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Is An Underactive Thyroid Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?

Part 1

by London nutritionist Sylvia Hensher

Have you tried every diet known to man, really watch what and how much you eat, exercise regularly and find that you STILL CAN’T LOSE THE WEIGHT???!! Well, here’s some good news. Research is pointing to the fact that an underactive thyroid might be the number one cause of weight problems, especially among women.

So what is the thyroid and how might it be affecting your weight? Well, the thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland with two lobes found just in front of your neck below the Adams Apple. One of its main functions is to control metabolism- that is, the rate at which we burn calories to maintain vital functions. Our bodies need fuel just as a car needs fuel to power itself, so whether we are sleeping, shopping or exercising, we are constantly burning calories.

Now, your thyroid gland produces two main hormones. One is called thyroxine (T4) and the other is called triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid produces approximately 80% T4 and 20% T3. T4 is generally considered to be inactive and only becomes active when converted to T3, although some researchers believe that T4 does, in fact, have a function. T3 is an active hormone needed by all of the cells and tissues of the body and is the one which does all the work of regulating the body’s metabolism.

Thyroid problems often run in families and can happen at any age. Things can go wrong with the thyroid in two ways:

Hyperthyroidism, also called an overactive thyroid where the thyroid produces more thyroid hormone than it should which causes the metabolism to run too fast.

Hypothyroidism, also called an underactive thyroid where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone which causes our metabolism to work too slowly.

What are the symptoms Of An Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)

  • Fatigue is the most common. You feel tired and exhausted like you can’t enough sleep, or want to take daytime naps
  • You’ve gained weight inappropriately or you are finding it difficult to lose weight despite proper diet and exercise
  • You feel depressed or sad
  • Impaired memory & concentration
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Cold hands & Feet
  • Constipation
  • Difficult for a person to sweat and their perspiration may be decreased or even absent even during heavy exercise and hot weather
  • Your skin can become dry, cold, rough and scaly
  • You are losing hair, particularly from the outer part of your eyebrows
  • Nails are breaking or splitting and are brittle

Does this sound like you? Then read on…

A Simple Test To Provisionally Evaluate Thyroid Function

If you’ve read this article and some of the symptoms ring true for you, but you are not sure if you have low thyroid, there is a simple test called the Broda Barnes Temperature Test which can give you an indication, but NOT A FIRM  DIAGNOSIS, as to whether or not your thyroid is functioning optimally.

Here’s what to do.  Starting on the 2nd day of your period, take your body temperature for 14 mornings in a row. Shake down a glass thermometer and place it by your bed before you go to sleep. Upon waking, place the thermometer in your armpit for a full 10 minutes. It is important to move as little as possible during this time. Don’t get up for any reason. After ten minutes, record the temperature and date. This should be done for 14 consecutive mornings. Individuals with normal functioning thyroids have a basal body temperature between 36.6 ° C and 36.8°C. Basal body temperatures below this range may reflect hypothyroidism.

How Can Nutrition Help You Lose Weight?

In part 2 of this series, we’ll be looking at how you can support optimal thyroid functioning, and therefore optimal weight management, through nutrition.

But what about those of you who may have been to the doctor’s to check out your thyroid functioning and been told that it’s working fine, but you still feel there’s something not quite right? Well, in part 2 we’ll be looking at what and how to eat to support your thyroid, but also at the latest cutting edge technology which can help us determine whether you might be what is described as borderline hypothyroid. This means that your thyroid might not be under functioning so poorly that you are diagnosed as having an underactive thyroid, but it might be sluggish enough to be causing you weight management problems. And this is what I’ll be discussing next time.

Wishing you the best of health

London nutritionist Sylvia Hensher

Can’t wait till next time? Want to know NOW what you can do to shed the pounds and find out how well your thyroid is functioning?

Then get in touch with our London clinic either online or by phone on 0845 0502 442 for speedy and expert advice.

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