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Thyroid Hormone


Thyroid hormone is the hormone that’s mainly responsible for controlling the speed of your body’s metabolism. A properly functioning thyroid gland makes two thyroid hormones, T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxine) in a certain ratio. T3 is the active form of Thyroid and T4 is the inactive form. T3 is most important thyroid hormone because it is the one that controls your metabolism, energy level, mood, and impacts the function of almost every cell in your body. Synthroid, L-Thyroxin and Levothroid are medications that only contain T4. T4 is considered a storage form of thyroid hormone that has to be converted into the active hormone T3 – the one that actually binds to cellular receptors and does its many important jobs.

Low thyroid can contribute to a significant number of symptoms including:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Hair Loss
  • Reduced cognitive function (brain fog)
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Muscle fatigue and soreness
  • Thyroid headache
  • Cold hands and feet due to poor circulation

These thyroid problems can stem from various different root causes including autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s, thyroid resistance, genetic predispositions, and more. While the causes are diverse, the results are often very similar and likely require thyroid hormone supplementation.

Some patients may have normal levels of thyroid hormone, but still have every symptom in the book of low thyroid. This is because they may have thyroid resistance or other condition that causes their body to require more thyroid hormone than an typical person to feel their best. For this exact reason we treat our patients based on how they feel instead of simply what a lab test says. Unfortunately many health insurance companies don’t cover this type of treatment because they require labs that show insufficient thyroid levels even if the patient feels terrible.

We treat low thyroid symptoms with a bio identical thyroid hormone supplement (NPThyroid) that your body recognizes as exactly the same as the thyroid hormone that it naturally produces. This contains T3 and T4 in the proper ratio to help us feel our best.  We only prescribe natural thyroid, and our patients report feeling better than they have in years.

Many of our patients report feeling symtom improvement within only a few days, and on average we see significant results within a month.

Studies have shown that most patients feel better on natural thyroid (T3 plus T4) than on T4-only products, so why would you take anything else? 

Studies

1. Harvard Medical School. Thyroid Disorders. Fort Dodge: Harvard Medical School, n.d. Patient Education Center. Harvard Medical School. Accessed June 15, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/thyroid 2. Hormonal Health Network. Hypothyroidism Fact Sheet. N.p.: Hormonal Health Network, n.d. Hormone. Endocrine Society. Updated November, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2021. https:// www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/hypothyroidism 3. American Association of Clinical Endocrinology. Hypothyroidism. Updated December, 2016. Accessed June 15, 2021. https://www.thyroidawareness.com/hypothyroidism 4. Mayo Clinic. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Accessed June 22, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/ syc-20350284 5. Szczepanek-Parulska E, Hernik A, Ruchala M. Anemia in thyroid diseases. Pol Arch Intern Med. 2017;127(5):352-360. doi:10.20452/pamw.3985 6. Baskin HJ, Cobin RH, Duick DS, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2002;8(6):458-467. http:// www.mythyroid.com/documents/AACE%20Thyroid%20Guideslines-%202002.pdf 7. Vandenpump MPJ. The epidemiology of thyroid disease. Br Med Bull. 2011;99:39-51. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldr030 8. NP Thyroid®. Prescribing Information. Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC; 2019. 9. Data on file. Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC. 10. Hoang TD, Olsen CH, Mai VQ, Clyde PW, Shakir MKM. Desiccated thyroid extract compared with levothyroxine in the treatment of hypothyroidism: A randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98:1982-1990. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-4107

Thyroid Labs

A full thyroid lab should include a Free T3, Free T4, TSH, and the autoantibodies test. A patient will not feel optimally well until they have an optimal level of Free T3. Of all the thyroid tests, the Free T3 is the most important one, however the majority of labs run only include TSH. Because of this many providers may miss underlying thyroid deficiencies because they don’t have the full picture. Even labs that also include a T4 test will fail to show if that T4 is being converted effectively into T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone). At Health + Hormones we always perform the full thyroid panel, and often find abnormalities that other providers miss. Once we have a full picture we are able to more accurately treat our patients, diagnose their symptoms, and help them feel their very best. We will always treat you based on how you feel and to help you feel the very best.

Why do many doctors only test TSH?

The predominant theory has been that if you just check a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), it will tell you if you have enough T3 being made out of your T4, because T3 affects the level of TSH. TSH is a signal from the brain to the thyroid gland saying “Make more thyroid hormone!”  So TSH goes up when thyroid hormones are low, and goes down when there is enough thyroid hormone in the body to function properly. It is an inverse relationship. When TSH is high, the brain is screaming at the thyroid gland to make more, or for the patient to take more replacement hormone. The problem is that many “normal” reference ranges for TSH go up to about 5, but optimal TSH is less than 1. By the time TSH is above 2-3, you are essentially hypothyroid, but most doctors won’t treat you. Another problem comes from the fact that sometimes the TSH is in the normal range, even when free T3 is low, or at least sub-optimal. Some people are poor “converters,” not making enough T3 from their T4 – especially when they are on a thyroid medication that only contains T4. T4 does not suppress TSH as much as T3, so thyroid products that contain T3 will usually result in a lower TSH than T4-alone products.

To further complicate matters, both T3 and T4 float around in the blood partially bound to a protein that inactivates them. Only the “free” (unbound) fraction of the hormone is available to bind to the cellular receptors and function. So total T3 and T4 levels don’t tell you if you have enough free hormone to do the job. Many doctors don’t check for the free fractions when they test thyroid hormones.

While a TSH test is not a bad test, it simply does not give the full picture. Doing a full Thyroid panel with T3, T4, and TSH provides a much better picture of your thyroid function and a potential cause for your symptoms. This is why we always run a full Thyroid panel at Health + Hormones.