Weight gain…lack of energy…fatigue… The trifecta? No, these are the three most common complaints that I hear, and yes, they are usually always bundled together. It is a frustrating and vicious cycle. While you are getting dressed for work, you can tell your clothes are starting to feel different, and not in a good way- you know that you have been gaining weight, or at least losing muscle tone! You feel sluggish throughout the day and you are not as productive as you would’ve liked to have been. You packed your bag and made plans to make it to Spin right after work, but you are way too tired so you go home, eat dinner and feel defeated. You’ll just start tomorrow. Again. You are stuck, discouraged, annoyed….
You know that this NOT you and there must be answer! Your friend told you that she was having the same exact symptoms and her provider diagnosed her with hypothyroidism? She started taking a medicine and seriously is back to her old self again! So then you tried to do the very same thing. Now do you feel like you are constantly asking your PCP or your GYN to test your thyroid and they are coming up short-handed? They probably keep repeating this same answer: your TSH is great, right within the normal parameters - there is nothing wrong with your thyroid function. But, you still are experiencing all the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. What in the world is going on?!?!
A study was published in The British Medical Journal, that investigated the correlation of TSH, T3, and free T4 with the level of tissue hypothyroidism - the effect that the thyroid has on different markers in the body. They looked at 49 women, all with primary hypothyroidism and found that there was, in fact, very poor correlation of TSH with the levels of thyroid found in the tissues. So what does this all mean? As the authors concluded, “TSH is a poor measure for estimating the clinical and metabolic severity of primary overt hypothyroidism…the biological effects of the thyroid hormones at the peripheral tissues—and not TSH concentrations— reflect the clinical severity…treatment should be guided by clinical and metabolic presentation and thyroid hormone concentrations (free thyroxine) and not by serum TSH concentrations.”
Well, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is the most common hormone tested to rule out whether or not a patient has hypothyroidism or thyroid insufficiency! Just because the laboratory value falls within the preset normal range, does not mean that your levels are optimal. In other words, it does not mean that you will be feeling at your peak. The thyroid truly has the ability to affect every cell in the body and many individuals are suffering from low thyroid despite having normal TSH levels.
So now what? Essentially, we are going old-school: relying on a patients signs and symptoms to determine optimal levels. Lab results play a vital role, but sometimes, we just need to sit down and listen to the patient and treat the symptoms. Going by that train of thought, does it sound like you probably are a good candidate for thyroid optimization? Wouldn’t you like to start feeling like you old self again? Contact us today to make your appointment so that we can help you to start blooming into your best!