Before starting the WT3 protocol as with any other medical therapy, one must first consider the potential risks and benefits. One can increase the chance of benefit and decrease the risk by ruling out other obvious causes of the patient’s presenting complaints. Some of the more important things to rule out are Addison’s Disease (adrenal insufficiency), Cushing’s Disease (excessive glucocorticoid), congestive heart failure, anemia, leukemia, atrial fibrillation, irregular heart rhythms, lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and others. It is important to rule these conditions out as well as possible and to think of these things when considering treatment for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome because some of these conditions can get worse with thyroid hormone treatment. This is especially true of Addison’s Disease, for example, which is sometimes characterized by severe abdominal pain. These conditions are really quite rare, but are, nevertheless, important to consider.
Let us now consider more specifically the risks of the WT3 protocol. Thyroid hormones have been continually present in every person’s body since birth. Adequate thyroid hormone levels are necessary for survival. If someone is living, they necessarily have T3 in their blood stream and if they are not on any medication, then they have T4 in their blood stream as well. Unlike most other medications, thyroid hormones are found in nature and in every person’s body. This helps explain why there has not been a reported incident of anyone having an allergic reaction to thyroid hormone medication. Most other medicines, however, are designed by men in laboratories, are foreign, and are different from the molecules that are produced by the body naturally. For this reason, it is unlikely that thyroid hormones have many long term side effects. It is unlikely that thyroid hormones can directly damage tissues such as the brain, lungs, heart, or other tissues, since these tissues have been exposed to the very same hormone since birth. Thyroid hormones have been on the market for over 40 years and have not been shown to increase the chance of a person developing cancers or other unusual reactions in patients who have been treated with thyroid hormones for several decades. In fact, patients are frequently told, once they have been diagnosed as having DTSF, that they will need to take thyroid hormone medication “for the rest of their lives.” Thyroid hormone medication has been seen to be tolerated well enough and to be sometimes necessary to take daily for the rest of one’s life.
There have been some studies recently to show that patients in their later years who are being replaced with T4 supplementation levels that are so high that the TSH level is below the lower limits of normal over a period of years (even ten years), may have a higher degree of bone loss or osteoporosis as compared to patients who are not on thyroid hormone medication. However, that these patients TSH levels were suppressed significantly, indicates that they might have been taking excessive levels of T4 supplementation. We have already discussed how some patients’ thyroid systems can be pushed too far in the wrong direction with too much T4 supplementation. The cause of bone loss in these patients has not yet been determined and body temperature patterns have not been taken into account, and it may be that these patient’s thyroid systems were not being properly monitored and regulated.
Thyroid hormone supplementation cannot be properly monitored if body temperature patterns are not taken into consideration. Just because the patients’ T4 levels were excessive does not necessarily mean that they were getting sufficient levels of the active hormone T3. T4 is the thyroid hormone preparation most often prescribed for long-term maintenance therapy and is generally considered to be quite benign (not harmful). Of course, T4 is not the physiologically active thyroid hormone, T3 is. T4 has to be converted to T3 before it has its action. So essentially, T4 is “T3 waiting to happen.” Therefore, in a sense, when one takes T4, one is taking T3, thus the WT3 protocol does not expose the body to any substances that T4 therapy doesn’t. The effects of T4 and the WT3 protocol on the body differ mainly in the extent to and the steadiness with which they provide the body with the physiologically active thyroid hormone T3. These effects can be maximized through the use of correct pharmacological principles. Also T3 and T4 therapy can be judiciously combined in certain cases to take advantage of the effects of each.
One interesting study showed that when some people are born with out thyroid function, they can sometimes be supplemented with T3 instead of T4. One such person was raised entirely on T3 medication and never had any T4 in his body during his entire life. By the age of 26, he had grown and developed normally.
The more substantive risks of thyroid hormone therapy are more short term rather than long term. They are more due to the indirect effects of the medicine (on blood pressure and pulse), than they are due to direct tissue damage. If every medicine has a risk and I were to assign one for the WT3 protocol, then I would say that if a person was on the verge of having a heart attack or stroke anyway, changes in his or her blood pressure or pulse could aggravate the situation like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Other factors that fall into the same category include: getting into arguments, driving in heavy traffic on the interstate, and many other types of medicine (such as caffeine, alcohol, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and others). If a person already has a tendency towards having an irregular heart rhythm (of which he or she is already aware, or that can be seen on an EKG), then the WT3 protocol might increase that patient’s chances of having irregular heart rhythms. If a patient is not on the verge of a heart attack or stroke, then it would be hard to see how the WT3 protocol can bring them there, since it is a hormone that has been well tolerated in his/her body since birth.
The WT3 protocol is generally extremely well tolerated, and when used with proper care and consideration, it is usually quite easily managed. When properly managed, one does not expect any drastic problems because one makes no drastic changes. The medication is started at extremely low levels and increased in very small increments, so that if the patient does develop any complaints, they usually come on gradually, not all at once. It is important to take the medication on time and as directed.
Another important thing to remember is that not every doctor currently understands the WT3 protocol or Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. It is important not to stop thyroid hormone medicines (especially T3) abruptly.
There is quite a bit of mythology about the thyroid system and thyroid hormone supplementation. This is easy to understand considering the difficulty available tests have had in predictably and reproducibly measuring the function of the thyroid system ( in relation to signs and symptoms of DTSF). Some say that once on thyroid therapy, always on thyroid therapy, but this is not necessarily true. Some say that taking thyroid hormone medication will cause a person’s gland to atrophy and that the gland will be ruined so that he will always need thyroid therapy. That some patients will need to take thyroid hormone medication for life is true, especially those patients who no longer have a thyroid gland. However, not all patients on thyroid medication will have to take it forever. And temporarily suppressing the gland does not mean that the gland will be ruined. I have seen many patients who have been treated with T4 therapy for years (even 20 and 30 years), with their TSH levels all the while being at or below the lower limits of normal (which indicates that their pituitary gland’s secretion of TSH had been suppressed by the T4 medication resulting in almost complete suppression of the patient’s thyroid gland). These patients sometimes present, nevertheless, with classic signs and symptoms of DTSF in spite of being on years of T4 therapy. With careful weaning of T4 therapy and administration of the WT3 protocol, the patients’ cause of DTSF (concurrent Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome) can often be reversed with resolution of their symptoms of MED with normalization of body temperature patterns. Upon gradually weaning the WT3 protocol, these patient’s thyroid gland production of T4 can often resume again on its own for the first time in 20 to 30 years (especially in cases in which the patients’ original diagnosis was based on less than solid evidence – which is often the case). These patients are sometimes able to wean off the WT3 protocol and maintain normal body temperature patterns and resolution of the symptoms of MED on their own. If a thyroid gland can function normally after being suppressed for 20 or 30 years, it is hard to imagine a normal thyroid gland’s function not resuming after being suppressed for two weeks, two months, or even two years. There is no medical literature that demonstrates that suppression of the thyroid gland with thyroid hormone supplementation can result in permanent damage to the thyroid gland. In the approximately 5, 000 cases that I have treated, I have never seen it happen. Of course, I suppose in medicine anything that can happen does happen, and therefore, thyroid hormone supplementation should not be taken casually and should only be taken if it is decided by the patient and the doctor that the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. Then one might consider a therapeutic trial of the WT3 protocol.
It is understandable how the body and thyroid gland tolerate thyroid hormone supplementation so well when one considers that the thyroid system is not a static system but a dynamic one. The thyroid hormone levels are constantly being adjusted by the body to accommodate different circumstances. So if the thyroid system can adjust to drastically different physical and environmental changes, and then can adjust back to normal once those changes have passed, it is easy to see how the thyroid system can adjust back to normal after “artificial” adjustments have been exerted on the thyroid system for a time with thyroid hormone supplementation.
The potential side effects of thyroid hormone treatment are very similar to the symptoms of DTSF. This is because the symptoms are “thyroid” symptoms. If the symptoms are treated properly, then they will improve. If they are improving with treatment for a time and for some reason the treatment is not done properly or other problems occur, then the symptoms that have improved might begin to get worse again. So in that sense, they might be considered side effects from the treatment. In other words, if the system is affected properly, the symptoms get better and if the system is being affected improperly, the symptoms can get worse again and in that sense be considered “side effects.” That is why many patients can have many of the “side effects” prior to treatment that are correlated with treatment such as shakiness, lightheadedness, hot flashes, fever blisters, weakness of the legs, panicky feelings, fatigue especially after a meal, jitteriness, diarrhea, constipation, sweating, dizziness, leg cramps, etc. If a patient should develop any symptoms or side effects from the treatment, it is an indication that the thyroid hormones are not adjusted properly and that the medication needs to be adjusted.
Thyroid hormone therapy should not be considered a “no pain, no gain” treatment. There is no point in “toughing out” any sensations that might remotely be considered side effects of therapy, because ideally, the symptoms are supposed to only improve with absolutely no complaints. Again, any complaint that is in any way suspected to be related to the medicine should be considered an indicator that the thyroid hormone treatment might be less than ideally adjusted. The side effects, like the symptoms, can be caused by body temperature patterns that are too low, too high, or unsteady.
The medication should not be stopped abruptly. One might wonder what effects such an action would have. If patients stop their the WT3 protocol abruptly, nine times out of ten, they will not be able to tell the difference. Five times out of one hundred, the patient may notice being more tired and achy; about one time out of a hundred, the patient may become significantly more tired, lightheaded upon standing, clammy, aware of low blood pressure, and have other such symptoms for several days and even a few weeks. So it is not advisable to stop the medicine abruptly.
Most of the patients that I treat have normal thyroid hormone blood tests (which is typical of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome), and, by far, the majority of them get better with treatment. In previous chapters the limitations of the thyroid hormone blood tests have been thoroughly discussed. Suffice it to say that thyroid hormone blood tests can be misleading, having a large number of false negatives in the evaluation of DTSF and the symptoms of MED. Most of the patients that I treat have normal blood tests much the way patients with migraines, premenstrual syndrome, depression, irregular periods, and infertility frequently have normal blood tests. Of course, patients are treated for migraines, depression, and PMS every day because many doctors understand that our medical technology is not exhaustive. They understand that there are still more things that are unknown than are known.
How does the doctor know when a patient is suffering from the symptoms they are describing, which happen to be consistent, for example, with the clinical picture of migraine headaches? The only way he has of knowing that a patient is suffering from such complaints is because the patient says so and because the doctor believes the patient. Since there is no “migraine-o-meter,” the doctor is left to make a provisional diagnosis and begin therapeutic trials in an effort to alleviate the patient’s condition. The same situation holds true for depression and the administration of antidepressants which are among the most widely prescribed medicines in the world. Doctors are doing the best they can with what they have, and by approaching the problems of migraines, depression, and PMS analytically, doctors have been able to relieve untold anguish and misery. It seems very strange then, that the limitations of blood tests and medical technology are so well recognized in certain areas of medicine, while the results of tests seem to be unduly considered cut-and-dry, conclusive, exhaustive, and infallible in others. Perhaps it is because thyroid hormone blood tests can be useful in identifying some of the causes of DTSF. But we must not jump to the conclusion that necessarily means that they can identify all causes of DTSF.
With all of our knowledge, advancements, technology, and sophisticated tests, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that tests are only as valuable as they are useful in predicting the outcome of therapy and directing treatment to make patients’ problems better (which is the real goal of medicine). The value of a test isn’t always best measured by how difficult the test is to perform, how much it costs to make or develop the machine used, or how expensive the test is to obtain. Just because a test is extremely complicated, sophisticated, and expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is extremely useful, predictive, or valuable in addressing certain problems. Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome signs and symptoms, their clinical presentation, and body temperature patterns aren’t expensive, complicated, or technologically highly sophisticated, nevertheless, they are extremely valuable in helping to predict who will and who will not respond to the WT3 protocol, and in helping to direct that therapy. Often objective (from tests) information has more predictive value than subjective (from the patient) information in the diagnosis and treatment of medical problems. However, in the diagnosis and treatment of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, information obtained from the patient ends up being extremely predictive.
For example, if a patient has a classic presentation of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, it is easy to predict that a patient has a low body temperature pattern and is likely to respond to the WT3 protocol. In fact, if I see 200 patients with a classic presentation of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, less than one would have a normal body temperature pattern (running 98.6 degrees on average). In fact when a patient relates to me a classic presentation of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, I will often tell them, “I know your body temperature runs low, have you ever noticed that?” In many cases the patients are already aware that they have consistently low body temperature patterns, but in some they are not. A few patients having classic presentations for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome have gone home and measured their body temperatures and found that their body temperatures were averaging normal or above. To such patients, after making sure that they were not taking their temperatures at the time of ovulation or just prior to their menstrual cycles, I have made the comment: “That means your thermometer is broken and you should check your temperature with another thermometer.” These patients are often astounded when they go home and find that sure enough, their body temperature patterns do run consistently below normal when measured with another thermometer. I have been so bold as to make such statements because in a patient with a classic presentation of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, there is more chance that the patient’s thermometer is broken than there is that the patient has a body temperature pattern that runs consistently normal or above. Patients with classic signs, symptoms, and presentations of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome will notice an unequivocal improvement in their symptoms with the WT3 protocol in 95% of cases. There are very few medical problems that respond as reproducibly and predictably to treatment (with or without technologically sophisticated testing) as does Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome respond to the WT3 protocol. DTSF symptoms that come on after a major stress associated with low body temperature patterns and normal thyroid blood tests are almost pathognomonic for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Pathognomonic is a medical term that means that it is specifically distinctive or characteristic of a disease or pathologic condition; denoting a sign or symptom on which a diagnosis can be made.