Reverse T3 may act as a "Brake" on your metabolism (causes weight gain even though you're in a calorie deficit).
Instead of your body converting T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone), it converts it to reverse T3 (a metabolically inactive form of thyroid hormone).
It's not in your head I Symptoms of high reverse T3 I How to check and what's the optimal level I Best ways to lower reverse T3
Usually, patients tell us "my doctor says that all my labs are good so it's probably in my head", while in reality, a doctor hasn't checked all the thyroid labs properly.
This is what happened to one of our patients. She came to us with Low Free T3 levels, normal T4 and normal TSH.
At first glance, you may think "It's just Free T3 levels, which are low. It's probably not that severe".
However, the reality is different. In reality, once we checked additional lab tests (Reverse T3 in this case), we quickly discovered that her reverse T3 was VERY HIGH. That's why she was suffering from weight gain, hair loss, tiredness and high anxiety.
You see, symptoms of high reverse T3 may include:
- Lower than normal metabolism
- Constant weight gain or problems with losing weight (even on a low-calorie diet)
- Chronic fatigue
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Stomach Pain
- Heat intolerance
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Sugar cravings
- Hot flashes
How to check?
With a blood test.
What's the optimal level?
A level below 250 pg/ml (10 to 24 ng/dL) is considered "normal reference value". Optimally, Reverse T3 should be less than 15 24 ng/dL.
What's the best ratio of T3 to reverse T3?
Any ratio < 0.20 means too much reverse T3 to Free T3.
If you're suffering from low ratio, you need to work on increase Free T3 and decreasing reverse T3.
What are the best ways to lower reverse T3 levels quickly?
1. Change your thyroid medication* - this is the fastest way to lower reverse T3. By adding some of the T3 medication (like for example Cytomel), or changing your T4 medication to either NDT or compounded thyroid medication, your body will "detect" higher levels of T3 and automatically suppress the use of T4 as a substrate of reverse T3. In this way, you're decreasing the levels of reverse T3. Does it fix the root cause of the problem? No, but it can be helpful to fix your levels with medications while working on finding and fixing the ROOT CAUSE of too high levels of reverse T3. How long does it take for the reverse T3 to drop? Usually, it takes 1-2 months for the reverse T3 to decrease. *Make sure to consult a doctor before changing your medication. 2. Take care of your liver! 80% of T4 is converted to T3 in your liver. If you suffer from a sluggish liver, you'll most probably suffer from high reverse T3 and low T3 levels. How to fix it? Herbs and supplements like MSM, curcumin, ginger and Milk thistle are essential for the right conversion of T4 to T3 inside your liver. Elements like zinc or selenium can also be helpful. Bromelain is also great as it has a beneficial effect on the deregulation of lipid metabolism by modulating multiple metabolic pathways. This is especially helpful if you're suffering from high cholesterol, high triglycerides and a high inflammatory state in your body. For a great All-In-One supplement that can help you to decrease inflammation and improve the conversion of T4 to T3 by supporting your liver, click here.
3. Reverse Insulin Resistance to promote T4 to T3 conversion and NOT T4 to reverse T3 conversion. As you probably know, everything in your body is CONNECTED, this is especially true for your hormones. Hormones are your body's chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes. Leptin and Insulin are two important hormones that affect the conversion of T4 to T3/reverse T3. This is because if you suffer from high levels of these hormones, you'll also suffer from a high inflammatory state. The inflammatory state contributes to T4 to reverse T3 conversion (instead of T4 to T3). In order to fix it, you need to work on your insulin and leptin levels. So how can you decrease them? 1. Start intermittent fasting! IF 16:8 is a great way to improve insulin sensitivity and get rid of insulin resistance. In this way, you can not only lose unwanted weight but also optimize your insulin levels. Optimal insulin = better conversion of T4 to T3 and decrease of too high levels of reverse T3. 2. Practice brisk walking while fasting. Brisk walking has been shown to burn fat around your abdominal area, which is linked to insulin resistance. This is especially powerful while fasting, as you "force" your body to use energy from the fat, rather than from carbohydrates sources, stored in your liver and muscles. 3. Supplement with chromium. It helps improve insulin sensitivity. The best way is to supplement with 500 mcg of chromium, together with your meals,1-2 times a day. 4. Use Alpha Lipoic Acid. It helps sensitize the body to insulin and may help you to decrease inflammation in your body. Less inflammation equals better liver health and a more efficient conversion of T4 to T3. I recommend using 500 mg, 1 a day, together with a meal. 5. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Not enough sleep has been associated with insulin resistance. 4. Fix the Chronic untreated Gut infection/Imbalance Poor gut health has been linked to high reverse T3 levels. This is because your gut is also responsible for the conversion of T4 to T3. Gut imbalances like SIBO, reflux disease/GERD, Candida overgrowth and others, can predispose you to high inflammatory stare and High levels of reverse T3. These may be causing your thyroid symptoms. If you suspect a GI problem, the best way of fixing it is to join our "Become Your Own Health Advocate Healing Program", in which you'll learn how to fix the underlying (root cause) of your GI imbalance.
5. Decrease your stress levels
Stress may cause a thyroid disease (Learn Here). Stress can be emotional or physical. Stress (our stress hormone cortisol increases conversion of T4 into reverse T3).
You NEED to work on decreasing stress levels, so your cortisol levels optimize. In this way, you can get rid of the excess of reverse T3 and thus all the symptoms associated with it.
How to decrease high cortisol? (high emotional and physical stress) - Learn here.
What if you've already exhausted your adrenal glands? (so that you suffer from too low cortisol, happens when you've been suffering from chronic stress for a long time) - Learn here.
6. Low-calorie diet
Not getting enough calories can negatively affect your thyroid health and metabolism (especially if you've been using this kind of dieting for a longer time). If reverse T3 levels are high, this is a pretty good indicator that your caloric intake is too low.
Questions? Ask below!