T3 too high - help with results please?

this post could be confusing. Please read but basically I am asking the following:

T3 is high....am I taking too much T3 or is the atenolol affecting it.

Hashimotos Thyroiditis ....what is that and why has it never been picked up by the GP who said there were no antibody issues.

T4 is low....am I right to think it should be low because Im not taking T4

Excessive sweating and joint pain since taking Atenolol.....is that the Atenolol or am I simply suffering from too high T3

Appointment with GP....what do I ask for.

Free T4 L 2.77 12 - 22 pmol/L

Free T3 H 12.83 3.1 - 6.8 pmol/L

TSH 2.08 0.27 - 4.20 IU/L

T4 Total L 24.7 64.5 - 142.0 nmol/L


Anti-Thyroidperoxidase abs H 404.4 <34 kIU/L

Anti-Thyroglobulin Abs H 479.7 <115 kU/L

It has been suggested by the blood test people that I possibly have hashimotos thyroiditis with the immunology results.

I take only T3 so I guess the low T4 figures are because of that and are to be expected. However the TSH is almost perfect, never been that low although I still find it hard to lose weight.

However the T3 figure is very high and I wonder if that means Im taking too much T3. Also the concern about an underlying autoimmune condition such as hashimotos thyroiditis concerns me. I need to see the GP but he is very scathing of T3 and Im sure he will not be sympathetic to what this says.

I have had incredible joint pain and a few breathing issues of late so now wondering if thats because of the high T3. I have also been prescribed Atenolol and wonder if that affects the T3 figures.

Also I don;t really know what hashimotos thyroiditis is.

Many thanks.

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11 Replies

  • firstly I think that your results [ bloods ] are totally out of sync . and need to be addressed together as an important factor . secondly you need to check exactly what meds you are actually taking --- you say that you only take t4 .... but then go on to imply that you take t3 as well ..... please get ALL of your meds that you take and post with the results so that we can try to help .......hope that this may help ....alan

  • Sorry typo. That was meant to say I take only T3.

    I take only T3 and Atenolol. I haven't taken T4 for about 3 years as I had problems with absorbtion. The T3 figures have always been a little under perfect but now they are very high.


  • Did you wait 24 hours between your dose of T3 and the blood test? If you didn't have joint pain and excessive sweating before taking Atenolol, I would reduce the dose to see if it helps. I assume you take atenolol for palpitations?

    If you are taking T3 only, you will have a higher T3 and a low T4 (as you say it's because you aren't taking any). Dr Lowe, who himself took 150mcg of T3 says:-

    For someone taking 100 mcg of T3, we expect your pattern of lab results—a low TSH and high T3. However, your TSH and T3 levels are irrelevant to whether you're overstimulated or not. Two studies we just completed confirm other researchers findings: these tests are not reliable gauges of a patient's metabolic status. Many patients taking T3 have TSH and T3 levels like yours but still have severely low metabolic rates. Their metabolic rates become normal only when they increase their dosages further. Their metabolic rates become normal and they have no detectable overstimulation.

    In some cases such as yours, the patient's Cytomel dose may need to be reduced. But symptoms such as occasional heart pounding and anxiety are usually not due to a patient's Cytomel dose. I say this because when Cytomel is solely responsible, symptoms of overstimulation are consistent, not occasional.

    However, it's important to consider whether a patient's Cytomel dose is high enough to sensitize her to other stimulating chemicals. (Examples are caffeine in coffee, theobromine and theophylline in chocolate, and ephedrine in cold medicines.) If the Cytomel has excessively sensitized her to such chemicals, then when she consumes them in foods or medicines, she'll experiences transient symptoms of overstimulation. She'll be overstimulated for a few hours, but then the symptoms will disappear. The Cytomel will have also excessively sensitized her to her own adrenaline and noradrenaline. Because of this, emotional arousal or intense exercise might also cause temporary symptoms of overstimulation.

    Go to the date November 9, 2005 to read the above whole question/answer. An excerpt:

    Betablockers can affect the uptake of thyroid hormones but I assume you've been prescribed due to palpitations? This is an extract by Helcaster on the following link:

    I only took a small dose to prevent migraines, it didn't always work. You could cut down gradually if you're concerned, or speak to your doc. I'd like to think he/she would know they have an adverse effect on thyroid function. I did get offered beta blockers again for palps but I refused on these grounds and the gp agreed. You have to keep informed and be one step ahead of the docs a lot of the time.

    My migraines have reduced considerably since thyroid meds. Now if I get one I just take migraleve which is available free on prescriptions as thyroid patients don't pay prescription charges. Something else I found out myself.

    You can't actually use the thyroid meds efficiently if you are deficient in those vits and minerals. Gently coax your gp to test these when you next have your thyroid tested.

    Try supplementing with selenium, really helps the uptake of thyroid meds.

    Are you taking levo on an empty stomach? A lot of people take it on waking, water is fine as it's not a food. Wait one full hour before breakfast. Cut down on coffee as this isn't really compatible.


    If you still have breathlessness and joint pain your dose of T3 may still be too low but read the whole T3 article by Dr Lowe and it may be helpful.

  • Thank you. I'm really confused now. I wasn't prescribed atenolol for palpitations. I was prescribed them as an adrenaline blocker and to help me with anxiety. Since I took them my joint pains got worse and my breathing became difficult and laboured. So It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Is it the atenolol causing it or the increased T3 levels. Should It reduce the T3 or the Atenolol? I'm totally confused.

    Is the T3 figure higher because Atenol affecting my absorption of T3?

    I should explain that last year I had an problem with crackling and wheezing and difficulty breathing which caused all sorts of heart tests but my TSH was the highest it has ever been -8- which made the doctor believe that was in fact the cause. He wouldn't test my T3 so Inongreased my T3 dose myself. Now I have this high T3 and low TSH.

    When you all talk about high T3 being normal do you mean out of range though,

  • Hi Numberone1

    I am not medically qualified and am sorry I have confused the issue by mentioning palpitations as I suppose betablockers can be prescribed for other than palpitations. Anxiety is a symptom of hypothyroidism.

    I wouldn't know the action of atenolol with T3 but the fact that you say you got breathlessness/wsheezing when you took it it would seem to me that would be the cause.

    You said above:-

    "When you all talk about high T3 being normal do you mean out of range though,"

    I didn't say a high T3 is normal but taking T3 only would give higher T3 readings than the usual ranges which are for the use of levothyroxine.

    Jazzw said in response to you - below:

    "I'm surprised your TSH is not suppressed" but you quoted her as saying:-

    "Also, when you say TSH not suppressed enough".

    What Jazzw said she was surprised your TSH wasn't supressed - I assume taking account of your higher T3.

    I realise you are anxious about your T3 and as I said I'm not medically qualified to give advice but if for myself I would reduce the dose by 1/4 tablet for about 3 days and if I still felt the same drop by another 1/4. Sometimes we cannot tell the difference between too little/too much hormones.

    If you take atenalol I would take it at bedtime or at least 4 hours apart from T3.

    As far as I know T3 has no reported side effects (although if you take too much you would).

    I think with your dose of T3 it is equal to around 225mcg of levo. Usually when we've been taking levothyroxine we switch to a relevant dose of T3 or NDT.

  • Thank you Shaws. I've confused things a bit too by saying the atenol was for anxiety. I used to suffer with severe anxiety and once I started on T3 it disappeared but I had a huge trip coming up with lots of flights which I was anxious about hence the atenolol.

    I feel perfectly well other than the atenol seeming to make joints ache and wheezing, sweating etc. Then I got these results andb it scared me that in fact it was the T3 doing it.

    I used to take 200mcg of Levo but it made me increasingly ill l and I was loaded up with loads of reverse T4 hence seeing Dr P and going on T3.

    My GP won't have anything to do with T3 but there is someone on here who takes loads of it but can't remember their name. I wonder what their readings are.

  • I know Dr Lowe took 150mcg in the middle of the night for thyroid hormone resistance (not hypo) and he also treated other patients who had the same with T3 only as well but also considered other things but he also used other measurements too. He also says that:

    "The fact is, however, TSH and thyroid hormone levels are highly unreliable indicants of whose body is under-regulated by thyroid hormone. The levels are so unreliable that the testing should be abandoned as the standard method for identifying such patients."

    He says elsewhere that some of us take things that might be impeding the uptake of thyroid hormones, (i.e. certain medications or supplements ( assume). This is another extract:

    Dr. Lowe: First, let me clarify an important point: Our treatment protocol does not consist solely of patients using T3. Only two groups of our patients use T3. One group is patients who appear to have thyroid hormone resistance. The other group is hypothyroid patients who fail to benefit from desiccated thyroid. Our other patients use desiccated thyroid as part of their metabolic rehabilitation regimen. (We don’t, of course, waste time any more trying T4 alone; it’s too seldom of any use.)


    You said that you only got joint pain after taking Atenolol - if you decide to withdraw I would reduce slowly. If the pain doesn't recede you would know for sure that it wasn't Atenolol.

    Are your other minerals/vitamins at good levels?

  • How much T3 are you taking? I'm surprised your TSH is not suppressed.

    Secondly, as Shaws said, did you take your liothyronine on the day of the test? That may have caused the reading to be higher than it should have been.

  • Im taking about 60mcg of T3. I can only say about because I currently have capsules which are 75mcg and I have to open the capsule up and take about 75% of the dose throughout the day. ....no I took the bloods almost 24 hours after my last dose of T3. Probably 18 hours.

    Also, when you say TSH not suppressed enough, are we talking about the Atenolol possibly affecting my readings? Or that I could afford to take more T3 even though the T3 result is out of range.

    This is all very difficult for me because I think I truly believe the Atenolol is causing the increased sweating, laboured breathing and difficulty breathing but Im worrying that its the higher T3 reading ie out of range even that is causing the problem. ie that Im taking too much T3.

    However, if my TSH isn't suppressed and I don'[t seem to have any symptoms of too much T3 ie I don't feel and never have felt overstimulated (I know atenolol can affect the pulse rate so can't go by that) but it sort of indicates to me that my T3 could even afford to be increased more.

    Because of the indication of Hashimotos Thyroiditis do you think Im entitled to ask for an appointment with an endocrinologist?


  • Seriously weird results for someone on T3 only. I'd expect low normal T4, low TSH (under 1 or slightly suppressed) and high normal T3. You have non-existent T4, sky high T3 and pretty high TSH. I'd book an appointment with a sympathetic specialist. Something ain't right.

    BTW beta blockers can make you breathless.

  • I believe that T4 should be non existent because there is none ie Im not producing T4 nor taking T4 so low normal wouldn't be normal would it?

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