Number One

“My thyroid function is normal now I’m on thyroxine.” Right, but you still have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, cannot shift that weight and you still don’t have daily bowel movements. I see so many people whose hypothyroid symptoms persist despite taking thyroxine. The problem is not solved. Over time, symptoms get worse and sometimes people go on to develop depression and adrenal issues – all because their thyroid function hasn’t been properly restored. If you are on thyroxine and you still have all the typical symptoms of hypothyroidism then you might need a more sensitive test. One that looks at all the thyroid hormones as well as other important factors like iodine and selenium deficiency and antibodies.

Number Two

“My GP tested my blood and I don’t have a thyroid problem.” I suspect thyroid disease is one of the biggest undiagnosed conditions in the UK. This is because doctor’s are trained to test TSH levels. This is not a sensitive measure of thyroid function. Also, the range that GP’s consider normal is pretty large. So you think your thyroid is fine, your GP thinks your thyroid is fine and you might be sent of with a prescription for anti-depressants instead.

Number Three

“Iodine is like poison to your thyroid!” Some people are pretty scared of supplementing iodine when they have thyroid issues. Scare stories of iodine damaging the thyroid gland lave people scared to eat seaweed! I think this fear stems from the use of radioactive iodine to slow a hyperactive thyroid. The reason iodine is used in this instance is because the thyroid gland has an affinity for iodine, so it pulls it into the cells to utilise it. However, it is radioactive – and that is what kills the cells and slows down thyroid function. The iodine your thyroid gland is crying out for and the type we use in clinic is NOT radioactive. A primary cause of hypothyroidism is a lack of iodine and selenium steering away from it will only compromise thyroid function further still.

The test I recommend to patients wanting to take a closer look at their thyroid function is this one by Invivo Clinical – Thyroid Comprehensive Profile with Elements. It looks at TSH, Free T4, Total T4, Free T3, TPO antibodies, Thyroglobulin, Iodine, Bromine, Selenium, Arsenic all from a bloodspot and urine test done via post. It costs around £205.