Levo or T3? What to take?

Hi, I am currently on Levothyroxine (100-125mcg), but recently read a pinterest article on Levothyroxine Can Cause Weight Gain. I am struggling to maintain my healthy weight level and cannot exercise every single day. Before diagnosis and after but before having my twins, I was able to stay fit and slim, now I can't shed extra pounds, my kids are 8 now so it's not post baby weight. The article claims that instead of Levothyroxine, T3 only should be taken to ensure weight loss. It states even the natural thyroid meds can cause weight gain due to having both T4 and T3 meds. Is the article's claims correct, should I be taking T3 only? Apparently, my TSH, T4 & T3 are all in range according to GP and Blue Horizon. I thought Levo was supposed to cause weight loss if too much is taken according to the noted side effects? Confused here!! Have other's had good weight loss results by switching to T3 only? Appreciate any advice!

11 Replies

MapleMoose I think there's a lot of rubbish written on the internet and we have to take it with a pinch of salt. Everyone reacts differently.

I was over medicated on Levo, my FT4 got up to 30 (top of range 24) and I didn't lose weight. Noted side effects affect *some* people, it doesn't mean that everyone will be affected. Nor did Levo cause me to gain weight.

What will help with loss (apart from sensible healthy eating) is being optimally medicated and having a good level of T3.

You say your TSH, FT4 and FT3 are all in range. In range doesn't necessarily mean optimal. Why not post your results and we can see if your Levo dose is right for you or if you need some extra help.

Thanks, I agree that you have to be careful what you read even if the articles are from so called doctors. Unfortunately I no longer have my results, I stupidly threw them away when I read them and cannot remember the actual scores, just that it stated within normal range. It was hard enough getting the TSH and T4 results from my GP and had to get T3 done by Blue Horizon.

Gosh article wrong on many levels I suspect. How many posters do we read on here and the first comment is you are not on enough medication? And that comment can and does refer to some taking T3! If we had a poll asking did your doctor tell you how to take your meds then that would be very telling as well. Thankfully we have many admins and members that step in as and when necessary to right the many wrongs out there. As is said many times there are many for whom T4 works very well but we rarely hear about them. Articles that don't get it right don't help either. We need GP's to have better understanding not only about how to treat but how to read and understand results and correct accordingly.

I take T3 only. I have actually gained a bit of weight - roughly 7 - 10 lbs. However I don't keep records on my weight so it could be more than that.

Are you hypo and if so, why do you only take T3 and not Levo? Were you prescribed it?

Yes I am hypothyroid, but I don't have the autoimmune version. I've never had positive antibodies. Having been told that my thyroid was "borderline underactive" in the early 1990s I was just left to rot for over 20 years. I was finally prescribed Levo in 2013. I had a severe non-thyroidal illness at the time and when I tried Levo it actually made me a lot more unwell and I couldn't tolerate it. I decided that after waiting all that time for treatment I couldn't wait any longer to get well, and so I decided to treat myself. I tried NDT (which I bought myself) which was better than levo but still left me feeling very unwell. I then tried T3 (which I also bought myself) which helped a lot. I've tried NDT again, but I always go back to T3. I much prefer being independent of my doctor and I pay for my own blood testing for thyroid and nutrients.

Thanks! How do you know how much to take if you do it yourself? Do you have to pay for blood tests constantly to keep things in check? My budget wouldnt cover numerous tests. I wondered about NDT but a little nervous to take the plunge due to dosages.

I test about once every 9 months or thereabouts, but if I was feeling really well I would leave it a year.

I don't make any changes in my meds quickly. I increase or decrease in small amounts - quarter of a tablet at a time. Intermittently I monitor my basal temperature (oral temperature taken as soon as I wake up but before I get up in the morning), I also keep tabs on my heart rate and blood pressure.

I know from experience now what symptoms I can expect when I'm over-medicated and also when I'm under-medicated. I have also found that the longer I've been on thyroid hormones the more my body adapts to them. In the beginning I would get a noticeable increase in heart rate when my T3 was running out. I would also get a noticeable increase in heart rate if I was taking too much. But my whole system feels more robust now. I get very little effect on my heart rate at all even if I forget to take my T3 for a few hours.

Thanks, that's helpful!

humanbean , I agree with you . Small changes up or down and waiting for the body to acclimate to new changes is very important with both T3/T4 . It takes about six weeks for T4 to build up . I found that if I was not dosed with enough T4 that's when I felt the T3 run out .

Journaling symptoms are also very crucial blood pressure , pulse ,basal temperature ,weight changes, energy, moods etc.

Being on the right nutrients is VERY important too . Vit."D" , B-12 , Selenium , Iron (must be tested first with full iron panel and Ferritin . Iron is very important and helpful with anxiety and palpitations .

Iron and Cortisol help thyroid meds work more efficiently .

T3 was used a lot by bodybuilders to burn fat, but I think it has gone out of favour lately as it also diminishes muscle mass. So, it's a double edged sword, that I would be wary of using for fat loss unless you can keep up good muscle toning exercise levels. I would go with whatever medication makes you feel better.

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