Thyroid hormone production is regulated by a feedback loop between the hypothalamus, the thyroid gland and the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates pituitary thyrotropin (TSH) synthesis and secretion.
TSH stimulates the production and release of T4 and T3 from the thyroid gland. When enough T4 is produced, it signals to TRH and TSH that there is enough thyroid hormone in circulation and not to produce more.
About 85% of the hormone produced by our thyroid gland is T4, which is an inactive form of the hormone. After T4 is made, a small amount of it is converted into T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone.
Then T3 gets converted into either Free T3 (FT3) or Reverse T3 (RT3). The Free T3 is really important in all of this, since it’s the only hormone that can attach to a receptor and cause our metabolism to rise, keep us warm, keep our mind working, bowels moving, and other hormones in check. The role of Reverse T3 is not well known, it has been noticed to elevate in people under extreme stress and those who have mercury toxicity.
And there’s Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease, and the most common form of hypothyroidism. The numbers of this disease have been noticed to rise annually. An autoimmune disease is one in which the body turns on itself and begins attacking a certain organ or tissue believing it is foreign.
A screening for autoimmune thyroid disease can be done by ordering Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).
Why is hypothyroidism often under diagnosed in the USA?
Since many symptoms of thyroid imbalance are vague, most doctors don’t even spend enough time with their patients to discuss this issue.
Most doctors use only one or two tests (TSH and T4) to screen for problems, and don’t check FT3, RT3 or thyroid antibodies. They also only use the ‘normal’ lab reference range as their guide. Instead of listening to their patients symptoms, they are guided by ‘optimal’ lab values and temperature.
Which lab tests are the best for determining a thyroid problem?
Your doctor should check the panel below:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
What are the ‘optimal’ lab values for thyroid tests?
These ranges have been found to be optimal lab values for thyroid tests.
- TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
- FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
- FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
- RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
- TPO – <9 IU/ML or negative
- TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative
10 things to do to improve the thyroid function
1. Take a high quality multivitamin that contains Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin D and B vitamins.
2. Take a tyrosine and iodine supplement – it will help you with the FT4 to FT3 conversion.
3. Try going gluten-free! And if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, try going completely grain and legume free.
4. Deal with your stress and support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and thyroid work hand in hand. You can start practicing restorative yoga and try adaptogenic herbs, which support the adrenal glands in coping with stress.
5. Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
6. Consult with a biological dentist to safely remove any amalgam fillings you may have.
7. Limit your intake of cruciferous vegetables (although, there’s still some debate surrounding this topic).
8. Remove fluoride, bromide and chlorine out of your diet and environment.
9. Heal your gut. A healthy digestive system (gut) is critical to good health.
10. It is important to find a medical doctor in your area and have them run the laboratory test described above and work with you to find the root cause of the thyroid imbalance.