Hypothyroidism

Understanding Lab Test Results

Posted by Miss Lizzy
April 5, 2014

Understanding lab test results for hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and related conditions is an important step toward learning and healing. Below is a list of common lab tests with recommended ranges   1 2 3 4. These are organized into two categories, what I believe to be primary (or most common) and secondary (less common).

PRIMARY LAB TESTS

24-Hour Cortisol Saliva Test

This is a test which is taken at-home to evaluate cortisol levels during a 24 hour period. Those will healthy adrenal function will have the follow results:

  • 8 am: at the literal top of the range
  • 11 am-noon: in the upper quarter
  • 4-5 pm: mid-range
  • 11 pm to midnight at the very bottom.

This reflects the natural energy states throughout the day. In simple terms, we have more energy in the morning, and energy tappers as the day goes on. Make sure to stop all supplements for adrenal fatigue two weeks prior to testing.

Antithyroglobulin Test

According to About.com, testing for thyroglobulin antibodies (also called antithyroglobulin antibodies) is common. If you have already been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, having high levels of thyroglobulin antibodies means that you are more likely to eventually become hypothyroid. Thyroglobulin antibodies are positive in about 60 percent of Hashimoto’s patients and 30 percent of Graves’ patients.

B-12 Test

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, B12 can can be low in hypothyroid patients due to low stomach acid. The normal range for B12 is 200-900 pg/ml. Though Stop the Thyroid Madnesss indicates a healthy range is on the high end.

Ferritin 

The ferritin test measures the level of ferritin, the major iron storage protein in the body 5. The results may vary slightly among laboratories, but in general, normal ferritin levels are 12-300 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for males and 12-150 ng/mL for females.

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, if your Ferritin result is less than 50, your levels are too low and can be causing problems…as well as leading you into anemia as you fall lower, which will give you symptoms similar to hypo, such as depression, achiness, fatigue. Optimally, females shoot for 70-90 at the minimum and men 100-130.

Elevated Ferritin, can indicate inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, adult Still’s disease, type 2 diabetes, leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, iron poisoning or frequent blood transfusions.

For at least 12 hours before testing and as much as 5 days  before testing, stop taking iron supplements for best accuracy.

FREE T3 Lab Test

Free T3 is the workhorse of all thyroid hormones. Free T3 measures the free, unbound levels of triiodothyronine in your bloodstream. Free T3 is considered more accurate than Total T3. Free T3 is typically elevated in hyperthyroidism, and lowered in hypothyroidism. 6

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, at the optimal dose of desiccated thyroid, with no lingering hypothyroid symptoms and with healthy adrenals, patients tend to have a free T3 at the top of the range.

If you are on desiccated thyroid (especially if lower than 3 grains) and find yourself with the free T3 high or above range in the presence of continuing hypothyroid symptoms, or even hyper-like symptoms (anxiety, shakiness), it’s a clue you have adrenal fatigue.

If you are not on thyroid medication and:

  • Your free T3 is high, you may have Hashimoto’s disease or Graves disease
  • Your free T3 is mid-range or lower along with hypothyroid symptoms you may have hypothyroidism, no matter how low the TSH.

FREE T4 Lab Test

Free T4 measures the available and unbound T4 hormone.

  • Normal thyroid function, at an optimal dose of desiccated thyroid and with healthy adrenals,  will show a Free T4 at mid-range or higher, with Free T3 at the top.
  • Hypothyroidism generally occurs with a low Free T4, and a mid-range or slightly higher Free T3.

Iodine Loading Test

Iodine deficiency is the chief cause of Hypothyroidism.  Iodine is an important nutrient for thyroid and whole body health. Learn more about iodine. As explained in The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow, the 24 Hour Iodine Loading test is helpful in assessing a patient’s iodine sufficiency.

People undergoing the test are deemed to be deficient in iodine if they excrete less than 90% of the iodine loading dose. 7

Reverse T3 (RT3) Test

The RT3 test must be done at the same time as the Free T3 in order to calculate the ratio with the results and measurements. According to Thyroid-Rt3.com, divide Free T3 by reverse T3. The amount should be 20 or greater. If it’s less then that you have a RT3 problem. If it’s vastly smaller or larger you may have to move the decimal point to get the units right.

FT3 should be twenty of more times higher than RT3.  (Stop the Thyroid Madness book  page 162-163 for more.)

Sodium Test (often part of the Basic Metabolic Panel)

Having the right amount of sodium is important for your health. Blood sodium can also be part of an electrolyte panel.

Normal results for this test are 135-145 mEq/L 8, however Stop the Thyroid Madness noted that healthy folks report 142 and even slightly higher.

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody Test

These antibodies work against thyroid peroxidase, and enzyme that plays a part on the T4-toT3 conversion and synthesis process. TPO antibodies can indicate the presence of Hashimoto’s disease. In 95% of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis TPO antibodies are detectable. And are detected in 50-80% of patients with Graves disease. 9

Elevated levels indicates Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid disease).

TSH Lab Test

TSH is a measure of the pituitary function. It is not an accurate measure of thyroid function. Learn more about why TSH can be unreliable.

  • TSH can be used to help determine hypothyroidism only if it’s in the high range.
  • TSH can also be used to understand the relative range for yourself.
  • TSH lab test can be used to diagnose a pituitary problem, not a thyroid problem. Especially if low TSH is accompanied by low Free T3.
  • With Hashimoto’s,  lab results can swing between hypo and hyper so TSH is not an accurate measure

Vitamin D test

As explained by Dr. Mercola 10, there are two vitamin D test. The 1,25(OH)D and the 25(OH)D. The correct test is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The ranges for 25-hydroxyvitamin D are:

  • Deficient > 50 ng/ml
  • Optimal 50-70 ng/ml
  • Treating Cancer and Heart Disease 70-100 ng/ml
  • Excess > 100ng/ml

Low vitamin D can contribute to thyroid problems 11. Many thyroid patients are low in D due to digestive issues from being undiagnosed or undertreated, plus problems with Celiac or gluten intolerance. 12

SECONDARY LAB TESTS

Aldosterone

Aldosterone is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. It works primarily on kidney (renal) cells to help maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes in our bodies. It affects blood pressure. It also regulates salt (sodium) and potassium in the blood. If aldosterone production is not functioning properly, there can be serious consequences to the heart, kidneys and electrolyte balance. 13

According to GlobalRph.com 14, the normal range for Aldosterone is 4-31 ng/gl.  Low range results indicate adrenal insufficiency.

Stop the Thyroid Madness suggests for women to test your aldosterone in the first week of your menstrual cycle (i.e. the week you start bleeding), or up until the beginning of the week after–this is when progesterone is at its lowest.  Progesterone can drive your aldosterone up falsely, and progesterone begins to rise at the end of the second week of your cycle.

DHEA test

DHEA is a natural steroid and precursor hormone produced by the adrenals. The truth is that — for the women who need it — adrenal support with DHEA supplementation can make a big difference. I’ve seen it help patients get going again when they feel like they’ve hit rock bottom. But it’s never as simple as just popping a pill. For me personally, supplementing with DHEA was not the right fit but for others it can be effective. On WomentoWomen they like to see estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA in the upper quadrant of normal.

Folate Test 

Folate or Folic acid, is a b-vitamin which can be low in hypothyroid patients. The normal reference range of folic acid in the blood is 2.7 to 17.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Low levels of folic acid may indicate anemia, malabsorption, or malnutrition. 15

RBC Magnesium Test

A lack of magnesium in normal diets can cause low thyroid function, but can be solved with proper diet and supplements. Magnesium deficiencies are common, especially in well-developed countries where processed foods are so common. Seven out of every ten Americans is likely to have a magnesium deficiency, causing many problems including underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). 16

Signs of magnesium deficiency include weakness, extreme thirst, muscle cramps, muscle twitching, poor memory, confusion, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety and more. 17

For RBC Magnesium results, Stop the Thyroid Mandess suggests a good range is mid to high. 18

Renin Lab Test

Aldosterone and renin tests are used to evaluate whether the adrenal glands are producing appropriate amounts of aldosterone and to distinguish between the potential causes of excess or deficiency. Aldosterone may be measured in the blood or in a 24-hour urine sample, which measures the amount of aldosterone removed in the urine in a day. Renin is always measured in blood.

Low renin can mean primary aldosteronism (Conn syndrome) or Cushing Syndrome. While high renin can mean Secondary aldosteronism, or Adrenal insufficiency.  19

Serum Iron

According to Healthline 20, the serum iron test measures how much iron is in your serum. This test can help your doctor figure out if there is a problem with your iron levels (high or low) resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, and moodiness.  Though its a less common test.

Stop the Thyroid Madness suggests a value of about 110 for women, and the 130′s for men, based on what they’ve seen on hundreds of lab results. 21

TIBC (Total iron binding capacity) test: measures whether a protein called transferrin, produced by the liver, has the ability to carry iron in the blood. Used to determine anemia or low body iron. If your result is high, and in the absence of chronic disease, you may be anemic. With healthy amounts of iron, this test will be low in the range—about 1/4th above the bottom number.

Zinc

The Plasma Zinc test is the main lab test done to establish zing deficiency. It is very good at catching major zinc deficiency but not as good at catching minor deficiency which can leave a patient with “normal” results but still be deficient. The optimal range for plasma zinc is 3.8 – 22.9µmol/L ( 90-150µg/dl).

ACTH STIM

The ACTH Stimulation test is used to assess the functioning of adrenal glands stress response by measuring the adrenals response to ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). This test is used to diagnose primary or second adrenal sufficiency, Addison’s disease, and related conditions. 22

For details about range, see the simple diagnostic chart.

T7, Total T3, Total T4, Uptake, or any other thyroid labs

These are considered unnecessary 23

Notes:

  1. StoptheThyroidMadness.com
  2. The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow
  3. Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James L. Wilson
  4. Mary Shomom at About.com
  5. http://www.medicinenet.com/ferritin_blood_test/article.htm
  6. http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/bloodtests.htm
  7. http://www.townsendletter.com/Jan2013/iodine0113.html
  8. http://www.healthline.com/health/sodium-blood#Results
  9. http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/bloodtests.htm
  10. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/02/23/vitamin-d-deficiency-part-one.aspx
  11. http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/low_vitamin_d_contributes_to_thyroid_problems/
  12. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  13. http://pcos.about.com/od/normalmenstrualcycle/f/aldosterone.htm
  14.  http://www.healthline.com/health/aldosterone#Overview
  15. http://www.healthline.com/health/folic-acid-test#UnderstandingtheResults
  16. http://www.progressivehealth.com/thyroid-magnesium.htm
  17. http://naturalsociety.com/16-magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-signs-low-levels/
  18. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  19. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/aldosterone/tab/test/
  20. http://www.healthline.com/health/serum-iron#Overview
  21. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTH_stimulation_test
  23. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/

Post a Comment

Or
  • Shop

    Hypothyroid and Adrenal Fatigue Worksheet

    Could you have Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, or both and not know it?
    Instant digital download. This worksheet is organized in a simple, easy-to-follow format which includes the following beneficial resources:
    • Hypothyroid symptom checklist
    • Adrenal Fatigue symptom checklist
    • Simple chart for tracking body temperature
    • Lab work record chart for tracking results
    • Treatment options to discuss with a doctor
    Satisfaction guaranteed or a full refund
    Price: $6.95 
  • Lugol's Solution of Iodine 5 Percent

    J.CROW'S Lugol's Solution of Iodine 5% by Miss Lizzy. Low Heavy Metal Verified. Made from USA Sourced Iodine. Best Seller!

    What is the benefit of using iodine?

    According to healthyonline.com, the thyroid (located at the frontal base of the neck) is the key gland that furnishes energy to every cell in the body. Its function is dependent on a balance of nutrients and trace minerals. These include zinc, copper, manganese and especially iodine.

    Iodine is an essential nutrient needed for the production of the body's thyroid hormones and is therefore required for normal thyroid function. Thyroid hormones are responsible for our basal metabolic rate (BMR), which reflects the body's use of energy. In addition, they are beneficial for:

    • Normal growth and development
    • Protein synthesis
    • Cholesterol synthesis
    • Carbohydrate absorption
    • Energy metabolism
    • Nerve and bone formation
    • Reproduction
    • The condition of the skin, hair, nails and teeth
    • Speech and mental state
    • Cold hands and feet

    Lugol's Solution of Iodine 5 Percent - Buy Now!

  • CONTACT ME

    To contact me, please follow me on Facebook (Click "Like" below) and then either post on the wall or send a direct private message. Thanks!
  • Follow Me on Facebook

  • Newsletter Sign Up

Copyright © 2012-2013 Miss Lizzy. Designed by TemplateSquare.com.
Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition. Always consult your professional health care provider. DISCLAIMER: I AM AN ORDINARY PERSON, NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, SO THESE ARE MY EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS ONLY. EVERYONE IS INDIVIDUAL, AND WHAT WORKS FOR ME MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU! NOR IS MY STORY MEANT TO REPLACE WHAT YOU WHAT YOU AND YOUR DOCTOR DISCUSS. ANY INFORMATION AND WHAT YOU DO IS AT YOUR OWN RISK! PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF AS BEST YOU CAN AND CONSULT A GOOD DOCTOR.