Thyroid Results

My wife just got the results from a thyroid test. Here they are: T3 uptake = 23L, Thyroxine = 11.8, T7 Calculation = 2.7.

The doctor said she was “low” but didn’t offer to put her on T3 or anything. She’s has a tough time losing weight despite eating a good diet, so we thought it may be a thyroid problem. Questions: Is this low enough to get a script? (The doc wasn’t in when she went to get her reults.) How much should she use and for how long? I have Cytomel already, 50mg tablets, but I’m hesitant to just start giving them to my wife. Any help from the experts would be appreciated.

As with many medical tests, a reported level cannot be evaluated without also having the reference range and reference normal reported by that laboratory. Assay methods differ.

For example, a typical “normal range” for total thyroxine is 5-10 ug/dL (a value I see in a book in my office.) Your wife had a reading higher than this top range, but the person who interpreted it for you told you it was low. They may have been right: perhaps the normal range for the lab used is 10-20, or 15-30, or who knows what. I cannot guess and so cannot interpret her reading.

Also, one wants to have more than one measurement taken.

If you are interested in self-medication, 12.5 ug/day appears quite harmless, and is beneficial to fat loss even where thyroid is normal.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. But, I have studied this thyroid stuff for over 25 years, since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Also, I develop software for diagnostic equipment, machines that make those measurements. Enough about my background.

Run, don’t walk, to a doctor that went to school at least in the 1900’s! Okay, I exaggerated a little. In north America, T3U is pretty much only ordered as part of a complete panel of thyroid tests. And T7 is a term that hasn’t been used in 25-30 years.
The T3U is a smidgen low as indicated by the L, the thyroxine is near the high end of “normal”. To this layman, those are contradictory values. Get your wife to an endocrinologist. And NO, don’t attempt to self medicate with that cytomel. Good luck, my guess is your wife doesn’t have a thyroid problem.

For what is worth I’d like to give you a little insight in the field of equines. First and foremost I wouldn’t attempt to take your wife’s matter into your own hands. The reason your doctor isn’t perscribing medication may be because your wife doesn’t need it.

In the equine industry thyroid replacement has become IMO a major epidemic. Walk down any racing shedrow and I guarantee you’ll see the stables lined with Thyro-L. There are more horses than ever on thyroid replacement and most don’t need it. Several reasons. One is the tests that are run are not adequate. Only TSH can tell you if the level of circulating hormone is too low. If it is TSh will be elevated even without any major changes in T4/T3. Most T4/T3 (about 95%) in the blood is bound to the carrier proteins - albumin and thyroid binding globulin. If the level of protein is low or busy elsewhere then total T4 and/or T3 may read low but function is normal. It is the free T4/T3 that count here, not the bound protein. These usually aren’t checked for though.

My concern is that some horses come to depend on medication because their tyroid is unable to function on it’s own.-

Listen to Bill. I would trust him far more anyone here, no offense kandi.

Yes, the situation is that if thyroid replacement therapy really is NEEDED – there
is a serious problem – your doctor will determine that from the tests. The exact
replacement dose is something for him or her
to determine and is fairly sensitive.

There are also cases where a person doesn’t
have a frank deficiency that absolutely needs treatment, yet some light supplementation would be of benefit. Just not a health necessity.
Most doctors will allow the somewhat low condition (if that’s the case) simply to continue without treatment, if they see
no medical necessity to replacement therapy.
In these cases, if you want improvement,
self-medication is the only choice, unless
you have a doctor who is more progressive than
most and thinks in terms of opimizing your health rather than only correcting frank deficiency or disease states. The 12.5 mcg dose is safe in my observation.

MJL - No offense taken.

Paul - I do agree with Bill Roberts. No mentioned in my post yesterday where many cases of horses who respond well to treatment. One group whose thyroid function test showed they were NOT hypothyroid responded extremely well to thyroid treatment. Another group whose test indicated T4/T3 and TSH were normal, but showed every symptom of hypothyroid were also put on treatment. Again they too responded extremely well. Why? Several reasons and as I stated earlier. The tests are inadequate and most vets don’t check for the free T4/T3.

Thanks, Bill, and everyone else. The doc she went to was so inadequate he told her the key to weight loss was to eat only two meals a day. So I wasn’t sure if I should trust his advice about not putting her on thyroid. We may try the 12.5 protocol.