The thyroid gland helps regulate the body's metabolism and as such can affect your weight. Although supplemental thyroid hormone may help with unwanted weight gain caused by thyroid dysfunction, synthetic thyroid hormone is a prescription medication that should only be taken by people with a documented thyroid problem. Certain vitamins and minerals may also help maintain thyroid health, but their benefits for weight loss are unproven. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about thyroid disease and before taking any sort of supplement.
The thyroid produces a hormone that regulates metabolism. Too little thyroid hormone production causes hypothyroidism 1. According to EndocrineWeb.com, as many as 10 million Americans may have some form of hypothyroidism 12. Hypothyroidism can cause mild weight gain or make it hard to lose weight 2. The condition can also cause:
- chronic fatigue
- dry skin
- hair loss
- cold intolerance
- muscle cramps
Synthetic Thyroid Hormone
L-Carnitine & Hypothyroidism
People with hypothyroidism can take synthetic thyroid hormone to help supplement their thyroid hormone levels 1. Although correcting a thyroid hormone deficiency can help people with thyroid problems lose weight, supplemental thyroid hormone is not meant to be used as a weight-loss aid for people with normally functioning thyroids. Taking large doses of synthetic thyroid hormone can cause muscle and bone weakness or damage the heart.
Different vitamins and minerals are sometimes touted as important for maintaining thyroid health. One mineral in particular, iodine, is important for making thyroid hormone, and the lack of dietary iodine can contribute to lower hormone levels. Iodine deficiency, however, is very rare today in developed countries since iodine is added to table salt. Other supplements recommended for maintaining thyroid function include zinc, selenium and vitamins B, C, D and E. But there is no clinical evidence that these supplements have a significant effect on thyroid health or promote weight loss.
- Different vitamins and minerals are sometimes touted as important for maintaining thyroid health.
- One mineral in particular, iodine, is important for making thyroid hormone, and the lack of dietary iodine can contribute to lower hormone levels.
Diagnosing Thyroid Dysfunction
Porcine Thyroid Glandular Supplements
If you are concerned that your thyroid isn't working properly, talk to your doctor. Feelings of fatigue and weight gain can be caused by many health problems, including depression. Your doctor can order blood tests that will measure thyroid hormone levels and determine if you have thyroid problem. Be sure to talk to your doctor first before taking any sort of supplement.
- If you are concerned that your thyroid isn't working properly, talk to your doctor.
L-Carnitine & Hypothyroidism
Porcine Thyroid Glandular Supplements
How to Take Kelp Powder
Is Kelp or Dulse Higher in Iodine?
Gout and Iodine
Niacin & Thyroid Disease
Muscle Spasms With Thyroid Disorder
Can I Eat Seaweed If I Have Hyperthyroidism?
Exercises for Hyperthyroidism
- EndocrineWeb.com: Hypothyroidism: Too Little Thyroid Hormone
- Synthroid.com: Hypothyroidism and Weight
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iodine
- DoctorOz.com: 3 Ways to Boost Thyroid Function
- American Thyroid Association. General Information/Press Room.
- Pirahanchi Y, Jialal I. Physiology, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Updated April 25, 2019.
- AACC. Hashimoto Thyroiditis. Lab Tests Online. Updated October 18, 2019.
- DeGroot LJ. Graves’ Disease and the Manifestations of Thyrotoxicosis. [Updated 2015 Jul 11]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2015.
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- Bindra A, Braunstein GD. Thyroiditis. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(10):1769-76.
- Medeiros-Neto G. Multinodular Goiter. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Updated September 26, 2016.
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid). Published August 2016.
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid). Published August 2016.
- Brent GA. Environmental exposures and autoimmune thyroid disease. Thyroid. 2010;20(7):755-61. doi:10.1089/thy.2010.1636
- Mcaninch EA, Bianco AC. The history and future of treatment of hypothyroidism. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(1):50-6. doi:10.7326/M15-1799
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Grave’s Disease. Published September 2017.
- Stagnaro-Green, A., Abalovich, M, Alexander, E. et. al. Guidelines of the American thyroid association for the diagnosis and management of thyroid disease during pregnancy and postpartum. Thyroid. 2011(21)10. doi:10.1089/thy.2011.0087
- Liu G, Liang L, Bray GA, et al. Thyroid hormones and changes in body weight and metabolic parameters in response to weight loss diets: the POUNDS LOST trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2017;41(6):878-886. doi:10.1038/ijo.2017.28
- Bahn R, Burch H, Cooper D, et al. Hyperthyroidism and other causes of thyrotoxicosis: Management guidelines of the American Thyroid Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Endocrine Practice. 2011;17(3). doi:10.1089/thy.2010.0417
- Braverman L, Cooper D. Werner & Ingbar's The Thyroid, 10th Edition. WLL/Wolters Kluwer; 2012.
- Garber J, Cobin R, Gharib H, et. al. Clinical practice guidelines for hypothyroidism in adults: Cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Endocrine Practice. 2012;18(6). doi:10.1089/thy.2012.0205
- Haugen A, Alexander K., Bible K, et. al. 2015 American Thyroid Association Management guidelines for adult patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2016;26(1):1-133. doi:10.1089/thy.2015.0020
- Smallridge R, Ain K, Asa S, et. al. American Thyroid Association guidelines for management of patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2012;22(11). doi:10.1089/thy.2012.0302
- Wells, S, Asa S, Dralle H, et. al. Revised American Thyroid Association guidelines for the management of medullary thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid. 2015;25(6). doi:10.1089/thy.2014.0335
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.