Testing for thyroid disease can include blood tests to measure the amount of thyroid hormones free T3 and free T4 and pituitary response to thyroid hormone TSH.
A TPO test can measure thyroid antibodies to determine autoimmune problems like Hashimoto’s disease.
Salivary testing can be done to measure a patient’s cortisol levels to rule out adrenal fatigue. It is necessary to correct adrenal fatigue and support the adrenal glands in order for thyroid treatment to be effective.
Blood testing for ferritin, vitamin D, and iodine
Low ferritin can contribute to a decrease in the transport of thyroid hormone (T3) to the nucleus of the cell.
Vitamin D level is an effective immune modulator when there are elevated autoimmune thyroid antibodies.
Iodine: The thyroid gland needs a small amount of iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones. A large amount of iodine can decrease the amount of hormone the gland produces.
Supplements of zinc and selenium are needed to produce thyroid hormones. Supplements of vitamin D and iron may be used as needed according to blood test results.
Thyroid hormone supplementation may also be recommended according to test results.
Prescription medications may be synthetic, bioidentical (made at a compounding pharmacy), or tablets made from animal (pig) thyroid gland. I prefer to use bioidentical hormones because they can be tailored to the individual’s needs. I have some patients who do not get the desired results from synthetic T4 alone because their bodies are unable to convert T4 to T3, which is the active hormone. For instance, Synthroid has only T4.
With some patients I avoid using animal thyroid (Armour Thyroid or Nature-Throid) if the patient has autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, etc., because it can add to the inflammatory process if the patient’s antibodies react to the animal thyroid.
Some final considerations
Prescribed thyroid medication action can be altered by certain drugs, so it’s very important to inform your healthcare professional of all medications and nutritional supplements you may be taking. Also, the absorption rate of these thyroid meds can be decreased if there is inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract or a parasitic infection is present.
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