Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)- one
important test among many

When testing for thyroid dysfunction there many pieces that have to be examined to give
us an insight as to where the thyroid and its relating hormones are failing. Unfortunately
traditional medicine relies primarily on the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test to
measure thyroid function. Thyroid stimulating hormone is not a thyroid hormone. It is a
hormone released by the pituitary that stimulates the production of thyroid hormone when
the brain detects a need for more thyroid hormone. TSH regulates the level of thyroid
hormone production.  When thyroid hormone drops, TSH increases in order to stimulate
the production of more thyroid hormone. When thyroid hormone levels are up then TSH
levels go down.  It is very important to understand that this is only one crucial aspect of
the large chain of events that comprise the whole thyroid picture.  Those with symptoms of
hypothyroidism need a more complete evaluation in order to find the true cause of their
thyroid symptoms.

Testing TSH alone is not sufficient to assess thyroid function because it doesn’t take into
account the conversion of thyroid hormone into its active form. When thyroid hormone is
produced in response to TSH, it is produced in the form of T4, which has to be converted
into the active form of thyroid hormone that is T3. If proper conversion is not taking place,
then what good would it do to dump a synthetic form of T4 (i.e. Synthroid, Levothroid,
Levoxyl, Levothyroxine) in your body? The T4 level is not the issue in this case, it is the
conversion.

TSH does not account for the relative sensitivity or resistance of thyroid hormone
receptors either.  In order for this complex chain of events to occur fully, the active thyroid
hormone (T3) must bind to little docking ports in every cell in your body. Those docking
ports are called thyroid receptors. Once attached to the thyroid receptor, the hormone will
tell the cell to rev up its metabolism.  If your thyroid receptors are resistant to thyroid
hormone due to chemical exposure or even from excess thyroid medication, your TSH test
results may come back completely normal. But in reality you will have all of the symptoms
of low thyroid due to something completely unrelated to TSH or even the level of thyroid
hormone produced.

Another shortcoming of testing just TSH is that it does not determine the cause of low
thyroid. It only detects the existence of the hypothyroid condition.  Sadly it does not detect
the most common
cause of low thyroid; autoimmunity. It is estimated that as many as 90%
of hypothyroid cases are caused by autoimmunity and as many as 10% of the entire
United States population could be suffering from autoimmune related hypothyroid!

The TSH level range on a standard blood test is .5-5.5. This is a broad range that leads
to failure of proper diagnosis. The ideal range of TSH should be much narrower.  This
wide range unfortunately misses many types of developing cases of hypothyroidism and it
is common for a patient walk out of their physician’s office being told that their thyroid is
“normal,” when it is not.  Sadly, their problems such as
weight gain and fatigue will
continue and become much more difficult to correct.

TSH is a fantastic marker for thyroid production but the reality is that comprehensive
thyroid testing needs to be completed on anyone who has symptoms of hypothyroidism.  
Settling for a simple TSH test will waste your time and not give you the answers you
deserve.  

If you have any
symptoms of low thyroid, including difficulty losing weight, call Complete
Health and Weight Loss
today. We will help you discover the underlying cause and
often help you correct the cause naturally.
972-735-0707

If you might have hypothyroid but you don't live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, we
can still help you through
phone consultations.

Complete Health and Weight Loss
5000 Legacy Dr. #240
Plano, TX 75024
972-735-0707
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