7 Ways to Boost Metabolism When You Have Hypothyroidism

If you imagine that your metabolism is a revving engine, thyroid hormone would be the gas. When you have hypothyroidism, however, your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough of the hormone, and your metabolism slows down. A slower metabolism can make weight loss difficult, but it causes other symptoms too, such as fatigue and weakness.

Hypothyroidism and Metabolism: What’s the Connection?

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts the food and nutrients you consume into the energy you need to breathe, think, digest, circulate blood, regulate your body temperature, and perform other functions necessary to sustain life, according to MedlinePlus.

While it’s not the only component involved in metabolism, “thyroid hormone is essential and is needed to run nearly every organ system in the body,” says Amber Champion, MD, an endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

A properly functioning thyroid helps your body maintain the level of hormones it needs to keep your metabolism running at a satisfactory rate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But if your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, your metabolism and your body processes can slow down. You may experience symptoms such as fatigue, sleepiness, muscle weakness, constipation, sensitivity to cold, cognitive problems, dry skin, a hoarse voice, lower appetite, joint pain, and menstrual changes, says Antonio Bianco, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

When people think of metabolism, though, they generally think of weight. One of hypothyroidism’s most familiar symptoms is difficulty with weight loss. Though some blame extra pounds on hypothyroidism, the condition doesn’t cause as much weight gain as they may think. “If you’ve gained more than 5 to 10 pounds,” Dr. Champion says, “something other than thyroid may be to blame.”

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