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So much Blood

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I posted this in my log, but thought it might get some more responses with a catchy title :P and some specific questions.


Testing was done a few days before the "official" start of my W30--so this reflects my previous gluten free/dairy free but legume and brown rice consuming lifestyle. I've been on 30mg of Armour Thyroid daily for a couple years, so Thyroid numbers should reflect that. Ditto Vitamin D supplementation--I take 2000 IU daily or that number would be much lower, I'm sure. reference range in parenthesis after my result.


Estradiol 70 (56-214)

Progesterone 6.5 (3.4-25.6)

Lutropin (LH) 6.9 (0.5-16.9)

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) 5.3 (1.5-9.1)

Percent Testosterone Free 2.1 (1-3.8)

Testosterone Total 16 (8-60)

Testosterone Free 0.3 (0.1-1.5)

Cortisol (serum, am) 11.7 (4-22)--shouldn't this be way higher first thing in the morning?

DHEA 83 (35-430)--shouldn't this be way higher too?


Free T4 1.06 (0.7-1.85)

Free T3 2.7 (2.3-4.2)--shouldn't this be closer to the top of the range, considering I'm supplementing it?

TSH 2.4 (0.4-5)

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody <10 (<35)

Iodine 36 (40-92)--hello, I think this is pretty low. what can I do about that?

LIPIDS--YAY, I think these are pretty good, actually (am I right about that?).

Cholesterol (total) 199 (0-200)

HDL 62 (50-110)

LDL 127 (0-129) (uh oh, this is the "bad" cholesterol, right?)

VLDL 10 (0-30)

Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 3 (0-5)

Triglycerides 52 (0-150)

Insulin <2 (0-20)--what the heck? this was fasted/8am. hmm, maybe this is ok?

CRP Inflammation 9.4 (0-8)--high, right? I was recovering from a knee thing, but not really "sick" at testing

Vitamin D 44 (30-75)--would it be better if I got this number up a bit?

Hemoglobin 12.8 (11.7-15.7)

I'll be reviewing these numbers with both my Dr and my trainer, and I know it's not really possible to practice medicine over the internets, lol, just curious for any insights.

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This is hard because a) we aren't doctors and b ) you didn't give us reference ranges for the lab values and c) you didn't tell us how these tests were taken. Off the top of my head, I have no idea what the ideal range for iodine is. You really should check in with your doc or a naturopath or consult with M&D to go over these with you. Because of your thyroid stuff (Is it autoimmune? hashimoto's?), it's even a worse idea for you to take the advice of folks on the internet. In regards to c), many tests, particularly cortisol, are way less accurate if you have blood drawn to take them vs. a saliva test. Additionally, estrogen/FSH/progresterone values are cyclical, depending on what phase you are in your menstrual cycle, so without that information, those values...in addition to the other numbers you gave us are basically in a vacuum, with very little context for us, so our feedback CAN'T be amazing. Definitely check in with a doc/endocrinologist, something other than us, before you take any advice.

With all that disclaimer stuff out of the way, there are a couple of things that stick out about your values as a whole:

  • Cholesterol is FINE. Regardless of how your LDL levels were determined (directly measured or calculated), because your TC is <200, you're doing fine. Your tris are low, your HDL is high. Even if your LDL was calculated (the formula will overstate your LDL if you have low triglycerides), it's still most likely big puffy LDL particles, which is good, not small dense ones, which is problematic. If you are concerned about this number, have it directly measured and a particle density test, to see where you're at.
  • Vitamin D is CRUCIAL for autoimmune folks, particularly women. You should get it higher. 5K IU/day would probably be better, maybe even a 2 week protocol of hyperdosing at 10K. Consult with your doc before you take this recommendation, but I believe we like to see folks with autoimmune stuff going on with a value closer to 65-70nmol/L.
  • Yes, your CRP is high

You could eat more seaweed in regards to the iodine. You have to be careful with iodine supplementing because you have thyroid stuff going on. Supplementing could cause flares, could make your thyroid condition worse, etc. If you try to increase your intake through real foods however, it should be safe, as there are other things in real food to mitigate the potential problems of iodine supplementation by itself. (selenium, other minerals, etc).

Good luck! Check in with your doc!

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thanks Renee, I know better than to take advice straight off the internets, but sometimes it helps to feel like I'm in a community where I can talk these things out with people a bit. I'll see my doc next week and discuss everything in detail with her.

that said, I'll edit the above to show reference ranges.

All the tests were blood tests (all drawn fasted, first thing in the morning). It doesn't say they calculated LDL, so I assume it was measured in the blood test, but I don't know for sure. and I'm horrible about tracking my cycle (I know!) but I think I was right around day 10-14?

thanks for your comments.

Oh with regard to thyroid, according to my doc it is "borderline/subclinical hypothyroid" -- so no real diagnosis, but she thinks a "boost" with the armour thyroid can be helpful. I'm feeling less and less comfortable with just medicating and not understanding what might be out of balance, which is part of the reason I requested these tests.

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Hah! Thanks Robin. I love it when I get to do a big geek out post!

OP, I would definitely get a second opinion on the thyroid stuff. Your doc just tossing you on Armour without trying to find root cause seems ridiculous. Chris Kresser has a really great series of posts about hypothyroidism that you may want to check out. I'm on my phone right now, but I'll update later unless somebody gets to it first

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thanks Emily, and Renee (again!). It's funny, I used to think I had found a good Doctor (integrative medicine doc, listens to me when I tell her I feel better without gluten/dairy, etc.) but I'm starting to think I've out-grown her :huh: . We'll see how things go at my appt with her on Tuesday, but at this point I'm really ready to get this stuff figured out, and less and less interested in the "do this for a year and see how you feel" sort of approach we've been taking.

I think I have been blaming myself a little too much--thinking I would be fine if my diet and exercise and lifestyle were perfect enough, so why should I expect a doctor to fix something I can fix myself? but seriously. my diet and exercise and lifestyle are pretty darn good. There's got to be something more going on.

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Ditto with the thyroid stuff! STTM helped point me in the right direction as well (though taking Armour was a complete fail for me) and is totally worth a good read. I found the book to be a lot more focused than the website as I needed a bit more structure and order to my research, but they're both informative.

One thing to keep in mind when interpreting your thyroid test results is how long it's been since you took your last dose of medication. Armour has both T4 and T3 in it, and T3 in particular peaks within a few hours of taking it and lasts at most 24 hours. T4 lasts days longer (I think I read 7 days?) If your last dose was the day before your tests, it may not still be in your system as much, and if you took your dose just before testing, it may not have had time to kick in. All that being said, your symptoms should also be taken into consideration when talking to your doc. If you feel great, then your doc has every right to keep your dose where it's at, despite test results not seeming optimal. However, if you're still having hypo symptoms, it's worth talking to your doc about a different dose, despite having 'normal' labs.

As for your cortisol levels, I've had much better results with saliva testing. You'll get 4 results at different times of the day instead of just a snapshot in the morning. For me, saliva testing has much more accurately reflected how I feel. Might be something worth discussing with your doc (though some poo-po saliva testing).

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thanks Karen. My last dose of Armour was a little more than 24 hours before my test (I waited to take my meds/supplements until after the blood draw).

I'll talk to her about the saliva testing too. My trainer wanted to start there, but since I have to pay for everything he does out of pocket, I figured it couldn't hurt to try some testing my insurance would cover first. If I can get my Doc to order saliva testing that would be ideal, we will see.

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Good luck! I agree, paying out of pocket isn't ideal, but sometimes it's worth it to see what's going on.

Can I assume you take Armour once a day? Talk it over with your doc first, but some find it's best to split their dose a few times throughout the day. Because T3 is so fast acting, many report feeling much better on a split dose so the T3 boost is distributed a few times throughout the day. Armour has T4 which can sustain a bit longer, but it's not the active hormone that actually enters your cells - T3 does. It might be worth discussing with your doctor as well.

Whatever the case, it'll be interesting to see what changes after your Whole30!

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Karen is giving you good advice! I agree with both saliva testing and splitting your dose.

I had to go the paying for this stuff myself also route, and I went through many (10?) different docs before I was finally able to find a doc who was able to work with me to get me to a functional state where I feel awesome! When I found myself thinking about the cost, I found it helpful to consider what I was paying for--my health, feeling well, being able to more than function, being able to thrive!

It's worth it.

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Kara and Emily- I don't really feel any different after my dose of Armour than before, so I'm thinking splitting wouldn't make much difference either...but if it isn't helping why am I taking it? On the other hand, I'm afraid if I do stop, I'll feel really bad in a couple of days or a week. Time to get to the bottom of things for sure (even if I have to open my wallet.)

thanks for all your thoughts and support!

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