T3 and weight. Anyone else struggling to lose w... - Thyroid UK

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T3 and weight. Anyone else struggling to lose weight or even gaining weight on T3?

Hi All,

I've been gradually increasing my dose since starting T3 therapy under Dr Peatfield's care last September.

I realised it's only been 6 months and I've been following a very slow and low regimen, as advised by members of this forum and other T3 forums, but I've seen no change in my weight yet. I have seen great improvement in my other low thyroid symptoms; increased energy, basal temp increase, feeling the cold a bit less, less constipation, reduced facial and hand puffiness, less headaches and general aches and pains. However, my weight has not reduced and I even seem to have gained some girth around my mid-section and tummy. I've developed a very prominent, flabby paunch, which I never had before. How is this happening? I'm not eating more than usual and I have a pretty good, balanced diet. Most puzzling thing is I am moving more as I'm not as exhausted and no longer needing a lie down as much as I did.

I wondered if it could be menopausal as I'm 43 and my mum went through early menopause. I'm still having periods but they're very scant due to the fact I have a coil fitted. So it's hard to tell what's really happening with my cycle anymore. So, could this be hormonal and to do with menopause? Is this type of weightgain normal in menopause?

Anyone else experienced this? Also, does anyone know if the 5:2 diet is okay for low thryoid sufferers? advice tips on changes I need to make to my diet to start weight loss and feel less blobby! : )

Thanks in advance for any advice.

14 Replies

To be honest my weight has fluctuated over the years despite the T3. I ended up a stone overweight and got upset about it. I worked very hard to reduce the weight and keep it off. I also feel it is easy to use my hypothyroidism as an excuse, when if I look back on it, my husband had an obsession with buying Mr Kipling Bakewell tart every week and stupid chocolate eclair cakes. But I had to go beyond that and reduce my carbs and calories in line with a sedentary life, including the PAL factor calculation for calories. Reducing starchy foods and sugar. A treat is one thing, such as if out and enjoying a meal somewhere, but not at home. All these lifestyle interventions, I had to totally change my life because of being ill, and I'm sure good nutrition is part of it, because I feel I'll always be prone to putting on weight again - it is so easily done and I wouldn't make anybody feel guilty for it, just sharing my thoughts about myself.


How much T3 are you taking? I'm thinking you may not yet be on enough.


I'm up to 75mcg a day, which I thought was a pretty high dose. I don't take any other thyroid hormones. Just Nutri Adrenal Extra for adrenal support and to help the conversion of T4 to T3 (I'm a poor converter). I get the Unipharma T3 from a Greek pharmacy and order it online. I used to take much less T3 and was symptom free but that was Cytomel, which I can longer obtain. I had read on a T3 forum that some generic forms of T3 (not Cytomel) are much weaker. So I wondered if I need to up the dose to make it effective?


Could be you're not absorbing it very well. Do you leave an hour before eating after taking it? Are you taking any other medication or suppléments? Are you taking vit C?


Hi Greygoose,

Thanks for replying. Yes, I'm taking it alongside loads of other vits & supps:

2 X Adrenal Extra

High strength magnesium

Vit D drops

Selenium ACE

Cod liver oil + omega 3 fish oils


I take the first dose when I get up at around 7am (I crunch it up so it absorbs quickly) then eat breakfast at 7.30 at which time I take the rest of my shops. I can't realistically change this schedule as I'm getting kids breakfast & ready and dropped off at school, then I need to get to work so can't eat breakfast any later than 7.45am. Do I need to take the T3 earlier do you think?

My 2nd dose is around mid afternoon followed by a 3rd mid evening.

Any suggestions as to a better schedule to ensure proper absorbtion much appreciated.

I'm up to 75-85 much a day, which I'm thinking is quite a high dose - is it?

Should I try increasing a further 5-10mcg?


I personally would take any other medications etc well away from thyroid hormones, i.e. at lunch time.

These are some excerpts:

For oral dosage form (tablet):

For the treatment of mild hypothyroidism:

Adults—At first, 25 micrograms (mcg) once a day. Doses may be increased by up to 25 mcg every 1 or 2 weeks. However, the dose usually is not more than 75 mcg once a day.


and as regards chewing etc:

The consensus? The active ingredients in thyroid medication have molecules that are so large that it is difficult for them to pass through the mucous membranes. Most of the dissolved/crushed medication ends up swallowed, and moves through the digestive system in the usual way. Other factors also affect sublingual absorption, including oral pH, and salivary enzymes.

Thyroid expert Kenneth Woliner, MD in Boca Raton, Florida said that some medications are designed to be taken sublingually -- for example, drugs that need to be fast-acting, and when where seconds count (like nitroglycerine, used to treat angina and heart attacks) -- and have a molecular structure that lends itself to sublingual absorption. But thyroid is not one of them, according to Dr. Woliner.



Thanks, Shaws. I'll admit I'm more than a little confused at the conflicting advice. I decided to chew my T3 following the suggestion of Paul Robinson, in his book Recovering with T3, as he does this to aid absorption. This differs somewhat from this other guidance, so I don't know which is best 🤔 Paul seems to have had significant success with his T3 therapy but admittedly there are likely to be several other factors which affect the efficacy of T3.

So, I'm now up to 80mcg T3 a day with no other meds, just vitamin & Nutri supplements. I could take these at lunchtime, I suppose.

What I'd like to know is, is this a fairly high dose by normal standards? I'm thinking of another 10mcg increase as I feel I should be feeling lot better by now (after 6 months) and I'd say I'm still only 80% there. I also wondered whether it would be worth trying a little NDT as so many seem to get huge benefits from it. I'm a poor T4 to T3 converter, according to Dr P, so I don't know how it would suit me. I haven't had chance to run the idea of NDT past him yet. Thought I'd ask here first to gauge opinion.


Yes, lunchtime for other meds is a good idea. Nothing will interfere with your T3. If you split your T3 over the day there may be some interference if you take food, coffe etc. as some things can interfere with the uptake. From Dr L: As a result, a single dose of T3 will be long gone from the patient's system before he or she experiences most of the benefits of that dose—a molecular and metabolic yield that may smoothly spread out over one to three days. You don't know whether you are thyroid hormone resistant. If you were you'd only recover with T3.

Dr Lowe took 150mcg of T3 daily for his Thyroid Hormone Resistance. Apparently people who are resistant only recover with large doses. He took his in the middle of the night so nothing interfered with T3.

Paul Robinson recommends his own method which he found worked for him but, in general, I think once daily dose is best. First we can have a life not surrounded by timings and pills. Our stomach has to be empty too in order for T3 or other thyroid hormones to work best.

Dr lowe (He was also an adviser to ThyroidUK before his death) also said in answer to a question:

Question: I was on a fibromyalgia discussion group last night. The subject of discussion was patients who have thyroid hormone resistance. Someone posted that you believe plain T3, taken once a day, is more effective than sustained-release T3 for these patients. This seems contrary to the belief of Dr. Dennis Wilson. If you believe this, why would plain T3 be more effective?

Dr. Lowe: Whoever posted the statement was right. In my experience, for thyroid hormone resistance patients, sustained-release T3 is a poor alternative to plain T3 taken once per day. We don’t have enough evidence to know why plain T3 is more effective.

Another excerpt:

Conventional endocrinologists' lack of knowledge about T3 results from conduct that is clearly unscientific—that is, overall, they accepted without question mandates passed down to them by old guard thyroid specialists, much as loyal military personnel obediently and unquestioningly comply with orders from higher command. The particular mandate of conventional thyroid specialists I refer to here is this: "The only thyroid hormone preparation a doctor should ever prescribe is T4 (thyroxine)."

To the discredit of both conventional endocrinologists and the thyroid specialists whose edicts the obey, this mandate is not scientifically based. Instead, it’s based on a powerful marketing campaign of a major pharmaceutical company. This marketing campaign, not science, is precisely why most doctors robotically write "Synthroid" on their prescription pads when they learn that a patient is hypothyroid. Conventional doctors, including endocrinologists, have allowed their minds to be utterly subjugated by this marketing campaign. As a result, they’ve deprived themselves of clinical experience with any thyroid preparation other than T4.


These doctors include many family physicians, physiatrists, psychiatrists, nutritional and holistic doctors, and naturopathic physicians. For expert advice about T3, it seems prudent to bypass endocrinologists and to look to these more knowledgeable and experienced doctors.


As far as I know when we start off with, say, 25mcg (I assume we've already taken other thyroid meds). then after two weeks increase by 1/4 or 1/2 (we have to be alert to changes in our body) and so on until we feel we're on optimum (by how we feel) . If we are overstimulated we drop down to the previous dose and that should be our optimum. If taking too much we will have fast pulse/too warm etc. Of course during this period we should have taken pulse/temp before beginning and thereafter until optimum. If you read Dr Lowe's T3 link it might be helpful. I am not sure how - if dosing is split throughout the day - how patients then arrive at a perfect optimum dose.

The main thing is we want to feel well, with no clinical symptoms. Getting on with our life. Maybe you have thyroid hormone resistance 80mcg of T3. :)

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Thanks Shaws for all that info. I clearly need to read some more of Dr Lowe and maybe consider a single daily dose. would certainly make life simpler, yes 😄

I work with Dr P & have a GP that is kind and respectful, but more importantly she recognises her lack of knowledge in this area. It's taken several years to get here but we no longer bother with blood tests. Instead she listens to me, takes her lead from my symptoms & Dr P's diagnosis. She won't prescribe T3 but accepts that it's difficult to get correct diagnosis and treatment with the current system. I think she would like to do more but her hands are tied. I just copy her in on all correspondence from Dr P and Genova Labs test results and order my T3 online.

So how are people diagnosed with thyroid hormone resistance? What tests are done and what sort of results would be expected in this case?


It's good you have a doctor with commonsense and she' ll be learning along with your treatment.

Dr P is nearly one of the last who were trained in clinical symptoms but he has been unwell this year too. I hope he feels better. I think he's had a couple of stays in hospital too.

As far as I know, thyroid hormone resisistance (and I'll give a link below) is diagnosed according to the clinical symptoms but thyroid hormones show as 'normal'. Excerpt:

Dr. Lowe: If a patient has either "general" or "pituitary" resistance to thyroid hormone, this is indicated by the results of thyroid function tests. However, our studies suggest that perhaps 40% of fibromyalgia patients have "peripheral" tissue resistance to thyroid hormone—not pituitary or general resistance.

Patients who have peripheral tissue resistance to thyroid hormone have normal thyroid test results before treatment with thyroid hormone. So, we don't know that they have peripheral resistance until we've treated them with plain T3. (Of course, we treat them with T3 as part of more comprehensive metabolic rehabilitation). A three-part therapeutic outcome tells us which patients have peripheral resistance.

First, resistant patients recover from their hypothyroid-like symptoms and signs only with extraordinarily large dosages of T3 (called "supraphysiologic" dosages). Second, despite these large dosages—which might hospitalize a person who doesn't have tissue resistance—the patients have no indication of tissue overstimulation. (We use various objective tests to rule out overstimulation, such as serial EKGs and various biochemical tests.


If you decide to try one daily dose, take pulse/temp several times a day also Basal temp until you feel you are on an optimum. I'd start at half your dose of T3 in case you reach an optimum more quickly than splitting.Increase by 1/2 or 1/4 every 2 weeks. It all depends on saturating our T3 receptor cells which then continue to work for between 1 to 3 days.


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Learn all you can about carbohydrates and keep to below 100 or even 60 if you can. Hypos don't process carbs very well. It's tricky at first but I promise it works!


Thanks Jodypody, I'll try limiting my carb intake.


That's 60 or 100g by the way!


How are you doing on t3? I also use cytomel and switched to unipharma because my dr would not go above 10 mcg cytomel. The unipharma I am at 100 mcg and feel nothing. It's weird it works for some. On 2.5 mcg cytomel I can feel warmer and energized. This Wednesday I have an appoint with my endo. I'm asking her for compounded t3.


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