Have you been changing your diet, exercising and doing everything fitness bloggers tell you to do to lose weight, without any success? Have you ever considered having your thyroid hormones tested? One very common symptom of hypothyroidism or under-active thyroid is weight gain.
What exactly is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland (made up of two lobes) located in your neck behind the Adam’s apple. It is apart of our endocrine system, which means it is apart of a group of glands that produce hormones to regulate our body.
How does the thyroid gland work?
The thyroid gland produces two hormones T3 and T4. T3 is the active form, that directly impacts your body’s functions. Whereas, T4 is converted into T3 and then becomes an active form. When levels of T3 and T4 are low, the hypothalamus of the brain releases a hormone called Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH then signals the pituitary gland to release a hormone called Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Once, TSH is released it then directly signals the thyroid to release more T3 and T4. When the thyroid is under-active, not enough T3 and T4 are released despite the TSH signal.
How does an under-active thyroid lead to weight gain?
The thyroid gland and its hormones, directly impacts and controls our metabolism. When the thyroid gland is under active (such as, in hypothyroidism) our metabolism is decreased which leads to weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
What other symptoms are associated with hypothyroidism?
- Brain fog
- Fatigue or low energy
- Changes in mood including anxiety and depression
- Menstrual irregularity
- Digestive changes including constipation and bloating
- Inability to tolerate cold
- Dry hair, skin and nails
- Hair loss or thinning
Author Dr Kiran Janjua