Yes! You can order your own lab tests to see why your temperature might be low.
So why is your temperature low?
By now, you may know that the thyroid system is responsible for regulating your metabolic rate, or in other words, your body temperature. It is now widely accepted because of abundant evidence that T3 thyroid hormone is responsible for most, if not all, of the thyroid stimulation of the metabolism in the cells of the body. Most of the T3 comes from the minimally active T4 thyroid hormone being converted into T3 in the cells. The T4 is normally supplied by the thyroid gland, or by thyroid medicine in people being treated for hypothyroidism (since their thyroid glands don’t make enough T4 on their own).
If you have a body temperature that runs low on average then you know you have a slow metabolism which could easily explain many severe symptoms. Now, is your temperature low because you don’t have an adequate supply of T4 (hypothyroidism), or, is it low in spite of your T4 supply being normal (Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome)? It’s easy to find out. Your body recognizes when your T4 supply is too low and responds by making more thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in an attempt to stimulate your thyroid gland to supply more T4. Thus, when the T4 supply is too low, the TSH is high.
How can I order my own TSH test?
You can order your own TSH test online at True Health Labs. True Health Labs enables you to get your blood drawn and tested by the same government regulated (CLIA certified) laboratories that many doctors use. You can order your tests online and then you can go to a location near you to have your blood drawn and tested and the results will go confidentially to you, and you alone. Now, you can get the tests you’ve read about on the internet without having to go through a doctor, and at a lower price. True Health Labs will guide you through the entire process.
Easy approach to diagnosing your problem
If your TSH test is high then either your thyroid gland is not making enough T4 (hypothyroidism), or, if you’re already being treated for hypothyroidism then your thyroid medicine dose is too low. If you have hypothyroidism, you may need to take thyroid medicine for life.
On the other hand, if your TSH is normal then even though your thyroid gland or thyroid medicine is supplying you enough thyroid hormone you’re still not getting enough thyroid stimulation in the cells (you likely have Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome). The good news is that WTS is often completely reversible in a matter of months so you won’t have to take thyroid medicine for life.
What if you’re already taking thyroid medicine and your TSH is normal but you still have low body temperatures and low temperature symptoms? You can look back to see what your TSH was BEFORE you started taking thyroid medicine. If your TSH was around 4 mIU/L or lower, then maybe you didn’t really have hypothyroidism in the first place. Maybe you have WTS but you are being treated for hypothyroidism. The good news about having WTS instead of hypothyroidism is that once the WTS is corrected people don’t need to take thyroid medicine for the rest of their lives. If your TSH was above 4 before starting thyroid medicine then you did have hypothyroidism, but perhaps you don’t have it any longer (some people can recover from hypothyroidism) but you do have WTS now. Again, if you don’t have hypothyroidism then you won’t need to take thyroid medicine for life once your WTS is straightened out. Finally, if your TSH was above 4 before starting thyroid medicine and its normal now that you’re taking thyroid medicine, then maybe you had hypothyroidism back then, still have it now, and it’s being successfully treated with medicine. But, if your temperatures are still averaging low then maybe you are suffering from WTS on top of hypothyroidism. You see, just because you have an adequate supply of T4, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be properly converted to T3 and adequately stimulate your metabolism.
What about all the other thyroid tests?
For a little extra money than the TSH test alone, you can get a basic thyroid panel that also includes a T4 test and others. While the T4 test can be reassuring and interesting, it is not conclusive. Some people can have high T4, high T3, low Reverse T3, and even a low TSH and still have low temperatures that can respond well to treatment for WTS. T4 can either be activated to T3 or deactivated to RT3 inside the cells. This is a crucial step in maintaining a normal temperature. But just because T4, T3, and RT3 are all crucial players in regulating the metabolism in the cells, that doesn’t mean their levels in the blood will be all that illuminating.
What about Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It is an autoimmune condition wherein the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland as if it was an enemy. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can often be corrected with lifestyle changes if caught early enough. It is getting so common these days that it is reasonable to test for it in anyone with low body temperatures. It is characterized by antibodies directed at the thyroid gland, more commonly Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO) and less commonly Antithyroglobulin Antibodies (TGA). Therefore, if you’re only going to test one (because of finances) then it’s usually better to test TPO rather than TGA. Nearly 50% of people with low body temperatures may have elevated TPO antibodies. Autoimmunity is basically inappropriate inflammation in the body, and there are many things we can do to reduce inflammation in our bodies. In the early stages of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, there may be no symptoms and the body temperature and TSH might be normal. Eventually, however, enough of the thyroid gland is destroyed that the TSH goes up and the temperature goes down and the symptoms develop. Even when Hashimoto’s patients are given enough thyroid medicine to normalize their TSH tests, they can still have WTS on top of that, complete with low temperatures and symptoms.
What about Thyroid test panels?
If you want to see your TSH, thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO), and antithyroglobulin antibodies (TGA), you can save money by getting the Extended Hashimoto’s Panel instead of buying them separately. If you want to get a specific assortment of thyroid tests you can order them through the Thyroselect Panel.
What about Adrenal?
Adrenal fatigue is very common in patients with thyroid problems and low body temperatures. When the thyroid system is failing, the adrenal system is taxed. Adrenal support is indicated in almost everyone suffering from a low temperature. However, if you’re curious about how your adrenal system is functioning you can order a basic salivary adrenal test or a more comprehensive Adrenal Test by Dutch (urine).
What about Iodine?
Many people are iodine deficient these days. Iodine deficiency can lead to poor thyroid health. Taking supplemental iodine can be very helpful for many people. Some experts feel that iodine can make autoimmunity better while others feel that it can make it worse. Studies show that selenium can prevent iodine from worsening autoimmunity. We normally encourage people with Hashimoto’s to take extra iodine and selenium, among other things, at least for a few months, even without testing iodine levels. Nevertheless, testing iodine levels can be helpful and you can order a spot urine test or a pre- and post-loading iodine test.
What about Treatment?
A low body temperature can easily explain all your low thyroid symptoms. You can’t expect your symptoms to resolve until your temperature is normalized. Most doctors were never taught how to normalize low body temperatures. You can click here to Find a Provider that has completed certification training on how to normalize low body temperatures.