Expert Guidance From Louise O’Connor - The Thyroid Naturopath { Discover More! }

If you are finding it hard to lose weight it can be a good idea to discuss a T3 test with your medical practitioner

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test T3 and weight lossTriiodothyronine (T3) is often discussed in regards to weight loss as this thyroid hormone stimulates your metabolic rate.

Even though T3 is normally present in smaller amounts compared to thyroxine (T4) your T3 is the more active thyroid hormone that helps ‘rev’ up your body.

Low T3 is associated with sluggish metabolism and many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Adequate T3 assists fat burning which is important for weight loss. This thyroid hormone is also involved in stimulating energy production and protects against heart palpitations. A single test of available T3 therefore provides the best clue as to how your thyroid is working.

Should you get a T3 test?

Getting a diagnosis of hypothyroidism has sparked an ongoing debate on what thyroid hormones should be tested and the levels that will reveal a thyroid hormone deficiency.

A single test of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is often the preferred test used by medical practitioners to diagnose a thyroid disorder.

TSH is not actually produced in the thyroid. It is a hormone made by the pituitary gland which is located in the brain. When the pituitary releases TSH this hormone travels to the thyroid to stimulate the release of the thyroid hormones. The thyroid responds by getting busy making your thyroid hormones.

When TSH is high this indicates the thyroid is functioning below par and therefore requires more stimulation than usual.

The problem lies in defining a ‘normal’ range for TSH. I have found that even when TSH is considered ‘normal’ many individuals experience symptoms of hypothyroidism. A TSH test result should ideally be less than 2.0 mIU/L.

An accurate assessment of thyroid health can only be achieved by testing 5 key thyroid hormones. A measure of  both T4 and T3 along with TSH is therefore essential.

When discussing a T3 test with your doctor it is best to specify testing free T3. The majority of T3 in the blood is carried by a protein compound called thyroxine binding globulin. A small amount of T3 is unattached and ‘free’ to do its job. A T3 blood test usually measures both bound and free T3. When you test free T3 you are measuring the active component.

Should you test thyroid antibodies?

A measure of thyroid antibody levels will rule out Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is a common thyroid autoimmune disorder that tends to run in families and affects women more than men.

If you have swelling or discomfort around your throat your healthcare practitioner should also perform a physical examination. If required a thyroid ultrasound will provide a more in depth investigation of your thyroid.


Khandelwal D, Tandon N. Overt and subclinical hypothyroidism: who to treat and how. Drugs. 2012 Jan 1;72(1):17-33.

MedlinePlus. TSH test.

myDr. Thyroid Gland Disorders.

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