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The Truth About Thyroid Hormones & Their Functions


The Truth About Thyroid

And How it Affects Us

A typical Thyroid check in a doctor’s office will assess TSH only and no other hormone. This has been standard practice for many years. It used to be that when we saw a low TSH, it would suggest a hyperthyroid patient and a high TSH would signal a hypothyroid patient. We now know that this doesn’t really take into account the whole pituitary cycle that Thyroid is part of. Many doctors and endocrinologists will run a complete Thyroid panel that will at least include Total T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and Thyroid Antibodies. Some of the other tests that can be run are Resin T3 uptake, Thyroid binding globulin Free T4, and Free T4 index.

Thyroid Hormones and Their Functions

TSH is known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, also called Thyrotropin, and is released in the brain by the pituitary gland. Your brain will release more TSH if your T4 level drops, and release less TSH if your T4 level increases. This is your brain’s way of controlling the metabolic action and speed at which the cells in the body respond. Functional Reference Range for a lab or, as the doctors like to call it, optimal Thyroid TSH level, is 1.7-2.3. You will note this is a much smaller range than most labs will list on your results. This is because in our office we are concerned with your well being not merely your existence.

T4 is Thyroxin and is a Thyroid molecule that has four iodine atoms bonded to it, which is how it gets its name. The Thyroid will produce most of the body’s T4, which is the inactive form of Thyroid hormone. The T4 is then sent to the liver where a combination of the enzyme 5′ Deiodinase converts it into the active Thyroid hormone T3 or Reverse T3 (also inactive until it gets to the gastrointestinal tract).

T3 is called Triiodothyroxine and is the active form of Thyroid hormone that controls our metabolism. It is created from T4 in the liver and the gastrointestinal mucosa. A small amount is created in the Thyroid itself but only a small amount. There are binding sites in many areas of the body that are responsible for how the metabolism of the body works together to get things functioning at an optimal level.

Thyroid Antibodies usually are present when the body is attacking its own Thyroid. This occurs more often than one would think. This is because of some altered state in the body’s function that starts an autoimmune type reaction. An autoimmune reaction can come from many causes but one of the most common ones is from a problem in the digestive tract.

Take the Thyroid Self-Assessment Test on our Wellness Blog to determine whether or not you may want to talk to one of our doctors. This test was developed by Dr. Richard L. Shames, M.D. and Dr. Karilee Halo Shames, R.N., Ph.D., authors of the book: Thyroid Power: Ten Steps to Total Health.

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