When we’re talking about Reverse T3 we have to first start with what it means to you. If you have weight gain, fatigue, hair loss or infertility we MUST start with the thyroid and make sure you’re optimal. Reverse T3 is often the overlooked test for the thyroid from conventional doctors as they believe it means “nothing” to your overall well-being and, unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. If we think of your thyroid as the car that drives your metabolism, then the hormones that it releases are important for its ability to get up and go. T4 is inactive and must convert to T3, so T4 is the gas at the gas station. It’s fuel that’s stored. T3 is active and is the “gas” that’s actually IN the car. We need T3 to make the car go but we can’t have our feet on the gas and the brake at the same time. Reverse T3 is the brake.
Written by Guest Blogger: Dr. Amie Hornaman DCN, MsN, CFMP, a.k.a The Thyroid-Fixer
You might not even know your “brakes” are on. You might not even know you have a thyroid problem. But you know you have brain fog, weight gain, extreme fatigue and allergies out the wazoo. Let’s not forget the inability to concentrate, dry hair, hair loss, breaking nails, sensitivity to heat or cold, hives, heart palpitations, and constipation. Many if not ALL of those symptoms point to hormone imbalance, endocrine dysfunction and a thyroid disorder.
But I digress, back to Reverse T3 (note: you can’t concentrate and often skip topics with a thyroid problem). Reverse T3 is a response of your body. It’s actually a survival response of the body. If you’re in the ICU, RT3 is going to go up. It’s going to go up because your body is down regulating your metabolism to protect you. Its dropping your fat burning like a hot bun. Your body KNOWS that when you’re in a life and death situation, pure survival mode, the last thing your body needs to be doing is burning fat. We actually want to store energy to use for healing. We tie this to the thyroid when the body is NOT in survival mode but RT3 is still elevated. RT3 high=brakes on. If our bodies think we’re in survival mode as we walk around with high RT3, then we’re never burning fat for fuel. We wonder why we can’t lose weight, have zero energy, count the amount of hairs in our brush daily as we watch ourselves go bald but our bodies believe we need to survive! High RT3 when not in the ICU or the ER is not a good day.
If you are on a T4 medication, meaning Synthroid, Tirosent, levo or levoxyl. or if you are on a T4/T3 combination (natural desiccated thyroid medication like armor or nature throid or NP) then we want to look at RT3 because you may not be converting all of that T four that you’re taking to free T3, the active thyroid hormone. Instead, you may be converting it to RT3, the anti thyroid hormone. We can clearly see why we need to test RT3 when you’re struggling with symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, infertility, irregular cycles and brain fog. We need to see if you’re riding around with your breaks on.
I also like to call Reverse T3 a bouncer outside of the club not letting people in…red velvet ropes and all. High RT3, the good stuff ain’t getting in. T3 isn’t getting into the cell.
Now what do I mean by high? Are we looking for that BIG RED “H” next to RT3 on our labs? No. We are going by optimal values, not just normal values. Normal labs value ranges: you can go all the up to 25 before you get the red H. Optimal range is below 12. Seeing the importance of testing your Reverse T3 yet?? It tells us a TON about how you feel. No,it’s not in your head. No, you’re not just getting older. There are reasons and answers. Get Reverse T3 tested!