Phosphorus nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to investigate the muscle bioenergetics in different hypothyroid states. Using the thenar muscle group as reference, 2 patients with chronic and severe hormonal deficiency, 3 patients with subacute hypothyroidism, and 8 patients with moderate thyroid insufficiency with isolated high blood TSH levels were studied at rest, during exercise, and during subsequent recovery. The patients were compared with 15 control subjects. Only 1 patient presented a clinical myopathy. The intracellular pH and the relative measurements of inorganic phosphate, phosphocreatine, phosphodiesters, and ATP were directly calculated from phosphorus spectra. Resting muscle showed a significant rise in the inorganic phosphate to ATP ratio. In working hypothyroid muscle, a more important decrease in phosphocreatine levels was noted in patients with chronic and subacute thyroid deficiency, while the intracellular pH fall was greater in all hypothyroid patients than in control subjects. The phosphocreatine recovery rate was lower in all deficient patients, reflecting a probable mitochondrial metabolism impairment. These results are consistent with a defect of the high energy phosphate metabolism in hypothyroidism, even in moderate or recent hormonal deficiency.