What Connections Exist Between an Underactive Thyroid and Weight Loss?


Quick Answer

Having hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid is sometimes linked to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Thyroid hormones regulate the body’s metabolism and the number of calories burned on a daily basis. A lower level of thyroid hormones slows metabolism, resulting in fewer calories burned and making weight loss more difficult, explains Diana Rodriguez for Everyday Health.

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Full Answer

Fatigue, a common symptom of hypothyroidism, is another underlying reason for weight gain and trouble with weight loss since fatigue can make exercise and staying active more difficult. An imbalance of thyroid hormones can also lead to salt and water retention. Water weight is usually responsible for less than 10 percent of weight gain associated with an underactive thyroid, according to WebMD.

For people having trouble losing weight with hypothyroidism, the first step is to see a doctor and work to find the appropriate dose of medication to regulate thyroid hormones. For maximum effectiveness, thyroid medications should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach, 30 to 60 minutes before eating, states Rodriguez.

Once medication is started and hormones are regulated, the metabolism should increase. In addition to burning more calories in a resting state, increasing exercise and adding strength training also helps weight-loss efforts, says Dr. Melina Jampolis for CNN.

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