Question: The lab test listed on my prescription is called “TSH third generation.” Does this test cover all of the information needed to diagnose a thyroid problem properly?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
The “third generation” test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is the latest test that is used to diagnose and help monitor thyroid illness.
TSH is released by the pituitary gland and is regulated by circulating thyroid hormone levels and the hypothalamus gland. Conventional medicine primarily relies on this test as the sole guide as to whether the thyroid gland is appropriately functioning. I can assure you that this is the wrong approach.
Diagnosing thyroid illness is much more complicated than doing a single test. Furthermore, the TSH test can be misleading, as it can be thrown off by many factors, including mercury toxicity.
A full thyroid workup should include an appropriate patient history and physical exam as well as blood testing for thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), thyroid antibodies (TPO and thyroglobulin), and “reverse T3” (a structurally distinct form of the hormone T3).
More information about this comprehensive approach can be found in my book, "Overcoming Thyroid Disorders."