Health Tips - Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

 
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone that spurs the thyroid into action. It accelerates thyroid function. The most important thing to realize about TSH is that it isn’t made by the thyroid and is therefore not a thyroid hormone. It is made by the pituitary gland in the brain, so it is a pituitary hormone.

The pituitary tells the thyroid how much work to do; it is the boss over the thyroid. If the level of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream is too low, the pituitary puts out more of its TSH to drive the thyroid into higher hormone production. If the level of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream is too high, the pituitary puts out less of its TSH so that the thyroid puts out less thyroid hormone.

People think that if the TSH is high that their thyroid function is high, but the opposite is true. Again, TSH is not a thyroid hormone. It is a hormone made by the pituitary to stimulate thyroid production and it is therefore an indicator of the level of thyroid production.

On a blood test, the TSH should be within a certain range. If the TSH is too low, that is usually because there is too high a level of thyroid hormones, produced by the thyroid itself, already in the bloodstream. In that case, the thyroid is considered to be “hyper” in function. If the TSH is too high, that is usually because there is too low a level of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. In that case, the thyroid is considered to be “hypo” in function. Alternative doctors try to get the TSH level below 2.

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