Normal Thyroid tests do not mean normal thyroid function

I use a thyroid blood test to make sure nothing is seriously wrong with your thyroid. After I see that your levels are “normal”, then we actually go to work on getting your thyroid to function properly.

Here’s the deal. Your thyroid produces 2 hormones, T4 and T3. As with most things in life, each one has its benefits and its drawbacks. T4 is a very stable hormone. After your thyroid makes it, it can float around in your bloodstream for days without being broken down which is nice because it is available when you need it. T4’s drawback is that it isn’t very bioactive, meaning it doesn’t do very much for you. T3, on the other hand, is very bioactive. It is the hormone that really ‘packs a punch’. It’s the one that makes you feel great during the day and sleep well at night. Of course, it’s drawback is that it isn’t very stable. Your thyroid won’t actually make very much T3 because it gets broken down very quickly if you don’t use it right away. The pool of T4 becomes like your reserve tank because your body has the ability to convert that T4 into T3 right when you need it.

So there are a few reasons that your thyroid tests can be “normal” without you actually feeling normal. First of all, the problem is usually not that your thyroid can’t produce thyroid hormones. One of the potential problems is in your body’s ability to make that conversion from T4 to the active T3. This requires things like iodine, selenium and a core body temperature of 98.6 degrees. A second potential problem is that most of this conversion happens in your liver. So you also need a healthy digestive system (of which your liver is one part) for your thyroid to function properly in your body.

The bottom line is that thyroid tests do not tell you how well your thyroid is functioning in your body. If you feel like you have a low thyroid, trust that feeling, check out your iodine levels and the health of our digestive tract.