The Thyroid Tests You Need to Ask Your Doctor For

natural treatments for thyroid disorderAfter all of this research on how to heal the thyroid naturally, I keep coming across the idea that most doctors don’t order the tests that you really need. I’d been having a hard time believing that, I mean…….MOST doctors don’t know what lab tests to run?

Hmmmmm.

But as I kept reading, I’ve found out that it’s because it doesn’t matter what some of the other numbers are. All the treatment options are the same; medication until the organ completely stops working. And then more medication for life. Or until your diet and lifestyle help heal your thyroid and the medication is no longer needed.

I’ve also had many, many conversations with all of you through email and facebook, frustrated because you also feel like junk, but either your lab tests are “normal” or because you’re not feeling better even under the care of a physician. And in those conversations I’ve found that what I’m reading is true! (I’ve even had multiple people tell that that their doctors told them to stop coming back over the issue because there was nothing wrong with them!) Many doctors aren’t testing the thyroid the way it needs to be tested.

Not MD’s, not OBs, and not even RE’s.

That doesn’t mean that your doctor wouldn’t think to run them – it just means that there are doctors out there who don’t.You can also ask your doctor to run specific tests and any good, patient-minded doctor, should be more than willing to help you get to the bottom of your issues.

After our first post in this series, I hope you’ve called your doctor’s office and gotten your lab test results and written them down, because today we’re going to talk about WHAT you need tested. And if it hasn’t been done, it’s time to call them back and ask for more labs. We’ll also look at what the functional ranges for each are, as most doctors look only at a pathological range. (meaning that you could be within a range where you aren’t totally diseased, but also not feeling well)

Five tests for thyroid function

1. TSH

The Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is released from the pituitary gland when the levels of T4 drop. It’s one of the most sensitive markers for thyroid function and is commonly the only one tested. Though since it’s the pituitary gland that secretes TSH, it’s more of a marker on pituitary function, and how the pituitary is reacting to overall health. From many women I’ve heard from, by the time their TSH was enough out of range to get treated medically, they were in really bad shape.

Functional Range – 1.8 – 3.0 mU/L

Typical Lab Range – 0.5 – 5.5 mU/L

Most laboratories also give different ranges, as they all take an average of the tests from other people that come to their lab. So if you live in an area where hypothyroid is quite common (like here in Michigan!) the ranges could be quite wide. My labs range was actually .35 – 4.94. I have noticed though that many doctors are starting to look more at the functional ranges, which is a good thing. But again, just testing TSH is a poor indicator of overall thyroid health.

2. Free T3

This tests for the available T3 in the body, and since it is active thyroid hormone, is a good marker for how much of the hormone is accessible to your body and its cells. “Free” refers to the hormone in it’s unbound state, instead of when it is bound to proteins and being transferred through the body.

Functional Range – 300 – 450 mU/L

Typical Lab Range – 3.0-4.0 pg/ml

3. Free T4

Again, this tests for the unbound T4 in the body. While inactive, this hormone is converted by the body into the usable T3 hormone.

Functional Range – 1.0-1.5 ng/dl

Typical Lab Range – 0.7 – 1.53 ng/dl

4. Reverse T3

This lab test checks for any reverse T3 that the body produces; this can take place because of extreme stress or trauma.

Functional Range – 90 – 350 pg/ml

Typical Lab Range – 90 – 350 pg/ml

You can then figure out the ratio of free T3 to reverse T3 at Stop the Thyroid Madness. This way you can make sure that even if your labs show up as “normal”, that everything is functioning as it should.

5. Antibodies

Usually checking for multiple antibodies TPO (thyroid peroxidase) TGB (thyroglobulin). Sometimes a lab is run for thyroid stimulating hormone antibodies if Graves disease is suspected.

An antibodies check is HUGE. Why?

Because if it shows positive, you have a confirmed auto-immune disease. Your body is attacking itself and causing major damage to the thyroid. And some experts state that up to 90% of all cases of hypothyroidism are due to Hashimotos. Dr. Kharrazian also mentions that he will test a person twice (especially if they are on a gluten free diet already) if he suspects Hashimoto’s because the immune system fluctuates.

Other Important Labs

Thyroid labs: There are a few other thyroid labs that Dr. Kharrazian lists in his book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?”, though the ones listed above are a really good start.

Adrenal Cortisol Levels: done by a saliva test, not a blood test.

Vitamin B12: B12 is a vitamin which has a key role in red blood cell metabolism of your entire body, giving you energy, sharpness in your brain, and healthy nervous system functioning. (source) Functional ranges in the US are from about 200 – 900, but other countries use 500-600 as a minimum. (mine was 380 and my DO wants to see it at 700)

Vitamin D3 (25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test…): We’ve talked a little bit about the role of Vitamin D in fertility and this is an overall good thing to check for everyone. Especially those who live in the mid to upper states or spend most of their days indoors. Functional ranges are 50-100, with most people feeling better around 75.

You can also find a few more recommended lab tests at Stop the Thyroid Madness.

Finding a lab

Many of us have decent medical insurance where many, if not all, of these lab tests are fully covered. Or at least covered with a copay. Not me, I have to pay for diagnostic tests. And I’m sure many of you may have issues paying for all of these lab tests too!

One of the online groups I’m part of mentioned a private lab, located throughout the states, that will run lab tests without a doctor’s prescription. Here’s a list of labs you can check with – make sure to call as I found out there were more locations than stated on a couple of these sites! Another bonus is that most of the time these labs are much cheaper than the laboratories your doctor may send you to.

HealthCheck USA – 1-800-929-2044

This was one I was referred to and they had a location closer to me than listed. While I didn’t use them (over an hour and a half away, I may use them when I want to get everything rechecked in a few months to save some money)

They have labwork specifically designed for readers of Stop the Thyroid Madness, as noted by STTM before the test name. Click here and find a discount code on STTM!

My Med Lab

You have to sign up to view the site, but comes recommended by STTM. Also has STTM specific lab tests.

Direct Lab

A discount lab where you can view your results online. Again, has STTM tests.

 

So for those of you who have your test results – did you have the proper tests done? And if so, how do your numbers look on the functional range guidelines compared to the pathological/typical lab ranges?

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Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Autoimmune, the cause and the cure {a book review}

autoimmune and infertility

I received the book “Autoimmune, the Cause and the Cure” by Annese Brockley and Kristin Urdiales early last fall and began reading the first chapter or two. I figured it’d be a good read, and I’d pack away the information for later use.

But I never did really get in to it.

And I’m so glad I didn’t finish it at the time! Which sounds odd, I know. But had I read the book then I may have forgotten some very important information.

(side note – if you haven’t heard yet, I recently got some blood work done to figure out why I’ve felt so crummy)

Over the holidays, I requested a few books from the library, and settled down with this one as I waited for the other books I thought would help me sort out my labs and deficiencies.

And it was like the sky opened up and a sunbeam fell straight on to the pages.

Throughout the book they talk about both vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiencies as well as problems surrounding thyroid hormones. And what I found was that I have a lot of work to do with my body to get it to absorb nutrients correctly!

“Vitamin B12 is often called the energy vitamin because it helps fat and protein to metabolize in your body. It also plays a major role in the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose- your body’s source of fuel. In addition, B12 enables your body to convert fatty acids into energy. It is also a promoter of normal immune function.

If the enzymes necessary to release B12 from protein are not available, then no matter how much protein -bound B12 we consume, we will continue to have a deficiency of B12. (the study that follows this paragraph on page 17 of the book concludes that absorption of vitamin B12 is dependent on the presence of appropriate pancreatic enzymes)

So yea, me. The girl who didn’t think she had gut issues or absorption issues because my digestion is always awesome…..has gut issues. And I was able to find out all about functional ranges for my deficiencies, not just the ranges that mean we’re not severely diseased.

Now, the major point of this book is that you CAN heal your body and correct some of the damage done by an autoimmune disorder. They make a very strong case about the cause of these disorders, often referring to studies for Hashimotos, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis. It makes me want to tell everyone I know!

I even learned that having low B12 causes high homocysteine levels, which cause arterial damage, that then causes the body to send cholesterol to the damaged arteries. (which may cause clots) So if you have high cholesterol, checking for nutrient deficiencies like B12 would be a good idea.

There are also multiple references to both poly cystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.

So instead of me just writing this review to a specific type of person, one with an autoimmune disease, I want to tell you all that this book is extremely helpful for just about every health issue!

“It would make sense that as the body becomes more depleted of vitamin B12, enzymes, and essential amino acids, you would see increasingly severe and varying symptoms.” – page 125

I’m so glad I figured out the cause of my health issues before they became worse, or would have been harder to correct.

“Women are more prone to develop auto-immune disease. Pregnancy and childbirth could be one reason why. During pregnancy, extra red blood cells are needed for you and your developing fetus. More vitamin B12 is required for pregnant women because it aids in the forming of red blood cells.” – page 125″

“In a recent study from Denmark, researchers found that in the first year after a conventional deliveries or cesarean sections, women had a 15 or 30 percent greater risk, respectively, of contracting autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.” – page 126

I would also have to think that a pregnancy loss would also have somewhat of the same effect.

The first two-thirds of the book cover the science behind “the cause”, offering abstracts of the studies that back up the theory. I did end up skipping reading many of the studies as they also give conclusions to most of them. It was great that they were in there, so I could read them myself if I had wanted to though.

The last part of the book was about “the cure”, or how to reverse deficiencies and build the gut so the body stops attacking itself. it’s full of great information and some simple recipes, all based on a traditional, whole foods diet.

I highly recommend this book to anyone researching their health issues, and especially to those who have a known autoimmune disease. Because there is hope to living a more quality life!

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

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Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Herbs for Fertility {podcast}

Herbs can bring relief to a body that is ill as well as help to balance the hormone system. In this podcast you can join me as I speak to Jessie Hawkins, master herbalist and founder of Vintage Remedies. We talk about the benefit of herbs and she discusses different herbal options based on diagnosis.

Listen now:

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Or right-click and “save link as” to download to your computer: Herbs and Fertility with Jessie Hawkins, MH

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Fertility Massage {free podcast}

Fertility massage may help increase fertility and reproductive health by putting the reproductive organs into proper alignment as well as increase blood flow. It’s a form of massage that works directly with the abdomen of women and often times called Mayan abdominal massage, and therapists who work with this particular massage technique also claim that it helps to break up adhesions from endometriosis.

A while back I had the chance to talk to Claire Miller and ask her all about fertility massage. I’ve included a shortened version of this podcast in my book, as part of my book launch fun I thought I would post the full version here for when you get a chance to listen.

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Have any of you had experiences with fertility massage?

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

3 Ways to Get Adrenal Fatigue

It’s no secret that I’ve been burned out and run down these last few months, I’ve openly talked about it and I’m sure my long time readers have probably noticed lack of enthusiasm in my writing. I know a lot of other women who are struggling as well, whether they are mothers of young children like myself or women who are dealing with infertility and dealing with work and all things associated with that. The cause for many of our “rundown” symptoms can actually stem from one place – the adrenals.

I recently had some muscle testing done at my chiropractors and I was not really surprised to learn that my adrenals are in major need of help.

The adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney and produce about 35 different hormones within the body. These hormones actually help the body adapt to life, to work properly, and to reproduce. This gland is also very sensitive to stress of all kinds—
emotional, psychological, and nutritional.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Weight gain/inability to lose weight
  • Loss of libido
  • Increased susceptibility to illness and illness lasts longer than normal
  • Foggy memory
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • Need stimulants for energy (coffee, soda, etc)
  • Worsening PMS
  • Dry skin
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Insomnia
  • Acne
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Cravings for salt or sugar/carbs
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily functions

3 Ways you may be causing adrenal fatigue

  1. Consume too many sugars and refined carbohydrates. When we eat too many foods that cause drastic spikes in our blood sugar levels, what happens is that after insulin is released to bring the levels down, they drop to low, causing the adrenals to produce cortisol. This cortisol will bring blood sugar back up to levels needed to feed the brain. (ever feel ‘comatose’ after lots of sweets? It’s because your blood sugar has dropped to low and there is no food for your brain.) When consuming to many carbs, the adrenals have to work harder to balance your blood sugar.
  2. Using coffee or caffeine for quick energy can also cause adrenal fatigue as the caffeine signals excess neuron activity in the brain, which then sends the pituitary gland signals to produce a hormone that gets sent to the adrenals to tell them to produce adrenaline. The adrenaline then puts us into a “fight or flight” mode creating a constant push-and-pull reaction within the body. In other words, it causes internal stress.
  3. Constant and prolonged stress is also one of the largest contributors to adrenal fatigue. Whether it’s stress from a job, a marriage in crisis, major illness or death of a loved one, or self-imposed stress at home or work, your adrenals are not able to keep up after a while. There are a lot of stresses we can not control, but we can try to change our reactions to them as well as take extra care of our poor adrenal glands!

I’ve made all the above mistakes as I tried to “just get through” this week, this month, this project……

It’s so easy to fall into bad habits thinking they are temporary. That I can use coffee just this afternoon to stay up until 2am to just get this one thing done. Life is full of enough stress as it is, before we add to our own bodies stressors, that we need to be aware of what we do each day. Because when you hit adrenal fatigue, the road back to health is not an easy one.

Next week I’ll cover a bit more about what I’m doing in my life and diet to overcome adrenal fatigue, but tell me……

is this something you may be suffering from yourself?

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.