The thinking behind our Thyroid product
The symptoms of the various thyroid conditions are far-reaching. From relentless and never-ending fatigue or sensitivity to the cold, to unexplainable weight gain or muscle weakness.
Diagnosing and treating thyroid is a contentious issue. Between mainstream GPs, functional medicine practitioners and endocrinologists, there's little agreement.
For many sufferers, the treatment and diagnosis model for thyroid is broken. Countless can be left frustrated, without receiving the correct diagnosis or treatment.
We see this as an opportunity to improve the lives of those suffering with thyroid problems. Given how contentious the issue is we wanted to make sure that our offering was the right one.
We have spent the past six months heavily reviewing what we offer for a thyroid product. Our medical director, Dr Vishal Shah has read the most recent studies regarding the condition. And he has interviewed leading thyroid experts on all sides of the argument. These include Tanya Borowski, a leading functional medicine practitioner, and Professor John Wass, professor of endocrinology at University of Oxford.
We believe if you are fully informed, you will be able to make better decisions. The outcome is a unique thyroid test, triage and recommendations based on results.
The Thriva Thyroid product
The test includes:
- TSH (read our glossary for all of these terms explained)
- TPO / TPEX
- Vitamin D
- B9 (Folate)
Following your first test, you will receive advice and consult as well as a revised follow-up test reflective of your results.
Why have we chosen this product?
There are multiple points of contention surrounding thyroid.
1. Diagnosing using just TSH & T4
The mainstream medical view - what you will get with your GP - is that a diagnosis can be made predominantly using the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level.
Our view is that this is crude. First, it doesn’t take into account age, sex or other factors or the presence of T3. Second, it ignores the thyroid antibodies which link to autoimmune conditions. In many cases, you can have normal TSH levels, and yet still have an autoimmune thyroid condition.
2. Measuring thyroid antibodies
There are two thyroid antibodies frequently used. These go by the acronyms of TGAB or TPEX. These are used to help diagnose autoimmune diseases that affect the thyroid such as Graves’ and Hashimoto’s. The view of the British Thyroid Association is simply to analyse TPEX because 90% of people with Hashimoto’s will present TPEX.
Our view however is to measure both TPEX & TGAB. Because there are people who do not present TPEX but then do present TGAB.
3. The role lifestyle and nutrition play in managing thyroid disorders
The mainstream medical view is that there isn’t anything you can do to alter the thyroid disease except take medication.
Our view follows the functional medical community which believes that diet, nutrition and lifestyle can affect the condition as well. The reason this has been discounted amongst the mainstream is the nature of double blind studies and how difficult they are to apply to holistic medicine. However, we believe the vast swathes of feedback and learnings from thyroid sufferers is impossible to ignore.
4. The continual monitoring of thyroid antibodies over time
For most thyroid sufferers, the antibody levels are not checked over time - even in cases where they have been used in diagnosis.
Our view is that antibodies are a fluctuating and effective marker for understanding the severity of the condition. This is based on evidence that shows that the higher the antibody levels, the worse the symptoms presented (source), and that lifestyle and nutrition can affect modify antibody levels (sources).
5. Measurement of vitamin and iron levels
Not only do various vitamin deficiencies mimic the symptoms of thyroid disease, but vitamin D and iron levels are also necessary to support thyroid function.
Our view is that measuring vitamin D, B9 (Folate), B12 and ferritin is essential in presenting a full thyroid diagnosis.
We have taken a view that bridges the gap between the various corners of the thyroid community. We are in no way suggesting that conventional treatments should be replaced. We are, however, recommending additional strategies be included that do no harm.
Dr. Shah, our Medical Director has commented on the launch. "I want to toe the line between being rigorous and robust in analysis of evidence, but also be sympathetic to the unmet needs of the thyroid community. We're listening to the patients but also listening to all sides of the debate."
As a young health startup, we are able to act quickly but rigorously. We listen to our community to help evolve products and introduce new ones all the time. Our community of 20,000 active members, over 500 specialist practitioners, and dozens of other health tech companies have all fed in to the evolution of the Thyroid product.
We welcome all feedback and will answer any questions you have about this. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org