By Louise O'Connor, Naturopath + Wellness Coach
A healthy thyroid is crucial to whole body health. In fact, the thyroid is often referred to as ‘the body’s major metabolic regulator’ as this organ keeps your body humming.
Many individuals struggle with an an under active thyroid with low thyroid problems becoming more widely accepted. But reverse T3 dominance is often overlooked. Reverse T3 dominance, sometimes referred to as Wilson's Syndrome is a very common thyroid condition.
Thyroid Hormone Levels
The thyroid produces two main hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). When your thyroid is working well it produces adequate amounts of T4 along with smaller amounts of T3. T3 is the more potent thyroid hormone, it fires up your metabolism. Under normal conditions T4 will convert to both T3 and reverse T3, with the body quickly eliminating reverse T3.
Reverse T3 dominance occurs when too much T4 is converted to reverse T3, the inactive form of T3. Reverse T3 circulates and blocks the action of T3 leading to the wide range of symptoms associated with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function).
Your Low Thyroid Symptoms Checklist
Take a moment to look over my low thyroid checklist...
- You constantly feel worn down, tired and fatigued
- You have problems losing weight or gain weight easily
- You have mood swings that range from mild to severe
- You feel down-in-the-dumps, even depressed
- Your thyroid gland is enlarged
- You are easily irritated
- Your muscles ache or you have pains in your joints
- You are experiencing menstrual problems or irregular periods
- You are sensitive to cold weather or feel cold all the time
- You have a decreased interest in sex
- Your skin is dry and pale
- Your hair is thin, or falls out excessively
- Your face, hands and/or feet become swollen or puffy
- You have low blood pressure and heart palpitations
Get a Real Medical Diagnosis
Reverse T3 dominance can be difficult to diagnose as it is not generally accepted as a low thyroid problem by medical doctors. In addition, the standard thyroid tests of TSH, T4 and T3 can appear to be within normal reference ranges.
Only a special test that specifically measures reverse T3 can rule out reverse T3 dominance. If your doctor only wants to test TSH, or you are told your thyroid is normal after only checking TSH, you need to find a doctor who will do a thorough assessment of your thyroid hormones.
It is vital to determine if your thyroid is manufacturing T4, and that the T4 is converting through to active T3 and not reverse T3. To get a real medical diagnosis you need to assess TSH, free thyroxine (T4), free triiodothyronine (T3) and reverse T3.
Treatment for Reverse T3 Dominance
Treatment of reverse T3 dominance treatment requires a holistic approach that includes getting plenty of rest, reducing as much emotional stress as possible, performing moderate exercise, eliminating negative lifestyle habits and avoiding thyroid damaging foods.
Louise O'Connor, Naturopath + Wellness Coach. Author - The Natural Thyroid Diet: The 4-Week Plan to Living Well, Living Vibrantly