Thyroid conditions are on the rise.
And almost every functional medicine doctor will talk about the importance of testing your thyroid in depth.
While conventional doctors usually only measure your TSH levels (and sometimes T4), functional and integrative practitioners will order a much more comprehensive panel. But what if you aren’t working with a functional doctor and your conventional doctor won’t order the labs for you?
Did you know you can order the same Functional Medicine labs on your own - no doctor needed?
Good news, with direct-to-consumer lab testing, in most states* you can now order these exact labs yourselves - in just a few clicks online! However, google searching for lab testing can quickly lead you down a rabbit hole of confusing language, various price points, and sketchy websites.
That’s why we took the time to do the research for you.
Here’s the breakdown of the DTC labs and where you can feel comfortable ordering a full thyroid panel ordered - no doctor needed.
1. What tests should I be ordering?
The labs (thyroid biomarkers) most functional medicine doctors will order are:
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPOAb)
- Thyroglobulin Antibody (TgAb)
- Reverse T3 (sometimes)
Note: the thyroid panels ordered by your Western MD are generally only for TSH and T4, which don’t always tell the whole story. See more about this here.
2. Where can I order my own labs?
Most DTC lab companies actually send you to the blood draw centers like LabCorp or Quest (which is great, because they’re available most places and are trustworthy.) What the DTC lab companies do is create bundles for you & contract with these bigger draw centers to actually draw and process your blood. You’ll purchase the bundle online from the DTC lab company (you can think of it as an ecommerce storefront!), go to Quest or LabCorp to get your blood drawn, and then receive your results through the DTC lab company.
We researched the best places to order your own thyroid tests. Here’s the top direct to consumer lab options & their prices.
Life Extension: $199, Complete (LabCorp)
Direct Labs: $219, Complete (LabCorp)
Ulta Lab Tests: $88, No Reverse T3 (Quest)
Wellness FX: $163, No TBOAb or TgAb (Quest)
Health Testing Centers: $169, No TgAB, Reverse T3 (LabCorp)
3. Other direct to consumer lab companies
Consumer Reports has done a great overview on different DTC lab companies. However, not all of them do comprehensive functional medicine lab testing. That’s why we created this guide for you!
Note - you CAN go directly to Quest (called Quest Direct) to get some labs, however, currently, they don’t offer comprehensive thyroid panels direct to consumer. This is a fairly new service and will likely expand its offerings over time. LabCorp has announced they will start doing this too.
Quest Direct: $39 for TSH only, no comprehensive Thyroid Panel (Quest)
Can I use insurance?
No, none of these companies accept insurance because their goal is to enable direct to consumer lab testing. That being said, even if you saw a functional medicine doctor or your conventional MD, these tests probably still might not be covered considering most insurance companies see them as “elective”. Even if you did go through insurance, the cost of these tests are often up to 10x more expensive for insurance companies, so your co-pay would likely be comparable to, or even exceed, these direct to consumer prices.
Where do I get my blood drawn?
All of these labs run through Quest or LabCorp, so you can go to your nearest testing center near you to get it done. Each site has their own “find a lab” tab for patients.
How do these companies work?
These companies have contracted prices with Quest and LabCorp that allow them to be cheaper when patients pay out-of-pocket.
Are all lab companies the same quality?
Yes. All these labs do their testing through LabCorp or Quest, which are the industry leaders in lab testing in the U.S. These are the same companies complete any lab-work ordered by your primary care provider as well.
5. How do I interpret these labs?
We recommend both doing your own research and also working with a functional medicine doctor to go over your results. Here are some resources on how functional medicine doctors interpret thyroid tests.
- Dr. Amy Myers: What your thyroid lab results really mean
- Dr. Isabella Wentz: Top 10 Thyroid Tests and How to Interpret Them
- Dr. Will Cole: A Functional Medicine Guide To Your Thyroid Labs
*Note: Direct Testing is not allowed in certain states. (NY, NJ, MD, RI and more) Check to see if your state is allowed on your direct lab company’s site.