Adrenal/Thyroid Connection with Dr. Izabella WentzApril 21, 2023
Beyond Medication: Achieving Optimal Thyroid HealthMay 3, 2023
If you are getting inconsistent results after you test your thyroid, it may be because you are unintentionally testing at the wrong time.
It makes getting the proper dosage (if you even need thyroid medications) difficult to dial in too.
So, to ensure you get the best results – whether you are testing with a doctor or even taking a thyroid test at home, here is a handy guide.
Save or pin this article so you know EXACTLY when to test, and you can get the most accurate test results possible.
Recommended Product: Hypothyroid Support is specifically designed for patients on thyroid medication, patients not on thyroid medication, hypothyroid patients with or without thyroid antibodies, and helpful for those who no longer have a thyroid. Click Here
Why Does Timing Matter for Testing?
It happens all the time. People get their thyroid test results back, and they are different from the last ones they got. Sometimes by a lot. And, understandably, it’s hard to make sense of why that happened.
Maybe your scores went up, or they went down – but, before I say anything else, the thing you should avoid doing is changing your medication or diet on this information alone.
Your fluctuating test results can also confuse doctors! They will see someone who scores low, give them medication to help with it, and they will remain low. It can be frustrating for everyone involved.
Key Insight: One of the biggest factors for why thyroid levels change, and why they can feel so inconsistent, is because they are not tested under a consistent set of circumstances.
If you take these simple rules into account, when you test your thyroid, it is going to make a world of difference. You will not only be able to get a clearer picture of where you stand, but it will make it so much easier to define next steps to take for your health.
All that being said, let me explain some of the key things to keep in mind around when to test your thyroid – and why they matter…
1. 3 Months After Your Last Thyroid Dose Adjustment
After your last dose adjustment, you really should know that it will take three months to see your scores level out. What I am not saying is that you have to wait three months to do anything at all, but if you test before then you may not be getting the most accurate results.
As it happens, I prefer to test before then so that we can more quickly get someone’s adjustment and their dose dialed in. But, whenever it is less than that timeframe, you really have to factor in that it will probably go further – you will not be looking at the end result.
Bottom Line: If you are trying to determine when to test your thyroid, you really need to give it time after your last dose adjustment. This window of time is absolutely vital for the clearest results for your health.
2. In the Morning Between 7-9 AM
The time of day really matters. Thyroid hormones, like a lot of things, are on a daily cycle. How much we make is not the same all day long. In a perfect world, we would be able to test our levels between midnight and three in the morning. But, that’s not a fun wake-up call!
So, the most practical approach is to test first thing in the morning. In terms of timing and lab access, we are looking at around 7 to 9 in the morning.
Bottom Line: The fact is that if you tested the same day, just at a different time, you will get different levels. The time of day is critical for this reason.
3. Before Taking Your Daily Thyroid Medication
What happens here is that, after you take a dose of thyroid medicine, your blood levels are much higher for both T3 and T4 (for between 1-12 hours). Between those 1-12 hours, though, you are not always the same amount higher for the same amount of hours.
Because of this lack of consistency, you can’t take someone and measure them four hours after a dose a few times in a row. The same person, if they do it multiple times, simply won’t be at the same level four hours afterward each time.
Bottom Line: In almost all circumstances, your test results are going to provide much clearer data if you test before you take your daily thyroid medication.
4. Before Eating Food or Drinking Anything Besides Water
Before you test, you should only be enjoying water. If you have a meal, that can skew your results – due to the change in blood sugar resulting in a change of thyroid markers.
We also know that other beverages, like coffee or dairy products, can change your results and lead to inconsistent findings.
Bottom Line: Quite simply, think of when to test your thyroid the same as taking your medicine. Do it before you have had anything, only water.
5. At LEAST 3 Days After Stopping Biotin & Probiotic Supplements
When we think of supplements, we need to consider two big ones:
The easiest rule, for me, is to stop the supplements. Stop taking them around three days before you plan on testing your thyroid.
It turns out that biotin, while it doesn’t change the hormones in your body, it changes the chemistry in ways that it alters your readings.
For probiotics, they can change how thyroid antibodies are measured. They can make them seem falsely higher.
Bottom Line: Take a holiday of three days away from your biotin and probiotic supplements before you test your thyroid.
6. The First, or Last, Week of Your Menstrual Cycle
For women that menstruate, the time of your menstrual cycle will change your thyroid levels in ways that are rather predictable. If you are testing between the middle of your cycle, you will not get the same results you might get at the beginning.
The best way to go is to test between days 1-9 (day one being the first day of menstrual flow), or days 21-28, but not through days 10-20.
If your periods are irregular, wait until the first week that they begin. This can be a great time.
If you no longer have a menstrual cycle, then this step won’t be a big of a factor for you. Focus on the other steps.
Bottom Line: If you do have a regular cycle, make sure to test during days 1-9 or 21-28.
7. If You are Pregnant
When you are pregnant, your thyroid levels may become naturally a bit more erratic. It can also cause levels to look a little more ‘hyper’ than usual, but that’s okay.
It is worth knowing that your thyroid ranges are not going to look the same between the pregnant and non-pregnant state. And, a little more bouncing up and down is to be expected.
Bottom Line: It is recommended that you test once each trimester if your levels are stable. But, you may need to do it more often if you require dose adjustments.
Discovering When to Test Your Thyroid
I hope that helped illuminate some of the most popular questions you might have when it comes to testing your thyroid properly. There are a lot of steps to keep in mind, but trust me when I say that it brings about the clearest results.
If you are on the journey to figuring out how to best serve your thyroid, can I recommend a quick quiz? If you click here, you can answer five questions that can steer you in exactly the right direction for the supplements your thyroid may need most. Please consider giving it a try.
P.S. Whenever you are ready, here is how I can help you now:
1. Schedule a Thyroid Second Opinion with me, Dr. C, Click Here for Details
2. Need A Thyroid Supplement Recommendation? Take My Thyroid Specific Formulations Quiz Now
3. Need a Personalized Supplement? Check out My Thyroid Specific Formulations
4. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here
5. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet, The Metabolism Reset Diet and The Thyroid Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.