3

votes

Mail-Order Blood Test Labs for Diagnosing Hypothyroidism

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 24, 2011 at 7:01 PM

I'm thinking about using mail-order blood test labs since my doctors are either stubborn or do not agree with my testing needs. The two tests I'm interested in are Reverse T3 and Salivary Cortisol. Since I live in NJ, I understand that I have to travel outside the state (to Pennsylvania, since NY is also another one of those states) for lab-testing (at Labcorp).

I've narrowed the list down to HealthcheckUSA and LifeExtension. Anyone with experience with those? I'm assuming the tests are reliable? Is Labcorp just drawing your blood and sending them to these particular labs for analysis? Or is it actually Labcorp that's doing the analysis?

Also, if you're testing for Rev T3, you might as well test the whole thyroid panel (TSH, Free T3/T4)? Just having Rev T3 elevated wouldn't mean much without T3 to compare with? Anything else I should test for?

I show clinical hypothyroid symptoms: low body temperature upon rising of ~96.5 (I'm rarely above 97.0), cold fingers, continuous constipation, puffy & gritty eyes, vision sensitivity to light, mental fogginess, short-term memory lapses, low libido, low-normal WBC, especially monocytes, etc. But I also show hyperthyroid symptoms: (i) inability to concentrate, and (ii) smooth, thin and velvety skin prone to cuts and bruises. The latter is very prominent and is becoming more of a problem (makes me look young but I have to be very careful when shaving).

All my thyroid tests have been normal: TSH=0.5-0.8 (supposedly the sweet spot); T3=3.0; T4=1.5, and my serum cortisol (14) also normal. But the symptoms seem pretty open and shut: I mean, when I get cold (happens after I visit the produce aisle in supermarkets), my body temp is 94.7-96.3. (Doc: "Your thermometer must be wrong." I use 2 different types of thermometer and measure sublingually.) Yes, I dip below 95 flat. Last 2 summers, I used air conditioning maybe 6 times. The highest body temperature measured is 97.5, taken after a hot shower.

That's why I'm trying to get Rev T3 and salivary cortisol tested.

13095ba245ead4b05d4d0b0d7b3572cc

on January 25, 2014
at 10:19 PM

Sorry, I meant @NambyPamby

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 25, 2011
at 03:38 AM

You might wanna follow up on those ANA antibodies to officially rule out Sjogren's, SLE, etc. All it takes is a simple request to Labcorp but docs won't do it unless pressed by patients. It took me 2Y after I tested ANA postive that I was finally diagnosed and only because of an alert neurologist. Most doctor's response is, "What's the point if it's asymptomatic?" We can't do much about it anyway?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 25, 2011
at 12:21 AM

Yah, dysbiosis, I made a foray into forensic gastroenterology to solve my constipation. Tried just about every probiotic, digestive enzymes, and prebiotics, drinking home-made kombucha now. Didn't solve constipation. My overall inflammation is low, despite my autoimmunity, and I have no IBD or IBS. Digestion is really beautiful but have ongoing constipation -- I think it's due to hypothyroidism.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 11:03 PM

The other thing to investigate/treat is gut bacteria - that may also be playing a role in your inflammation - hopefully a new doc you find will know the good gut protocols. I'm doing this at the moment, but I'm not super knowledgeable about it to be honest.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 11:01 PM

Most doctors won't run additional testing - laziness maybe? I don't know. If they had to live inside our bodies for a week, things would be very different!! I'm sure you'll find a better doc :)

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:44 PM

Low carb (50g) for 1.5 years, then switched to Paleo (100-125g carbs) for now about 1.5 years. Went from ~210 to 157 lbs. Dxed w/Sjogren's 2Y past. Also, occasional gout and RA-like attacks. No prescription, just gluten- and nightshade-free Paleo, and Refresh eye drops. Brought back dairy (sour cream only) for now but am willing to go dairy-free again, if symptoms will improve. My inflammation is barely detectible (CRP=0.3/Sed Rate=1), but then docs have never measured Interleukin-6 or TNF-a, etc. I need to find a good DO or an ND, agree.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:39 PM

Apologies for the separate comments, the character limit is too, um, limited! ;)

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Also, I NEVER tested positive to ANY of the thyroid antibodies. I only ever tested positive to ANA 3 times which is a very general autoimmune marker, but I had a LOT of thyroid symptoms - stabbing pain where the thyroid is plus another weird sensation that I can't even describe - these go away when I keep my selenium levels up. It is well known that the antibody testing is also not definitive in confirming autoimmune disease. Blood testing is not the be all and end all. It's just a helpful guide. Signs and symptoms are everything.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Btw, I have done REALLY well with Paleo - at one point I thought I had RA and Sjogren's but I think it was really just massive inflammation - I had dry and gritty eyes for 10 years (at one point I used to put special ointment in my eyes) and I also had very stiff joints making me feel like an old lady :( Both of those are pretty much gone now as are the aching back muscles which was severe at times. How long have you been Paleo for? I don't do the Autoimmune version of Paleo though I really have to limit potatoes as they cause major inflammatory problems for me.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Don't bother with an endo! 99% of them are useless and look at you as a set of numbers. Find an ND or an osteo - they can run and interpret the tests and prescribe treatment for you. You can get a practitioner name on realthyroidhelp.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Ok, thanks much, I'll look into all your suggestions. I'm kind of stuck becuz my endo can only see me every 6 mos. and my rheumy doesn't believe in hypothyroidism that doesn't show up on blood tests. Neither does my PCP. Time to find a good naturopath and treat what SEEMS to be my hypothyroidism. The light sensitivity could be from my autoimmune (Sjogren's).

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Just called them and they say they can't sell blood tests to NY/NJ/MA residents.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 08:50 PM

That's the lab for comprehensive gluten-sensitivity and food allergy testing. I don't think for thyroid tests, though.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Look for functional ranges not averages which are what normal ranges are.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:19 PM

I had very similar symptoms during winter, also my TC skyrocketed. I am still baffled. I would like to know if i belong to APoe4.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on August 24, 2011
at 07:11 PM

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/recommended-labwork/

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4 Answers

2
957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:08 PM

Hi Namby

Testing RT3, you MUST get FT3 (Free T3) to get the ratio between the two - not T3. Free T3 is the available T3 that is not bound to any proteins.

I suggest you ask your question re labs over on http://forums.realthyroidhelp.com/index.php and you can also get a practitioner recommendation from the moderators. Best to check first before the time and $ are spent :) I think there are a few NJ people on that forum. Also here's a direct link to a sticky on the RT3 testing and interpretation: http://forums.realthyroidhelp.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3596 The moderators on there are excellent and have seen literally hundreds, if not thousands of test results that they help interpret -- they don't recommend doing this without a doctor though unless you are really stuck.

I've had very high RT3/FT3 ratio twice, both times was when I was taking dessicated thyroid - I ended up feeling more hypothyroid than ever before :/ Hair falling out, falling asleep during the day. I've now had my thyroid mix changed, taking out the cellulose filler and having it replaced with glycine. Cellulose is wood pulp - we shouldn't be eating it! It has been implicated anecdotally with thyroid hormone absorption issues (and also conversion from T4 to T3). I also take tyrosine to help with the T4 to T3 conversion and take a mix of dessicated thyroid with some additional T3 (Cynomel) to account for my previous RT3 issues. This helps keep my ratio more optimal.

From my personal experience, it sounds that there is definitely a thyroid issue, though it may be subclinical - meaning your labs may not be definitive. So, it's good that you are being really proactive and getting the RT3 done, most doctors will not do this...they won't even do FT3 and FT4, relying on TSH which is a pituitary hormone (stimulates thyroid). But I also would recommend you find a good practitioner to look at nutritional status - from what I have seen on the thyroid forum, most people get better when they address BOTH hormonal AND nutritional status. Especially your symptom of sensitivity to light - I have this myself and I don't think it's thyroid related. It turns out my copper/zinc balance is terrible, I think it's that rather than thyroid...so that is why I suggest getting nutritional status checked and also neurotransmitter status - a good test for that last one is Metametrix Comprehensive Organic Acids: http://www.metametrix.com/test-menu/profiles/organic-acids/organix-comprehensive

All the best!

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 11:01 PM

Most doctors won't run additional testing - laziness maybe? I don't know. If they had to live inside our bodies for a week, things would be very different!! I'm sure you'll find a better doc :)

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Btw, I have done REALLY well with Paleo - at one point I thought I had RA and Sjogren's but I think it was really just massive inflammation - I had dry and gritty eyes for 10 years (at one point I used to put special ointment in my eyes) and I also had very stiff joints making me feel like an old lady :( Both of those are pretty much gone now as are the aching back muscles which was severe at times. How long have you been Paleo for? I don't do the Autoimmune version of Paleo though I really have to limit potatoes as they cause major inflammatory problems for me.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 25, 2011
at 12:21 AM

Yah, dysbiosis, I made a foray into forensic gastroenterology to solve my constipation. Tried just about every probiotic, digestive enzymes, and prebiotics, drinking home-made kombucha now. Didn't solve constipation. My overall inflammation is low, despite my autoimmunity, and I have no IBD or IBS. Digestion is really beautiful but have ongoing constipation -- I think it's due to hypothyroidism.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 11:03 PM

The other thing to investigate/treat is gut bacteria - that may also be playing a role in your inflammation - hopefully a new doc you find will know the good gut protocols. I'm doing this at the moment, but I'm not super knowledgeable about it to be honest.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:44 PM

Low carb (50g) for 1.5 years, then switched to Paleo (100-125g carbs) for now about 1.5 years. Went from ~210 to 157 lbs. Dxed w/Sjogren's 2Y past. Also, occasional gout and RA-like attacks. No prescription, just gluten- and nightshade-free Paleo, and Refresh eye drops. Brought back dairy (sour cream only) for now but am willing to go dairy-free again, if symptoms will improve. My inflammation is barely detectible (CRP=0.3/Sed Rate=1), but then docs have never measured Interleukin-6 or TNF-a, etc. I need to find a good DO or an ND, agree.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Also, I NEVER tested positive to ANY of the thyroid antibodies. I only ever tested positive to ANA 3 times which is a very general autoimmune marker, but I had a LOT of thyroid symptoms - stabbing pain where the thyroid is plus another weird sensation that I can't even describe - these go away when I keep my selenium levels up. It is well known that the antibody testing is also not definitive in confirming autoimmune disease. Blood testing is not the be all and end all. It's just a helpful guide. Signs and symptoms are everything.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:39 PM

Apologies for the separate comments, the character limit is too, um, limited! ;)

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on August 24, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Don't bother with an endo! 99% of them are useless and look at you as a set of numbers. Find an ND or an osteo - they can run and interpret the tests and prescribe treatment for you. You can get a practitioner name on realthyroidhelp.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Ok, thanks much, I'll look into all your suggestions. I'm kind of stuck becuz my endo can only see me every 6 mos. and my rheumy doesn't believe in hypothyroidism that doesn't show up on blood tests. Neither does my PCP. Time to find a good naturopath and treat what SEEMS to be my hypothyroidism. The light sensitivity could be from my autoimmune (Sjogren's).

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 25, 2011
at 03:38 AM

You might wanna follow up on those ANA antibodies to officially rule out Sjogren's, SLE, etc. All it takes is a simple request to Labcorp but docs won't do it unless pressed by patients. It took me 2Y after I tested ANA postive that I was finally diagnosed and only because of an alert neurologist. Most doctor's response is, "What's the point if it's asymptomatic?" We can't do much about it anyway?

2
Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on August 24, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Direct labs has a special on thyroid tests this month

https://www.directlabs.com/MonthlySpecials/tabid/2492/language/en-US/Default.aspx

lab corps does the work

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Just called them and they say they can't sell blood tests to NY/NJ/MA residents.

1
8cd7ed35942adf7292bade20f4344e56

on August 24, 2011
at 07:33 PM

http://www.cyrexlabs.com/

This is a lab that Nora Gedgaudas has reccomended in her book Primal Body Primal Mind. You will need an Rx from your (hopefully) Paleo-friendly doctor.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 24, 2011
at 08:50 PM

That's the lab for comprehensive gluten-sensitivity and food allergy testing. I don't think for thyroid tests, though.

0
13095ba245ead4b05d4d0b0d7b3572cc

on January 25, 2014
at 10:18 PM

@NambyPamby You can try Insightscreenings.com for direct mail order TSH and cortisol in their hormone profile. No Rx needed to NJ

13095ba245ead4b05d4d0b0d7b3572cc

on January 25, 2014
at 10:19 PM

Sorry, I meant @NambyPamby

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