I became ill with hypothyroidism when I was about thirty years of age. It was diagnosed as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, where the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland. I was given levothyroxine synthetic T4 or Levaxin) but that did not cure my symptoms and I remained very ill and was unable to work. The critical part of my recovery involved the use of a currently, rarely prescribed thyroid hormone, known most often by its simplified name – T3 (known as Liothyronin or Lio in Sweden). T3 is the biologically active form of thyroid hormone and at a cellular level it is the T3 thyroid hormone that keeps us well.
In the process of recovery, I learned how to use T3 thyroid medication properly and safely. Many doctors are taught that the only necessary thyroid hormone replacement is levothyroxine (synthetic T4 or Levaxin) and they never prescribe T3. However, for some thyroid patients, T3 may be the only thyroid hormone that will enable them to regain their health. Some doctors also fear the use of T3 because they mistakenly believe it causes problems like high heart rate or osteoporosis. T3 can cause problems, as can all thyroid hormones, but invariably any problems are caused by its incorrect use. Another medical myth is that thyroid blood tests always reveal actual thyroid hormone activity. In reality, they merely measure the levels of thyroid hormones circulating in the bloodstream and offer no insight into the effectiveness of these thyroid hormones inside our cells.
Sometimes T3 only treatment is the only one that will work, even if thyroid hormone blood test results look excellent when the patient is taking synthetic T4 or T4/T3 combination therapy. This conclusion is very clear to me from my own experience and from communicating over the past ten years with hundreds of thyroid patients all over the world. Some issues cannot be seen through blood tests because they occur deeply within the cells of the body. In these cases the biologically active thyroid hormone T3 needs to be present in high levels in the bloodstream with no competition from T4 or reverse T3 in order for enough T3 to become active in the cells.
Part of my protocol for T3 use can include a technique to help adrenal problems Through reading endocrinology text books I learned about the natural twenty-four hour rise and fall of TSH (from the pituitary gland), the different thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and of cortisol. When I had these charts in front of me, I realised that TSH reaches its peak around midnight or 1:00 am in the morning, this is followed by rising T3 levels just when the adrenal glands begin to produce their highest level of cortisol. This huge surge in cortisol begins to happen a few hours before we get up out of bed each morning. The basic idea behind the The Circadian T3 Method (CT3M) is to address low levels of the active thyroid hormone (T3) in the adrenal glands, at the time when they are producing their highest volume of cortisol.
In a healthy person with a normal working thyroid gland their free T3 levels will peak in the early hours of the morning. For those thyroid patients on thyroid medication this is normally not the case and thyroid hormones will be at a low point in the early hours of the morning. The CT3M is aimed at replicating nature and restoring a good level of T3when the adrenal glands begin to produce high levels of cortisol.
The CT3M corrected my own adrenal function and enabled the T3 I took during the daytime to work properly. I got my health back and in the process I discovered how to use T3 optimally. The CT3M is a breakthrough and it is now being used by thyroid patients worldwide and in many cases it is allowing them to recover their health after years or even decades of illness. CT3M is an optional part of my protocol, as not all thyroid patients need to use it. Most of my work is focused on the safe and systematic use of T3 as a thyroid hormone replacement.
The medical profession still largely ignores T3 thyroid hormone replacement, sometimes due to lack of information. Very little appears to have changed in treatment practices during the years since I was first diagnosed with thyroid problems. The human cost of this slow progress is great. I have spent several years on Internet forums listening to the often heart-breaking stories of thyroid patients. Because of this, I am now far more aware of how thyroid disease affects the lives of many people. Something has to change!
Most of the needed changes are straightforward, as the treatments already exist. Some changes may be harder. It is important that in those cases when patients do not respond to standard thyroid treatment that thyroid hormone blood tests are not the only tool being used. The history of the patient and the symptoms and signs can be far more revealing of actual thyroid hormone action. I am particularly keen to work with doctors if at all possible because I believe that long-term, sustainable change can only be achieved from within the medical profession.
My hope is that doctors and thyroid patients find the information in my two books and on my website of value and that it can be a part of the revolution in treatment that thyroid patients so desperately need and deserve.
By Paul Robinson