Do you need T3 therapy?

If you have brain fog, depression or lack of focus, it could be really beneficial.

People who are diagnosed with Hypothyroidism are conventionally suggested one treatment option – prescription Synthroid aka T4/Thyroxine. If their hypothyroid symptoms do not improve or resolve there is generally nothing more to do, especially if their blood thyroid levels appear normal despite no significant change in symptoms. What’s more, even if at first their condition does improve many times symptoms return later and increasing thyroid dosages don’t continue to help. Most people who take Synthroid (Levothyroxine) will be good to go. They will return to better energy levels, weight loss and warmer temperatures. What about those who don’t?

Understandably, people feel stuck. It can be very frustrating that typical low thyroid symptoms like stubborn weight gain, fatigue, depression, constipation, thinning hair, memory loss, decreased libido, and feeling consistently cold persist even when treated.

Generally medical doctors do not explore other options to help support thyroid function and so not many people know of additional effective therapies that can greatly impact thyroid symptoms and overall quality of life.  These include prescription-desiccated thyroid (Erfa), prescription liothyronine (T3) and herbal medicines that can help restore the thyroid and metabolism to normal function.

To understand why we may need additional therapies to feel our best a brief lesson in thyroid function is helpful. Our thyroids produce two hormones – T4 and in lesser amounts T3.  T3 is in a ratio of roughly 14:1 relative to T4. T4 also needs to convert in the bloodstream into T3 mostly via the liver. If we don’t make enough T4 or if it does not convert effectively into T3 we do not get any of the benefit because T4 itself is inert. T3 is the active form of the hormone. It is the hormone that heats us, keeps our weight consistently low, makes us happy, and keeps the flow of the body systems moving well including regular bowel function and even stabilizes to normal cholesterol levels.

A problem with conventional thyroid treatment is that lab results are heavily relied on to determine when to initiate, maintain and stop treatment. But what so many people feel is that they do not feel as good as their blood thyroid levels indicate they should. This discrepancy is very important to treat because the body is still deficient in thyroid hormone. This is when treatments like Desiccated Thyroid and T3 are effective substitutions for Synthroid or can be a great place to start treatment. Desiccated is very effective because it contains both T4 and T3 so the body gets a source of both in case there is a problem with conversion of T4 to T3. It can be messy though as it’s not easy to interpret labs while on such high doses of both hormones together. So often I prescribe T3 on it’s own or in addition to T4 to help restart the metabolism and give the body what it crucially needs. Sometimes this means reducing some T4 to make room for T3 which requires care. This is especially true for people with brain fog or other cognitive issues related to hypothyroidism.

If you feel like there is room to improve low thyroid symptoms or want to potentially resolve thyroid disease, improve metabolism, and increase your quality of life there are more options available for you to explore.  For more information please contact Mint Integrative Health to consult with one of our naturopathic physicians.

Dr. Bobby Parmar ND RAc