TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. This is the common screen for thyroid function. Thyroid function decreases with age, often suddenly. In women this often happens between 40 and 70. “Low thyroid”(hypothyroidism) is the most common unrecognized hormone deficiency contributing to osteoporosis in women, and in some men too.
The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and sits in the neck just below the adam’s apple (larynx). Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, temperature sensitivity, weight gain – already common in middle aged women and men. Once it is recognized, hypothyroidism is routinely treated with synthetic human thyroid hormone.
“Natural” ground dried thyroid glands from cows and pigs were used for many years. Each batch had a different strength, which made dosing difficult. All “natural”, rather than manufactured, hormones and supplements share this variable potency problem.
TSH is actually a hormone secreted by the pituitary to stimulate the thyroid gland to do its job. Therefore, a high TSH indicates a low thyroid function. This contributes to osteoporosis and other medical issues.
Hyperthyroidism (high thyroid function) is less common and can require surgery or radiation treatment.
When I test for TSH, I am screening for thyroid function. Abnormal thyroid function can effect bone health. In all our tests, if you don’t check it, you don’t know.
Find out where you stand so you can take control of your bone health.
Jay Ginther, MD