by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Weight gain is the biggest challenge facing our culture today and there is an infinite amount of information out there on this subject. So why do we understand the problem, have virtually unlimited information to review, yet this still remains such an issue? This is most often because we are not looking at the areas that are the deepest and most significant challenges for most of us. You would be amazed at the amount of people that come into Depke Wellness with weight gain and hypothyroid conditions as there chief complaints. What’s shocking though, is that so many of these clients are on hypothyroid meds, yet they are still stuck in this chronic weight gain cycle.
So why would that be?
We know the thyroid ties into metabolism and weight gain, so if thyroid function is low, taking thyroid medication should take care of this and the weight should simply fall off? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it typically does not work that easily. This is tied into how inflammation ties into both the hypothyroid and weight gain itself.
Let’s first talk about inflammation and hypothyroidism. Inflammation plays two very different but both very damaging roles for the thyroid itself. Number one, inflammation is a significant factor on many areas that directly affect your thyroid hormones. When you body is inflamed this puts quite a bit of stress on your adrenal gland function because your adrenals will produce cortisone, which is your body’s natural anti-inflammatory hormone. So if your adrenals have to constantly react to chronic inflammation, this will eventually exhaust your adrenal function. The problem with this is the your adrenal glands will play a role in thyroid function overall. Your adrenals provide a hormonal message to your pituitary gland which will produce thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which in turn will provide communication to your thyroid to produce thyroid hormones of both T4 and T3. So if your body is chronically inflamed the end result will often lead to a hypothyroid condition and weight gain due to this break in communication.
Another common and often overlooked area with the thyroid, inflammation and weight gain is liver function. A very high percentage of your bound thyroid hormones depend on a properly functioning liver to convert these hormones to free or active forms of thyroid hormones. These free and active forms can then be utilized by the body for metabolism, weight loss and so much more. The challenge for many though is tied into liver congestion and inflammation of the liver. This will directly affect thyroid hormone but also weight loss, estrogen and so much more.
One more area to understand is the gut. Did you know that approximately 25% of the thyroid hormone conversion mentioned above will actually occur in the gastrointestinal tract based on health gut flora. So this is the good bacteria or probiotics that we have discussed many times in the past. The challenge though is the so many people are living in dysbiosis or unhealthy imbalances in their gut bacteria. One of the many areas of challenge for this is tied directly into inflammation again. One of the first areas that I would typically recognize chronic inflammation with our clients is actually in the gastrointestinal system. This will affect gut bacteria, thyroid hormone conversion, create weight gain, weaken the immune system, affect adrenal function, weaken digestion and so much more.
We also need to address the other missing piece of the puzzle with thyroid, inflammation and weight gain, which is autoimmunity. The most common form of autoimmunity that we see in our clinic is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. There are many symptoms that are attributed to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease. The most common symptoms include the following: fatigue, weight gain, pale or puffy face, feeling cold, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry and thinning hair, heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods, depression, panic disorder, a slowed heart rate, and problems getting pregnant and maintaining pregnancy.
Hashimoto’s disease is about seven times more common in women than in men. It can occur in teens and young women, but more commonly shows up in middle age, particularly for men. People who get Hashimoto’s disease often have family members who have thyroid or other autoimmune diseases, and sometimes have other autoimmune diseases themselves. I also want to note that autoimmune conditions are often not assessed in conventional medicine. If you are wondering if Hashimoto’s is a concern for you, ask for a thyroid peroxidase test when you complete your next blood draw. If this is something that you would do on your own, here is the comprehensive thyroid testing that we recommend for our clients.
What most do not discuss though is that chronic inflammation is typically the core underlying issue tied into autoimmune disease, whether this is Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune condition for that note. So a significant focus to assist the body in balancing from any autoimmune condition is to address the chronic inflammatory state. If you miss this, you are missing the underlying challenge that is fueling your fire of with thyroid, inflammation and weight gain.
I also want to discuss the impact on weight gain based on chronic inflammation itself. While most people are worried about an increase in fat, calories in and calories out, exercise and so much more, they are often missing the fact that most of their weight gain is attributed to chronic inflammation. So addressing inflammation is most often the key missing factor for weight loss and this is why I see so many people lose significant amounts of weight and inches when on the More Than Just Weight Loss program. And it is not even just the inflammation itself, one of the feedback loops of chronic inflammation is the fact that the inflammation will single handedly increase fat cell production in your body. Scary but true!
So what are the most significant causes of this with thyroid, inflammation and weight gain trilogy?
- Food sensitivity
- Chronic stress
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Gut infections
This is why we address all of these areas directly or indirectly in the Depke Wellness More Than Just Weight Loss program. So whether you are one of the lucky ones in this program or not, today’s article will provide you the information needed to begin your journey to address the thyroid, inflammation and weight gain trilogy to address your weight issue and more importantly, reach the states of health and happiness that you desire. You’re worth it!
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