Optimise Your Thyroid Medication
I wanted to begin with a nutrition recommendation, but correcting your thyroid medication first priority.
Work with your health care provider to determine what type of medication is better for you, and also to find the optimal dose required. While Levothyroxine is on average more effective, Armour is reportedly much better tolerated.
There is no difference between taking your thyroid hormone meds in the morning vs evening. Choose whatever is easier for you to have it on a fasting stomach .
Summary: It is fundamental to work with your doctor to explore what type and dose of thyroid medication is best for you. Until your thyroid hormone levels are corrected, weight loss is much more difficult.
What Does A Tsh Level Indicate
Remember when we were talking about TSH levels? TSH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. If your TSH levels are too low, then you may have an overactive thyroid gland â with your body producing too much thyroid hormones, which can lead changes in your bodyâs metabolism. And if you have high TSH levels, then the reverse is true: you may have an underactive thyroid gland thatâs not producing enough hormones.
How Does My Thyroid Work
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of your neck just under the voice box . Picture the middle of the butterflys body centered on your neck, with the wings hugging around your windpipe . The main job of the thyroid is to control your metabolism. Metabolism is the process that your body uses to transform food to energy your body uses to function. The thyroid creates the hormones T4 and T3 to control your metabolism. These hormones work throughout the body to tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. They control your body temperature and heart rate.
When your thyroid works correctly, its constantly making hormones, releasing them and then making new hormones to replace whats been used. This keeps your metabolism functioning and all of your bodys systems in check. The amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is located in the center of the skull below the brain. When the pituitary gland senses either a lack of thyroid hormone or too much, it adjusts its own hormone and sends it to the thyroid to balance out the amounts.
If the amount of thyroid hormones is too high or too low , the entire body is impacted.
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Signs Your Weight Loss Problem Is Really A Thyroid Problem
You did your homework and tried every weight loss program you could find.
And nothing worked for your weight loss, or didnt work for long.
You lost weight only to regain it. Or you sacrificed for months without shedding a pound.
They told you that you didnt have will power, and you started to believe them.
You questioned yourself. Is this weight loss problem in my head or is it in my hormones?
Would you be surprised to learn that an estimated 30 million Americans are unsuccessful at weight loss because it is caused by a thyroid problem, and not to a lack of will power or discipline?
Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery
If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.
The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:
- With an incision on the front of your neck.
- With an incision in your armpit.
The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.
Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.
- Are not at a healthy body weight.
- Have large thyroid nodules.
- Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.
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Treating Hyperthyroidism To Help With Weight Loss
If you have your thyroid then you should focus on reducing thyroid antibodies that cause hyperthyroidism.
You can actually check for these antibodies with the TSI serum test.
This test evaluates for thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins and it is these guys that basically sit on your thyroid hormone and cause it to pump out excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.
But the good news is that you might be able to reduce these antibodies with some targeted therapies.
This will go a long way to reducing the amount of thyroid hormone you are producing naturally and may help you to reduce your medication.
If you can reduce your antithyroid medication down to half of what it was, or even go off of it completely, then you will dramatically improve your metabolism.
How to reduce TSI antibodies:
You can find a list of supplements below that can improve thyroid function and improve immune function in those with hyperthyroidism:
Weight loss after Thyroidectomy & RAI ablation therapy:
If you’ve already had your thyroid taken out or you’ve had radioactive iodine ablation, then you are going to be reliant upon thyroid medication.
And let me be clear:
If you’ve had your thyroid taken out you are no longer hyperthyroid, you are now HYPOthyroid.
Because your body can no longer produce thyroid hormone on its own – you now need to supplement with thyroid hormone replacement.
Patients who have had their thyroid removed or who have undergone RAI almost ALWAYS gain weight but sometimes even more.
The Best Thyroid Medication For Weight Loss
Do you feel fatigued and depressed? Perhaps you have noticed that you have gained a bit of weight, despite your eating habits remaining unchanged.
Lets say you have gone to the doctor, and they have diagnosed you with hypothyroidism.
You are not alone. As much as 4.6 percent of the US population has been living with hypothyroidism.
The good news is that the majority of its symptoms are mild and not considered to be life-threatening. They can also be easily controlled with the regular use of proper thyroid medications as well.
And yes, thyroid medications can even help you lose weight and go back to your body weight before the weight gain gained, due to hypothyroidism. In todays article, we will look at the best thyroid medications to achieve weight loss in hypothyroidism patients.
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How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose Once The Hypothyroidism Is Treated
Since much of the weight gain in hypothyroidism is accumulation in salt and water, when the hypothyroidism is treated one can expect a small weight loss. As in the treatment with hyperthyroidism, treatment of the abnormal state of hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone results in a return of body weight to what it was before the hypothyroidism developed. Since weight gain may have many causes and develops over a long period of time, it is fairly common to find that there is not a large amount of weight loss after successful treatment of hypothyroidism. Again, if all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism other than weight gain resolve with thyroid hormone treatment, it is unlikely that the weight gain was solely due to the thyroid. Once hypothyroidism has been treated and thyroid hormone levels are in the normal range, the ability to gain or lose weight is the same as in individuals who do not have thyroid problems.
Who Should Be Tested
If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Hypothyroidism more frequently affects women over age 60. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. A family history raises your risk of either disorder.
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How Long After My Thyroid Is Removed Will My Tiredness Go Away
Typically, you will be given medication to help with your symptoms right after surgery. Your body actually has thyroid hormone still circulating throughout it, even after the thyroid has been removed. The hormones can still be in your body for two to three weeks. Medication will reintroduce new hormones into your body after the thyroid has been removed. If you are still feeling tired after surgery, remember that this can be a normal part of recovering from any type of surgery. It takes time for your body to heal. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are still experiencing fatigue and other symptoms of thyroid disease after surgery.
Other Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can also result from thyroid nodules. These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones. Large lumps may create a noticeable goiter. Smaller lumps can be detected with ultrasound. A thyroid uptake and scan can tell if the lump is producing too much thyroid hormone.
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Thyroid Hormone And Brown Adipose Tissue In Energy Homoeostasis
Thermogenically active brown adipose tissue is found in adults. Hence, the presence of thermogenically active D2 BAT in an adult is clinically important. In the recent years, the presence of BAT has been recognized as an important target for treating obesity. The energy homeostasis in the BAT has been found to be affected by a great extent by thyroid hormone signaling. Thyroid hormone signaling, particularly by inducing type II deiodinases, has a cardinal function in brown tissue adipogenesis. The BAT gets activated by local D2 mediated action. D2 increases expression of the gene Ppargc1a by enhancing thyroid hormone signaling, which coactivates thyroid hormone receptors, leading to increased expression of the gene Ucp1. Dio2 is also upregulated by increased T3 signaling. These D2-dependent pathways provide the mature brown adipocyte with its full thermogenic identity. D2 dependent T3 is necessary for BAT to be functional and also for brown adipogenesis as demonstrated by preclinical trials and cell line studies. Thereby, activation of BAT in adults, specifically through thyroid hormone-mediated pathways, has a potential role in treating obesity.
How To Proceed If You Have These Hormonal Problems:
If you are experiencing issues with weight gain or weight loss AND you have hypothyroidism then your next step is to get evaluated for these hormone imbalances.
I should point out that many general physicians including endocrinologists will not have the knowledge to help you with these hormone imbalances so you may need to seek care from other specialists outside of the insurance model.
I have detailed case studies and posts walking you through how to diagnose these conditions that you can look at below:
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What Tpo Antibody Levels Indicate
When TPO antibody levels are found in profuse amounts in your blood, itâs a red flag that your thyroid gland may be malfunctioning because of an autoimmune disorder. Not everyone with high TPOab levels has a badly-working thyroid gland, but elevated levels are commonly seen in individuals with autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimotoâs thyroiditis.
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.
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The Best Thyroid Medications That Can Help You Lose Weight
It is worth mentioning that no thyroid medication is meant to be used as a weight-loss aid. The thyroid medication is to be used only as a part of the hypothyroidism treatment, while weight loss is only one of the benefits that are happening due to the normalization of the thyroid hormone levels. Do not use these medications to treat obesity and/or achieve weight loss.
The More Medication Myth
You may have heard that thyroid hormones can be used to lose weight, even in people without thyroid disease. While synthetic thyroid hormones have been used this way in the past, research has shown that most people gain all the weight back once they stop using them. Worse, being on thyroid hormones unnecessarily can result in serious side effects.
For people who are already using levothyroxine, increasing the dose above what’s needed can lead to more weight loss, but it’s usually not significant and those pounds are often gained back once the dose is decreased again. This is also an unhealthy way to lose weight as an increased dose is also associated with adverse reactions, including heart issues, insomnia, headaches, menstrual irregularities and skin rash.
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What About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is uncommon and is among the least deadly. The main symptom is a lump or swelling in the neck, and only about 5% of thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous. When thyroid cancer is diagnosed, it is most often treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine therapy or, in some cases, external radiation therapy.
Vegetables Provide Most Vitamins Minerals And Other Micronutrients
The nutrient-density of meals is even more important for those with hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, where nutrient absorption and deficiency are more common.
Emphasis goes to green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Veggies are also our greatest , a nutrient that feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut. Studies show that long-term low fibre intake will completely throw out the balance of your gut bacteria the effects on the gut health of mice was irreversible .
Fiber supplements are also an option if you want to be extra sure you are meeting your requirements.
As a general guide, the protein portion of your meal should be the size of your palm, and salad/vegetables the size of your hand. This would leave about 1/4 or less of your plate for carbs .
Summary: Protein foods and vegetables should make up the majority of your plate. They are generally the most filling and/or nutrient-dense foods per calorie.
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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.
Weight Gain And Hormone Imbalances On Your Body
One of the easiest to assess for hormone imbalances is by assessing the distribution of fat on your body.
It turns out that many hormonal conditions result in a change in body fat distribution on the body and may help identify your hormone imbalance.
This should be used in conjunction with lab testing whenever possible, but this does serve to help guide some patients in the event that their doctor isn’t willing to order the more advanced tests like leptin, insulin, reverse T3, etc.
With that in mind you can use this list to compare your body fat distribution to various hormone imbalances:
- Abdominal belly fat – Insulin resistance + Cortisol issues
- Weight gain in butt/thighs/hips – Low progesterone and/or high estrogen levels
- Weight all over + ravenous appetite – Thyroid resistance and/or leptin resistance
- Weight gain in upper arms + reduced muscle mass – Low testosterone
While this list isn’t always 100% accurate, it can definitely help guide you.
I realize that many readers of my blog live in different countries where some of the therapies I recommend aren’t even available.
In this case, it may be useful to evaluate your body using the distribution of your body fat and then trialing treatment from there.
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Weight Gain After Thyroidectomy And Radioactive Iodine Ablation & Taking Medications
Let’s take a minute to talk about the various therapies and treatments for hyperthyroid patients so we know what they are doing and how we might be able to intervene.
In most cases, patients with hyperthyroidism eventually undergo either a thyroidectomy or radioactive iodine ablation therapy.
What’s unfortunate is that studies have shown that regardless of what treatment you use for hyperthyroidism you will gain weight after.
Researchers have found that patients who undergo radioactive iodine ablation, thyroidectomy or take hyperthyroid medication will gain on average anywhere from 10-25 pounds within the first 3 months of therapy.
This occurs regardless of whether or not the patient gets thyroid hormone replacement after these therapies .
Much of this is due to a lack of understanding of thyroid hormone function in the body, and I have written many articles that you can learn from.
Let’s talk about these various therapies and how they work.
Now, this is obviously necessary if you have high circulating levels of thyroid hormone, to begin with, but this medication is difficult to fine tune.
That means it’s easy to either over treat or undertreat .
Because of these issues, methimazole generally isn’t used long term which leads to thyroidectomy or RAI .
Radioactive iodine ablation: