Why you need more than just a TSH reading in order to accurately test thyroid function

September 30th, 2015 by

If you are going for thyroid testing, make sure your doctor is running a full panel if you are going to bother testing thyroid function.

TSH is often used as the GOLD standard for testing thyroid function. Many doctors (not mine!) use this test as the gold standard to diagnose. More often than not this fails the patient and can fail to identify problems when you are looking at one isolated test. TSH, which stands for Thyroid stimulating Hormone is actually a pituitary (brain) hormone and not an actual thyroid hormone/function test. It job is to influences the thyroid but it’s often not indicative of what can be going on in diseased states or hypothyroidism.

If you are going to have your thyroid tested ask your doctor what tests they are going to test. Most functional medicine doctors run these as a standard but other, errr, not so much. Interpretation to these tests again can be subjective but at least getting the right tests you’re on the right track.

These tests should include:
Free T3
Free T4
Reverse T3
Thyroid Antibodies – TPO and TGab for Hashimoto’s & TSI and TRab if one might suspect Graves.

There are options for online self testing but keep in mind you still need a doctor for intrepretation.. I’d try and find a dr that will work with you.