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December 22, 2022 8 min read

Do you find yourself shivering even when the temperature isn't that low? Are those goosebumps never-ending, no matter how many layers you put on? If you feel like you've been cursed with your own private winter, your thyroid could be to blame! But why? And how can you get your body temperature back to normal again?

In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about thyroid function and cold intolerance, including the best ways to treat and cope with it.

What's your thyroid's role in body temperature?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located on the base of your neck, below Adam's apple. It creates and secretes thyroid hormones, including thyroxine (inactive hormone - T4) and triiodothyronine (active hormone - T3). These hormones regulate various metabolic processes, including your body's temperature. When the thyroid produces enough of these hormones, it helps the body regulate its temperature, just like a thermostat. This gland maintains a tightly controlled temperature of 37 C (or 98.6 F).

When it's too cold outside, these hormones help activate processes that will generate heat within our bodies. The active form of T3 is necessary to help your body produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the primary source of energy used by cells, and it's essential for generating heat within your body. Therefore, your body needs sufficient levels of T3 to maintain a stable body temperature.

In hot weather, the thyroid slows down its release of thyroid hormones, and the T4 and T3 that are already circulating in your bloodstream lose an iodine atom and transform into inactive forms - T4 converts into reverse T3 (rT3 - the inactive form of T3). We don't have to worry about adjusting knobs or dials because our bodies can do this naturally, thanks to the thyroid.What's your thyroid's role in body temperature and cold intolerance?

What's basal body temperature, and how does your thyroid regulate it?

Basal body temperature, or BBT, is the temperature at which your body is maintained while at rest. It's usually the average daily low temperature that your body can handle. This sensitive measurement is most often used as a tool to help women's fertility, but it can also be used to detect low thyroid function, along with the standard thyroid function tests.

Some studies have shown that people with symptoms of hypothyroidism may have lower than average BBT with normal range of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T4, and T3 levels.

Exposure to cold can increase TSH levels, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2013. The thyroid gland produces hormones that control the amount of energy the body uses and expands. When the body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones, it can't create enough energy to maintain a normal temperature.

Several hormones, including insulin, glucagon, estrogen, progesterone, leptin, ghrelin, and epinephrine, can temporarily affect BBT.

The body's ability to maintain a stable temperature throughout the day, or thermoregulation, is essential. The thyroid hormones provide signals to various parts of the body to produce more energy for thermoregulation.

How does hypothyroidism cause cold intolerance?

As explained above, the hormones of the thyroid are essential to maintain a stable body temperature. That's why problems can arise when you have hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid doesn't produce enough of its hormones. This thyroid disorder is caused by many things, including Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid cells and tissue, developing thyroid antibodies.

When you don't have enough thyroid hormone to convert and use stored energy effectively, your body will have less energy to regulate normal temperature.

What does hypothyroid cold intolerance feel like?

Deciding whether the weather is just cold or you have cold intolerance due to hypothyroidism can be tricky. So, how can you decide if it's just an overly chilly day or something caused by your thyroid gland?

If you find yourself shivering more often than not and always reaching for that extra layer of clothing, take note of how long these episodes last. Cold intolerance caused by hypothyroidism will likely persist much longer than the average winter chill.

Plus, if the people around you seem to feel comfortable, but you feel cold, it could be a warning sign that your thyroid function is out of whack. You should also look for other clues, such as fatigue, brittle nails and hair, constipation, low libido, and unexplained weight gain.

Of course, feeling cold and having constipation isn't enough to diagnose thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism. So if you think you have a cold intolerance because of your thyroid, go talk to a doctor. They'll likely check your thyroid function through a blood test to measure your TSH levels.

How do you manage cold intolerance with hypothyroidism?

How do you manage cold intolerance with hypothyroidism?

Being sensitive to cold temperatures can be a real pain - literally! But with the right treatments and lifestyle adjustments, you can reduce your suffering and get back to living your best life. If you've been looking for ways to manage cold intolerance due to hypothyroidism, here are some tips that will help.

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy

The first step in combatting cold intolerance due to hypothyroidism is simple: get thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This treatment works by replacing the hormone that is missing from your body. It brings your hormones back to balance and allows your body to regulate its own temperature better. Furthermore, it enables your body to liberate dormant energy and transform it into ATP, which results in an increase in your body temperature. Because your body would not know how to speed up metabolism if it did not get the prescription for the thyroid gland, getting it as soon as possible is crucial.

When it comes to thyroid hormone replacement medication, there are two main choices - natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) and levothyroxine (synthetic T4). The standard treatment for hypothyroidism in the clinical practice guidelines for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine, but NDT is the preferred option among many thyroid patients. It's made from porcine thyroid gland extract, which contains all of the hormones found in your own thyroid - T4, T3, and other important hormones such as calcitonin. Compared to levothyroxine, which is synthetic T4 only, NDT provides a more complex balance of hormones that can promote healthier metabolism and increased energy levels.

There are numerous NDT brands out there, including VitaliThy, which is a natural desiccated thyroid that's available to buy online. VitaliThy is an NDT supplement, but it contains Thyroid (USP), just like Armour Thyroid and NP Thyroid. Plus, it's free from allergens since it doesn't contain gluten, lactose, artificial colors and flavors, egg, fish, and selfish.

If you live in seasonal environments, you might be more prone to seasonal affective disorder. In this case, you might need to adjust your thyroid hormone replacement dose in order to fight the cold weather. Talk to your doctor about any new dosage requirements, and listen carefully when they explain the details of how this might work for you specifically.

Get enough sleep

Having hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland is not functioning optimally, causing your body to work harder to maintain homeostasis - a state of balance that is necessary for a body to function properly and survive.

If you have hypothyroidism, it means that your thyroid gland is not functioning optimally, causing your body to work harder to maintain homeostasis. As a result, many people with hypothyroidism may feel exhausted and lethargic. In the colder weather, your body may require more sleep to compensate for the extra energy needed to stay warm. If the cold is disrupting your sleep, there are several steps you can take to help you get a good night's rest:

  • Try raising the temperature in your bedroom to make it more comfortable for sleeping.

  • Wear warm pajamas and use cozy bedding, such as a down comforter and flannel sheets.

  • Keep a heated pack nearby or share body heat with a partner or pet to stay warm while sleeping.

Remember, it's important to give your body the rest it needs to stay healthy and feel better overall. If the cold or other factors are causing ongoing sleep issues, consider discussing these concerns with a healthcare provider for further guidance.

Eat a healthy diet

Did you know that certain foods can help keep you warm? These foods, known as thermogenic foods, produce heat as they are converted into energy in the body. Examples of thermogenic foods include fruits, meats, dairy products, and spices.

It's important to monitor your blood sugar levels, as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can place extra strain on an already underactive thyroid. Cold weather and a lack of sunlight can also increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can worsen autoimmune diseases. To help prevent these issues, it's recommended to follow a balanced diet that is high in vitamin D. During the winter, when natural vitamin D production is low, you may need to take vitamin D supplements to ensure you're getting enough of this essential nutrient.

Limit your exposure to cold

If you're in a place where you can adjust the temperature, such as your home or workplace, try turning up the thermostat to make yourself more comfortable.

If you're unable to adjust the temperature in your environment, you can also try bringing a hot bag that you can heat up and wear around your neck or back to help keep you warm.

External heat may help

Soaking your hands and feet in warm water is a simple and effective way to increase your body temperature. Taking a hot bath has additional benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and relieving joint pain. It's also important to dress appropriately for the weather, especially during the colder months. Wearing layers and keeping your head, hands, and feet warm will help you stay comfortable and warm. Remember to pay attention to the weather forecast and dress accordingly to ensure that you're prepared for the elements.

Get moving

Exercise can help boost your metabolism and energy. Therefore, they can help alleviate symptoms of hypothyroidism like cold intolerance and weight gain. We understand that exercising when you're constantly feeling cold and low in energy can be hard, but it's necessary as it'll help you feel better. You can always start slow with a low-impact exercise regimen like tai chi.

Soak up sun

When the sun shines brightly, don't avoid it. Sunlight can be really good for your brain chemistry and endocrine system. Get at least 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight exposure every day to ward off fatigue, depression, and cold intolerance. Plus, the sun gives you vitamin D, which is important for your thyroid function.

Avoid sweet food

Cold weather can make us all want to indulge in some extra-sweet treats, like hot chocolate and sweet pastries. But when it comes to our thyroid functions, sweetness isn't always a good thing. Our thyroids need a balanced diet of healthy proteins, fruits and in order to function optimally. Too much sweetness can throw off that balance and have negative effects on our health.

If you're craving something sweet this cold weather season, why not try adding a bit of natural sweetness, like honey or maple syrup, to your favorite dishes? Or, if you're looking for something warm and comforting, try some herbal teas with just a hint of sweetness instead of the sugary stuff. You don't have to give up all the sweets entirely — just be mindful of how much sugar is entering your body!

Warm clothes will help with winter cold intolerance caused by thyroid


Your thyroid plays an important role in your body's ability to maintain normal temperatures. It acts as your body's thermostat, ensuring that you stay comfortable even when the temperature outside rises or falls. Without a properly functioning thyroid, it would be impossible to keep warm during cold days or cool during hot afternoons.

The right thyroid medication can help to reduce the cold intolerance symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid, giving those affected by hypothyroidism a fighting chance at feeling comfortable when the temperature drops. Thyroid medications work to mimic natural hormones in order to give sufferers their much-needed dose of relief from extreme sensitivity to cold temperatures. So despite the chilly weather, you'll still be able to enjoy all that winter has to offer!

The two most common thyroid medications are levothyroxine and NDT. While both of these will do the job, NDT is often considered the better thyroid medication by many thyroid patients. You can find this natural thyroid medication in many places, even online, like VitaliThy. This means that you don't have to go anywhere to get your thyroid hormone levels a fix. Just stay in the warmth of your own home and wait for the thyroid medication to arrive at your door.

But besides thyroid medication, healthy lifestyle changes and ensuring that you avoid cold exposure may also help with your condition.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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