In some cases it seems you have tried everything – multiple diets, weight loss promising supplements, exercise but the weight is still there. Our body is rather complex and it demands a closer look at what is going on inside to understand why it is challenging to change the weight.
A number of conditions can cause weight gain: hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), adrenal imbalance or fatigue (cortisol dysregulation, not usually recognized by allopathic medicine), female and male hormonal dysregulation (estrogen imbalance), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), Cushing’s syndrome (overproduction of cortisol by adrenal glands), pre-diabetes, digestive disorders, and many other conditions.
Thus, a weight gain may need more investigation such as thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone profiles, cortisol measurements, blood glucose, basic laboratory testing, a thorough history and overview of the diet and life style.
One of the conditions that may cause weight gain is hypothyroidism. Thyroid, a bi-lobed gland, situated in the anterior aspect of the neck, is one of the most essential glands in the body. Thyroid regulates breathing, heart rate, body weight, menstrual cycles, body temperature, cholesterol levels, digestion, skin health, cognitive functions and much more.
As naturopathic doctors, we pay particular attention to its health and well-being. In the USA thyroid issues are on the rise. In particular, under-reactive thyroid or hypothyroidism has become a silent endemic.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism are chronic fatigue, constipation, dry skin, anxiety, and weight gain. The best way to ensure that thyroid is functioning properly is to do a blood testing for thyroid hormones (TSH, Free T4 and Free T3, thyroid antibodies), have your doctor palpate the thyroid gland to make sure there are no nodules and if it is tender to touch.
- Balancing thyroid hormones can be achieved through the help of pharmaceutical medications (Synthroid, Armour thyroid , Nature-Throid),
- anti-inflammatory diet,
- more movement (any type of exercise),
- adding spiritual practice or meditation,
- a number of helpful nutrients (zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, amino acids, etc)
- botanical medicine (herbal formulations).
Medications have to be prescribed by your primary care doctor or endocrinologist. Naturopaths or naturopathic doctors can prescribe thyroid medications (in particular, Armour Thyroid and Nature-Throid) depending on the state you are in.
In naturopathic medicine, in order to balance thyroid, it is paramount to address adrenal gland (cortisol metabolism), hypothalamus and pituitary (so called, HPA axis). This way the effect on the thyroid will be long lasting and profound.
When hormones are addressed along with the diet and life style, it becomes easier for the body to lose weight and improve the slowed metabolism caused by under-reactive thyroid gland.