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July 17, 2023 9 min read

Hypothyroidism can be a challenging condition for everyone, but there are some simple steps you can take to boost your health! From metabolic thyroid supplements to exercises, this article will show you how to get your metabolism up and running again. You don't have to suffer through hypothyroidism - with the right step, you can make changes that will help you feel better and be more energetic. Here's how to boost your metabolism with hypothyroidism - let's get started!

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the multifaceted process within the body that converts the food and nutrients consumed into the much-needed energy to support vital functions like breathing, digestion, blood distribution, body temperature regulation, and organ operation. Integral to the regulation of this metabolic process is the thyroid hormone, which is essential in modulating nearly every organ system in the body.

Under optimal conditions, thyroid hormones are maintained at appropriate levels to ensure metabolic functions are conducted effectively, meaning you should have a healthy metabolism. When the quantity of thyroid hormone does not meet the body's requirements, the metabolic process could slow down, impacting activities like digestion by slowing down the transit of food through the digestive system. This hormonal imbalance can give rise to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, sleepiness, constipation, heightened sensitivity to cold, dry skin, and menstrual changes.

It's important to note that the term "metabolism" is not about the speed of food processing, but rather its efficiency. Metabolism can be categorized into three components: basal, physical activity, and the thermic effect of food (more on these below).

Often, the term "metabolism" is associated with one's ability to lose, maintain or gain weight, and the rate at which these changes occur. However, metabolism encompasses far more than just managing weight. Its role is critical in several complex chemical processes within the body that convert food into energy.

The energy output from these metabolic processes fuels everything, from basic bodily functions such as breathing and digestion, to powering organ activities in the heart and brain. Ultimately, the distinction between a fast and slow metabolism pertains to how many calories are typically burned, both at rest and during physical activity or digestion. Understanding and maintaining a functional and efficient metabolism is integral to optimal health.

How does your metabolism work?

The operation of your metabolism hinges significantly on your endocrine system and its hormones. In particular, the thyroid, often referred to as the "master gland of metabolism", sets the pace for all chemical reactions within the body through its hormones.

The process commences after you eat. Specifically, enzymes help to convert proteins into amino acids, fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into glucose, which is a form of sugar. The endocrine hormone insulin—produced by the pancreas—then aids in this conversion process, particularly for carbohydrates to be transformed into glucose.

Once these conversions take place, the resulting amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose get absorbed into the bloodstream. They then journey to your cells, where yet more enzymes assist in the release of energy. Some of this energy goes into immediate use within the body, while the rest gets stored for future usage in body tissues such as the liver, muscles, and body fat. Thus, this systematic and well-oiled process is the core of how your metabolism works. 

How can you calculate your metabolic rate?

Metabolism and maintaining a healthy weight can seem like a complex equation, as it's influenced by numerous factors. For some, maintaining a healthy weight comes naturally, while for others, losing weight or preventing weight gain on lower-calorie diets can be challenging. This is largely down to the individual's unique metabolic rate, which hinges on three primary categories: Basal/Resting Metabolic Rate, Activity Energy Expenditure, and Thermic Effect of Food.

1. Basal or Resting Metabolic Rate (BMR/RMR)

The body burns energy/calories through basal and resting metabolic rates (BMR/RMR) to uphold essential functions such as breathing, blood circulation, and organ operation. The BMR/RMR gauges the speed of these biological processes and its influenced by factors like genetics, age, body composition, diet, nutritional status, and existing medical conditions that may affect metabolism. For instance, muscle tissues require more energy to maintain, thus effectively speeding up metabolism, while a higher body fat percentage could lead to a slower metabolic rate.

2. Active Energy Expenditure (AEE)

Active Energy Expenditure (AEE) includes both planned physical activities and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which encompasses subconscious or reflexive movements made throughout the day, such as fidgeting, walking around, or standing. Fundamentally, AEE accounts for the energy expended during physical activity.

3. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the energy necessitated to digest and metabolize food. Various factors impact this process. Nutritious food, as opposed to processed and junk food, aids in supporting a more functional and faster metabolism. Additionally, the time of day you consume your food matters, with food eaten earlier in the day generally exhibiting a higher thermic effect compared to that consumed late or at night.

Of note, carbohydrates and fats typically require approximately 5 to 15% of their caloric content to be metabolized, while protein necessitates about 20 to 30%. Furthermore, maintaining proper hydration status is also crucial for maximizing the thermic effect of food.

In summary, understanding and managing these components are instrumental in the successful navigation and control of your metabolic rate.

What is the connection between metabolism and hypothyroidism?

The interplay between metabolism and hypothyroidism is highly integral to the body's functionality. It is essentially the thyroid hormones that govern the metabolic process, including both the storing and burning phases of energy. Given the omnipresence of thyroid hormone receptors throughout the body, it becomes evident that these hormones have the potential to influence not only metabolism but a broad range of physiological functions.

An illustrative example of this lies in fat metabolism. The thyroid hormone aids the body in burning fat and generating additional energy, thereby increasing the basal metabolic rate (BMR). This implies that one can burn fat even in a state of inactivity.

However, mounting evidence indicates an intimate relationship between hypothyroidism and metabolic reduction. In individuals with hypothyroidism—whether undiagnosed or ineffectively managed—a diminished basal/resting metabolic rate (BMR/RMR) and a higher body mass index (BMI) are often observed in comparison to those with normal thyroid functionality.

Hypothyroidism and metabolic dysfunction or metabolic damage can present with similar signs and symptoms, further emphasizing their connection. Metabolic damage, often known as starvation mode, generally manifests as your body's protective measure. This mechanism gets initiated to maintain energy balance and avert the risk of potential starvation.

Some overlapping symptoms include, but are not limited to, gastrointestinal issues such as gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and reflux or heartburn. Additionally, generalized symptoms such as reduced energy levels, increased hunger and cravings, diminished libido, fluid retention, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight are also common between the two conditions.

Recognizing these shared symptoms and understanding the interconnection between metabolism and hypothyroidism are crucial to the appropriate diagnosis and management of these conditions, ultimately supporting overall health and wellbeing.

Does boosting your metabolism help you lose weight?

Individuals who have a slow metabolic rate often find weight loss challenging. This struggle is largely due to the body's lower calorie-burning capacity, which results in the storage of excess calories as fat. Logically, a faster metabolism will result in a higher calorie burn, aiding in weight maintenance, or contributing to weight loss.

Genetic factors significantly contribute to the metabolic rate, determining the speed at which your body metabolizes food for energy. Other influencing components include age, gender, body size and composition, and daily physical activity levels — all of which shape your body's metabolic efficiency.

Although several of these factors are beyond our ability to control, there are still small manageable changes and habits that can enhance calorie burning and help maintain weight. By focusing on these modifiable factors, you can give your metabolism a beneficial boost, regardless of the genetic and inherent physiological factors at play.

Does treating your hypothyroidism help you boost metabolism?

Before planning any treatment, lifestyle adjustments, or dietary changes, it's a good idea to have a thorough thyroid hormone test to find out if there's a hormone imbalance and whether you have a thyroid condition. Make sure the test covers Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), free T4, free T3 and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies to picture your whole thyroid condition.

Since thyroid conditions greatly affect your body's metabolic processes, they are precisely related to BMR/RMR. One of the most important ways to optimize your BMR/RMR and speed up your metabolism is to improve or optimize your thyroid condition. Suppose the test shows you have an underactive thyroid condition. In that case, your doctor might prescribe thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is a critical component in managing hypothyroidism. The treatment aims at replenishing the body's deficiency of thyroid hormones to maintain normal metabolism. There are two main types of thyroid hormone replacement therapies: levothyroxine, which is considered the standard treatment, and natural desiccated thyroid.

Levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the thyroxine hormone (T4), is the primary choice in traditional thyroid treatment approaches. The body metabolizes this synthetic hormone to produce triiodothyronine (T3), supporting the regular metabolic functions. The dosage of levothyroxine is often adjusted based on individual needs ascertained through periodic blood tests.

Conversely, natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) is derived from the dried thyroid glands of pigs and contains both T4 and T3 hormones. As such, it can provide a more comprehensive hormone replacement, more closely resembling the body's natural thyroid hormone levels. Many patients report a preference for this treatment, given its natural origin and potential for a more balanced hormone replacement.

Should you be contemplating a transition to natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), consider beginning your journey with the brand VitaliThy as a solid first step. VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online, utilizes naturally derived components to deliver well-rounded thyroid support. An added advantage of VitaliThy is its 'free-from' feature: it contains no lactose, gluten, shellfish, fish, or eggs, in addition to being devoid of artificial colors and flavors. This makes it a strong contender for those seeking a more natural thyroid hormone replacement therapy option.

How can you boost your metabolism when you're hypothyroid?

Navigating hypothyroidism and a potentially slow metabolic rate can be challenging, with factors such as genetics and age playing roles beyond our control. However, there are ways to boost your metabolism even in the context of hypothyroidism, focusing on the manageable factors. Here are some steps and tips for metabolic enhancement:

Favor Metabolism-Boosting Foods

Increasing the thermic effect of food with high-protein, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and grains can enhance your resting metabolic rate. Protein intake can elevate metabolism 2-3 times higher than carbohydrates and fats.

Select Ideal Protein Sources

Choosing low-saturated, low-trans fat protein is especially crucial for hypothyroidism patients as these fats can trigger inflammation and disrupt thyroid function. Opt for chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, and nuts.

Avoid Crash Dieting

Avoid diets that significantly restrict food groups or caloric intake. These kinds of diets may harm your thyroid and induce starvation mode, leading to nutrient deficiencies, slower metabolism, and rebound weight gain.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping hydrated is essential even though the impact on metabolism remains debatable. In addition to drinking water, consume water-rich fruits like watermelon and cucumber.

Boost Physical Activity

Exercise, whether cardiovascular or strength-training, enhances energy expenditure and aid in weight loss. Strength-training helps maintain muscle mass and burn more calories, high-intensity cardio also improves metabolism.

Manage Stress Effectively

Chronic stress can lead to overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol, which can inadvertently cause slow metabolism and weight gain. High cortisol levels inhibit the function of the body's metabolic process, leading to difficulties in weight management. However, engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation can help to lower cortisol levels, potentially supporting a healthier metabolic rate and managing weight more effectively.

Consult a Professional

Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to diet, lifestyle, or incorporating any supplements. If you have a thyroid condition and wish to start taking supplements, some of them might worsen the condition due to high levels of iodine. Hence, professional consultation is always advised.

Conclusion: Optimizing your thyroid hormone levels may help improve metabolism

In conclusion, the connection between metabolism and hypothyroidism is an area of health that deserves its rightful share of proactive attention. By understanding and pinpointing the nuances of metabolism, including its ingredients of BMR/RMR, AEE and TEF, we can work towards a healthier lifestyle, even in the face of hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland, albeit small, reigns over our body’s metabolic processes. Its functionality significantly impacts our metabolism, energy, weight, and overall wellness.

Boosting your metabolism to combat weight gain or to lose weight with hypothyroidism may seem arduous, but it can be achieved. Integrating small but manageable lifestyle changes, such as incorporating metabolism-boosting foods, choosing ideal protein sources, avoiding crash diets, keeping hydrated, ramping up physical activity, and managing stress, can play a huge part. Also, consult a healthcare professional before implementing big changes or starting any new regimen.

For those grappling with hypothyroidism, thyroid hormone replacement therapy is a potential solution to consider. And among the options for therapy, natural desiccated thyroid introduced via VitaliThy offers a naturally derived, comprehensive thyroid support. This lactose, gluten, shellfish, fish, egg-free option, devoid of artificial colors and flavors, could be an excellent choice for those opting for a more natural approach. Plus, you can buy this desiccated thyroid online.

Know that hypothyroidism is a condition, not a conclusion. With the right practices, diligence, and informed medical guidance, a boost in your metabolism, even with hypothyroidism, can indeed be within reach.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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