Thyroid UK
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New Miller School Study Points to Importance of Overlooked Hormone Indicator in Thyroid Health

"Bianco noted that clinicians today, following guidelines set by the American Thyroid Association, use TSH and T4 levels in the blood as the key indicators of thyroid health of hypothyroid patients treated with levothyroxine. “Only rarely will physicians obtain T3 levels directly in the diagnosis or treatment of hypothyroid patients,” he said.

But Bianco believes that paying closer attention to plasma T3 could lead to better quality of life for patients with lower-functioning thyroids – a finding supported by his previous studies, as well as work by other researchers. Bianco believes a focus on plasma T3 as a diagnostic indicator could also stimulate pharmaceutical companies to develop better drug delivery systems to normalize plasma levels of T3. This will be one of the topics discussed at the American Thyroid Association Spring Symposium and Research Summit 2013 to be held April 25-26 in Washington, D.C. The conference is co-chaired by Bianco, with the overall theme of “Treatment of Hypothyroidism: Exploring the Possibilities.” "

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I've just been looking at this article and was about to post myself lol

Very interesting and nice to know research is being done! I wish it gave more details though and a link to the actual paper maybe.

Thanks for posting :)


This is the paper. PR


Oooh, thanks :)


Forgot to add that Rod posted this just a few days ago, sorry Rod. PR


Great - hope they make lots of progress at the Spring Symposium - look forward to reading about that soon.


Thanks Shambles and Rod.

That seems like an incredibly important paper, and a pretty definitive answer to a long standing question as to the role of TSH in determining correct dosage of T3.

If i have it right it seems to point out (based on previous research) that plasma (blood) T3 levels are the critical indicator of proper thyroid replacement, but more to the point it also seems to drive another very large nail into the coffin of the view that TSH is a suitable indicator for use in the management of this.

In that it seems to say that while TRH and TSH are involved in the regulation of blood levels of T4 (i.e. control of the production of the precursor hormone by the thyroid) that they do not regulate the levels of plasma T3. (presumably how much of that T4 is converted to T3 and used)

Plasma T3 levels it seems are regulated by other means. They found that inactivating an enzyme in the pituitary that produced major changes in TRH, TSH and T4 did not affect T3 levels in the plasma.

This is me extrapolating - but if the regulatory systems (for T4 and conversion to T3) are separate then that surely confirms that it's possible to have perfect blood TSH and T4 levels, but to be heavily hypothyroid due to problems in the other system.

This seems to have been my own case for many years, and is likely the case for many of those being told their thyroid is 'normal' based on the stock TSH/T4 blood test. The research used specially bred mice, but the results presumably are applicable.

It seems like your doctor might as well look out the window to check the weathercock on the roof of the house next door and use the result to diagnose whether or not you are hypo as use the T4/TSH blood test to check whether or not your replacement is correct.

Another interesting implication may be that if TSH is useless as an indicator of what's happening then management of dosage by symptoms and/or the testing of blood plasma levels of T3 are the available options to determine correct replacement.

Sounds like it might be wise to be cautious about using blood plasma levels to decide the correct dosage of T3 too. (at least not unless the test circumstances were very closely controlled) I think it was you Rod, but there was a UK paper linked not so long ago here that tracked plasma T3 levels through the day and the night.

It seemed (if i have it right) to conclude that the levels of blood T3 varied quite widely during this period, and that there was a definite 24hr cycle - that they ramped up quite a lot in the evening and at night. (perhaps to assist recovery?)

It seems by this (and by experience) that the timing of the amounts of T3 we take is not the only factor that determines blood levels/the profile of this cycle. (?) The body (?) presumably has other means by which it can store T3 (the bound version?) and then release it in an active form for use when needed throughout this 24hr cycle....


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Thanks everyone for this article -very very intersting. Let's hope it is listened too by the medics! And it confirms for me that spreading out my NDT including a before bedtime and early morning dose is a goodway to go. Always good to read research backing up your approach to self management of thyroid replacment. :)

Are we able to put this in thyroid uk archives for research info?.....would be good to keep hold of this

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