HomeHealthCan My Thyroid Make Me Gain Weight

Can My Thyroid Make Me Gain Weight

Thyroid Supplements Might Have Actual Thyroid Hormones

My Story with Hypothyroidism | Weight Gain, Memory Loss, Fatigue

It isnt possible to know if a supplement contains thyroid hormones from reading the label, but a 2013 study published in the journal Thyroid found that nine out of 10 supplements marketed for thyroid health and support contained real hormones. Four of those that tested positive listed the ingredient bovine thyroid tissue, which might naturally contain hormones. But five supplements that tested positive listed only herbal ingredients, such as ashwagandha, guggul, and Coleus forskohlii. Since plants cannot produce the hormones the researchers found, thyroid hormones from an animal or synthetic source must have been deliberately added to these supplements, says Consumer Reports senior scientist Michael Hansen, Ph.D.

That is concerning because healthy thyroid hormone levels are very precise and taking supplements that contain these hormones can alter those levels in unpredictable ways. Thyroid hormone levels even slightly above or below where they should be can lead to health complications, Lipman says. For example, taking more thyroxine than you need can cause erratic heart beats and bone thinning.

Stop Thyroid Weight Gain

Thyroid-related weight gain is shrouded in mystery. Your weight creeps up steadily until the entire shape of your body is different. Now your clothes dont fit and you feel puffy, uncomfortable and sluggish.

Confirming that your weird weight gain is linked to low thyroid function is the key to resolving the issue. Maybe you have some of the other common symptoms of low thyroid: thinning hair, dry skin, brittle fingernails, loss of energy, constipation, or sensitivity to cold.

Your thyroid weight gain didnt happen just because you ate the wrong foods or didnt exercise enough. Thats why you wont be able to restore your best, healthiest weight using the same old traditional weight loss methods either.

But you can stop thyroid weight gain and get your body back, and well tell you how.

Persistent Changes In The Voice

While nodules on the thyroid are usually benign, lasting changes in the patients voice can indicate that the nodule is malignant.

The thyroid sits under the larynx, which is also known as the voice box. The laryngeal nerves, which split off from the vagus nerves, are attached to the base of the larynx. They regulate the larynxs function by sending electrical impulses through it.

Growths on the thyroid can put pressure on the larynx or the laryngeal nerve. That pressure will eventually cause changes in the voice, such as persistent hoarseness. Thus, a patient who develops a raspy voice that shows no signs of getting better should have their thyroid checked for abnormal growths.

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Managing Your Weight With Hypothyroidism

Theres a good chance youll gain weight if you indulge in a few too many comfort foods or stay away from the gym for too long. But if you have hypothyroidism, the numbers on the scale can creep up, even if youve stuck firmly to your diet and exercised religiously.

The hormones your thyroid gland releases help regulate your metabolism, or how efficiently your body burns food for energy. When your thyroid makes less of its hormones as it does in hypothyroidism your metabolism slows down. So you wont burn off calories as quickly and youll gain weight. The weight gain usually isnt extreme, maybe 5 or 10 pounds, but it can be enough to affect your self-esteem.

The more severe your hypothyroidism is, the more weight youll gain. Some of the weight gain is fat, but much of it is fluid buildup from the effects of an underactive thyroid on your kidney function.

Thyroid Dysfunction And Body Weight

7 Signs of an Underactive Thyroid

Body composition and thyroid hormones appear to be closely related. Thyroid hormones regulate basal metabolism, thermogenesis and play an important role in lipid and glucose metabolism, food intake and fat oxidation. Thyroid dysfunction is associated with changes in body weight and composition, body temperature and total and resting energy expenditure independent of physical activity.

Hypothyroidism is associated with decreased thermogenesis, decreased metabolic rate, and has also been shown to correlate with a higher body mass index and a higher prevalence of obesity. There is clinical evidence suggesting that even mild thyroid dysfunction in the form of subclinical hypothyroidism is linked to significant changes in body weight and represents a risk factor for overweight and obesity however, this remains a gray area. It has been further noted that small variations in serum TSH caused by minimal changes in L-T4 dosage during replacement therapy are associated with significantly altered REE in hypothyroid patients. However, there is a paucity of data regarding the actual extent of weight gain and weight loss with L-T4 treatment in hypothyroidism.

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How Does The Body Regulate Thyroid Hormone Levels

If your thyroid hormone levels rise too high or drop too low, the body regulates T3 and T4 levels with the help of two endocrine glands, the pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus.

When the body senses a deviation in the thyroid hormone levels, itâs the hypothalamus that springs to action first. Itâs located at the base on the brain, adjacent to the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus produces TSH Releasing Hormone and sends it to the pituitary gland. This TRH instructs the pituitary gland to produce Thyroid Stimulating Hormone which travels via the bloodstream to the thyroid gland where it stimulates the production of more T3 and T4. This helps correct a drop in thyroid hormone levels.

The endocrine cycle swings the other way around when the levels of T3 and T4 in the bloodstream are too high. When the hypothalamus senses the heightened thyroid hormone levels, it communicates to the pituitary gland via TRH, telling it to release less TSH. Reduced TSH levels in the bloodstream signals to the thyroid gland that itâs time to slow down the production of T3 and T4.

One may think of the endocrine system as an HVAC unit. The thyroid gland is the furnace/air conditioner, the pituitary gland is the thermostat, and the hypothalamus is the homeowner who inputs instructions into the unit.

Things To Follow Once You Are Diagnosed With Hypothyroidism:

1. Do not forget to take your medication, as advised by your medical practitioner.2. In case you miss taking your medication on one day, Dr Tapdiya says that one can take upto two days medicine together, but no more.3. Get your TSH levels checked once every six months and maintain it below 2.5 mU/L4. Get in enough exercise and focus on eating balanced and nutritious meals.5. Keep a close eye on your hair and nail health you could also take supplements, prescribed by your medical practitioner for the same. Those with hypothyroidism tend to have brittle nails and thin hair.6. Include green leafy vegetables in plenty into your diet.7. There is no alternative medicine, and one should refrain from trying or consuming things not prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner.

Note: While we have taken utmost care in putting this article together, nothing mentioned here must be done without checking with your medical practitioner.

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Medication Can Be Stopped

Never stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor first. In some cases, if the hypothyroidism is caused due to some auto-immune disorder or a dietary deficiency, and gets rectified, one can stop the medication, but even then, they can do this only after a medical test, says Dr Tapdiya.

Dr Tapdiya also adds that those who are on the medicine must ensure that they take it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach and give it atleast 30 minutes before they have their first cup of tea/coffee or breakfast even.

You’re Having Digestive Problems

Does Levothyroxine Cause Weight Gain? What to do if it is slowing down your metabolism

We know constipation is an embarrassing topic that no one likes to discuss, but if you can’t boot your bowel issues, it might be time to call up your doctor. Without enough of the metabolism-controlling thyroid hormone, many of your body’s functions slow down. One of these functions is the action of the digestive tract, which will start to slow down. Hypothyroidism can weaken the contraction of the muscles that line your digestive tract, causing stool to move too slowly through the intestine. If your sluggish digestive tract isn’t due to hypothyroidism, consider eating a banana. The super fruit is rich in fiber to help increase stool weight, potassium to help you avoid bloating and cramping, and prebiotics to help feed good gut bacteria and improve digestion.

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How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed

It can actually be difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism because the symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions. If you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your healthcare provider. The main way to diagnose hypothyroidism is a blood test called the thyroid stimulating hormone test. Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests for conditions like Hashimotos disease. If the thyroid is enlarged, your provider may be able to feel it during a physical exam during an appointment.

What You Can Expect When You Start Thyroid Medication

Most people cannot expect extreme weight loss once they start thyroid hormone replacement medication. Again, this is because weight gain is often caused by other factors aside from an underactive thyroid. Generally, people begin to notice weight loss about three to six months after hitting a therapeutic dose of their medication.

People lose about five to ten pounds on thyroid medication or less than 10% of their body weight. The weight loss is usually caused by the body getting rid of an excess accumulation of water and salt . Most research does not show that thyroid medications like Synthroid help you lose adipose tissue.

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Exhausted And Gaining Weight It Could Be Your Thyroid

Here’s how to sort it out.

5 min read

Walk into any health food shop or browse the wellness section of your favorite bookseller and you’ll quickly notice how many products there are targeting people with thyroid disordersor, more accurately, people who think they have thyroid disorders. While many people actually have a problem with their thyroid, plenty of others just assume that they do.

“You cannot diagnose yourself,” says Shuchie Jaggi, DO, endocrinologist at Northwell Health and assistant professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “If you have a concern, come see an endocrinologist.”

Why do many people suspect their thyroid is off? It likely comes down to one word: metabolism.

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ in your neck, is indeed the master controller of your body’s metabolism. It produces hormones that regulate how quickly energy is used up in cells throughout your entire body. If you don’t make enough of these hormones, everything slows down, including your heart rate, respiration rate, and the rate at which food moves through your GI tract . You might feel cold, tired and depressed. Puffy eyes and legs thanks to fluid retention, increased hair loss, and abnormal periods are also possible signs of an underactive thyroid. And yes, you may gain weightbut perhaps not as much as you might think.

How Can I Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism And Menopause

What Causes Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism can often worsen symptoms of menopause, and the hormone fluctuations experienced during menopause may contribute to or worsen hypothyroidism.

Consult with your doctor right away if you are going through menopause and think you may have thyroid issues or if you have hypothyroidism and are starting to go through menopause. Your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist who specializes in hormone disorders and can help you manage both conditions with a lower risk of complications.

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Does Levothyroxine Ever Cause Weight Loss

The answer is that YES Levothyroxine and Synthroid can cause weight loss but only in certain patients.

Since you are reading this you are most likely not one of those patients but I have .

In order for Levothyroxine to cause weight loss, you must be able to adequately convert T4 to T3 without issues.

Some patients have single nucleotide polymorphisms which make T4 to T3 conversion very slow. If you have this polymorphism then Levothyroxine and Synthroid will probably not be the best medication for you.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some patients are what I refer to as “super converters”.

You can give them T4 and they will turn it into T3 without any problems at all, and these patients often react to T3 containing medications with palpitations and/or anxiety.

Another subgroup of patients have reactions to the INACTIVE ingredients in Levothyroxine and Synthroid which may lead to intolerance of the medication.

If you can’t tolerate the proper dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid then you won’t lose weight with the medication.

And lastly, patients who don’t have any other chronic medical conditions are more likely to do well on T4 only medications.

What I mean by that is this:

The more inflammation you have, the more chronic pain you have, the more medications you take, the more weight you have to lose, the less likely you are to do well on Levothyroxine.


Because all of these conditions will make thyroid conversion more difficult.

What Is The Relationship Between Hyperthyroidism And Weight

Since the BMR in patients with hyperthyroidism is elevated, many patients with an overactive thyroid do, indeed, have some weight loss. Furthermore, weight loss is related to the severity of the overactive thyroid. For example, if the thyroid is extremely overactive, the individuals BMR increases which leads to increased calories needed to maintain the body weight. If the person does not increase the amount of calories eaten to match the excess calories burned, then there will be weight loss. As indicated earlier, the factors that control our appetite, metabolism, and activity are very complex and thyroid hormone is only one factor in this complex system. Nevertheless, on average the more severe the hyperthyroidism, the greater the weight loss observed. Weight loss is also observed in other conditions where thyroid hormones are elevated, such as in the toxic phase of thyroiditis or if the dose of thyroid hormone pills is too high for a patient. Since hyperthyroidism also increases appetite, some patients may not lose weight, and some may actually gain weight, depending on how much they increase their caloric intake.

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Will Hypothyroidism Make Me Gain Weight

If your hypothyroidism is not treated, you could gain weight. Once you are treating the condition, the weight should start to lower. However, you will still need to watch your calories and exercise to lose weight. Talk to your healthcare provider about weight loss and ways to develop a diet that works for you.

Myth 1 Hypothyroidism Causes Significant Weight Gain

Levothyroxine and Weight gain (Why some people gain weight on levo and Synthroid)

As stated above, the average weight gain from hypothyroidism is only about 3-5 pounds. While obesity and hypothyroidism commonly occur together, itâs possible that obesity can actually cause thyroid problems more frequently than the reverse. The reason for this is excess weight can impair the way the body uses thyroid hormone.

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T4 To T3 Conversion Matters A Lot

Before we talk about how Levothyroxine and Synthroid can cause weight gain we need to talk about some basic thyroid physiology.

Your thyroid, under the influence of TSH , pumps out primarily the thyroid hormone T4.

What you need to understand is that T4 is an inactive hormone. By itself it doesn’t do anything for your body except act as a reservoir for T3 and T3 is the active thyroid hormone in your body.

T3 is what enters into your cells and turns on the genes that increase your metabolism, help with hair growth and give you energy.

In order for T4 thyroid hormone to be active in your body, it MUST be converted to the active hormone T3.

The problem is that T4 doesn’t always convert to T3:

You see:

Your body has two options:

1. Turn T4 into T3 which enters into your cells and activates genetic transcription


2. Turn into Reverse T3 which blocks thyroid action, lowers metabolism and makes patients feel like they are hypothyroid

The more reverse T3 in your bloodstream the less you can rely on normal thyroid blood tests to give you any actionable information.

So if you understand this concept the next question you should be asking yourself is this:

What causes your body to turn T4 into the inactive reverse T3?

Can Hypothyroidism Go Away On Its Own

In some mild cases, you may not have symptoms of hypothyroidism or the symptoms may fade over time. In other cases, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will go away shortly after you start treatment. For those with particularly low levels of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism is a life-long condition that will need to be controlled with medication on a regular schedule. It can be controlled very well and you can live a normal life with hypothyroidism.

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What Is The Best Exercise For Hypothyroidism

Any type of exercise or physical activity can help with symptoms of hypothyroidism, as long as it increases your heart rate to the point it boosts your metabolism and helps you burn calories.

Its honestly no different than what is recommended for patients without hypothyroidism cardio combined with strength training, Montgomery says.

Many doctors recommend a workout routine that includes low-impact aerobics exercises and strength training. Running, hiking, swimming, pushups, and squats are some of the many exercises that can help you stay fit and lose excess weight.

How To Lose Weight When You Have Hypothyroidism

Weight Gain &  Hypothyroidism â Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian

You can take several steps to lose weight when you have hypothyroidism.

Montgomery advises, The key part is for patients with hypothyroidism to keep their thyroid disease stable to set themselves up for the best

success for weight loss. This means following up with their doctor regularly, getting blood work done, and taking medications as prescribed. After that, they should evaluate their lifestyle and make sure they are eating a well-rounded healthy diet and getting regular exercise. If hypothyroidism is uncontrolled, it can cause patients to end up almost working against themselves for weight loss, making it more difficult to lose weight despite proper diet and exercise.

Additionally, take your medication as prescribed. If you are taking levothyroxine, take your tablet or capsule as directed by your provider.

Evaluate your diet carefully and make healthy changes that can help you lose excess weight. Reduce your intake of alcohol, sweets, and foods high in sodium, as these can contribute to weight gain.

Regular exercise helps boost your metabolism and energy levels. If youre already exercising, increase the intensity of your workouts or ask a fitness professional about different exercises and activities you can do to lose excess weight.

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