Interpreting a Thyroid Panel
By Dicken Weatherby, ND
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are some of the considerations I use when interpreting a thyroid
- The thyroid
is a complex endocrine gland that works in concert with many other
endocrine glands with hormonal mediators. Support the whole system
as well as the specific organ or gland.
- When addressing
any endocrine dysfunction, always support the key essentials to
normal function first (nutritional deficiencies, fatty acid metabolism,
protein/albumin availability, liver activity, hidden infections
- Liver conjugation
problems can significantly impair hormone levels from the thyroid,
gonads, or adrenal cortex. Therefore, attention should be paid
to optimizing liver function prior to exhausting specific endocrine
causes or treatments.
hormone activity, along with other hormones, is extremely sensitive
to stress and toxins such as halogens, toxic metals, drugs etc.,
which interfere with the synthesis, transport, and utilization
of T-4 (thyroxine) and T-3 (triiodothyronine).
is the most common thyroid condition, leading to either hypothyroidism
(Hashimoto’s and sub-acute thyroiditis) or hyperthyroidism
(Grave’s disease). Hypothyroidism due to thyroiditis is
the most common. Thyroiditis can present with normal, elevated,
or decreased levels of thyroid hormone at any time.
chemistry analysis for thyroid status should consist of TSH, T-3,
T-4, T-3 uptake, and free T-3 & T-4 levels. In our opinion
these are the most useful tests to order.
tests found on a thyroid panel taken independently are often misleading
and inadequate in determining thyroid status. TSH, FTI, T-3 uptake,
T-3, T-4, Free T-3 and T-4 are best analyzed collectively with
attention to specific patterns.
- FTI (Free
thyroxine Index) is a test that is often included in thyroid panels.
It is an estimate calculated from total T-4 and T-3 uptake. It
is usually proportional to actual free T-4 but is an imperfect
measurement as it is quite possible to obtain a normal FTI with
an abnormal T-3 uptake or T-4. An increased FTI is usually associated
with hyperthyroidism, while a low level is associated with hypothyroidism.
Although a part of many panels, this test is not recommended as
it has been replaced by more accurate tests, such as free T-3
or thyroxine-binding globulin.
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