Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), T3 and T4
Your endocrine system generates a multitude of hormones that serve crucial functions in your body. One of the most important hormones is the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Created in the pituitary gland, TSH is a precursor hormone. This means TSH is essential for the thyroid gland to release its hormones thyroxin (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). It is essential for the body to have enough free T3 and free T4 available.
What is TSH?
In your body, the actual Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is synthesized and secreted by your pituitary gland; it’s a “pituitary” hormone, not a thyroid hormone. The TSH is like a messenger sent to knock on the door of the thyroid; its purpose is to regulate your thyroid gland–to tell it to produce more, or to tell it to produce less. In a healthy individual, its message is based on whether your blood levels have too little thyroid hormones to meet the demands of your body, or too much. When the thyroid gland becomes diseased or disabled and fails to do its job adequately (called hypothyroidism), the TSH knocks and knocks on the door, and theoretically, the TSH lab will show a high number. Alternatively, the thyroid gland may overproduce thyroid hormones (called hyperthyroidism) and the TSH lab will theoretically go low to show that the TSH in your body isn’t knocking.
Is TSH reliable?
Too often prescription dosages are based solely on a TSH level. Problem! A patient may have a target TSH level, but still be under-treated because that is only part of the story, we must also consider T3 and T4; but it goes further, simply testing for TOTAL T3/T4 does not quantify what hormones are free and useable within the body. New tests, such as Free T3, Reverse T3 and Free T4, paint a more complete picture.
Simply measuring your TSH cannot be the extent of testing as this only detects about 20% of thyroid disorders. At LifeStream we also test Free T3 and Free T4 levels to get an accurate picture of what is going on so we can tailor a plan back to balance.
Many patients are speaking out about the inadequacy of T4-only synthetic drugs. Patients on natural thyroid typically express the improvement in the quality of their life. Improvements are also reported by patients using T3/T4 treatments or T3-only, as opposed to synthetic T4-only. However, T4 synthetic drugs are usually the only prescriptions considered.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Correcting your TSH, T3 and T4 levels revolves around supplementing your natural thyroid production. This is done with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT. BHRT uses free T3 and free T4 that’s chemically identical to what your body produces to naturally rejuvenate your thyroid.
TSH tests only detect about 20% of thyroid disorders. At LifeStream we also test Free T3 and T4 levels
Limitations of the TSH Test
Ineffective treatment of thyroid dysfunction is correlated with high cholesterol levels. When a patient has high cholesterol, dangerous statins are often prescribed when T3 supplementation can lower cholesterol more safely.
Patients with thyroid dysfunction complain of difficulty with mood management and lethargy; anti-depressants are often unnecessarily prescribed when T3 medication would have been safer and more effective.