Why your thyroid test results aren’t accurate
It wouldn’t be an understatement to call thyroid disorders a growing epidemic. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) conservatively estimates that as many as 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease, and 60 percent of people may be unaware of their condition.1
Why? The long list of symptoms below could also be symptoms of many other conditions.
To make matters worse, the cause of thyroid problems in the medical community is “largely unknown,” according to the ATA. But this doesn’t change the fact that more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop some kind of thyroid condition within their lifetime. We also know that women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid problems than men.
The easy-to-miss symptoms of a thyroid disorder
The following is a list of possible symptoms for someone with an underactive thyroid. Do you recognize many of them in yourself?
Along with nourishing healthy fats, like coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, raw butter, cod liver oil, and egg yolks, concentrated minerals, like Body Ecology’s Ancient Earth Minerals, can help to “reset” a weakened thyroid.
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Cold/heat intolerance
- Dry skin and hair
- Easy weight gain
- Hair loss
- Headaches and migraines
- Fluid retention
- Low motivation and ambition
- Low sex drive
- Poor concentration
- Poor memory
- Unhealthy nails
- And much more
Let’s say you’re now concerned that your thyroid isn’t working well, and you go to your doctor to have your thyroid tested. Will the test be accurate? Most likely, it won’t.
The big problem with thyroid test results
Thyroid tests currently don’t honor the Body Ecology Principle of Uniqueness. You’re unique, and your own thyroid hormone levels are not like anyone else’s. Thyroid tests won’t give you an accurate indication of your ideal thyroid hormone level, simply because they’re missing a critical piece of information — your peak thyroid level when you were young and healthy.
Most medical professionals admit that:
- It’s easy to misdiagnose a thyroid disorder, like hypothyroidism, because the associated symptoms are so vague in nature.
- It’s also possible to have a thyroid disorder without experiencing any symptoms at all.
- Common hypothyroid symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, muscle aches, weakness, and thinning hair may be related to stress or another illness, yet all of these collective symptoms could also point to a sluggish thyroid.
Once a diagnosis is made, a doctor may be quick to prescribe replacement hormones to treat and manage hypothyroidism, without addressing the cause of the condition.
But there’s a danger in this diagnosis that’s seldom talked about and that Dr. Steven Hotze, founder and CEO of Houston’s Hotze Health & Wellness Center, pointed out in his interview in The Emporia Gazette: Thyroid disorder misdiagnosis is a problem, but thyroid disorder mistreatment is a different and often more devastating issue altogether.
“First, it means you are not being treated for what’s actually causing illness; second, a misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatments and medicines with side effects that can cause you harm,” Hotze said.2
Even normal thyroid test results can be misleading.
Should your thyroid test results indicate that you’re in the “normal” range — say 5.5 — you may still have an underactive thyroid if you would have tested at 9 in your younger years. At 5.5, you may feel very tired, yet your doctor will tell you that your test results are “normal.”
Another reason that the tests are often inaccurate is because they only show what your thyroid hormone levels are on the day of testing. Your thyroid is a tricky organ to both diagnose and treat since its hormone levels fluctuate all the time. What you eat each day has a tremendous and immediate impact on it, and how much hormone it secretes.
Thyroid tests also don’t indicate if your thyroid hormone is really entering your cells. Your thyroid may be manufacturing plenty of hormone, but your cells may have become resistant to the hormone and aren’t able to utilize it.
The accuracy of thyroid test results can be hindered by a genetic component too.
Unless you’ve undergone genetic testing and have interpreted the results specific to your thyroid function, there’s no way of knowing if you have the FOXE1 gene that has been correlated with various thyroid disorders, including autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s) and hypothyroidism.
While lifestyle factors do play a more significant role than genetics in thyroid function, understanding your genetic road map can provide a clearer picture of your thyroid health.
In the past few years, researchers have explored the influence an individual’s “gene signature” can have on the thyroid. Using a new genetic test, a Chilean research team was able to consistently diagnose thyroid nodules, or benign growths, to avoid unnecessary surgical intervention in the thyroid cancer screening process.3
A newer study also found that cell phone radiation may increase thyroid cancer risk among those with certain genetic variations (called SNPs).4 Amazingly, trained scent dogs have detected the presence of thyroid cancer in urine samples with over 88 percent accuracy.5
While this innovative form of testing — coupled with genetic testing — may provide hope for the early diagnosis of more serious thyroid conditions, including cancer, basic thyroid testing used to measure day-to-day thyroid function still leaves much to be desired.
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What to do if your thyroid test results come back ‘normal’
The National Academy of Hypothyroidism (NAH), a group of thyroidologists headed by Dr. Kent Holtorf, agrees that conventional thyroid testing is not as reliable as we have been led to believe:6
“The TSH is thought to be the most sensitive marker of peripheral tissue levels of thyroid, and it is erroneously assumed by most endocrinologists and other physicians that, except for unique situations, a normal TSH is a clear indication that the person’s tissue thyroid levels are adequate (symptoms are not due to low thyroid).
A more thorough understanding of the physiology of hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and tissue regulation of thyroid hormones demonstrates that the widely held belief that the TSH is an accurate marker of the body’s overall thyroid status is clearly erroneous.”
The NAH does not currently consider TSH and T4 testing to be reliable markers of thyroid tissue levels, as previously believed.
While the NAH concedes that there is no “perfect” thyroid test, testing free triiodothyronine, reverse triiodothyronine, and triiodothyronine/reverse-triiodothyronine ratios may provide more accuracy when checking for low tissue levels of active thyroid hormone.
Unfortunately, many of today’s younger generation will not have the excellent test results that their forbearers had because they’re not enjoying the same level of health as their grandparents did two generations ago.
Because of today’s American diet, our young people will likely never experience outstanding thyroid health — unless they’re encouraged to change their eating habits to include principles and foods like those of the Body Ecology Way of Living.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a thyroid disorder, lifestyle changes can help bring the thyroid back into balance — regardless of your thyroid test results:
1. Support your body. The Body Ecology program includes the fats (coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, raw butter, cod liver oil, and egg yolks) and the mineral-rich foods (dark, green, leafy vegetables; young coconut kefir; Celtic sea salt; and ocean veggies) that help tremendously in building a strong, robust thyroid.
You can also supplement with concentrated, thyroid-nourishing minerals found in Ocean Plant Extract and Ancient Earth Minerals. The full-spectrum Digestive Care Multi can aid in the absorption of these healthy fats and vital nutrients.
2. Support your gut. When it comes to regulating thyroid health, this may be the most important point of all. Probiotics have a big impact on the thyroid — 20 to 30 percent of inactive T4 is converted to active T3 in your gut.7
3. Support your liver. Another common hindrance to thyroid function that is also difficult to detect through lab testing is chronic yeast infection that has spread throughout the body. Once it becomes systemic, candida yeast can interfere with thyroid hormone activation at the level of the liver.
Supplements that support and cleanse the liver, like LivAmend, can help bring balance back to your body — and to your thyroid.
4. Supplement with ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine that may regulate both hyper- and hypothyroidism. By definition, an adaptogenic herb can be used to help the body “adapt” by working with its natural systems.
Studies show that ashwagandha may help to stimulate T3 and T4 production, while lowering elevated cortisol levels to support the adrenals.9,10
When your thyroid test results don’t accurately reflect what you’re experiencing in your body, all hope isn’t lost. We now know that thyroid reference ranges may be different for everyone.
Even with “normal” test results, you may still need to look further if your symptoms continue. For many of us, repairing the gut is the missing piece that can bring thyroid health back on track.
- 1. “General Information/Press Room.” American Thyroid Association, 2021.
- 2. “Hypothyroidism: ‘Silent epidemic’ of misdiagnosis.” The Emporia Gazette, 2013.
- 3. González HE, Martínez JR, Vargas-Salas S, et al. A 10-Gene Classifier for Indeterminate Thyroid Nodules: Development and Multicenter Accuracy Study. Thyroid. 2017;27(8):1058-1067. doi:10.1089/thy.2017.0067.
- 4. Jiajun Luo, Hang Li, Nicole C. Deziel, Huang Huang, Nan Zhao, Shuangge Ma, Xin Ni, Robert Udelsman, Yawei Zhang. Genetic susceptibility may modify the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer: A population-based case-control study in Connecticut. Environmental Research, 2020; 182: 109013 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.109013.
- 5. Hinson, Andrew & Ferrando, Arny & Middleton Wilkerson, Laura(Bekka) & Stack, Brendan & Bodenner, Donald. (2015). Scent-Trained Canine Prospectively Detects Thyroid Cancer in Human Urine Samples.
- 6. “How Accurate is TSH Testing?” The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, 2021.
- 7. de Herder WW, Hazenberg MP, Pennock-Schröder AM, Oosterlaken AC, Rutgers M, Visser TJ. On the enterohepatic cycle of triiodothyronine in rats; importance of the intestinal microflora. Life Sci. 1989;45(9):849-56. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(89)90179-3. PMID: 2770425.
- 8. Knezevic J, Starchl C, Tmava Berisha A, Amrein K. Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function?. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1769. Published 2020 Jun 12. doi:10.3390/nu12061769.
- 9. Sharma AK, Basu I, Singh S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Mar;24(3):243-248. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0183. Epub 2017 Aug 22. PMID: 28829155.
- 10. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PMID: 23439798; PMCID: PMC3573577.