This website is dedicated to the millions of thyroid patients who are being ignored and left to suffer unnecessarily, and to healthcare practitioners, who want to better serve those patients.

Ray Peat, PhD on Thyroid, Temperature, Pulse, and TSH

Thyroid – Temperature – Pulse and TSH
Also see:

W.D. Denckla, A.V. Everitt, Hypophysectomy, & Aging
Temperature and Pulse Basics & Monthly Log
The Cholesterol and Thyroid Connection
Inflammation from Decrease in Body Temperature
High Cholesterol and Metabolism
The Truth about Low Cholesterol
Thyroid Status and Oxidized LDL
Inflammatory TSH
Normal TSH: Marker for Increased Risk of Fatal Coronary Heart Disease
Thyroid Status and Cardiovascular Disease
High Blood Pressure and Hypothyroidism
A Cure for Heart Disease
Hypothyroidism and A Shift in Death Patterns
Is 98.6 Really Normal?

Measuring the amount of thyroid in the blood isnt a good way to evaluate adequacy of thyroid function, since the response of tissues to the hormone can be suppressed (for example, by unsaturated fats).

In the 1930s accurate diagnosis was made by evaluating a variety of indications, including basal oxygen consumption, serum cholesterol level, pulse rate, temperature, carotenemia, bowel function, and quality of hair and skin. A good estimate can be made using only the temperature and pulse rate.

Oral or armpit temperature, in the morning before getting out of bed, should be around 98F, and it should rise to 98.6F by mid-morning. This is not valid if you sleep under and electric blanket, or is the weather is hot and humid. A person who is hypothyroid produces heat at a low rate, but doesnt lose it at a normal rate, since there is less sweating, and the skin is relatively cool. Many hypothyroid people compensate with high adrenalin production (sometimes 40 times higher than normal), and this tends to keep the skin cook, especially on the hands, feet, and nose. The high adrenalin is the consequence of low blood glucose, so a feeding of carbohydrate, such as a glass of orange juice, will sometimes lower the pulse rate momentarily. Healthy populations have an average resting pulse of about 85 per minute. Especially in hot weather it is useful to consider both temperature and pulse rate.

The thyroid gland secretes about 3 parts thyroxin to one part triiodothyronine, and this allows the liver to regulate thyroid function, by converting more of the T4 to the active T3 when there is an abundance of energy. Glucose is essential for the conversion, so during fasting there is a sharp decrease in metabolic rate, and in experiments, 200 to 300 calories of carbohydrate can be added to the diet diet without causing fat storage.

When the liver is the main cause of hypothyroidism, your temperature (and especially the temperature of your nose, hands and feet) will fall when hungry, and will rise when you eat carbohydrates. If a hypothyroid person has a very slow pulse, and feels lethargic, it seems that there is little adrenalin; in this case, a feeding of carbohydrate is likely to increase both the pulse rate and the temperature, as the liver is permitted to form the active T3 hormone.

Women often have above-average thyroxin, with symptoms of hypothyroidism. This is apparently because it isnt being converted to the active form (T3). Before using a Cytomel (T3) supplement, it might be possible to solve the problem with diet alone. A piece of fruit or glass of juice or milk between meals, and adequate animal protein (or potato protein) in the diet is sometimes enough to allow the liver to produce the hormone. If Cytomel is used, it is efficient to approximate the physiological rate of T3 formation, by nibbling one (10 to 25 mcg) tablet during the day. When a large amount is taken at one time, the liver is likely to convert much of it to the inactive reverse T3 form, in a normal defensive response.

Women normally have less active livers than men do. Estrogen can have a directly toxic effect on the liver, but the normal reason for the difference is probably that temperature and thyroid function strongly influence the liver, and are generally lower in women than in men. Estrogen inhibits the secretion of hormone by the thyroid gland itself, probably by inhibiting the proteolytic enzymes which dissolves the colloid. Progesterone has the opposite effect, promoting the release of the hormones from the gland. At puberty, in pregnancy, and at menopause, the thyroid gland often enlarges, probably as a result of estrogen dominance.

Thyroid function stimulates the liver to inactivate estrogen for secretion, so estrogen dominance can create a viscous circle, in which estrogen (or deficient progesterone) blocks thyroid secretion, causing the liver to allow estrogen to accumulate to even higher levels. Progesterone (even one dose, in some cases) can break the cycle. However, if the gland is very big, one person can experience a few months of hyperthyroidism, as the gland returns to normal. It is better to allow the enlarged gland to shrink more slowly by using a thyroid supplement. If an enlarged gland does begin to secrete too much thyroid hormone, it can be controlled with tablets of propylthiouracil, or even raw cabbage or cabbage juice, and cysteine rich meats, including liver.

Besides fasting, or chronic protein deficiency, the common causes of hypothyroidism are excessive stress or aerobic (i.e., anaerobic) exercise, and diets containing beans, lentils, nuts, unsaturated fats (including carotene), and undercooked broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and mustard greens. Many health conscious people become hypothyroid with a synergistic program of undercooked vegetables, legumes instead of animal proteins, oils instead of butter, carotene instead of vitamin A, and breathless exercise instead of stimulating life.

Each of the indicators of thyroid function can be useful, but has to be interpreted in relation to the physiological state.

Increasingly, TSH (the pituitary thyroid stimulating hormone) has been treated as if it meant something independently; however, it can be brought down into the normal range, or lower, by substances other than the thyroid hormones.

Basal body temperature is influenced by many things besides thyroid. The resting heart rate helps to interpret the temperature. In a cool environment, the temperature of the extremities is sometimes a better indicator than the oral or eardrum temperature.

Unless someone can demonstrate the scientific invalidity of the methods used to diagnose hypothyroidism up to 1945, then they constitute the best present evidence for evaluating hypothyroidism, because all of the blood tests that have been used since 1950 have been shown to be, at best, very crude and conceptually inappropriate methods.


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