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.
Combine regular exercise with T3 medication to achieve the best weight loss results, recommends the University of Maryland Medical Center. Exercise for at least 150 minutes weekly, or a half-hour on most days of the week. Engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and dancing. Add light resistance training, such as lifting weights or Pilates, twice per week to build muscle tone. Muscle burns more calories than fat.
Although T3 can make it easier to lose weight, you should not take this medication for the sole purpose of losing weight. You should also start slowly with the medication, not increasing the dosage too quickly or exceeding the prescribed dosage. T3 medications can cause serious side effects, including heart palpitations, chest pain, shaking, agitation and shortness of breath.