All things are not created equal and research suggests the same goes for the all important thyroid gland. Our thyroid gland, which is a part of our endocrine system, regulates body and brain growth and development,  body temperature, energy levels and metabolic functions (the rate at which the body produces and uses energy from nutrients and oxygen). Thyroid hormones influence and regulate the activity of all cells and tissues in the body.

Our thyroid produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is secreted by the pituitary gland and this hormone stimulates the thyroid to secrete T4 and T3. T4 is what regulates our metabolism and if there isn’t enough, we can develop hypothyroidism. However, if there is too much, it develops hyperthyroidism.

Now generally speaking, determining hypo or hyperthyroidism is measuring TSH levels along with T3 and T4, but going back to the start of not all things are created equal, we are now finding that in some cases TSH levels are normal but T4 levels are elevated and vice versa.  

For example, in 10 cases of hypothyroidism the thyroid activity of the blood was low, but the TSH values varied widely- 0.000 to 0.005. In 10 hyperthyroid cases, the thyroid hormone levels were high but the TSH levels showed a “normal” variation. It appears, therefore, that high TSH activity may be promoted in some cases by high TSH activity, but that in other cases the thyroids are active without outside stimulation of a high order. Likewise, it would seem plausible to suppose that low thyroid activity is due in some cases to deficiencies in the thyroid gland itself, but that in other cases the thyroid glands are ample and would function satisfactorily were it not for a deficiency of TSH.

What these findings tell us is that endocrine patterns among individuals has not been investigated, and that gaining an insight into what ‘normal’ markers are for thyroid function are more than measuring TSH and T4 levels, but looking at what the individual function is, as a case by case basis.