Hypothyroidism and weight gain
Overindulging in comfort foods and not working out for an extended period can make you gain weight. You can gain weight even if you adhere to a strict diet and exercise rigorously if you have hypothyroidism. So in this way, we can say hypothyroidism and weight gain are related.
A thyroid gland’s hormones help regulate metabolism and influence how efficiently your body burns food. During hypothyroidism, the thyroid produces low hormone levels, resulting in a slower metabolism.
So You won’t burn off the calories as quickly, and you’ll gain weight. Most people gain a few pounds, perhaps five or ten, but it can be enough to affect their self-esteem.
Your weight gain will depend on the severity of your hypothyroidism. It is possible to gain weight due to fat. Still, it is more likely due to fluid accumulating in your kidneys due to an underactive thyroid.
What is the thyroid gland?
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is an endocrine gland generally located in the front lower part of the neck. The thyroid is responsible for making thyroid hormones released into the bloodstream and carried around the body.
Besides helping the body use energy, thyroid hormones keep the heart, brain, muscles, and other organs functioning properly.
Thyroid and body weight
It has been recognized that thyroid disease, metabolism, and body weight have had a complex relationship for a long time. Humans and animals both have thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism.
The rate of metabolism is determined by the volume of oxygen the body consumes during a given period. The measurement is called basal metabolic rate (BMR) if it is taken at rest.
BMR measurement was indeed among the first methods used to evaluate thyroid function. The survey found a low BMR in patients with not-working thyroid glands and a high BMR in patients with overactive thyroid glands.
Another study linked these observations to measurements of thyroid hormones, showing that low levels of thyroid hormone were tied to low BMRs and high levels of thyroid hormone to high BMRs.
Most physicians no longer use the BMR due to the complexity of the test and the fact that it is influenced by multiple factors other than the thyroid state.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, which are needed to regulate your weight and metabolism, among other systems in your body. About 5% of people suffer from hyperthyroidism (although many are unaware of the condition). According to popular belief, obesity is caused by hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism most commonly results from an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, wherein your immune system attacks your thyroid gland, keeping it from functioning correctly. The other causes could include a history of cancer, certain medications, radiation therapy, and not getting enough iodine in one’s diet.
It is estimated that women are up to ten times more likely than men to have hypothyroidism, and their risks increase as they age, during menopause, and during and after pregnancy. An additional risk factor is that people who have a first-degree relative with hypothyroidism are more likely to develop it.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism has many symptoms that are the same as other conditions, so it can easily be mistaken for something else. Symptoms generally appear slowly, and it could take several years before you realize that something is wrong.
The following are common symptoms:
– Weight gain
– Cold sensitivity
– A slow pace of movement and thought
– Weakness and muscle aches
– Dry, scaly skin
– Muscle cramps
– brittle nails and hair
– Loss of libido (loss of sexual drive)
– Heavy or irregular periods
– A feeling of tingling, pain, and numbness in the hands and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
– Growth and development may be slower in children.
– Puberty may begin earlier in teenagers than usual.
– Memory problems and depression may occur in elderly individuals with an underactive thyroid.
– The most prominent and visible symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain.
Hypothyroidism causes weight gain
An increase in weight could indicate problems with your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism causes some weight gain in about half of patients. An average weight gain is usually 5-10 pounds; however, some women can gain even more if hypothyroidism is severe. Most weight gain occurs due to salt and water retention, but the fat gain can also contribute to weight gain.
Hypothyroidism can lead to weight gain, but if you gain a lot of weight – like 20 pounds or more – your thyroid may not be the only culprit. Checking your thyroid is essential, but you should also consider your physical activity, stress level, and diet.
What is BMR
Hyperthyroidism increases BMR. Weight loss is common in patients with overactive thyroids. Additionally, the overactive thyroid affects weight loss.
As a result of a highly overactive thyroid, the individual’s BMR increases, leading to more calories consumed to maintain body weight. A person’s weight will drop if he doesn’t consume as many calories as he burns.
Thyroid hormone is only one of the many factors that affect metabolism, appetite, and activity. However, weight loss is generally more significant in severe hyperthyroidism.
It is common to lose weight in other conditions that result in elevated thyroid hormone levels, such as the toxic phase of thyroiditis or when a thyroid hormone pill is taken at a high dose.
Depending on how much the patient increases their caloric intake, some patients may not lose weight, and others may gain weight.
BMR and hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism results in weight gain because the BMR is decreased in patients with hypothyroidism.
However, the decrease in BMR caused by hypothyroidism is usually relatively modest compared to the dramatic increase in hyperthyroidism, resulting in more moderate changes in weight from the underactive thyroid.
Weight gain may be attributed to hypothyroidism
Hypothyroid individuals may also gain weight for complex reasons, which may not be related to excess fat accumulation. Hypothyroid individuals gain so much weight due to a collection of salt and water.
Hypothyroidism rarely causes significant weight gain. Hypothyroidism can contribute up to ten pounds of weight to the body, depending on the severity of the condition.
Lastly, if the sole symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain, the weight gain is less likely to be related to the thyroid.
How does hypothyroidism affect weight?
It’s unclear how low thyroid levels cause weight gain, but many things likely contribute.
Your thyroid is responsible for regulating your metabolism and appetite. The thyroid hormone interacts with several tissues, including your muscle, brain, fat cells, pancreas, and liver.
A low thyroid level slows your metabolism, so you burn less energy while resting. Moreover, you have a reduced ability to burn fat for fuel, leading to weight gain.
Further, about 40% of underactive thyroid patients report feeling fatigued. It could lead to decreased physical activity, resulting in weight gain.
What should I do if I gain weight from hypothyroidism?
Taking thyroid hormone replacement medication like levothyroxine is the first and most crucial step in treating hypothyroidism. Your prescribed dosage may fluctuate based on your blood test results and symptoms. Follow up with your healthcare provider and take the medication as directed.
Treatment for your low thyroid may help you stop gaining weight, but it might not help you lose the weight you’ve already put on. Eating right and living a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference.
Here are some tips to help you lose weight and maximize thyroid health even though no specific food or diet can reverse hypothyroidism:
– Remove refined carbohydrates and sugars from your diet. Low glycemic foods have been shown to help reduce weight because they are the least likely to spike your blood sugar levels. A few examples of low glycemic foods include nonstarchy vegetables, berries, whole grains, beans, meat, and fish. In addition, you should try to stay away from processed foods whenever possible.
– Make sure you consume nutrient-dense whole foods. Your diet should include vitamins and minerals at the recommended level, and nutritional supplements may also assist in thyroid health.
– Zinc and selenium have been shown to improve hypothyroidism in some studies. Restoring thyroid function may also improve metabolism and weight.
– You should check your fasting glucose (blood sugar) level. Hyperthyroidism has been linked with metabolic syndrome in some people, which can increase your fasting glucose levels, increase the risk of diabetes, and make weight loss more difficult. The fasting glucose level is a blood test your healthcare provider can order.
– You should get plenty of sleep, and sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain so that it can prevent weight loss. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule and getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
– Limit alcohol consumption. Some people gain weight when drinking too much alcohol, adding many calories to their diet. If you cut back on your alcohol consumption, you may lose weight.
– People should eliminate gluten. There has been an association between autoimmune hypothyroidism and celiac disease, in which the body has an immune reaction to gluten. Gluten-free diets could help some women lose weight by reducing hypothyroid symptoms.
– Make sure you get enough exercise. Exercising is essential for physical and mental health, and not doing it enough could prevent you from losing weight. The Centers for Disease Control recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (or 75 minutes of vigorous) aerobic activity each week.
Once hypothyroidism is treated, how much weight should I expect to lose?
In hypothyroidism, much weight gain is due to salt accumulation in the body. If hypothyroidism is treated, a small amount of weight loss is expected (usually less than 10% of body weight).
Treating hyperthyroidism with thyroid hormone leads to the return of weight to the level before hypothyroidism develops.
Considering that weight gain may have several causes and develop over a long period, it is not unusual for very little weight loss following successful treatment of hypothyroidism.
In addition, if the thyroid hormone treatment resolves every symptom of hypothyroidism except weight gain, it is unlikely that the weight gain was solely the result of the hypothyroidism. After hypothyroidism is treated and thyroid hormone levels are in the normal range, the ability to gain or lose weight is similar to those without thyroid problems.
Can I lose weight using thyroid hormones?
In the past, thyroid hormones have been used to help people lose weight. It is unlikely to change weight dramatically by starting or increasing thyroid hormone to elevated thyroid hormone levels.
Excess thyroid hormone therapy produces more weight loss than simply dieting alone can. Using thyroid hormone to assist with weight loss poses significant risks. Risks of therapy include the loss of muscle protein, loss of bone, and heart problems.
What if I cannot seem to lose weight?
Can’t seem to be able to lose weight despite all of the above? Be sure to balance your medications and levels of thyroid hormones. As your thyroid levels fluctuate, you may need a repeat blood test to ensure the medicine is at the proper dosage.
Moreover, you should avoid eating too many calories. Those who keep a food diary lose weight more effectively by tracking their calories. Many apps make calorie-tracking easy.
As you age, your body naturally changes. A thyroid problem may be affecting your feeling or how your body is responding; if you notice a significant change, make an appointment with your doctor to find out if the changes you are experiencing are due to your thyroid. Also, if you are a woman over 60, remember that thyroid problems are more likely to affect you.
If you have hypothyroidism, you will probably have to take thyroid medication for the rest of your life. Medication can help with symptoms, but it will not cure them.
The thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, are proteins in your body. Your cells read DNA segments to produce T3 and T4 proteins. Hence, genetic makeup problems can be the actual cause of hypothyroidism.
HealthCodes DNA provides DNA health testing kits that will help you understand how your unique genes affect your weight and the overall health of the thyroid gland. It can also help you manage diet or exercise plans more effectively and improve the results of fat-burning supplements.
These DNA test kits help you assess your risk of side effects and will guide you on the best path for managing hypothyroidism.