiditis or an autoimmune hyperthyroid concerns. Having an autoimmune concern changes how you should be treated.
Other: The thyroid is a sensitive gland and other hormones can affect how it functions. Cortisol, liver function, iron and estrogen levels can also be considered when examining thyroid function.
If you are interested in lab work for your thyroid, ask your medical doctor or naturopathic doctor for more information. You are also welcome to book a FREE 15 minute consultation with me here
Yours in health,
Naturopathic Doctor in Norwich and Woodstock Ontario