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Diet and Weight Loss

Everyone knows that a slow metabolism and low thyroid function can lead to weight gain and make weight loss extremely difficult. Practically any time patients go to the doctor complaining of fatigue, easy weight gain, and difficulty losing weight, low thyroid function will be the first thing to cross doctors’ minds. The problem is that doctors have been trained to think they can rule out low thyroid function with thyroid blood tests. But thyroid blood tests can only rule out glandular causes of low thyroid function. They can’t rule out peripheral causes. They can’t rule out Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome is undiagnosable with thyroid blood tests.

Patients with normal thyroid blood tests can still have low body temperatures, and all the classic symptoms of low thyroid function. And their symptoms can respond dramatically well to proper T3 therapy for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.

Dr. Wilson had one patient that lost 34 pounds (all the weight she needed to lose) in one month without changing her diet. She hadn’t been eating too much in the first place. Her problem was that she had a low temperature and symptoms of low thyroid function. When her temperature climbed to normal and her low thyroid symptoms went away, so did her excess weight. She had no complaints or side effects with treatment, and she was literally unrecognizable in one month, both in appearance, disposition, and outlook. It was amazing. That was the most dramatic case.

In other cases, Dr. Wilson has had patients lose over 100 pounds over time when the patients weren’t able to lose weight with other approaches, even stomach stapling. One patient who had had a stomach stapling procedure couldn’t eat more than 600 to 1,000 calories a day because her stomach was so small. If she ate more than that she’d vomit. And yet she was still gaining weight! Her metabolism had apparently slowed down to a crawl to compensate for the stomach stapling. When her temperature came up she was finally able to start losing weight.

But the weight doesn’t always come off so easily even when patients are benefitting from the T3 therapy for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Some patients go through a stress and develop Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Their temperatures drop, they get a lot of symptoms of low thyroid function, and they gain a lot of weight. When their temperatures and symptoms resolve with T3 therapy, one would expect their excess weight would disappear also. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the patients still have trouble losing the weight when it appears quite obvious that a metabolic problem caused the weight gain in the first place.

One possible explanation Dr. Wilson gives comes from physics. There is a concept in physics known as the Surface Area / Volume ratio of an object. The more surface area and object has for the same amount of volume the easier it is for that object to transfer heat to or from its surroundings. For example, let’s suppose 2 inches of snow falls on the fields and streets of a city. And let’s suppose that a snow plow comes along and plows the snow off a street piling it up on the side of the road. Here’s the interesting part. When the sun comes out and the snow begins to melt, the piles of snow on the side of the road is the last to melt! Those piles can remain for days even after all the snow in the fields and the unplowed streets has melted. The piled up snow would have melted sooner had it been left spread out on the street (although it would’ve made driving harder)! Why does it take so much longer for the snow to melt when it’s been piled up? What’s changed? The surface area / volume ratio! This one change can make a huge difference.

When the snow is spread out, there is more exposed surface area for the snow to absorb the heat from the sun. But when the snow is balled up in a pile, there is less surface area to absorb the heat. This is the same principle people use when they spread out their corn or mashed potatoes on their plates so that they’ll cool faster. With more surface area, and with the heat closer to the surface, the heat can escape the food more easily escape. This same principle irrefutably occurs in people as well. It’s physics. The more people are shaped like balls, the harder it is for them to dissipate calories. The more they look like sticks the easier it is for them to lose calories.

So what happens is that when people develop low thyroid function and then gain weight, they look less like sticks and more like balls. That alone will make it harder for them to lose weight because it will be harder for them to dissipate calories. So when people get symptoms of low thyroid function and gain weight without changing their diets, one would expect that when their temperatures are corrected, they’d also lose the weight without changing their diets. That would be expected just as people would expect 2 inches of snow to melt in the same amount of time whether it is plowed into piles, or not. But that’s not necessarily the case because of changes in the surface area / volume ratios.

There is no question that this plays a role. The only question is how much of a role? It probably plays a very big role. If people wearing T-shirts and shorts were accidently locked inside a walk-in freezer, after a while they’d probably all draw their arms and legs in as closely as possible to their bodies (they’d ball up) in oder to conserve body heat. People ball up in cold weather for a reason. It decreases their surface area/ volume ratio and helps them retain their heat, or calories.

Of course, there are many factors that can affect weight. Body temperature, metabolism, and surface area / volume ratio are not the only ones. But they can be critically important.

As explained in the book Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome — A Reversible Thyroid Problem, T3 therapy appears to be able to protect the metabolism from slowing down during dieting in many cases. Normally, the metabolism slows down when people start to diet in order to conserve energy. Studies suggest that people can cause persistent slowing of their metabolisms with excessive dieting. The metabolism can slow down by decreasing the conversion of T4-T3. This doesn’t occur as readily when patients are on T3 therapy because they are being given the T3 directly and T4 levels are lower.

There can be a very big difference in terms of results and the effects on the metabolism between dieting with a low temperature, and dieting with a normal temperature supported with T3 therapy. Without T3 therapy, the metabolism can end up slower than it was, with T3 therapy it can end up faster. Rather than patients temperatures being lower during and after a diet, they can be normal. Rather than patients’ symptoms getting worse with dieting, they can get better, and the temperatures and symptoms can remain improved even after the T3 therapy for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome has been discontinued.

About the Author:

Denis Wilson, MD developed the concept of Wilson 's Temperature Syndrome in 1988 after observing people with symptoms of low thyroid and low body temperature, yet who had normal blood tests. He found that by normalizing their temperatures with T3 (without T4) their symptoms often remained improved even after the treatment was discontinued.

39 Comments

  1. Anna Kunkel April 18, 2013 at 1:45 am - Reply

    Hi Dr. Wilson,

    Congratulations to your new website!

    I am wondering how I am able to open the e-Book. Unfortunately the link doesn’t work. Furthermore, I would like to order some supplements. This used to be quite easy on the older website. How does it work now?

    Thanks for your answer!
    Anna

    • Dr. Denis Wilson May 3, 2013 at 7:33 am - Reply

      Thanks :)
      And sorry about the ebooks…technical support is working on those right now to get them fixed. Should be fixed in about a week.
      As far as ordering…there are pictures of supplement bottles on almost every page. Just click on the bottle and you’ll be taken to where you can order.
      Best!

  2. heidi June 6, 2013 at 4:47 am - Reply

    Hi Doctor……. I have just rec’d my first bottle of Thyrocare. My temps are chronically low and my FT3 is 2.2 (TSH 1.86, FT4 .96). Do you think the Thyrocare will be sufficient to help with weight loss? Seems the less I eat the more I gain.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson June 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Heidi :) Sorry, FDA regulations prohibit us from making claims on dietary supplements.

  3. Lee June 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Hi. My 24 yr. old daughter has been suffering from chronic fatigue since high school. It is normal for her to sleep 12 hours a day and, upon awakening, still feel tired. She’s had anxiety attacks under stress, dizziness upon standing, digestion problems and alternating diarrhea and constipation. We’ve since learned she has gluten sensitivity and a recent thyroid test revealed antibodies (yet, through all of this she managed to graduate in the top 10 pct of her class and recently completed nursing school with a BS, so amazingly proud of her). Although, doctors have not been able to pin down her problem, after reading your website I began to wonder if she has low temperature, especially in light of her one constant complaint – intolerance to COLD. However, the one symptom of hers that doesn’t seem to fit your protocol is that she is underweight. She is 5’4″ and only 96 lbs. She had tried forever to gain weight but cannot. The most she has ever weighed in her life is 101 lbs. Is it possible to have low temperature and also have a weight GAIN problem? Thank you!

    • Dr. Denis Wilson July 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Yes, it is possible to have trouble gaining weight when body temperatures are low, particularly with the kinds of digestive problems you describe. Physical and emotional stress can put a strain on the thyroid and adrenal systems. When people have low body temperatures due to stress on the thyroid, they often have adrenal fatigue as well. Some people with severe adrenal fatigue can have difficulty with dizziness when standing, trouble gaining weight, anxiety, and so on. She can look here for a doctor to help her: http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/patients/medical-providers/
      Best wishes :)

  4. Lee July 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your reply! I was not able to find a medical provider that is near us from the link you provided. I suppose we can approach our daughter’s current doctor about WTS using some of the information from your site. Failing that, do you suppose any of the supplements at WTSmedproducts.com, which I am guessing you endorse, would help her with this specific problem? Again, thank you.

  5. Coralashley October 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Wilson, I am on the T3 therapy. My temp went up to 98.6 and averaged on my 1st dose of 7.5mg. I thought I had captured my temp, but it has since lowered.. from reading your book, my system must be conpensating. So I increased it to 15mg and my temp didn’t average 98.6 during the day, so I upped it to 22.5mg.
    Here are a few questions:
    1) At what times do you suggest I take my temp while on the T3? Is it the same as when I did my temp before I started treatment, so 3 hours after waking and then every 3 hours, until I’ve reached 3xs in the day?
    2) I seem to be gaining weight and not losing any? is this normal? Will I lose weight once I capture my temp and once I’m off the T3?
    3) I’m retaining water while on this therapy, is that o.k too? My rings are fitting me tighter.
    4) I’ve been sweating during sleep while on T3, is that normal? I didn’t sweat that much last night but the other nights I have.
    5) I’m on bio-identical progesteron currently, is that going to effect the T3 treatment at all?
    6) I’m also on (1) 50mg of 5 HTP, is that ok to be on at the same time as the T3 as well?

    Other than that, when my temp is 98.6 I feel great and I’m excited to start feeling great everyday!

    Thank you kindly
    Coralashley

    • Dr. Denis Wilson October 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Coralashley :)
      1) Yes, you can check your temperature the same as you did before you started treatment, so 3 hours after waking and then every 3 hours, until I’ve reached 3xs in the day.
      2) I seem to be gaining weight and not losing any? is this normal?

        Fluid retention is the number one side effect of unsteady T3 levels.

      Will I lose weight once I capture my temp and once I’m off the T3?

        People tend to lose weight the best when their temperature is normal and steady.

      3) I’m retaining water while on this therapy, is that o.k too? My rings are fitting me tighter.

        Fluid retention is number one side effect of unsteady T3 levels.

      4) I’ve been sweating during sleep while on T3, is that normal? I didn’t sweat that much last night but the other nights I have.

        Sweating isn’t very typical of T3 therapy

      5) I’m on bio-identical progesterone currently, is that going to effect the T3 treatment at all?

        Possibly, since progesterone can affect body temperature also

      .
      6) I’m also on (1) 50mg of 5 HTP, is that ok to be on at the same time as the T3 as well?

        I’m not aware that 5 HTP would adversely affect T3 therapy.
  6. Coralashley October 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    One other thing, I’m finding that I’m a little more constipated during the treatment.
    Is that to be expected till I capture my temperature?

    Thanks!

  7. Pam January 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Hello,
    I stopped my 210 mg Armour and started on a T3 protocol a couple of weeks before Christmas mainly due to cold intolerance, dry skin and inability to lose weight along with my lab values. I worked up to 90 mcg, starting at 7.5 and moving up every 2 days. After getting to 90 for 4 days I had no symptoms of hyperactivity, increased heart rate, etc, so my NP put me on 90 mcg for 3 weeks, then 75 for 2 weeks and 60 and a follow up visit. I have been on 90 for about a week and for a couple of days my RHR has gone up to 85 from about 60 with jittery, hyper symptoms. . I am less anxious and hyper today. . My temps are improved at times throughout the day, (Still low temps) Overall, I am not as cold. As I am busy all day and don’t get to take my temp at scheduled times, will it hurt me to stay on the 90 mcg for the next 2 weeks if I reach my temperature goal of 98 and don’t catch it? Also, is it okay to continue with the 90 in lieu of my increased heart rate? I have had no weight loss or change in energy levels. Thank you

  8. Trish Davies January 22, 2014 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Dear Dr Wilson,
    I have seen my doctor and he is going to write me a script for sustained release tri-iodothyronine (SR-T3), which I will obtain from a local compound chemist. However, he had no idea as to how to prescribe it in terms of dosage. Is 7.5mcg the amount in one tablet? He had to add the name to his list of prescriptive medicines as he had not heard of it before. He is more than happy to learn about it – that is something and very interested in my blood test results as compared to the baseline tests. Many thanks.
    Trish

  9. KS January 27, 2014 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Hello,

    I want to lose weight… I’m using liothyronine for T3 therapy. My body temperature is about 96.8. Before starting T3 Therapy (2013/7) my THS and FT4 were both in normal range, FT3 3.11 pg/mL and RT3 32.8 ng/dL. What is you opinion about starting fasting diet 5:2 to losing some weight? Is there a risk that metabolism will slow down even though that there are only 2 days per week fasting? Thank you.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson January 29, 2014 at 5:02 am - Reply

      T3 therapy is usually protective against the slowing effects of fasting. However, your temp is still low so it’s not clear how effectively the T3 therapy is going for you.

  10. Bernardette Vella February 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Hi, I was diagnosed with hypo scoring 10.6 for the t4 but the tsh is fine scoring 2. I was given 50mg eltroxin and even though I m dieting I m gaining weight. I m getting mad and have fatigue. If my tsh is fine does it mean my t3 is fine too?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson February 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      No, a normal TSH doesn’t mean your cells are getting enough stimulation to provide you with a normal body temperature. It’s easy to tell. If your temperature is low, there’s a good chance you’re not getting adequate thyroid stimulation in your cells.

  11. Lexie February 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Thank you for all of the information! I have been diagnosed by my doctor and will be starting treatment this next week. I have high hopes that it will help me lose weight and feel better all around. If I am interested in trying to lose weight during this treatment (hopefully I am not the pile of snow!) , what kind of diet would you recommend? Low carb, Low Cal, something else?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson February 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Normally, we recommend a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. Good luck to you!

  12. Susan March 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    I have been having low tsh (.18-.30) but normal t4 and t3. I am feeling completely hypo but I was sent to an endocrinologist who says I’m subclinical hyper. I also have small nodules, but she’s not concerned. My main issues are being cold, weight gain inspite of proper diet, low ferritin and dizziness. Could this t3 therapy help me?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson March 21, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

      That’s certainly possible. Some people with hyperthyroidism can also have Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. T3 therapy could help with the low temperature symptoms.

  13. Donna April 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    I am taking 100mcg Synthroid tablets and my temperature is still below normal – averaging 97.2. Can I benefit from taking Thyrocare and Adaptogen? If so, do I take them along with the Synthroid?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson April 9, 2014 at 5:36 am - Reply

      Yes, ThyroCare and Adaptogen can be taken with Synthroid. ThyroCare and Adaptogen support normal body temperatures. However, T4 (Synthroid is T4) can sometimes suppress normal body temperatures since the T4 can downregulate the very enzyme that is supposed to convert it to T3.

  14. Kim June 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    How can I find a Dr.in my area who can help with this protocol? I read everything I can get my hands on and I am amazed that my Dr., my nutritionist, even the Dentist do not know much about the thyroid. I would appreciate any advice for searching for a receptive Dr. in the St. Louis area.
    Thank you!

  15. Pamella November 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    I am 30 and I have struggled with weight loss all through my 20’s, and now going ibto 30’s. I have a normal body temp of 97.2.

    I recently gained another 30 poinds from August to October. I went to my doctor and she was concerned. They were the ones that weighed me ao they knew it was accurate. She said lets do a thyroid test. She only did the one standard test and was no longer concerned once it came back normal. So I dove into research. That is when I came across that many people who suffer from all the symptoms are iodine defiecient. I then ordered a natural Kelp supplement. I have taken it for one week. It seems to help with energy levels and I lost 2 pounds right away. I thought it was helping with my temps at first too but now it is going from 97, to 98, to 99….

    I feel like crap when I am at 97 or 99…..

    So here I am. I need advice. All the doctors here suck. I dont know where to go from here???

    • Dr. Denis Wilson November 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      The fact that you felt better and lost 2 pounds with iodine sounds like a good sign. I wonder if it’s your high temperature causing you to feel badly or something else.

      The doctors we know that are treating WTS are listed here:
      http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/patients/medical-providers/
      If there is not a doctor near you, just know that most of the doctors that are treating WTS heard about it through their patients:
      http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/patients/recruiting-a-doctor/
      If you find an open-minded physician, I’d be happy to talk with him/her personally on the phone for free to help them get started (doctor can call 800 420 5801 to make arrangements)

      I can’t give medical advice over the internet but I’d be happy to discuss your case for free with your doctor (doctor can call 800 420 5801 to make arrangements)

      You can learn more at wilsonssyndrome.com. There are also two free ebooks, one in the menu dropdown for Patients and one in the menu dropdown for Doctors, not to mention the book “Evidence-based Approach to Restoring Thyroid Health.”

      How to measure Temp:
      http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/identify/how-are-body-temperatures-measured/

  16. Lorraine April 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Just a note to thank you. I found a doctor near Southern NJ using the list on your website. It always amazes me that the medical community is slow to accept Wilson’s Syndrome as something real. My morning body temp has been between 95 and 96 for years – but of course weighing 230 pounds is all my fault. Working with a personal trainer 3x’s a week for a year and no weight lost – must be something I’m doing wrong. On Jenny Craig for 2 years (1,000 daily) and could not get under 193 pounds (2005-2007) – told I need to exercise more. On the HCG diet for a year (one month on, one off), but lost only 30 pounds in a year on 500 calories a day. SMH. So, I am very much looking forward to my first doctor’s visit on April 10th. God willing, a lifetime (started 1983) of weight issues will be resolved. So thank you, Dr. Wilson, for pioneering this. As you know, doctors with new ideas are not always handled gently by the medical community. I applaud you. Wish me luck!

  17. Jessica Hake May 15, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Doctor Wilson, I am grateful and excited about your discovery. I have suffered with this syndrome acutely for the past 3 ½ years, though sometimes I wonder if I had it before only not as bad. Besides not having the energy I want I have gained 25 pounds during these years. Discovering what the problem was has been wonderful because, as I‘m sure often happens, I was so confused and self-condemning about my symptoms, not understanding them. I had an average temp of 97.

    Now I have been through one round of protocol. My symptoms were terrible during the treatment. It took about a month and a half total. I gained the last five of my 25 pounds. Now I have been off for about 20 days. My temperature has fluctuated between 98.4 and 99.4 since being off all medicine, but during the last several days it has been much more often around 99.0 throughout the day. I am discouraged however that I am not losing any weight or feeling any more energized than I felt BEFORE I started the protocol (I do feel more energy than I felt DURING the protocol).

    I have 2 definite questions but would love to hear you speak to anything at all:

    1- Is it bad for my temperature to be higher than 98.6 on average and if so, what does one do about that?

    2- Is the suggestion of the snow analogy that one might need to do serious dieting in order to jump start weight loss if they find themselves a “ball”? If this is true, and if I do a high protien, low carb diet and this dieting causes my temperature to fall again (because isn’t heavy dieting one of the causes of WTS?) is the idea that I will just start another round of treatment using the protocol?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson May 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Jessica! I’d be happy to discuss these questions with you and your doctor. Your doctor can call 800 420 5801 to make the arrangements.

  18. Reatha Bahnke May 28, 2015 at 10:41 am - Reply

    What do you think about Armour thyroid medication?

  19. Donna August 3, 2015 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Hello,
    I’ve had my thyroid removed (cancerous nodules) along with a parathyroid tumor in 2010. Since then, weight has cheeped on to 30 lbs. I’ve been to 5 doctors since March looking for an answer for this tissue inflammation and no results. My temp is constantly low 97.2-97.5. I have high Reverse T3, and cannot a doctor to acknowledge this, let alone prescribe treatment. How can I move forward to better health as I believe WTS may be a factor. I ordered the thermometer and cell nutrition. This isn’t the first time I have tracked my temperature and it’s always low. Currently on 100 mcg Synthroid and 7.5 mcg Cytomel. I haven’t seen any info for thyroid-less patients. Is the protocol the same since there isn’t a gland to help out in the first place?

  20. Pat Fowler October 3, 2015 at 3:16 am - Reply

    If you don’t reach a normal temp on the way up with the WTS treatment, should you start over or should you take all the rest of the meds on the way down? Will your temperature regulate to normal on the way down, or the way up?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson October 5, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

      The temperature usually goes up on the way up on the medicine though it can sometimes normalize on the way down. You can consult with your physician on how to take T3 In your individual case.

  21. Sandeep November 15, 2015 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Sir…my mother is suffering from headAches from few years with her temperature getting lower during headache to 96.8,97 degrees .. When headAche cures her temperature returns norml ..she is also under stress .. Plzz its a humble request if u could help me out..

    • Dr. Denis Wilson November 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Sure thing Sandeep :) Low body temperatures can certainly explain low body temperature. Wilsonssyndrome.com explains how to monitor temperature and also how to go about getting the temperature back to normal. Best of luck to you.

  22. Jerryanne Cameron May 13, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    I was going to a homeopathic Dr. He tested me, I have hypothyroidism. He raised the dosage of Thyroid PX. And my iodine levels went too high. I’m going to start ordering from you again, I was diagnosed with Wilson’s syndrome years ago. I need advice on the dosage. I also have Lupus, and am extremely tired all the time. Both problems I’m sure contributing to this. I nee help! Thank you

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