The thyroid is one of the most important areas to look at to improve your energy and overall health. Our testing measures the full panel of thyroid markers, giving you a complete picture of your thyroid function and it’s role in other health complaints.
Please note that Thyroid Testing is only available as part of our consultation package. Tests are required to help our nutrition experts support you in getting to the root cause of your health concerns.
Thyroid is a vital endocrine gland that affects many aspects of our metabolism.
According to the British Thyroid Foundation, 1 in 20 people in the UK suffers from thyroid disorders. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story as thyroid disorders often go undiagnosed.
Identifying thyroid dysfunction early is crucial as it may help safeguard against the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression. Thyroid hormones also play central metabolic roles in sexual and reproductive health in both women and men.
How do I get my thyroid checked in the UK?
An important part of recognising and treating thyroid dysfunction is early diagnosis as there is so much that can be done before the patient reaches diseased state.
The standard medical approach often forgets that the treatment should be individualised to each patient rather than putting everyone in the same box. As thyroid dysfunction is such a multifactorial disease and has many factors contributing to it, it is vital that all pathways and body systems are explored and that we work upstream to find the cause.
The standard blood test available on the NHS currently looks at one, possibly two markers. One is TSH and the other one is T4. Testing for such a limited number of markers often leads to under-diagnosis or misdiagnosis and the patient often walks away thinking their thyroid function is fine. Additionally, they may be given statins to control their cholesterol or antidepressant to correct low mood, both of which are strongly associated with thyroid dysfunction.
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.
Here are 5 major thyroid patterns that won’t show up on standard medical tests:
1. Hypothyroidism caused by pituitary dysfunction. This pattern is often caused by elevated cortisol, active infection, blood sugar imbalance and chronic stress. It means that the pituitary gland sends the incorrect messages to the thyroid.
2. Under-conversion of T4 to T3. This common pattern is often caused by inflammation and stress but can also be caused by nutrient insufficiency.
3. Hypothyroidism caused by TBG. Thyroid binding globulin is the protein that transports thyroid hormone through the blood. When the thyroid hormone is bound to TBG, it is inactive and unavailable to the tissues.
4. Hypothyroidism caused by decreased TBG. This is the mirror image of the pattern above. It’s caused by increased levels of testosterone. In women, often associated with Polycystic ovarian syndrome and/or insulin resistance.
5. Thyroid resistance. In this pattern, both thyroid and pituitary glands are functioning normally but the hormone can’t get to cells where they are needed. This pattern is usually associated with chronic stress, high cortisol and homocysteine. All markers will be presented as normal.
At the London Clinic of Nutrition, we take a functional medicine approach and we’ll test for the appropriate thyroid markers and run other blood tests based on your symptoms and history.
What is the best test to check for thyroid problems?
The thyroid gland is vital to the metabolic activity of almost every cell in the body and is extremely sensitive to any change and imbalance, so we must consider a system-wide approach when looking at thyroid function.
A comprehensive functional test for thyroid health should include many markers and elements to assess key patterns. The type of test and the markers being investigated will be based on the patient’s history, triggers and symptoms.
As mentioned above, there are two markers that the NHS routinely tests: TSH and T4. But to fully understand and treat the root cause of thyroid complaints, we often check other markers in your blood:
- T3 is the active part of the thyroid hormone. This test isn’t offered routinely on the NHS.
- Thyroid antibodies: There are many reasons why the body may start producing thyroid antibodies. Once this process starts, the antibodies attack the thyroid and affect its function which ultimately leads to thyroid autoimmunity. These markers include anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies and anti-thyroid globulin antibodies.
- Reverse T3 levels: Reverse T3 mimics T3 in the body but does not perform the same function. It is influenced by high cortisol levels, which can arise from adrenal stress, heavy metal exposure, chronic illness and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Free T3 and T4: This is the only portion of the hormone that exerts its effect at cellular level. It is important to consider this marker and it also gives an indication of sub-clinical manifestations of thyroid dysfunction.
Full thyroid test
When lab results for thyroid function come back as “normal,” it’s easy to assume that everything is functioning well. However, there are several different reasons these results can be misleading. As discussed above a “normal” lab result may not always mean optimal thyroid function. This is where functional medicine offers a much thorough and comprehensive approach and fully investigates this multifactorial and global disease.
Our tests provide a thorough analysis of thyroid gland activity including thyroid production and secretion, thyroid conversion and autoimmunity. The markers measured are: Thyroid- stimulating hormone (TSH), Total thyroxine (T4), free T3, free T4, anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (Anti-TG), anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti – TPO) and Reverse T3.
We can only organise testing following an initial consultation with a practitioner.
Private thyroid-related tests London
At the London Clinic of Nutrition, we take a functional medicine approach to assessing your thyroid health and our practitioners often find that further lab tests can be useful in identifying possible causes and related mechanisms.
Here are some of the tests we may consider during your visit:
1. Gluten sensitivity/Celiac: Several studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroid disease (both Hashimoto’s and Graves’) and gluten intolerance. Strangely, the connection is explained by mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction .
3. Blood sugar and metabolic syndrome. There are several studies suggesting there is a strong correlation between insulin resistance, obesity and poor thyroid function  and therefore investigating and treating blood sugar is an integral part of our approach.
4. Adrenal stress is probably the most common problem we encounter in functional medicine and the thyroid is no exception. Adrenal stress can manifest in many ways, leading to autoimmunity, thyroid resistance, reduced conversion of T4 (non-active) to T3 (active), disruption to the endocrine system.
5. Nutritional status testing. Certain nutrients are often included in a comprehensive thyroid panel.
6. Infection. Viral infections such as Epstein-barr can be a potential trigger for poor thyroid function, so an important consideration whilst investigating thyroid health.
7. Toxicity. Some of the common toxins, particularly heavy metals, are often included in the more comprehensive thyroid tests, as they seem to be key triggers in the development in thyroid disease.
There are a wide range of tests available and only your practitioner will be able to determine the most suitable test for you following an initial consultation. We have a large team of thyroid specialist practitioners who specialise in thyroid health and would be more than happy to help.
Get in touch
Speak to a member of our enquiry team who can assist in matching you with the most suitable practitioner for your needs.
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