Possible aggravation of cardiovascular predispositions
The major risk is cardiovascular. I don’t advise using T3 therapy in patients with low cardiovascular reserve. The risks are more short-term than long-term.
As with all medical treatments it is important to carefully weigh the risks and potential benefits of the T3 therapy before proceeding.
The major consideration in terms of risk of T3 therapy is cardiovascular. Cardiovascular disease is a major problem in our country. Every day many people who are not on thyroid medicine have heart attacks, strokes, and develop arrhythmias.
Unsteady T3 levels can increase a patient’s chances of increased heart rate, and palpitations. And if a patient is already on the verge of having a heart attack or a stroke, these cardiovascular side effects could aggravate the situation. The whole trick to T3 therapy is keeping the T3 levels steady.
Thus, the risks of T3 therapy are more short-term (during treatment) than they are long-term (see myths below, as well as a discussion of osteoporosis in question 17 (Q17).
It is sometimes difficult to avoid unsteady T3 levels, and so it might not be advisable to implement T3 therapy in those patients who may not have the cardiovascular reserve to tolerate very well much of an increase in T3-level-unsteadiness (for example, certain elderly patients).
If T3 therapy is administered properly, one does not expect any drastic problems, because one does not make any drastic changes; the medicine is taken very much on time, and adjustments or actions are taken at the first sign of any developing problems.
Not every doctor understands the management of T3 therapy.
The above risk is probably most significant in the emergency medical setting.
It should be counted as a risk that not every doctor understands T3 therapy. Some practitioners or medical personnel may not understand the importance of taking the T3 therapy on time, and not stopping it abruptly. They may not understand the significance, clinical presentation, or management of unsteady T3 levels. They may also attribute the symptoms of unsteady T3 levels, to excess T3 levels in terms of quantity (as opposed to quality of steadiness), or to some other cause. All of these things may make management of the patient more difficult for them.
This issue would probably be most significant in the emergency medical setting, for example if the patient was in some kind of serious accident and was teetering on the edge of life and death, when every variable mattered. It would be even harder for emergency medical personnel if little or no information could be obtained about the patient or the patient’s current medical treatments (but of course there are many medical treatments that share this risk, and patients could diminish this relatively small risk by carrying with them in their wallets, a written note of information).
T3 therapy is a therapeutic trial.
(like everything in medicine)
T3 therapy is not a cure-all. One doesn’t know before treatment how well it will help. It is a therapeutic trial. When it works it often works dramatically well and patients often remain improved after the treatment is discontinued.
T3 therapy is not a cure-all panacea. It’s a temperature tool (but it is often amazing to see what a difference normalizing a low temperature can make).
The symptoms of low thyroid function are so much like the symptoms of so many other different things, and so many people have such symptoms, how does one know for sure a given patient’s symptoms are thyroid-responsive before treatment? One doesn’t.
T3 therapy is a therapeutic trial.
T3 therapy won’t work for everyone, but it can do a lot of good for a lot of people. And it’s very instructive when all, or the majority of a patient’s symptoms resolve with normalization of body temperature patterns. And it’s even more compelling when those symptoms remain resolved even after the treatment has been discontinued.
T3 therapy gives predictable and reproducible results with many patients remaining improved even after the treatment is dicontinued.
T3 therapy often works when all manner of symptomatic therapies have failed. Most patients who try T3 therapy are very delighted they did. Among the best responders are those patients who have been caught in the earlier stages.
If patients symptoms resolve with T3 therapy, does that mean they had a thyroid system disorder? Not necessarily.
Like so many other treatments in medicine, it’s aspects cannot be easily proven. But it is clear that proper T3 therapy (the design of which has been based on the Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome pathophysiologic paradigm) does provide reproducible and predictable results.
And what results they are: patients often enjoy complete resolution of very debilitating complaints, with that resolution persisting even after treatment has been discontinued. This is a much better result than is delivered (with little if any more uncertainty) by virtually all the symptomatic therapies to which these patients are routinely subjected.
What percentage of reasonable candidates (based on descriptions of typical patients in the book: Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome-The Miracle of Feeling Well, and this manual) will respond well to the T3 therapy described in this manual? It is difficult to quantify precisely because of semantics of terms, and because it depends on the condition of the patients in a given cohort. I have been willing to treat relatively mild cases, as well as more severe ones. Many of the patients that respond most easily to the treatment are the ones who have been caught in the earlier stages of the condition.
But to give one an idea, in my experience, at least 65% of patients could be characterized as being very delighted that they ever heard of, and implemented this approach.
How T3 therapy is administered affects how often it is successful.
Although 10 percent of cases could be described as discouraging, proper T3 therapy for Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome works so well that many patients find it hard to believe that something so simple could have been overlooked for so long.
If the treatment is not administered very carefully, about 75% – 80% of patients will notice some unequivocal improvement. If the treatment is administered very well, the yield can be increased to at least 90% of patients noticing some unequivocal improvement in their symptoms (which is not to say all of their symptoms necessarily improved, or that any symptom improved completely, but that there was at least some improvement in at least one symptom).
The results of about 10% of cases could be described as discouraging.
What is not conveyed in these numbers, however, is what a profound difference is made in the lives of those people who do respond well to the treatment. Imagine a patient who has suffered with debilitating symptoms of fatigue, migraines, PMS, depression, and anxiety, lumbering along for years with little relief, thereby living a veritable nightmare. And then with this treatment, all the symptoms completely resolve (the salient word here being completely) almost as if they were never really there, when other treatments have helped very little if at all. When such patients see how simple it was to resolve their symptoms, they often are upset that those symptoms were ever allowed to be such a hideous problem, even though the treatment was only developed recently. They’re often incredulous that something so simple has been overlooked for so long.
It would be exciting if only a small percentage of patients who respond well to the treatment remain improved after the treatment is discontinued. But the percentage appears large (especially if the patients are not under conditions of severe stress).
If patients do relapse later after some major stress they often respond quickly to repeat treatment.
How many patients remain improved even after the treatment has been discontinued? It’s not clear whether patients who have finished treatment don’t return because they stay normal, or for some other reason. Real follow up studies have not been done, but would be very interesting.
What I have observed is that many of the patients that do experience a relapse of symptoms similar to those that resolved with T3 therapy, have come back for repeat treatment. These relapses very typically occur after a major stress (usually emotional or mental pressure), many months after the treatment has been discontinued. Such patients are often quite anxious to be treated again.
I have enjoyed a very good rapport with my patients, and I can see little difference in the type of patients that return (after relapse), and the ones that don’t. This leads me to believe that the large majority of patients do not readily relapse, since if they did, I would expect many of them to return for repeat treatment. And only a relatively small percentage of patients return for repeat treatment.
In fact, some patients have come back after more than one relapse on the order of a year apart. For example, one patient did well with treatment and stayed well for about a year off treatment. She experienced a relapse when her son totaled her car. She was more easily corrected after this relapse than originally, and she stayed well for another year. She relapsed again when someone was trying to persuade this same son to go to the Bahamas to traffic in drugs. She again responded well to treatment, and is doing well off treatment so far as I know.
It is clear that the patients who are under the same kind of stress when they wean off, that precipitated their Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome in the first place, are less likely to stay well and are more likely to relapse than those who aren’t.
The more corrected a patient’s Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome is when the T3 therapy is weaned, the less likely he/she is to relapse.
Also, the earlier a relapse is caught once it occurs (e.g., 2 weeks vs. one year), the easier it is to correct it. The T3 therapy can be repeated as needed throughout a person’s life.
Note: If the purpose of T3 therapy is to leave a person more endogenously T3 rich after therapy than before, then the question arises: Is it possible that a person can be left with an endogenous thyroid milieu that is too T3 rich? Of the many thousands of patients I have treated I have wondered if this were not the case in about 3 of the patients (some symptoms of T3 level unsteadiness, with temperatures a few tenths above 98.6 after treatment had been discontinued). These patients weren’t very uncomfortable but did not seem as well adjusted as they could have been. There are some natural circumstances that tend to slow a person’s T4 to T3 conversion down below normal (stress, fasting), while I cannot think of any that would tend to increase it above normal. So at least the circumstances in the world would tend to correct a slightly rich milieu rather than promulgate it. And one can always recommend fasting for a few days, as I did in those 3 cases, to increase the shunting of T4 toward RT3. The patients did not have persistent complaints, and the fasting seemed to help although the patients were lost to long term follow-up.
T4 is good but T3 is a bad molecule. It damages the body and just causes side effects.
There are fair number of myths that have been generated about the thyroid system in general, and the T3 molecule in specific. These myths seem a lot like those stories that change a little each time they’re passed from one person to another. Even though they are no longer accurate and are without basis they are still enthusiastically and authoritatively presented as fact.
Note: T3 is a molecule that is present from birth in every human’s body, and is absolutely necessary for good health. The difference between exogenous T3 and endogenous T3 is not a chemical one, but how they are delivered to the body. It is important for exogenous T3 to be delivered as well as possible to limit adverse side effects, but it can’t and hasn’t directly damaged heart, brain, or other tissues. Also, T3 does not expose the body chemically to anything more than exogenous T4 does, since T4 is T3 waiting to happen. In fact, T4 has to be converted into T3 in order to have its proper effect. Before the principles of management of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome were developed, T3 was being used in ways that did not make pharmacologic or physiologic sense, and so, far more side effects were experienced. But that’s not T3’s fault, that’s to be expected from any medicine that is being administered improperly. With proper T3 therapy, it is not intended that there should be any side effects, patients should only feel better. But as with any treatment, there is a chance side effects can develop. Any side effects are an indication that the T3 therapy is not ideally adjusted, and that adjustments need to be made to make those side effects go away.
T3 will atrophy the gland and cause a permanent dependence on thyroid hormone when one otherwise would not have existed.
Note: Of course exogenous thyroid hormone therapy will suppress endogenous function for a time, but no evidence has ever shown that it can damage a previously healthy gland to prevent it from functioning normally again after the medicine is discontinued. There are many euthyroid (normal gland function) patients that have been on thyroid hormone therapy for years because somewhere along the line, someone felt it was reasonable in their cases (based on clinical grounds, or perhaps equivocal, or even inaccurate test results). Many of these patients’ own thyroid functions have been almost completely suppressed for over 20 years, having very low TSH’s (A normal T4 level in a patient on a T4-containing medicine can’t hide the fact that the patient’s own system is virtually completely suppressed). And yet these patients, when weaned off T4-containing medicine and cycled properly on and off T3 therapy often do better off all thyroid medicine, with regard to their previously partially-responsive low thyroid symptoms, than they ever did while on T4-containing medicine. Their systems come back up easily after 20 years of suppressive therapy, much less after a few months worth.
Once people need thyroid treatment, they will have to stay on it for the rest of their lives.
Note: Persons who have had all the thyroid tissue in their bodies removed or destroyed, will need some form of supplementation all of their lives. But that doesn’t mean everyone else will. Even glandular insufficiencies of the thyroid system can be temporary. But especially people without glandular insufficiencies can frequently be weaned off treatment successfully, after their symptoms have resolved with treatment.
T3 is like cocaine or amphetamines (“speed”) and is addictive.
Note: Perhaps the biggest thing that amphetamines and T3 have in common is that they were both abused decades ago in weight-loss treatments. Perhaps this is why some doctors remember them in their minds as being similar, and maybe the doctors who subscribe to this myth have simply confused what the similarity was (weight loss also comes to mind for some with cocaine). It’s a little like saying that water and arsenic are just alike because they both have been used to commit murder. The difference though is that you can live without arsenic, but you can’t live without water. Likewise, you can live without cocaine and amphetamines, but T3 is physiologically necessary. Of course T3 therapy is not candy, and it’s not for everyone. Like any medical treatment T3 therapy does have its risks but addiction is not one of them.
T3 is naturally found in the body, while amphetamines and cocaine are not. T3, cocaine and amphetamines are totally different pharmacologically, and in their mechanisms and sites of action. Cocaine is an alkaloid, while amphetamines are sympathomimetic amines, and both have their actions on the central nervous system. T3, on the other hand, is an amino acid derivative that has its action only on thyroid hormone receptors, which are found in all the tissues of the body.
Cocaine and amphetamines might give a normal person a “high” of some sort, but excess T3 makes normal people feel worse, if anything, not better. If a person is very thirsty, then there’s nothing quite like a long drink of water. But if a person’s not thirsty, a long drink of water isn’t that enjoyable. Likewise, the purpose of proper T3 therapy is to eliminate classic symptoms of low body temperature and low thyroid function to bring a person’s clinical status up to normal, not above normal.
When people are weaned off cocaine and amphetamines, they often have withdrawal symptoms (a characteristic of addiction). But when people are weaned off proper T3 therapy they don’t, and they usually retain a net improvement. Now, it’s not wise to stop T3 abruptly, because it does not give the patient’s own thyroid system enough time to come back up-but that’s not addiction, that’s glandular function. And even so, the weaning process is comfortably accomplished in days without withdrawal, rather than with great discomfort over months.