Thyroid Blood Tests Part 8 - Conditions like CFS, ME and Fibromyalgia
I've now written 7 previous posts on thyroid blood tests and their relevance to patients who need T3 replacement therapy.
I have one last observation to make before turning for a while to other topics of interest to patients who require T3 replacement therapy.
There are conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), myalgic encephalopathy (ME) and fibromyalgia for which our current treatments are inadequate and often do not result in a full restoration of health.
The symptoms associated with all three of these conditions overlap hugely with those of hypothyroidism. I have already made very clear that some people with impaired cellular response to thyroid hormone to can have perfectly normal thyroid blood test results after treatment with T4 or T4/T3. For many people who completely fail to respond to other forms of thyroid hormone replacement then only T3 replacement therapy is likely to fully restore their health.
I have seen many cases now of thyroid patients with ideal looking thyroid blood test results when on T4 or T4/T3 or natural thyroid treatment who still cannot get well until only T3 is used. It does not take much imagination to see that it is possible for someone who has never had an obviously under active thyroid to still have impaired cellular response to thyroid hormone. In fact, I would think it that it was very unlikely if the only people to develop impaired cellular response to thyroid hormone were people with under active thyroid glands.
However, if impaired cellular response to thyroid hormone occurs without a pre-existing thyroid gland problem then no markers in the bloodstream would ever have occurred to provide any indication that there were any thyroid hormone issues deep in the tissues. There would only be symptoms and some signs that signpost the way to thyroid hormone problems.
Consequently, the question I would like to leave readers with is:
How many of the ME, CFS or Fibromyalgia sufferers, who have been tested for thyroid disease and told they were fine, actually have thyroid hormone issues at the cellular level and might in fact respond to T3 replacement therapy?
If there were laboratory tests that could measure how well our cells were being regulated by thyroid hormone then I would expect some proportion of the sufferers of these types of conditions to have impaired cellular response to thyroid hormone. It may be that only a small percentage of CFS sufferers for instance might have an underlying cellular thyroid hormone issue but in sheer numbers across the world this would amount to a great many people. I believe that this scenario is true. The worrying thought is that people in this category may never be found because no existing laboratory test can show the actual level of regulation of cell function by thyroid hormone!
The late Dr. John C. Lowe discovered from his own research over many years that often treatment with T3 thyroid hormone was absolutely necessary to relieve many patients of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. I believe that this will be true of other conditions like CFS and ME. However, we desperately need more research to be done to provide adequate laboratory tests that show the actual level of cell regulation by thyroid hormone.
We need medical research to make some big breakthroughs for thyroid patients. These breakthroughs especially need to happen in the field of diagnostic tests for actual regulation of cell function at the nuclei and mitochondria by thyroid hormone. Only with these types of tests can a proper indication of thyroid hormone activity be seen. These tests would be the laboratory test equivalent of going beyond the old basal metabolic rate (BMR) test or indirect calorimetry (which is rarely used these days). This research will happen at some point - then the lives of thyroid patients and some sufferers of other related conditions will improve dramatically.
Best wishes and good luck to you all on your journeys to good health!