Are you still feeling tired and gaining weight when your thyroid test is normal?
I meet a lot of clients who tell me that their thyroid has been checked and that everything is normal. The only problem is that they still feel tired and often struggled to lose those extra kilos.
Closer examination often reveals that clients have had their thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) tested, which has come back normal and no further investigation has been done. The problem with this approach is that the system of thyroid hormones is complicated and cannot be fully understood by testing TSH alone. As a naturopath and functional medicine practitioner, I like to look at the bigger picture of thyroid function and not only test for TSH, but also other thyroid hormones, such as, T3, rT3 and T4 and also thyroid antibodies, to really understand what is going on for clients.
Normal TSH doesn’t always mean that everything is ok!
Here’s one simple example of when normal TSH wouldn’t reveal your thyroid problem. To start with, it is important to know that the active form of thyroid hormone is T3. It’s the hormone that actually activates the cells to perform at normal metabolic rates and you need normal levels of T3 to ensure good energy levels and prevent weight gain. It’s like the signal that tell your cells what gear to run in. Not enough T3 would be like driving your car around in 2nd gear all day. So, if there were a problem with conversion of T4 to T3, then you would feel tired and sluggish, no matter what your level of T4 or TSH. Therefore, you will be told that your thyroid is normal, producing TSH within normal limits, but it totally misses the fact that your active hormone, T3, is low and you might be left wondering if feeling run down, tired and fat is all in your head.
Have you had complete thyroid testing?
My suggestion is that if you or your practitioner suspects a thyroid problem, then it is important to test for all the thyroid hormones and for antibodies to ensure that you get the treatment that is most appropriate for you. In the above scenario, simply nutritional support with zinc and selenium could help to resolve the problem, but without proper testing this problem could be overlooked for years.
A word of caution! Be careful not to run out and dose up on zinc and selenium, as this might not be your particular issue and these minerals can actually be toxic when taken in excess. Seeking the support of a suitably qualified practitioner can help you to safely and accurately find the best treatment for you.
FREE 15 minute health strategy session
If this is you, wondering if thyroid is an issue, wondering if your weight gain has a hormonal component to it, wondering why you feel tired or sluggish, then we have opened up some free 15 minute Skype consults to support you to ask any questions and find out if seeing a naturopath is an option for you.
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Cindy Morris has been working as a naturopath for over 15 years, she is currently adding to her clinical skills with further study at Griffith University. Her clinical focus is around chronic fatigue, thyroid health and auto-immune conditions.