Did you know that there were decades of successful treatment for hypothyroid that involved nothing more than dosing you by symptoms? The TSH lab didn’t even come into existence until the mid-1970’s.
Today, the tables have completely turned. We now live in a lab-obsessed society. And though lab results are very helpful to figure things out, patients discovered that “being in the normal range” has nothing to do with anything! Instead, we’ve discovered that it’s “where” the result falls in the normal range, which is explained here. Bottom line, symptoms are the conductor of the orchestra, and understanding how to read your lab results give even more clues. You may have to teach this to your doctor, or find a better doctor who appreciates what patients have learned.
**These are also explained well in the revised STTM book, which you should have on hand and bookmarked at the doctors office. The book is in English, Spanish, German and Swedish.
- TSH: for diagnosis of hypopituitary, NOT to diagnose or dose your hypothyroidism (unless it’s high). If you allow a doctor to diagnose or dose you by this lab test and range i.e. to say you are normal simply because it’s in range or below 10…you could still be hypothyroid.
- Free T4 and Free T3 (note the word “free”–important since it measures what is unbound and available.)
- Reverse T3: to be done at the same time you do the Free T3. Then calculate your ratio with the results and measurements.
- Thyroid Antibodies: anti-TPO and TgAb will help discern Hashimotos. You need BOTH, not just one of them. You can add TSI for the Graves antibodies–some have all three.
- Four iron labs: Ferritin, % Saturation, TIBC and Serum iron (sometimes the latter will just say Iron, or total iron). A high ferritin can also point to inflammation. Up to five days off iron supplements is necessary to see what your body is holding onto, say some literature.
- Adrenal Cortisol levels: Saliva, NOT blood. Blood is measuring both bound and unbound cortisol and does NOT give results you can go by. See the facilities below, because you don’t need a prescription. Ideally, you’ll need to be off all cortisol-containing supplements for two weeks before testing. (Note: we have learned to avoid Quest saliva tests. They use the “less than” or “greater than” ranges, which can’t be interpreted.)
- B-12 and Folate
- Magnesium and Potassium, plus Calcium, Sodium, Glucose, etc (All the latter are part of the Comprehensive Metabolic Profile–CMP blood test–as well. You can also ask for the RBC (Red Blood Cell) versions of Mag. and Pot, which measures cellular levels. For potassium, make sure the rubber tourniquet is not left on more than 60 seconds, says this study. Also note that the Buccal Mg lab test is finally available and seems to be more correlated to cardiac health than RBC Mg, but is expensive and not always easy to get.) You will want to be off these mineral supplements for several days so you can measure what your body is hanging onto.
- Vitamin D3 (25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test…) and read why you may need another Vitamin D test.
- Sex hormones: For men and women: estradiol, progesterone, free testosterone (and dihydrotestosterone for men), plus DHEA (by blood, not saliva). Women need to do these 7 days after ovulation, which is usually days 19-21 for most women. The ranges will be different for men vs women.
- MTHFR gene: if you have high levels of mercury, copper, lead, iron or B12 and/or a strong family history of cancer, heart disease, stroke, miscarriages, IBS….
- …plus others your doctor may recommend, including tests for Lyme disease (IgeneX is preferred), heavy metals, Candida, etc. Direct Labs below has testing for Neurotransmitters, which can go low from low stomach acid. My Med Lab has hair testing!
- Have any suspicion of having thyroid cancer? The thyroglobulin test is a tumor marker (not the antibodies test. Just the thyroglobulin.)
***Click HERE to read what patients have learned about interpreting lab results. It’s not about “being in the normal range”.
Below are lab facilities and they are NOT in any special order. 1-4 are for the United States, then you’ll see other countries below that. All of these can be used without a prescription (unless stated otherwise):
Note: Saliva is highly recommended to test cortisol, but blood for the others. Many of us stopped using saliva for sex hormones, as we have found them to be strange. Some facilities require a prescription for RT3, sadly, so definitely talk to your doctor about it if you have reason to believe it may be a problem.
- LAB WORK packages designed specifically for readers of Stop the Thyroid Madness –STTM Thyroid and Adrenal Lab Packages SEE THE LABS ON THE LEFT WHEN YOU CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK. For adrenal testing, you will be choosing saliva for cortisol. Draws are done at any LabCorp facility around the US. NOTE: My Med Lab added a saliva test from Cell Science and it’s giving totally wrong results. Stick with the ZRT saliva. My Med Lab designs a special area on the website just for YOUR lab results, making it all very personalized. I can highly recommend them.
- LAB WORK designed specifically for readers of Stop the Thyroid Madness…and includes Neurotransmitter testing besides other labs we value. IMPORTANT NOTE about using this page: you will need to use scroll down bar just to the right of the red “Add to Cart” to view all labs they offer. STTM Recommended Labwork
- A new player in the order-your-own-labs as of 2014, this facility has most of the STTM recommended labwork you need and want! Watch for discounts they give throughout the year, which will show up at the top of their page if there is one! You’ll see a friendly page just for labwork which patients know is key!! Go here.
- There’s no STTM-recommended page on their website like the above facilities have, and you’ll have to search, sadly, but you can order the lab work recommended above, plus any others you feel you need and/or those results you want to share with your doctor. Click here.
http://nutripath.com.au–they will send you the tests and patients find this facility the most reliable!
MyMedLab ships saliva cortisol test kit to Canadians! But you need to use this number: 417-782-6169 Or, approach your pharmacist and ask him to order a saliva cortisol test kit from Rocky Mountain Labs.
http://www.mdd.fi/ Test kits from Genova diagnostics via MDD Terveyspalvelut
Alle/ Lots of tests
medical/endocrinologie.html (need to state if you want a midnight sample otherwise they do 3 morning samples plus noon and 6pm samples)
kitordering This is Genova (doctor needs to be registered with them; doctor can be outside of UK)
uk/health-tests/adrenal- stress-test/ (offers the Genova test)
http://www.verisana.co.uk/cortisol-deficiency-1 (saliva testing, though you will only do three instead of four)