Hypothyroidism is defined as inadequate thyroid hormone production, leading to slow metabolism, and is diagnosed by a lab test showing high thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Standard treatment is lifetime thyroid hormone medication. But it’s not unusual for a patient to have all the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, weight gain, low body temperature, and depression, yet have a normal TSH. The reason for this is that the TSH doesn’t measure metabolic rate, so it’s easy for people to have slow metabolisms even though their thyroid hormone production is normal. On the other hand, body temperature is a direct measure of the metabolic rate. Is it possible to use thyroid hormone to raise body temperatures and alleviate symptoms in patients with normal TSH?
Dr. Denis Wilson published a clinical observation paper on this topic after tracking the progress of 11 patients with fatigue and low body temperature despite normal TSH. Pre-treatment lab tests revealed no apparent cause of the fatigue the patients were experiencing. The patients followed the Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome protocol, starting on a small dose of sustained-release triiodothyronine (SR-T3) taken every 12 hours. The small increases in the T3 dose were made daily over a matter of days, and then the dose is slowly tapered over time, possibly followed by additional cycles of treatment. The duration of the protocol varies depending on the patient and is typically less than six months. Medication is discontinued when symptoms resolve and body temperature normalizes.
In this clinical observation, patients scored their symptoms of fatigue, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, myalgia, and average temperature at various times during treatment. Their starting temperatures were all below normal, ranging from 96.5 to 98.4. By the end of the observation, all patients’ temperatures normalized to 98.6. They all experienced significant improvement in symptoms, with the most consistent improvements being in the category of fatigue. Treatments lasted between 3- 6 months, and even after discontinuing the protocol symptoms remained improved. Three of the 11 patients experienced almost complete resolution of symptoms by the end of the observation.
The benefit of being treated with Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome protocol is that when symptoms resolve, the medication can be discontinued, as compared to traditional thyroid hormone prescriptions which are lifelong. The WTS protocol is customized to each patient’s response. Using SR-T3 in this way helps reset the body’s metabolism, sometimes permanently. Some patients need to repeat the WTS protocol occasionally over their lifetime.
Sustained release T3 is liothyronine compounded in a hydrophilic matrix system, using hydroxypropyl-methylcellulose (HPMC). Clinical experience has shown that typical side effects that can occur with using T3 can include heart palpitations, increased heart rate, irritability, shakiness, fatigue, and headache are less likely with SR-T3. Iodine supplementation is also recommended if a patient is iodine-deficient.
For more information on the WTS protocol, read the online book Doctor’s Manual for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, by Denis Wilson, MD.
Journal of Restorative Medicine 2012; 1: page 64- 74. DOI 10.14200/jrm.2012.1.1006