Get Reverse T3 Checked For Low Thyroid Problem
Some physicians believe treatment of hypothyroidism is simple. Give the patient a prescription for T4, in the form of Synthroid or generic Levothyroxine, and everything will be fine. But sometimes, what might be the perfect treatment for one patient will actually make another patient much sicker. For patients with thyroid hormone conversion problems, treatment with T3 can be very beneficial.
To properly treat hypothyroidism, you must first know your Ts. Thyroxine, or T4, is the thyroid “storage hormone.” Triodothyronine, or T3, is the “energy hormone.” For the body to use T4, it must first convert it to the active hormone T3, giving energy to every cell in the body.
Another critical thyroid hormone is reverse T3 (RT3). Reverse T3 is the body’s “emergency brake.” Many endocrinologists believe that Reverse T3 is simply an inactive metabolite with no physiologic effect on the body. They couldn’t be more wrong.
In some patients, instead of properly converting T4 to T3, the body converts too much T4 to reverse T3, effectively shutting down the body. These patients often experience debilitating fatigue and weight gain, and continue to get worse in spite of taking T4 thyroid hormone medication.
Manage Your Metabolic Set Point
Does it seem that your scale always seems to land on the same number, no matter how hard you diet, how much you cut calories, or how hard you exercise? If so, you may be struggling with a malfunctioning “set point.”
The “set point” is the brain’s target weight for a person’s body. Just as the body works to maintain a fairly standard temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, it also works to maintain a body weight that is physiologically comfortable. The set point is maintained by the hypothalamus, and is often genetically influenced. However, a number of things can cause the set point to change, moving a person’s normal weight to a higher number on the scale, and sabotaging weight loss efforts.
One of the more common causes of set point malfunction is aggressive or yo-yo dieting. Calorie restrictive diets can actually slow thyroid function, resulting in a slower metabolism. Illnesses such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia can also cause the set point to malfunction. Some medications can cause the set point to increase, including common antidepressants such as Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft and Lexapro, anti-convulsant medications, blood pressure medications, anti-seizure or pain medications such as Neurontin or Lyrica, birth control pills, synthetic hormone replacement, and diabetic medications that stimulate insulin secretion, such as glyburide and Amaryll.
Decrease Leptin Resistance
Leptin is an important hormone, which stimulates metabolism, reduces appetite, and signals the body to burn fat. It’s known as the “starvation hormone” because it notifies your brain when you have enough food in your stomach and your energy levels are sufficient. Leptin is secreted primarily from fat cells. It usually correlates to fat mass – the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. Women tend to have higher leptin levels than men thanks to their higher body fat percentage. Studies suggest leptin increases during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle due to the effects of estradiol and progesterone.
The body secretes leptin as weight is gained to signal the brain (specifically the hypothalamus) that there is adequate energy (fat) storage. New research has found that this leptin signaling is dysfunctional in the majority of people who have difficultly losing weight. Studies show that the majority of overweight individuals who are having difficulty losing weight have a leptin resistance, where the brain receptors become desensitized or resistant to leptin when a surge of leptin is prolonged and are no longer able to respond to the signal. Despite the excess of leptin the person with leptin resistance actually suffers from symptoms of low levels of the hormone. The overweight person may be feeling hungry more often and store fat too readily. Instead of feeling satisfied, his/her brain instructs the body that it needs more food. It’s a vicious cycle.
There are many factors that can negatively impact leptin levels including: fructose and simple carbs consumption, overeating, lack of sleep and high stress, high insulin levels, exercising too much or too little, grain and lectin consumption.
Resolve Insulin Resistance
When suffering from hypothyroidism, everything in your system slows down right down to your cells. The body’s ability to process carbohydrates slows down too, as does your cell’s ability to absorb blood sugar.
The brain, organs and muscles run off of glucose, the body’s preferred source of fuel. If your cells do not get the adequate amounts of glucose into them, you can’t produce energy to help run your body. Hormones are not produced optimally, brain function does not work properly and every system of your body suffers, including the ability to sleep, lose weight, immune and stress response, etc.
When cells become insulin resistant and the glucose can’t get in, it circulates round and round the bloodstream, damaging arterial walls and the brain. Because the body wants to normalize blood sugar levels as soon as possible, it converts the excess glucose into triglycerides to be stored as fat. This process demands so much energy that you become sleepy. Furthermore, insulin resistance decreases the body’s ability to use stored fat for energy.
The liver mediates between the activities of the insulin-releasing pancreas and the adrenal and thyroid glands, which are supposed to “tell” the liver to release glucose. If the adrenals and thyroid aren’t working properly on the “telling” end, or if the liver is sluggish, stressed out, or toxic, and not working on the “receiving” end, the system goes out of balance. Either way, the result is elevated excess insulin.