Reverse T3–do you have this problem in excess? Let’s talk!

RT3 CloggedYes, we’ve all heard about T4 (the thyroid storage hormone) and T3 (the active thyroid hormone which rids us of hypothyroid symptoms). We’ve learned that the body not only converts T4 to T3, it also provides some of  T3 directly. The latter fact is why patients have found natural desiccated thyroid like Naturethroid, Erfa’s Thyroid, etc. to be a far better treatment for hypothyroidism, besides the T2, T1 and calcitonin you’ll also find in desiccated thyroid–just like your own thyroid would be making.

But in every individual, a thyroid also converts T4 to the inactive RT3 (reverse T3) as a way to clear out excess T4 that the body doesn’t need.  It’s natural and necessary. It will especially happen if you go through surgery or a diet.

Unfortunately, many thyroid patients make far too much RT3, and patients have been making cutting edge discoveries about this fact and how to treat it with their doctors.  High levels of RT3 can be found if you have high cortisol, low cortisol, low ferritin, low B12 and other undiscovered and untreated underlying issues that can go hand-in-hand with being hypothyroid.

Why is a high level of RT3 is problem? That excess RT3 is making itself lazily comfortable on your cell receptors, preventing T3 from gaining access to your body.  It becomes like a clogged up drain to your body. So you stay hypo and symptomatic, in spite of seemingly normal labwork.

This coming THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19th (tomorrow as I write this) on the TALKSHOE THYROID PATIENT COMMUNITY CALL, we’re going to talk about the Reverse T3 problem with thyroid patient advocate Valerie Taylor. She not only owns the NTH Adrenals group (and is considered the most knowledgeable patient on adrenal fatigue in the world), she also created the RT3/T3  group on Yahoo, which you will find on the Talk To Others page.

We’ll talk about excess RT3, symptoms that can go along with it, how to do labwork to determine if you have this problem, how to treat it with T3-only, and more. There’s a Chat Box you can participate in while the show is going on. Audio will come directly out of your computer, and you can call in and ask Valerie or Janie a question. Times are 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm Central and 9 pm Eastern.

Want to read more? Thyroid patient Nick Foot, who also moderates the RT3/T3 group, has created an excellent Question and Answer RT3 website. This will make you even more informed before this Talkshoe event. Note that the website is still work-in-progress, so expect to see more as he works on it.

For those with the Stop the Thyroid Madness book, there is also more good detail in Chapter 12 called T3 is the Star of the Show, page 155. This is all good information to take into your doctor’s office.

Update: cellulose in our desiccated thyroid meds may be much more of a problem than we ever imagined. See my blog post below.

*HO HO HO! Have a STTM book sent to someone  you care about as a CHRISTMAS or HOLIDAY present. All the work is done for you!

13 Responses to “Reverse T3–do you have this problem in excess? Let’s talk!”

  1. Janet

    Oh, man! I hope I remember to tune in this week!! (Nighttime is my worst time of the day – I’m just a slug and my brain shuts down.) I just received results from VRP showing that I have sluggish adrenals. So, I NEED to remember this on Thursday!! Ahhh!

  2. Sandy

    Oh boy! My doctor’s office won’t even do a T3 and T4 test much less a Reverse T3. I just went yesterday for my regular blood draw & when I asked if I could have my T3 & T4 tested, the head nurse said, you can if you want to waste money; we only test those to make a diagnosis – we already know you are hypo, so we only do the TSH to regulate your meds. UGH! Last year, I found an “Armour” friendly doc, from the Armour list & he told me I need to take SYNTHROID. On top of that, he wanted to do a ‘full panel’ on me to make sure I wasn’t really peri- rather than hypo – because I was over 40 – to the tune of $600 in tests. I said no thanks & never went back.
    Any suggestions on how to find a doctor that is REALLY “Armour” or natural friendly? I’m going to see a new compounding pharmacy next week – maybe they will have suggestions. BTY, I tried to contact Armour, thru the website to tell them about this doc – no go, no e-mail address or form to fill out on the website.

    (From Janie: plus use patient groups: )

  3. Judy Abbie10

    location Indiana? I have three doctors and FB with one.
    another women uses the Health food store route or medical.
    20yr family doctor who has walked the walk with me.
    Started with synthroid now knows how much difference dessicated can make or adding T3. Internal med. MD, F.A.C.S Think I have letters correct believe it means he does medical traning and information up dating of knowledge..
    If wrong please correct me.

  4. Allison

    Hi Janie,

    Is the call recorded and the transcript published?

    Hopefully I can tune in, but I’m from Oz so I’m not sure about the time difference (will have to check).


    (From Janie: if all works well, yes, it will be recorded. No published transcript.)

  5. Jan

    I have high RT3. It hasn’t been fun at all, since I stay hypothyroid no matter my dose. I have hit some breakthrough with going up to 30mg of Hydrocortisone. I am still going through the “thyroid overdose” now as all that T3 is hitting my cells. It’s been a nasty ride trying to get well, so I am very happy to see more information about this. I do hope to tune in, if not I’d love to hear a summary or the recording.
    Thanks for all you do Janie and Val too!

  6. Lindsey

    Find a compounding pharmacist in your area!

  7. carolyn junter

    I was having problems with the REformulated Armour but did NOT know it was the cause until my mail order pharmacy told me they could no longer get it.

    Then, thru the internet, almost a year after the reformulation, I finally knew that others were ALSO having serious problems like me…with the Armour “changes” in their formula, and was almost to actually die…..I discovered this website and my eyes wee belatedly opened.

    I found the compounded natural thyroid did NOT work like the old original Armour and in desperation, I got the ERFA natural thyroid…and gradually ….I started to feel improved…little by little.increments ever so slowly….but it seemed to stop and reverse the scary downward slide to “oblivion”….sigh

  8. Amy M

    I am curious about one aspect of T3-only replacement. For those who are planning on staying on this forever (like Val) do you have concerns about not replacing all your thyroid hormones the way desiccated thyroid does? I just wonder if this is a healthy way to go for long-term replacement…

  9. Karen McLeod

    My sister has a very high reverse T3 (550) and was told she has a high heavy metal toxicity. She just sent in a urine test to Genova lab. Now I wonder if she’s wasting money on the test.

  10. Maria ; The Ever Frustrated Aussie Who Is Starting To Doubt Her Own Sanity!

    Hi all. Today I went to a new doctor. I won’t go into details else I will be here all night! BUT needless to say he belittled me and my opinion of my high Reverse T3 at 405 (I’m in Australia) as being, and I quote; “…a ridiculous American garbage test. Means nothing. There is nothing wrong with you. You have anxiety. I see it everyday here, believe me, I am an expert in diagnosing anxiety!”
    I asked if I could just prove HIM right by having it for a few months, and seeing what happens, then if it didn’t work I would concede defeat. He told me that I would NEVER get a supply of T3 in Australia because NO-ONE prescribes it, that he is not allowed to. (which I found out later was a total fabrication!) To stop wasting my time looking for an excuse to take my mind off my anxiety and learn to deal with it. That he was here to prove once and for all the simple T4 WORKS! (I have NO thyroid due to surgery.)
    He went on and on, even throwing the results at my friend who was with me, yelling, “SEE! They show she is NORMAL!” Needless to say, I left in tears, and I am a strong person! The fight to be heard is a difficult one! Now I know how the Suffragettes felt!
    Funny enough, another doctor (unrelated issue) told me her husband has Hashimoto’s and feels terrible on T4 only and can’t convince his doc’s of his symptoms either!

  11. marianne thode

    Janie, just happened to get into a site on asthma. Did you know they are discontinuing inhalers with epinephrine, both prescription and across the counter? Don’t know how politically correct you have to be, but you may want to get this word out.

    (From Janie: this really doesn’t apply to the topic of my blog post and RT3, but one mention may be ok. Here’s the FDA notation about it:

  12. Valerie Olson

    I have Hashimoto’s, with TPO antibody levels having been reduced from over 1000 to 116 by avoiding gluten, taking Westhroid Pure dessicated thyroid and 50 mg. Lugol’s daily. Supporting my adrenals with Dr. Wilson’s Herbal Adrenal Support has been a great help. I feel fairly stable compared to several years ago, but would like to know if anyone with a Reverse T3 of 15 or higher has tried T3 only in the sustained release form and found it to be more helptul than traditional dessicated thyroid. Dr. Mark Starr writes in his book, Hypothyroidism Type II: The Epidemic”, that he and his mentors consider it significant to have a Reverse T3 of 15 or higher, and can contribute to hypothyroid symptoms. By the way, the makers of Armour, to my knowledge, will not validate that their product is free from GMO corn. Westhroid Pure does not.

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      If you have an RT3 problem, you will need to find out why and treat it, first and foremost. i.e. Dr. Wilson’s Herbal Adrenal support may not be enough to get out of a cortisol issue, even though you feel better. Inadequate iron levels are another reason, we’ve noticed, for continued RT3 issues. In the meantime, patients with an RT3 problem will either be on T3, dosed 3 times a day and perhaps a 4th small dose at bedtime, or they will be on a small dose of NDT, such as 1 1/2 grains or less, then add T3 to it, multi-dosed as above. Once the adrenal and/or iron issue is corrected, they are able to move to straight NDT and feel wonderful again.


Leave a Reply