T3 to heal adrenals, Selenium, liver–all important info for thyroid patients!

Though this post was written in 2012, it has been updated to the current day and time and it still applicable. Enjoy!


UK’s Hashimoto’s patient Paul Robinson has been a successful T3-only treated patient for more than 13 years, especially because he never did well on either synthetic T4, nor on the combination of T4/T3. And he learned so much about himself that he compiled all the information on T3 dosing in his book called Recovering With T3: My Journey from Hypothyroidism to Good Health Using the T3 Thyroid Hormone.

But what I especially find interesting is how he used T3 to cure his flagging adrenal function rather than HC (hydrocortisone). And here is a short summary of key points. He calls this The Circadian T3 Method, aka the CT3M.

  1. Most of the day’s cortisol is made in the last four hours of sleep, which means your adrenals work their hardest during that time. And like any cell in your body which need T3 to function well, so do your adrenal cells…especially during the time they work the hardest.
  2. With the above in mind, it made sense to Paul that if adrenals are struggling with low cortisol, they clearly need T3 in that early morning 4-hour window in order to function better. How did he do it? He moved his first T3 dose to one hour before he would normally wake up, held it for a few weeks to see the results, went earlier another half hour, held it for a few weeks to see the effect…and so on. He obtained a lot of data to ascertain what was happening–urine cortisol, blood pressure, pulse, etc. He found that the time which gave his adrenals the biggest boost, and thus better function, was 3 1/2 hours before he normally wakes up. But he feels that others might find that anywhere in the first three hours of that four hour window, and it’s important to move slowly within that area to find the right time for you based on data.
  3. This protocol needs certain supplements, which include high potency B complex, B12, Vit. C, Vit. D and a good multi mineral. He goes into detail in his book.
  4. This protocol would not work if someone has Addison’s Disease, Hypopituitary or Diabetes…and may not work if you have pre-Diabetes blood sugar issues. It’s blood sugar in the cells that reacts positively with T3.

There is much more detail than the above. And Paul makes it clear that this treatment for adrenal fatigue and proven low cortisol should only be done in your relationship with your doctor. You can read more here on STTM.

UPDATE: many patients have reported that though the CT3M did wonders bringing up the morning cortisol, it didn’t help afternoon cortisol at all, and for some, didn’t help noon’s low cortisol. Yes, there are some who feel it’s helped all day, but also a large body who said it only helped morning. So we concluded that though it’s great for that low morning, you may have to use other supports for other low cortisol times. Also, the CT3M is excellent to help get off HC! Many are off in a month or less!


Check out what thyroid patient Cheryl Alvey has put together about selenium. This is a masterful page!


What happens if your liver isn’t healthy? Transportation is less optimal, and the deiodination type 1 will change to type 3, meaning T4 will convert to excess RT3! And guess what can make your liver unhealthy? Continued hypothyroidism, which happens to all too many who are on T4-only medications, or those left undiagnosed due to the TSH. Hypothyroidism is worsened with adrenal problems, and low iron. And liver function can become unhealthy or stressed if you eat poorly You can read more about all this here.

In the meantime, what can one do to promote better liver function? Milk thistle is one highly recommended way by many (use Milk Thistle supps from the seeds to avoid estrogenic affect). Also look into dandelion root /leaf, Sassafras, Burdock, Goldenseal and Yellow Doc root, Red Clover and Echinacea root. Ask someone knowledgeable at your local health food store.


See thyroid patient Sam Aliyev’s latest YouTube video. If you do one about the message of STTM, let me know and I’ll post about it.

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Important note: STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website's information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

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25 Responses to “T3 to heal adrenals, Selenium, liver–all important info for thyroid patients!”

  1. Andre

    Re: CT3M – I have very low morning & low noon (w/ normal evening & night) cortisol so this method looks perfect for me. I have been taking Dr. Wison’s Adrenal Protocol with adrenal cortex as follows: 3 upon waking, 2 at noon, 1 in the evening along with a multi-vitamin/mineral.

    Dosing even low T3 during the day leaves me anxious and confused with heart palps so I’ve started taking it in the middle of the night only and feel better, but still have confusion/forgetfulness during the day. Do I need to continue to take the adrenal cortex while using CT3M or should I let the T3 do its work during the early morning?

    I discovered my adrenal issues after getting a high rT3 result so I need to build up my adrenals before dosing T3 consistently during the day.

  2. Bree

    Hi, how much milk thistle do you suggest for supporting the liver and helping reduce rt3?
    Thank you

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      We just tend to take more than the bottle says. But note that you’ll also need to take iron to counter that Milk Thistle can lower iron. We don’t know exactly how much. Never gathered feedback on how much to counter. 50 mg elemental iron?

  3. Donna

    MAYBE this will help me? I have been plagues by 3am wake ups (or 3:30 or 4am) for a long time and I am also on some HC (was weaning high RT3 hit/stopped weaning @ 17.5mg and went on T3 only)…17.5mg. I am doing DATS to see where I stand. I am currently being gently awoken at 3:30am and there was a time when it was more of a zing. I thought HC would help with this but it has not. Thinking about first trying T3 (maybe 12.5 at first) when I wake up and see how that goes. Then try when I wake up in the night to pee to see if that works. Don’t really want to set an alarm but that is last resort. I am currently on 87.5mcg of T3 but think I will need to up it a notch. Do you think this will work…kind of my last resort.

  4. Karen Gardner

    Well here s the latest. Last refill of Armour from Actavis did not work at all tried another prescription still didn t work Had an Erfa prescription and started that Taking 3 60mg spread out and it appears to be working. I get foggy headed about 3 hours after taking Erfa been taking Vit C Zinc and that didn t help so took Adrenal Complex and a Dhea 10mg compounded time release and started to feel a little better. Took another Dhea and 1/2 if an Alive vitamin it has iodine and iron in it and some selenium. Yesterday I took an Erfa when I started to get foggy and that was not good. Had to take Magnesium and ibuprophen to calm down. Today I drank some sea salt water and that made me feel clearer better. What do you think brings on this fogginess. At least the Dhea helps clear it. Ibuprophen helps the headaches. Selenium also helps fogginess helps with conversion of T4 to T3 took that yesterday with 5 pm dose of Erfa and head was good and had energy. Just feel like an experiment. Anyone have advice. (Had TT in 2000). Karen

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Armour has bee problematic for many since Forest was bought by Activas. Erfa also seems to have problematic batches. The solution? Patients are moving to other brands..and patients are understanding how to find their optimal dose as explained here: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/natural-thyroid-101. But no matter what brand, you need to find out the status of your adrenals with the 24 hour adrenal saliva test (not blood) and the status of your iron levels, and treat those if they aren’t optimal.

  5. Victor Golubic

    T3 only….small dose

    My anxiety is really high in the morning and my adrenals seem to be making up for my low TT3 at 48, FT3 2.3. They just can’t handle the thyroid energy it feels? My TSH is 3.0, TT4 7.4, FT4 0.8. In the afternoon if I take T3 my adrenals seem to calm down when I take the T3 and my temp drops a degree. But as I continue the T3 in multiple dosages from Noon to 4:30 my temp goes back up slowly to normal core temp. Is this an example of My addrenals compensating for my low TT3? But in the morning when I took T3 my adrenals and anxiety went up. Any thoughts?

  6. Karen Gardner

    Not hyper in the am from Armour. If I do get hyper I take some cinnamon and ibuprophen and that calms it down. Cinnamon also helps with nausea and headaches. I do get foggy headed and DHEA helps with that. 10mg compoundef time release. Still don’t feel like my old self. Very tired fatigued all the time. Take Vit C and E midmorning Took magnesium and that cleared my headache. Take a B Complex time release and an Eye Vitamin and tried an iron ferrous sulfate. Been taking an adrenal complex and feel like my adrenals are getting stronger. What supplements are helping others

  7. Stephanie

    What if we have high cortisol/ our adrenals are working in overdrive? Could we still use this protocol? I have high rt3

    • mark

      hi stephanie did you find iut the anwser to that high cortisol question?

  8. Karen Gardner

    I am no longer on diabetes meds just take cinnamon as needed. Now I feel like my brain memory are not working well. I take 30mg Armour in the am and then 60mg at 1 pm and then 60mg at 5 pm. Afternoons and evenings I feel fine. Have been taking 200mg of selenium and that feels good. Feeling sluggish today and brain not sharp took a prescribed DHEA 10mg compounded time release and that cleared my head. Take Vit C and Vit E mid morning. Vit E makes my head feel good. Today took a bilberry and a CoQ10 cause heart felt a little weak. I used to be so stable. Would take 60mg of Armour in the am but now that makes me jittery so I have to take less in am and space it out more. I’ve tried all the other NDT meds and Armour works the best. Also take HemaPlex with iron in the evening. Had a TT in 2000 fot Pap. Did well for 13 years on Armour. Cortisol is elevated in am and then goes down rest of day. Any clues or advice. Thanks

  9. becca

    Can you/someone clarify this comment in the above article…”use Milk Thistle supps from the seeds to avoid estrogenic affect”?

    • Janie

      Supposedly, if you have hormone-dependent conditions (i.e. estrogen-caused breast/ovary/uterine cancers, or endometriosis or uterine fibroids), milk thistle plant extract can potentially have estrogenic effects. The seeds may not do that. You can do a search and learn more.

  10. Karen Gardner

    My Naturopath had me do a saliva and urine test and the saliva test showed high cortisol in the am and a little high at late pm. He gave me phosphatidyl serine with gingko biloba and GlucoFit to lower cortisol. The first night I took the PS and then an hour later my Metformin (250mg) I became wide awake not relaxed from the PS with gingko then I took the GlucoFit and it calmed me down. The next day I picked up Calm CP which is a blend of PS and the herb in GlucoFit. I took 2 like he advised and that was more calming. But the next morning I was hyper after taking Armour Thyroid (45 mg) so I take Vitamin D Vitamin B Complex chewable Calcium to calm myself down. After eating food protein and low carbs I was still shaky so I checked my blood sugar and it had gone to the 200’s. That is very unusual for me. I took some Actos and a Glucofit and now 2 hours later it is 92. I m afraid to take the PS now. I m doing Vitamin C and zinc for my Adrenals. I made an appointment with my holistic MD who had prescribed Dhea compounded time release. I took two of those 10 mg each and the Dhea helps calm everything. I was doing fine with Armour until they dx me with diabetes and after three med changes I m on Actos 1/2 of 15 mg and after trying Januvia, Onglyza, Metformin Er now I m on Metformin regular 250 mg in the evening. When I take my Armour (Tt in 2000 for Pap) I get hyper. I need the Armour and the diabetes meds. When I try to go off my numbers start to go up. I m taking vitamin D B complex and Iron. Anybody else have these problems and have any suggestions. Thank you. Karen Gardner

    • Laura

      NaturThroid works better for me just because of that reason-I got to hyper…not hyperthyroid, just hyper. I have Hashimoto’s. Not as common as the Armour, but it is available. Both of my pharmacies (CVS and Walgreens) have to order it special for me, so I need to call ahead. Just a thought for you. Best

  11. Melissa

    So I got your revised STTM book & took it in to my Whole Foods to buy the selenium supplement you recommend. In the book it suggests 200-400 MG of selenium…the lady that was helping me said that HAD to be a typo, and you must mean MCG??? Did you meann MG or is it a typo? I bought the selenium but I’m wanting clarification before I take it. She said if it really is MG…I should only take that full does for no more than a week without risking overdosing side effects from selenium. I look forward to your response. Thank you!!

    (From Janie: I thought that had been corrected in the revised edition. Yes, it’s micrograms)

  12. Sandy

    This makes absolute sense to me. The adrenals go on overdrive to compensate for the lack of energy of hypothyroidism to begin with.

    Many hypothyroid people are actually running on adrenaline much of the time because of this. Adrenaline can make you feel energetic and raise your temp & pulse, masking hypothyroid symptoms. So one of the ways you can tell is taking your basal temp & pulse in the morning (it may actually be in the normal range) but appx half hour after you eat a balanced breakfast (protein + carb) or even just having a glass of oj, temp & pulse go down and you may feel lethargic (sugar and salt bring down adrenaline, revealing the hypo symptoms it was masking).

    • Shikha

      Please help, so what do I do, I am hypothyroid and when I take NDT I am running on adrenaline cause when I try to heal my adrenals and take vitamin C, licorice tea – I feel so relaxed and my sharpness alert feeling goes away. I like the alert feeling but I guess its bad for my adrenals right? I get too relaxed and almost tired sleepy after I take vitamin C.

    • Ivy

      This is the most accurate thing I’ve read as I have dealt with this and it is the worst except my adrenaline comes from cortisol even though I am takin T3 I can still take CT3M and for some reason if I go back to sleep and wake up I am still left with adrenaline problems

  13. Christel

    After using the RT3 protocol and being on a high dose of T3 only I started to feel worse , not better. I stumbled on a posting on the English forum Thyroidpatientadvocacy about the different use of T3 only and went on to try and find out more. I did not wait for the book to come out, although I have it now. I started experimenting with different timings and dosages, step by step and slowly taking my first dose earlier and earlier. I immediately started to feel better. I take my first dose of 25mcg at 5.30am, no problem, just pop my cytomel sublingually and fall asleep without any problems. My second dose is then at noon 18,75mcg and finally 12,5mcg at 5pm.
    I have good and steady temps. I have to say I had only mild adrenal fatigue, but HC did not work for me and made me feel worse then ever before. I had a full thyroidectomy October 2010 and only since November i can say I feel so much better and improving…So for me this approach worked wonders.
    PS: I was of course on T4 only until I discovered this site, then tried Erfa, found out a 5 grains I had high RT3, then went onto T3 only protocol to end up with this method. I took Isocort and HC for my adrenals but felt bad and bloated , so I stopped those.

  14. Lori

    I am watching Dr. Oz.. He is talking fighting fatigue and exhaustion and about T3 and how important it is for many many people. He had a specialist, Dr Susan ??? Awesome seeing this becoming main stream! She explained how she uses food to help your thryoid work better, multi minerals, Selenium, Zinc, and Iodine. Foods like kale, sunflower seeds, carriots, sea salt, kelp.

  15. Montana NAR

    This is good news!

    I have been often waking at 3 or 4 AM, wishing I could fall back asleep, and aware that my heart is beating quickly. Just this morning I wondered if I should try taking a quarter tab (6.25 mcg) of T3 Cynomel. I didn’t know if it would further wake me up, or help me fall back asleep. I’m going to try this next time I can’t sleep at 3 AM.

    I multi-dose T3 at three times during the day, and if I forget to take a dose, it seems my heart speeds up and after I dose, the heartrate is better.

    (From Janie: yes, it’s VERY good news, and I don’t yet think folks with PROVEN low cortisol really get yet how significant this is. He completely avoided HC to heal his adrenals. But understand that his protocol is NOT “picking” a time and seeing what happens. It’s about starting one hour before you wake up with your morning dose, and giving that a couple of weeks to see how the adrenals kick in or not (via the use of BP and heartrate readings, for example). Then if not enough happens, going back another half hour, holding, and seeing what happens with heartrate and BP readings, etc. Those are done between each dose of T3. It’s SYSTEMATIC. There will eventually be a time where you notice the best effect to the adrenals. There could even be a time when the effect is TOO much, to you go back to the previous time. He explains it well in his book)


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