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.
Diagnosing An Underactive Thyroid
It’s very important that an underactive thyroid is diagnosed as soon as possible.
Low levels of thyroid-producing hormones, such as triiodothyronine and thyroxine , can change the way the body processes fat.
- are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- have just given birth
- have another health condition, such as heart disease, which may complicate your medication
- are taking a medication known to cause a reduction in thyroid hormones, such as amiodarone or lithium
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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Michelle Simon Phd Nd
President & CEO
As president and CEO of INM, Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians , the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute , and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a womens off-road motorcycling class.
Who Is At Risk For Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease can affect men, women, teens, infants, and the elderly. That is, it can affect anyone. It may be present at birth and it can develop as you age . Its very common and approximately 20 million people in the U.S. have some kind of thyroid condition. Furthermore, women are about 5 to 8 times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than men.
You may have a higher risk of developing a thyroid condition if you:
- Have a history of thyroid disease in your family
- Have a medical condition including pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes
- Primary adrenal insufficiency
Take a medication thats high in iodine if you:
- Are over the age of 60 .
- Have had treatment in the past for a thyroid condition or cancer .
Generally, you may want to test for an underactive thyroid if you:
- Have had thyroid problems or a goiter previously
A diagnosis of hypothyroidism is based on your symptoms and blood test results. The blood test measures the level of TSH and sometimes the level of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. A low level of thyroxine and a high level of TSH point to an underactive thyroid. This is because your pituitary , produces more TSH to try to stimulate your thyroid hormone.
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The Thyroid Gland: Purpose & Function
What is the thyroid gland? The thyroid gland sits at the front of your neck. Its shaped like a butterfly, and it gives energy to every one of your organs.
The thyroid regulates your heartbeat, your digestive process, and brain function to name a few. When the thyroid produces enough hormones, your body functions at optimal capacity.
When your thyroid function is underactive, your bodys natural processes slow down. This can lead to some adverse symptoms.
What Type Of Workout Should I Do
If your condition is well controlled, you should be able to do the same physical activity as someone without a thyroid disorder, says John C. Morris, MD, professor of medicine and endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
But if youâre just starting an exercise plan or if youâre still dealing with symptoms, low-impact aerobic exercise and strengthening moves are best.
âLow-impact exercise doesnât apply as much pressure,â says Norma Lopez, MD, an associate professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Loyola University Medical Center. âThatâs key, since hypothyroidism can cause pain and swelling in your muscles and joints.â
Try these activities:
Walking: One of the easiest workouts to do. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes. It gets your heart pumping and burns about 280 calories an hour.
Water aerobics: If you have swelling in your ankles or feet, some exercises may be painful. Water aerobics is a good option. The water holds you up and lowers the impact on your joints.
Yoga: This can stretch and strengthen your muscles. It also helps you focus on breathing. One study found that people with hypothyroidism had better lung strength after practicing yoga breathing for 6 months.
Tai chi: Described as âmoving meditation,â this slow-motion form of martial arts is a proven stress-buster. Research shows it can help improve strength, balance, and mood.
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Watch Out For Goitrogens
Goitrogens are foods that interfere with the function of the thyroid and tend to cause enlargement of this important gland. Foods that contain Goitrogens include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, millet, radishes, peanuts, watercress, strawberries, and peaches. You dont have to remove these foods completely from your diet, but do not consume large quantities of them or even eat them regularly.
Conventional Treatment For Hypothyroidism
Many doctors will take what they call a traditional approach to treating hypothyroidism. I prefer to call it conventional treatment, since traditional implies these drugs and surgeries have been around longer than functional methods, such as diet and lifestyle changes.
Medication & Side Effects
The most common conventional treatment is medication. Doctors will prescribe drugs like levothyroxine, a synthetic version of thyroxine for thyroid hormone replacement.
Levothyroxine is supposed to restore blood hormone levels to a normal level, either reducing or eliminating the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Clinical trials are still examining if levothyroxine can treat hypothyroidism by itself.
Most treatment plans keep patients on this medication their entire lives. This can exacerbate levothyroxines adverse side effects, such as:
- Abdominal cramping
- Temporary hyperthyroidism
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Natural Remedies For Thyroid Issues
So for starters, the No. 1 natural remedy you need to start to support the thyroid is ashwagandha, which is proven to heal thyroid and adrenal issues. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogen herbs mean they help you adapt and deal with stress, and ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine.
Other adaptogenic herbs can include things like tulsi or holy basil also things like rhodiola and ginseng and licorice root. All of those are adaptogen herbs, but ashwagandha may be the most effective at naturally supporting overall thyroid health, especially as a natural treatment for hypothyroidism and Hashimotos. In fact, in the studies on it, it was actually shown to help both hyper and hypothyroid symptoms, which is amazing.
So, you should definitely add ashwagandha to your hypothyroidism diet since it works as a way to treat hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
The No. 2 thing you should consider adding in to overall improve your thyroid function is selenium. The benefits of selenium are critical actually, selenium has very powerful antioxidant-like functions. In fact, studies have shown that selenium helps balance out T4 in your body hormones, so again, taking a therapeutic dose of selenium every day has also been shown to benefit thyroid function.
There are also foods high in selenium you can consume, including:
5. Proteolytic Enzymes
Natural Treatments For Thyroid Problems
Because the two main types of thyroid problems, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, are basically the opposite problems, treatment for each is very different. In one case we want more of the thyroid hormones, and in the other case the sufferer needs less of that same hormone. Therefore options for treatment differ depending on each patients particular disorder and the specifics of the case. Heres how thyroid problems are usually treated with conventional medicine:
1. Get Enough Iodine, Selenium, Zinc
Many patients with hypothyroid diseases are deficient in iodine therefore increasing your iodine intake can likely help your thyroid produce more of its needed hormones.
Iodine is a key mineral for helping to convert and release thyroid hormones, yet iodine-rich foods are limited in the typical Western diet. Other than consuming sea veggies like dulse or kelp, you can iodine from foods like raw dairy, certain wild-caught fish like tuna and some fermented grains. You might benefit from iodine supplements in low doses if you experience lots of breast tenderness, fatigue, weight gain and have a cold body temperature. However, too much iodine actually aggravates thyroid disorder symptoms, so follow dosage directions and seek your doctors advice if youre unsure.
2. Manage Stress and Rest Enough
3. Reduce Toxicity
4. Supplement When Necessary to Reduce Inflammation
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Can You Boost Your Metabolism To Help With Weight Loss
People with a slower metabolism may have difficulty losing weight because they tend to burn fewer calories, which means that more get stored in the body as fat, according to Harvard Health. A faster metabolism causes calories to be burned at a higher rate.
How fast or slow your metabolism works is determined for the most part by your genes. But a number of other factors can play a role, including your age, your gender, your body size and composition, and your level of physical activity.
While you cant control all the elements that affect your metabolism, there are steps you can take to burn more calories and lose or maintain weight. Try these tips:
Take thyroid hormone. If you have hypothyroidism, which can be diagnosed with a blood test, your doctor will prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone. Once thyroid hormone levels are normalized, Dr. Bianco says, the metabolic rate should be normalized as well.
Avoid skipping meals and starvation diets. Starvation is a very well known cause of low metabolism, Dr. McAninch says. The signs and symptoms of starvation can also look a lot like hypothyroidism. If you’ve been eating a low-calorie diet and experiencing symptoms of a slowed metabolism, like fatigue, go back to normal eating, McAninch says. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that works for you.
Making these changes in your life can help you manage hypothyroidism and overcome the effects of slow metabolism that accompany it.
When To See Your Gp
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid are often similar to those of other conditions, and they usually develop slowly, so you may not notice them for years.
You should see your GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid if you have symptoms including:
- being sensitive to the cold
- dry skin and hair
The only accurate way of finding out whether you have a thyroid problem is to have a thyroid function test, where a sample of blood is tested to measure your hormone levels.
Read more about testing for an underactive thyroid
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Try Your Best To Avoid These Environmental Toxins
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, long-term exposure to endocrine disruptorsâchemicals that interfere with your body’s endocrine systemâmay trigger endocrine problems in humans. A few to be aware of are perfluorinated chemicals that can be found in some carpets, flame-resistant and waterproof clothing, and non-stick cookware. PFCs have been linked to thyroid disease in previous studies. Researchers have also found that exposure to phthalates and bisphenol-A could cause disruptions in thyroid hormone levels.
Dr. Gupta also recommended avoiding antibacterial soaps that contain triclosan, an ingredient that has altered hormone regulation in studies of animals , according to the FDA.
Although it would be impossible to avoid these completely, the key is to reduce your exposure as much as you can, especially if you’re pregnant or have little ones in the houseâdeveloping fetuses, infants, and children are more vulnerable to any effects of environmental chemicals.
Following some general guidelines can go a long way. “Just use soap and water to wash your hands instead,” Dr. Gupta said. “Use essential oils when fragrance is needed.”
Other things you can do include, choosing more fresh or frozen foods over canned, storing food in porcelain or glass rather than plastics, and keeping your home well-ventilated.
Tips For Weight Loss With Hypothyroidism
People with hypothyroidism may gain weight more easily than people without the condition. This is because hypothyroidism can slow metabolism.
Having a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, filling proteins, and healthy fats can help manage weight and boost well-being. These foods are also rich in fiber, which may help people feel fuller for longer.
In addition, regular moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise and strength training can help boost metabolism and promote weight loss. Staying active can also improve levels of energy and the quality of sleep.
In addition, a person may notice a small weight reduction typically under 10% when they take medication to treat hypothyroidism.
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What Are Thyroid Hormones
Your metabolism is controlled by the thyroid using specific hormones:
These hormones are produced by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. If your thyroid is working correctly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. And as the hormones are being used up, the thyroid produces replacements. These hormones have an important role in:
- Regulating your weight
- Skin, hair, and nail growth
- Internal temperature
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of hypothyroidism are usually subtle and gradual, and may resemble those of other conditions or medical problems. Many symptoms are non-specific and may be ignored as normal parts of our everyday lives. Because of this, the condition may go undetected for years.
Symptoms may include:
- Enlarged thyroid, producing a goiter-like growth on the neck
- Increased menstrual flow and cramping in girls and young women
If you have concerns about your child’s health, talk to your childs physician.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Underactive Thyroid
The symptoms of an underactive thyroid are often mild and easy to miss. They develop slowly over a number of months or even years. You may putsymptoms such as feeling tired or gaining weight down to poor diet or simply getting older. It’s also easy to mistake the symptoms for other conditions. Therefore, it is important to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
|Common initial symptoms|
If you are pregnant and think you might have an underactive thyroid, see your healthcare provider. If an underactive thyroid is left untreated, it can cause problems such as pre-eclampsia and premature labour.
Statistics & Prevalence Of Hypothyroidism
- 5 out of 100 Americans have hypothyroidism .
- Hypothyroidism is most common in adults over 60.
- Up to 60% of those with a thyroid disorder are unaware of it.
- Women are up to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems.
- 1 in 3,000 newborns has hypothyroidism in the United States. This can lead to irreversible mental retardation. Fortunately, screenings for newborn hypothyroidism are mandatory in all 50 states.
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Androgenix Advanced Health And Wellness Center Can Help Restore Hormone Balance
At Androgenix Advanced Health and Wellness Center, we know about hormones and the dangers of a hormone imbalance. And we are experienced in helping individuals who are struggling with hypothyroidism. Especially if you are experiencing the symptoms but dont know what the problem is. The frustration of dieting, exercising, and still feeling tired and gaining weight is very real and upsetting. Dont suffer from this when it is so treatable. Contact us today. Lets talk about your options and make an appointment to get you feeling like yourself again.
Diet Alone Cannot Cure Hypothyroidism
Food on its own cannot cure or independently treat a diagnosed case of hypothyroidism.
Hormone replacement therapy with prescription medication, such as LT4, is necessary to restore thyroid function. Thats why LT4 is absolutely essential for any health care system.
In saying that, if you have underlying nutrient deficiencies or food intolerance that remains untreated, LT4 becomes a bandaid that doesnt treat the root problem.
Its important to note that if you use LT4, take it before or well outside of meal times. Absorption of the T4 hormone is greatly reduced if consumed alongside food, especially soy, high-fibre foods and coffee .
Summary: There is no one food or diet that can correct an underactive thyroid on its own. Thyroid hormones must be replaced through medication.
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