The role of dietary fat in peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism

Metabolism. 1980 Oct;29(10):930-5. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(80)90035-9.


Short term changes in serum 3,3',5-triiodothyronine (T3) and 3,3'5-triiodothyronine (reverse T3, rT3) were studied in four healthy nonobese male subjects under varying but isocaloric and weight maintaining conditions. The four 1500 kcal diets tested during 72 hr, consisted of: I, 100% fat; II, 50% fat, 50% protein; III, 50% fat, 50% carbohydrate (CHO), and IV, a mixed control diet. The decrease of T3 (50%) and increase of rT3 (123%) in the all-fat diet equalled changes noted in total starvation. In diet III (750 kcal fat, 750 kcal CHO) serum T3 decreased 24% (NS) and serum rT3 rose significantly 34% (p < 0.01). This change occurred in spite of the 750 kcal CHO. This amount of CHO by itself does not introduce changes in thyroid hormone levels and completely restores in refeeding models the alterations of T3 and rT3 after total starvation. The conclusion is drawn that under isocaloric conditions in man fat in high concentration itself may play an active role in inducing changes in peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Thyroglobulin / blood*
  • Thyroxine / blood*
  • Triiodothyronine / blood*
  • Triiodothyronine, Reverse / blood*
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Dietary Fats
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Uric Acid
  • Triiodothyronine, Reverse
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Creatinine
  • Thyroxine
  • Bilirubin