Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss. The Link Between Thyroid and Weight

Our thyroid gland is more important than we think. Its job is to secrete hormones that are essential for the proper function of our heart and metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the entire energy of our body is being robbed by the lack of thyroid hormones. This is precisely why the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are: dry scaly skin, painful joints, insomnia, depression, anxiety of weight gain.

The link between thyroid and weight 

Of all these, the weight gain seems to be the most terrifying sign, especially for women. There is an essential link between thyroid and weight. Fluctuations in basal metabolism are associated with changes in energy balance. Energy balance reflects the difference between the amount of calories ingested and the amount of calories your body uses.

Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss

Therefore, changes in thyroid hormone levels lead to changes in basal metabolism and thus to changes in energy balance and, as a result, changes in your body weight. However, basal metabolism is not the only thing that triggers weight gain in hypothyroidism.

There are many other hormones (except thyroid hormone), proteins and other chemicals that are important for controlling the energy consumption, the energy intake and body weight. However, at this time we are unable to predict the effect of changing thyroid status on a hypothyroid patient’s body weight.

The link between hypothyroidism and weight loss

Giving the fact that the basal metabolism in patients suffering from hypothyroidism is low, a less active thyroid is generally associated with weight gain. Weight gain is often greater in those individuals who are experiencing more severe forms of hypothyroidism. However, the decrease in basal metabolism as a result of hypothyroidism is usually much less dramatic than the weight increase that occurs in the case of hyperthyroidism. As a result, weight changes are also more modest than in hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism weight gain is also a complex subject, since it’s not always linked to an excessive accumulation of fat. The weight gained is usually a result of excessive accumulation of salt and water. Normally, a weight gain of 5 to 10 kg can be attributed to a thyroid disease, but it all depends on the severity of hypothyroidism. Finally, if gaining weight is the only visible symptom of hypothyroidism, it is unlikely that the weight gain is solely due to thyroid.

Will you lose weight once hypothyroidism is cured?

Since much of the weight gained in hypothyroidism is represented by an accumulation of salt and water, if hypothyroidism is treated properly, one can expect a small weight loss (typically less than 10% of body weight).

If hypothyroidism is cured and thyroid hormone levels return to normal, the ability to increase or to lose weight is the same as for people who do not have thyroid problems.

Will thyroid hormones help you lose weight?

In the past, thyroid hormones have been used as a weight loss tool. Several studies have shown that thyroid hormones can indeed help weight loss. However, once the thyroid hormone treatment is stopped, previously lost weight is regained. In addition, there may be significant negative consequences due to the use of thyroid hormone for this purpose. Besides this, increasing the thyroid hormone dose can cause other metabolic problems.

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