Before you will be permitted by your doctor to participate in the Wilson’s T3 Protocol you will generally need to:1. Read the article below.
2. Read the Patient Guidelines (print them and have on hand before you begin treatment).
3. Read the Patients E-Book and address any underlying adrenal problems.
4. Consider reading the Doctor’s Manual, which the more comprehensive manual (most doctors insist that you read both in order to undergo treatment – a wise suggestion). …And above all, remember that you need to play an active and responsible part if you choose to undertake this protocol.
What is Wilson’s Temperature (Thyroid) Syndrome?
Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome (WTS) is a condition that causes symptoms characteristic of decreased thyroid system function. Named Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome in 1990, it is best described by its reproducible and predictable response to a special thyroid hormone treatment protocol recently described by E. Dennis Wilson, MD. It is the cluster of often debilitating symptoms especially brought on by significant physical, or emotional stress that can persist even after the stress has passed (due to a maladaptive slowing of the metabolism (Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Brief overview)
Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome (often referred to as Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, or just Wilson’s Syndrome) results in consistently low body temperature and presents with a wide-range of symptoms consistent with that of hypothyroidism, such as:
Fatigue, Weakness, Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight, Coarse, Dry hair, Dry, Rough pale skin, Hair loss, Cold intolerance (can’t tolerate the cold like those around you), Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches, Constipation, Depression, Irritability, Memory loss, Abnormal menstrual cycles, Decreased libido [Source]And some other symptoms which were previously not thought to be related to hypothyroidism such as:
Headaches, Migraines, PMS, Fluid Retention, Anxiety & Panic Attacks, Decreased, Memory & Concentration, Heat and/or Cold Intolerance, Abnormal Swallowing Sensations, Insomnia, Low Motivation & Ambition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Muscle and Joint Aches, Hives ,Asthma, Allergies, Brittle Nails, Slow Healing, Sweating Abnormalities, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Itchiness, Irregular Periods, Acne, Easy bruising, Unhealthy Nails, Ringing of the Ears, Flushing, Bad Breath, Dry Eyes/Blurred Vision And Others. [Source]You may not suffer from all the symptoms at once and the degree of severity of each symptom may vary from to person to person. Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome is a condition that affects many people globally and it has huge impact on their lives
How is it diagnosed?
WTS is diagnosed primarily by consistently low body temperatures, taken orally and several times throughout the day, which average lower than 37 degrees Centigrade (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). 37 degrees is considered to be the normal oral temperature under normal circumstances. If you have low and consistent temperatures this indicates a thyroid system problem and is termed Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. Thyroid blood tests are often ineffective in picking up Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome as they reflect the amount of thyroid hormones that are circulating in the bloodstream (or thyroid gland output), rather than your actual metabolic rate as determined by the thyroid receptor activation. The temperatures reflect the metabolic rate which the thyroid hormone T3 controls. So the diagnosis of WTS is made solely on temperature measurement, with or without accompanying low thyroid hormone output as noted by blood or saliva testing. You can have WTS and have low thyroid hormone output, or they can exist independently.
Why is it so important to have a temperature of 37 degrees and how does it affect me when it drops?
Chronic low body temperature has a big impact on human physiology. Our enzymes (catalysts which oversee every function in the human body) are dependant on a stabile temperature of 37 degrees. ‘The efficiency of all the chemical reactions in your body vitally depends on your body temperature’. [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Brief overview]
All enzymes have a narrow temp range in which they function. When it goes too high it causes problems (fever) and when it goes too low it also causes problems (WTS).
When the body temperature is 37 and stabile, all the enzymes throughout the systems of the body are functioning optimally. When temperature becomes low or unstable enzymes begin to change shape and function sub-optimally, or lose function in more extreme cases. Dr Wilson calls this Multiple Enzyme Dysfunction (MED). and this is what makes WTS such a debilitating condition and contributes to the system-wide range of symptoms observed in WTS. When you are experiencing the effects of multiple enzyme dysfunction it often means that you can do just about anything and your health won’t improve until your temps are right.
How do I check my temperatures?
Take your temperatures, by mouth, with a thermometer (digital thermometers can become inaccurate from low battery or being dropped) every three hours, three times a day, starting three hours after waking, for several takes (not the three days prior to a period in a women since it is higher then). For each day add the temperatures together and divide by 3 to get and average [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Brief overview].
We suggest taking them at 9am; 12noon and 3pm (link to chart).
What do my results mean?
Consistently low daily temperatures means that there is a problem somewhere in the thyroid system, either in the glandular or peripheral portion (explanation to follow). Wide fluctuations of daily temperatures indicate a problem in the adrenal system. Low temperatures AND wide fluctuations indicate a problem in both the adrenal and thyroid systems. In this case the adrenals should always be stabalised first before treating the thyroid system. (see Adrenal and thyroid page)
How is WTS brought on?
Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome is especially brought on by stresses such as: childbirth (#1 cause), divorce, death of a loved one, job or family stress, surgery or accidents, excessive dieting and others [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Brief overview]. Other stressors include relocation, fasting and the least obvious, but often most aggressive, dental treatment and associated toxicity. It seems that those who are most prone to developing WTS are those whose ancestors survived famine, such as Irish, Scot, Welsh, American Indian, Russian etc. [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Brief overview] ….It seems that 80% of WTS sufferers are women. This is because women endure the physical and emotional stress of childbirth.
Many times patients are reported to have gone through a stressful period or episode and develop new symptoms of illness. However, when the stressor has passed, they do not experience complete relief of these newly developed symptoms. This is called a maladaptive response and Dr. Wilson believes this is a coping mechanism gone wrong, where the body has initially ‘slowed down’ in order to conserve resources, but gotten stuck there. When the body becomes stuck in this conservation mode it can present with symptoms of classical hypothyroidism such as the ones mentioned above.
What exactly is happening in the body?
The thyroid gland (in the front of your neck just above your breast bone) releases a thyroid hormone called T4, and this is converted into another much more active thyroid hormone called T3 (T3 is four time as active as T4). T3 interacts with your thyroid receptors on every cell, stimulating them to increase your overall metabolism which causes the cells to release heat and thus drive the body temperature up. This pattern changes under times of severe stress, where instead of T4 being converted into the more active T3, it is converted into the inactive RT3 which then blocks your thyroid receptors, effectively slowing down your metabolism and inducing a conservation mode of functioning in order to conserve energy. When the stress passes your body is supposed to adapt and shift out of this conservation mode, but sometimes it gets stuck in this mode of functioning. RT3 continues to be produced (blocks more receptors) and little active T3 is available at a receptor level to boost metabolism and lift temperatures – Wilson’s Syndrome thus emerges. Dr Wilson calls the two modes of functioning productivity mode, which burns resources and increases metabolism, and the stress-induced conservation mode, which conserves resources and slows metabolism. When healthy and flexible (adaptable), we should be able to move from one mode to the other without getting stuck in either.
T3: The very active thyroid hormone that calls the shots in the thyroid system. It boosts metabolism and lifts your temperature. It is made from T4 in certain areas of the body e.g the liver, and the conversion of T4 to T3 requires the mineral selenium. T4: The less active thyroid hormone. It is the raw material produced by the thyroid gland on instruction from the pituitary, and it is subsequently converted into T3 to drive the metabolism. T4 is also able to drive the metabolism less effectively, but it is only one quarter as strong as T3. It is thus quite capable of keeping the thyroid system functioning on its own, but only sub-optimally if enough T3 is not present. TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone that is released from the pituitary when thyroid hormone levels in the blood drop. TSH instructs the thyroid gland to release more T4. RT3: Reverse T3. Once T4 has been made, it is converted into T3 or RT3. High stress encourages the production of RT3 through cortisol’s ability to affect the enzyme that makes this conversion. RT3 is completely inactive and effectively blocks the receptors, preventing T3 from doing its job. This results in a slow metabolism and low temperatures.
Why would my body get stuck in conversation mode?
In conservation mode you burn less fuel and use fewer resources. This is an advantage in time of drought and famine. It is thus an evolutionary adaptation made to conserve energy during times of war, drought, famine and other high/sustained stressful conditions. Whenever the body undergoes a serious stress the genes in the body effectively turn the body towards conservation of energy mode – which is effectively like hibernating. This means that T3 is converted in RT3 at a higher rate, and it blocks the receptor sites on the cells. Thus the body slows and cools down.
Modern day living is a sad example of high and sustained stress. When we have additional stress on top of that, such as childbirth or divorce, our body may go into conservation mode. But when the stress passes we should come out of it. Sometimes we just don’t get out of this conservation mode. Failure to self-correct out of this mode results in consistently low temperatures, multiple enzyme dysfunction and Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.
How common is WTS?
Dr Wilson estimates more than 40% of people currently have low body temperatures . He explains that this it is not surprising that more and more people are experiencing this over generations, since it is a genetic advantage to have the ability to move into energy conservation mode during times of drought and famine and hence more people that carry this gene would have survived.
How has it been missed by modern medicine?
Mainstream medicine does not acknowledge the existence of Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome and thus sufferers’ symptoms have often been dismissed as psychosomatic or imagined complaints (in the same category as Adrenal Insufficiency/Fatigue). Medicine’s knowledge of the complex processes of the thyroid system is far from complete. As a result, when presented with information concerning Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, medical professionals often reject it because they are working from the misconception they do indeed know everything there is to know about the thyroid. For a good example of this, see the rebuttal to the American Thyroid Association’s position on Wilson’s Syndrome. It is entitled: Wilson’s Syndrome: A Response to the American Thyroid Association.
As one doctor once put it: “Doctors are down on subjects that they are not up on” [Reference Unknown].
Dr Wilson teaches us to acknowledge that there is a thyroid system (not just a thyroid gland) to consider, and this system contains two parts that need to be independently assessed. The thyroid system has a:
Glandular portion that can be assessed on blood tests and a;
Peripheral portion, that includes the effect of the thyroid hormone on the thyroid receptors, and can be assessed through temperature.
Modern medicine does not know how to test if your thyroid problem lies at a receptor level, so if your glandular portion tests normal on blood test, they wrongly conclude you don’t have a thyroid problem. Following that doctors often dismiss obvious symptom of hypothyroidism, or attribute it to something else. However, you may have a lot of T3 in your blood, but it simply can’t GET to the receptor sites which are blocked by RT3. So you become hypothyroid clinically.
The glandular portion of the thyroid system provides the raw material (what is measured by thyroid tests) needed by the peripheral portion (downstream to the glands) to deliver the right mix of the thyroid hormones T3, T4 and perhaps RT3 (Reverse T3) to provide proper thyroid stimulation of the cells in order to generate an adequate body temperature to prevent symptoms of unbalanced thyroid system function. If the glandular portion, or course tuning, wasn’t working well enough, then insufficient raw material would be produced, which would show up on blood tests, and the shortage would be felt all the way down the line, eventually resulting in symptoms. Just as its hard to make enough ice when there is not enough water. But if the glandular portion were perfectly fine, and there was a problem in the peripheral portion, you could still get symptoms as seen in WTS. That’s because it’s also hard to make enough ice when there’s plenty of water, but not enough cold….That’s why the fine turning of the thyroid system is best assessed by the temperature and the symptoms; because it’s easy to see if you have enough raw material(normal blood tests), but the best indicator that things are regulated well is when your temperature is normal and you’re feeling well [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Brief overview].
How is it treated?
The Wilson’s T3 protocol (WT3 protocol) uses a compound called Sustained Release T3 to increase the levels of T3 in such a way that it frees the RT3 from the receptors sites. This resets the thyroid system allowing the receptors to respond properly to T3 in the future. The goal of treatment is thus to ‘reset’ the thyroid system and bring it out of conservation mode by clearing RT3 from the receptors. ‘This “resetting phenomenon” is what sets Wilson’s syndrome apart [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book]. The treatment is relatively simple, yet precise and requires self-responsibility and participation. All people undergoing the process need to have read the Patient’s manual before beginning (insert link).
Sustained Release T3 is T3 thyroid hormone that is manufactured in a lab and combined with a slow releasing substance allowing blood levels of T3 to remain very stabile when compared to the fast acting version of T3 e.g. Tertroxin (which should not be used for this protocol). The WTS protocol requires stabile blood levels of T3 above all else. The Sustained Release T3 is taken twice a day twelve hours apart and EXACTLY TO THE MINUTE to ensure stability. Temperature and pulse are closely monitored, and the dose is increased in 15mcg increments every day (or few days) to a maximum dose of 180mcg/day, or until the temperature is CAPTURED at 37 degrees. The dose is held at a current level or even lowered if symptoms of excessive T3 or instability develop (high pulse, palpitation, anxiety). Once the temperature is captured at 37 degrees the dose can be maintained at this level for three weeks allowing the system to stabilise, and thereafter it is gently lowered every few days. In many cases the temperature remains captured at 37 degrees, despite fully weaning off of the ST3 and the process is completed during the first cycle. It is mostly curative in this case, though severe stress in the future can induce a repeat situation developing. The patients that do best are the ones that are able to capture their temperatures early on with the lowest dose of Sustained Release T3.
Increasing T3 to these levels causes the pituitary to slow/stop TSH production and this reduces T4 production, which means less T4 is available to convert into RT3. As the RT3 is freed from the receptor sites T3 is able to activate them and the temperatures of the body begins to lift. This tends to reset the system (like rebooting your computer) and gets it out of its stuck mode of functioning in conservation mode. This is the theory behind the treatment.
Why not use Armour or another desiccated thyroid instead?Using a desiccated thyroid like Armour will not help clear the receptors of RT3, since Armour contains T4 which readily converts into RT3 when your conservation mode is switched on. This is why many people with low temperatures feel worse when taking a desiccated thyroid, despite their temperatures being low.
Is this WT3 protocol safe?
Yes, it is very safe when properly followed and precautions monitored. Your doctor will screen you to help you ensure that you are in a position to start treatment. This assessment usually entails a standard blood work up, thyroid blood tests to assess glandular output and ECG to check your heart. Those with heart problems need to be most cautious, as T3 can induce palpitations and increase the pulse rate. The hormone itself is bio-identical, meaning that your body recognises it as your own and will not react negatively to it in appropriate dosages. On rare occasion there may be a reaction to an ingredient in the compound.
Adrenal issues should always be addressed FIRST before proceeding with thyroid treatment.
You are also required to read the Wilson’s Patients Manual first, as you need to take an active role during treatment.
Does everyone that tries the WT3 protocol achieve success?
According to Dr. Wilson, 65% of all patients have a total improvement, Another 25% see a partial improvement, and another 10% see no improvement.
An example of the WT3 treatment process.
Make sure you have at least five days of temperatures recorded (not the three days preceding a period as your temperatures will be higher than normal anyway).
On the first day take two doses of 7.5mcg Sustained Release T3, EXACTLY TWELVE HOURS TO THE MINUTE e.g. at 7.30am and 7.30pm. Choose a starting time when you know you will be awake every morning. Monitor your pulse, temperature and symptoms closely every day and mark on the chart. Only if no side effects occur (e.g., anxiousness, palpitations, high pulse, temperatures above 37), increase the dose by an increment of 15mcg every one to three days (that is 7.5mcg per dose) until your temperatures reach 37 degrees, or until you reach a maximum of 180mcg in total (that is 90mcg per dose). Never increase the dose if you are experiencing any side-effects.
‘Since the risk of treatment increases with increased side effects, the dosage should not be increased if the patient is suffering from side effects (which is an indication that the medication may not be adjusted properly)’ [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Chapter 10].
‘Side effects from 12 hour sustained-release the WT3 protocol (most commonly mild achiness, fluid retention, mild headaches, fatigue, and occasionally edginess) usually are related to unsteady levels of T3 resulting in unsteady body temperature patterns, leading to unsteady multiple enzyme function’ [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Chapter 10].
- Increment one: Take 7.5mcg and 7.5mcg = 30mcg total (12 hours apart – always)
- Increment two: Take 15mcg and 15mcg = 30mcg total
- Increment three: Take 22.5mcg and 22.5mcg = 45mcg total
- Increment four: Take 30mcg and 30mcg = 60mcg total
- Increment five: Take 37.5mcg and 37.5mcg = 75mcg total
- Increment six: Take 45mcg and 45mcg = 90mcg total
- Increment seven: Take 52.5mcg and 52.5mcg = 105mcg total
- Increment eight: Take 60mcg and 60mcg = 120mcg total
- Increment nine: Take 67.5mcg and 67.5mcg = 135mcg total
- Increment ten: Take 75mcg and 75mcg =150mcg total
- Increment eleven: Take 82.5mcg and 82.5mcg 165mg total
- Increment twelve: Take 90mcg and 90mcg = 180mcg total = Highest dose. If you have not captured your temperature by this dose do not hang about at it this dose, cycle off the Sustained Release T3 by weaning off it it every 2-10 days by 15mcg per day (7.5mcg per dose), then wait 3 days and begin cycle two.
When your temperature rises, and then drops later it is called compensating. Dr Wilson says that some people compensate daily and they should raise their dose every day to prevent this. Others may raise it slower, every 2-3 days. If there are no side-effects, it is generally better to raise the dose quicker and wean off slower once the temperature is captured.
i.e. QUICKLY UP: every 1 to 3 days, and SLOWLY DOWN: every 2-10 days (lowering the dose every 3 days when coming off is most common).
‘To wean, the daily dosage may be decreased in small increments, for example, 15 micrograms per day at a time, at intervals necessary to prevent a drop in temperature (generally in intervals of about two to ten days). As it turns out, patients are able to increase their body temperature with the WT3 protocol, often enjoy their body temperatures remaining close to the new increased level even while weaning off the WT3 protocol. The trick to weaning off the therapy in a way that permits correction to remain effective, is to wean slowly enough that the temperature does not drop again. For obvious reasons, this is not best attempted or easily accomplished under periods of extreme physical, emotional, or mental stress (since stress often started the problem to begin with). Patients are frequently able to wean off T3 by 15 micrograms per day, every two days on average. Some have to wean off by 15 micrograms-per-day-increments every four days and some have to go off every seven to ten days because if they go faster than that their temperatures will drop. If the patient’s symptoms resolve or remain resolved completely after T3 is weaned, then the WT3 protocol need not be restarted. Usually the less a patient’s body temperature drops, the less medication will be needed in the next cycle to bring the body temperature up closer to normal. Sometimes with each cycle, the patient may enjoy a decrease in the necessary dosage. It is common for patients to need only a 7th, a 10th, a 20th, or a 25th of the amount of medicine in the second cycle to accomplish the same as, or more than, in the first’ [Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome Book – Chapter 10].
Problematic side effects can be managed with a single T4 test dose, as indicated in the Treatment Guidelines below, and you need to know how and when to use this if need be. The T4 dose is 20-25% of the Sustained Release T3 and will quell symptoms due to unsteady T3 levels within 45 minutes by having a stabilizing effect on the system. It should only be used if necessary.
Reaching 180mcg without any side-effects is not uncommon as Wilson’s sufferers often have a thyroid hormone resistance and can increase the T3 without the classic effects of raised T3.
Once you CAPTURE your temperature at 37 degrees at any particular dose, then hold that dose as the maintenance dose for three weeks, and thereafter decrease by 7.5mcg per dose (15mcg per day) every 3 days (the general rule for decrease is every 2-10 days, so you can go slower if needed). If your temperature stays at 37, then you have completed treatment and your thyroid system is reset! If not, after you have tapered off completely take a three day break, and then start a new cycle at 7.5mcg/dose (15mcg/day). Continue this process until your average daily temperature is 37 degrees and stabile. Each cycle of the WT3 protocol sometimes take from two weeks to two months.
Please read the excerpt from Dr Wilson’s manual and proper dosing during cycles (In his notes 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit = 37 degrees Centigrade). There are special consideration for those people who are classically hypothyroid (low thyroid hormones on blood test) and have WTS.
For those of you who want to know more about specifics of treatment, please also read the rest of the article which is continued here, where Dr Wilson explains treatment specific treatment guidelines.
- Wilsons Temperature Syndrome main website
- Patient Guidelines : to print and have on hand before you begin treatment
- Basic Guidelines for Doctors Using the WT3 Protocol
- You need to read the Patients E-Book (and preferably also the Doctor’s manual) and have addressed any underlying adrenal problems, before you will be permitted to participate in the protocol.
- The Doctor’s Manual is the more comprehensive manual for your doctor, though most doctors insist you read both in order to undergo treatment – a wise suggestion.
- If you or your doctor wishes to know more about ‘Thyroid Hormone Resistance’ and T3 treatment visit Dr Lowe’s website. Dr Lowe’s views differ somewhat from Dr Wilson’s and may present an alternative option if the WT3 protocol does not work for you.
- If you or your doctor needs to know more about how the adrenals and thyroid interact, visit Dr Rind’s website