When you want to know how to take T3 for weight loss it’s important to know the options available. Doctors can make it clear to you but the real information lies in how to take T3 for weight loss. It is not a hard formula, the only thing standing between you and your goal is how much effort you are willing to put into it.
What Is T3?
In layman’s terms, T3 is the hormone in your body that regulates how fast your metabolism is.
The higher your T3 level is, the more calories you will burn, and the more fat loss potential you will have.
T3 is a drug that is prescribed to those with hypothyroidism, but it is commonly used by bodybuilders and recreational lifters who want to reach a level of body fat that would be difficult to achieve without drug assistance.
That isn’t to say that it is easy to get shredded on T3, it helps though.
Typical T3 Dosages
Determining the ideal T3 dosage will be based upon several factors.
Typically, T3 for bodybuilding/fat loss purposes involves purposely ingesting a supraphysiological amount of T3 in order to increase your metabolism to a level that would otherwise be impossible.
This can be achieved with as little as 25 mcg, however, not all T3 is created with equal quality.
Despite T3 being an inexpensive drug, for some reason, the quality varies wildly between different sources.
Ideally, you’d want to get your T3 from a pharmacy (and prescribed by your doctor of course), as that’s the only way to absolutely ensure it is dosed accurately.
The standard dose for fat loss purposes ranges between 25 mcg – 75 mcg of T3.
The standard starting dosage for treating Hypothyroidism is typically much lower (as low as 5-10 mcg per day), and may be titrated up based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Personally, I never go above 50 mcg because T3 can be very catabolic at higher dosages, as it doesn’t discriminate between muscle and stored fat, so the higher your T3 dose is, the more muscle it will rip off your body.
50 mcg – 75 mcg should be more than sufficient for anyone to reap the benefits of a supraphysiological dose of T3.
Once you get to the 100 mcg + range, you put yourself at a much higher risk of side effects like Tachycardia, muscle loss, anxiety, and feeling weak.
Side effects that will be notable at any dose, but will be more pronounced the higher you dose T3 will be increased body temperature, increased hunger, and in some cases (I get this) constant muscle flatness.
By muscle flatness I mean it is a lot harder to get a pump, and your muscles lack that pop that they have when they are properly glycogen loaded and hydrated.
That is one of the first things I look for when I am determining if my T3 is legit or not.
I get a notable increase in body temperature, and I notice I am much flatter at the gym and it’s a lot harder to get a pump.
My appetite starts getting a lot more ravenous once I go above 50 mcg as well.
At 75 mcg I am hungry pretty much all day long.
T3 And Weight Loss
Thyroid hormones regulate many body systems, including metabolism. One thyroid hormone is triiodothyroxine, also known as T3. When thyroid hormones are not in balance, certain health conditions can develop. When thyroid hormones are too low, this condition is called hypothyroidism. Thyroid medications to replace T3 and T4 can relieve some symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some patients with hypothyroidism find it easier to lose weight when they take such medications.
Indications For T3
Medications to replace T3 are only prescribed when you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, muscle weakness, intolerance to cold, depression and dry skin and hair. Other symptoms include weight gain, constipation, irritability, loss of libido and memory loss. Although hypothyroidism is diagnosed by a blood test, these symptoms may appear before thyroid levels are low enough to diagnose the condition. Diagnose of hypothyroidism is difficult without a blood test because the symptoms resemble those of other conditions.
T3 And Weight Loss
Weight loss is a listed possible side effect of thyroid medications, such as liothyronine and levothyroxine. You may not experience weight loss with levothyroxine alone, as this only replaces T4. If your T3 levels are also low, you may experience more weight loss if you add liothyronine to your medications. These medications can only be prescribed by your doctor. T3 medications alone may not be sufficient to cause major weight loss.
If you have hypothyroidism, traditional weight loss efforts such as dieting may not be successful unless you add T3 medication. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends you consume a well-balanced diet containing vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat meat and dairy. Limit sugar and fried foods. Cut 500 to 1,000 calories per day to lose one to two pounds weekly. Use caution about consuming soy foods, which may interfere with thyroid medication. Avoid foods that may negatively impact thyroid hormone levels, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, peanuts, pine nuts, millet and mustard greens.
What Is T3 Thyroid Medication?
T3 thyroid medication is the strongest of all thyroid medication.
Because T3 is the active thyroid.
But most patients with hypothyroidism are not taking T3 thyroid medication.
Despite the medication being quite safe if used correctly, many physicians simply aren’t comfortable with prescribing it.
As a result, most patients are taking some form of T4 thyroid hormone.
You know these medications well: levothyroxine, Synthroid and Tirosint.
All of these medications fall into the class of T4 thyroid medications.
And, unfortunately, they are considered to be weaker when compared to pure T3.
T4 thyroid hormone must be activated in your body through special enzymes.
When it is activated your body changes its structure and turns T4 into T3.
Once it’s in the T3 form it can then get into your cells and activate genetic transcription through its action on nuclear receptors.
But your body can also INACTIVATE T4 by turning it into reverse T3.
And this is one of the reasons that using T3 thyroid hormone is so special.
Instead of providing you with a medication that your body must activate, you can instead bypass this activation process and provide the body with the direct and active thyroid hormone (T3).
Is using T3 actually dangerous as most physicians would have you think?
It turns out that, as long as it is used correctly, there are very few side effects of using T3.
More and more physicians are starting to add T3 to existing doses of T4.
This might come in a combination such as Levothyroxine + Cytomel (usually in small doses).
But T3 can be used much more effectively, and safely, at even higher doses.
In fact, most patients stand to benefit tremendously by adding in a small amount of T3 to their existing dose of T4 – even if it means lowering their current dose of T4.
T3 can also be safely combined with natural desiccated thyroid hormone
But the question remains:
Who should consider using T3?
- Bottom line: T3 is the strongest form of thyroid hormone and can be prescribed by your doctor. Certain patients stand to benefit by adding doses of T3 to their existing T4 dose. Unlike T4 thyroid hormone, T3 does not require activation to exert its effects in the body.
When To Use T3 Thyroid Medication
Determining if you would benefit from T3 thyroid hormone is not as difficult as you might think.
As a general rule of thumb:
The more medical conditions you have, the more excess body fat you have, the more medications you are on, the more inflammation in your body… the more likely you are to benefit from T3.
Because all of these conditions create an environment inside of your body that favors the production of reverse T3 over T3.
That means you are in a state of thyroid resistance.
In a nutshell, your body is basically blocking the action of thyroid hormone at the cellular level, this can occur even though you have “enough” thyroid hormone floating around in your bloodstream.
But we don’t have a great way to test for this, so instead, we use surrogate markers such as reverse T3 and sex hormone binding globulin.
Most patients who stand to benefit from using T3 thyroid hormone fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Hypothyroid symptoms despite having a “normal” TSH or normal thyroid blood levels
- Difficulty of weight loss or inability to lose weight
- Low serum levels of free T3 via lab testing despite having a “normal” TSH
- High levels of reverse T3 on lab testing
- History of insulin resistance or high blood sugar
- History of leptin resistance (or fasting leptin level greater than 10)
- Continued fatigue despite taking thyroid medication
- Failure to improve even while taking natural desiccated thyroid hormone (like Armour Thyroid, WP thyroid, NP Thyroid, and Nature-throid)
- History of bipolar disorder or treatment-resistant depression
- History of chronic pain/fibromyalgia
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it does include the majority of patients who might benefit from the addition of T3.
It’s also important to consider T3 therapy (either in addition to your current dose of T4 or NDT) if you are having any issues or remaining symptomatic despite taking thyroid medication.
This might manifest as intolerance or sensitivity to thyroid medication, or an inability to absorb your thyroid medication.
Benefits Of Using T3 Thyroid Medication:
Because of the unique way that T3 is utilized in the body when compared to T4 it comes with several benefits that we should talk about.
These benefits have to do with the fact that this medication does NOT require an activation step in the body, which means that it is active once it is absorbed.
1. More Weight Loss
Another VERY important aspect of T3 is its ability to influence weight loss.
So does T3 help with weight loss?
The answer yes a resounding yes!
In fact, this effect is much more pronounced than T4 and/or NDT.
Why does T3 help with weight loss more than T4?
T3 has a greater action on the factors that influence your metabolism than T4 does.
Studies have shown that patients taking suppressive doses of T4 thyroid hormone, resulting in a low or “suppressed” TSH still have a lower metabolism than what would be expected
Obviously, a low metabolism would result in an inability to lose weight and this might explain why so many hypothyroid patients have issues with weight loss despite taking thyroid hormone.
In addition, other studies have shown that patients with “normal” TSH levels tend to have lower levels of both free T3 and free T4 compared to age-matched controls.
This reduction in thyroid levels may help explain the difference in weight among hypothyroid patients and euthyroid patients.
Basically, your free T3 and free T4 levels seem to matter much more than your TSH when determining how you will feel taking thyroid medication.
And lastly, other studies have indeed confirmed that patients who take T3 thyroid hormone over T4 show that they have more weight loss and a higher metabolism WITHOUT negative side effects.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will benefit in this way from T3 but it does mean that using T3 should be a serious option for patients who are not tolerating T4 only thyroid medication (or NDT).
2. Higher Basal Metabolic Rate
Another benefit of T3 medication is that it increases (or normalizes) your basal metabolic rate.
Hypothyroid patients are very susceptible to having a lower than normal metabolism for a variety of reasons.
Having low thyroid itself changes your metabolism and will lower it. This is one of the main reasons that weight gain is a symptom of hypothyroidism.
The second reason is also very common and more sinister than the first.
Because hypothyroid patients tend to gain weight these same patients usually undergo calorie-restricted weight loss programs to try and lose weight.
Unfortunately, calorie restriction actually makes the problem even worse by further lowering the metabolism
The combination of low thyroid hormone plus metabolic damage from calorie restriction results in a metabolism that is usually in the range of 1,200 to 1,500 calories burned per day.
This is why many hypothyroid patients have difficulty with weight loss and why Doctors look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them that you’re eating 1,000 calories per day and still not losing weight.
The benefit of using T3 is that it can help heal your metabolism and increase your basal metabolic rate through its influence on your mitochondria.
3. Reduction in Hypothyroid Symptoms
Another benefit of using T3 is that many of your true hypothyroid symptoms will likely improve or be reduced dramatically.
I’m talking about hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, etc.
These symptoms are all indicative of low tissue levels of thyroid hormone and many of these symptoms persist even while taking thyroid medication like T4.
But once you start taking T3 thyroid hormone your body is able to take up the T3 and use it at the cellular level.
This results in greater tissue levels of thyroid hormone in your skeletal muscle (increasing metabolism and energy), your hair follicles (reducing hair loss), and your brain tissue (reducing depression and brain fog).
While it is true that other factors like nutrient deficiencies may contribute to your symptoms, it’s easier to distinguish the cause of these issues when you start taking T3.
4. Higher Body Temperature
Through its influence on energy production in your mitochondria, T3 can actually help to increase or normalize your body temperature.
Your total body temperature is a reflection of the amount of energy you are producing and the amount of energy you are burning.
Many patients walk around with very low body temperatures (in the 95-96 degree range) as a consequence of hypothyroidism.
This low body temperature is almost always associated with a slower metabolism and a low basal metabolic rate.
T3 thyroid hormone helps improve your body temperature in several ways:
It directly mediates energy production in your mitochondria (this helps boost your metabolism).
T3 helps the body burn fat tissue and activate brown fat to further increase metabolism and increase fat burn
The addition of T3 helps to normalize these processes and can increase your body temperature to normal levels (and help increase your metabolism in the process).