T Nation

Interpretation of Lab Results


I recently got blood work done and although I can look up ranges, it doesn't tell me how things are at least in terms of the bodybuilding sense. For instance my total test levels are "normal" but being 20 years old I know most would say around 800+ would be better/optimal.

I do not know the equivalent with free test though. Relative compared to the ranges I see it seems better but basically what do you guys think of the level of free test, and in terms of how good it is what level of total test would it compare to, if thats possible to answer?

TSH thrown in there too, how does that look?

Total Test: 454 ng/dl
Free Test: 97.2 pg/ml
TSH: 3.05 mIU/L

For the record I am not on any steroids, and never have been, but I figure you guys are the most knowledgable on the subject. Thanks a lot


any symptoms or problems?

yes, your TSH looks high and IF you have symptoms/issues, you may want to consider testing FT3, FT4, RT3, 8am cortisol, and ferritin.


I do not have any "symptoms" other than just not putting on muscle/strength as fast as I'd like and putting on fat very easily (I was fat when I was younger and put on fat very easily now). I think I saw something saying the top range for TSH was 3.0 or so but in the lab results I got my levels were in the middle-upper range, not near the top.

As for the testosterone levels the ranges given for this lab were 250-1100 for total test and 35-155 for free test. Mainly I'm wondering how my free test is in the bodybuilding sense


Your T results fine...this forum is best utilized for those with actual medical issues...not those that just aren't satisfied with how purty they look in their underoos...


i see you're point. I do get tired more often than most people my age seem to but idk if that would be a real symptom. When you say "fine" though...well what would be optimal? this forum does seem to talk about how people feel better with total test in the upper range, like 800+, so what would be the equivalent for free test levels?


once you start messing with your hormones, you open the flood gate to a whole new set of issues/problems/complications - and so if you can, you should avoid tinkering with your levels because one thing leads to another and you can easily end up in a never-ending quest for "perfection".

the ideal TSH is 0.5 to 1.0... so yes, your levels are elevated, and may warrant additional testing that I mentioned above.

what is your waking body temp? what is your body temp at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm? (if the avg is under 98.6, then that supports hypothyroidism.)


Wouldn't elevated levels of TSH mean hyPERthyroidism? I can't imagine that considering how easily I put fat on. I've gained 4lb in the last 2 weeks at 2400 calories lol, which is unusual even for me. Unfortunately I do not have the lab results in front of me but isn't what's considered "normal" dependent on the lab? As i mentioned the lab had the normal range being something where my levels were slightly above the middle of the range.

What about free test levels? thats the main thing I was wondering

Thanks again


high TSH = your body isn't using or detecting your free T3 so it is sending a stronger signal (by producing more TSH) to the thyroid to produce more T4 to convert to T3.

stopthethyroidmadness.com is a great thyroid site. check out the what we have learned section.

lab ranges = garbage for the most part.
TSH > 1 indicates a possible problem
body temps under 98.6 on average indicates a possible problem.
inability to maintain body weight while moderate dieting indicates a possible problem.

testing for Free T4, FT3, RT3, 8am cortisol, and ferritin will give you a much better picture of where things stand and if this is an issue you should be concerned about.


Wow thanks man, I didn't know that about TSH. I've always tried to just ignore the fact that I put on fat ridiculously easy but I guess a hormonal problem makes sense. I have tracked temp in the past before during my cuts. Over a 4 day period taken multiple times each day my avg temp came out to be 97.3 (as low as 96.1 and as high as 98.4). I thought some people "just ran low", but I guess thats because they have low thyroid? or do some people have normal thyroids and still run a slightly low temp?

Also if I am producing a really high level of TSH (3x normal?) couldn't that mean that its doing what it should and since it's so high there is more T4 produced to go to T3, it's just taking more of a stimulus?

Having said all that, even if it does come back that there is a problem, is there really anything I can do about it? From what I understand most people would recommend just dealing with the low thyroid if it hasn't been a huge problem rather than messing around with hormones.
Thanks for all the info man, I'll check out that site too.


unfortunately I don't know where my lab results are but I have another lab from 1 year ago saying my Ferritin levels were 91ng/mL with the range being 10-105

glucose (probably irrelevant) from this last time, fasted, was 79 with the range being 65-99


I believe that it indicates hypothyroidism, but most docs just dismiss it. temperature can be influenced by a large number of things, but seems to coorelate primarily with thyroid/adrenals.

have you read the stopthethyroidmadness site? you should also read thyroid-rt3.com, they have some great tidbits there as well.

yes, there are several steps you can take (per those two sites), but you first need more blood tests to confirm.

Some do good taking selenium and iodine. your ferritin looks pretty good.


I spent a few hours reading the stopthethyroidmadness site, interesting stuff but i'm hesistant with it being a life time thing. To be honest with you the 2 benefits I'd be looking for by taking thyroid meds would be 1. to be less tired throughout the day and 2. to get better bodybuilding-related results, particularly to not put on fat so easily. Not sure how much thyroid meds would personally help me with that. With my ferritin being good I'm also not sure if I am hypothyroid because I read low ferritin is a good indicator for it, but theres still a lot I don't know about it. Any thoughts?

and yea I guess I should get some more stuff tested


if you have symptoms that are impacted your quality of life and have moderate-to-good insurance, then I would recommend additional testing... although be prepared to get major push back from your doctor... if so keep pushing symptoms and that the tests are simply to rule out that possibility (or confirm it).

and yes, thyroid treatment is lifelong... but if you have a medical issue simply ignoring it is not going to make it go away... and what are the chances that it will get worse over time?