Why Improvement Of Thyroid Function Does Not Always Result In Weight Loss

Thyroid and weight loss
Many women who have hypothyroidism are frustrated that they cannot lose weight even after their thyroid function has improved while on medication.

According to testimonials of many thyroid patients, some of them “cannot lose weight no matter what they do” and others, at their best lose only a minor portion of weight that they gained during the time of being hypothyroid.

Research studies confirm that weight loss after treatment of hypothyroidism with thyroid medication is moderate. It is usually not more than 10% of body weight which is mostly due to diminished water retention and as a consequence loss of water but not the body fat.

What Prevents You From Losing Body Fat When You Have Hypothyroidism?

The truth is that a healthy thyroid or medically optimized levels of thyroid hormones is only one factor that positively affects your ability to lose weight.

While thyroid hormone is widely considered to be the hormone that regulates your metabolism, there is another hormone at play that regulates your body weight and the ability to burn fat. This hormone is also the master controller of all other hormones including thyroid, insulin, cortisol, pituitary, sex and growth hormones.

This “master hormone” or “fat burning hormone” is leptin. It signals the thyroid to speed up the metabolism, causes feelings of satiety, reduces sugar cravings and signals to the liver to start burning fat. So when the levels of this hormone rise we naturally tend to eat less, burn more calories and burn fat more easily.

To achieve weight loss you need leptin to work properly which means you need to have high leptin levels and highly sensitive leptin receptors at the same time. Every time you go on a diet and reduce your food intake your leptin levels go down and it significantly decreases your ability to burn body fat. In fact, research studies has shown that after only one week of dieting your leptin levels drop by as much as 50%.

However, medical research has found that low levels are not the problem for the majority. There are many people who struggle with weight loss and have plenty of this hormone readily available. What prevents the weight loss is the body’s inability to use this hormone which is known as a leptin resistance. The message to burn fat just doesn’t get through to the brain.

Studies show that leptin levels in women with euthyroid autoimmune thyroid disease and women with postpartum thyroiditis are higher than in healthy women. Hypothyroidism is known to down-regulate the ability of this “master hormone” to perform its action and this becomes the main reason why the weight just doesn’t come off even if your thyroid hormones are optimized.

In people with undiagnosed, untreated or undertreated hypothyroidism leptin resistance becomes even bigger issues mainly because of two factors:

  • Increased levels of C-reactive protein which is an indicator of the hidden inflammation in the body. High levels of C-reactive protein are linked to increase in leptin resistance.
  • Higher TSH levels show positive correlation with higher leptin levels
  • The more weight a person gains the more leptin resistant this individual becomes. People with hypothyroidism often gain weight and have less energy. The increased amounts of body fat and the lower energy use can result in leptin resistance and leptin stops telling you when to eat, regulating your appetite and signaling your thyroid.

When you have hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease diet and exercise are important but are not the only factors that affect your weight loss. The diet industry wants you to believe that calories and exercise is all that matters for successful weight loss. So if you are overweight it means that you consumed too many calories and didn’t move enough. The common advice is to “eat less and exercise more” and the weight loss will automatically follow.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t work long-term because it depletes your leptin hormone reserves, makes you more resistant to it and blocks its fat burning action resulting in frustrating weight loss plateaus and making you regain body fat back quickly. Furthermore, the common advice “Eat less and exercise more” seldom works for people with thyroid imbalances because weight gain and weight loss are regulated by hormones more than by any other factors.

How Do You Know If You Have A Leptin Resistance?

You are most likely to be affected by leptin resistance and cannot lose weight if you have one or more of the following signs and risk factors:

  • You have hypothyroidism or were hypothyroid (undiagnosed or undertreated) for a prolonged period of time
  • You are overweight. The more extra body fat you have and the longer you have it, the more leptin resistant you are
  • A significant portion of your body fat has a tendency to accumulate in the abdomen and buttocks
  • You have cravings for “comfort foods”, salt and sugar, cannot go without snacks and feel hungry even after having a large meal
  • You over-rely on coffee, caffeinated beverages or other stimulants
  • You have difficulties to fall and/or stay asleep
  • Your energy levels are low
  • You have high sensitivity to cold despite normal thyroid levels
  • You were on restrictive diets in the past including low-calorie, low-fat and/or low-carb diets
  • You experienced yo-yo dieting when you could lose some weight but gained all of it and some more back
  • You are a woman (women are affected significantly more often than men)

So any weight loss program will fail to bring satisfactory and permanent results if it doesn’t improve your leptin sensitivity and restores your body’s ability to regulate your weight.

How To Increase Leptin Sensitivity In 4 Easy Steps

Leptin resistance is responsible for frustrating weight loss plateaus and why most of weight that you lose during dieting comes right back on and even some more.

If you are looking to accelerate fat burning and keep your weight loss permanent you have to overcome the core problem of the master hormone resistance. The good news is that this process has nothing to do with exhausting cardio exercise or restrictive dieting and involve some simple dietary changes, a better thyroid care and the right type of supplements.

Here are 4 tips on how to improve leptin sensitivity:

1.  Leptin levels are highly correlated with your food intake. Avoid low calorie diets, food deprivation and dieting for prolonged periods of time.

2. Remove highly processed and deep fried foods from your diet. All these foods are known to create leptin resistance.

3. Optimize your thyroid levels and pay attention to your thyroid antibodies. High thyroid antibodies alone, inflammation and active autoimmune process are all factors that affect leptin pathways and increase leptin resistance even if your thyroid lab results are normal.

4. Consider to use 3 natural compounds that are scientifically proven positively affect leptin pathways:

Irvingia Gabonensis. This is an extract from the African mango that inhibits the production of C-reactive protein and improves sensitivity to leptin.

Oleanolic Acid. This compound extracted from olive tree leaves has been closely linked to increased leptin production.

Panax Notoginseng is  a traditional Chinese herb called “Shan Qi” that has the ability naturally suppress appetite and increase leptin sensitivity.

You can find all these active ingredients in the LeptiBurn supplement which is designed and scientifically proven to support leptin pathways and assist with weight loss.

P.S. Every order of LeptiBurn comes with a FREE ebook “53 Fat Burning Smoothies”

LeptiBurn Supplement


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About Marina Gutner, PhD

Marina Gutner, PhD, researcher, medical writer, thyroid blogger, founder and Admin of Outsmart Disease who writes about life-changing treatments for hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and autoimmune disease and how to balance hormones in women