What can your Basal Body Temperature tell you about your thyroid health?
Knowing just how hot or cold you are running and how your body thermo-regulates itself can give you some key indicators about your state of health. Putting faith in modern medicine and technology while listening less to the intuitive signals of our own bodies has diminished the use of this cheap, easy, self diagnostic tool. But if you are reading this, you are in luck. The Basal Body Temperature (BBT) test helps us further understand thermogenesis, i.e., how our bodies regulates temperature properly. We all know how terrible we feel when we have a fever, but being too cold may even be worse. It is absolutely critical that you don’t run too cold. If your body temperature drops even a degree below where it should be then more than half of the enzymatic processes in the body will become dysfunctional.
As far as self diagnosis, this test is so simple, you don’t even have to leave the comforts of your own bed. It is a great way to connect with your body first thing upon rising to get grounded for your day.
BBT has also been used for many decades to helps detect ovulation. A spike in temperature is a confirmatory marker of ovulation. Learn more about charting your fertility cycle here.
Allow me to share why a BBT is the simplest way to tell you if your thyroid is functioning correctly. The thyroid is known as the master gland and is part of the endocrine system. It’s a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck just below the adam’s apple. It’s the big boss of our metabolism and also governs other organs in the endocrine system. It is also a major contributor to how energetic or tired you may be. It also plays a big part in hormone function and a properly functioning thyroid enhances our cognitive ability.
Thyroid disorders as reported by some medical research organizations affect a shocking 13 million people in the United States alone. Statistics are also showing that 1 in 8 women between the ages of 35 and 65 and 1 in 5 over the age of 65 will have some form of thyroid dis-ease.
The thyroid gland is your body’s source of iodine, and is itself ruled by the pituitary. The pituitary gland produces Thyrotropin (TSH), that tells the thyroid to make Thyroxine T4. Thyroxine (T4) is used throughout the body to deliver iodine, which is used for many cellular processes. Iodine deficiency is a large contributing factor to thyroid issues.
The thyroid also produces calcitonin that regulates calcium uptake, regulating the parathyroid gland, which takes calcium from your bones when you don’t have enough, but it can’t take excess calcium out of your blood if it is not working. Excess calcification wreaks all kinds of havoc on us, especially reducing our cellular bio-conductivity. Calcium, as we know, is not a good conductor of electricity, so too much weakens our biofield and destroys the delicate pH balance of intra and extra cellular membranes.
The thyroid also makes Triiodothyronine (T3), which is five times more potent than T4, but the thyroid produces 17 times more T4 than T3. T3 is the primary hormone that helps your body regulate its’ temperature.
Overall, our thyroid is quite complex and puts on quite a coordinated orchestral performance affecting the overall chemistry of the entire whole body.
How Does the BBT Work?
So what will your BBT tell you that blood test won’t? Blood panels test your hormone levels, while measuring your BBT will be able to tell you if your thyroid is actually working and producing T3.
Blood work is also open to interpretation which can often be off the mark.
The normal range of TSH is somewhat controversial. In labs the normal can run as high as 4-5mU/L, with other experts using 2.5-3 mU/L and then you have integrative medicine with an upper limit of 1.5-2 mU/L.
This coupled with an over reliance on prescription drugs leaves many people continuously suffering the inequities of treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause. Remember, a band aid does not heal anything.
Another reason the BBT can come in handy over bloodwork is due to all the different variables that can contribute to your TSH levels being off. A high TSH could be due to an overcompensation of the pituitary gland to get the thyroid to produce T3 and T4, if the thyroid is not responding. You have to find out why. Stress could also play a big role in suppressing the pituitary gland from producing enough TSH which would show up as low thyroid hormone production (T3 and T4). These results can be confusing and undermine a true determination of the actual state of your thyroid gland and whether it is properly functioning or not.
As I pointed out, your body temperature directly affects your enzymatic functioning. So if your BBT is low then enzymatic activity will be severely reduced and and your cellular function will be compromised which in turn will perpetuate a low body temperature. This is a vicious circle that if undiagnosed will eventually lead to the manifestation of dis-ease. If you suffer from extreme fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, mood swings and weight loss or gain, do yourself a favor and test your BBT. Do it before you get misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants for hypothyroidism, which is plain wrong. This study addresses this specific problem in the medical industry today of doctors misdiagnosing a weak thyroid as a mental condition.
Your ideal BBT is 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit). Anything under 36.5 Celsius (97.7 Fahrenheit) is a indication that your thyroid is dangerously sluggish and not functioning correctly. This seemingly small drop in temperature, even by half a degree, considerably hinders every cell in the body.
How to Take the Test
Step one: Purchase a glass basal temperature thermometer. Pharmacies also sell specific thermometers for BBT.
Step two: Get comfortable with reading your thermometer and create a routine of rising out of bed slowly, and being more present. Have a place to properly keep a diary to chart your tests because you are going to have to take it every morning before getting out of bed for a week to get an accurate picture. Find a system that will work for you, there are many smartphone app options for charting your BBT as well. The key is to take it the same way, same time, every day. After you are done, reset the thermometer by shaking it back to zero so it is primed for the next morning.
Step 3: Choose to start on the second day (skip the first day) of your monthly period. Take your armpit temperature for ten minutes as soon as you awake and before you gotten out of bed. It must be the first thing you do even before speaking.Taking your temperature under the tongue will not work for this. A minimum of three consecutive days is encouraged to have a chart that tells you if you have hypothyroidism. But like I said, a week of measuring BBT is better.
Massoudi, M. S., et al. (1995). Prevalence of thyroid antibodies among healthy middle-aged women. Findings from the thyroid study in healthy women. Annals of Epidemiology, 5 (3), 229–233.