Is your thyroid gland working against you? Is your low thyroid activity keeping you fat?
On this site, I’ve explored how poor gut health can lead to thyroid troubles—and eventually to weight gain. I’ve also discussed the connection between your thyroid and metabolism numerous times, including here.
The reason I’ve written so extensively about underactive thyroid is because it’s such a common condition. So many people suspect it’s derailing their health; so many of them are right.
As someone who wants to provide you with the very best health tips, I feel it’s my responsibility to let you know how important thyroid health is, especially as it pertains to your weight.
What Does Low Thyroid Mean?
In case you’re not aware, your thyroid is one of your body’s main control centers—it’s essentially air-traffic control for your metabolism.
It produces T4 and T3, which are the main thyroid hormones, and T3 is the active form. It’s particularly important because it’s constantly in communication with your cells, regulating growth and cellular repair.
If you don’t have enough T3 getting inside your cells, then your body’s not getting crucial messages it needs to function correctly.
That’s bad… very bad.
Some people choose to supplement with thyroid hormone to boost their levels, but it’s not as simple as that. The conversion from T4 to T3 is something that happens in your liver and in your gut. That’s part of the process you need to mend if you’re suffering from low thyroid. Then there’s also whether or not T3 is getting inside your cells, if your brain is sending the right signals to your thyroid, and more!
That’s why simply taking more thyroid hormone (often just T4) is not going to help in many cases.
What Causes Low Thyroid Function?
If you’re having a tough time losing weight, I would strongly suggest having your thyroid checked out. Your thyroid test results will give you crucial insight into the relationship between your thyroid and weight gain.
To help you with this, I have a really cool free thyroid blood test handbook. This will help you make sense of your thyroid test results so you can take appropriate action if needed.
With that said, you’re probably wondering how you get low thyroid in the first place.
The fact of the matter is that 90 percent of low thyroid is autoimmune; it’s something called Hashimoto’s disease, and it can be caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid.
Why does that happen?
Well, there are a lot of different reasons, from environmental toxins to the foods that we eat. Heavy metals such as lead and mercury have also been linked to low thyroid function, as has gluten.
In fact, gluten is a really big one. That’s because its protein structure closely resembles the thyroid tissue’s protein structure.
[Related: 11 Ways Your Diet Is Actually Killing You]
With repeated exposure, your immune system can confuse the two and, over time, start attacking your thyroid. Look for gluten substitutes wherever possible. You really don’t need it. I have a ton of great recipes on the site which will help you do away with it in your diet for good.
How to Lose Weight with Low Thyroid
To tackle low thyroid, you should also consider supplementation with two important minerals: iodine and selenium.
In the past it was said that we need to get a lot more iodine in our body, but the problem is that if we get a lot of iodine without the appropriate amount of selenium, that can actually increase the problem within the thyroid.
If you’re getting iodine from your diet, awesome.
If you’re supplementing with it, make sure that it’s balanced with the appropriate amount of selenium. I talk about this a little bit more in the free thyroid blood-test handbook.
If you’ve been eating a healthy diet and have been working out consistently but just aren’t shedding those pounds, strongly consider that low thyroid is probably at play.
The good news, however, is that you can reverse low thyroid.
There are a couple steps involved—you have to look at cleaning up the liver, improving the health of your gut, removing a lot toxins and gluten, and move towards a whole-foods diet—but it’s very do-able; Just ask my clients.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but never lose hope because the human body is resilient; it’s always renewing itself. It regenerates new cells every single day, and it’s pretty amazing what can happen in the space of a couple months.
I hope this drills home the importance of the thyroid and why low thyroid is a condition that should be of utmost concern. If you have any doubts, get yours checked today!
Low Thyroid FAQ
What are low thyroid numbers?
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Tried Everything to Lose Weight, But Nothing’s Worked?
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.