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Can Thyroid Problems Cause Weight Gain

Myth 3 People With Hypothyroidism Shouldnt Eat Cruciferous Vegetables

How Thyroid Disfunction Can Cause You Weight Gain

Although cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts may interfere with how your thyroid uses iodine, the effect is minimal, and you would need to eat a LOT to have any significant impact. Cruciferous vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and may help you lose weight compared to higher-carbohydrate foods.

I Have A Lump On My Thyroid Now What

Thyroid cancer diagnoses have increased from 17,000 in 2002 to 57,000 in 2012. Even so, it’s still relatively uncommon and has a high survival rate 97 percent after five years, says Jose C. Dutra, M.D., director of the thyroid surgical clinic at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dutra and other experts believe that the spike in diagnoses is due to the wider use of MRI and CT scans, which can detect tiny lumps that can’t be touched. “Ninety percent of all enlargements are not cancerous,” he says.

Finally, about six months ago, one of her doctors heard about a new type of thyroid drug and sent Kruger to Mark Lupo, M.D., a thyroid specialist in Sarasota. He prescribed Tirosint, a liquid gel cap form of levothyroxine sodium, the thyroid hormone replacement pill commonly used to treat hypothyroidism.

Although drugs can work differently in each individual, Tirosint’s liquid form seemed to do the trick for Kruger: She dropped 20 pounds in six months. “And when I get up in the morning, I don’t feel like someone has beat me with a stick,” she says. More importantly, her heart problems have improved.

How Is Hypothyroidism Treated

In most cases, hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid is no longer making. This is typically done with a medication. One medication that is commonly used is called levothyroxine. Taken orally, this medication increases the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, evening out your levels.

Hypothyroidism is a manageable disease. However, you will need to continuously take medication to normalize the amount of hormones in your body for the rest of your life. With careful management, and follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to make sure your treatment is working properly, you can lead a normal and healthy life.

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Do Thyroid Problems Cause Weight Gain

The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis area in the brain has well-known effects on metabolism function, and newer research suggests it also has a role in the regulation of food intake. Evidence suggests that the HPT axis can directly influence food intake. Thyroid dysfunction can have significant consequences on appetite and therefore body weight. These effects were thought to be controlled by thyroid hormones. However, more recently, research of the thyroid hormone in the central nervous system shows that it may actually play an important role in physiologically regulating appetite. The major central nervous system areas important in the regulation of appetite are the hypothalamus and brainstem. Evidence suggests that thyroid hormones may access specific regions of the hypothalamus that regulate appetite. Its well established that the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis regulates body weight. Thyroid hormones are known to effect metabolic rate. Thyroid dysfunction can have clinically significant consequences on appetite and body weight. Hypothyroidism classically causes reduced basal energy expenditure with weight gain. And the disruption of normal hormonal balance may contribute to increased appetite or desire to eat.

T4 To T3 Conversion Matters A Lot

Thyroid Disorders and Treatment

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?

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Thyroid Weight Gain Solutions

At least now we understand that weight gain in the thyroid is not just because of thyroid hormone deficiency, its much more than that. So we need to devise a strategy for thyroid weight gain.

Its the underlying inflammation and mitochondrial destruction which is slowing down our whole metabolic system.

So can you speed up your thyroid to lose weight? Certainly yes we can speed up your whole body to recover from all this damage which has happened and this will in turn help to lose weight.

1. Diet: As I mentioned before there are several weight-loss diets out there and they might work for some time. But what they dont remember is that diet is just one piece to this whole puzzle. So from a diet perspective, I will encourage you to eliminate all simple carbs from your diet and also sugars from your diet as much as possible.

Eliminate gluten and dairy again as much as possible. Focus on eating more vegetables, clean protein, and good fat in your diet. Add lots of fiber-containing food like whole grains, chia, flax seeds. Drink green tea on a daily basis at least 2-3 cups.

Also, eat lots of turmeric and ginger, they reduce inflammation and can be helpful. focus on reducing carbohydrate-rich foods and introduce more protein and good fat-containing food.

2. Intermittent Fasting: This can be a game-changer for a lot of people. Intermittent fasting gives you that metabolic flexibility which is lost for us.

Can Thyroid Weight Gain Be Reversed

Some people with hypothyroidism do lose weight once they start taking levothyroxine. However, most thyroid weight gain will need to be reversed with lifestyle changes and medical assistance when needed. Can Hypothyroidism Go Away on Its Own?

It is occasionally possible for hypothyroidism to go away without treatment. This would occur in a temporary inflammatory condition of the thyroid, called thyroiditis, which generally reverses itself in time.

However, if you have especially low thyroid levels, it is likely that you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. The good news is that hypothyroidism is not a progressive disease and is easily controlled with medication, so you can live a normal life.

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Why Am I Gaining Weight: A Look Into Thyroid Disorder

Are you a woman in your late 20s and one day, to your surprise realize youre 15 pounds heavier without having made any changes to your diet or exercise routine? Are you a 50-something menopausal woman who is 20 pounds heavier compared to 10 years ago?

You ask yourself, IS IT MY THYROID? The simple answer is maybe, but most likely not.

Weight gain is a common, but very complex medical issue. A study of over 4000 normal weight men and women 30-59 years old conducted over a span of 30 years, showed that after 30 years, more than 50% were overweight, and that 30% of women and 25% of men were obese. That is mind boggling!

So why do people gain weight?

Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and menopause contribute a lot to weight gain as women get older. Excess weight gain during pregnancy leads to difficulty losing weight after delivery. Some women do gain weight when they start birth control but not all. Most women gained on average around 6.4 lbs. and have a 5.7 cm increase in waist circumference within 6 years of menopause. In men, the transition from an active lifestyle in their teens and early 20s to a relatively sedentary lifestyle when they hit their 30s is usually the culprit for weight gain.

The availability of cheap, palatable and energy dense foods that started being produced in the 1970s, genetic predisposition, sleep deprivation and smoking cessation have all been shown to lead to weight gain.

How Weight Gain Impacts Your Thyroid

Soy Harms the Thyroid and Can Cause Weight Gain

Lackluster metabolism has been associated with high TSH levels and weight gain, new research suggests that it can be the reverse–that excess weight can depress the function of the thyroid gland.

Studies show there is an established connection between low BMRs and low-functioning thyroid glands – and those with overactive thyroid had high BMRs.

But the relationship between BMR and thyroid function isnât absolute, because metabolism is influenced by a wide variety of factors in addition to thyroid status. Doctors usually look at the link between changes in energy balance â which demonstrates the difference between calories consumed and calories expended by the body â and the BMR.

It’s true that metabolic rate does influence how your body produces energy, but your level of physical activity and what you eat are the ultimate determinants of your body weight.

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How Thyroid Function Can Affect Your Weight

Thyroid hormone helps regulate your metabolism. Your metabolism is how much energy your body uses and at what rate. This means that thyroid hormone also affects your basal metabolic rate. This is how much energy your body uses to keep functioning while its at rest.

In most cases, excess thyroid hormone is associated with a high basal metabolic weight. This means that your body burns more energy while its at rest, so weight loss is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism.

This also means that not producing enough thyroid hormone is usually associated with a low basal metabolic rate. Therefore, hypothyroidism can cause weight gain. Your body isnt burning as much energy, which can lead to a calorie surplus.

But your metabolism is affected by a lot more than just thyroid hormone. Other hormones, how much and what you eat, your physical activity, and many other factors play a role. This means that thyroid hormone levels arent the whole story when it comes to losing or gaining weight from thyroid conditions.

Some people with hyperthyroidism might experience weight gain instead of the more common weight loss. Some reasons why that might happen include:

How To Manage Your Weight

If you have hypothyroidism and the start of treatment gets your weight where it should be, you may still find a challenge ahead. Even after your thyroid levels go back to the normal range, Harris says, many people still find it hard to stay at a healthy weight.

The best plan for reaching your weight goal is to focus on the things you can control.

Exercise regularly. “Exercise is a great way to boost metabolism, strengthen bones, build muscle, manage stress, and improve health,” Harris says.

If you’re a beginner, she suggests that you start with a daily walk and gentle yoga.

Curb your stress: If you’re under pressure, it can lead to a cycle of poor eating choices, fatigue, and depression.

When you feel stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much of it can interfere with the production of your thyroid hormone. Pay attention to things that cause you stress and try to avoid them.

Get enough sleep. Getting shut-eye can pack a big health punch.

“Sleep is the body’s time to take care of repair and maintenance in the body, and it’s essential for weight loss and overall health,” Harris says.

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Tricky To Diagnose Treat

Diagnosing and treating an underactive thyroid can be challenging, he says, especially when a patient’s thyroid hormone levels test in the borderline-normal range. In most cases, a hormone level between 4 and 10 is the accepted range for treatment. When patients experience symptoms with a hormone level of 3, doctors are faced with the question of whether or not to treat. And it’s a tricky question, because treatment is not just a matter of taking a little pill that immediately cures all your symptoms. Finding just the right amount of hormone replacement medication to keep levels stable can be a difficult balancing act.

In Kruger’s case, it took her nearly 20 years to finally feel like “I got my life back.” During that time, despite being on medication, her thyroid levels were still problematic. She continued to feel tired and to gain weight, her cholesterol levels shot up and she began developing heart disease, a consequence of insufficient thyroid.

Causes: Pituitary Gland Problems

How to Properly Test Thyroid Function

Thyroid disease may begin in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is located at the base of your brain. It controls the functions of many other glands in the body, including the thyroid. This gland produces TSH, which signals the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.

If there is a problem with your pituitary and not enough TSH is produced, thyroid problems can result. Inflammation of the thyroid and taking certain medications can also cause low thyroid hormone levels.

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Associated Factors Of Hot Flashes

Numerous studies have looked at hot flashes as a symptom in the past. Different approaches have been used and various results have been reported. The most common associated condition is menopause, primarily among the female population.

One study2 found that, even though menopause is the most commonly associated factor, medical experts need to look at additional health factors, as well as lifestyle factors, that may also contribute to the experience of hot flashes.

The study found that there are numerous additional factors that need to be considered when a woman complains about experiencing hot flashes frequently. Some particular factors that have been pointed out in this study include:

  • The ethnicity of the patient.
  • The consumption of phytoestrogens and soy isoflavones in the patients diet.
  • Bodyweight, body mass index and the possibility of obesity as a major contributing factor.

The conclusion made by the study provides a more effective approach to treating hot flashes as a symptom. Instead of primarily targeting menopause as a cause for hot flashes, medical experts are urged to consider additional contributing factors.

With the detection of associated factors, treatment can be administered to address these additional possible causes thus leading to more efficient treatment methods without the need for experimenting with several treatment options before finding the most suitable option for a particular patient.

Better Thyroid Balance Equals Easier Weight Loss

Thyroid-driven weight gain may be stubborn, but you can stop it by regaining control of your body. When you give your thyroid what it needs and encourage healthy thyroid function, you will change how your body looks and feels.

Find out if your weight gain is related to low thyroid take our quiz now.

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Thyroid Disease And Insulin

Diabetes can cause alterations in thyroid hormone levels. Insulin imitates the actions of thyroid hormones in some tissues of the body, which decreases the production of thyroid hormones. But insulin also functions in the opposite way thyroid hormones do in other tissues, which increases thyroid hormone levels.

Excess or deficient insulin can induce changes in thyroid hormone production and activity.

Looking at the association from another direction, the metabolic changes of thyroid disease can interfere with the effects of insulin, whether endogenous or taken as a medical treatment for diabetes.

Hyperthyroidism increases metabolism and can cause insulin to be processed and eliminated from the body more quickly than normal. Some people with type 1 diabetes who are also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism may need to take higher doses of insulin until thyroid hormones are stabilized.

When metabolism is slowed in hypothyroidism, insulin may linger longer in the body, causing a greater risk of hypoglycemia . Hypothyroidism has also been associated with an increased sensitivity to insulin, which can contribute to hypoglycemia.

Its important that you discuss all adjustments in your prescribed insulin dose with your healthcare provider, if applicable.

Follow A Diet For Hypothyroidism

Weight Gain-Thyroid Problems

Being hypothyroid doesnt mean avoiding all your favorite foods. After cutting out sugar and going low-carb, you probably want to know what is on and off the table literally.

Weve made a list of foods to eat and avoid, but the bottom line is that foods that feed inflammation need to be removed from your meals. Clearing up inflammation through diet can help your thyroid function properly.

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What Is The Relationship Between Thyroid And Weight

It has been appreciated for a very long time that there is a complex relationship between thyroid disease, body weight and metabolism. Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism in both animals and humans. Metabolism is determined by measuring the amount of oxygen used by the body over a specific amount of time. If the measurement is made at rest, it is known as the basal metabolic rate . Indeed, measurement of the BMR was one of the earliest tests used to assess a patients thyroid status. Patients whose thyroid glands were not working were found to have low BMRs, and those with overactive thyroid glands had high BMRs. Later studies linked these observations with measurements of thyroid hormone levels and showed that low thyroid hormone levels were associated with low BMRs and high thyroid hormone levels were associated with BMRs. Most physicians no longer use BMR due to the complexity in doing the test and because the BMR is subject to many influences other than the thyroid state.


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