Letters and Numbers

25 Jul

Dr. Guru sent me for some routine blood work a few weeks ago to review at my follow up appointment yesterday. I received a copy of the results in the mail over the weekend and was a bit surprised to see my thyroid levels were quite low, so we spent a good deal of time talking about what the numbers meant. She routinely runs something called a “Reverse T3” when she sends patients for thyroid testing, something that most doctors dismiss as “meaningless”. She explained that the ratio of T3 to Reverse T3 is actually a very important indication as to how much (or how little, in my case) ATP is being generated by the mitochondria. What do we know about my ATP generation? Yeah, it sucks. Imagine my delight when she said we could do something about it!!

“No wonder you feel like crap!” – Dr. Guru

TSH is produced by the pituitary gland and stimulates the thyroid gland to release T4. T4 can’t really do too much on its own so it needs to be converted to the active form of the hormone – T3. Why is T3 important? T3 stimulates and helps to regulate metabolic function and the production of ATP. Low T3 = low ATP = low energy! Dr. Guru explained that it’s not enough to simply test for low T3 levels (and mine are REALLY low), but there is another key player involved – RT3 – or “Reverse” T3. RT3 is an inactive form of T3 that the body will generate if it’s under considerable metabolic stress in order to conserve some energy. RT3 is a receptor antagonist, blocking the receptor sites on the T4 and preventing its conversion. You can think of the production of T3 like driving a car. The T3 is stepping on the gas pedal accelerating the vehicle while the RT3 is applying the brakes. Ideally, you want the ratio of T3 to RT3 to be 12:1. My ratio is 1.47:1, which means that my T3 and RT3 are essentially cancelling each other out and minimal energy is being made. Is it any wonder I’m simply exhausted?? Oddly enough, this is probably one of the only things I’ve been diagnosed with that has a concrete treatment and a solid (well, as solid as you can get in my case!) guarantee that I should start feeling better! I’m pretty excited! Guru wrote me a prescription for T3, liothyronine sodium, to begin using transdermally to help get my T3 levels back up so we can accelerate some of the energy production. The coolest thing is that she thinks this will really help the progress I am making in other areas too.

Speaking of, the dietary changes I made under the guidance of The Paleo Dietician have REALLY helped. I am definitely feeling much, much better than I was a few weeks ago and Dr. Guru loved the advice I was given too. We are having a good deal of trouble stabilizing my weight and making sure I’m getting enough calories eating on such a restricted diet, but in order to help aid my whacked out digestive system, Dr. Guru gave me the go-ahead to supplement with Betaine HCl for awhile (the vegan form made from beet). I can’t *wait* to try it because I can only imagine how wonderful it will be to not feel like food is sitting around f o r e v e r.

So within the past week I have lowered my l-glutamine and stopped my flax seed supplement since I was able to tie it to the chronic rash I was sporting on my chest. My shampoo/body wash (that I LOVED) also had flax oil in it and I guess my body decided it was on flax overload. I made my own shampoo with some homemade coconut milk and castile soap and started using that with an apple cider vinegar rinse. So far so good! OH! And for the past three days I have been trying a 15 minute exercise when I wake up called “Make Over Your Morning” and it is AWESOME! I heard about it on SCD Lifestyle and decided to put my own together. More on that later…


2 Responses to “Letters and Numbers”

  1. tony July 27, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    Hey there how has your progress coe along. I have high RT3 too and before I found out I was using flax and fish oil products

    • theprogressivepatient July 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t started treating the thyroid issue yet. We are waiting on prior-auth from my insurance for the meds. I recently had to d/c the flax seed, but I will be adding fermented cod liver oil to my regimen soon…

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