What are the symptoms of WTS?
People with Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome (WTS) often struggle with symptoms of fatigue, depression, fluid retention, easy weight gain, headaches, dry skin, dry hair, PMS, irritability, low libido, insomnia, anxiety and many others. Their symptoms often come on or worsen under conditions of severe physical, mental, or emotional stress. Since the symptoms are classic for slow metabolism, their doctors sometimes order thyroid blood tests. When the tests come back normal their doctors might tell them that their thyroid is fine and the symptoms are all in their head, or that they’re just getting older, or need to learn to live with them. Unfortunately, these symptoms and the overwhelmed feeling of being at the end of your rope are hard to live with. In fact, some people say they’d rather be dead than go on feeling the way they do. Fortunately, WTS can be simple to correct and is often completely reversible. Here are a few patient success stories.
What causes WTS?
Under conditions of severe stress, (like childbirth, divorce, or the death of a loved one) the metabolism can slow down and the body temperature drops as a coping mechanism. After the stress has passed the metabolism and body temperature are supposed to come back up to normal, but sometimes they don’t and the body can get stuck in “conservation mode” and the debilitating symptoms can persist indefinitely (often worsening under subsequent stress).
The thyroid system is needed to maintain normal body temperature (normal metabolic rate). The active thyroid hormone (T3) goes into the nucleus of every cell of the body (except the few cells that don’t have DNA) and stimulates the rate at which DNA, the code of life, is transcribed. Literally, T3 determines how fast we live (our metabolic rate/body temperature). T3 also stimulates the mitochondria that turn fuel into power. When the mitochondria aren’t functioning well it’s easier to gain weight and feel tired.
Under conditions of stress, the cells of the body convert less T4 (the less active hormone supplied by the thyroid gland) into the active thyroid hormone, T3. Consequently, the metabolism slows and the body temperature drops and the symptoms appear.
How does WTS differ from Hypothyroidism?
There are many steps that lead from T4 being supplied by the thyroid gland (or thyroid medicine) and T3 having its effect in the nucleus of the cell. T4 is supplied by the thyroid gland, travels through the bloodstream, is transported into the cells, and is converted into T3. T3 is then transported into the nucleus and does its job. This is like a garden path with several gates along the way. Just because the first gate is unlocked doesn’t mean you will have no problem making it through the others.
Hypothyroidism is like the first gate on the path is locked. In hypothyroidism, not enough T4 is being supplied by the thyroid gland or thyroid medicine (TSH test is high). Consequently, there is no way for there to be adequate T3 stimulation in the nucleus. In Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome there is an adequate supply of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland or medicine (TSH test is normal) but some other problem along the path is preventing adequate T3 stimulation in the nucleus. The result is the same in both cases: same slow metabolism, same low body temperature, same symptoms. And, the symptoms of severe WTS can be worse than the symptoms of mild hypothyroidism. You can order your own TSH test to see what yours is running.
WTS is roughly 10 times more common than hypothyroidism, even though most doctors were never taught about it in medical school. WTS is treated differently than hypothyroidism. Whereas hypothyroidism is often a life-long disorder, WTS is often completely reversible within a matter of months.
In 1920, Band-Aids were introduced. Back then, and even today, many people refer to all adhesive bandages as Band-Aids. But the makers of Band-Aids always refer to them as Band-Aid BRAND adhesive bandages because now there are other brands as well. Similarly, many people today refer to all symptoms of slow metabolism or low body temperature as “hypothyroid symptoms” because hypothyroidism was the only known cause of persistently low temperatures and slow metabolism. Today, we know there is a reversible cause, Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.
Who’s at risk for WTS?
Like many other thyroid system conditions, WTS affects 4 times as many women than men. It seems to be more common in patients whose ancestors survived famine (Irish, American Indian, Scot, Welsh, Russian)(people that are part Irish and part American Indian seem especially susceptible).
How is WTS treated?
Sometimes people can recover on their own with healthy lifestyle changes such as good nutrition, diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction. Indeed, any measure that improves health in general, may help the body recover from WTS. Sometimes, a special T3 therapy protocol developed by Dr. Wilson is necessary to restore the body temperature to normal and eliminate the symptoms. You can find a provider here that can help you with your lifestyle changes and T3 therapy if needed. Click here for a free ebook you can read online that will explain all about what it is like for a patient to have WTS. Click here for a set of videos that explain all about T3 therapy, or click here for a free ebook you can read online that gives even more detail about the treatment.