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How to Naturally Increase Thyroid Levels

thyroid renderingThyroid hormone (TH) is one of the body’s most important hormones when it comes to weight loss. Among other important functions, it converts the food that you eat into heat and energy. Learning how to naturally increase thyroid levels can help you jump-start your weight loss program.

Your Thyroid, Explained

Thyroid hormone is comprised of two major parts – Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is the most abundant form of thyroid hormone in the body. It makes up nearly 80% of the thyroid hormone that is released. T4 is converted in the brain, thyroid, bloodstream, and other body tissues to the more active form of thyroid hormone – T3.

T3 is the real thyroid hormone that we are after to increase. People with thyroid disorders usually have one of two problems. They either don’t produce enough T4, or they lack the efficiency of converting T4 into the more effective T3. Whether you are prescribed T4 or T3 depends on which of these two problems you have.

T3 directly boosts metabolism in those little cell powerhouses called mitochondria. It regulates fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. The mitochondria are where fatty acids go to be metabolized.

How Do You Naturally Increase Thyroid Levels?

You can treat (not cure) hypothyroidism through medication. Is there a way to increase T3 levels naturally? Of course there is. The number one way to increase thyroid levels is to make sure you are eating a nutritious diet. Taking that one step further, by making sure you’re getting enough calories.

When we start dieting, many people immediately cut their calories, but the problem is, they usually lower them too much. This large decrease in calories triggers some of your body’s strongest evolutionary functions. When it doesn’t think it’s getting enough food, it lowers its metabolism in order to more efficiently use the energy (food) it is receiving.

Read about why you might not be eating enough calories to lose weight.

One of the easiest ways your body can lower its metabolism is by reducing the amount of thyroid hormone it produces. Since thyroid hormone is responsible for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism, it stands to reason that lowering this hormone would slow down the metabolism of these macronutrients. Once your thyroid production starts going downhill, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle to lose weight.

In addition to getting enough calories, you need to make sure the calories you’re eating are nutrient dense. Thyroid function is impaired if you aren’t feeding your body what it needs to produce it. Iodine, zinc, selenium, and other minerals are required in the production of thyroid hormone.

If you are having trouble getting it from food, a vitamin/mineral supplement would be beneficial. However, try to get you nutrients from solid food. Food contains other elements that help in the assimilation of these nutrients.

Another effective way to increase thyroid levels is through exercise. Studies have shown that the heart rate you exercise at is directly related to the amount of thyroid hormone in your bloodstream. High intensity exercise and resistance training should be staples in your fitness program. The following chart shows the relationship between maximum heart rate and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) values.

thyroid hormone chart w_ exercise intensity

Chart source: Exercise intensity and its effects on thyroid hormones

A great way to boost your exercise intensity, increase fat loss, and naturally increase thyroid levels is to use high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT will get your heart rate up, which will release TSH. When TSH is high, it signals for a release of thyroid hormones.

Read more about how HIIT is beneficial for fat loss and see a dozen sample workouts you can try.

So whether you believe you have a low thyroid output, or you’re just trying to prevent yourself from having one, proper diet and exercise can help you optimize your thyroid. Medication will treat the symptoms, and should be used when necessary, but there are usually many improvements you can make to your fitness program so that you’re optimizing your natural hormones and treating your body like the machine that it is.

  • Tracy

    Never heard that exercising could boost my thyroxine levels :( wish I had years ago by my doctors
    Been eating health for 6 weeks and losing a pound one week and putting half on the next. Getting nowhere fast.

    Decided to hit the gym every day for at least an hour and a half, makes total sense how I lost 4lb this week no stopping me now just ordered myself a mountain bike :)

  • Edina

    I can’t believe I didn’t know that TSH increases with greater exercise intensity. That gives me more motivation to get my heart rate up to 175 during my cardio.

    • Coach Calorie

      It seems that all the important hormones benefit from higher intensity.

  • Jeannette Laframboise

    Wow, good for you! This is one of the few articles/posts regarding thyroid issues that I have actually felt was accurate. I have a PhD in thyroid…not literally of course but close… I had my thyroid removed 5 years ago and I gained 30 pounds rather quickly without any change in intake or activity. My body went completely crazy in every sense of the word and it took me several years just to stabilize my levels afterward.

    Frankly, it is one mighty important gland that people don’t know much about. I have been a nurse for over 20 years and didn’t really realize just how important of a gland it really is. The truth is, the hormones it releases act on every cell in the body and that unfortunately can make life mighty tough for those with thyroid problems. Tis’ too late for me to save mine but for anyone else out there, I encourage you to do anything to maintain good thyroid function and hopefully avoid the major difficulties I have. Great post!

    • Coach Calorie

      Thanks Jeannette. Sorry to hear you had your thyroid removed. I’m assuming you’re on T4 or T3. But yes, thyroid is very important for metabolic function.

  • Deb Dorrington

    it is so funny that int he past 2 weeks I have read 4 different articles on the thyroid. I had no idea that exercise would increase my thyroid levels. I always thought that lowering my caloric intake would help my metabolism, wow was I doing things wrong. Whenever I do start to lose weight I plateau very quickly and I’m wondering if perhaps my thyroid hormone levels are to blame for this?? Thank you for this post, I have bookmarked it..

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Deb, it’s definitely a possibility. When we start dieting we usually drastically increase our activity while at the same time slash our calorie intake. This can send a lot of negative signals to your body. Eat as many calories as possible and still lose weight. That should be your ultimate goal. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Hannah B

    All of the years I spent trying to lose weight unsuccessfully and only learned 3 months ago that my thyroid quit functioning a long time ago. I’ve been on thyroxine for these 3 months but at a very low dose with no improvement yet. I urge anyone who’s been trying hard to lose weight for a long time with no luck to get their thyroid function checked. I bet some of my other health problems were caused by being hypothyroid as well. Thanks for the great post!

    • Coach Calorie

      Thyroid is definitely a big one, and can affect much more than just your body weight.

  • Janene Scarborough

    I can’t believe I did not know all of this, I’m going to talk to my doctor about it more, I’ve been on medication for years for my thyroid problem.

    • Coach Calorie

      Let me know what he/she says Janene. I’m always curious to hear what doctors have to say.

    • Christine

      I have been taking levothyroxine for 5 years after I had the IDD therapy. Ever since I have been gaining approx. 10 lbs a month and swelling uncontrollably. I just found out that I am allergic to the medication and I may need to have my thyroid removed now? (makes no sense to me) Anyway, I have decided to see what I can do on my own and I started exercising 5 times a week (at least 45 minutes of pure sweat exercise) and eating healthier.
      5 weeks later, I lost 16 lbs, 4 inches and I haven’t taken ONE single pill yet. I am very tired and it is extremely hard to get motivated but it seems to be working. I do still have the pitted Edema though :(

      • Sandi White

        Christine, try switching to as much of a raw diet as possible, incorporating lots of greens and seaweed type foods into your daily meals. I have had thyroid issues for years (night sweats, heart palpitations, no outer eyebrows, thin hair, dry skin, etc). I even lost my voice because my thyroid gland swelled. I went to a nutritionist, who did muscle testing and put me on an iodine supplement and thyroid vitamins. But after going 75%-90% raw last February, I no longer have any of the issues I had. The swelling in my neck has almost vanished and my voice is slowly coming back. I have been doing half-hour ChaLEAN Extreme workouts and workouts from Zuzana Light on 5-6 nights a week. I have tons of energy and motivation, and feel better than I have in a long time. I’ve also lost nearly all of my body fat (I didn’t realize how much I had until I saw a picture from a year ago compared to today). Good luck with your journey. There is help without medication!

  • Wendy T

    I have a doctor’s appointment Tuesday. For months now, I’ve had symptoms something is off. I am already taking Thyroid meds…but the achiness, tiredness and insensitivity to hot or cold.

    I began keeping a 3x daily temperature journal about a week ago, so I can take that data to the doc. What I’ve found surprised me. First is that my temp runs between 95.3 and 97.4 regularly. If I do something, some innocuous activity as simple are changing the linens, my temp will drop into the 95’s after. From what I’ve read about this and with what you said, I think it may be because my body is trying to compensate and working overtime in other areas via the anomaly in my thyroid.

    We’ll see soon enough.

    • Coach Calorie

      I’m curious to hear what your Dr has to say Wendy

  • darlene bohannon

    yes i have low thyroid problems and it is hard to lose weight. im on medication ,but doesnt seem to help. hopefully the in fo i read here will give me some pointers. im going to try them. also thyroid problems affects a lot of stuff in your body. watch for the signs and get help. please read the post .lots of good advice.

    • Coach Calorie

      Your thyroid affects more than just your metabolism. Good point Darlene.

  • Christine L

    I am all for non-medicated solutions. I try to share different natural remedies with family but no one listens.

    I had no idea exercise increased thyroid hormone levels. That is quite useful information.

  • jen

    Any idea what normal T3 and etc thyroid levels should be? Had mine done about 6 months ago, again in Dec as I have so many symptoms which apparently lie with thyroid levels, I was sent a letter with the results then a paragraph from a doctor saying “these are not a concern” but wondering if they are ‘just about normal’ or are well within the healthy range, am I boarderline healthy?

    (If its any help; FHS 4.9, LH 4.8, oestradiol 114, prolactn 81, testosterone 0.6)

    • Coach Calorie

      Jen, normal is going to depend on the lab that did your bloodwork. I would call your doctor and ask them what the levels were and what the normal ranges are. They should gladly give you these results. You could also go there and ask for a copy of your blood work. It’s yours anyways.

      • Shelly

        Request labcorp, and make it clear, I found quest to be extremely inaccurate.

    • Stef

      I highly suggest you go to a website called It had A TON of information about your thyroid such as symptoms, good lab results, people who have been through it all, etc.

      • Adela Larson

        That website doesn’t exist.

  • Donna B.

    Thanks for this article! I’ve had my thyroid tested and although it’s normal, it’s very low which I’ve always thought contributed to my weight problems. If I can boost my thyroid, it would help with my weight loss!! :)

    PS – I always get copies of my bloodwork every time it’s done and they’ll print the normal values there on the results so you can see. I also like doing this so I can see how my bloodwork changes over time (especially now, since I see a couple different doctors and a nutritionist and often the results don’t get shared among the lot of them).

    • jen

      I wish they printed the normal levels on my letters! I just get a list of 4 sets of numbers following codes for which they refer to. I ended up online trying to understand what each meant and where my levels sat within that. I got my results only because I got a CC copy with the original sent to my doctor, had I not had this letter I’d not have a clue what the test said. It would be great of all tests were sent with the normal levels attached as well as your own results! I’d lose count of all the blood tests I’ve had where I never hear again about them unless I make an appointment to do so and make guesses at when the tests are in because I’m not even told that.

  • Carolsue

    I have been taking Synthroid for years and it hasn’t made a bi of difference. To lose weight, I have to still diet and/or exercise. Don’t believe anyone who says these meds will make you thin. NOT TRUE.

  • Melissa O.

    I have to be honest I was a little disappointed by this article. I mean I was hoping for a little more. How to increase thyroid function: eat well and exercise. Well, that is a good thing for everyone to do regardless but what about the ones who do that and still have a sluggish thyroid? I am all for natural cures and I was hoping you would have listed best foods and vitamins to take besides just reminding us taht good food and exercise is the key to most health issues.

    • Coach Calorie

      Diet and Exercise for a Healthy Lifestyle is my site’s slogan. I explained how eating affects thyroid function. I explained how exercise affects thyroid function. If diet and exercise is not enough, go to your doctor and look for hormone replacement therapy (ie T4 – thyroid hormone). Sorry to disappoint you Melissa, but no food in and of itself is going to increase thyroid function to any measurable extent. If you want that kind of gimmicky information, you’d be better served reading Women’s Health Magazine.

      • laura

        does this apply even if you have no thyroid? My husband seems to spike a day or so after hard exercise despite having a total thyroidectomy.

  • Queenie

    Eat up a lot of food that’s basically rich in iodine and watch your diet very carefully and enrolled yourself on activity or any kind of class that boost your thyroid hormone. As will as determined your course of self determination to get well from graves disease and then take a look at your lifestyle and change it if it’s advised.

    • Shelly

      I agree with most of this as watching your diet is part of this process , be careful with the iodine and check out kelp, Get the blood work done and do not focus on just your thyroid level, ask about your vitamins, protein etc…If you get a duh reaction find someone who will explore this with you. Medical doctors are not listening.

  • Kimberly

    This is very interesting. I have taken Synthroid for years and can always tell when my dose is off based on my weight fluctuations! Thanks for the information!

  • Melissa

    Relieved to come across this article…i was getting no where with other items i had read. I have disrupted my thyroid hormone levels after battling with anorexia since I was 13. Now I am well (in the head) but my body is resisting any weight loss and i am overweight as my metabolism has lowered over the years to ‘protect’ me. I am hoping that supplementation of the aforementioned (selenium etc) will help…any product in particular you can recommend? I exercise loads and eat very healthily… suggestions welcome. Doctors tend to stay clear of scenarios such as mine … Thanks

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Melissa, if you are hypothyroid and a Dr refuses to help you, I would go to a different doctor. If it were me, I wouldn’t take thyroid medication until I knew for sure I couldn’t fix the problem with diet and exercise.

      Any daily multivitamin should get you plenty of selenium. However, I would try to get in the majority of my nutrients from food. Food has many other nutrients that help in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Nuts and many meats are high in selenium.

  • Tom

    Thyroid conditions are often seen by doctors as some kind of like… scam? A lot of doctors believe these don’t exist, and it wasn’t until I talked to my endocrinologist that I finally got it fixed.
    Melissa you should talk to one directly, and see if he will not put you on Synthroid (assuming you need it) it helped a lot for me, though I’ve had to go on a 1100 calorie/day diet to keep from gaining any weight.

  • lisa

    Higher levels of TSH correspond to LOWER LEVELS OF THYROID HORMONE IN YOUR BODY. therefore if your TSH levels increase as your heart rate increases, the amount of active thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) would be decreasing! Higher levels of TSH=HYPOthyroid.

    • Coach Calorie

      Lisa, you make an interesting point. However, what you failed to explain is that higher levels of TSH lead to increased levels of T3 and T4. Instead of looking at what is correlated, you should be looking at cause/effect.

      Your thyroid hormones are regulated as part of a negative feedback loop. High TSH levels do not cause low T3 levels. Low T3 levels cause a release of TSH, which in turns signals a release of T4/T3.

      The fact that exercise intensity and TSH values are correlated means that your body is signaling for a release of T4/T3 as intensity rises.

      Exercise increases metabolic demand. Your thyroid is responsible for the metabolism of macronutrients.

  • sally

    Yes I have been working out for years and adding new things in periodically and all was well for years too, then stress levels escalated and now my basal body temperature is down by almost 2 degrees from the “norm” and my weight has slowly increased by 14 pounds over 2 years, I eat organically and avoid genetically modified foods and anything else “unatural” , I have been researching nutrition for myself for 15 years, so why is this happening………….is it just the stress ( which I am not able to change yet)?

    • Coach Calorie

      Hard to say Sally. There could be any number of reasons. Stress, sleep, diet, exercise, and age all play a factor. Have you ever had your thyroid checked?

  • Marlene

    Hi I would like to say I have a low thyroid . Mine was diagnosed by a trichologist as I was loosing alot of hair mainly at the back of my head which the thyroid gland controls . A clinical test was done sent away to a lab the findings came back low thyroid it has been corrected and I maintain it by a correct balance of supplements to support my body and needs as well a dietary plan they advise . I exercise alot Also I have purchased a vibration platform that I use every 2 nd day to stimulate all of the body I Also take coconut oil as it nourishes the body as well supports low thyroid by maintaining body temperature. I arnt one for medication as your body operates firsty by the food you put in it and how well you look after your body any concerns you have I would seek out a hair Anaylist Trichologist you can do it on line as well you will be amazed by the body results and how they cam correct it . With all this in mind you will loose weight . It’s better to do it natural than keep on medication . Research foods , herbs. Oils , good, & bad as some are blockages even thou they are good for you . Hope this heaps anyone in doubt of how to help and maintain low thyroid . Cheers Marlene

  • Christina

    Question: What if you cannot do the rigorous exercise,…what if you are disabled?……….Some exercise is possible,…but battling Fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease, plantar faciits,…an inoperable back,…chemical burned lungs,…..being overweight,…..(between the 2 of us)…….so,….then what? What if you can only do,…some times barely at all,…a walk a day,…? sometimes not at all,..lucky to get out of the house at all some days,……? Plz, and tyvm.

    • Coach Calorie

      Christina, your diet is going to have the biggest impact on your weight. If you can keep that in check, even a little bit of physical activity will be beneficial. You are what you eat.

    • Linda

      Your health issues are all related and inflammatory. Most of the time it is caused by disturbances or intolerances to foods you are eating. A food allergy test helps to define those foods. The other mode is elimination of offending foods. To get a good idea check out this website Don’t give up your life can change. Do the work! Exercise anyway no matter what it is. Get the heart rate up, break a sweat, and not only will your thyroid thank you but every cell in your body.

  • JT

    In response to Marlene’s post: If you really have thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s) there is no vitamin supplement or diet that is going to effectively treat or reverse this condition, although there are supplement that may help to support thyroid function. Hashimoto’s is a progressive autoimmune disorder and it can cause wild fluctuations, causing you to swing from hyper to hypo until it finally just goes into a steady decline in hormone output. There are negative health risks when you let this go on too long without proper treatment. You must have prescription medication, whether it’s a “natural” thyroid drug such as Armour, compounded dessicated thyroid, or a synthetic hormone such as Synthroid (levothyroxine) and/or Cytomel (liothyronine.)
    I am very athletic and helath concious and have been for most of my life. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a few years ago and now that I’m being properly medicated (I take a combo of Synthroid and Cytomel) I look and feel better than I have in years! My athletic performance has increased, my hair is healthier, my skin is healthier, I never get sick anymore, I think more clearly, I’m happier, I have normal periods and I am no longer hanging onto an extra 5-10 lbs that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I worked or how clean my diet was.

  • Alli

    I had a total thyroidectomy six yrs ago. My meds are currently under replaced and I am therefore hypo again. My figure has increased by two dress sizes in the space of five months. I’m a keen fitness enthusiast and a Pilates instructor by day. I workout for 90mins a day as well as working through my routines with my class, so I guess you can say Imvery active. I am exhausted all the time & existing in this life of mine is really hard. My endo will not increase my meds despite a high TSH level, because my T4 is mid range & my T3 is only just in range. I feel so ill & unsupported by my medical team. I genuinely feel like I’m going to collapse & die soon and they aren’t taking my symptoms into account. They don’t believe I am as fit as I say I am, despite physical evidence proving I am what I say I am. I am heartbroken to say the least.

    • Coach Calorie

      Alli, have you considered seeing a new endo?

  • Deb

    Alli – We sound much alike, except, I still have my thyroid! I went in to my doctor complaining of all basic symptoms – she ran all kinds of tests and declared “you are within normal range”. And maybe I was tired because I was exercising so much (without sweating like I should). And maybe my calorie consumption is against me. (1200-1400 per day). I push it. Energy drinks get me through. My synthroid was only .5 mcg. Then, the error in mail order company stating doc forgot to write “Do not substitute) and I’m STUCK with levothyroxine generic. Honestly, the generic is worse than not taking the meds. I feel as though it causes mood swings! High anxiety to down in the dumps – this has NEVER happened before. I’m trying to get in to see an endo.

    I have asked about a T3 med; or changing dosage. Nope. Argh! I’d pull my hair out but it is too fine from all of this.

    I have all of the side effects that I had when I was originally diagnosed with Hashimotos and more. Dry skin now. Insomnia? I can’t always get to sleep. Oh, and I now have a wheat intolerance. According to one thyroid doc’s website, this too, is related.

    The big frustration is that I know something is really off and really wrong, but hey, “You’re within normal range.” Um, yeah. A 13 lb weight gain in a month is not normal. The inability to loose weight with mega exercise and a clean clean diet is not normal. (Except for the 20 calorie energy drinks.) I’m becoming, as I said to her, “A pear woman.”

    I have all kinds of recent test results from blood work. T3 = 2.6 “Normal is 2.4-4.2″ Thy stim hormone w/rlx to free T4 -= 2.79 Normal range: .3 – 4.

    If anyone knows of an over the counter thyroid “helper” concoction that works, let me know. Exercising 90-120 minutes a day (Zumba, spinning, hiking, jogging) is getting me nowhere. But, I will NOT give up. I cannot imagine what would happen if I did.

  • Judy Eeles

    I was diagnosed with a non-functional thyroid in 2006. Initially I was put on replacement Thyroxine it DID NOT work and it took me a long long time and many many visits to consultant endocronolgist’s until I found one who had sense and would listen to what I said about my body. Which incidentally I know quite well!!!! I was trailled on replacement T3 but was advised this was unlikely to work. Well surprise for me it did. But during these long challenging months I also put on alot of weight and spiralled to 155 lbs from my previous 135lbs. Not only was I very fed up with being Fat I also felt depressed about everything. Now in 2012 having adopted a sensible diet of fresh foods and engaging in 3 x 3/4 hour boot camp exercise sessions I am now an acceptable 135lbs. I would like to loose a little more and I think I probably will but I am so much happier. I need to let others with hypothroidism that you DO NOT NEED TO BE OVERWEIGHT AND FED UP!!!!

    • Shelly

      I read all of the above post and can relate to the weigh gain by 25lbs over a 2 year span, but I have been able to not gain more thinking this is a good sign. I suppose it is, but it’s very hard to maintain and thinking ok the thyroid meds are working. I am taking Armour which is easier to regulate by your doctor. However they keep increasing my dosage. ALERT,,,,,,all the symptoms right,,,but seems increasing isn’t stimulating my thyroid. I asked for a full blood work to be done, and to my amazement when first diagnosed I was Lacking VITAMIN D big time. I always have done fresh veggies, organic when ever possible and foods that are not processed. I recently went GLUTEN FREE as no big deal i have never been big on breads, (carbs) Pasta’s. I am also pre menopausal and always have taken prim rose (ladies please feel free to ask me)
      THINGS TO CHECK Vitamin D, all vitamins. I take a prenatal, what better way to get what i need. The primrose i have always taken and never experienced a hot flash. (recommended it to friends going through this or had hysterectomies and they all want to kiss me with in the first weed) I take fish oil , 1000 d every 3 days to keep in check, flax oil, and recently switch to using coconut oil. B complex and again look for gluten free I know the brand Nature made at walgreens or on line is great.
      So all this sounds crazy,,,,,,,,,or a bit much, ,,,,,incorporate it in every day life and it may help. Most likely why I havent gained much more, not to mention the house cleaning , dog walking cutting grass, roller blading,,,,,,still hoping to get back to 120………..

  • Marisela

    My Doctor declared me Hypothyroid at 4.25 TSH, and started me off on a 75mcg Synthroid, which made me way below hyperthyroid causing my TSH to fall down at 0.02. She had me stop it for a few few weeks and it messed up my menstrual cycle and made my TSH goto 7.35. I am still now on a 75 Mcg takin half of the pill everyday. But i had always felt that my TSH was high due to my weight gain because I had gained weight within the past 2 years after my marriage and if i exercise, it would go back to normal.. I even told this to my endo, but my endo refused to understand. Synthorid has not helped me within last 8 months i have been taking this medicine, I started to have hypothyroid and hyperthyroid symptoms after I started the medication. I have gained 8 pounds since i started my medication. I now have a different Endo. But I found this article very impressive and that’s what i have been looking for all this time. I will try this route and exercise and diet and i feel that’s what i need to get my thyroid balanced. thank you

  • Penny

    Hey thanks soooo much for your artical & the comments to your comment people…my friend had her t removed & gained 100 lbs & I said let me do some research …your artical is the best I found so far so I can help her understand why the weight gain & how to get rid of it….you are great thanks so much .with total respect from Penny

  • .suzanna

    l go to zumba,just had a blood test done and has come back showing that my hormones are showing towards over active now as l was under active……
    could you tell me why ???!!!!!!!!

    • Coach Calorie

      Really have no idea Suzanna. Could be one of 1000 different reasons. You should be discussing those results with your doctor along with your lifestyle changes.

  • http://v michelle

    Hi my tsh is 83.76 and my free t4 is 3.8

    Can anyone help me and explain why my tsh is so high and what foods should i eat

  • j colfer

    I had my thyroid out at 64, the stupid surgeon would not leave any of my thyroid in in as was suggested by the Dr. who was not there at surgery. now I am 25 lbs overweight, and have been for 4 yrs.

    I take Armour having had thyroid issues since I was 27. I will not take that chemical crap the endos
    tell us to take, ie: synthroid and levoxyl. They tell the pharmacists there is a shortage of equine thryroid-
    armour thyroid. At least it has some natural t-3 to pass on. Blame the pharmaceutical companies
    for this, its more profitable to sell synthyroid and levoxyl. Its all about money.

    After dealing with this horrible thyroid issue for 38 yrs, I have come to the conclusion that the Drs. and especially the Endos know very little about the effects of thyroid issues. In fact I have more help
    from a PA who has me do blood tests every 3 months to stay on top of it. All the Drs. would do as look
    at me from across their desk like I was pathetic and say its diet and exercise, and recommended i eat
    only 3 small meals a day not to exceed 900 calories daily. They did not believe me when I said, I DO..

    First of all, see a Naturapath ND before you let the “surgeons” yank out the thyroid, and secondly
    try the PALEO diet. I have had a little success with this. And exercise is great but at 70 I no longer
    run 2 miles a day….I do get out everyday and go tothe gym3 days a week it helps some. Watch out for grains, I blame all my problems on eating grains indluding oatmeal and sugar and dairy. Read the Paleo
    diet book, for a cave man diet and a better life, and good luck

  • Arunmira

    I read yr comments on diet and exercise, I have a low thyroid for. Years, so pls help me what foods should Imeat to shoot up my thyroid levels also I walk a lot , somImget my dose of exercise as I am 64 years old I cannot do vigorous exercises.
    When I doesn’t Imdo lose weight, but than my thyroid levels too decrease somewhat is the best food and diest that I should take.
    Thanks, will await your reply.


  • Rebeca

    I am confused. Higher TSH is basically equated with reduced thyroid function, right? So the chart appears to show that the the higher intensity your workout (based on % of maximum heart rate), the lower your thyroid function. Am I missing something? I believe what you are saying about higher intensity workouts increasing thyroid function, but don’t see how that concept is reflected in the chart in this article.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Rebeca, I answered a similar question in a previous comment, so I’m just gonna do a little copy and paste:

      …higher levels of TSH lead to increased levels of T3 and T4. Instead of looking at what is correlated, you should be looking at cause/effect.

      Your thyroid hormones are regulated as part of a negative feedback loop. High TSH levels do not cause low T3 levels. Low T3 levels cause a release of TSH, which in turns signals a release of T4/T3.

      The fact that exercise intensity and TSH values are correlated means that your body is signaling for a release of T4/T3 as intensity rises.

      Exercise increases metabolic demand…

  • Caren lynn

    Hello.. thanx for all the info.. i was recently told that my TSH is 70.. i do not want to take meds.. i feel pretty bad and scared cause the doctors tell me i better take the meds.. i believe i can heal myself naturally as the body was ment to.. i stopped eating gluten and dairy but i feel tired and very dizzy and my chest feels heavy and i have hypoglycemia pretty bad…

    • Nurse

      Just something to think about…..being as severely hypothyroid as you are with your TSH at 70 you should be careful about the effects on your heart such as heart failure and cardiac tamponade….these are real issues and this is a case where ultimately you might have to accept taking thyroid medications. I am a cardiac nurse who sees this stuff regularly and I have hasimotos myself too. My advice is to take your doctors advice on this and not fool around.

    • kristin

      Hi, I have a hypothyroid and was on the medication for a year and felt worse so I went and saw a holistic doctor. She put me on an iodine supplement and within 2 months I was weened off the other medicine and my thyroid is doing good. Plus I only take my iodine supplements when I remember.

    • Kaelee

      Take the meds!!! This can kill you!!!

    • soma

      Hi I think you should start taking medicines and once it is in control then try to maintain it naturally… hypothyroid the medicine is just a suppliment.It will not supress or have any side effects as such.

  • Camille Lucio

    This was really helpful, I knew about getting enough calories but I didn’t realize it effected your thyroid.

    • Coach Calorie

      Yes, everything you put in your body affects everything in your body. It’s all connected in some way.

      • Nurse

        Usually I love everything you write but your article diminishes the fact that for some….MOST patients with a thyroid condition will need life long thyroid supplementation in order to live, and function. I have seen many patients who believe “natural” remedies are a substitute. If I stopped taking my thyroid medication, my life would be at real risk within a couple months. It’s no joke. Not to mention all the cardiac side effects on the heart. I know this as a cardiac nurse and as a patient with hasimotos thyroid.

        • Coach Calorie

          Yes, I agree with what you’re saying, which is why I would never tell anyone to come off medication. The article is meant to show people how their actions affect their hormones, and what they can do to optimize their hormone production. It’s not meant to be an article on how to naturally cure your metabolic disorder. You’d need to talk to your doctor before you ever come off your medication.

        • sally

          I am hypothyroid and completely agree with your comment. I usually really love the coach calorie but this article really got under my skin for several reasons. I’m hypothyroid and to not manage diagnosed hypothyroidism is to put yourself in real medical danger. Symptoms of thyroid can be treated in other ways and I believe these ideas do help but do not manage an illness. To me this is like telling a diabetic to not use insulin and only exercise and use diet to control an illness. Diabetes and Hypothyroidism are both autoimmune diseases and need to be treated as such.

  • Groggerz

    Really great blog , many thanks Tony

  • Danni

    I’ve just been diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism (TSH 4.1, so not very high, but my metabolism is still very sluggish). This is coming off of 4 years of being anorexic. I expected weight gain, but I have not been able to stop, and now I am 5 lbs away from being overweight. I exercise every day (strength training, HIIT, kickboxing, hiking…not all on the same day!), and I have a high protein, low calorie diet. I was put on 25mcg of levothyroxine to see if it helps me lose some weight. I’ve been on it for 5 days, so of course it hasn’t helped yet. But as far as nutrition, I had very little advice from my doctor…should I increase my caloric intake? I’m currently taking in 1200-1400 kcal/day at 5’4″, 140lbs. I’m just reluctant to…I don’t want to gain any more weight :(

  • Cindy

    Hi there, I am 33 and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 13 years ago and have been on med ever since. I also have been exercising regularly for the last 2 years and still have a few lbs to lose to get to my goal weight. I have a question regarding your article with a connection to boosting your thyroid with hiit and resistance training. My husband says that hiit workouts are anaerobic which in turn will build the muscle. I’m confused with what anerobic and aerobic does in order to achieve my goals. I want to have the long/lean muscle toned look but I don’t want to have any “bulky” look. Isn’t that what hiit does?

  • Coach Calorie

    Bulkiness is more a function of your diet. Being lean is also a function of your diet. If you want “toned” muscles you need to do what is necessary to build muscle and then use your nutrition to drop body fat.

    • Cindy

      Thank you for your reply! I’ve been doing a program called tapout xt for 4 weeks now and prior to that I did strength toning 3xs a week, cardio 2-3xs a week as well, What foods should I be eating that will “drop body fat” I DO NOT want to bulk, but want to do this right!

  • Coach Calorie

    Sally, as I’ve said numerous times in the comments and article, this information is not meant to be used to treat an illness. If you need medication – take it. I’ve never said otherwise. My only intention is to show the relationship between your lifestyle actions and your thyroid, and how you can optimize it.

  • Coach Calorie

    Danni, I’d speak to a nutritionist or dietician so they can assess your blood work and prescribe you a diet. Only they will be able to give you the personal attention and help treat your condition.

  • Coach Calorie

    Any of the foods on the following list will work –

  • Leilani Aki

    I was told to try Bladderwrack. What is that?

  • Coach Calorie

    I really have no idea. Never heard of it. Maybe give it a Google search?

  • Tiernan’s Mom

    The food list is a good list in general but when you have a Thyroid disorder, but there are loads of foods you cannot eat and many of them are on the 100 foods to eat list… There are many vegetables and a few fruits we cannot eat etc. on FB
    Hypothyroid Mom – Thyroid Sexy and Dr Wiggy and the best Thyroid people to follow..

  • Coach Calorie

    The list is meant for healthy people and not for those with disease. Please speak to your doctor. This post is not about treating thyroid disorders.

  • ME

    On exercising & when under stress, cortisol plays a big role . Excessive training while suffering with thyroid can have a negative affect. Monitor how you feel before & After training & how long it takes to recover. HIIT Is the best way to not stress the body to much but dont over do it. I love training , weight lifting but i have to pull back alot , I am hypo & have goitres under investigation at the moment. I also only have a partial thyroid after 2 ops to remove two other growths. I am a personal trainer & Figure BB competitor. I find it horrible that i cannot train as much as used to but hopefully i will get sorted soon with the right treatment as naturally as possible : )

  • konstanzepr31

    Yes it does. Do a search for stopthethyroidmadness – maddness has two d’s in it in the above link.

  • Sooc7

    Is there a connection between an underactive thyroid and menopause?

  • EndoSurvivor

    Excellent article. I have normal T3/T4 levels but i still tend to feel sluggish and have problems with fat loss sometimes. I learned lots from this article. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try out some of these suggestions!

  • Cowtowngirl

    I have been advised not to take Iodine with my hypothyroid, all these articles are so frustrating because one tells you one thing and another tells you the exact opposite. Is Hashimoto the reason why iodine is bad idea for me?

  • Walking Man

    My TSH3ult came back 2.02 in a recent test. I am 70 years of age, almost 71. But, I ride my bike about 12 miles per day (knees are bone-on-bone, so any other form of exercise such as walking, running or the elliptical machine isn’t possible). I am overweight and want to lose 40 lbs. Triglycerides: 50; HDL: 47; LDL: 86; Total cholesterol: 143; Chol/HDL ratio: 2.9. Glucose: 95.
    The question is the TSH level too low? My lab report says that the range should be 0.55 – 4.78. Again, mine came back 2.02.