Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome
(Wilson’s Syndrome, for short)

Classically, Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome is

  • a persistent but reversible slowing of the metabolism often brought on by the stress of illness, injury, or emotional trauma.
  • often worsened in stages with subsequent stress.
  • characterized by a low body temperature and classic low-thyroid-like symptoms.
  • often corrected with a special thyroid treatment even though thyroid blood tests are often in the normal range.

In addition, there are people who seem much more prone to developing Wilsons Temperature Syndrome than others. Their symptoms tend to:

  • Come on earlier in life. So early that some patients may not even know what it feels like to be normal.
  • Worsen more gradually over time.

Those who seem most prone to developing Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome are those whose ancestors survived famine, such as Irish, Scot, Welsh, American Indian, Russian, etc.. Most susceptible of all seem to be those who are part Irish, and part American Indian. But under severe circumstances people of any nationality can develop Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.

About 80% of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome sufferers are women.

Low Body Temperature and Symptoms

It’s easy to see if your metabolism has slowed down and might be contributing to your health problems. You can simply check your body temperature.

In fact, low body temperature and low-thyroid-like symptoms are so closely related that it appears that the low body temperature is actually what causes the symptoms.

A low body temperature is a very reliable indicator of poor health that can often be corrected with restorative medical techniques.

How Can A Low Body Temperature Cause So Many Symptoms?

Virtually all of the chemical reactions that take place in our bodies are catalyzed by enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that are dependent upon their shape, or conformation, for their activity. When enzymes are too hot they are too loose, when they are too cold they are too tight, and in either extreme the enzymes are not the right shape and cannot function optimally. When the body temperature is too low, nearly all of the enzymes in the body function less effectively. This can cause a very wide variety of complaints.

It’s well known that high fevers (107 degrees F) can cause brain damage and even death, and that very low body temperatures (< 90 degrees F) can also be life-threatening.

Likewise, a temperature a little above normal (say 100 degrees) is plenty of reason to feel badly and be excused from school or work. Clearly, temperatures that are just as low as 100 degrees is high can easily explain a classic set of symptoms. It is obvious that we are looking at a continuum, and in order to function optimally, the body must be at the optimal temperature.

Let’s Look Now At The Metabolism From A Restorative Medicine Standpoint

Please note: The discussion on this page draws heavily from the discussion on the previous page. This page will make more sense when you read that page first. You can click here to see if you’ve read it.

The body can adapt and heal itself of many illnesses and injuries. It can also get sick and develop health problems both temporary and permanent. We’ve also discussed how the health of the body depends on parts of the body working properly together.

The metabolism plays a central role in the function of the entire body. Like other parts of the body, it can usually adapt and regain normal function, but sometimes it can’t.

Purpose of the Metabolism

The body converts energy or resources into function. If not enough energy is converted, then not enough function can be delivered.

Varying Degrees of Sickness

Understandably, there are varying degrees of sickness that can result in a slow metabolism.

Let’s review from the previous page a range of severity for health problems ranging from least to greatest:

The body

1st degree: can correct the problems on its own under the present circumstances.

2nd degree: can correct the problems on its own under improved circumstances (such as diet, exercise, and rest).

3rd degree: cannot correct the problems on its own, but they may be corrected with restorative medical treatment since there is little, if any, permanent damage.

4th degree: cannot fully recover because there is permanent damage of part(s) of the body.

5th degree: cannot survive because of impairment of part(s) of the body resulting in death.

Varying Degrees of Illness Can Slow Metabolism

As with other parts of the body, the degrees of severity of illness listed above can apply to the metabolism as well.

Let’s cover these one degree at a time.

1st Degree:

Under periods of stress (such as childbirth, divorce, or death of a loved one) or starvation, the metabolism can slow down as an adaptive coping mechanism. The body can react to the physical or emotional threat by entering what can be thought of as “conservation mode”. In this way, the body is able to conserve resources that it might need in order to survive the threat.

The 1st degree is when the body can correct the problems on its own under the present circumstances.

So a stress can come along and take the body by surprise which can initially result in fatigue, irritation, depression, anxiety, a sense of overwhelm, and other symptoms. But along with the rest of the body, the metabolism can often adapt to the circumstances even if they don’t lighten up, such that the symptoms go away.

2nd Degree:

In the 2nd degree, the body can correct the problems on its own under improved circumstances (such as diet, exercise, and rest).

Under stress, the body temperature can drop and many people experience hair loss, dry skin, headaches, fatigue, irritability, depression, low sex drive, easy weight gain, insomnia, and many other complaints. Under stress, the body decreases its energy expenditures on those bodily functions that aren’t strictly necessary for short-term survival. That’s why the skin, hair, and sex drive are often among the first to go.

In this second degree of severity, the stress the body is under is too great for the body to adapt to or recover from under the present circumstances of diet, rest, and exercise. This may be the beginning of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. However, the body can often recover if the stress is reduced or eliminated and/or the available resources are increased with improved diet, rest, and exercise.

3rd Degree:

The 3rd degree is when the metabolism is so impaired that the body cannot correct the problem on its own, but the problem may be corrected with restorative medical treatment since there is little, if any, permanent damage.

Well-established Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome typically fits here. We’ll come back to this in greater detail below.

4th Degree:

In the 4th degree the body cannot fully recover because there is permanent damage of part(s) of the body.

The metabolism is largely controlled by glands. The hypothalamus in the brain is involved, as well as the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, and the thyroid gland in the front of the neck.

There are diseases of these glands that result in classic symptoms of a low metabolism (the same ones listed in the degrees above, and on the right hand side of this page), and a low body temperature (less than 98.6 on average, measured orally). Click here for information on how to measure the body temperature.

The most common of these diseases is primary hypothyroidism (or just plain hypothyroidism for short), which is hypothyroidism due to a malfunctioning thyroid gland (as opposed to secondary hypothyroidism which is due to a malfunctioning pituitary gland). Hypothyroidism is usually considered to involve permanent damage of the glands and require treatment for life. Since the purpose of the thyroid gland is to put thyroid hormones into the blood, poor functioning of the thyroid gland is often visible on thyroid blood tests.

5th Degree:

In the 5th degree the body cannot survive because of impairment of part(s) of the body resulting in death.

Myxedema coma is when hypothyroidism is so severe that it can soon result in death. The metabolisms of patients with myxedema can slow down so much that 80% of patients with myxedema have body temperatures that drop below 95.0 F.

Low Body Temperature and Classic Symptoms Synonymous with Impaired Metabolism

When the metabolism is impaired, not enough energy is being converted to function. This results in low body temperatures and classic symptoms that can often involve nearly every bodily function.

The purpose of the metabolism is to maintain normal body temperature and to prevent the symptoms (or decreased organ function) resulting from a slow metabolism. A slow metabolism demonstrated by a low body temperature is more than enough to explain the symptoms on this page.

We have seen that the metabolism can adapt to stress (as in the 1st degree), and that it can often recover from stress on its own (as in the 2nd degree). But sometimes the low temperature and debilitating symptoms persist even though the stress has passed. It seems they can sometimes persist even with all the rest, diet, and exercise in the world. At some point it becomes apparent that “something is wrong.”

Since the symptoms are classic for low thyroid function, doctors will often check the thyroid blood tests to see if the patients have hypothyroidism (as in the 4th and 5th Degrees). If the thyroid tests come back normal the doctor may conclude, “Since your blood tests are normal, you’re fine.”

In the last two paragraphs you can see how we went from the 1st degree, to the 2nd degree, to “something’s wrong”, and then right on to the 4th and 5th degrees. We know something’s wrong but the thyroid tests are normal so what could it be? Did you notice that we skipped right past the 3rd degree? Essentially, that’s how Wilson’s Syndrome has been overlooked for so long.

Let’s Go Back Now To The 3rd Degree

The 3rd degree is when the metabolism is so impaired that the body cannot correct the problem on its own, but the problem may be corrected with restorative medical treatment since there is little, if any, permanent damage.

Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome

  • is especially brought on by physical or emotional stress.
  • causes a low body temperature and classic low-thyroid-type symptoms.
  • is “something wrong” that often doesn’t respond well to improved rest, diet, exercise, or stress avoidance.
  • often shows normal thyroid blood tests.
  • is often reversed with a special thyroid treatment.

It’s called Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome because it causes low-thyroid-like symptoms and because it often responds characteristically well to a special thyroid medicine treatment, even though thyroid blood tests are often normal. Not only do the temperatures normalize and symptoms improve with proper treatment but they usually remain improved even after treatment has been discontinued.

Since Wilsons Temperature Syndrome often results in a slow metabolism that falls between those that don’t need medical treatment (1st and 2nd degrees) and symptoms that do require treatment (4th and 5th degrees), doctors are often caught in the middle. Since most doctors don’t yet know about Wilsons Temperature Syndrome or its treatment they might conclude that the patients’ symptoms are “all in their head”. But often, it’s so apparent that the patients have “something wrong” that the doctors end up treating the patients’ individual symptoms with antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, diuretics, anti-inflammatories, anti-acids, ….etc…etc.

There are patients with temperatures just as low and symptoms just as severe as many patients diagnosed with hypothyroidism, that are told, “Your blood tests are normal therefore you’re fine.” But these same patients often respond beautifully to the right kind of thyroid medicine given in the right way. Their temperatures and symptoms often remain improved even after they’ve weaned off the medicine.

Because most doctors don’t yet know about Wilsons Temperature Syndrome it’s easy for some doctors to conclude that normal thyroid blood tests mean that people don’t have sick metabolisms that require medical treatment. On the other hand, if people have low body temperatures and classic low-thyroid-like symptoms that respond well to a special thyroid treatment, and that remain improved even after the treatment’s been discontinued, we conclude that they were suffering from a reversible maladaptive slowing of the metabolism, or Wilson’s Syndrome. After all, if it wasn’t maladaptive wouldn’t the temperature drop back down and the symptoms come right back once the treatment was discontinued?

Thus, we would not conclude from normal thyroid tests that people don’t have sick metabolisms, but that their low body temperatures and classic low-thyroid-like symptoms are more likely to be curable.

Explains The Advice People Often Get

When people (like doctors) think your body will adapt well to stress (as in the 1st Degree above), they may think your low-thyroid-like symptoms are, “Just stress, you’ll be fine.” And if you really complain about how bad they are they might say, “You’re just imagining it,” or, “It’s all in your head.”

If people think you’re under too much stress for your present circumstances (as in the 2nd Degree), they might say “If you just cut down on your stress, and improve your rest, diet, and exercise, you’ll be fine.”

If your low-thyroid-like complaints are so convincing that the doctors check your blood tests to see if you have hypothyroidism (as in Degrees 4 and 5), And they come back normal the doctor may conclude, “Since your blood tests are normal, you’re fine.” And he may add one of the other comments above.

But if you talk to people who know about Wilsons Temperature Syndrome you might hear, “I think you might have Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, and there’s a good chance you can recover.”

(You can find out more about Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome using the links at the top of this page).