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.