Except for the small percent of people that have legitimate thyroid issues (this article is not for you), there is a lot you can do to make sure your thyroid is optimized and running at 100% of its potential. You can start by following these tips…
Eat Enough Calories
Most people don’t eat enough calories to lose weight. As a result, their thyroid hormone production slows down to conserve energy. Long-term calorie restriction is associated with a sustained reduction in thyroid levels .
If you’re eating 1200 calories or close to it, there’s a good chance you aren’t eating enough food for optimal thyroid production. This leads to a negative feedback cycle of cutting calories leading to reduced thyroid output, which leads to a slower metabolism, which leads to cutting calories some more – eventually causing your weight loss to stall.
Don’t be afraid to eat. Food is your friend. Eat as many calories as possible that still enables you to lose weight.
Eat a Nutrient Dense Diet
You should be eating a nutrient dense diet anyways, but doing so will positively impact thyroid production. Vitamins and minerals like vitamins D and E, iodine, zinc, and selenium, as well as essential fatty acids (EFAs) are all integral to the manufacture and conversion of thyroid hormone.
Amino acids (protein) are another nutrient you want to make sure you are getting enough of. Thyroid hormone is produced from the amino acid tyrosine. Eat a nutrient dense diet, and eat enough protein for optimal thyroid health.
Exercise at a High Intensity
There is a direct correlation between your exercise intensity and the amount of thyroid hormone you produce. In other words, low thyroid levels are associated with low-intensity exercise, and as you increase your intensity level, your thyroid levels increase too.
Exercise performed at the anaerobic threshold causes prominent changes in hormone values, and they continued to rise up to 90% of max heart rate . HIIT training is one way to keep the intensity up.
Emotional and physical stress on the body is associated with low thyroid levels . When we start a fitness program we tend to go full-bore into exercise and dieting, but we forget about the mental aspects of fitness.
Stress can cause all kinds of health problems besides low thyroid levels. Get your mind right, focus on improving your mental well-being, and your hormone levels will start to fall into place.
Optimize Liver Function
Your pituitary gland regulates your thyroid hormone. More specifically, it produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which in return stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
The thyroid gland secretes about 10 times the amount of T4 than T3 per day. However, in order for T4 to become biologically active, it first needs to be converted into T3. To make this conversion, you need the deiodinase enzyme.
Your liver is responsible for nearly 40% of the conversion of T4 to T3 using the deiodinase enzyme . If you want a high conversion rate, you’re going to want a well-functioning liver. Among other things, don’t smoke, limit alcohol, and stay hydrated to keep your liver running at its best.
Have a Cheat Meal
Who doesn’t love to have a cheat meal? For those on a calorie restricted diet, a cheat meal can have many benefits both psychologically and physiologically. Not only is a cheat meal mentally satisfying, it also helps to “reset” and boost many of the hormones that are affected during prolonged calorie restriction.
Hormones like leptin and thyroid are improved back to optimal levels after a cheat meal. The production rate of thyroid hormone is increased by 82% with overfeeding . Try implementing a high calorie day or two each week where you eat at maintenance levels or slightly above.
Your thyroid is very important to your weight loss goals. It’s responsible for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism. Many people suffer from an under-optimized thyroid that is caused by their own lifestyle choices. You have the power to make a real, tangible difference in your thyroid production and fat loss potential.