Another reason we may have gained weight without changing eating habits can be due to hypothyroidism!
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located directly below the larynx. By secreting its hormones T3 and T4, it controls the metabolism and the energy and heat balance of our body.
With increasing age, thyroid hormone production decreases and hypothyroidism, a sub-function of the thyroid gland, can set in. Iodine deficiency is also responsible for the development of hypothyroidism.
In recent years, it has been observed that more and more young people also suffer from hypothyroidism. In most cases this is due to an auto-aggressive disease called Hashimoto thyroiditis, which leads to an inflammation of the thyroid gland and destroys the tissue of the thyroid gland. The cause of this disease is attributed to increasing stress.
In all cases, the metabolism is weakened and the patient becomes overweight. Therefore, the examination of the thyroid gland is essential for all overweight people. Even with a healthy diet, these people could lose weight only with difficulty if a sluggish thyroid gland is not properly treated.
Signs of hypothyroidism
- Weight gain
- Fatigue and energy loss
- Susceptibility to colds and virus infections
- Mood swings
- Concentration disorders
- Tendency to bruise
- Dry hair, hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Stiff joints
The control loop of thyroid hormones
In order for the thyroid gland to know how much T3 and T4 it should produce, it needs a "command transmitter" that tells it to stop or to stop hormone production. As with many other bodily functions, this command transmitter rests in the pituitary gland. If the hormone levels of T3 and T4 are low, the pituitary gland releases a thyroid-stimulating hormone, the so-called thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH, which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and release more T3 and T4. The thyroid hormones enter the cells via the bloodstream and exert their influence there. The hormones also reach the pituitary gland via the bloodstream. With increasing hormone levels, the formation of TSH in the pituitary gland is increasingly inhibited and thus optimal hormone production is achieved.
What happens if the thyroid gland is underactive?
However, if the thyroid gland is damaged or diseased, it can produce little or no thyroid hormone, despite the stimulating hormone of the pituitary gland. The result: The pituitary gland releases more and more TSH, because the resulting increase in thyroid hormones in the blood fails to materialize. An elevated TSH above 2.5μl / U is therefore a major sign of hypothyroidism. The limits for TSH used to be much higher, at 4, then at 3.5. Unfortunately, these limits still exist in some lab tests today.
In the blood, T3 and T4 are mostly bound to proteins. But only the free T3 and T4 are biologically active. Therefore the free T3 and free T4 should be examined in a blood test.
What can one do against hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a disease that belongs in the hands of a doctor. Only a doctor can decide what causes the disorder and what to do about it.
In mild cases, an increased intake of iodine can bring about improvements. But be careful not to take iodine without consulting a doctor! If, for example, the cause of hypofunction is an auto-aggressive disease, iodine can actually be harmful. Generally, one will not be able to avoid the administration of thyroid hormones. This can only be determined and prescribed by the doctor.
If thyroid hormones are required, a dose should be chosen that puts the thyroid value TSH between 0.5 and 1.5. This range guarantees optimal function of the thyroid gland.