Has your thyroid test come back as “normal” while you continue suffering from thyroid symptoms?
Then you’ve probably heard it from your doctor…
“Your TSH is normal, there’s nothing wrong with your thyroid.”
Yet, you know something isn’t right.
I’ve heard this same story from my clients so many times it makes me wonder how much longer until this ridiculous TSH thyroid test is finally put to rest.
Many of my clients have left it at that, and looked elsewhere for help.
But, some of my clients have stood their ground and demanded further testing and answers (good for them, right?).
This is where the story sometimes gets interesting.
You might be surprised at how many of these clients were either:
- Kicked out of their doctor’s practice for being “non-compliant”.
- Referred to a psychiatrist for mental health evaluation.
Either way, it’s like being told that YOU are the problem when it’s your doctor who’s failing you.
No, the problem is NOT you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re taking thyroid medication or not.
The problem is that a normal thyroid test doesn’t mean your thyroid function is normal.
If this were the case, why do you still have so many symptoms?
In this post, we’ll explore two common cases that can lead to a normal thyroid test, even when you’re severely hypothyroid.
(NOTE: Relying on TSH testing and other blood labs is simply asking for trouble… which is why I recommend (and use with my clients) a far more accurate thyroid test I call the Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol.)
You can grab it for free… get all the details on the Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol right here.
Case 1: How Your Hypothyroidism (and Diet) Can Falsify Your Normal TSH Test
It may sound counter-intuitive, but your hypothyroidism can actually lower your TSH.
This is especially true when your diet is lacking in certain essential nutrients.
It all comes down to the stress hormone cortisol.
In hypothyroidism, you overproduce many stress hormones, cortisol included.
When overproduced, cortisol suppresses your thyroid function in a number of ways:
- Cortisol blocks your thyroid hormone conversion at your liver, lowering the active thyroid hormone (T3) your cells need.
- Cortisol increases your production of “reverse T3”, a hormone that blocks your cells from using active thyroid hormone (T3).
- Cortisol lowers your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which can also lower active thyroid hormone (T3) production.
This creates a thyroid-suppressive cycle, where the more cortisol you produce, the more hypothyroid you become.
And the more hypothyroid you become, the more cortisol you overproduce.
This is the first thyroid-suppressive cycle that we must break to begin restoring thyroid function.
As this cycle continues over time, the continuous rise in cortisol can significantly lower your TSH, often to within “normal” levels.
In fact, any sort of chronic stress will lower your TSH over time.
One common cause of chronic stress and cortisol production is a low-carb diet.
(NOTE: I talk in more detail about the dangers of low-carb diets in this post on “Stop Eating Low-Carb (If You Care About Your Thyroid)”.)
Without adequate carbohydrates in your diet, your body is forced to overproduce cortisol.
Cortisol’s primary function is to break down protein in your body and convert it into sugar to ensure enough blood sugar is available to keep your brain working.
This is also why many following low-carb diets see their TSH decrease, thinking their thyroid function is improving.
In reality, they’re artificially lowering their TSH while further suppressing their thyroid.
Many of my clients are in what I like to call low-carb recovery.
This has become such a growing problem that I’ve had to create a “Low-Carb Recovery Plan” as part of my Hypothyroidism Revolution Program.
Case 2: How Your Thyroid Medication Can Falsify Your Normal TSH Test
Your body is designed to self-regulate its own thyroid hormone production.
To ensure that you have an adequate supply of thyroid hormone available, your body monitors how much thyroid hormone is in your bloodstream.
It then self-adjusts your TSH to tell your thyroid gland how much more thyroid hormone you need.
This is referred to as the thyroid hormone feedback cycle.
When your thyroid hormone levels are low, your TSH increases to tell your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone.
When thyroid hormone levels are normal, your TSH decreases to tell your thyroid gland to produce less thyroid hormone.
Now, here’s the problem…
Doctors are trained to believe that your liver will automatically convert the inactive T4 in your thyroid medication into the active T3 thyroid hormone you need.
If your thyroid hormone pathway weren’t blocked, then this feedback cycle would work flawlessly as doctors expect it to.
However, this is rarely, if ever, the case.
In fact, most hypothyroidism suffers can’t properly convert their thyroid medication.
(NOTE: If you can’t convert thyroid hormone and get the right thyroid hormone (T3) to your cells, you’ll always be hypothyroid, as I covered in this post on “How We Overcome Hypothyroidism When All Else Fails”.)
Here’s what happens when you take your thyroid medication and your liver can’t convert it:
- Your inactive thyroid hormone (T4) builds up in your bloodstream.
- This tricks your thyroid hormone feedback cycle into thinking your thyroid is happily producing plenty of thyroid hormone.
- Your body naturally lowers your TSH, often to within “normal range”.
But remember, your liver can’t convert your thyroid medication.
So, your cells are still starved of active thyroid hormone (T3)…
…and you’re still hypothyroid (often more hypothyroid than when you started).
This is one of the most common cases I see with my clients.
I had one client break down in tears, because her doctor literally called her a liar, right to her face.
Because her TSH was normal and she continued to complain of fatigue and was still unable to lose weight, despite her doctor’s treatment.
After we tested her thyroid the right way, she couldn’t believe how poor her thyroid function really was.
Once we unblocked her thyroid hormone pathway, the results spoke for themselves.
Needless to say, she never went back that doctor again.
Why You Have to Take Thyroid Testing Into Your Own Hands
Few doctors today understand these common problems with TSH testing.
Fewer are willing to run the additional lab testing to help see the bigger picture.
While additional thyroid testing can provide more insight into the function of your thyroid hormone pathway, it still does not answer the most important question you need to know… whether or not your cells are able to properly use thyroid hormone.
As I have mentioned many times…
…you can supplement or medicate all of the thyroid hormone you want, but if you can’t get the right thyroid hormone to your cells, you’ll always be hypothyroid.
Therefore, we really do not have much choice but to take matters into our own hands and become educated as to all of the testing options available.
Believe it or not, there is a far more reliable and more accurate test that your doctor is not telling you about, and you don’t even need your doctor to do it.
The good news is that I can show you the best way to test your thyroid function.
It’s the same testing protocol I use with all of my clients.
You can do it from home, for free, and in 10 minutes or less.
I call it the Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol.
You can grab it for free… get all the details on the Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol right here.
What if you no longer have your thyroid glands because you had thyroid cancer? What is the TSH supposed to be then?
Hi Annette, TSH still wouldn’t change. I’ve written more about RAI and thyroidectomy here: http://www.forefronthealth.com/rai-and-thyroidectomy/
My pituitary may not be making TSH due to gluten also hurting the pituitary and not just the thyroid gland. Hospital took away my thyroid medicine I had for 30 years due to my TSH being low when was there for Lyme. Taking away my thyroid medicine lowers my immune system. They also took away my supplements the rebuild my cells and help my immune system/thyroid and took away my bioidentical hormones and said I didn’t need them so my body crashed and I ended up in ICU unconscious for a week and then 2 more weeks without my thyroid medicine. Then they attacked me for liking Alternative medicine assuming I was in ICU due to my supplements and said be careful what you say since you may see a judge. They destroyed my adrenals. I only had energy to move my 3 eyes. I had thyroid symptoms…low body temperature/clots due to low thyroid and zero energy etc, but I had to wait until I got home to restore my protocol. They only did a TSH and nothing further in the hospital. I still have Lyme and sugar/starch may feed it since I need to eat to help my adrenals.
Hi Tom ,I’ve got PERSONALIZED THYROID SUPPLEMENT PLAN from you and supplements needs. I’m taking OTC raw dessic. thyroid, steel have a lot of hypo simptoms,You highly recommend it for me by simptoms check, I was thinking may be I got “not active” suppl. I wanted to buy yours and noticed it has silica in it, Dr. Peat very against it. I’m confuse.
I have had a complete thyroidectomy (follicular carcinomas) with RAI. Recent thyroid tests came back somewhat weird, FT3 6 (H), FT4 .39 (L), RT3 – 5.8 (L). TSH is always way low – .02. With the high FT3 I would expect the RT3 to be at least in the normal range – puzzling!
I’also have Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia and have been running a low grade temperature – FUO. Whether the FUO is due to the CLL or hidden inflammation is anybody’s guess, I have no symptoms other than feeling crummy with the FUO. I say all of that to say that the more reliable method of checking thyroid function, temp and pulse, will not be accurate due to the FUO. My pulse runs in the low 80’s unless my temp goes over 99.5, then it runs a bit faster.
Any thoughts or interpretations? Thanks.