Case Study: Normal TSH With Hypothyroid Symptoms
What can you do if you’re being treated for a thyroid condition, taking medication, your blood test results are normal but you feel dreadful?
This is a common scenario. I see many women and men with thyroid problems. Most of them have already been diagnosed with a thyroid condition years ago by their own doctor and they are taking medication for it. The thing is, the majority of doctors don’t do the necessary background tests to figure out why the patient developed a thyroid problem in the first place.
This can lead to a scenario whereby thyroid hormone tests are normal when you have a blood test, yet you are still experiencing symptoms of a thyroid condition.
Maria is a 42-year-old lady who came to my clinic. She had been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland three years ago by her doctor. She had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, meaning she had an autoimmune condition. Maria’s doctor ordered a blood test to check for thyroid antibodies and they were very high. Maria’s TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) level was 5.8 U/L. An optimal TSH level is between 0.5 and 2 U/L. Maria’s result showed mild hypothyroidism. Her doctor put Maria on 25 mcg of Synthroid (thyroxine). A subsequent blood test 8 weeks later showed a TSH of 1.8.
Maria was experiencing fatigue, fluid retention, and constipation. She told me that too much of the time she was cranky because she felt hormonal and constipated. Maria is self-employed and extremely busy. She rarely takes days off. Maria had always been a slim person, mainly because she was on her feet all day at her busy cafe. When her thyroid gland became underactive Maria gained twelve pounds that no amount of exercise could shift.
Maria read our book called Your Thyroid Problems Solved and implemented the recommended diet changes. She knew about the importance of following a dairy and gluten-free diet and had stopped eating those foods for a month before visiting our clinic. Maria was worried about her high level of thyroid antibodies. She had read in our book that thyroid antibodies are an indicator of damage occurring to the thyroid gland, and she was worried about her thyroid becoming worse if this was not halted.
My recommendations for my patient
- Vitamin D blood test – her level was only 15 ng/dL (37 nmol/L), indicating that Maria was very vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is a major trigger of autoimmune disease and it promotes auto-antibody production. Correcting a vitamin D deficiency was one of the most important ways to reduce her thyroid antibody levels.
- Urinary spot iodine test. I wanted to check Maria’s iodine level as iodine deficiency is extremely common and can lead to fatigue and a sluggish metabolism. She was mildly deficient; her level was 83 U/L and it should be above 100. I asked Maria to take two Thyroid Health capsules each day with breakfast, as they contain iodine, vitamin D and other nutrients required for a healthy thyroid gland.
- We needed to improve Maria’s liver health. The weight she gained had deposited itself around her torso. That’s not good for the health of her liver. It impairs her liver’s fat burning abilities and detoxification capabilities. It also impairs T3 hormone production. The thyroid hormone Maria takes is T4 and her body must convert it into T3, which is the active form. Not being able to do that well can result in hypothyroid symptoms and low T3 on a blood test. I gave Maria Livatone Plus to improve her liver health.
So far I have seen Maria for two consultations and she is feeling much more energetic. I added NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine) to her supplements because it has powerful inflammation-reducing properties via glutathione production. People with impaired liver health usually do not produce enough glutathione. Taking NAC helped with improved energy and less fluid retention.
This case illustrates how important it is to find out exactly why the thyroid gland is malfunctioning and address the cause.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.