If you missed last week, I discussed the importance of your thyroid gland and shared the research documenting the importance of maintaining healthy iodine levels in your diet to maintain function of this critical gland. I also shared that most Americans are deficient in iodine which can be related to many thyroid imbalances. Thyroid problems are a major issue in our society (especially in women) and are likely complicated by poor lifestyle factors such as high stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise. This week I’d like to share a simple screening test you can perform at home to see if you might have a thyroid imbalance. I’ve used this test several times to pick up thyroid dysfunction even before it showed up consistently on a blood test.
Dr. Barnes developed this test in 1942 and it has most commonly been used to determine ovulation cycles by women trying to get pregnant. But guess what . . . ovulation cycles are controlled by a hormone released from the thyroid gland. The test measures basal (resting) body temperature which is controlled completely by the thyroid. To do the test you need a thermometer, a pen and a paper to be kept in arm’s reach beside your bed. Immediately upon waking, without even raising your head from the pillow, place the thermometer directly under your arm and leave it for 10 minutes. If you don’t have a glass/mercury thermometer, you will have to record the reading on the digital thermometer every time it beeps over the 10 minutes and take the average at the end. Try to avoid any arousal or movement while doing the test as it will affect the results. You will want to do the test on at least five different mornings and try not to do the test around day 14 or 28 of the menstrual cycle. Once you have five readings from different days, add the numbers together and divide by five to get an average. This number should fall between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does not, and you have any of the thyroid symptoms I discussed last week, you might want to have a complete thyroid panel run with your doctor.