Perspective & Action Plan For Patients
The concept of excess weight leading to an underactive thyroid may sound backwards, says Arthur Schneider, MD, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, who is familiar with the new research. However, he says that physicians should consider the possibility that ”some subtle changes in thyroid may be the result of obesity, not the cause of it.”
In Dr. Kitahara’s view: If you are obese with an elevated TSH, weight loss may be a better course of action if testing does not turn up any underlying thyroid disorders. She points to other research finding that when obese patients with normal thyroid function lose weight, their TSH and T3 levels declineamong other health benefits.1
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.
You Keep Forgetting Things
You know you had something to do today, but you just can’t remember what it is. Sure, there’s sleep deprivation, stress, and aging to blame, but your overall cognitive functioning takes a hit when your thyroid is out of whack. Too little thyroid hormone may cause forgetfulness and poor memory. Because the hormone deficiency slows everything down, neurological functions will also take a toll after some time. Do you know what else hurts your brain functioning? These salty and fatty foods.
Also Check: How Long For Armour Thyroid To Leave System
What Are Thyroid Medications
Luckily, in the majority of cases, the symptoms of hypothyroidism, including weight gain, can be easily controlled with the regular use of thyroid medications. A weight loss is expected to happen with the bodyweight returning to the number, which it was before the case of hypothyroidism has first started developing.
The goal of using thyroid medications is to supplement the low thyroid hormone levels in individuals with hypothyroidism. All thyroid medications require a proper prescription to be used. There are multiple health risks to be expected in case of thyroid medication misuse and overdose. You and your doctor will decide on which thyroid medication is the best one for you, and you are to closely follow the provided instructions.
Although the thyroid gland produces two thyroid hormones, with those being T3 and T4, it is T4 that is most commonly used to treat hypothyroidism. These are generally safe to be used. However, they are meant to be used according to the provided instructions. The daily recommended dosage is not to be exceeded as a way to avoid side-effects from happening.
There are two basic thyroid hormone preparations available on the market today.
- Natural preparations
- Synthetic preparations.
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.
You May Like: Thyrokare For Dogs Side Effects
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.
What Is The Thyroid
In the base of the neck, just above the collarbone, is a butterfly-shaped gland. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system of glands, and as such, it secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream instead of into ducts. The hormones secreted by the thyroid regulate the rates of different activities in your body. This gland, then, is your body’s metronome and helps set the tempo of the heart beat and how quickly the body burns calories. Both of these activities are central to your metabolism and define not only how you feel physically but also how likely you are to gain weight.
When the thyroid is too active, a condition known as hyperthyroidism, your thyroid produces more hormones than necessary. Hyperthyroidism speeds the heart and raises the metabolism, causing a person to lose weight. An additional issue is sensitivity to heat people with this disorder often become overheated very quickly.
The exact opposite occurs when the thyroid gland is not active enough. A sluggish thyroid does not create enough hormones, and this is referred to as hypothyroidism. People with this condition gain weight easily, often feel fatigue, and find cold temperatures problematic.
One study, though it focuses on thyroid cancer, may provide some evidence.
Can Thyroid Hormone Be Used To Help Me Lose Weight
Thyroid hormones have been used as a weight loss tool in the past. Starting or increasing thyroid hormone to cause thyroid hormone levels to be elevated is unlikely to dramatically change weight. Studies have shown that excess thyroid hormone treatment can help produce more weight loss than can be achieved by dieting alone, but includes the risk of major negative consequences from the use of thyroid hormone to help with weight loss, such as the loss of muscle protein, loss of bone, and/or heart problems. Furthermore, once the excess thyroid hormone is stopped, any weight loss is usually regained.
How Does Eating Diet And Nutrition Affect Hypothyroidism
Your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. However, if you have Hashimotos disease or other types of autoimmune thyroid disorders, you may be sensitive to iodines harmful side effects. Eating foods that have large amounts of iodinesuch as kelp, dulse, or other kinds of seaweedmay cause or worsen hypothyroidism. Taking iodine supplements can have the same effect.
Talk with members of your health care team
- about what foods to limit or avoid
- if you take iodine supplements
- about any cough syrups you take because they may contain iodine
If you are pregnant, you need more iodine because the baby gets iodine from your diet. Talk with your doctor about how much iodine you need.
Don’t Miss: Is Thrush A Sign Of Underactive Thyroid
Low Thyroid Hormone Levels
Iodine â frequently found in seawater and seafood â is essential to human health. And if youâre not getting enough iodine in your diet, then you may be putting your health through the gauntlet of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid â your thyroid gland doesnât produce enough thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency may result in hypothyroidism TSH levels , but this is not the only possible cause of low thyroid hormone levels. For example, autoimmune disorders â as well as exposure to radiation therapy during cancer treatment â can also lead to hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of low thyroid hormone levels range from the dramatic to the somewhat more subtle. People with hypothyroidism might gain weight rapidly, for example â or find themselves wearily running on fumes all day due to excessive fatigue. Hair loss can also result â and you may be less resistant to cold temperatures. Your skin can also have a cool and dry feel to it. In women, irregular â or even completely absent â menses is another sign of low thyroid hormone levels.
Can I Use Thyroid Medicines For Weight Loss
When someone has an underactive thyroid gland, they are given a medicine to boost their levels of thyroxine. This medicine is called levothyroxine. Sometimes this can help the person lose weight, if their underactive thyroid gland has caused them to put on weight. See the separate leaflet called Underactive Thyroid Gland .
Unfortunately, as you can imagine, some unsavoury people get hold of levothyroxine and then try to sell it as a weight loss cure.
Be careful: its true that taking lots of levothyroxine could make you lose weight but it will also be very harmful to your body. It will turn you into having an overactive thyroid gland with all of the bad effects of that condition that have been discussed in this leaflet.
The best and healthiest way to lose weight is to eat healthily. See the separate leaflet called Weight Loss for help on losing weight.
Read Also: Apple Cider Vinegar To Cure Hypothyroidism
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.
Weight Gain Caused By Parathyroid Surgery: A Myth
There is no physiologic mechanism for parathyroid surgery to cause weight gain. There is no reason that removing a parathyroid tumor and re-establishing normal body hormone and calcium levels would cause weight gain. Moreover, we just dont see weight gain in large numbers of our patients and have very few patients who complain about this in general.
Don’t Miss: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer
Does Birth Control Affect My Thyroid
When youre on birth control pills, the estrogen and progesterone inside of the pills can affect your thyroid-binding proteins. This increases your levels. If you have hypothyroidism, the dose of your medications will need to be increased while youre using birth control pills. Once you stop using birth control pills, the dosage will need to be lowered.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Hypothyroidism
Women are much more likely than men to develop hypothyroidism. The disease is also more common among people older than age 60.1
You are more likely to have hypothyroidism if you
- had a thyroid problem before, such as a goiter
- had surgery or radioactive iodine to correct a thyroid problem
- received radiation treatment to the thyroid, neck, or chest
- have a family history of thyroid disease
- were pregnant in the past 6 months
- have Turner syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects women
Your thyroid is also more likely to be underactive if you have other health problems, including
Recommended Reading: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer
You May Like: Apple Cider Vinegar Thyroid
Weight Loss Tips For Hypothyroidism
Maintaining a healthy weight can be a struggle when youre living with hypothyroidism. These tips can help you shed unwanted pounds and keep them off.
If hypothyroidism is inadequately treated it can be harder to lose weight, since the thyroid is a large regulator of metabolic function. The most important thing you can do for weight loss and for your overall health is to get proper treatment for your hypothyroidism. However, making a few dietary changes may help boost weight loss success. Losing weight is never easy, but people who have well-controlled hypothyroidism shouldnt struggle to lose weight more than anyone else, says Leonor Corsino, MD, an endocrinologist at the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery in Durham, North Carolina.
Use these six strategies to jump-start weight loss with hypothyroidism.
What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture .
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location â one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDAs Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Thyroid Specialist Called
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.
The Role Of Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones heavily influence your metabolism, your body temperature, and your appetite regulation. Your thyroid works closely with your hypothalamus, a small area of your brain, to maintain both your weight and your energy balancewhat’s left after you eat and your body uses the calories it needs.
How this happens exactly isn’t clear, but one thing is certain: It isn’t thyroid hormones alone that play a role in how much energy your body uses. Thyroid hormones work along with a number of other hormones, proteins, nuclear receptors, and chemicals too, which is why it’s such a complicated process.
Recommended Reading: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
High Thyroid Hormone Levels
Perhaps youâve been feeling lots of anxiety before an important job interview â and it just doesnât seem to go away. Well, it could be more than just nerves, since high thyroid levels are known to heighten anxiety.
This is just one example of the consequences of high thyroid hormone levels. Other consequences? Swift weight loss, high blood pressure, and thinning hair â to name a few. When your thyroid hormone levels get too high, you can also experience tremors and an irregular heartbeat â and have a hard time concentrating or sleeping.
As you can see, high thyroid hormone levels can disrupt your health in many different ways â the frightening aftermath of a thyroid gland gone awry. Fortunately, medical researchers and scientists have discovered several different causes of hyperthyroidism . Autoimmune disorders â such as Gravesâ disease â can lead to an overactive thyroid that pumps out too much thyroid hormones . A malfunctioning pituitary gland can likewise coax your thyroid gland into gushing out too much thyroid hormone. Dietary supplements intended for weight loss may also trigger hyperthyroidism TSH levels . In some cases, a healthcare provider may prescribe thyroid medication to help rebalance hormone levels in the body.
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.
Recommended Reading: Thyroid Apple Cider Vinegar