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5 Thyroid Patterns That Won’t Show up on Standard Lab Tests


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Reviewed by Christina Graham, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-BC

In medicine, the key to choosing the best treatment is an accurate diagnosis. If the diagnosis isn’t correct, the treatment will be ineffective—or even cause harm.

Unfortunately a misdiagnosis can happen in the management of hypothyroidism and other thyroid disorders. If you go to a doctor with hypothyroid symptoms, you may be given replacement hormones without first determining what’s causing your thyroid issues.

Or, if you have hypothyroid symptoms but your lab tests are normal, your doctor may not realize you’re experiencing thyroid issues in the first place. You may even receive treatment or medication to deal with the symptoms you’re experiencing—like an antidepressant to address depressive symptoms—but you won’t receive anything that will help your thyroid disorder.

The problem with this approach is that thyroid physiology is complex.

The production, conversion, and uptake of thyroid hormone in the body involves several steps. A malfunction in any of these steps can cause hypothyroid symptoms, but may not show up on standard lab tests.

All cases of hypothyroidism do not share the same cause—and, as you might guess, they require different treatments.

In this article, I’ll present five patterns of thyroid dysfunction that may not show up on standard lab tests. If you have one of these patterns, your thyroid isn’t functioning properly and you will have symptoms. But depending on the tests your doctor runs, you may not get a diagnosis of hypothyroidism; and, if that’s the case, you won’t receive the treatment you need.

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A standard thyroid panel usually includes TSH and T4 only (while some panels will also look at free T3, free T4, and check for thyroid antibodies). The ranges for these markers vary from lab to lab, which is one of two main problems with standard lab ranges. The other problem is that lab ranges are not based on research that tells us what a healthy range might be, but on a bell curve of values obtained from people who come to the labs for testing.

Now, follow me on this. Who goes to labs to get tested? Sick people. If a lab creates its “normal” range based on test results from sick people, is that really a normal range? Does that tell us anything about what the range should be for health? (For more on the problems with standard lab ranges, watch this great presentation by Dr. Bryan Walsh)

Are you experiencing hypothyroidism symptoms even though your lab work is normal? You may still have hypothyroidism, though it may not show up on standard labs. Check out this article for more. #functionalmedicine #chriskresser

The Five Thyroid Patterns

1. Hypothyroidism Caused by Pituitary Dysfunction

This pattern is caused by elevated cortisol, which is in turn caused by active infection, blood sugar imbalances, chronic stress, pregnancy, hypoglycemia, or insulin resistance. (1) These stressors fatigue the pituitary gland at the base of the brain so that it can no longer signal the thyroid to release enough thyroid hormone. There may be nothing wrong with the thyroid gland itself. The pituitary isn’t sending it the right messages.

With this pattern, you’ll have hypothyroid symptoms and a TSH below the functional range (1.8 – 3.0) but within the standard range (0.5 – 5.0). The T4 will be low in the functional range (and possibly the lab range too).

2. Under-Conversion of T4 to T3

T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. It must be converted to T3 before the body can use it. More than 90 percent of thyroid hormone produced is T4.

This common pattern is caused by inflammation and elevated cortisol levels. T4 to T3 conversion happens in cell membranes. Inflammatory cytokines damage cell membranes and impair the body’s ability to convert T4 to T3. (2) High cortisol also suppresses the conversion of T4 to T3. (3)

With this pattern you’ll have hypothyroid symptoms, but your TSH and T4 will be normal. If you have your T3 tested, which it rarely is in conventional settings, it will be low.

3. Hypothyroidism Caused by Elevated TBG

Thyroid binding globulin (TBG) is the protein that transports thyroid hormone through the blood. When thyroid hormone is bound to TBG, it is inactive and unavailable to the tissues. When TBG levels are high, levels of unbound (free) thyroid hormone will be low, leading to hypothyroid symptoms. (4)

With this pattern, TSH and T4 will be normal. If tested, T3 will be low, and T3 uptake and TBG will be high.

Elevated TBG is caused by high estrogen levels, which are often often associated with birth control pills or estrogen replacement (i.e. Premarin or estrogen creams). To treat this pattern, excess estrogen must be cleared from the body.

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4. Hypothyroidism Caused by Decreased TBG

This is the mirror image of the pattern above. When TBG levels are low, levels of free thyroid hormone will be high. You might think this would cause hyperthyroid symptoms. But too much free thyroid hormone in the bloodstream causes the cells to develop resistance to it. So, even though there’s more than enough thyroid hormone, the cells can’t use it and you’ll have hypothyroid—not hyperthyroid—symptoms.

With this pattern, TSH and T4 will be normal. If tested, T3 will be high, and T3 uptake and TBG will be low.

Decreased TBG is caused by high testosterone levels. (5) In women, it is commonly associated with PCOS and insulin resistance. Reversing insulin resistance and restoring blood sugar balance is the key to treating this pattern.

5. Thyroid Resistance

In this pattern, both the thyroid and pituitary glands are functioning normally, but the hormones aren’t getting into the cells where they’re needed. This causes hypothyroid symptoms.

Note that all lab test markers will be normal in this pattern, because we don’t have a way to test the function of cellular receptors directly.

Thyroid resistance is usually caused by chronic stress and high cortisol levels. It can also be caused by high homocysteine and genetic factors. (6)

Thyroid Treatment Depends on the Right Diagnosis

The five patterns above are only a partial list. Several others also cause hypothyroid symptoms and don’t show up on standard lab tests. If you have hypothyroid symptoms, but your lab tests are normal, it’s likely you have one of them.

Not only do these patterns fail to show up on standard lab work, they don’t respond well to conventional thyroid hormone replacement. If your body can’t convert T4 to T3, or you have too much thyroid binding protein, or your cells are resistant, it doesn’t matter how much T4 you take; you won’t be able to use it.

Unfortunately, if you have one of these patterns and tell your doctor your medication isn’t working, all too often the doctor’s response is to simply increase the dose. When that doesn’t work, the doctor increases it yet again.

As I said at the beginning of this article, the key to a successful treatment is an accurate diagnosis. Without understanding precisely what’s causing the problem, you may end up with a treatment that isn’t well-suited to your specific situation.

The good news is that, once the correct diagnosis is made, patients respond very well to treatment.

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Join the conversation

  1. My husband has “hypothyroidism on paper” – or rather, his lab results show high TSH levels, however he has none of the symptoms of hypothyroidism- in fact, he demonstrates the opposite of almost all of the classic symptoms. His skin is not dry- but instead quite oily. His hair is smooth, strong, not falling out. He is indeed quite overweight but VERY active- in addition to work he referees multiple sports several nights per week, and plays sports himself as well. He is always moving. He is NEVER constipated, to the contrary, he has around 5 to 6 BMs daily (which he claims is “normal for him”). He does not seem to respond at all to levothyroxine, he has gone up to 50 MCG with no observed differences, and the labs still show an elevated TSH. It seems that he is not the “run of the mill” thyroid case- any ideas? Any help or insight is appreciated.

  2. Could I get more info on Functional Ranges for TSH and other tests as opposed to Standard Ranges?

    References I could show my doctor would be great.

    “1. Hypothyroidism caused by pituitary dysfunction”
    “With this pattern, you’ll have hypothyroid symptoms and a TSH below the functional range (1.8 – 3.0) but within the standard range (0.5 – 5.0).”

  3. Hello, a first time poster here, and posting from the UK.
    I have a number of symptoms that have worsened over a period of 9 years, mostly the feeling of being incredibly cold.
    The first time I noticed was in the middle of the night when my flesh seemed unusually cold. I have now come to accept this as its become a permanent condition. My hands, legs and face get unbelievably cold!
    In addition tests have shown a number of times that my white blood-cell count is very low but TSH levels are normal.
    Other symptoms include extreme fatigue – I literally have to sleep there and then sometimes – Joint pains, and itching, similar to those symptoms listed as candida overgrowth, is there any link? And does anybody else feel so cold that they can feel the warmth of another person from 4 or 5 inches away! And have to sleep with four layers of clothes on, and have to have the heating on so high that everyone else finds it unbearable?
    I would like to hear if anyone has similar symptoms or know of a UK based doctor that might know

    • Hi john,

      Not sure if it’s related but I also experience cold hands feet and nose etc. I have people comment when I shake their hands that I’m freezing. Doesn’t matter if I rug up or not. I seem to have an intolerance to the cold & really love the heat. I don’t sweat much at all either. When I exercise nor if I’m in a car with no air con on a 35 degree day.
      I am 26 and I had the right side of my thyroid removed at 20 due to a mass that continued to grow. I am not on any medication and my thyroid levels always come back fine. However over the years I havd suffered depression and anxiety, incredible mood swings at times and am increasingly irritable and emotional at times. NOT FUN! I have gone back to the doctors who are of no help. I am increasingly stressed, am finding it hard to sleep yet am extremely tired ALL the time. I struggle to want to get out of bed in the mornings etc. I’m at all of what to do now. I feel like I’m
      Starting to go crazy and there are no suggestions or help from the doctors. I have also had low white count on numerous occasions but nothing alarming apparently. I am also apparently a little low on iron as of the last few months. (Def doesn’t help). Any suggestions as to what I can walk into the doctors and ask for in the way of testing?

  4. 25 year old female, is lethargy and fatigue. She was small in
    stature and had previously been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. On physical examination she was found to have an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). Blood tests revealed elevated levels of T3, free T4, and TSH, yet she did not exhibit symptoms of hyperthyroidism. What could explain her symptoms?

  5. What would cause Free T4 and FT3 to be elevated? TSH is 2.7. Have been checked for hypo antibodies, but not hyper. What causes the hormone in blood to be high?

    FT4 1.98 (.73-1.95)
    FT3 4.1 (2.3-4.2)
    TSH 2.7

  6. my recent lab results

    i have hashimoto, taking armour, alternating between 60 mg one day, 90 mg the next. my endo will only see me once a year when i get close to my appt they call and cancel, lab worked done twice a year. My issues are not a priority to her but i am at wits end…

    Triiodothyronine, free serum 5.4
    t4, free (direct) 1.11
    tsh .578

    brittle nails/hair, massive hair loss, tired all of the time, depressed, moody, 51 year female. surgical menopause, I gain almost 15 lbs in 5 months, have gone to Paleo eating but slipped back.

    • I have just started the steps and phases to figuring out my problems. So far I have gotten a lot of eat more often and increase my protein intake. However my protein level was 7.4 which is normal. My TSH was a 1.4. I’m 29 years old. Trying to lose weight but I am tired a lot constantly feeling sick. I get lots of headaches primarily in the back of my head the occipital region primarily. I feel like they are just saying well I don’t see anything wrong so do xyz and come back in so many months.

    • I am 50 in surgical menopause ovaries removed have numerous symtoms related to thyroid issues however blood not showing it I can’t take antidepressants tried various ones only to feel dopey and out of it how do I get someone to listen to me???

  7. Hi, been having some issues for awhile now. Had an ultra sound done on my neck which revealed nodules on my thyroid. Went and got my levels tested and they came back with my TSH=3.45 (considered normal) and my Free T4=1.14 (no idea what is considered “normal”) and I asked to have my Free T3 tested but guess they didn’t do that. I don’t feel good and haven’t for awhile now but am being told I’m “NORMAL” any advice??? Thanks in advance.

  8. I’ve been dealing with hair loss by the fistful, fatigue, and constipation as my main “hypothyroid” symptoms. TSH has been normal however. Recently saw a new doctor and he ordered an anti-thyroid antibody level which was way high (254, normal <9). But…my TSH and T4 are still normal. Any thoughts?

  9. This has been happening to me for over 2 years. My symptoms are: weigh gain and the inability to lose weight,fatigued,exhausted,lethargic(all during the day), moody,irritable, achy body,sleeping problems,thinning hair and my periods are now heavier and lasting longer than usual with continuous cramping. I’ve had 2 full panel blood tests done in 2 years by different doctors. All results come out normal. Yet I know theres something wrong. It’s a nagging feeling that it’s my thyroid. My grandmother had a slow thyroid. My doctor acknowledges that I look tired and my weight is not changing, but wont do anything. What can I do???

    • Christina, this is so very similar to what has been happening to me for years! I have changed doctors a few times, and each one, despite me listing off all of my symptoms, and having many people willing to vouche for my low energy, moodiness, and unfortunate weight gain, keep telling me that my tests are normal. I contacted the endocrynology department at the hospital in my area, and they will not see me unless my tests from my primary indicate there is a problem.. I feel like I have hit a brick wall. Why is it so hard to get the care we KNOW we need? Have you had any sucess with this since you have posted on here?

      • I’ve had the same issues plus constantly feeling cold..even my fingers turn purple..Dr’s answer was to lump it as Fibromyalgia with no treatment. .I know it’s my thyroid but they will not run the extra test which is the one that caught my mom’s. .it’s hard not being listened to!

    • Hi All…

      When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s syndrome (autoimmune hypothyroidism) all my thyroid tests were normal EXCEPT a test called “thyroid antibodies” . This test was extremely out of range and high. Not all doctors test for the thyroid antibodies. Maybe your doctor needs to check this test. If that’s normal and your B12 and Iron levels are fine, I would look into a diet centering on vegetables/fruits/protein.
      hope this helps.

      • Hi Mary. Did they treat you for Hashimotos even tho all other levels were fine? Because I had thyroid antibodies but normal thyroid levels and nothing was done about it. I have so many symptoms I don’t know where to begin. Weight gain (20 lbs) yet I work out 3x a week….minimum. Hair falling out. Can’t sleep. Memory problems. Extreme cold intolerance or heat intolerance, irregular periods, dry skin, can’t get out of bed,mood swings…went thru a period of time where all of my exercise and dieting actually worked and then it stopped working and I started to gain and no matter what I do I can’t lose weight. My body stopped responding and I know his isn’t because I’m 40….which is what I’m told a lot. My face is puffy and my eyes are swollen too. Any suggestions are helpful. I’m frustrated. In tears because of it. Thanks! I need consistency and I’ve been suffering from inconsistency with my system my entire adult life.

  10. Just exhausted every afternoon and sleeping whenever I’m not working. I had recent blood work results: Free T3 Automated .382 (range 222-383); Free T4 Automated at .9 (Range: .8-1.6 and TSH at .19

    Please, any advice is welcome on this. Very low TSH. Should I be taking kelp? I am on Naturethroid, taking 1 to 2 per day.

  11. I just got covered under medicaid in Ohio – I had been without insurance for 25 years. I went for an initial visit to establish a relationship with a PCP, who is a nurse practitioner. I had been taking a number of supplements for about 2 months on a regular basis prior to the visit ( I had been taking them sporadically prior to that). I had also begun a mild exercise routine at the same time. At the time of my visit, I felt great. The PCP and her techs were so amazed at how young I looked (I’m 63, with a BMI of 18.5), that they couldn’t stop talking about it. She ran a blood panel to establish baseline levels for me. My TSH came back 13.48! She wanted to put me on synthroid. I don’t do well on pharmaceuticals as I have MCS due to a chemical injury that caused me to lose my career 25 years ago. I got better through nutrition (26 years vegan), yoga, supplements and B.E.S.T. Chiropractic). I thought the test was wrong. We tested again after 6 weeks (I stopped taking the kelp supplement) and my TSH came down to 9.3. I had requested testing for T4 and T3…they were both right in the middle of normal. She still says I’m Hypo and should take the drug. I had a number of toxic exposures earlier in the fall and lost a dear friend to cancer (this is when I stepped up my health routine as I was depressed and having headaches and nausea from the exposures). Can you help me figure out what’s going on? I’ve been feeling terrible since the results of the first test, but I think it’s due to the stress of not knowing what’s happening.

    • Good that you stopped the kelp; if you happen to have Hashimoto’s the kelp would make things worse. Request the TPO antibodies next time you have bloodwork to see if you may have Hashimotos or not. Also, I would encourage you to hold off on the synthroid until you can better understand your options. Look into NatureThroid, Armour type meds that are natural and supply BOTH T4 and T3; as the synthroid type options only supply one of these. Lastly, if you could go off gluten, that may bring your TSH down even further. I learned alot through Dr Datis Kharrazian’s book, “Why do I still have thyroid symptoms…”. If you do write again, I wonder if you might share about what your “toxic exposures” were. I wish you well!

      • Hi Jeanine,
        Thanks for your comments. My original MCS came from working in Photo Engineering for the government back before digital. I worked with many sensitizing agents including formaldehyde. I became sensitive to all petroleum products and could not tolerate fragrances, etc.
        At that time I was advised to avoid all exposures to petroleum products and spent thousands of dollars on removing synthetic products from my home including the carpets, furniture, cabinets, etc. I lived as a virtual hermit. It took many years to be able to rejoin the modern world and I still had problems with fragrances and fumes from exhaust, lawn chemicals in the neighborhood, etc.
        As I recovered, I (and my husband) became tired of the isolation and since I was better, we became more cavalier about what I let myself be exposed to. Our finances forced us to replace brokens items with less safe products.
        My husband, a musician, asked me to work with him and I became his percussionist and back-up singer 9 years ago and did ok as long as I kept exposures to “incidental” and not constant. After the financial crisis, the music business dropped off drastically and I was forced to return to working a part time job in 2011. I ended up working in sales at a health food store. The daily exposure to fragrances and being required to work with bleach and other cleaning products took it’s toll, but when the owner put in new carpeting, the spring of 2013, I became very ill and I was fired. I do remember at the time, that the last week I worked there I could not stand wearing a turtleneck sweater as it hurt my throat. I did some detoxing and was well enough to continue working as a musician.
        This August I experienced a number of emotional blows, including learning of my dear friend’s diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. We had attended photo school together and she worked for a short while at the same research lab as I had back in the day. She passed in September and I became very depressed. About that time my only sister developed heart problems and as her only sib, she leaned on me for support and advice. She had heart surgery in November and thankfully is recovering.
        In October we found ourselves without a working furnace. We had no option but to heat with space heaters – we had 2 “safe” ones – all metal and they were several years old. At the end of October, I “shrink – wrapped” our house (covered all the windows with the plastic storm windows that you install using a blow dryer). Immediately after this, I experienced slow brain function and slurring of speech (my husband also experienced these same symptoms, but to a lesser degree). The symptoms eased in a few days.
        Winter became harsh (zero at night) early and we had to add 2 new space heaters. This time my husband thought the “Eden pure” infrared style heaters would be more efficient and bought the cheap ones made by Duraflame. This was early November. Soon I started having severe headaches and when I sat near them, became nauseous.
        Still, with all this going on, I tried to feel better and began taking my supplements regularly. I took the following (most of which I have taken for years, but not always every day) starting around mid October: Nutrex spirulina, Luminous by Vitanica for hair, skin and nails, Planetary Herbals Women’s Dong Quai Treasure, Ceramides from Lipowheat, Pau’d Arco Extract, Multidophilus powder, a kelp tablet and one we started using earlier in the year – Enzymatic Therapy Coleus Forskohlii.
        A month later, I was doing well and had no problem carrying PA and instruments and performing 4 sets in an evening. Since we work less in the winter, I resumed a mild exercise routine.
        As I said before, I was doing well when I had my blood drawn, but when I got the totally unexpected results and was told I must take the Synthroid for the rest of my life and have blood work regularly and carry a medical alert card, etc. – All with no indication that anyone at that office had any understanding of my pre existing MCS, I freaked out! Reading that kelp could cause a high TSH, I suggested I stop the kelp and recheck in 6 weeks.
        I know if it’s Hashimotos, the kelp is bad, but I use non iodized sea salt (have for several years – started while working at the health food store) and live in the “goiter belt”, so have few sources of iodine in my diet. There appears to be none listed in the supplements I take either. I was feeling better and my symptoms from the poor air quality in my house were improving when I was on the kelp.
        About 3 weeks into the no kelp, I began to feel really awful. No energy, worse headaches, more sensitive to fragrance and the heaters, brain fog…all the MCS symptoms. I added Ashwaganda and a vegan vitamin D tablet to my supplements at that time.
        I felt a little better (probably the vit. d), but about a week before I was to get my second blood test, I became so nervous and cranked up that my husband couldn’t stand being around me – I couldn’t stand being around me. The night before the test, I couldn’t sleep at all and had to get up and shower in a 52 degree house (the space heaters do not keep temps level, just about 40 or 50 degrees warmer than outside). I was a wreck at my PCP’s office and it got even worse when they took my BP and it was 158 over 82! I have had normal to low BP all my life (110 over 72 my first visit there) and this got me even more upset. They said not to worry as my blood gasses were 99% and a second reading after my blood was drawn showed my BP going down.
        I was told all my symptoms were due to hypo thyroid and my nurse practitioner went so far as to say that that was probably my problem all along, re-diagnosing my MCS as hypo thyroid.
        I told her thyroid issues were ruled out by all the doctors involved back then (I was subjected to endless tests for months and seen by many, many doctors), and since the diagnosing doctors had been hired by the company I worked for, if they could have found a problem that would have relieved my company from liability, they would have not given the diagnosis of MCS and workers comp and my disability insurer would not have certified my claim.
        I was so ill and upset by the time I got home from her office, that I was afraid I’d end up in the emergency room.
        I was weak and nervous for days and felt like I was convalescing from a bad case of the flu. I was weepy and depressed and so worried about my BP that I probably made it worse. I couldn’t stand the Duraflame heater at all. My headache was back with a vengeance. We moved the heater to the basement and put the safe one back in the living area the next day and for 2 days I took kelp again because I had felt so bad after stopping it, then stopped because I wasn’t sure what to do, Now I’m taking one 125 mg kelp once a week because I know you need iodine to make thyroid hormones.
        I started taking echinacea extract and detoxing with red clover tea and lemon water. I started on homeopathic platinum 30X for my nerves twice a day. The headaches are gone and only return if I go into the basement to do laundry. I am calmer and feeling better, but had another bad day when the med tech called and said they still wanted me on the synthroid despite the latest results (TSH 30% lower, T4 & T3 mid normal).
        The resumption of the MCS symptoms along with the deja vu of weird blood work has me feeling as if I have PTSD. I considered asking for a referral to an endocrinologist, but I don’t think I could stand another trip to any doctor. I really never want to go back and almost wish I had never gone in to start with. BTW – my husband has been having many of these same symptoms and he also has muscle and joint pains, but he’s doing much better than I (he never stopped the kelp). We both eat the same diet and take the same supps (except he takes saw palmetto extract and not the Women’s treasure.
        Sorry to bury you with info….any advice would be a blessing. Thanks

        • Melody,
          Wondering if you have a carbon monoxide alarm. The headaches and nausea getting worse around heaters make me wonder if that may be one of the issues you are experiencing. May be worth checking out the levels in your home.

          • Hi Hailey,
            My space heaters are all electric, so no CO2 is generated. The ones I’m having a problem with are infrared heat with a blower. I’m pretty sure it’s the material they are constructed from that’s causing the headaches – some kind of fake wood cabinet. I can’t get any specific info from the manufacturer, but I’m sure they are loaded with flame retardants and a ton of VOC’s.

            My electric heaters with quartz heating elements and all metal housing don’t bother me at all…of course they don’t make them anymore, which is how I ended up with the toxic ones…Thank God spring is nearly here!

            BTW – Some flame retardants – Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), have been linked to hyperthyroidism in cats. PBDS have been mostly phased out in this country, but my space heaters were manufactured in China, so there’s no telling what may be in them…I’m praying it’s not PBDE, I’ve had 3 cats with hyperthyroidism over the years and while surgery, radiation and Tapazol (we’ve tried all 3 methods) extend their lives, it’s never easy and ultimately not a good end. I’m really worried about my cat babies that have been exposed to these heaters this winter…

            • Fake wood often has formaldehyde in it, in operation it will give this off. Replace with solid wood if possible.

      • Hi, I have Hashimotos. I was taking 120 of Armour and my TSH was way too high (which means not getting enough) and I felt like crud my free t3 was low. So he upped to 180 and my free t4 was a little bit above low normal and free t3 mid range which is perfect. when he tested me TSH was too low (which supposedly means it’s hyper) had no symptoms. Nails were growing again, energy etc. Now, TSH is climbing up to normal range, and free t3 is starting to lower but still in normal range but hair is falling out, nails are gone, weight is coming on because it’s all fluid, and not regular bm’s anymore either. I say to my doc forget about TSH let’s look at the free t3 and free t4 that’s the hormones that’s available for use. Will they listen? nope. I can’t take just synthroid because it doesn’t convert and my free t4 gets way high, tsh too high and t3 too low. going on for 20+ years now.

      • I checked back with my PCP about possible iodine deficiency. She said I should try going back on kelp and use iodized salt and we can retest in a couple of months to see what effect that has on my TSH. I’ve been back on kelp – 225 mcg a day – for a week and feel really good despite the poor air quality in my house.

        This article from the website of a respected throat surgeon in my area may be of interest: http://www.daytonent.com/articles/iodine.asp

        As far as Armour and other “natural” thyroid meds go…they are made from factory farmed animals that are pumped full of antibiotics and fed GMO corn…


    • Melody,
      In case you’re still reading this, you don’t have to take a synthetic thyroid replacement like Synthroid or Levothyroxin. Armor Thyroid and Nature Throid are naturally dessicated thyroid hormones. Because it is animal based, this might be a problem if you are vegetarian, but worth looking into if you are concerned about synthetic drugs. Many people find them to work better than synthetic replacements.

      • Thanks for your comments Chris,
        Right now I’m experiencing no hypothyroid symptoms. I have all my hair and eyebrows, weigh my normal (for me) 99 pounds, have a good energy level, my brain is functioning well (I’m back to working NYT crossword puzzles and have my math skills back) and have no headaches as long as I stay away from the VOC’s that have caused me headaches since my occupational chemical injury.
        I still am sceptical as to the necessity of medication for me. I feel that something else (something in my environment or perhaps one or more of the supplements I take) is giving a false TSH reading. I really feel that medicine by numbers is a big mistake and a product of sloppy medical practice.
        I am relying on natural healing and prayer, as God is in charge of us all. Should my path lead to eventual medication, I will consider my options and ask the Most High for guidance.
        My veganism is a deeply rooted product of my faith and for that reason alone I doubt that Armor or other medications made from the suffering and slaughter of living creatures will be my choice. I spent 5 years living on my ex-father-in-law’s family hog farm 40 years ago and experienced first hand the brutality of animal farming. Modern factory farming of animals is even more horrific.
        Even from a health perspective, I feel these medications are not ultimately good for your overall health, as they are made from animals that are pumped full of antibiotics and fed GMO corn. How much of this ends up concentrated in the endocrine glands of the animals is not revealed by the manufacturer.
        I understand that sometimes there is no choice, as when your thyroid can no longer produce enough hormone, or the thyroid has been removed. If this is what I must ultimately face, then I will have to make peace with God’s plan for me.

      • I have concern that we continue to use animals for our own health care issues. Women have been using premarin (natural estrogen) for menopausal ax’s. Unfortunately female horses are kept penned and pregnant to harvest this estrogen so that middle-aged women can avoid hot flashes and mood swings. And now we are talking about Armour/dessicated pig thyroid to improve our own condition. On top of all this we are building synthetic medications causing numerous side effects..i.e. viagra and other ED meds to men and now women who just need to improve their general health through diet and exercise in order to improve their sexual health. So I don’t know the answer. But seems we should be relying less on animals and more on our own resources (diet and exercise and clean living).

  12. My wife. Is recently suffering of dizziness ,increased heart beat rate ,numbness and we consulted a doctor and the doctor asked for blood tests and the results came with the a TSH=4.58.
    The doctor then asked for a full thyroid panel and an ultrasound scan
    the results of the tests are : TSH = 4.83 where the upper lab limit is 4.9
    T4 2.64 and T3 is 1.57
    Meanwhile the ultra sound is showing some calcification
    We are completely confused
    Can you please tel us what do these results mean

  13. great info.
    question: i have THE worst insurance (medi-cal) and not a lot of money. i asked my pcp for a full thyroid panel and showed him what i wanted tested and he said yeah yeah yeah and only tested my TSH. which came back normal (1.5). i have just about every symptom of hypothyroidism (cold hands, yellow hands, fatigue, brain fog, depression/anxiety, inability to lose weight no matter what i eat or how i exercise, high cholesterol, achy muscles, neck pain…etc.)
    any advice for how i can get to the root cause of my symptoms and get appropriate medical care with state insurance?

    • I would get a new doctor that doctor sounds like a joke. You need to write down all of your symptoms and that way you can show a good doctor what’s been going on with you. I just got my results back and going to see the endocrinologist this Tuesday and I’ll let u guys know what he says my blood test they say are stable which to me doesn’t mean jack it’s either normal or not. I do have low testostrone which is 332 which is extremely low for a 34-year-old guy the range of 250-1100 is a bunch of bs because it has guys at all age groups which I at the same t as a 80 year old man that’s not good. I think it’s all from the food we eat it’s all full of fillers that the body can’t use that’s why everyone is having thyroid problems. The thyroid is like one big ass computer and if one little thing is off the whole computer doesn’t run right that came straight from my endocrinologist that I am seeing. A lot of this could be your parathyroid check out parathyroid.com and read the testimonies from the people. Keep me filled in as I will too.

    • You need to get the full thyroid panel done. Unfortunately from your doctor’s attitude, you may need to go to a different doctor to get it done. That’s what happened to me. TSH was fine but all the other hormones were way off.

      Sam, the parathyroid site seems like they just want to do surgery to remove your parathyroids without understanding what’s wrong with them before removal. Its very risky to take out an organ because you cannot put it back if it’s discovered to be OK after the surgery.

  14. I am 32 i have 4 kids. I was tested a over a year ago. my results came back normal since then I have be on 4 different antidepressants none of them work. these are my symptoms
    -thinning hair, dry skin, cold all the time, foggy brain, dizziness, i could sleep all day, diagnosed with RLS, everyone gets on my nerves. my doctor said that was anxiety, weight gain, no apatite, and i have what looks like a goiter. my voice is hoarse all day. i am depressed but i think its because i feel like **** i am 5ft. my normal weight is 105 and i now weigh 120. i cant even do the dishes without feeling exhausted. I am going to the doctor tomorrow. i cant afford to go to a specialist without a referral.

    • Same situation, I have had lab work done 3 times and all have been normal, yet I was given antidepressants, stomach mediation for my constipation and heartburn, pain medication for body aches and migraines. I have all the same symptoms you have. I am 34 and have 3 kids. I’m 5′ and my weight ranges between 125lbs to 140lbs. I gain weight extremely quickly and suddenly loose weight. I have been told I was normal and just stressed by doctors. Please post any additional information regarding your diagnosis so I can get help thank you.

  15. I had Graves disease (hyperthyroid) about 12 years ago. I had the radioactive iodine treatment which put me in a hypothyroid state. At that point, I started taking levothyroxime, 110 mcg. I always had trouble with muscular pain and could not climb stairs. My doctor lowered me to 88 mcg about 2 years ago and since then, have severe tendinitis, rotatar cuff tear and carpal tunnel syndrome. I cannot find a doctor to treat me. She just raised my meds to 100 mcg but all the research points to low T3. I cannot get a doctor to listen to me.

  16. Please any of you who are expericening these crazy sypmtoms please post your symptoms. Here are mine any of these sound like any of you? If I find a cure to the problem I will definitely post it here for you others to see. How I feel

    Feel bruning all through my body

    Feel weak and tired

    My body is trembling with hot flashes and cold chills

    Nervousiness out of no where

    Pain in my left chest area down into my stertruim

    Blurr vision and off balance feeling

    Feels like I am out of control of myself not really knowing whats going on around me and can’t focus.

    Pain in my left shoulder area and pain in my mid left side of my back like a knot been there for at least three years.

    Feel my heart racing at times.

    Get heart papalutions at times.

    Weird feelings in my lower jaw bone and in the middle of my chin

    Anexity comes and goes with all of these symptoms.

    Every now and than I’ll get a dull to sharpe pain in my right lower side.

    Get lightheaded and feels like I am going to pass out.

    Feels like my blood sugar is out of wack after I eat feel worst.

    I take a deep breath in and I feel that something is in the left side of my chest at times.

    The whites of my eyes at times get red.

    I gain a lot of weight very fast.

    I change my diet and I lost 8lbs in one and half days.

    Now I am losing weight fast.

    I loss my appetite.

    I get ringing in my ears at times.

    I have high chosteler too.

    I can’t sleep very good now.

    I’ve notice as time goes on whatever is going on is getting worse and after I switch to a healthier diet it really got bad.

    • Hi Sam,

      For a minute there I thought.. ‘Did I post this comment and not remember..?’ Our symptoms are almost identical. With the addition of mental slowing and constipation.

      Even about switching to a healthier diet and getting worse. It is really affecting my life right now. I have had these symptoms for most of my life. I had a naturopath check my levels (and it wasn’t cheap)…she came back saying they were normal and dropped the whole subject, not looking into it at all. My mother has hypo and my father was born with hyper. He now has Hypo…

      So I think definitely have a good chance of having it. I have been dealing with this question of my health for a long time, many years and my symptoms are all spot on with Hypothyroidism. I am sort of hopeful to have it, because this would mean I could have a treatment to sort out my health, finally.

      I am a little nervous about asking my new doctor to look into a different way of diagnosing my hypothyroidism. You know they are a little stubborn when it comes to what we have found on the internet about our sicknesses. Hope it will be well received, I just want to get better.

      I am also having crazy migraines.. but this might be something else. I am not sure that is related.. has anyone heard this?

      I wish you luck with your health. I know exactly how you feel, literally. 🙂

      • Thanks for your input Katie I don’t know exactly what is going on but I will definitley post here when I find out. I pretty much have found out two things wrong with me in the pass one was gallbladder and the other was tontcelis which I had both removed. What I think I am going through is either thyroid or parathyroid problems. You need to get to a good endocrinolist and have him test you I am waiting on ,my blood test results. My SED Rate is slightly elevated which means that their may be some type of inflamation or infections in my body. Have your doctor test your parathyroid by doing a PTH test which will show if your parathyroid is not working right most of the time. I am being tested for ESR, ANA & RA, IRON/FERR, FOLATE, VIT B12, MAGNESIUM, PSA, CK, PTH INTACT, DHEAS, FSH/LH, THYROGLOB, THYRO ANTI, T3 FREE, T4 FREE, CMP W/GFR and CBC W/DIFF. These test should be ran to see where your at and if you never had them demand them. Because you only have one body and one life don’t let anyone take that from you beside God wants a to have a Good Quality of Life. I am not stopping until I have answers that make me feel better. I’ve had doctors tell me that its in my head and say you have anexity issue but I tell them that this gives me anexity and my body is telling me to fix something which is what there job is. Please let me know what you find out I swear this is from our food in the US with all of the fillers in our food which is a population control this is a sad thing. Also check out the parathyroid.com website its amazing how a tumor in your parathyroid can make you feel like this. I am also getting headaches as well.


        • Sam,

          I had my blood tests on Thursday, and just called today to find out the results. I only spoke to the receptionist, but she read that all my levels look ‘normal’. I have scheduled an appointment with my GP for tomorrow, but with the NHS it is a 10 minute session. When I first went to see him, my main concerns were feeling extreme fatigue and migraines among other things. These have gotten worse over the last 3 weeks since I have seen him, I have had a migraine 6 days a week with the 7th being an achey headache. So no relief whatsoever. And am taking ibuprofen, but too much can hurt my system. I cannot do this forever. This feels like it came out of nowhere. How can my levels be normal… with all this pain? Having heart palpitations, limbs falling asleep, constipation and weakness.

          Since I have to report 1 problem at a time to the GP, I am trying to focus on the immediate problem – my migraines and extreme fatigue. I am not sure if this is related to the other thyroid-like symptoms or not.

          It was very frustrating getting this ‘normal’ news. They keep making it seem like it is all in my head. But I haven’t done much work the last few weeks and am falling behind. It is definitely affecting my life.

          I don’t think they tested my PTH, I will find out tomorrow, but if this is not hypothyroid, then this would be something I will look into. They say headaches are a symptom. I had a blood tests taken in America before I left to the UK, my blood calcium level was 10.1. For my age of 21, I understand this is normal, but maybe there is still something there. It is still on the high end.

          I will keep at it with my GP. You are right about the american food. I am glad I got out while I could. I could fee it was starting to affect my system.

          Thanks for the reply.. I am trying to keep my head up. I hope you feel well soon.


      • Me too, I’ve got all those symptoms thyroid tests normal, been told it’s fybromyalgia but I feel so awful all the time, I’ve had fybromyalgia for years but never felt as bad as this.

    • Sam,
      Sounds like scm muscle triggers. Sounds crazy but when you said the weird feeling in your chin I remembered reading about it. Google it and you may have your answer.

    • hi Sam,
      Do you live in the northeast? If nothing turns up with your thyroid, you might want to be checked for lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Definitely go to a better doctor if you are not getting any answers. It could be something else, but your symptoms sound like lyme.

    • Do you take vitamins or other supplements; and, are you taking medication (s)? Have you seen an endochrinologist? You may be experiencing a multi-organ exhaust condition; adrenals, thyroid, and pituitary. What is your diet like? Also, what types of skin/hair/fragrance (latter, if any) care products do you use. Finally, if your diet has been not so good (cookies, cakes, pies, others), you may be experiencing excess parasites and/or candidiasis.

  17. Is there a reason a person would have a low t3-uptake and a low normal t4? And a TSH that ranges from high optimal to 4 and back (basically cycles over the course of a year or two).

  18. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about two months ago and was put on medication. However, instead of feeling better, I’m getting headaches, I’m unable to fall sleep even though I’m tired, feel extremely hot and my skin is clammy. When I saw my PG last week after my blood test came back, she told me that I’m displaying both hypo and hyperthyroidism symptoms. How is that even possible? And where do I go from here?

    • One thing which causes both hyper and hypo is Hashimoto Thyroiditis. Another could actually be some form of carcinoma. Unfortunately, having gone through both and still being incorrectly treated, I couldn’t tell you anything other than see an endocrinologist.

  19. I had some labs done and am looking forward to seeing what is going on next week. For reference, I had a nodule on the right side of my thyroid that they determined was benign, however had the presence of some cells that concerned them, so they took the nodule and half of my thyroid out in early 2013. Though there were symptoms here and there of hypothyroid, they were not significant and whatever tests they did (TSH and T4) came back normal. I was diagnosed with Lyme over the summer (damn New England woods) and was treated successfully for that. Now there has been a sudden onslaught of fatigue, headaches and some weight gain, which I thought may be the Lyme returning, though I had reservations because in addition to these symptoms, my hair fall has been ridiculous. What once was a head of beautiful, thick and shiny hair is now limp, dry and thin. My nails break constantly (never happened before), my skin is terribly dry, I am always cold, my libido is gone (not common for someone my age) and though I eat very healthily, weight gain continues. So I went to the doctor yesterday. She is a great doctor, immediately felt it was thyroid related and ordered a FULL thyroid panel, testing not only TSH and T4, But T3, thyroid binding and also ferratin, iron and B12 levels. Interested to hear how they come back…and what can be done to alleviate all of this.

    • You don’t say your age, but I am turning 60 in a few months. I went to my PCP today to discuss my recent thyroid results and what to do. My TSH and free T4 are OK but total T3 and free T3 are LOW. I asked to try T3 {generic for Cytomel), the lowest dose, added to my 88mcg of levothyroxine (T4) for a month and then retest. My doc finally agreed to let me try. I don’t know if this is the answer for me, but some have said that they feel better on T3 plus T4. My doc does not like Armour or Naturethryroid, etc. I hope it agrees with me and helps to relieve my symptoms which are similar to some of yours. Good luck with your results!

      • I went to doctor after doctor and they kept telling me my numbers were fine. Finally I found an endocrinologist who looked at my blood results for 5 seconds and said my T3 was low. He put me on Cytomel, in addition to my Synthroid and it was an absolute miracle! I feel normal. My symptoms disappeared and all is right with the world! I’ve been taking the combination for about 4 years now with no adverse effects. I hope it works for you! Good luck.

        • Diana can you please share your numbers with us so that we and I can compare it to the numbers that we have this way it may help us to know what path to go down. Also what kind of test that you had done please.


        • Do you still have your thyroid and can you please share the symptoms that you were experincing?


        • Hi! I have been taking Synthroid .075mg 4 days/week and Synthroid.05mg 3 days/week. My t- 4 is testing within the “normal” range and my t-3 is low. I have been seeing an endrocronologist for 10 years now and have always taken Levothyroid . With the advise of my General Practitioner I am just starting to take Liothyronine 5 mg 2 x day and levothyroxine 50 mcg 1 x/day. She feels that since my t-3 is testing below 30 that I should “up” the t-3 and I should feel better. I am having all of the symptoms mentioned in the previous post – the fog, tingling, headaches, exhaustion, blurred vision, nervousness, irregular heart beat/palpitations, etc. I basically feel miserable! Can’t wait to see if adding the t-3 will help!!! I am 60 years old and in generally good health.

    • Im have the same issues had test run and everything is normal been put on all kinds of antidepressants but massive weight gain my voice is horse my hair is so dry i itch everywhere but still doctor says nothings wrong

  20. Just got my lab results back but haven’t talked to my doc (PCP) yet, with an Rx for Synthroid (levothyroxine) that I have been taking for 18 years since being diagnosed as hypothyroid at age 41 after my second and last child. I have been on 88mcg for a year. My TSH was 1.743, my Free T4 was 1.25, my Free T3 2.4 (range is 2.3-4.2), and my Total T3 was 57.6 (range is 60-161) so it is LOW. Should I ask for an Rx for Cytomel? (Is that T3?) Does this mean that I may not be converting T4 to T3 or that T3 is not being used by my cells? Is this something that will harm my other organs in the future if not addressed? Thanks for any answers. I love reading this forum.