lab testing, diagnostics, thyroid labs, misdiagnosis, thyroid disease, thyroid health, women's health

The 4 Most Common Lab Testing Pitfalls We See Blocking Thyroid Health


Is your doctor running dozens of labs, yet your thyroid is not regulating, you’re not shedding the body fat, and you are still feeling terrible? Unfortunately, you’re not alone.

It’s heart breaking to us when a woman we’re consulting sends us a battery of lab assessments her practitioners have run, in many cases dozens over a few years, costing her thousands of dollars, valuable time and a lot of energy she doesn’t have to spare. Yet she’s still hypothyroid, continuing to gain weight, physically drained and emotionally frustrated.

It’s even more heart wrenching when we have to tell her that most of the labs that have been recommended to her by some of the top endocrinologists, natural practitioners, functional medicine doctors and nutritionists are either completely useless or misinterpreted.

So the question we hear so often is should I bother getting labs run?

Yes, lab testing is essential in order to gather the information necessary to uncover why you have thyroid and weight loss problems, but if not the correct tests, or if not interpreted correctly, then you’re wasting valuable time, energy and money.

In my experience, one of the most useless and poorly interpreted lab tests when it pertains to Hypothyroid, Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue, and weight loss resistance is the Comprehensive Wellness Profile (a blood test looking at things like WBC, RBC, Neutrophils, TSH, Cholesterol, Creatinine, Billirubin, etc.).

More often than not, most if not all of the markers are in range, yet she feels like garbage. Have you ever been told that everything is within normal range, but you don’t feel normal? If your intuition, or inner doctor, tells you that something’s being missed, then something likely is being missed.

If some of the markers are by chance out of range, what’s the next step?  Probably a battery of additional tests, also providing useless information.

Pitfall #1: The labs your doctor or practitioner recommend are ineffective

As mentioned earlier, most practitioners, conventional and natural, are ordering labs that provide very little useful information. In many cases, it’s just a means for the practitioner to prescribe a medication.

For example, if your cholesterol is elevated, you’re prescribed a Statin drug.  Ironically, elevated cholesterol has very little to do with heart disease, but is more of a sign of systemic inflammation.

Testing for “Leaky Gut” is also not the best way to spend your dollar. Earlier in my career, I would run a lab looking for Intestinal Permeability, or Leaky Gut. Nine times out of ten, our client’s markers would come back in the normal range, yet the client had many symptoms of permeability issues.

Another test that I find to be somewhat useless is a food allergy test.  Chances are, if you have a food allergy, you already know it, as the offending food would cause an immediate response, like an anaphylactic response to a peanut.  If you’re allergic to peanuts, you probably don’t need a doctor to tell you that.

IgG or IgE food sensitivity tests I also find to be sub-par.  Absolutely, it’s important to know what foods you’re immune system is reacting to, but to only look at IgG or IgE without looking at the other immunoglobulins, is incomplete.

Pitfall #2: Your labs are not being interpreted correctly by your doctor or practitioner

There are many mistakes I see being made when interpreting patient’s test results, but the most common and most detrimental mistake is taking the test results at face value.  For example, the optimal range for Free T4 and Free T3 is approximately 1-1.5 and 3-4.5 respectively. If both of those numbers are within range, but you are experiencing hypothyroid symptoms, like cold hands & feet, insomnia, weight gain, constipation, low energy, etc., then there’s a good chance you are hypothyroid.  The issue could be that your cells are not up-taking the hormone sufficiently.  If your cells aren’t absorbing the T3, then you’re hypothyroid.

On the contrary, if one or both of those numbers are low, the answer isn’t always putting you on a thyroid medication.  Why are they low?  Is it truly a thyroid issue, or is it your liver is congested? Or maybe your just really stressed, and your adrenal glands are pumping out a lot of cortisol. Or maybe your cells are overly sensitive to the thyroid hormone, causing your thyroid to slow production.

Pitfall #3: Your lab assessment is incomplete or lacks correlation

This was touched on in Pitfall #2, but because it’s so important, I wanted to elaborate.  Most practitioners are not only taking test results at face value, which is a no-no, but are also neglecting to correlate the values of that test with each other, as well as correlating them to the values from other lab tests, assuming they’re running other tests.

We have a client who’s been working on her Hypothyroid and Chronic Fatigue for just over a year. We’ve completely reversed her chronic fatigue naturally.  She’s still seeing her endocrinologist to “monitor” her thyroid levels and she’s been able to reduce her thyroid medication by over 50% under our leadership and direction to date.

After reassessing her adrenals, I noticed her free cortisol levels were a little low, which if taken face value would indicate chronic stress and adrenal depletion.  However, her metabolized cortisol was in the upper end of the good range. By correlating the two, I was able to determine that her thyroid medication was still at too high a dose for her, causing her cortisol to be metabolized too quickly, causing some fatigue issues.

Thankfully, her medical doctor was OK with my recommendation to reduce her medication and everything normalized. Therefore, she’s been able to reduce her thyroid medication now by 75% to this point from the work we have done for her in functional nutrition and metabolic health.

Another common problem I see regularly is that most doctors and natural practitioners, when looking at mineral levels, are taking them for face value as well. For example, when calcium levels are elevated, their solution is to stop taking supplements containing calcium, but they’re not looking at other mineral levels or even other factors that might be driving up calcium levels, like emotional trauma.

Many times, thyroid disorders begin at an early age.  If you had some very traumatic experiences as a child, many times your body begins to hold onto calcium, as it’s a very structural element, in order to protect you emotionally from the outside world, forming a wall or shell, so to speak.

Thyroid activity helps to regulate calcium levels.  When calcium levels are extremely elevated, it can in essence begin to burn out the thyroid gland, thus making the thyroid sub-functional.

Pitfall #4: Your doctor and practitioner recommendations are inaccurate or incomplete

First, all too often the practitioner is treating the test results rather than the patient.  If your T4 or T3 are low, or your TSH is high, your practitioner might put you on a thyroid medication.  If you’re experiencing depression, here’s an antidepressant.  You’re gaining weight unexplainably?  You need to eat less and workout more.

Seldom do I see a practitioner that figures out why your thyroid levels are low, or you’re depressed, or continuing to gain weight even though you’re following his/her recommendation to eat less and workout more.  It’s never as simple as taking a thyroid medication, adding in a few supplements, eating Paleo, gluten free or vegetarian.  If it were, there would be a lot less sick people out there, and a lot less medical bankruptcies.

What’s the answer to restoring my thyroid function once and for all?

The answer to that question lies within you, nobody else.  There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to healing your thyroid disease.  You can really only do one of two things, become a self advocate, continue to educate yourself and experiment until you find the proper formula for you, or you can seek guidance and a mentor-ship from someone who’s replicated the results you’re looking for, over and over again.

You need to look deep inside and find all the things that are blocking you from restoring all functions within the body, not just focus on your thyroid or gut.  You need to remove those things that are blocking you, be it internal dysfunction, things in your environment, and things that are blocking you mentally and emotionally, like not living or speaking your truth.

Once you’ve removed all those blocks, you can then focus on adding in the things necessary to restore all functions of your body. In other words, you need a plan, which is something most practitioners are missing.

This is exactly why we created our e3 Energy Evolved System, a full plan, outlining the exact steps you need to take, in the correct order, to create restoration once and for all, so you don’t have to keep digging, kicking over rock after rock, trying to find the right answers for you.

We only have 4 spaces remaining until June. If you are ready to start out on the road to restoration don’t hesitate. Request a consultation with us today!

Damian Dubé

Functional Medicine & Functional Nutrition Practitioner at e3 Energy Evolved
Damian Dubé, BS, FMP, CNC, FDN-P, CES, CPT is a Functional Medicine Practitioner, Certified Nutritional Consultant, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, NPC Bodybuilding Athlete & Expert Magazine Writer with 30 years of experience.
Damian Dubé
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