If you’ve ever expressed to your provider that you have concerns about your thyroid function, you’ve most likely had some lab work performed.
And when it came back, you were probably told the results were normal despite the laundry list of symptoms you are experiencing that led you to the visit with your provider in the first place.
(Like: weight gain, feeling cold all the time, anxiety, depression, decreased heart rate, fatigue, memory loss, thinning hair, constipation, irregular periods)
So let’s dive into those thyroid labs and uncover what they can tell us.
TSH is how your brain talks to your thyroid. AKA it tells it how much thyroid hormone to produce.
But the story doesn’t end there. Our body has to do something with the resulting thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid primarily produces T4, the inactive form of thyroid hormone. T4 travels to your gut, liver, & kidneys where it is converted to T3 (active form of thyroid hormone).
T3 affects our mood, energy, metabolism, body temperature, and menstrual cycle. (explains the symptoms you complain of)
It’s common for providers to only test TSH, but having a TSH level drawn doesn’t show us the whole picture of your thyroid health.
TSH, total T4, total T3, Free T4, Free T3, reverse T3, anti-thyroperoxidase, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies
(to download a list of these labs, plus more click here)
What can affect my thyroid health?
Wondering how your thyroid health has been negatively affected in the first place? A lot of factors can be at play, but commonly: presence of heavy metals, inflammation within the body, chronic or frequent infections, stress, and nutrient depletion. Some thyroid dysfunction may also be auto-immune related.
How to Support Thyroid Health
In the mean time, if you’re experiencing symptoms you’ll want to start incorporating habits that support thyroid health.
Since 20% of T4 to T3 conversion takes place in the gut, you want to optimize your gut health. Are you having at least one bowel movement daily? Are you getting 25-30g of fiber each day? Are you staying hydrated? Do you need to incorporate collagen daily to heal your gut lining? Do you need to incorporate a probiotic?
Be sure you’re having breakfast within 1 hour of when you wake up and always before having any coffee.
Consider supplementing with selenium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Selenium and zinc are needed for thyroid hormone production and the conversion from T4 to T3.
Zinc is also needed to get our thyroid hormones and thyroid hormone receptors on our cells talking.
B vitamins are essential for the production of thyroid hormone.
Chronic under eating leads to a decrease in thyroid hormone production, so make sure you’re consuming enough calories to fuel your body.
This gives you a place to start & the tools you need to have a conversation with your provider to get adequate testing. To download a list of recommended thyroid labs, as well as other general wellness labs I recommend you request yearly to evaluate your health, click here.