Thyroid Disease – What Are Normal Thyroid Hormone Levels?

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Reviewed March 2016

Thyroid disease. Kind of been in the news recently, and a lot of women are diagnosed with thyroid disorders. It tends to run in families.  But ways of being in the world and diets and so on also run in families and that’s why diseases run in families. Anyway, thyroid disease masks as all kinds of things, being tired, having your hair fall out, having the outer portion of your eyebrows fall out and so on. And unfortunately, it’s often diagnosed incorrectly.

So if you think you might have thyroid disease as PMS or weight gain or this sort of thing, you want to get some blood tests drawn.  And here’s the tests you want. You want a TSH, a thyroid-stimulating hormone, a T3 and a T4.  Now, T3 is the type of thyroid hormone that is the most biologically active. Unfortunately, almost all women who are given thyroid hormone are given Synthroid, that’s synthetic T4.  Unfortunately, some women have what’s called Wilson’s syndrome, where they cannot make the conversions of T4 to T3.  So the T4 doesn’t work.

So if you’re one of those, and I know some of you are listening to this, then you want to ask your health care provider to prescribe a combination of T3 and T4, which is called Nature-Throid. I don’t know that Armour Thyroid is still in business. Armour Thyroid was used for years and years. Nature-Throid is a combination of T3 and T4.  Or you can use T3 in the form of Cytomel with a little T4 in the form of Synthroid.  That’s assuming you’re already on thyroid medication.

What if you’re not?  Okay, you get your TSH drawn. The TSH should be 2.5 or lower.  And unfortunately, many of the laboratory indices are using upper limits of normal and lower limits of normal that are far too high. Every year the endocrinology departments know that it should go a little bit lower. So now, anywhere between 2.5 and 3 is the limit, as high as it should be. So ask your health care provider to show you your level. Do not just accept it’s normal. You want to see the level. And if it’s above 3 or maybe even above 2.5, chances are very good that you could use a little bit of thyroid hormone. And again, it should be a combination of T3 and T4. (Update: Current TSH recommendation is 1.8 to 3.)

Now, those people who get on enough iodine often find that that’s all they need.  They don’t, in fact, need any additional thyroid hormone and you can get iodine on the Internet in the form of Iodoral, I-o-d-o-r-a-l, or you can simply paint tincture of iodine on your skin.  That’s going to be kind of messy, so most of you will want to take a supplement.  Or you can take some kind of sea vegetable containing iodine in the form of kelp or Modifilan, M-o-d-i-f-i-l-a-n, available over the Internet.


Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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