Dr. John Robinson, Contributor
Measuring Metabolic Rate for Your Thyroid
What if I told you that you could accurately and scientifically measure your metabolism and that personal and unique measurement was related to your thyroid function? Sounds interesting, right? What if I also told you that this scientific measurement was more accurate than simply looking at thyroid blood tests? Now you may be even more interested. I certainly was when I first learned about this years ago. What if I told you that you could finally receive an accurate diagnosis about your suspected thyroid problems and then get the medical attention you know you have needed?
The answer is metabolic rate testing. For decades, the use of metabolic rate testing has helped thyroid experts and physicians properly diagnose and monitor thyroid conditions. Once the easier and less time consuming blood analysis was discovered by the 1970s, the use of metabolic rate testing went out of fashion. There was a universal shift in all branches of medicine towards blood analysis as the main way to diagnosis and practice medicine. The practice of medicine was getting quicker and easier, but not necessarily more accurate. Metabolic rate testing measures how fast the body consumes oxygen and this in turn helps you to understand how fast your metabolic rate is moving. Because your thyroid is the “master of metabolism,” then this provides a very good idea about your thyroid’s ability to produce thyroid hormone and regulate your metabolism.
ReeVue® Indirect Calorimetry
One of the best FDA approved metabolic rate testing devices available is the ReeVue®.
Let’s get just a little technical and I will explain why metabolic rate testing works and how it will help you. As I said before, metabolic rate testing measures the oxygen that your body consumes. There is a direct correlation between the oxygen your body consumes and the calories you burn. If you consume one millimeter of oxygen, you burn exactly 4.813 calories. Once this simple device measures how much oxygen your body consumes, you can multiple by 4.813 and this provides an accurate measurement of calorie consumption. This method is called indirect calorimetry. In the precise clinical setting with the ThyroZone® system, the ReeVue® can be used to measure BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) or the absolute lowest (basal) level of metabolic rate the body is producing. If the basal metabolic rate is abnormally low, then this assists in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism (low thyroid). If abnormally high, then hyperthyroidism (high thyroid) is considered.
The ThyroZone® system uses a rational approach to the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders by looking at the whole picture for a patient. Measuring metabolic rate is a large part of this. It takes a little more time, but you are worth it.
The ReeVue® test is used mostly for diagnostic purposes, but occasionally will be used for monitoring your metabolism while on your thyroid medication. It is initially used for diagnosis because it is highly accurate and helps to establish a baseline in a controlled clinical setting.
Once you have your diagnosis and are in the process of improving your metabolism and thyroid gland with the ThyroZone® system, monitoring can also be done with the Thyroflex® instrument. See the next section for more information on the Thyroflex®.
Having Your Metabolism Checked with the ReeVue® is As Easy As 1-2-3! But there are a few things that are necessary to do to prepare for the test. Be sure to avoid food, caffeine, exercise, and all medications and herbal and nutritional supplements at least 4 hours before the test.
1…RELAX. ReeVue® measures your resting metabolic rate. It is important that you be able to reach a resting state during your test. At the time of the test, the lights are lowered, you are kept comfortable while lying covered with blankets, and soft music will by playing for about 5-10 minutes before the actual test begins and then throughout the duration of the test. This is all in an attempt to keep you as relaxed as possible.
2…GET “HOOKED UP.” Lying relaxed and comfortable, you will have a nose clip placed on your nose and you will be given a disposable mouthpiece to breathe through. This mouthpiece is connected to the ReeVue® by a hose that will measure how much oxygen you are breathing out. It is very important that you breathe only through the mouthpiece so this measurement will be correct. Both the mouthpiece and the tubing are sterile items that will be used only for you.
3…BREATHE. Finally, you just lay comfortably and breathe. The ReeVue® will indicate when it has calculated your resting metabolic rate. This takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. The more relaxed and even your breathing, the quicker it will be able to determine your resting metabolic rate. Optimally, your metabolic rate should be between +/- 5%, neither too fast or too slow.
It’s just that easy! In a total of about 20 minutes, your doctor will know precisely how many calories your body is burning, the speed of your personal metabolism, and how to properly diagnose and treat your possible thyroid condition.
One of the oldest and most accurate physical exams for diagnosing thyroid conditions is a deep tendon reflex test called Woltman’s Sign. You are likely familiar with the idea behind this basic test. Your doctor uses a reflex hammer and hits you on your knee or on your elbow which helps to determine the function of your musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and as you will see, your metabolic speed and thyroid function. About a hundred years ago, physicians observed that the condition of either hypothyroidism (low thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (high thyroid) directly affected the reflexes of the body. In hypothyroidism, the reflexes are slow. In hyperthyroidism, the reflexes are fast. In the past, doctors would have to use the basic reflex hammer tool and with merely a keen eye, determine if the reflex speed was too slow or too fast.
It is an acquired skill but even the most skilled physician can have difficulty in measuring the exact speed of the reflex. The Thyroflex® has helped to make the use of reflex speed assessment for thyroid disorders even more accurate, helping you to optimize your thyroid medication dose and your personal metabolism.
The Thyroflex® was designed by Konrad Kail, PA, ND and Daryl Turner, PhD after years of research. It was produced for medical use by 2007 and has been helping thousands of patients all over the world ever since. Understanding that reflex speed has been used in thyroid disease diagnosis and treatment, they brought this time-tested medical tool into the 21st century with accurate and reproducible computer-aided technology. The Thyroflex® accurately examines the brachioradialis reflex speed, a reflex found near your elbow that makes your wrist move up and down. Because your reflexes are associated with your metabolism, they are also associated with your thyroid function, the master of metabolism. The Thyroflex® also determines your RMR, or resting metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories your body is burning at rest. This is the same thing the Revue® machine does, except it is using a calculation based off of your reflex speed.
Explore http://www.nitekmedical.com/thyroflex.html for more information on this cutting-edge medical test.
What to Expect with Your Thyroflex®
The Thyroflex® is extremely easy to do.
Step 1: Sit comfortably in a chair and your doctor starts the set up. Your arm will rest on a table and your wrist will hang comfortably.
Step 2: A reflex hammer will be used to test your reflex located near your elbow.
Step 3: The computer will calculate the average speed of your reflex and you will be given a print out to review with your doctor.
The optimal range is between 50 and 100 milliseconds. Values between 101 and 135 can be slight low thyroid issues. Values over 136 milliseconds indicate the likelihood of hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Values less than 50 milliseconds can suggest towards hyperthyroidism (high thyroid).
It’s that easy! In a matter of 4 minutes, you will have a great idea where your thyroid and metabolism stands.
At The Hormone Zone, along with complete blood work and a comprehensive medical history, we routinely use these two tests to accurately diagnose, effectively treat, and optimally monitor thyroid disease and metabolic disorders.
About the Author
Dr. John A. Robinson is a Board Certified Naturopathic Medical Doctor and The Leader in Hormone Replacement Therapy, specializing in Natural Integrative Therapeutics, Endocrinology, Thyroidology, and Mind-Body Medicine. He is the Chief Medical Officer of the medical practice The Hormone Zone, also the title of his book. He has developed a unique and refreshing approach to the treatment of thyroid disease called ThyroZone™ where patients find real solutions for their thyroid and their metabolism. A book on his unique approach to thyroid health called ThyroZone ™ will be coming out in early 2016. Check out his website, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to listen to his interview on Thyroid Nation RADIO’s archives page. Information on the ReeVue® by Korr.