Has this ever happened to you?
Your phone rings and it’s the receptionist from your doctor’s office. Your thyroid labs results are in and your doctor wants to go over them.
Fast forward a few days and you’re sitting with your doctor anticipating the results.
Then you hear those words…
“Great news! Everything came back normal, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
Great news for whom?
You’re left struggling with your thyroid symptoms and with nowhere to turn.
Well, that about sums up the experience of many of my clients.
Because blood tests for thyroid function are inaccurate and unreliable for most.
Today, I’ll show you how to use a simple test, the thyroid pulse test, to check your own thyroid. I’ll also show what to aim for, for a healthy pulse rate, but first…
Why Thyroid Labs Are So Inaccurate
Thyroid lab tests can be very deceiving.
They are notorious for missing true diagnoses. This leaves a large percentage of thyroid sufferers undiagnosed and improperly treated.
There are many reasons for this.
For starters, the lab reference ranges are not accurate.
And blood labs can’t tell you if thyroid hormone is getting to your cells or if your cells are able to use it.
(NOTE: Want to put an end to your hypothyroidism for good? See what’s stopping your cells from using thyroid in this article on Unblocking Your Thyroid Hormone Pathway.)
This is why many have turned to more accurate and reliable testing methods such as basal body temperature testing.
Your body temperature is very useful, but comes with a few limitations of its own.
This is why I use a special testing protocol with my clients to better account for these limitations.
(Note: Want to use the same testing protocol I use with my clients? Use my “Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol”. It’s more accurate, won’t cost you a dime, and can easily be done from home in five minutes or less. Get the step-by-step guide and worksheets while I walk you through it all. Just click here.)
The Limitation of Thyroid Temperature Testing (Alone)
We’re now into August.
In many parts of the northern hemisphere, outside temperatures are blazing.
And a warmer outside temperature will influence your body temperature.
The warmer your environment, the easier it is to maintain a higher body temperature.
It’s like taking your temperature while you sit in a hot tub or sauna.
Your body doesn’t have to produce much energy to maintain this higher temperature.
So, your temperature will rise regardless of your poor thyroid function.
This is why it’s best to use an additional testing method that is not influenced by temperature.
And this is where your pulse becomes very important.
What Your Pulse Can Tell You About Your Thyroid
Using your pulse to measure thyroid function was originally the idea of Dr. Raymond Peat.
It came to him after observing hypothyroid people during the summer. They maintained close to normal body temperatures, while still showing obvious thyroid symptoms.
Yet, unlike body temperature, pulse isn’t influenced by your environmental temperature.
So, he began accounting for pulse rate to help confirm the accuracy of body temperature testing.
And what he found was that their pulse was quite low.
A low pulse rate between 50 to 70 bpm (beats per minute) is a sign of poor metabolism and hypothyroidism.
Many of my clients have reported feeling better with an increased pulse rate.
Yet, it’s also important to confirm that your pulse rate is truly healthy. Oftentimes it becomes artificially elevated by stress hormones.
Being hypothyroid, your body naturally over-produces stress hormones.
And when the stress hormone adrenaline rises, your pulse will oftentimes rise with it.
This can trick you into thinking your pulse is healthy, when in reality it’s not.
I’ll show you how to test for this in a just a second.
But first let’s put an end to a common myth about a low rate.
No, a Low Pulse Isn’t an Indicator of Health
I was once guilty of buying into this too.
We oftentimes look at athletes as images of ideal health.
Yet, an athlete’s pulse rate will drop as they adapt to their sport.
This is especially true for endurance athletes.
This is strictly an adaption to the stress of the sport and not an indicator of health.
So, unless you are an avid athlete yourself, this doesn’t apply to you.
Think of your pulse rate as the rate at which you deliver oxygen, hormones, and nutrients to your cells.
To maintain a healthier metabolism, you need to deliver an adequate supply of all these to your cells.
This is why children naturally have a very high pulse rate.
They have an extremely high rate of metabolism. And so they need to supply large amounts of nutrients to their cells to meet their body’s high energy demands.
Think about that for a second.
Who wouldn’t want the energy levels of a child?
The only way to do that is to keep your thyroid function and metabolism healthy. And maintain an adequate pulse rate to ensure your cells get the nutrients they need.
The Thyroid Pulse Test… and the “Magic” Number
First, let’s cover some of the basics needed for the Thyroid Pulse Test.
How to Test Your Pulse
To perform this Thyroid Pulse Test, you’ll need a method of measuring your pulse.
I recommend two options to my clients.
- The free and old-fashioned way… counting the number of heart beats during a minute.
- Using a Pulse Oximeter. This clips to your finger and digitally measures your pulse.
If you prefer the free and old-fashioned way, there are many resources which can show you how to measure it.
Here’s one you can use: http://www.wikihow.com/Check-Your-Pulse
Or you can purchase a Pulse Oximeter for around $15 online.
It’s just a matter of convenience.
A Pulse Oximeter measures your pulse for you, without you having to do anything.
If you have a hard time finding or measuring your pulse, then a Pulse Oximeter is the way to go.
When to Use the Thyroid Pulse Test and How to Interpret Your Results
To get the most out of this thyroid test, it’s best to measure your resting pulse rate before and after meals.
Be sure to be sitting and at rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This will ensure you’re measuring your “resting” pulse rate.
Ideally your resting pulse rate will remain fairly consistent throughout the day. You don’t want to see large fluctuations.
And ideally you are aiming for a consistent pulse rate of 80 to 85 bpm as a sign of healthy thyroid function.
“Healthy populations have an average resting pulse of about 85 per minute.”
– Dr. Raymond Peat
Keep in mind that upon waking and near bedtime your pulse is often naturally lower.
If your pulse is consistently less than 70 bpm, then thyroid function is likely low.
But if your pulse is within the healthy range, you still need to account for adrenaline.
High adrenaline will elevate pulse, even among hypothyroid sufferers.
Common signs of high adrenaline are a pulse rate that:
- Is greater than 90 bpm.
- Fluctuates significantly during the day.
- Drops after eating.
- Drops after introducing thyroid hormone (T3).
So, there you have it.
This is exactly how I teach my clients to use pulse to track their thyroid function.
Some of my clients were already familiar with temperature testing.
But, I have yet to find one who was tracking their pulse as well, which is a big mistake.
So, if you’re not already, start using this Thyroid Pulse Test today.
And see if there’s something you’ve been missing.
(NOTE: Want to use the same testing protocol I use with my clients? Use my “Ultimate Thyroid Testing Protocol”. It’s more accurate, won’t cost you a dime, and can easily be done from home in five minutes or less. Get the step-by-step guide and worksheets while I walk you through it all. Just click here.)
1. Adrienne. “Thyroid Blood Work–Tests to Talk with Your Doctor About.” Whole New Mom, 6 Nov. 2018, www.wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/tsh-hypothyroid-thyroid-test/.
2. Kresser, Chris. “5 Thyroid Patterns That Won’t Show up on Standard Lab Tests.” Chris Kresser, Chriskresser.com, 18 Feb. 2019, www.chriskresser.com/5-thyroid-patterns-that-wont-show-up-on-standard-lab-tests/.
3. Shomon, Mary. “What If My TSH Is Normal, but I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?” Verywell Health, 15 Jan. 2019, www.verywellhealth.com/tsh-test-results-normal-symptoms-3233014.