More than twenty years ago no one was saying anything about Reverse T3 or making any special mention of T3.
I remember like it was yesterday the day I picked up this article:
Schimmel M: Thyroidal and Peripheral Production of Thyroid Hormones. Annals of Internal Medicine 87:760-768,1977.
This article opened my mind to the possible significance of Reverse T3 and T3 as compared to T4.
Before that day, I focused mainly on T4 and TSH as we were trained to do in medical school. However, this focus wasn’t giving me the results I was expecting to see in my patients. It didn’t make sense. The fact that patients were getting somewhat better by giving T4 suggested we were on the right track. The fact that not all of them were getting all the way better suggested that something was missing. I was troubled by the results because it seemed that there was no explanation for it.
That’s when I saw this article. Like a beam of light, it illuminated a possible explanation for what I was seeing in my patients.
The article explained that T4 is converted to either T3 (which is active) or RT3 (which is inactive) and that most of this conversion happened outside the thyroid gland. I started using more T3 and started getting better results in some of my patients.
Some of my patients weaned off the T3 when they went away for the summer and we found that they needed less T3 when they came back for the winter. Then I started cycling patients on and off T3 on purpose and found people needed less and less T3 until many times they could wean off completely. That’s how I knew that we were looking at a medical condition that hadn’t been previously described, Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.
To be clear, I didn’t invent T3. And Dr. Broda Barnes was the one that pointed out that low body temperatures can correlate better with low thyroid symptoms than thyroid blood tests. My contribution was finding that people with low temperatures and normal thyroid blood tests can often recover from one or more cycles of T3, and remain improved even after the treatment’s been discontinued. I was also the first doctor to use sustained-release T3 which is now being recommended by doctors around the world.
I published my book on Wilson’s Syndrome in 1991. Before that, people hardly ever mentioned T3 in relation to treating low thyroid symptoms. One day I called Dr. Schimmel (the one that wrote the article above) to tell him I was seeing confirmation in my practice of the possible clinical implications he mentioned in his article. He responded that he did the study a long time ago (1977) and he didn’t seem too keen on discussing it, like maybe he didn’t remember much about it or that he was no longer interested in it (or maybe he was just busy).
Since I’ve published my book there has been growing interest in and mention of Reverse T3, and the use of T3 in the treatment of low thyroid symptoms. For example, many thyroid-related health sites, books, fitness trainers, physicians, spokespeople, and businesses, tout the importance of peripheral conversion of T4 to T3 and/or Reverse T3 (RT3) and the usefulness of T3 in the treatment of low thyroid symptoms in patients with normal thyroid blood tests.
Over twenty years ago, I received a lot of opposition both from mainstream and alternative medicine circles. Now, it’s great to see that my ideas are being embraced and disseminated more and more.
Denis Wilson, MD