Dear Pharmacist: I went through your timeline on Facebook, and learned why I’m still tired and overweight. My physician says my TSH is normal, just like you said he would. Can you discuss hypothyroidism in your column? — G.O., Decatur, Ill.
Answer: There’s an epidemic of tired, overweight folks who don’t know they’re hypothyroid because of improper testing. Some old school physicians are still drawing blood levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) as the sole method to evaluate thyroid function. TSH is incapable of telling you or your doctor what’s happening inside your cells. It’s fine to check as part of a comprehensive profile, but not by itself. People are often told they have “normal” thyroid levels, based upon their “normal” TSH. TSH is a brain hormone and has nothing to do with intracellular (mitochondrial) levels of active thyroid hormone called “T3.” You see, TSH may very well be normal, while T3, (the hormone you want) is desperately low. You will hold on to weight, have dry skin, suffer with hair loss, fatigue, muscle aches, arrhythmias, depression, forgetfulness, anxiety and low libido. Regardless of your misery, you may still be told you’re OK, because your TSH is OK. Big mistake! Huge!
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