Why Levothyroxine Causes Weight Gain and How to Prevent it

Are you on Levothyroxine but still gaining weight?

Believe it or not, this is a big problem for a lot of people.

But the bigger question is this:

How can you be gaining weight on a medication that is supposed to INCREASE your metabolism?

Is it even possible? 

​Well, the truth is that Levothyroxine doesn't necessarily increase your metabolism... at least not in everyone. 

​In this post I'm going to show you exactly why Levothyroxine can cause weight gain and what you can do about it:

More...

T4 to T3 Conversion Matters... A lot

​Before we talk about how Levothyroxine and Synthroid can cause weight gain we need to talk about some basic thyroid physiology. 

Your thyroid, under the influence of TSH (if working properly), pumps out primarily the thyroid hormone T4. 

What you need to understand is that T4 is an inactive hormone. By itself it doesn't do anything for your body except act as a reservoir for T3 and T3 is the active thyroid hormone in your body

T3 is what enters into your cells and turns on the genes that increase your metabolism, help with hair growth and give you energy.

In order for T4 thyroid hormone to be active in your body, it MUST be converted to the active hormone T3.

​The problem is that T4 doesn't always convert to T3: 

Factors that affect thyroid function

(This image shows what is required to convert T4 into the active free T3 hormone, it also outlines what causes your body to turn T4 into the inactive reverse T3)

You see:

Your body has two options:

1. Turn T4 into T3 which enters into your cells and activates genetic transcription (this is what you WANT to have happened and what most doctors assume is happening)

or...

2. Turn into Reverse T3 which blocks thyroid action, lowers metabolism and makes patients feel like they are hypothyroid (this is what you DON'T want to have happened but ends up happening in many patients on T4 only medications)

The more reverse T3 in your bloodstream the less you can rely on normal thyroid blood tests to give you any actionable information. 

So if you understand this concept the next question you should be asking yourself is this: 

What causes your body to turn T4 into the inactive reverse T3? ​

Download my Free Resources:

Foods to Avoid if you have Thyroid Problems: 

I've found that these 10 foods cause the most problems for thyroid patients. Learn which foods you should absolutely be avoiding if you have thyroid disease of any type. 

The Complete List of Thyroid Lab Tests:

This list includes optimal ranges, normal ranges, and the complete list of tests you need to diagnose thyroid hypothyroidism correctly!

Download more free resources on this page

​Levothyroxine and Synthroid are Both T4 only Medications

So here is the primary problem:

Levothyroxine and Synthroid are both T4 only medications.

Most Doctors will prescribe T4 medication under the assumption that your body will have no problem converting T4 into T3.

And in a perfect world​, a world without stress, inflammation or other hormonal imbalances - it would. 

But that's not the world we live in...​

​Nowadays it's VERY uncommon if someone has their stress managed, has no issues with blood sugar/insulin/leptin, has a normal menstrual cycle, is not overweight, has never done yo-yo diets, or has normal adrenal function.

Do any of these symptoms or situations sound familiar? 

Chances are high that you are dealing with 1 or more of them. 

And in states such as these, your body will turn T4 into reverse T3 as a way to "put on the brakes" and slow down your metabolism and cause symptoms of hypothyroidism.

​How Levothyroxine Causes weight gain

​So how does this all relate to Levothyroxine and weight gain?

We can look at some studies to help us understand:

Take for instance this study. (1)

Patients in this study were given T4 only medications and treated based on their TSH. 

The researchers tested their resting energy expenditure (this is a way to test for basal metabolic rate or metabolism) both before they added the thyroid hormone and after they suppressed the TSH. 

Do you know what they found? 

It showed that patients taking thyroid hormone (even doses that lower the TSH to <0.1) did NOT have an increase in metabolism or a change in their body weight. ​

Levothyroxine and metabolism

This is really interesting information and it has profound implications for treatment...

For one it shows that our reliance upon TSH as a marker for managing thyroid medication and function is not very accurate. ​

Don't get discouraged because there are other thyroid medications that actually do help with weight loss which we will discuss below. ​

But, for this reason (and many others) I generally don't recommend using T4 only medications (like Synthroid and Levothyroxine) to treat hypothyroidism and I recommend against using the TSH to dose your medication. 

​What's more:

This study also showed that suppressing the TSH did NOT result in adverse side effects.

T4 suppressive therapy no adverse side effects

Enter your text here...

​One of the main reasons Doctors are afraid to increase thyroid medications is because they are concerned that the low TSH will result in damage to the body over time.

It's not uncommon that patients will start to feel better when their thyroid dose is increased, only to have all those symptoms come back again when they are told their dose is "too high". 

Don't let your doctor convince you that you are hyperthyroid when you have crushing fatigue, weight gain, hair loss and constipation - it just doesn't work that way and you can't tell someone they are hyperthyroid based on their TSH alone. 

Here is another very interesting study (2) that compared people taking Natural Desiccated Thyroid to those taking Levothyroxine: 

NDT vs levothyroxine

This study showed that patients taking Natural Desiccated Thyroid (Like Armour thyroid, Nature-Throid, and WP Thyroid) experienced more weight loss and HALF of the people in the study said that they preferred taking NDT over levothyroxine. 

NDT causes more weight loss than levothyroxine

And here is another very important study (3) comparing equivalent dosing (based on pituitary function and TSH) of T4 medication vs T3 only medication:

T4 vs T3 only thyroid medication

This study showed that patients who were taking T3 only medication had more weight loss and better cholesterol than patients who were taking T4 only medication (like Synthroid and Levothyroxine). 

What's also important is that the patients who took T3 did not have any change in blood pressure, heart rate or insulin sensitivity. 

Meaning the T3 only thyroid medication was tolerated very well. 

So now we have several different studies showing that patients not only do VERY well on medications containing T3 thyroid hormone but that these medications are also WELL tolerated. 

You can read more about the use of T3 only medication (Liothyronine and Cytomel) for weight loss here. 

thyroid daily essentials insert

​Moral of the story?

Most patients not only prefer to take Natural desiccated thyroid (medication that includes T3 hormone) but this medication also results in more weight loss and an improved quality of life.

​One of the biggest problems with T4 only medication is that your body may NOT be converting it to the active T3 thyroid hormone. 

In many patients, your body may actually convert it to reverse T3 thereby slowing your metabolism, and actually making your condition and symptoms WORSE.

But here is another important note side note:

Natural Desiccated Thyroid still contains T4 (in fact the majority is still T4). ​

That means that sometimes NDT can actually make hypothyroid symptoms worse as well by increasing reverse T3.

People with this problem need pure T3 medications like Liothyronine to improve symptoms and lose weight. 

You can read more about case studies using NDT with T3 medications here.

What to do if you think Levothyroxine is Causing Weight Gain

If you have constantly gained weight (or even if you just aren't losing weight) there are several steps you can take to figure out if the dose of thyroid medication you are taking is working in your body. 

You can find a guide on how to properly dose Levothyroxine here. ​

These next steps are designed to help you determine if your body is turning T4 into T3 or if your body is turning your levothyroxine right into Reverse T3. 

Some of these can be performed at home and others will require a Doctor. 

It's also worth pointing out that at the end of the day you will need to find a Doctor that is willing to work with you because if you are not getting enough thyroid hormone then you will either need MORE medication or a NEW medication to feel better. ​

Step #1: ​Check your Basal Body Temperature Each Morning

Checking your basal body temperature is a quick and easy way to estimate your basal metabolic rate.

Your basal metabolic rate is basically how many calories you are burning on a daily basis.

This number is really important when it comes to weight loss because it accounts for more than 90% of your total calories burned each day. 

When you exercise you are only focusing on about 5-10% of your calories burned and it has little to no impact on your weight overall (this is why most of you who exercise aren't losing weight). ​

If you are not on a high enough dose of thyroid hormone then your body temperature will be lower. (4)

This also means that as you start thyroid hormone medication your body temperature should increase as you increase your dose.

If your body temperature is not increasing then this may be an early sign that you are on the wrong thyroid medication or the wrong dose of thyroid medication.

Many factors can alter your body temperature but it is a relatively easy way to check and when you combine it with the other methods listed below it can be quite effective.

You can read more about using basal body temperature to manage thyroid, adrenal and fertility here. ​

How to check your basal body temperature:

  • Each morning, as soon as you wake up and before you get out of bed, check your body temperature and record your results. It is very important that you stay in bed (do not get up to go to the bathroom) before you check your body temperature. Also, try to check the temperature at the same time every day. I recommend using this thermometer for the best results. 
  • Plot your morning body temperature and watch for patterns. Your body temperature should be > 97.8. Period. Anything less than this indicates that your metabolism may be slowed. *Note that medications may interfere with the reliability of this test (medications like beta blockers, narcotics, diabetic medications, blood pressure medications and antidepressants)
Basal body temperature when hypothyroid

The image above shows a hypothyroid patient that I treated with NDT and her body temperature over the course of a month. 

You can see her body temperature is quite low and the pattern is very chaotic for the first 10 days of her cycle.

As she reaches ovulation her body temperature increases and stays constant and then after ovulation, it remains high and constant.

This reflects what should happen with body temperature when starting thyroid medication and is an indication that the medication is working to increase metabolism. ​

This patient was started on Armour thyroid and did lose weight after her body temperature had improved, but notice it took about 4-6 weeks for her body temperature to improve on the medication. ​

​Step #2: Check your Resting Pulse or Resting Heart Rate

In addition to checking your basal body temperature, you should also be monitoring your resting heart rate. 

Why? 

Because hypothyroidism is well known to cause a slow heart rate (5) or low pulse. (6)

Your resting heart rate is a reflection of your autonomic nervous system which is mediated by norepinephrine and adrenaline. 

It's also a reflection of your metabolism and your basal metabolic rate. 

Some patients believe that their heart rate in the 50's is a "good" thing because they have heard that conditioned athletes have a slower pulse. 

And that is true if you exercise daily and are not overweight at all, but if you do not exercise and you are 20+ pounds overweight your slow heart rate is NOT a good thing.

Instead, it is an early indicator that your body is NOT burning an adequate amount of calories per day which may ultimately lead to weight gain. 

Another important point is that your resting heart rate should increase with the addition of thyroid hormone (especially T3), making this another great measurement to track as you start thyroid medication. 

​If you have hypothyroidism I recommend buying a wearable fitness device to monitor your pulse, how well you sleep and how active you are throughout the day.

I will frequently request this data from my patients and use it to help adjust thyroid dosing. 

​Combining basal body temperature with resting heart rate is a very powerful combination and can help you determine how well you are being treated.

Your resting pulse should generally be > 50-60 at night while you sleep unless you are a WELL conditioned athlete. A resting heart rate lower than that indicates an issue (though doesn't necessarily mean it is thyroid related). 

As you increase your thyroid medication your resting pulse should be somewhere in the 70-80 range while you are awake and active. ​

If you are on medications like a beta blocker or narcotics it may interfere with your pulse rate/heart rate in addition to lowering your body temperature, so you must account for this if you are tracking both your body temp or resting heart rate. 

Step #3: Check a Complete Thyroid Panel​

Finally one of the most important things you can do is to check a full and complete thyroid panel.

This will give you direct insight into how well your body is producing, converting and utilizing thyroid hormone in the body. 

EVERY patient with hypothyroidism should get this panel and they should understand the difference between "optimal" and "normal" levels. 

Your Doctor is most likely basing his recommendations off of the "normal" range, but I will show you what "optimal" range you should be shooting for in each test. 

Please note that these values refer to patients who are NOT already on thyroid medication. If you are on thyroid medication then you need to use different ranges. 

The complete thyroid panel:

  • TSH - Should be < 2.0, anything higher than 2.0 is a problem and being less than 2.0 does not mean you are normal (see this post on why the TSH is so inaccurate
  • Free T3 - Should be in the top 50% of the reference range, many patients have low T3 syndrome which means T3 is usually in the low-normal range but definitely not optimal
  • Total T3 - Should be in the upper 1/2 of the reference range
  • Free T4 - Should be in the top 50% of the reference range
  • Reverse T3 - Should be less < 15, anything higher indicates thyroid resistance and/or poor T4 to T3 conversion (patients with low free T3 syndrome often have low-normal free T3 with high reverse T3 levels)
  • Thyroid Antibodies - Should be as close to 0 as possible, higher levels may indicate autoimmune thyroiditis and many patients with Hashimoto's have symptoms of hypothyroidism with "normal" TSH values but still should be treated with thyroid hormone
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin - Should be 70-80 in females and 20-30 in men, the SHBG will estimate the cellular function of thyroid hormone in the body (patients with low SHBG will often need higher doses of T3 containing medications)

It is VERY important that you not only get ALL of these tests but that you also look at the "optimal" numbers instead of the lab value reference ranges. 

You want to compare yourself to healthy adults, not just the "average" adult... Because, let's face it, the "average" American adult is far from healthy. 

By combining test results with basal body temperature and resting heart rate you can get a really good idea of how well your thyroid is functioning and how well your metabolism is working.

You should use these metrics to determine your thyroid dose to find the best thyroid medication and dose for your body

​How to Finally Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism

So what are you supposed to do ​if you still have hypothyroid symptoms with "normal lab tests"? 

What are you supposed to do if you haven't been able to lose weight despite increasing your dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid?

You have 2 ways to go about this:

1. Change your thyroid medication to include T3 containing medications (NDT and/or T3 only medications)

2. Boost thyroid conversion by ​taking certain supplements and treating certain conditions which limit the conversion process (we will talk about this below)

​The easiest (and probably most effective) way to increase thyroid function and lose weight is by adding pure T3 to your dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid. 

This allows you to bypass the T4 to T3 conversion process.

Your body can only make Reverse T3 if T4 is present, so if you only provide T3 to the body then it simply doesn't have the option to create Reverse T3 and your levels will naturally fall.

​This is one of the ways to "flush" out high levels of Reverse T3 in the body

You can accomplish this by either switching from Levothyroxine to NDT or by simply adding Liothyronine or Cytomel to your total dose.

This step will require that a Doctor is willing to work with you, however, which is why I always recommend seeking out a provider with advanced knowledge about thyroid function. 

thyroid metabolism reset poster for side bar

If your plan is to take this information to your current Doctor to get them to understand this information or to order the "right" tests it will most likely backfire.

​If you don't have anyone local to you, then you do have a few options: 

Most conventional or traditional Doctors dislike natural desiccated thyroid medication so they are less likely to prescribe this, but usually, endocrinologists are willing to add small doses of Cytomel to your dose of T4. 

Even adding 5-10mcg of Liothyronine can be enough for some people (though not the majority).

If you can get your provider to switch you from Levothyroxine to NDT (Armour Thyroid, WP thyroid or Nature Throid) then that might improve your symptoms as well. 

As a primer remember this:

  • T4 only medications: Levothyroxine, Synthroid, Levoxyl, Tirosint
  • NDT (T4 + T3 medications): Armour thyroid, Naturethroid, WP thyroid
  • T3 only medications: Liothyronine, Cytomel and SR T3 (compounded)

​Most patients do better on medications that have T3 in them, so try and stick to the NDT and/or T3 only portions or simply combine them together. 

Does Levothyroxine ever Cause Weight Loss? 

The answer is that YES Levothyroxine and Synthroid can cause weight loss but only in certain patients. 

Since you are reading this you are most likely not one of those patients but I have written about it extensively in this post. ​

In order for Levothyroxine to cause weight loss, you must be able to adequately convert T4 to T3 without issues.

Some patients have single nucleotide polymorphisms (7)(genetic changes) which make T4 to T3 conversion very slow. If you have this polymorphism then Levothyroxine and Synthroid will probably not be the best medication for you. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some patients are what I refer to as "super converters".

You can give them T4 and they will turn it into T3 without any problems at all, and these patients often react to T3 containing medications with palpitations and/or anxiety.

Another subgroup of patients have reactions to the INACTIVE ingredients in Levothyroxine and Synthroid which may lead to intolerance of the medication. 

If you can't tolerate the proper dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid then you won't lose weight with the medication.

​And lastly, patients who don't have any other chronic medical conditions are more likely to do well on T4 only medications. 

What I mean by that is this:

The more inflammation you have, the more chronic pain you have, the more medications you take, the more weight you have to lose, the less likely you are to do well on Levothyroxine.

Why?

Because all of these conditions will make thyroid conversion more difficult.

So yes, Levothyroxine can cause weight loss but it needs to be at the right dose and in the right individual.

As a quick aside, if your Doctor isn't willing to add T3 or NDT to your regimen then you might be able to get him/her to prescribe Tirosint instead.

Tirosint is a T4 only medication but has very few inactive ingredients and many patients tolerate this medication better than Levothyroxine or Synthroid. ​

Tirosint is also helpful in patients with abdominal issues or with patients who are taking acid-blocking medications and studies show it has increased absorption in these settings. (8)

  • Bottom line: Even if your Doctor isn't willing to change your medication to NDT, they still may be willing to either add Liothyronine (T3 only medication) or switch your Levothyroxine to Tirosint. Both of these options may improve your thyroid conversion and lead to weight loss in certain individuals.

5 Steps YOU can Take Today to Lose Weight and Boost Thyroid Function

​There are several things YOU can do to optimize your thyroid function. 

These steps should be taken in addition to the steps outlined above for best results. 

​Whenever I treat patients I often employ multiple therapies at once for the multiplicative effect that it provides on metabolism and thyroid function. 

Follow these steps below to naturally boost your thyroid function and reset the metabolic conditions that favor T4 to reverse T3 conversion: ​

1. ​Optimize T4 to T3 Conversion

One of the easiest things you can start with right away is making sure that you have all of the right nutrients for proper thyroid conversion.

You can read more in this post about the 13+ nutrients required for proper thyroid creation, metabolism and conversion but I will go over the most important below. 

The two primary nutrients involved in the conversion pathway are zinc and selenium.

It also happens that MANY patients are deficient in both of these nutrients due to a variety of reasons, which creates a great opportunity for most patients.

Let me go over the benefits of each of these...

Benefits of Zinc Supplementation on thyroid function:

Benefits of Selenium Supplementation on thyroid function:

How to supplement with Zinc and Selenium:

  • Zinc: Take up to 60mg per day (take away from thyroid medication)
  • Selenium: Take up to 50mcg to 200mcg per day (take away from thyroid medication and do not exceed 400mcg per day)
  • Look for supplements which contain both Zinc and Selenium such as this one

Make sure to use zinc bound to picolinic acid and selenomethionine because both of these forms have the best absorption for thyroid patients. (13)

2. Optimize your Adrenal Function and Cortisol Levels

Cortisol and thyroid function are linked. 

As TSH rises so too does cortisol. (14)

High cortisol levels lead to weight gain, increased insulin resistance, fatigue and a host of other problems.

Because of this, it's critical to get proper thyroid hormone replacement. 

But there's one problem:

Replacing thyroid hormone doesn't reverse high cortisol levels by itself.

That means you have to take action to help manage cortisol levels on your own.

In fact, one of the main reasons that patients ​still have fatigue after getting on the right dose of thyroid hormone is because they neglect cortisol and adrenal function as well. 

How do you know if this is a problem for you? ​

Symptoms of excess cortisol:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • The sensation of feeling wired but tired
  • Increased energy at night
  • Racing mind or anxiety
  • Palpitations or racing heart late at night (generally 2-3am)
  • Difficulty with sleep or insomnia
  • Difficulty with concentration and staying on task
  • Cravings for certain foods, especially salty or sugary foods

​If you have any of these symptoms in addition to symptoms of hypothyroidism then you are probably also dealing with a cortisol imbalance. 

​Treatment depends on which type of cortisol issue you have which will require a serum or urinary test to evaluate both cortisol and cortisone levels. 

If you aren't sure then you can start with an adrenal adaptogen which can help balance cortisol levels, provide you with more sustained energy and relieve some of the symptoms listed above. ​

Beginners can get started with this supplement which works quite well in the majority of patients. 

3. Add in High-Intensity Exercise

Did you know that exercising with more intensity and for less time is better than traditional "cardio" type exercises for weight loss?

​Or what about the fact that exercise by itself will rarely lead to significant weight loss by burning "excess" calories? 

Both of these statements are true and I will explain why:

You don't lose weight from exercising because you are "burning" more calories. Instead, the weight loss comes from the balance to insulin, leptin and the increase in skeletal muscle that comes with it.

Insulin and leptin both cause weight loss resistance (we will talk more about that below) and can make weight loss impossible unless you treat them both simultaneously. 

Lowering insulin and leptin levels allow your body to burn triglycerides (fat cells) as a fuel source instead of liver glycogen

​Increasing your muscle mass will allow for a greater basal metabolic rate which translates to an increased metabolism and more calories burned at rest. 

The best way to do BOTH of these things?

High-intensity or burst training.

This highly efficient form of exercising doesn't need to be long in duration, but it does need to be intense.

You should work your heart rate up, break a sweat and feel exhausted after your work out.

This type of exercise beats out regular "cardio" exercises like sitting on a treadmill for an hour for hypothyroid patients. 

You can learn more about how to exercise and the science behind why it is so powerful for hypothyroid patients here. ​

4. Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation (15) in any form causes your body to turn T4 into reverse T3. 

As you know from reading this post this worsens thyroid function. 

That means you want to avoid and treat inflammation at all costs. 

​One of the big problems with hypothyroidism is that low thyroid hormone sets up the body to develop multiple conditions that may cause inflammation. 

The big one that you don't want to miss is inflammation related to GI imbalances, specifically SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).

​This overgrowth of bacteria can lead to gas, bloating, constipation and increased levels of inflammation in the body. 

What's even more concerning is that up to 50% of thyroid patients ALSO have SIBO (16) whether they realize it or not.

​How do you check for inflammation?

Use these lab tests:

  • CRP: This non-specific marker of inflammation should be as close to 0 as possible, high levels are associated with inflammation in the body but they don't necessarily tell you where
  • ESR: Another non-specific marker of inflammation, this number should be < 10. High levels of ESR are commonly seen in patients with high reverse T3 levels. 
  • Ferritin: This marker can be used as a marker of iron stores but it is also a non-specific marker of inflammation because it is also an acute phase reactant. Use this in combination with iron studies to determine if your levels are elevated due to inflammation or iron overload.

If you have high levels of inflammation then the best way to treat them is to focus your efforts on the CAUSE and then reverse that. 

This can be difficult sometimes because these markers don't tell you where the inflammation is, just that it is present.

If you are having difficulty finding the source of inflammation then you can use some supplements to brute force the levels down:

Combine these supplements with dietary changes combined, exercise and hormones for the best possible results.

5. Balance Insulin and Leptin levels

I saved probably the most important for last...

Insulin and leptin are probably two of the most overlooked hormone imbalances that lead to and perpetuate weight gain in patients.

Not only that but they are often underappreciated and underdiagnosed by providers and most patients don't really understand what they are or how they work.

Leptin is often associated with high reverse T3 levels, low free T3 levels, and a LOW TSH. 

This can be particularly confusing to patients and providers because patients with leptin resistance often experience multiple symptoms of hypothyroidism and yet to an untrained eye their labs often look "normal".

​You can learn more about treating, diagnosing and reversing both of these conditions in this post

​But what you need to know is this:

If you have leptin resistance and insulin resistance then it will be nearly impossible to lose weight even if you start on the right type and dose of thyroid medication.

These hormones are just that powerful. ​

It's tough to treat leptin resistance with supplements as well due to how it works in the body, but you can treat insulin resistance with supplements effectively. ​

Real Patients and Real Results

​If losing weight seems impossible to you after reading this you aren't alone. 

Losing weight with hypothyroidism can be difficult but it certainly isn't impossible, it just takes the right approach.

I've included several step-by-step case studies below that walk you through real patients of mine including before/after pictures so you can see just how to do it (all of these are patients with hypothyroidism and weight loss resistance): ​

sharilyn wp thyroid weight loss before after
angela side before after
Kathy before and after thyroid weight loss

​Now I want to hear from you...

Are you taking Levothyroxine?

Have you found it impossible to lose weight? Have you been gaining weight instead of losing weight?

How many of you have successfully lost weight by switching medications?

Leave your comments below!

More Resources and Links showing why T4 only medications don't work for everyone:

The Effects of Levothyroxine substitution on body composition(17)

Differences in hypothalamic type 2 deiodinase ubiquitination explain localized sensitivity to thyroxine(18)

Common variation n the DIO2 gene predicts baseline psychological well-being and response to combination thyroxine plus triiodothyronine therapy in hypothyroid patients(19)

References (Click to Expand)

Dr. Westin Childs

Dr. Westin Childs is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He provides well-researched actionable information about hormone-related disorders and formulates supplements to treat these disorders.He is trained in Internal Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Integrative Medicine. His focus is on managing thyroid disorders, weight loss resistance, and other sex hormone imbalances.You can read more about his own personal journey here.

648 thoughts on “Why Levothyroxine Causes Weight Gain and How to Prevent it”

  1. I take Levothyroxine 133 MG and LDN (low dose Naltrexone) 3mg. I cannot lose weight no matter what I do. My husband and I went to a plant-based diet (no dairy, gluten, sugar) in January, he’s lost 26 pounds….me nothing. I feel better just VERY discouraged because weight does not budge.

    • Hey Theresa,

      I would definitely check your resting heart rate and basal body temperature. In my office only about 5% of people actually do well on Levothyroxine, the other 95% need T3 in some form. I would say that a good 20-30% really need T3 only medication.

      Start with your body temp and pulse, and in the mean time check out this article which outlines in detail how to lose weight with hypothyroidism: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

      What happened to you and your husband is not uncommon. I find that men lose weight MUCH easier than women, and the reason weight sticks around on women is because of hormone imbalances (usually a combination of estrogen +/- thyroid +/- insulin +/- leptin). It is definitely possible to lose weight (I help patients do it all the time), you just have to get the right treatment.

      • I have been on Levothyroxine for 30 years, I can say I have Never had energy and have Always been tired since I had my son 30 years ago. I am 66 now and I feel my life is over because I’m too tired to do anything, I’m at my highest weight, if I starve I can maybe lose 8 or 9 lbs but no more than that. There is a lot more to my story, too little space but that sums it up, I’ve never had a doctor willing to work with me on testing all the right tests, One doctor did reluctantly put me on Naturethyroid but it did give me palpitations, I asked him to test me on All what you suggest but he wouldn’t!! Is There A Good Life with Hypothyroidism???????

    • I am on plant base diet too. I’m a long distance runner. Since I have hit menopause at 50. The scale has gone up. My weight is now 150. I should be 130. I eat organic fruits and vegetables. I exercise 3-5 times a week. Sometimes more. My husband exercises about the same. But eats anything. I’m so frustrated.

      • Hi Shannon,

        You’ll definitely want to have your hormones assessed. After menopause hormones mean much more for your weight than the number of calories that you consume or how much you exercise.

  2. Hi, I have had thyroid problems for 23 years my meds have never stayed balanced. I have put nearly 4 stone on in the last 6 years and no matter what I do cant shift the weight off. I am so low at this time and can’t seem to get out of this dilemma what can I ask my doctor to do for me, thank you.

    • Hey Sharon,

      I wish there was an easy answer for you, the truth is that most people will have to find a different Doctor to get on the right treatment. To begin with, as stated above, make sure you check your basal body temperature and resting heart rate. You should also get a complete thyroid panel. These three things will give you TONS of information about what is going on with your thyroid. The biggest issue you will run into is not accurate diagnosis, but getting on the right treatment as most Doctors don’t like prescribing anything other than Levothyroxine.

      You can get some tips on what you can do in this article here: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

  3. I’ve been on Synthroid .075micrograms for about 7 years now. I also take Meloxicam .15mg. I’ve lost 15lbs in the last 10 years or so but no matter how much exercise I get or how much diet control I use, I just can’t seem to lose weight. My dr says my numbers are “normal” but I still do not feel right. I have trouble sleeping and am tired all day. I have fuzzy-headed thinking and have major issues remembering things. The Synthroid has improved things quite a bit but I’m still not right. I’m going to start doing the temperature and pulse journal and see what I get. Do I need to find a specialist? It’s definite that my regular dr doesn’t seem to see any problem with my thyroid health and doesn’t seem to want to even do the normal tests regularly.

    • Hey Cindy,

      Yes, I agree that checking your body temperature and resting heart rate is a great way to start. In regards to seeing a specialist you will want to find someone who practices “Functional medicine”. Endocrinologists and general Doctors will both practice the same type of medicine: check the TSH and if it’s normal then move on. Trying to get the care you need in that model can be very frustrating as a patient!

      Something as simple as adding T3 to your regimen can make a huge difference.

  4. Hi, I’ve been taking levothyroxine 200mg for over 3 years. I’m not on a diet but eat healthily and try to keep calorie intake to 1500 per day. I eat quite clean foods always use fresh produce, making my own sauces don’t fry foods etc. I’m fairly active and do body combat minimum twice a week. As soon as I miss a week of exercise I notice weight gain. Weight is slowly in my opinion bloody hard to shift. I’m 36 years old.

    • Hey Nikki,

      Check out this post here for more info on why you may not be able to lose weight. Losing weight isn’t about reducing your calories (this method fails 99% of the time), losing weight is about balancing your hormones.

      I see this in a lot of women that I treat in the office, most eat a very clean diet but no matter what they do they are unable to lose weight.

      Post here: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

  5. I am taking 100mg of Levothyroxine and find it impossible to lose weight, despite eating a good diet of mainley fish, eggs, fruit, salad and vegitables. I’ve stopped going to the gym beacuse it doesn’t make any difference and i have an active job walking a lot during a normal day. I am 2stone over weight and have a BMI of 26.5, with a family history of heart and lung complaints. I was recently told by my Dr my cholestral was high, which it has never been before, and i was hypo but because my T4 was ok he was not going to adjust my meds, to my knowledge my GP surgery dont test for T3. I have also been diagnoised with IBS. This thyroid condition has taken over my life and i feel as though my Doctors don’t understand how to treat it.

    • Hey Nicky,

      It sounds like you may be under treated. High cholesterol is a very well known consequence of hypothyroidism and indicates that even though you are getting treatment, that you may not be getting enough. In general it can be very hard to find a Doctor that actually knows how to treat the thyroid. I recommend looking for a doctor that specializes in functional medicine.

    • Hi Dr Childs

      Thank you for reply. I have believed I was being under trested for some tme and have researched my condition a lot more recently. I can now go back to my GP armed with some facts and won’t be fobbed off. I will look for a functional medicine sympathetic GP if I am not satisified.

      Nicky

  6. I wish I would have found this article 2 years ago! I was on 200mcg Levothyroxine for two years and just kept gaining weight and was told it was because I’d gone into early menopause at 35 and to lose weight I should just eat under 1100 calories per day. I stumbled across the rT3 information and started experimenting this past Feb with reducing Levothyroxine and adding Cytomel. I’m now at 150mcg Levothyroxine and 25mcg cytomel. I’ve also cut out dairy, grains, eggs, simple sugars from my diet and am working with a trainer for resistance training. Within 2 weeks, I was no longer in menopause and my energy levels were back. I was able to double my intake of food without gaining weight (from 1100 cal to 2200 Cal per day) which helps with energy as well. Then, when I cut those calories again, I should finally be able to lose this weight I gained in the past two years. It’s been a 10 year struggle, and while I want immediate results, I’m trying to be patient because I feel like I’m on the right track finally.

    • Hey Jennie,

      Good for you! Make sure you also look at insulin levels and leptin levels. I never recommend calorie restricted diets for weight loss because 99% of the time all of the weight comes back as soon as you resume a normal diet. In addition 3 weeks of calorie restriction can reduce free T3 levels by 40% for up to 2 years. It’s a vicious cycle that will NEVER lead to long lasting weight loss. I would also look at your vitamin B12 and iron levels. Good luck!

  7. Hi I’m Gill I’m 45 and take levy thyroxine. I take 100mcg. I have gained a lot of weight I.e 3 and a 1/2 stone. I also take mirtazipine, quitiapine and venlyfaxine. This medication as you probably know is for depression an psychotic depression. Gaining all this weight has made my depression worse I think. I also suffer with fibromyalgia have 2 blown discs an arthritis. Please can you help me ?
    Thank you

  8. Omg Gill on the previous comment is almost bang on with my own situation. I have just had my levothyroxine upped to 75 mg, I’m on quetiapine (175mg) and lamotrogine(200mg) and I have 3 bulging discs and arthritis in my facet joints and my knee. I’m 48 years of age. I lost 5 stone in 2013 by having 600 calories a day through liquids and the Cambridge diet, needless to say I put all the weight on and more. I have bi polar and will never come off of the psychotics!! I am going round in a circle, can’t exercise and can’t lose weight. The docs look at me as though I’m just fat and lazy

  9. Hi! My name is Therese and live in Sweden. I follow this closely trying to find a way to loose weight. It has always been impossible. However 2 years ago I got Levothroxine. Nothing happened. This January I got Liothyronin. From a stable weight (too much though) I started gaining… Pulse and temp is OK since I started with Lio. Now I excluded Levo hoping for a change. Don’t know yet. I eat clean , no dairy or grains… It feels impossible… I will keep searching for answers though.

    • Hey Therese,

      Liothyronine helps probably 60-70% of people lose weight, but it won’t be enough for everyone. In reality getting on the right kind of thyroid medication is just the start. You will also need to check ALL of your hormone levels. You can learn more about it here: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

      From my experience the most common hormone imbalance is insulin + thyroid + low progesterone in women.

  10. I am in Canada so haven’t heard of some of these. I am on Thyroid Hormone & take Iodine as well. Started with 60 mg, down to 30 mg but Dr., wants to increase it to twice a day. Feel I am doing okay, 82 & working at losing a little weight. Tried a cleansing diet, lost 12 lbs., so have continued some of it. Was 175 & Dr., said maybe my body was happy there, not me, was down to 169,off track, back to 173. Thank you for the article, hope I can print it to take to my next visit as it may help to get the Dr., to work with me for better results, which taking the pill twice a day MAY not be the right way to go.

    • Hey Babs,

      If your doctor is open to at least looking at the literature then you stand a good chance! Unfortunately, thyroid lab tests can’t be used in isolation to diagnose or treat thyroid disease – they just aren’t that accurate. Good luck!

  11. I have been on Synthroid 88 MCG for over 37 years. I also have Fibromyalgia and my whole body hurts all the time especially joints. I have lost my eyebrows and eyelashes which have come back somewhat. I am always tired and can’t sleep very well at night. I get depressed very easily because I am so tired of being sick and tired. Every time I get my blood work done, which is every six months it’s always the same. (normal). How can that be since I don’t feel good at all? I also developed a goiter when I was nursing my daughter which was 37 years ago. I did some research and found that a goiter really doesn’t go away, is that true? Can you help me please get back on track I am 68 years old and sometimes feel a lot older.

  12. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2008. Since then constant weight gain. This year brought more fatigue then normal and severe muscle and joint pain along with edema. I was given one month to try water pills and didn’t loose any of the weight or edema. I tell my doctor and endocrinologist about the pain and they shrug their shoulders with no comment. Really starting to effect my lifestyle. I live in Phoenix. Are you accepting new patients?

    Tina

    • Hey Tina,

      I have a limited number of spots but I would be happy to help you.

      You can call the office to get more information here: (480) 964-5107

      If you have any other questions feel free to email me as well.

      • Tina’s story is so very similar to mine. I take .137 levothyroxine. I continue to gain weight no matter how healthy I eat. The edema continues to get worse along with fatigue and worsening joint pain. I have been to so many doctors in a plea for help but I am making no progress. It’s so discouraging. I need help.
        Vicky

        • Hey Vicky,

          One thing is for sure there are a ton of similarities in almost every patient I see and the bottom line is that most are being under treated. The best thing you can do is keep searching for a doctor locally to help you.

  13. How does the iron levels in the body and also the estrogen hormone levels affect to this conversion and thyroid hormone functions?

    • Hey Sini,

      Low iron = low thyroid function = lower progesterone = relatively high estrogen (in a nut shell)

      It’s more complicated than that, but generally speaking that’s what I see most often in patients. But just realize that every patient is unique.

  14. I have been on Synthroid since 1992 when I had my first daughter. In 2000, I had my complete thryroid removed due to thyroid cancer. Since then, I have been on Synthroid 175mcgs. I few years ago, my doctor added Cytomel 25mcg. It helped, but it is still not enough T3. I have a regular body temp of 96.7. I have a very stressful job. Regardless of exercise of eating habits, I have consistently gained weight. I need help!!!

    • Hey Melissa,

      I would look for a Doctor who practices medicine similar to me. The thyroid pumps out T4 and T3 in an 80/20 ratio, so most thyroidectomy patients do better with at least 20% of their T4 dose as T3. In addition there are other aspects that need to be looked at including hormones, adrenals and stress reduction. You will have a very hard time losing weight with a high stress level, I’ve seen it in hundreds of patients.

  15. Hello, i had follicular thyroid cancer 23 years ago, i had been on 200mcg of levothyroxine since my operation to do a left thyroidectomy in 1993. Due do keeping my levels suppressed i had my meds increaaed to 225mcg 3 years ago then 2 weeka ago after seening a consultant he has taken me back down to 200mcg. I am over weight do a manual job and cant lose an ounce!

  16. I’m taking Levothyroxine/Synthroid 50 mcg for over a week now from hyperthyroidism then after treatment of Radioactive Iodine last January 2016 I’m now hypothyroidism–weight gain is my main concern, is there any preventive measures to do new to this medical issues…please help…thanks

    • Hey Cynthia,

      Yes! There are many things you can do to prevent weight gain. First, though, if you are gaining weight on your medication that may be a sign that your medication is under dosed or that you are being under treated. I recommend using the tips above in this article to get an idea of what you should be doing to evaluate if your medication is right for you.

      You may also want to read this article here: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

      Let me know if you have any further questions!

  17. Hi thank you for this article. I’m 58 and was first diagnosed with a slightly low thyroid when I was in my early 30s but not treated until 4 years ago when I had a series of vertigo attacks. One was quite serious and had stroke-like symptoms aND took months to recuperate from. Regardless, it was diagnosed as bppv. My tsh still read as the low side of normal. My gp at the time put me on Synthroid. I lost some of the brain fog, but lost no weight nor regained energy. Gp refuses to do tests beyond tsh. An endocrinologist I saw was the same. I decided to take matters in my own hands. First, I went gluten free. I lost 10 lbs and some of my skin problems were abated, but not all. I lost a lot of inflammation, such as moon face. I started selenium supplements and felt more alert but did not experience weight loss. After a year of gluten-free dieting I adopted the aip diet. I lost very little until I started taking ashwaganda. With this supplement I I feel more alert an experience gradual weight loss and some more energy. The problem I am having now is substantial hair loss. I am supplementing with biotin and collagen with no change. I realize at my age expectations for recovery are probably not the same but I am feeling better and having an improved quality of life. I am grateful for all of you professionals that share information that helped me. Thank you.

  18. I had my thyroid removed 13 years ago, due to cancer. I was on Synthroid for the first 10 years, then switched over to the generic form, Levothyroxine, due to cost. I have steadily gained weigh over the years. I have had a few months of weight loss when going on a very restrictive diet and have noticed that carbs are the hardest to eat and lose weight…but are my favorite indulgence. I told my husband the other day that maybe I am just going to be old and fat and leave it alone…but it still bothers me inside. I asked my doctor if any of her female patience that were on these medications were at a ‘normal’ weight and after some thought she said, ‘I guess not, now that you mention it.’ But there are no articles on what to do when you don’t have a thyroid…only when your thyroid isn’t working right.

    • Hey Kim,

      Much of the information still applies to those who don’t have a thyroid. If you are being given T4 only medication your body still must convert it to T3 in order for it to be active. So in that sense you still need to focus on optimizing T4 to T3 conversion. I also have some extensive articles on weight loss that you can read about here: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

  19. Hello, I have a 17 year old daughter with Down syndrome. She has been on Levothyroxine since age 11. She was always of an average build until she started taking Levothyroxine. She also takes linsopril and digoxin. Her labs are always good. Her weight gain is out of control. She eats very well. Loves veggies and turns her nose up to sweets. She eats very little processed food and I can’t wrap my head around the weight gain. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hey Mie,

      In addition to other hormones I would specifically look at Leptin levels. Children with down syndrome seem to have higher levels of leptin when compared to neurotypical children which drives up appetite and increases weight gain significantly. You can read more here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2267910/

      It may be difficult to find someone to work with you but you may have luck with a pediatric endocrinologist.

  20. I’ve been on Levothroxine for 5 years. I’m on 200 mcg daily. I have no energy, I don’t sleep well and I can’t lose weight to save my life. I’m busy all day and I actually probably don’t eat enough, I’m never hungry. I can’t find a Dr that really understands and I can’t get a referral from them. I can’t see an Endo without a referral. Any advice on how to get them to listen. I’ve only ever had my TSH tested, it was 42 the last blood test and that’s on 200 mcg. HELP!

    • Hey Jane,

      Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend seeing an endocrinologist or your GP for thyroid treatment – it will end in frustration for you. Try to find someone who uses a similar philosophy as me and you should be in good hands. Based on your symptoms you are most likely being under treated.

  21. I have hypothyroid and enlarged thyroid. I’m taking 75 mg levothyoxin. 9 months now.I’m overweight, sluggish and living in slow mode. I also have back problems and have constant pain (disc protusion, facet joint hypertrophy,scoliosis) which makes it difficult to walk. My body is in stress and I told my dr who wants to send me for sleep study, mammograms,anything other than helping me with my health issues. I started taking vitamins for thyroid energy and cancelled my appt with dr. I have 2 more refills for levothyroxin but its not working anyway. I’ve scheduled appt with Mayo Clinic as a last ditch effort of relief, but appt not til June.

    • Hey Veronica,

      I would recommend you find someone that is willing to dig deeper into your problem. You may have to look out of the insurance model to get the care that you need, unfortunately. Generally speaking the doctors that the mayo clinic practice the same way as your GP or endocrinologist will.

  22. Is this article relevant if I take levothyroxine due to a complete thyroidectomy from thyroid cancer? I am under the care of an endocrinologist.

    • Hey Jenn,

      Yes, the information is still relevant if you have had a complete thyroidectomy. T4 hormone must still be converted to T3 in order to be active and this must happen whether your body produces it or you are taking it orally.

  23. I have been hypothyroid for 20 years. mis diagnosed for years, now on 100mg thyroxine, bloods normal, Im 12 stone now and on strict diet, no sugar pasta, bead, work full time with special needs guys, busy all the time, no energy, hair thin, no eyebrows, tired.
    gp will not even check T3. wont help with NDT either. told me if I take anything they will not halp at all no further treatment.

    • Hey Angela,

      It sounds like you may want to look into finding a new doctor who is more willing to work with you! I’m sorry you are being treated this way.

  24. I have been on Synthroid for 10 years. 50 mcg. Last Spring my body started falling apart. May 2015 my labs were within range. By Nov 2015 my numbers tanked. My doctor increased my Synthroid to 75mcg. I am up 8-10 pounds!!!! Can that be from the increase in meds. I exercise regularly and eat healthy. My eating habits have not changed nor my exercise. And to top it off, I don’t feel as good as I did before the the setback. My doctor is very supportive and is willing to change my meds to Armour if I want. I see her in May and think I’m going to change.

    • Hey Andrea,

      It’s hard to say for sure what’s going on in your body without further testing. I’d definitely look at a complete thyroid panel but also other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, leptin and insulin.

      Changing to armour may help if your main problem is related to the thyroid but in either event you need further evaluation.

  25. Dr Childs,
    What about someone who took RAI and their thyroid no longer functions? I was diagnosed hyper and that was the route I took 8-9 years ago. I have been on Levothyroxine this entire time. The first 5 years my TSH stayed steady and so did the amount of Levothyroxine. Then for a couple years the levothyroxine was increased to well over double the amount I was originally on. I eat as healthy as I can, mostly vegetables a few carbs, chicken and turkey, and once in awhile a nice steak. I do not lose weight at all. I understand most of what you are saying, but it sounds like the people your speaking to has a working thyroid even if it is working slow or low. Mine just no longer works. So my question is should someone who has a non working thyroid due to RAI be taking a T4/T3 medication or only a T4 medication. Thank you for your time. Please send me an email if at all possible.

    • Hey Carol,

      In general the suggestions in this post still apply to those without a thyroid. Generally, those without a thyroid still need a combination of T4 and T3 because that’s what the body produces naturally with a functioning thyroid. The reason most post thyroidectomy (or RAI) patients gain 20-30 pounds is because they are under treated (the vast majority of the time).

  26. Hi there. I have hashimotos and have had issues with weight. I did lose some but then gained it all back. My energy levels dived again when they lowered my dose due to my weight loss. I never made it to my goal weight. I then also had a hysterectomy and that helped add weight. I suffer from inflammation in my joints causing joint pain. Please help me.

    • Hey Teresa,

      Check out this post about losing weight with Hashimoto’s: https://www.restartmed.com/lose-weight-hashimotos/

      Weight loss isn’t about calories, it’s about balancing your hormones. In your case it sounds like a combination of thyroid, estrogen and probably cortisol. I also wouldn’t recommend lowering your dose with weight loss, typically it should be maintained unless you get over stimulated from your dose.

  27. Hi, I appreciate the information, but have some notes…..RLC Labs no longer manufactures Westhroid…. Westhroid and NatureThroid were very similar in makeup, so the makers have discontinued Westhroid. They make NatureThroid and now WP Thyroid. WP Thyroid contains only 2 fillers. I switched from Armour to WP Thyroid in January, and if this blog was written in April, this should have been fact-checked for accuracy. Also, if people are learning about NDT for the first time, they should be aware that it all brands of NDT are the same, so different brands will work differently for different people.
    Lastly, it should be mentioned somewhere that the necessary nutrient Iodine, while helpful for conversion of T4 to T3, really needs to be tested first because for some with Hashimoto’s, Iodine is contraindicated and can make the situation worse…

    • Hey April,

      This post wasn’t about iodine but if you read my other posts you will find the information you are looking for. Also, Iodine is not involved in the T4 to T3 conversion process – it is involved in the creation of T4 however. The deiodinases in the body remove iodine moieties to either activate or inactivate thyroid hormone. As an aside, high doses of iodine actually suppress thyroid function and can be used as a therapy for treating thyroid storm. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475282/

      Thanks for the update on Westhroid, though it doesn’t change any of my information presented here. I can tell you’ve been reading stop the thyroid madness based on the way you talk about NDT.

  28. I’ve been on hypothyroid meds now for bout 20yrs now, and still don’t feel up to par. I’ve tried so many diets and lifestyle changes as far as, being vegan, vegetarian, gluten free diet, to low to almost no carb diet, and the Mediterranean diet, And loss nothing, I am so tried of trying to lose weight i finely quit trying, But feeling depressed. And still my doctor tells me to watch what i eat. REALLY.

  29. Found out I had hypothyroid with a 7 size growth. Dr says he won’t take it out unless it reach 10. Got the diagnosis 4 months ago. I was extremely sick, sleeping all day and night and never feeling full and also had severe confusion with Deja vu. I’m on Levothyroxine now as well. I have no idea what my thyroid panel numbers are. Should I know? I trusted my dr he’s doing what’s best. But I must mention that about 7 months ago I got the Epstein Barr virus and became extremely sick. I have since been sick many times with viral and bacterial infections. Lack of energy and I have quick onsets of feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck when I as just feeling fine. I also recently had extensive blood tests that showed my levels really bad! My blood had changed dramatically while before all this I was very healthy. I also was having asthma attacks with chest pains and all my allergies became severely worse. So now I’m on fenofibrate and aspirin a day as well. I also take probiotics, apple cider vinegar, b vitamins, multi vit, fiber gummies, asthma and allergy meds and the dr gave me a appetite suppressant pill so I can eat like a normal person. Although the appetite pills are so expensive I can’t afford to keep buying them. I had gained about 15 pounds in all of this but changing my diet and moving more I have been losing. I weighed about 132 after I got sick and now I’m at 127. I used to weigh about 122. I’m confident if I keep moving and keep eating better food , no fast food, I can get my weight down. The hardest part is that I have no energy to work out often. I truly believe the EBV has caused all of this and I wish there was something I could do about that. Going from a very healthy person to super sick often is a big shock. Dr said wont have another ultrasound on my thyroid for 3 more months. I still have minor swelling in my middle clavicle and I pray I don’t have cancer cause he hasn’t done a biopsy. Guess he thinks I don’t need it. Any help with this situation is welcomed and appreciated! Thanks you!

    • Hey Karen,

      I would make sure your doctor is checking your thyroid antibodies. And I would recommend you check your basal body temp and resting pulse as you go through treatment. Your fatigue could be from your thyroid and/or the EBV and it would be hard to say for sure without blood work.

  30. I’m in the same situation! My doctor will not switch me from levothyroxine! I am gaining weight and he will only test my T4 and TSH, nothing else! I literally cried the entire way through this article!

    • Hey Amy,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation! You may want to look for another doctor who is more willing to work with your specific needs. It can be tough, but don’t give up!

    • Same thing here. My doctor will only test TSH and t4. I’m on snthorid 100 had my thyroid taken out 1 year ago. Eating less than 1000cal due to a test that I had that my calorie intake should be no more than 1060 . I go to the gym 5 days a week 2 and a half hours gaining weight I can’t find a doctor willing to do the other tests.

      • Hey Louise,

        You are fighting two different beasts: hypothyroidism and a damaged metabolism. In order to lose weight you will need the right thyroid medication but that’s only half of the equation – you will need to heal your metabolism as well. Calorie restriction will only make things worse.

        • I would agree – 1000 calories a day is not enough to sustain an adult, let alone someone working out 2 1/2 hours. You’re not feeding your body correctly and your metabolism will greatly slow down x Good luck with everything – it’s a battle i know x

  31. I’ve been on L-thyroxine since 2004 and I have steadily gained weight. It seems that if I so much as look at something with carbs/sugar I gain another 5 pounds. I just tried lifting weights and exercising, but I lost all of my energy to the point that it felt like I just got over the flu and I was still recovering. I am into week 3 of this and am just starting to recover. I also can only work part time because full time is SO exhausting and most of the time I have to take naps after work or when I get a day off, I sleep a good 10 hours to recover. Every doctor that I have gone to will only prescribe the L-thyroxine and wants to downplay any fatigue or weight gain that I have as me being lazy and not exercising enough. They are also just checking the TSH and nothing else even thought I ask for everything. They also tell me my numbers are within normal range if it’s between 1.5 and 4. It’s ridiculous! It is very frustrating and disheartening when all you want to do is feel normal again, have a life again, enjoy life again.

    • Hey Genia,

      I’m sorry to hear about your symptoms, but it does sound like you are having some improvement. Unfortunately many Doctors stick to the TSH because it is the standard of care. In reality, there is no perfect test – even blood work. In order to get a clear picture of the thyroid you really need to look at resting heart rate, basal body temperature a full thyroid panel! But more important is looking at other hormone levels in the body as well.

  32. Hi, I had a TT in 2013 due to Thyroid cancer. I’ve since gained 30 lbs ( was already 20lb overweight) and have been struggling to try and take weight off. I also had a hysterectomy in 2011 which I think may contribute to my inability to lose weight. I take 100mcg of Levothyroxine which seems to be keeping me hyper thyroid with still NO weight loss. I know my endo doesn’t believe or like to prescribe armour thyroid, what do you recommend?

    • Hey Laura,

      You need to get an entire hormone panel to figure out what is going on. Check the following hormones: insulin, leptin, progesterone, estrogen, complete thyroid panel, testosterone and cortisol.

  33. I wish I still lived in Arizona I would get to you ASAP! (I am from Southeast AZ). I was diagnosed with Hashis 4 years ago was put on levothyroxine just 6months ago. I feel awful all the time. I go from hypo symptoms to hyper. I can’t loose weight no matter how hard I try. My body hurts especially my joints all the time. Headaches are another huge issue. My question is do you have info on doctors in the Ft. Worth area that practice “functional medicine” or know how I find that information? Your help would be a blessing!

  34. I have been taking synthroid for years. As i have gotten older i can’t seem to take the weight off. I want to try diet pills but my doctor says no …because of the thyroid pills. Are there any safe ones i can take? I take 75 mcg’s a day.

  35. Hi! This article is great thank you! I had a total thyroidectomy at 18 (8yrs ago now) I have continuously put on weight sinse then, I eat a strict plant and meat based diet. No refined sugars, very limited processed foods and limited fruit. I excerise at least three times a week and still struggle to move weight. I always feel sluggish and tired as I did pre TT. I had Hashimotos disease and a goiter. T3 medication is not funded and very expensive where I live. An my doc is not keen to try me on it. I am thinking I will start monitoring temp etc as you have mentioned to see what it shows. I am currently on 250levo Monday-Friday and 300sat and Sunday. Thank you for this article! Alisha

    • Hey Alisha,

      It’s definitely worth looking into. The crazy part is your thyroid produces 20% T3 when it’s working and yet Doctors only replace hormone with T4 medications. It just makes sense to provide the body with what it would be producing under “natural” circumstances and I do find that most thyroidectomy patients feel better on T3 in some form.

    • Hey Jen,

      You are certainly welcome to your own opinion on the matter, but I would challenge you and ask how many patients you’ve successfully treated and helped with weight loss using levothyroxine? How many patients have you seen gain weight on 1,000 calorie diets while taking synthroid? How many patients have you monitored reverse T3 levels on closely on T4 medication and then on T3 medication?

      The current paradigm is to treat with T4 medication and hope that it converts to T3 in the body, but how sure are you that it is happening? I can tell you from checking and monitoring hundreds of patients on thyroid medication that it doesn’t happen as often as we believe. I can also tell you that standard lab tests do NOT always reflect what is actually happening in the body and at the cellular level.

      And I can also tell you that no clinician will willingly admit that their thyroid patients are “happy” or “satisfied”, they just don’t want to deviate from the standard of care.

  36. Hi Dr Child’s,

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been suffering with hypothyroidism for almost 15 years. The doctors have steadily increased my levothyroxine dosage over the years in which I’m now taking 200 MCG a day. I now almost weigh 300 lbs, I eat healthy for the most part, and exercise as much as possible when I feel like it. Most of the time I am exhausted, my body hurts, I suffer from headaches, my skin is so dry, etc, etc. I know my medicine is mismanaged at this point, but when I mention that to my doctors or ask if I could suffer from hasimotos disease, they basically act like I do not know what I’m talking about and always say well let’s try this for another 6 weeks. 6 weeks have turned into almost 15 years. I’m 40 years old and feel like I have no quality of life. I barely have enough energy to get through a whole work day most days. My family and kids think I’m just fat and lazy even though they know I suffer. My body is constantly inflamed sometimes carrying as much as 10 lbs of fluid and inflammation. I recently found out my father is hyperthyroid and is skinny as a rail (wish that was my case). I will start with testing my temperature and recording my resting heart rate as you suggested above, but could you recommend exactly what blood tests I should request? I would like to be very prepared when I talk to my physician. I have also read that this is an auto immune disease, is this true? If so, could it cause other diseases ie: asthma to be worse? I’m sorry about so many questions, I’m just really tired of always feeling bad.

    Also, could you recommend someone in Virginia?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Hey Chastity,

      Thanks for reaching out and I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone in that area. You might have some luck searching for functional medicine doctors though.

      To find out what blood tests to order check out this article here: https://www.restartmed.com/thyroid-lab-tests/

      Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, yes. Hypothyroidism can be due to inflammation and autoimmunity, but not necessarily.

  37. I take 2 137 tablets of levothyroxine everyday I lost my thyroid four years ago to mens2.. I have been on every dose from 75 to 300 and still gain weight and always feel so tired ..

  38. My TSH levels are at 119 so i was restarted on 50mcg of levothyroxine, since starting the medicine a little over 2 weeks ago, my depression and anxiety are terrible, im crying all the time, i feel likey thoughts arent my own. My chest and jaw hurt and my endo wont listen. She says its because im on too low of a dose, but these symptoms didnt start until after i started the medicine. Before i started it, the only symptoms i had were slight fatigue and weight gain. Im so confused and dont know what to do.

    • Hey Megan,

      That’s a tough situation. You can go back to your doctor and ask for a different medication – even if your endo won’t give you NDT or T3 they can still consider other T4 medications. Either way you definitely need to be seen again and have your blood work rechecked.

  39. I was diagnosed at the age of 39, now 43. I am normally 135lbs. and now weigh 175lbs. This is SO frustrating as I have done everything to try and get the weight to come down, and have done nothing to put the weight on which is maddening… I would be happy at 150 at this point. I am not depressed, but I am VERY mad that this can not be figured out. I have tried Levo, Synthroid, and finally was allowed by my endo. to try Naturthroid. I feel a lot better on the NDT, but I am still way over weight. I have tried clean eating, exercise, you name it. I’d put on pounds just eating straight lettuce. 🙂 Could it be that I just need more of the T3? I have an appointment coming up with my endo. and I am so frustrated I just don’t know where to look next. I feel like it’s me, just in another body. I don’t even know how to shop for this body as I have never had this struggle up to the point where this kicked in. I have a closet full of beautiful clothes that I would love to wear again… Any suggestions? I am not satisfied, and will not accept this is the way it is going to be. Thank you!

  40. Hi! I have Hashimoto’s. I was first put on Synthroid and immediately gained 25lbs and felt worse than I started out. My PCP was willing to work with me & put me on Naturethroid 32.5mg & Cytomel 15mg about 6 months ago. I’ve been feeling better, more energy & losing some weight. From what I read I think I need to continue to have the Naturethroid raised but my PCP has been reluctant to do that. My labs are better but no where near optimal. TSH .01, T3 2.2. Trying to think of the best ways to educate my dr without actually being a know it all. She’s usually open to patients who research.

    • Hey Kim,

      I’m glad you found a doctor willing to work with you. I don’t recommend that you (or your Doctor) base your treatment and dose off of your blood levels in isolation. You should be monitoring a combination of the following: body temp, resting heart rate, subjective symptoms and blood tests. It is possible that your thyroid is fine right now and other hormonal imbalances are causing your issues more than your thyroid. Make sure to get your other hormone levels checked as well, and remember that your thyroid is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

  41. I currently take 125 synthroid and 5 Cytomel. I can not lose any weight. I am tired all the time. Please give suggestions . I have asked my doctor to switch me to natural thyroid med and he said levels are too hard to keep adjusted. I’m sick of feeling this way! Please help!

  42. I agree with you that NDT’s work much better for most people, but the real trick is finding a doctor who will prescribe them for you. For the most part you can forget endocrinologists because they all swear by Synthroid even in the face of contrary results. I will say that I was not able to lose an ounce on Synthroid, but had good success while on Armour. Unfortunately, the doctor who prescribed that left his practice and I’m still looking for another doctor.

    • Hey Patricia,

      I’m not of the opinion that NDT is the absolute best thyroid medication that exists out there and everyone needs to be on it. It is a good medication, and many people do well on it, but not everyone. The trick is finding the right combination of medication, dosing and frequency for each individual and that can take time. I’m glad that you had success with armour, though! And I hope you are able to find another doctor willing to prescribe it to you.

  43. I just want to say that I have been on thyroid medicine for over 15 years, I have been talking levothyroxine for several years and I lost 220 pounds in 2 years and 4 months without the gastric bypass. It’s called eating until your satisfied and putting the fork down! I was determined! Just some information!

    • Hey Jane,

      Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on the weight loss. What many people (patients and doctors) fail to realize is that lots of thyroid patients out there are already eating 1,000 calorie diets and NOT losing any weight. It’s not quite as simple as eating less when your metabolism is 40-50% of normal.

  44. i feel like I’m dying I’m so tired and my bones ache I have been on levity toxins for 3 yrs can’t lose any weight switched to Aurmor and I feel worse, still going weight. Help

    • Hey Kris,

      NDT doesn’t work for everyone, you may need pure T3 medications or your primary problem may not even be related to your thyroid. You should get an in depth evaluation by a knowledgable physician for further assistance.

  45. Taking 150 levo. For 2 1/2 years. Just changed to 137 about 6 months ago. In this time have lost 20 to 30 lbs including zumba fitness and eating better. Have been stuck seeing nothing now. Have been thinking about going the natural route with medication but I am concerned on what to use and how much, how often. What if it doesn’t work then I’m back to where I started.

    • Hey Amy,

      Great questions and it’s impossible to tell how someone will do when switching medications. In general most people have a VERY positive experience when switching to NDT or T3 from synthroid, but not everyone.

  46. I have been on thyroid meds for years,but have started gaining weight.My joints are stiff now and I feel like i did when I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism.I have talked with my Doctor and she told me my numbers are good,yet I continue to gain weight and feel tired. What do you suggest I do along with taking my meds which is Levothyroxine. Thank You

  47. I have been on levothyroxine for about 18 months and despite the dosage being put up, i have gained over three stone in weight. Thoroughly and utterly frustrating

    • Hey Stef,

      Sorry to hear about your situation! It can be very frustrating. I would consider having your other hormone levels checked to make sure they aren’t contributing to your weight gain.

  48. I have been on 100mcg Synthyroid for 5 years and I have steadily gained weight. I was first diagnosed when I was pregnant with my first child although I suspect I’ve had thyroid problems since I was a child(never had energy, slept a lot and never could lose weight). I am currently pregnant with my 3rd child and was wondering if taking Armour would be an option for me. If once the baby is born and I begin to breastfeed would it also be safe? Thank you for this article it was very eye opening.

    • Hey Katie,

      You are welcome! Thyroid hormone is safe to take while pregnant and while breast feeding but it should still be done through a physician.

  49. They say I have hashimoto my white blood count was very high they did ultrasound to check for cancer . But was not that I suffer from muscle aches joint aches fatigue My pituitary glad level are very high when I went to Er . I am on 25 msg of level I can’t handle any more . My blood pressure spike when normal blood is very low like 121 over 74. My heart rate. Is at 100 or up but yet I gain weight even off protein diet I take a very low dose for now but I am a wreak dr say there is no other mess to treat hashimoto if I really have this

  50. Thank you for this article. I was diagnosed at 23 with graves disease. After radioactive iodine I am hypo. I take 125mcg of levothyroxine. I have for many years. I live in Tenn. And would love for a doctor to understand our story. I go in 2in3 months to have my thyroid levels checked. I will do the basial temp and resting pulse rate and take this to my doctor. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you so much.

    • Hey Robin,

      Checking your pulse and body temp is great, but the chances of your doctor acting on that data is very slim. The reason most doctors won’t order a complete thyroid panel is because they don’t know what to do with the results, the same is true for this data.

  51. Hi I found your article very informative. Was diagnosed with toxic nodules in 2005. Had my thyroid oblated in 2006. Since then I’ve had a complete hysterectomy in 2013. Been on .125 levothyroxine for years off and on. Didn’t seem to make much difference. Pretty much hurt all the time. Swelling and now high bp which I’ve never had before. Can’t sleep but always exhausted. Going to talk to my dr and see what we can do. So tired of being tired. Any other advice would be great. Thank you for the help.

    • Hey Dawn,

      You won’t get far seeing your regular doctor – they just aren’t trained to treat people in your position, but you can at least ask them to order the right tests. Look into your other hormone levels like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and insulin.

  52. I have been on Synthroid for over 5 years. Have not lost weight, no energy whatsoever, very stiff joints and muscles, although I thought this was from getting older, I am 55. I go to my primary care for followups every three months as he says this is what is required, so I know my temp. sits at 97.2 and my blood pressure is good. Although, I feel not no much.

    • Hey Donna,

      Never buy the whole “it’s because your aging” excuse, the human body should NOT age like that. In fact the aging process is accelerated once hormones levels start to decline.

  53. Hi, I have had an ablation to my thyroid due to an extremely overactive thyroid condition. I was told it was Graves disease. They used radio iodine to kill my gland. I have gained a bunch of weight (75 lbs) since and cannot loose any significant amounts. I take 175 MCG of Levothyroxine daily to keep my labs “normal” they are checked pretty regular and the bigger I get the more the doctor says I must take. Please help, where do I start. I feel awful with all this extra weight. I am 50. I now have to take blood pressure meds 2 kinds….. UGH!

  54. I take 50mg synthroid and I notice when I stop taking I lose weight. I did try Levothyroxine 100mg it is my mom’s and I feel better, have lost weight and my nails improve. Not sure what I can do to switch because my Dr is very set on synthroid being the best medication.

    • Hey Sylvia,

      You may need to seek out a new doctor who is more willing to work with your specific needs. Most doctors should realize that not every patient responds to medications the exact same way (especially hormones).

  55. I’ve been taking levothyroxine since I was born as I have congenital hypothyroidism. My weight fluctuates throughout the year, nothing excessive but notice able. I am on the bigger side and funnily enough j don’t even eat that much. I never questioned my medication as I never had a reason too. I guess now I should talk to my doctor about other options

    • Hey Vick,

      It would be a good idea to check your heart rate and basal body temperature, chances are high that you would do well on T3 medication in some form if it is in high enough doses!

  56. I’ve been told I can not make the natural changes you suggest to increase my matabalism because I had afib. I had an ablation in 2010. I have maybe one epasode a year. I am 56 and obese. Having physical issues I feel are related to Hashimoto. Endocrinologist here do not recognize it has its own issues. Some days I can barely walk. Not sure what to do now.

    • Hey Sandy,

      Unfortunately our Endocrinologists don’t really focus on weight loss, but you need to find someone who can help balance your thyroid and other hormones.

  57. Hi,
    I’ve been on levothyroxine for 15 yrs and my current dosage is 150mcg,I’ve been completely unable to lose weight, and I’ve tried everything! I’ve repeatedly asked my gp to try either NDT or adding t3 and been refused every time. The lab won’t test anything except tsh and t4 despite it being requested by my gp and cardiologist. In the last 6 months my tsh went from 2.9 to 16 and nobody can tell me why, dosage increased brought it back to 0.55. I take beta blockers so my heart rate is always slow, I also have primary biliary cholangitis, b12 deficiency, high bp and high cholesterol. I’m at a loss, I’m just getting bigger and bigger and so depressed about it all. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hey Carolyn,

      It sounds like you may need to find some new doctors who are more willing to work with you. Without changing anything I fear your condition may continue to get worse.

  58. I have been on levothyroxine 150mcg for 33 years now and no matter what doctor I go to and tell them that I am constantly tired never have any energy. They tell me that it is the nature of the disease that I have oh hypothyroidism and diabetes which I have had for almost 20 years. I cant control my blood sugars unless I eat all plant and protein diet and still will not lose any weight. The only thing the doctor will check and this is all the ones I have been to all these years will only test my TSH and T4 nothing else. I wear a fitbit all the time and my pulse hardly ever gets much over 103 even walking it stays low and my resting heart rate averages about 74 but I have times that it will be as low as 64. My basal body temperature is always below 98 usually runs 97.6. I am also on several drugs for my diabetes and it still is not where the doctor wants to have it in the mornings.

  59. Hello there. I had thyroid cancer almost 10 years ago and I have to have my tsh suppressed. The consultant has said I’m not so good at converting t4 to t3 but she always says it’s not a reason why I can’t loose weight. I exercise and don’t eat badly but still have plateued and can’t shift any weight. I also feel hungry and tired. I would be nervous about changing Meds as I don’t want the cancer to come back.

    • Hey Helen,

      Changing your medication would not cause your cancer to come back. And if your doctor is concerned about you being a poor converter it would be worthwhile to check your reverse T3 levels and see.

      If you don’t convert well your reverse T3 levels will be high, your free T4 levels would be normal to high and free T3 levels would be low.

      As I’ve mentioned before, thyroid is just one piece of the weight loss puzzle.

  60. I have had this issue since 1997. My thyroid had been out of sorts numbers reaching 296… My meds have been increased to where I have been taking 300mg Synthroid for years!! I would love to find something else since obviously this isn’t working for me.. I will try these steps and go from there. Thank you

  61. I take 2 grains of nature thyroid for my hypothyroidism and cannot lose a pound. I’ve been on the supplement for 3 months. A lot of other symptoms have gone away, just not the weight.

    • Hey Victoria,

      Like I tell many patients, NDT/armour thyroid/naturethroid etc. is not a magic weight loss medication. You won’t lose weight until you find the source of your hormonal problems, and frequently your thyroid is just a small part of that. You need some deeper evaluation into other hormone levels.

      • Would you suggest a hormone specialist to see areas that could be affecting the non weight loss?
        I am in the same boat! 🙂

  62. Hi, I had most of my thyroid removed about 8 years ago and have been on Levothyroxine since. My blood work is always normal but I am always sooooo tired and though I have not gained weight, it is very hard to lose it. I have tried the low carb diet and will lose a few pounds the first week then nothing after that. Then I will have a cheat day and lose a few pounds the next week. I don’t get it!!! It is very frustrating!!! I am also diabetic and take meds for that.

  63. I have Hashimoto’s, I love to exercise but the next day I HURT!!! So I don’t exercise much, other than daily stretches. I am on Levothyroxine (2 ) 50mcg daily. I am 5’3″ and weigh 145lbs, 50 year old female. I can only maintain this weight by keeping my calorie intake less than 600 calories per day. Not healthy at all. I drink high protein meal replacement and take vitamins. But I stay exhausted all the time. Help!!!

  64. Hi, I’ve had an under active thyroid for about 15years. I’m on 125mcg of levothyroxine but my doctor won’t change it! I can’t loose weight despite going to the gym 4 times a week and having a personal trainer and I’m tired and miserable all the time! I’m usually asleep by 8:30 but wake up just as tired in the morning! My doctor says my levels are ‘within the right range’ and says I have to deal with or try to reduce stress!!!! They don’t check for T3 as they think T4 is amazing!!! I’ll do the checks you say but I’m loosing hope!

  65. Good Morning, I am currently taking 100 MCG of Levothyroxine, which it has slowly increased from 20 MCG to 100. I am been on this medication since 2002. Since that time I have gained over 100 lbs. No matter what food I cut out of my diet or exercise I do, I cannot lose the weight. Switching medicines never crossed my mind because I thought this was the only route to take for hypothyroidism. I am open to making changes to get this weight off. Any suggestions on what I should do? Thank you.

    • Hey Catrina,

      It’s hard to say without knowing your other hormone levels, but a good place to start would be with adding T3 to your T4 medication. It’s also worth checking all of your labs at baseline prior to making changes.

  66. What do you reccommend for those struggling with all these symptoms after a Total Thyroidectomy? My endo changes my Synthroid dosage every three months, which has an awful affect on me physically and emotionally, and I have not lost any weight in 3 years, aside from when my dosage was “too high” (and I felt great!). I take both Synthroid and Cytomel daily.

  67. I has total thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer, been on synthroid since then. Blood work shows meds too high but I am so tired I can barely function. Unable to lose weight even though only eating about 1200 calories a day. Tried armour broke out in rash. I also take 2 cytomel a day. So depressed. Help i dont think my body is absorbing meds

    • Hey Judy,

      More likely you are just being really under dosed with your medication. Some people need more thyroid hormone than others but we treat everyone the same, unfortunately you will probably need to seek help elsewhere to get proper care.

  68. Hello, I live in England and have been on levothyroxine for over twenty years, have back and joint pain, do not eat dairy or wheat eat lots of veg and fruit and mainly chicken, cannot lose weight eat less than 1000cals per day, I am a little overweight but cannot lose any weight by cutting down or exercise, find it hard to swallow and get a swelling in my throat if I eat tomatoes or oranges, my cholesterol was abit high at my last blood test also my potassium levels were high,I have a blood test once a year, my doctor has prescribed the same dose of 100mg for twenty years, and does not test for T3 my blood pressure is sometimes high but the only medication I am on is for my thyroid, I have had a lot of stress in my life recently and find it hard to sleep, my doctor seems to think my health is ok, but I feel that I have no energy and cannot do as much as I used to, twenty minutes gardening tires me out, I used to spend two or three hours in the garden. Do you know of any supplements that I can get to help or should I change my doctor I have been with him for thirty years.

    • Hey Carol,

      Just to be perfectly honest with you, you have a lot of work to do to get your health back in order. It’s definitely possible, but it will take quite some time to heal your metabolism, replete nutrient deficiencies and start you on the right type of supplements. Doing just one of these things is not likely to improve your health drastically, but doing them all together certainly would help. Eating 1000 calories per day may keep your weight down but it is damaging your metabolism and worsening your thyroid function, it’s a vicious cycle you will need to break at some point.

      • Thank you for your reply, can you suggest the best nutrient supplements that I can take to get my metabolism working again, I never had a weight problem until I went to the Doctor with a stomach problem that I found out was caused by eating wheat based products, when the blood results came back the Doctor said I had an under active thyroid and prescribed Levorthyroxine but I feel that since I have been taking Levorthyroxine my health has got worse I don’t feel that I have had any benefit from it, sometime I feel that I would like to stop taking it for awhile to see if I feel any better, but because my Doctor said I need to take it for the rest of my life I am afraid to stop taking it. But I think I felt better and had more energy before I started taking it.

  69. Hi there, I was diagnosed via test results that I have done yearly for Addison’s Disease that I now have Hypothyroidism. My doc perscribed the levothyroxine for this and I have yet to get my labs done again to see if it is working. I am still very tired all the time. I can almost pin point when this started happening to me, a little over a year ago I was feeling more tired than usual and sick a lot. I also take Hydrocortozon daily and I felt like that was not working at all. So, I was not surprised that this was happening. But, I have been on the medication now for about 6 weeks and am still very tired and do not feel really any different. I did not gain weight either when all this started. I was about 125 pounds and in about 2 months found myself down to 84 and got scared. I did not go to the doctor because I had not been eating right because I had been so sick so just started making myself eat more. I have managed to get to 95 pounds or so now. That was gained before the medication for thyroid was started. I do not know at the moment what I am but am not gaining. I was wondering if there are any supplements I can take to help improve energy levels and help my adrenals as well. I feel like all this is depleting my cortisol totally. I work and when I do that is all I can do for a day. I go to work and struggle to get through the day and go home and to bed. I will not see my Endocrinologist until July and do not know what she is going to do or check but, I have not seen her for a year now and she diagnosed me over email and does not even know about the weight loss yet. I am not sure if I will even keep the same doc as they have not really been any help.

    • Hey Lisa,

      “My doc perscribed the levothyroxine for this and I have yet to get my labs done again to see if it is working. I am still very tired all the time”

      This sentence says it all. If you don’t feel any better you don’t need lab tests to tell you that. If it was working you would notice a difference.

      You need better thyroid management and better hydrocortisone management. You should also have pituitary function tested, especially if you are now hypothyroid.

  70. I had my thyroid removed 1 year ago today (left one) and went on Levothyroxine – then six month s later got diagnosed as a diabetic. changed my lifestyle 110% and STILL cannot lose weight no matter the healthy eating and daily exercise… TOTALLY FRUSTRATED!!!

    • Hey Lisa,

      You will need to address your insulin levels before your body will let go of any weight. Check your 12 hour fasting insulin, anything > 5 indicates an issue.

  71. Dr. Childs,

    I have been on the corrected dose of T4 and T3 for 2 weeks – I am starting to feel so much better! I can already tell a big difference in my energy level and my attitude.

    Feeling Hopeful!

    • Hey Kelly,

      That’s great news! 🙂 It can take a good 3-4 weeks to completely kick in and we may need to further adjust it, but it’s a great sign if you are already feeling improvement.

  72. HELP!!! Our daughter has Asperger Syndrome, as well as ADHD & Thyroid problems(Hashimoto) & is a big girl.She takes Levothyroxin & I don’t believe it really helps. She complained ALL the time about her throat hurting, tickling feel or a slight popping. A major problem sounds like.The Dr. sees her once, then wants to see her the following year. Not good!!! What is wrong & what can we do about her problem. Sincerely, A worried parent!!!

    • Hey Dee,

      The best thing you can do is take her into see someone who will look at all of her conditions and give you guys a treatment plan that includes potentially changing her medication and addressing any underlying issues. She may also benefit from something like neurofeedback.

  73. I take Levothyroxin and cannot lose weight. I am so discouraged and feel horrible. I have read some literature on Hashimoto’s and currently eliminate grains out of my diet. My next step is to take dairy out of my diet. I seriously need some help as I look horrible in my clothes and very uncomfortable.

    • Hey Judy,

      Diet will only take you so far if your hormones are out of balance and you are being treated with the wrong type of medication/dose.

  74. I was on 125 mcg synthroid. Felt terrible. Migraines, joint pain, brain fog, anxiety, extremely tired with no hope of getting better. Made an appointment with an endocrinologist. First she added 10mg cytomel. No change. Then she tried armour thyroid. It’s taken 5 months to get to 120mg but am so much better! I think I still need 1 more med increase but am waiting till my appointment to discuss. Don’t be afraid of armour and don’t listen to your doctor when he says “well you should feel better. That’s all I can do!”

  75. I have been on Levo for about 5 years. I have always seemed to gain weight slowly. Two and half years ago, I got breast cancer. While on chemo, I went to an Endo. He diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and changed my medicine. I am on .88mg of Levo and .15mg of Cytomel. Over the last few years, I have gained 30 lbs. My dr’s tell me that it is a side effect of the chemo. I have been done with chemo for almost 2 years and my weight is still creeping up. Nothing seems to work. While I don’t go to the gym, I have 3 small kids and a very full schedule so I am active. Very rare do I get a chance to sit down and rest.

    • Hey Mary,

      It’s hard to say exactly why you are gaining weight, in reality it’s probably a combination of multiple reasons but it doesn’t sound like anyone is really investigating it.

  76. I had a thyroidectomy in 2005. I began on synthroid and switched to armour in 2011. Last year my numbers went crazy and even with increasing dosage I remained hypothyroid and miserable. Four months ago my new endo recommended tirosint. Initially it went well but 2 months later the sweats and bloating began. Now I have reduced from 137mg to 125 mg and still feel miserable and bloated. I am thinking Armour wasn’t so bad.

    • Hey Deanna,

      Sometimes during stressful circumstances thyroid dosing must be increased, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should have stopped the armour to begin with.

  77. I took levothyroxine a few months along with B12 when blood tests showed hypothyroid & deficiency. Hair fell out, more headaches, still tired, memory issues,weight gain and didn’t see a benefit so I stopped. I take 8 – 10 ibuprofin every 6hours or so to help with aches.

    • Hey Mb,

      You might have done better on liothyronine. Also, make sure you watch your kidney function taking that amount of ibuprofen.

  78. I have been on 150mcg of Levothyroxine for 15 years and have gained 42lbs in weight. I suffered a heart attack just 3 months prior to the thyroid problem (Or did I? could the thyroid problem have actually caused the heart attack?) I also take simvastatin for cholesterol, Irbesartan for heart protection and Nicorandil for Blood Pressure. Because I take Aspirin to thin my blood, I also have to take Lansoprazole to protect my stomach as I have had stomach ulcers in the past. Such a cocktail of drugs is worrying especially as I am now borderline diabetic too and will soon start on metformin. Could all my health issues stem from an under active thyroid being mistreated? I believe they could and have

    • Hey Janet,

      It’s unlikely that your thyroid caused all of the problems, however it certainly contributed – to what degree, we will likely never know for sure. You’re in a messy situation, but in order to get off of those medications you would need a pretty intensive program and someone to systematically remove medications as your insulin resistance improves, weight drops, blood pressure drops, cholesterol improves, etc. Going off of them all at once would not be advised.

  79. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 28… 20 years later, I am 100 lbs heavier and always tired … tried to add exercise for over 3 months and just found myself in more pain resulting in doctors saying I had gout … I am not looking to be the girl I once was I just want to be comfortable … I even got frustrated with weight watchers cause I would lose some gain some … Any advice from an expert …

    • Hey Dawn,

      You need the following:

      1. Proper thyroid medication and dosing – probably with NDT + T3

      2. Full hormone evaluation including insulin and leptin

      3. Whole food based diet that is NOT calorie restricted, and to avoid all calorie restricted diets from here on out – they will only further damage your metabolism

      4. And probably most important – a Doctor to help guide you through it

  80. I lost 40 pounds before I had my thyroid removed 3 years ago (they thought it was cancer, but wasn’t) Almost immediately I started putting the weight back on. I followed the same routine, but added in more exercise. Nothing seems to work. I’ve talked to my doctor several times about switching my meds, but he really doesn’t think there is another medication out there that works. I am on 150 mcg Levothyroxin. I need help just don’t know what to do….

    • Hey Kim,

      If you read through the comments you will see that you are not alone. The vast majority of doctors (99.8% of them) practice the same exact way, if you want to get proper treatment you will have to look for that small portion of doctors that understand thyroid function.

  81. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid age 15 so 18 years ago. I’ve always taken between 250mg and 150mg as it’s never been stable. Recently I’ve put on 3 stone in 2 years and I’ve been to Slimming World and I’ve been to a Dr’s referral Slimming Group which both said I don’t eat enough yet I’m now a size 24!!!! I’m not even 40 and I feel so I’ll and tired everyday my GP is useless jve asked repeatedly to be referred to Endocrinology but they think they know better. Hopefully when I move I’ll get a better GP who will listen to me my T3 levels are none existent so why they won’t give me a prescription I can’t understand. I also have EDS which they won’t acknowledge either.

    • Hey Rebecca,

      Your main issue is a slow metabolism which is caused by a lack of thyroid function and probably several other hormonal imbalances. Until these get sorted out you most likely won’t be able to lose weight.

  82. My endocrinologist will not prescribe NDT’s… and I am frustrated that after all these years of toying with the dosages of meds, I am still unable to lose weight. Would love any recommendations of where I can turn from here… definitely interested in as holistic approach as possible… should I find a new doctor who would help me switch to NDT’s? Thank you! This article was very informative!!

      • I am not sure why my comment was edited to describe what I was taking and the questions I asked… was really hoping for some help in directing me to what I could do next.

        Is medication the only way to go and no supplements?

        • For the most part, no, supplements are not sufficient by themselves to boost thyroid function enough to completely eliminate symptoms. And, in answer to your original question, I do think it would be reasonable to try and find a Doctor willing to prescribe NDT.

  83. Hi. I am Hilda. I have had 100 % removed my thyroid gland in 2007. I am also suffering from mrb. crohn (first surgery and diagnosed in 1981). I take 200 mkrgr daily of Levaxin. I do not feel well. I am overweight. I have just been to an endocrinolog and I was not to change any medications. I was also told that my blood works were ok. What am I to do? I am exhausted, not sleeping well, not eating at all compared to my weight.

    • Hey Hilda,

      You can try changing your diet and adding supplements, but if you’ve done that and it hasn’t helped then you will need to find a doctor to help you with changing medications, etc.

  84. I have been taking Levothyroxine for over four years. I take 0.075MG [75MCG] daily; then on Saturday and Wednesday I take an additional 1/2 tablet. This is the only actual prescribed medication I take. I’m very tired, and yes weight gain is an issue. I have small nodules. Lately, my hair is falling out again. I’m due for another lab work up and doctor consult. I don’t particularly find that my doctor is helpful as she dismisses my complaints over being tired, etc. Supposedly, this is not due to my Thyroid issue. I only use a regular doctor as my Medicare doesn’t cover Naturopathic doctors [which I prefer] and my Disability income is only $750 monthly. I am 65 years old and as well have other health issues [Sjogren’s Syndrome, PTSD, Psuedo-seizure Syndrome, imbalnce issues due to a permanently damaged inner ear nerve]. I do experience Acid Reflux, IBS, sensitivity to noise [which I thought was mostly due to my PTSD], chronic anxiety, insomnia, night terrors at times, memory loss. I’m very grateful to have found your website [can’t remember how I found it]. I’ve tried researching and doing the “natural” route but then I “forget” what I’ve learned and forget to go that route and just “settle” for the routine my doctor has me on. My quality of life is not great. I’d love to be able to enjoy my new 5 month old Grandbaby [1st time], but they live in Texas, me in Washington and the travel can be quite stressful, adding to my health concerns. I can’t really work, but as well I’d like to be able to do art work and write my book, but I’m so tired all of the time and discouraged.

    • Hey Anita,

      You’re in a tough spot. Unfortunately it will be VERY difficult to find the care you need in the insurance model, most of the Doctors who would actually be able to help you only take cash. But, that is what you need – a Doctor to guide you through this.

  85. Hi
    I had a total thyroidectomy 3 years ago and have steadily gaine weight . I take 125mg of levothyroxine and havent up until now had any other issues. However i have just recently had high blood pressure resdings and 7.2 cholesterol count.
    This has really surprised me as i haven never had this problem before.

    • Hey Margaret,

      Your new cholesterol problem could be from insulin resistance or simply because you need more thyroid hormone.

  86. I take Synthroid.8 months ago I was on 175 mcg. I am now at 125mcg. Weight gain is through the roof. Tired,exhausted,joint aches etc. Need to lose 60lbsto feel normal again

    • Hey Kris,

      I actually think that changing dosing based on the TSH can lead to desensitization of thyroid hormone receptors in the body – I’ve seen many people get to a dose they do well on and then do poorly if they ever go back to it.

  87. I am on 88mg levo, I am not losing weight, I am fatigued and slightly depressed. My dosage was upped about 3 weeks ago from 50 … I do not feel like anything changed, went gluten and soy free nutrition. I am sick and tired of feeling this way

    • Hey Henriette,

      Increasing T4 usually isn’t enough to make people feel better, most people need some T3 (in various amounts) to feel optimal.

  88. I have been taking medication for 3 years now for my thyroid and I can’t lose weight anymore, it so frustrating!!!!

    • Hey Gail,

      Remember that other hormonal imbalances may be contributing to the weight as well! I’m sure thyroid is part of the problem, but it may not be the only problem.

  89. I have been dealing with hypothyroidism for probably 6 years. I gained 80lbs very quickly with little to no change in my diet. My synthroid medication dosage has NEVER stayed the same in those 6 years, it’s always being tweaked. About 1 year ago my endocrinologist told me I have thyroiditis, and basically my thyroid was “attacking and killing itself” and would eventually stop working and my dose would be consistent then. Almost 1 year later, no weight loss, symptoms improved a little, but I can tell I need dosage change. Also monitoring nodules. I’m also on metformin for PCOS, it’s so frustrating because I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

  90. I was treated for Hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine 32 years ago and have been on Synthroid since then. I have steadily gained weight over the years and am at my highest weight now at age 58. Have been on Weight Watchers many times over the years and just cant get the weight off. I do work out about 3 times a week, mostly Cycle or Yoga. I’m tired and unmotivated to do much of anything these past few years. I go to my Primary Doctor once a year for bloodwork and tests are always normal.

    • Hey Liza,

      Make sure to test for the other hormones mentioned in this post: Insulin, leptin, reverse T3, Estrogen/progesterone, etc.

  91. I am a mom on a mission to help my 14 year old daughter who was diagnosed with Hashimotos at age 8. She has 2 goiters and antibodies >1000. Her Doctor immediately put her on Synthroid, but she has never seemed to quite feel better. The bloodwork says her TSH, T3 and T4 are in normal range but she has begun putting on weight which is hard for a teenager to deal with, especially because she is active and still growing. I have been supplimenting her with selenium, magnesium and a probiotic but any other advice would be greatly apppreciated. No young person should every have to feel so tired and have a hard time functioning because their youth should be the best times in life.

    • Hey Tanya,

      Unfortunately there’s not much you can do unless your doctor is willing to look outside of the box and treat her differently.

  92. before I knew better, I developed hyperthyroidism 4 months after my baby was born. The standard protocol was RI, which I did and they said that I have to be on Synththroid forever. Well my dose had gone from 75 mcg to 100 mcg. I started taking nascent iodine and they dropped my dose to 50 mcg which has been for a few years. Do you think it will be ever possible to regain my thyroid function without ever having to take Synthroid? I take selenium and zinc and nascent iodine everyday and recently started taking Kyogreen powder. I tried to get off for awhile, but I just felt awful, sluggish, sleepy, arms tingly, etc.

    • Hey Shirley,

      Probably not if you underwent RAI. You need thyroid function to not only survive but thrive, no thyroid hormone = myxedema coma and death.

      • Thanks for your quick reply, I’m wondering if I could possibly switch to the thyroid replacements you are recommending in the article. Of course, I would be talking to my doctor about it. But I would like my thyroid replacement to work more effectively and efficiently in my body.

  93. My issue is although that’s fantastic info, I’m on Wellbutrin which DOES speed up your metabolism and raise temperature and resting pulse rate so if I monitor those things I’ll see them high anyway…
    Any suggestions? I’m stopping Synthroid. I’ve been on it for 6 weeks and have had undesirable side effects like tingling in hands and feet and bladder issues

  94. I switched to Armour Thyroid last year and I had some pretty intense heart palpitations at first but got the dose lowered and then I felt amazing for a couple of months. Then, my symptoms started creeping back up… fatigue, weight gain, and lots of hair loss. In the year that I was on Armour, I gained 20 lbs and and the symptoms got so bad that I decided I never want Armour Thyroid again. My doctor put me back on Synthroid and my hair loss has pretty much stopped. I haven’t lost any weight (been back on the Synthroid since February). The doctor also ordered an ultrasound on my thyroid which showed 2 2 cm “cysts.” I had an ultrasound that was normal before starting Armour but it was maybe a year before. I am supposed to have another in September to determine if
    “they are growing.” I am so terrified that I have destroyed my thyroid by taking Armour.

    • Hey Laura,

      Not everyone does well on NDT or armour thyroid. I don’t recommend it for every patient because some people have reactions similar to the one you had.

  95. Hypo for 3 years. After a year of T4/T3 combo I was put back on T4 only 5 months ago because of suppressed TSH and racing heart. I used to be so fit and energetic. I am 3 stone heaver than I have ever been in my life, even when pregnant. I can’t eat gluten as it gives me pain, every food gives me indigestion not matter what I try. Doctors want me to take PPI’s which I am resisting. I do a lot of cardio exercise (tennis) because I love it and its the only thing that keeps me sane. Endo told me to give it up but then he also said he wanted to remove all meds from me, crash my body and start again. I have no stamina like I used to have, no energy. I eat mostly veg smoothies yet I get fatter and fatter. I have a great husband and daughter but I don’t go out anymore apart from going to work as I am so ashamed of what I have become. I bought my own NDT online and it gave me lumps under my arms. Feel like there is no hope…..no matter what I try. usually I am always positive as I know there people a lot worse off than me….jush wish there was something I could do to help myself.

    • Hey Susan,

      It can be really frustrating and almost impossible to do by yourself, I recommend finding someone local that can help guide you.

  96. Hi my name is melissa i am 38 years of age and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when i was 9 months pregnant my original endo had me on 112 mcg levothyroxine. I eventually with working out lost alot of the baby weight . But mentally i wasn’t well did some research and his nurse wouldnt run certain test so i decided to switch went to another dr who put me on synthroid 127 maybe felt alittle better but not much so with some diagreement i went to another dr who ran alot of test put me on armour 90 mcg i will say i feel best and am symptom free mostly and mentally i see the difference but since i stopped levothyroxine i have gained 15 lbs in like 5 years doing the same exercises that lost the baby weight before on levothyroxine so im leaning tword its the meds what do i do ?!! Take levothyroxine and mentally not he well but maybe be able to lose weight or contine to gain everyevery day and stay on armour?!! I dont know what to do!!!

    • Hey Melissa,

      In reality there is probably a combination of medication that will help you feel better mentally and help with weight loss.

  97. When people blame every symptom on their thyroid (even many people who do not have any evidence of a thyroid disorder), it keeps them from addressing wellness–stress reduction, proper sleep, exercise, nutrition, mental and spiritual wellness and other issues such as iron deficiency, obesity. This is why I have such a problem with these websites. It is a major barrier to counseling patients because they just think it is a matter of getting the right balance of T3 and T4. It is the quest to find the “magic pill.”

    • Hey Kasper,

      Great thoughts and I agree with you to some degree. I do think there are a number of people out there with undiagnosed thyroid disease that have been kicked around and mostly ignored, and there are a high number of individuals as well who believe that they do – but really don’t. In general thyroid disease does NOT account for more than 20 pounds of weight gain in most individuals, so if you have more to lose than that I can almost guarantee you have multiple issues contributing to your weight gain.

    • Hey Lisa,

      It depends on your body and your dose. Generally, no, but some people do better on other medications.

  98. I live in a small town so it is sometimes vertu hard to get info on thyroid and I feel pushed away from doctors. I’m on 100mg of levothyroxine and 25mg of cytomel. I have two kids and with both I lose a lot of weight during pregnancy and feel great too, when I’m not pregnant I gain a lot of weight and don’t feel great. So I’m wondering if my hormones released dieing pregnancy were helping my thyroid and what can I do now.

  99. Hi,
    I have been to several doctors. My levothyroxin fluctualtes from 112 to 100 mcg. T4 was checked 2x in 5 years! T3 1x !
    I can not seem to get through to any of the doctors. Every time TSH is “normal” I am being dismissed. Hairloss and extreme belly and upper torso fat is attributed to stress. I am fighting a loosing battle. 🙁
    My resting pulse rate is 98 or above. This may have something to do with being diagnosed with Polythytemia. No diet has helped loosing weight. Excercise is almost impossible since my pulse goes up to 123 just walking a few feet.

    • Hey Gabriele,

      That usually means your thyroid dose is too high (especially if you are on T3) and will limit your ability to feel better and lose weight.

  100. Hi

    When I was first diagnosed with underactive thyroid 10 years ago I was prescribed levothyroxine and started feeling very unwell after that. After 2 years i was 25kg heavier and barely able to get out of bed. I was then put on combination of levothyroxine and liothyronine which made a big difference. I am now thinking about having a baby and i have been told i will have to stop taking liothyronine and increase the dosage of levothyroxine before getting pregnant and until after the first trimester of the pregnancy. Is this approach correct? I have tried increasing my levothyroxine from 75 to 125 and stopped taking 2×5 liothyronine as a trial run and only lasted 2 weeks as towards the end i felt extremely unwell.

    Thanks

    • Hey Magda,

      Each situation is unique but the bottom line is that your body needs MORE thyroid hormone when pregnant because thyroid hormone helps regulate embryonic development.

  101. Hello Dr. Childs, what do you think about “Thyroid Assist”? Thyroid Assist is a 100% herbal formula. The active ingredients of the product are Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosis), Green Oats (Avena Sativa) and Makandi (Coleus forskohlii). Thank you.

  102. I have been on medication for 28 years and have gained 175 lbs. My medication dosage has gone from .01mdg to .250 mcg. I have been on levothyroxine and then went to synthroid and do to cost have gone back to levothyroxine. How do I stop this vicious cycle. I want to get this weight off but my doctors act like it is because I eat to much that isn’t the case.

    • Hey Patricia,

      You will most likely need to change thyroid medication to something containing T3 and unfortunately most conventional Doctors will not prescribe it.

  103. I am taking 100MCG Levothyroxine and i have been takeing this for the past 6 years. Ever sence thin i have put on 75 lb. No matter what i do i can’t get this weight off. I went from a size 10 to a 3x. in 5&1/2 years. I never knew that it was this med. that was causing it. So what do you recomend me to do?. I’m so frustated..

    • Hey Susan,

      You need to find a new Doctor who can actually help you! No need to stay with the same Doctors if they aren’t doing anything for you.

  104. I take armour thyroid 60mcg I was originally on synthroid it did not work well for me.i thought it would be better on armour but it has not.i keep gaining weight and do not feel good.ive gained alot of weight and I have become insulin resisant.any suggestions for me.often I think about just stopping my meds

    • Hey Jenice,

      Not everyone does well when switching to armour thyroid, but you might still do well on T3/naturethroid/wp-thyroid, etc.

  105. I am currently on 225mg of Levothyroxine and have put on alot of weight and find it almost impossible to shift.i had been on 200mg for around 5years and it was upped to 225mg which is alot. Have you any advice please? Do you think other medicatuons is an option for me? Thanks.

    • Hey Sharon,

      I would definitely look into other medications, especially if the levothyroxine isn’t working well for you.

  106. I have autoimmune thyroiditis. I take levo 100 mcg for around a year and in that time i have put on 14lbs that I cannot shift. I take no other meds. I eat a strict veggie diet (and always have) free of refined carbs and sugars, rarely drink, and don’t smoke. I exercise by walking about 5 miles per day, and also swim 6-10k every week. I still cant lose the weight, it’s driving me nuts!

    My hair has stopped falling out in handfuls, I am definitely less tired, and I am warmer than before but still have raynaud’s. My skin is still dry and my heart rate is still low at 49-55bmp, although that is a big improvement from 39bmp prior to levo.

    My TSH is down to 0.5 and my doctor thinks my issues are fixed and i am a hyperchondriac, but I know that gaining this weight is completely unnatural. I don’t want to be exhausted again so I am afraid to come off, but I hate being fat!

    • Hey Estee,

      Your weight gain is likely due to another hormone imbalance which is worsened by hypothyroidism. I would have your doctor check your insulin and leptin levels.

  107. My question is I have been on levothyroxine for 31 yrs started on very high doses of 500 micrograms now down to 175 micrograms I have had and still have a massive weight problem I have had cancer and a hip replacement I am using the slimming world method for cutting down on fat intake any other ideas to help I am 58 and work as a theatre nurse so on my feet a awful lot..

    • Hey Mary,

      Generally cutting down fat is the wrong approach (as is cutting down calories). In a patient with hypothyroidism the standard rules don’t really apply – you need to look at other hormones like insulin, leptin, and the estrogen/progesterone ratio.

  108. I was on levothyroxine for 4 years I was diagnosed when I gained 100 lbs in 6 months. Last summer I switched to armour 135 MG I feel better but I can’t get my weight to move in will try the temp and resting pulse should I also try adrenal supplements? I was working out and nothing again was happening

  109. HI, I just had my thyroid remove 5-23-16 and yes I am on levotyroxine 100mcg. I am exhausted all the time complete brain fog my hair is coming out my skin is dry and I just went yesterday to the orthopedic because my knee was so swollen I needed it drained. I am 52 considered myself to be healthy and now I feel like I have one foot closer to the grave. I have a appt. this Thursday with the endocrinologist other than sounding like I am whining how do I convey this to make them listen. Unfortunately this guy is old enough to be my great grand father and as per my insurance he is the only one in my network to go to.

    • Hey Tammy,

      You won’t ever be able to make a Doctor “listen” the way you are describing. They will treat you the way they have treated patients for the last 20 + years. I would strongly recommend that you look outside of the insurance model or else you may end up suffering needlessly for months to years.

  110. I’ve been taking Levothroxine for 8 years. I have been aggressively trying to lose weight for 1.5 years and have had no success. I exercise 5 times a week and eat very healthy. I used to eat double what I eat now, and I am the same. I never thought that it could be my medication.

    • Hey Dem,

      It could be, but also more likely is some other hormone imbalance like insulin or leptin resistance.

  111. I’ve been taking synthroid/Levothyroxine for about 8 years. Recently I was travelling and ran out of medication. In five days, I lost about 8 pounds and my waist was definitely thinner. Since coming home three days ago and restarting levothroxine (137mcg daily) my bloating has returned and my weight is up.At last check up, my thyroid was below normal level

    • Hey Chris,

      You might be reacting to a filler in the levothyroxine, not necessarily the medication itself.

  112. I’m miserable on synthroid.i can’t get enough sleep and my appetite is out of control. I am so fatigued and depressed. Is this how my life will be? My endocrinologist won’t listen to me.

  113. Complete thyroidectomy in 2010. Endocrinologist lowered dise of Synthroid to 137mcg. I have gained 25+ pounds, have depression, no energy. He refuses to raise meds back up as labs are “nirmal”. Help

    • Hey Lynnr,

      Best advice I can give is to find someone who is willing to look beyond your lab tests. You won’t be able to change your doctors mind and have him treat you different, so it’s often best to look elsewhere.

  114. This article has given me more information than I have had in 26 years. I have been on levothyroxine or synthroid since I was 32. And I have been on every dose available. For 26 years, I have been going to the Doctor every 6 months, and yes, every 6 months my dose is changed. I’m still as active as I was years ago, in fact, maybe even more active. I had put on 160 pounds. I HAVE to push myself everyday. Some days, I just want to lay in bed and cry. And some days I do. Moody, not hungry, depressed, frequent headaches, and everything else that comes with Hashimoto’s disease. I literally have been miserable for 26 years.

    I had my yearly checkup in November. I had swollen legs, swollen face, and I had cried for about a week. Something had to change. I ask my doctor about Armour Thyroid and he gave me a little shrug and said that is was not standard for them to prescribed. Well, that was it for me. I told him I was just going to have to find a doctor that would “help” me. He finally gave in a wrote the prescription. Since November (8 months), I have lost 50 pounds, skin is scaley, and I feel much better. Granted, after 3 months my dose was changed, but I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel. I also take a vitamin B regimen everyday along with zinc and magnesium.

    I truly wish we had a doctor in my hometown like Dr. Childs that take a normal persons insurance and explained the up and downs of thyroid disease.

    Thanks Dr. Childs. I am getting your ebook for more reading.

  115. I am 41 y.o. female. My Dr just recently put me on Synthroid and Metformin. Was told I’m hypo and insulin resistant. I am already on Adderall for ADD for the last 10 yrs. I’m a former fitness competitor (’09-’12). After my cancer scare (Dec ’12), I went into a depressed state, ate, and gained weight. I workout 4 plus days a week and struggle dropping weight. I’ve exhausted myself causing a negative impact, physical injury and depression (again). My diet is clean though I enjoy wine at night.
    First, is it safe to mix the 3 together? Second, what recommendations could you provide?

    • Hey Brandi,

      Based on history alone I can tell you that one of your main problems is insulin resistance, if you don’t manage that you most likely will not lose any weight.

  116. My doctor put me on levothyroxine last year because she stated that I had a underactive thyroid. I took it for 2 months and got off of it because I gained 20 lbs within those two months. My question is if I start taking the levothyroxine again, can I take the Selenium and zinc while on the levothyroxine? Also, when taking your temperature and pulse is that when you are on the medication or off the medication?

    • Hey Jessica,

      You can take both supplements with your levothyroxine, I’m guessing you are trying to boost the conversion process? And you want to check your pulse and body temp both on the medication and off to see if you notice an improvement when you start taking it.

  117. I’m a 56 year old female in the UK who had RAI I-131 treatment 3 years ago. I’m on 100mg Levothyroxine, 10mg Escitalopram and struggle to keep my weight down. I also suffer from bouts of low mood and tearfulness. Is it possible to take T3 post RAI treatment and would this enable me to manage my weight and mood more easily? I don’t understand the role of T3 and it’s no longer checked in my regular blood tests which only confirm levels of TSH and T4. Hoping for help from the other side of the pond!

    • Hey Sarah,

      Yes you can take T3 post RAI and I encourage most patients either post TT or post RAI to be on T3 in some form, usually to the tune of ~20% of their total T4 dose.

      T3 generally does help patients with mood and weight loss resistance, but not always.

  118. Hi my name is Patty. I have been on medication for 35 years. I just recently changed doctors because my first doctor would not help me lose weight. All he said was that I would have a hard time because of my thyroid. I knew that. Anyway this new doctor has changed my dose of medication but I am still having a difficult time losing weight. I have changed my eating habits, I have been exercising, but the weight just does not come off.

    • Hey Patty,

      You won’t lose weight until your thyroid medication has been optimized and you address insulin/leptin levels.

  119. Hello, I’ve struggling with hypothyroidism and hashimotos most of my life. I was at s time on the natural hormone armour and did lose 20 lbs but then a new doc had switched me back to the synthetic ones whxih were about 2 kinds and now I’m back in lyvothiroxin and I’m gaining so much weight I’m exhausted and completely lost pls help!

    • Hey Natalie,

      Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do unless you are a patient of mine. You can try to go back to the other doctor who had you on the right medication or try to find a different doctor local to you.

  120. Hi Dr Childs
    Finally I have pushed for a specialist appointment with an endocrinologist. I was diagnosed as having fibromyalgia 2 years ago. Ten years ago I contracted ciguatera a neurotoxin from fish. Since then I have been treated with levothyroxine. Over the past 2 years I note that my symptoms for fibro have increased in intensity. I experience chronic fatigue stinging nerve pain depression and anxiety. I also have an irritable bowel and muscle and point pain that moves. Latest thyroid results were v low tsh mid range t4 but t3 was v low actually off the bottom of the range. After reading your post I am beginning to put it together. The thyroid could well be the key. What should I be asking the specialist? Thanks alot Dee New Zealand.

    • Hey Dee,

      If your specialist understands the what I’m talking about then you shouldn’t have to ask them anything, they will just be able to see your results and change your treatment. If they don’t understand it, then it’s generally not worth trying to convince them otherwise – at that point I would seek someone else out.

  121. i am 55 and have been on Synthroid since i was 17. the doctor kept changing my dose as i still wasn’t right.. i was on .75 3 days a week and .88 the other.. i was so anxious couldn’t sleep and have severe IBS…about a yr ago i added liothyronine and dropped syntroid to .50 i’ve gained 17 pounds and just decided to go off of that .. next blood is sept. I’m so frustrated…

    • Hey Mona,

      There’s definitely an element of trial and error when dosing thyroid medication, it’s hard to say what you need without knowing things like your reverse T3 and sex hormone binding globulin.

  122. Hi. My thyroid was removed 20 years ago due to a cancerous nodule. My original endocrinologist gave my 174 mcg synthroid to suppress any thyroid cells left behind ( I also had a radioactive iodine treatment just after surgery). Since loosing insurance a few yes later I haven’t had a bone scan done in 12 or so yrs. she would give me cytomegalovirus when comming off synthroid for a scan then off all for scan. Then when scan was over it was both meds and weaning off the cytomegalovirus over a couple of weeks. While on both I felt NORMAL. Now regular Drs always wanting to drop my dosage. I am currently on 125 mcg levothyroxine. So my question is. What about us who no longer have a thyroid gland at all??? I would love to feel normal again and loose this weight.

  123. I am taking Synthroid and had to have my thyroid taken out. My gallbladder was taken out 23 years ago and I was diagnosed with IBS. I also have chronic pain/fibromyalgia. When ever I exercise with any weights I literally get sick and it takes me about 2 to 3 months to really get over it. I need help. I have looked for a doctor that could prescribe natural thyroid meds for me but there are none within 150 miles of me. I try to eat healthy. I bought a autoimmune cookbook, and gluten free cook books but that is so expensive. I appreciate your advice greatly. Thank you

    • Hey Judy,

      I think diet is a great place to start but remember that diet is just one small piece to the overall puzzle that is your health. For instance my treamtent recommendations have 8-10 steps involved and diet only accounts for 1 of those. Keep on researching and learning!

  124. I have been on levothyroxin for 4 going on 5 years now, I am now at 175mcg tablets. I can never loose weight no matter what I try, in fact I am gaining again. My doctor is only a family physician my insurance will not cover a visit to a specialist of any sort but for 1 visit total.
    I also have kyphosis in my upper and lower spine and sacroiliac joint dysfunction and arthritis in my spine, so exercises are extremely limited to aid me in weight loss… Feeling hopeless as I can’t afford to pay out of pocket for better health treatment of my thyroid when I have the other problems…
    This is what the poor struggle with daily and we get swept under the rug cause we don’t have cash to throw around…

    • Hey Michelle,

      You’re definitely in a tough spot. It is still possible to find decent thyroid care in the insurance model but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. If you don’t have any other options then I would just keep looking and asking around locally until you find one! Even if you end up having to drive a few hours, it will be worth it.

  125. I have been on levothyroxine for over 15 yrs now..I’m constantly chasten and have gained a ridiculous amount of weight.. I have a p.a. Who refuses to change my mess . I went to an endocrinologist & he pretty much laughed me out of his office.. I am extremely fatigued 24/7 and no one will help me or take my symptoms seriously. Any advice

    • Hey Jenn,

      Yes, the best advice is to find a thyroid specialist that isn’t an endocrinologist or PCP or PA or NP. All of them will treat you the same way and you will only get more frustrated. This usually means looking for doctors that don’t take insurance.

  126. Hi there,

    Nine years ago I had my entire thyroid remove and had a small cancer. It was on the bubble for radiation and I elected not to do it and just monitor with blood work. Since then I’ve gained 100 pounds. I’ve tried everything and can’t lose weight. I’ve read through your posts about not being able to lose weight and so I asked my doctor about T3. She seemed to feel that adding T3 when you’ve had cancer wouldn’t be a good idea. Can you comment? Do I need to look for another doctor?

    • Hey Karen,

      I’m honestly not sure what her thought process was there? It’s felt to be protective to suppress the TSH post thyroidectomy after thyroid cancer because high levels of TSH promote thyroid tissue growth and T3 is the best thyroid medication to suppress the TSH.

  127. Wow! Now I KNOW I need help. Great info.
    My story: Overweight all my life. Naturally low body temp (97.2). Diagnosed w/Grave’s March 2007. Had RAI May 2007. Gained 60 lbs in 3 months. Got on Levo, lost 30… still holding. I am at 250mcg of Levo.
    I have HBP, and Sleep Apnea. Using an APAP now, and BP seems to be down since then.
    BUT!!! I am STILL so danged tired!
    I’m having Roux-En-Y surgery in a few weeks. I plan to talk to my PCP about all this before that though. Maybe she can get me on some T3. If not, then I will be seeing and Endo.
    Any other advice??

    • Hey Kristal,

      If you are on a position where gastric bypass is an option then I can almost guarantee that you have an issue with insulin, leptin AND thyroid conversion. Treating just one of these things is likely not enough to make meaningful change. You can ask about the T3 with your PCP but most don’t feel comfortable prescribing the medication.

      My best advice is to find someone who is knowledgable about insulin, leptin and thyroid conversion and get treatment with them PRIOR to the surgery.

  128. I have a under active thyroid for the past 11 years and am taking 100mg of eltroxin daily, I exercise and don’t eat junk food but find it impossible to loose weight and so fed up front it. Please help, thanking you in advance, nicola

  129. There are sooo many struggling with thyroid issues now days … I had a total thyroidectomy at the age of 22… I was 5’11” and 140 pounds… I was amazingly sick within about 30 days after that surgery, for 16yrs because if you take synthyroid and say you don’t feel well, it’s all in your head because synthyroid is considered the “Magic Bullet” I finally found a book thru my sister called living well with hypothyroidism … that book saved my life… I found a doctor who would listen and could tell I was suffering from myxedemia, because I’m a non-converter to the point i was close to death from congestive heart failure, he told me he could not fix what happened to me, but he could make it better which he did, I now take straight T3 (Cytomel)but I still eat very little, because I’m still heavy, and nothing seems to change that, and since then, I’ve had a 2nd thyroidectomy and neck dissection, and a whipple, and I lost my endo doctor (retired) as well, so I have yet to find anyone in the twin cities metro area qualified to deal with all of this… and since my whipple most docs won’t even touch me, they are too afraid

    • Hey Shannon,

      Treatment definitely gets more tricky after a whipple due to the loss of glucagon. I would look into leptin levels though if you haven’t already.

  130. Hi! My name is Melody Haynes, due to thyroid cancer at age 13 I no longer have a thyroid gland. For most of my life I was prescribed levothyroxine, 175 much. Four years ago I i saw a doctor who finally did the reverse t3 testing and found that my body was reversing. I was prescribed 10 mcg Cytomel, split into two daily doses added to the levothyroxine. I have since moved states and am seeing a family physician who just prescribed what I was already taking. I have gained about 20lbs over the last 6 months. I spend 1-2 hours in the gym 5-6 days a week and can’t seem to make any headway. I eat a seemingly healthy diet, comprised mostly of lean protein, veggies and fruit. I am not obese, I weigh in at around 155lbs but for most of my life I weighed in at 135lbs. I live in a mountain town and there aren’t a lot of options for specialist here. What would you recommend for me?

    Thank you for your time and research,
    Melody Haynes

    • Hey Melody,

      Unfortunately if you can’t find someone local you will need to search someone out that you can either travel to or that you can do phone consultations with. You need a complete hormonal evaluation to figure out what is going on.

  131. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I have Hashimoto’s and bought the selenium you recommended. Can you please tell me when this (& the Zinc) should be taken? With levothyroxine in the mornings? After a meal?

    Thanks so much!

      • Great, thank you! And 1 capsule only? Also, is it ok to take with Zinc and does it matter if it’s on an empty stomach or not? Apologies for the many questions – want to get it right from the beginning!

  132. I am taking levothyroxine 50mg and feel like it’s impossible to lose weight. I have no energy. At all! To top it all off I have a desk job. I am so excited to try some of your solutions. I will share this with my sister she has a thyroid problem also. Thank you

  133. I was put on levthyroxine. I was also put on gabapentin for an atypical form of SAPHO syndrome. I gained 30 pounds in 3 months, so I quit levothyroxine. Made me feel so hungry. I know that weight gain can be side effect of gabapentin but need that for the nerve pain. My TSH was 4 when dr. put me on the levothyroxine. Any comment from you would be helpful.

    • Hey Pam,

      Tough to say what’s going on with such limited history. I would recommend evaluating your free thyroid levels and going from there.

  134. Hi Dr. Childs, thank you for the videos, they are definitely helping me get more educated on the life of not having a thyroid. I had a total thyroidectomy in May 2016 due to cancer and was placed on 150mg of Synthroid and began gaining weight. I am very active, cycling about 100 miles a week (high intensity) and strength train. No matter how much I ride or eat clean I cannot loose weight. Last time I trained like this, when I had a thyroid, I had to eat not to loose weight too quick. My Dr. did add Nature thyroid 32.5 mg on my last visit to see if that would help, but it has not. Two months later, just received a call and they said my levels were high so he was lowering my Synthriod to 130mg plus the same 32.5 mg of Nature Thyroid. My Dr. is an Endocrinologist and is open to changes in my medication. Based on your video of changing to a NDT what would you recommend I ask him to change my meds to for a starting point to help with my weight loss?

    Thank you again for all you do to help educate people in this area!!

    • Hey Channing,

      You are welcome. In terms of starting doses you will need to figure out what works for you. In general you will most likely feel better on NDT only versus NDT + T4, but getting him to switch you completely may be difficult. You would probably do better on T4 + T3 instead of NDT + T4, doses will vary based off of your body, etc.

  135. Hi dr Westin Childs I’ve read your article with interest. I’ve been on 175mg levothyroxin for two years now & despite countless trips to the doctors I feel awful, my weight keeps going up & up despite eating less than I ever have, I’m tired all the time & my mood is very low. My skin is very sensitive & dry & I don’t feel like I’m living just exsisting. Living in England it’s a one treatment fits all so it’s very hard to get anywhere any help you could give would be great thanks

    • Hey Jennifer,

      There’s only so much you can do without the addition to thyroid hormone if your body needs it. You can try changing things within your control like diet, exercise, stress reduction, etc.

  136. Dr. Childs,

    I am currently on WP Thyroid 1.75mg. A month ago my Dr. increased from 97.5 to this amount. I have continued to gain weight anywhere from 5 to 10 lbs a month. I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s as well. I do not know where to turn. My diet is clean, I work interval training 3 days a week and am taking the supplements you discuss in the podcast. Any advice is appreciated!!

    Thank you,
    CB

    • Hey CB,

      You need to make sure that you have addressed any underlying hormone imbalances – specifically insulin and leptin levels.

  137. Hi
    I am taking 150mcg of thyroxine daily and have put on 6 stone over the last 2 years. I eventually found a doctor willing to test my T3 and even though my results show I should be on T3 or cytomol, he will not prescribe it. What was the point of the test?
    My T4 was high, TSH midway but my free T3 was 3 and the norm is 3-6. As it fell “within range” he said he wouldn’t prescribe and told me to go on a diet! I have a bag of crisps and a bar of chocolate once a month.. FFS!!
    I eat no processed foods, all fresh and healthy and nothing out of tins or jars, fruit, chia seeds, I take Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Adrenal support and I exercise my dog daily along with renovating my property!
    My skin is itchy and my nails are brittle. I also took my basal temperature for 2 weeks along with my resting heart rate but my doctor barely looked at that. All he was interested in was my blood tests… I did manage to get him to refer me to an endocrinologist but he told me he would say the same… We shall see!!!

    • Hey Debbie,

      That is kind of the cruel joke about thyroid lab tests. It doesn’t matter how much YOU know or what tests YOU ask for, all that matters is how your doctor will treat you. That’s why I generally say that getting the right tests is only 5% of the problem, the other 95% is the treatment. Your endocrinologist will say the exact same thing as your PCP, I can almost guarantee it because they are all trained the same way.

      The best thing you can do is seek someone out who will really look at your tests and treat you differently.

  138. HI- I JUST FOUND OUT I AM HYPO . i AM TAKING LEVOTHYROXINE AND I FEEL LIKE I’M LOSING WEIGHT,is THIS POSSIBLE ?EVERYTHING THAT I’M READING IS THAT IT MAKES YOU GAIN WEIGHT. IT’S ONLY A WEEK INTO TAKING THE MEDICATION BUT I FEELING GREAT!

    • Hey Heather,

      Yes, some patients do very well on Levothyroxine and in fact can lose weight. If you fall into this category then stay on the medication 🙂 There is no reason to change if it works well for you.

  139. Hi Dr. Childs,
    I am a 63year old male living in Canada, who has taken Levothyroxine for the past 15 years. I never really had any symptoms before the Dr. said I needed to start this routine ( based on blood work) and I have never felt any different after taking it, other than my weight stays at least 35 lbs more than it should be, no matter what I do. am a Vegan if that makes any difference, ) I don’t take any other meds, and have no other health issues, and if I could,I would rather not take any meds at all, or if there is a natural herb or other alternative, I would prefer that.
    Thank you,
    John

    • Hey John,

      Your inability to lose weight is probably not due to the levothyroxine you are taking but some other issue like insulin resistance or low testosterone. I would check your fasting insulin levels and free/total testosterone levels.

  140. Hello Dr Westin Childs.
    I am on 125 MCG levothyroxine and I have no thyroid gland since 2006 my Dr refuses to give me T3 because if this and saids I don’t need but only T4. Every year I gain a little weight from 2006 at 170 lbs and tall, to now 2016 at 291 lbs. I’m fatigue 24/7 no energy, want to do a lot but my body won’t bulg with my brain. And its extremely depressing. My home looks like a tornato hit it. And I used to keep a very clean home. And now I have growths or cyst on my adrenal glands. No money to take care of it. Any suggestions with my extremely fatuge thank you so much for helping people like me . Rebecca

    • Hey Rebecca,

      There are some things you can try but ultimately it sounds like the best thing for you is to find a doctor willing to work with you. Generally speaking supplements and other changes have a small impact on symptoms like fatigue.

  141. Hello Dr. Childs. Thank You for publishing this article. I found it very helpful and informative. I now understand what could be the cause of my unexpected weight gain. I have been on Levothyroxine 75mcg for over a year, and while lab results look within range, I am unable to lose any weight. My Dr cannot figure it out either so he suggested I see a nutritionist. Out of frustration, I decided to STOP taking Levo and decided to try Thyrostim, from Biotics Research. I actually started today, so I am curious about the reaction. let’s see. Also, FYI, I am diagnosed with sub-clinical Hypothyroidism. I do not have any of the common effects, except weight gain. Next.. I am going to try the basal temperature. I will let you know. Thanks Dr. God Bless You!!

      • Dr, Childs.
        I recorded my basal temperature for 7 days: 96.9, 96.8, 97.1, 97.5, 97.3, 97.1, 96.6. all fall below 97.8!
        I began to take a Thyroid Supplement-Thyrostim, from Biotics Research. I am also taking Selenium and Zinc as you suggested, including the adrenal support supplement; and continued to take Levo!! I really want to stop taking it but am afraid 🙁
        I also began a temporary elimination diet…I stopped eating dairy, eggs, butter and meat, grains and gluten. I added juicing (green) to my diet. So far..I dropped 3 pounds! this is progress…
        as always, I appreciate your feedback and suggestions.. God Bless!!

  142. Hi Dr. Westin.

    I am a 55-year-old woman. And my big problem started right after my hysterectomy two years ago. All of a sudden my feet especially my toes are constantly cold and numb. I never had the symptom before the surgery. They put me on a HRT which made me feel very odd, not myself. I went to a naturopath who tested my thyroid hormones. T3 was low and my T4. She started me on NDT and then added 25 mcg of Cyromel. And put me on HRT with progesterone from a compounding pharmacy.

    That definitely helped my sense of well-being. But my feet are still constantly cold and numb. I don’t have circulation issues according to the doctors. But it seems like it was cause and effect from the surgery. I’m very frustrated. I’m working with a Doctor Who is somewhat open to trading thyroid issues. I am currently on one grain of NDT and 25 MCG of Cytomel. But my test just came back I’m still low on T3 and T4.

    I asked I am getting my progesterone and estrogen levels checked this week. I am wondering if I may be low in progesterone as I am getting thinning hair and cystic acne. I wonder if I should ask to have my reverse T3 checked too? I can put up with being lethargic and needing a nap every day but the cold feet is just so frustrating! Even when it’s 70° out I still have to wear toe warmers in my tennis shoes.Its debilitating. Any help you could offer would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hey Laurie,

      I’ve mentioned this before here but it’s worth mentioning again, it’s less about the tests you order and more about the doctor who is interpreting them and managing treatment. Even if you get your doctor to order the tests you mentioned above most have no idea how to replace hormones so it’s largely irrelevant.

      I would check all of the things you mentioned above and seek out treatment for them if they come back abnormal.

  143. I was diagnosed as being hypothyroid 5 months ago. It sends as though my levels have slowly moved back to where they should be, however I’m feeling even more tired more irritable am struggling to sleep and have put on 4kg in the last 4 months. I eat 1200 calories a day..and I monitor this. I asked the GP to refer me to a specialist as it is obviously now working for me and i was refused. Do you have any suggestions for what kind of specialist i need to see? Thanks

  144. I am an ER RN, for the last 30 years. I still look like I’m in my 30s although I’ve been blessed with 54 years of living. I was dx with Hashimoto’s at 40 years old. I went through the crazy system we call “health care” and luckily ended up with enough persistence, personal knowledge and progressive allopathic doctors to initially be placed on NDT and did not have 80% of the symptoms I recognize in other patients. I was also fortunate to find online support with some of the progressive doctors and advocates that are not part of the “all in your head” or “that this and call me in the morning” practice. Since 2002, when I was dx, my eyes have opened and then my jaw has dropped on how many patients out there are given “blow off care” and consideration with their symptoms. It’s doctors like you that truly have honored the title of “doctor” “via Old French from Latin doctor ‘teacher’ (from docere ‘teach’)”. I have become my own researcher and student seeking “masters” as if I was a perpetual apprentice of this art of healing. I appreciate all this information and wish there were more out there like you. You are correct it isn’t so much about getting them to do the right tests but receiving the correct treatment. I am now in menopause and have gained 40 pounds in the last 4 years. With your assistance it has dumbified some of the vague knowledge out there enough to go back to basics. The temperature, the diet and the leptin levels and insulin resistance. As an ER nurse, I realized that 12 hr night shifts were a detriment to my functional health and life. This is when I started the weight gain. I couldn’t support my adrenals on the crazy schedule my own kind “nurses” would create of one 12 hr shift on and off one 12 hr shift off etc. I’ve seen “medical” personnel forget or ignore the basics to how our body maintain’s it’s health. Over the years, I have passed on the information to my patients like a covert health ops agent. lol. I have also taught that everyone’s combination is different to unlock their best health. Never let anyone doctor, nurse, lawyer or indian chief convince you it’s about “a pill” or a “surgery”. So after this long comment, I am appreciative of your methods of communicating, educating and sharing all your info for the wealth of health it brings others. I have one question. When in menopause what changes do we look out for with hasimoto’s in order to weather these changes in better balance and health. Are there any articles that may help me understand how to readjust with or after the “change” to further promote optimal health and balance? Any direction would help. Thanks!

    • Hey Cindi,

      Thanks for the comment!

      The biggest changes that occur in menopause is obviously the huge and almost complete decline of progesterone and the relative decline in estrogen (usually less than estrogen). In addition to these 2 hormones, women also have a decline in androgens including DHEA and testosterone. In my opinion the replacement of these hormones is what leads to optimal and lasting health – if you are looking to take a natural approach, then you would need to boost adrenal function (reduce fat content) and try to balance estrogen metabolism.

      If you prefer to take bioidenticals (or both) then you can simply take these 3 hormones in safe and small doses.

  145. I had thyroid cancer and a complete tyhroidectomy in 2007. I am on a daily dose of Synthroid. Does any of the above written material effect me?

  146. Two years ago I had a complete thyroidectomy due to repeat thyroid nodules. I’m currently taking 153 mcg of levothyroxin. I also take selenium and calmag zinc. I was losing weight extremely slowly. All of a sudden I gained it all back, plus some. Help!

  147. Thank you for a very informative article. I had thyroidectomy three weeks ago. I was on 50mcg of levothyroxin for a week, now 100mcg. If I choose to help myself convert T4 to T3 by supplementing with Selenium, should I take it at the same time as levothyroxin? Also, is it better to take the hormone in the morning, or at night? I read somewhere that it might be a good idea to take it at night for better absorption and no other drug interface. Thank you.

  148. I was in car accident tore thyroid had half removed.Surgeon said no problem other half would do all work. Gained 25 lbs went to general MD put on levolthyroxine 0.05mg. Felt brain fog slept a lot no energy. Cut dose in half feel better but soon will stop this all together. See no change. Started a job where going for 8 hours straight walk 7 to 10 miles a night have not lost one pound. Just wrong. Feel better taking half medicine but think should just stop. Metabolism not working when you change life that much and exercise and no results. Help

    • Hi Connie,

      I find that most people who undergo a partial thyroidectomy still benefit or need at least some thyroid hormone. This may be the issue you are experiencing as it relates to weight loss resistance.

  149. I have had awful hypo symptoms for years, but bloodwork always looked good. After I had my daughter, in 2011, symptoms increased, and I started losing my hair. My doctor said my TSH was elevated, so he put me on Synthroid. I had an awful time with that — felt very depressed, crying all day, and felt “weird” – can’t really explain it. I stopped taking it, and within a week, those symptoms disappeared. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 1 1/2 years ago with all blood work looking well, except antibodies were 538. PCP refused to treat, said antibodies shouldn’t cause any symptoms. I attempted to try different diets to help decrease antibodies and symptoms. I was able to lose some weight, but my calorie intake was super low, and the weight always came back on. I did an elimination diet too, but when I added gluten and dairy back in, I saw no change. I found another doctor who tried me on NP Thyroid. My hair lose stopped and new hair was growing in, and I had a few break through periods of energy, but again, I had awful additional side effects show up. I was having trouble getting into a deep sleep, I would completely forget my thought/words, and I began having bad knee pain. The doctor told me to stop the medication, and about a week later, the symptoms stopped, but I gained 2 pounds since stopping, and my hair has been coming out in handfuls. The doctor agreed to test my RT3, which was 16, and my ratio was 1.8. He put me on Cytomel. I have gained 3 pounds in two weeks, and my hair loss has not stopped or gotten any better. It might be good to add that my cortisol is through the roof — my saliva test showed that it was high for each of the four samples I gave throughout the day. I am about to give up and just live with this .. I don’t know what else to try, but the Cytomel is doing nothing but making me fatter!!! The NDT and Synthroid produced so many negative side effects, that I don’t think I can ever take them. I am probably Leptin resistance, but my doctor didn’t seem interested in testing for that. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

    • Hey CS,

      The best thing you can do is find a Doctor who is willing to work with you and who focuses on hormone imbalances.

  150. I was on Westhyroid for many years. When they quit making Westhyroid my Dr put me on Synthyroid. I immediately started to gain weight. Still on Synthyroid and does not seem to be working.

  151. I’ve had a low body temperature, low blood pressure, high resting pulse rate, and cold limbs my entire life. TSH has always been slightly elevated, usually in the mild subclinal range, but never enough for a doctor to put me on medicine. I do have several large nodules (2cm+) that nobody seemed concerned about either, so I found a new endocrinologist who is monitoring them every three months and has started me on Levothyroxine. My TSH has been sitting right around 2.8 for the last few months. However, I still have the same symptoms listed above, and I’ve gone from 150, which was already rather high for me, to 180 pounds, or an size eight to a fourteen. I am a health conscious vegan and have been for the last fifteen years, so I know it isn’t my diet that is making me fat. I know I may need more levothyroxine to get my TSH down further, but before it dips too low, I would like to see if T3 would help, but my endocrinologist says it is in range and would be concerned with what might happen if we start down that path. What would happen if we were to put some T3 into my regime before recalibrating my Levo dosage?

  152. Hi dr. Childs, I was recently diagnosed with hashimotos and was put on levothyroxine by my endocrinologist. Before seeing him I was struggling with weight gain (about thirty lbs) heartburn, hair loss, fatigue, and emotional imbalance. No doctor seemed to be able to figure out what was wrong with me until I went to this doctor. He diagnosed me and then promptly put me on levothyroxine. Well not only have my symptoms stayed the same but I’ve actually gained MORE weight!! Yet I just saw my endocrinologist a few days ago and he said that my levels were definitely almost in the normal range and just put me on a higher dose of the thyroid meds. He seemed confused as to why I hadn’t lost weight like ‘most’ of his patients had. I asked him to check my estrogen and cortisol levels because I’ve been on birth control for about ten years now ( the same one) and I’ve heard/ read that estrogen dominance can cause hashimotos or trigger it. I have no idea if this is true since you never know when reading things on the Internet. He reluctantly gave me the lab work and I’m going to get it done soon. I have thought long and hard about going to see a naturapath doctor to see if they can help me more than this doctor obviously seems to be able to. Can you give me any suggestions? Thanks, Olivia

    • Hey Olivia,

      The best thing you can do is find someone knowledgable about hormones. You are right to be apprehensive about testing for other hormones to see if they are contributing. I can almost guarantee you have both estrogen issues and cortisol issues without even checking your labs, but I can also tell you that those problems are most likely secondary to other issues. Which means treating them most likely will not result in significant improvement – and that’s why it’s best to find someone to help guide you. Good luck!

  153. Hi Dr. Westin Childs,

    I live in Ottawa, Canada and like many, I have struggled with Hypothyroid Symptoms, probably now for about 18years.(I just recently, found out that I have hashimoto after I demanded the doctor to run the various tests on the thyroid panels). I am working with a naturopath, put I feel like I am not getting the proper solutions to my problems. I am finally on ERFA NDT for the past 6 weeks and haven’t noticed much difference. You have mentioned a functional doctor – do you know of any functional doctors in Ottawa or close to Ottawa. Thanks.

  154. Before all this started, I had lost down with weight watchers and walking 2 miles 5 days a week to 160. Then all of a sudden my nodules on my thyroid started growing and I gained 30 lbs back. My dr recommended surgery and my thyroid was removed. I’ve been on Synthroid since June, 2016. No luck losing the weight. I’ve been doing paleo/gluten free and tai chi, also resumed walking. Still no luck. After a lot of research on my part, I’m being switched to a natural thyroid hormone. So I’m hopeful. Thank you for putting out this information!

    • Hey Terry,

      You are welcome!

      For most people switching medications is an important step but usually not the only thing necessary to help with weight loss.

  155. I’ve taken this medication for years now and I am 26yrs old. I still suffer from fatigue, brain fog and painful/dull aching joints. I eat very healthy due to a pancreatic attack a few years ago. I will try this and see if there is any improvement. Do u recommend to stop taking the medication if I plan on trying this new method?

  156. Hi, My daughter is 17. She was diagnosed with Hoshimotos at age 14. Since she was diagnosed and put on Synthroid 88mg now 100mg, she has gone from 109 to 149 in a little over 2 years. She exercises approximately 45 during the week a day. She drinks nothing but water, She does not like greasy foods or cheese. We are at a loss when the doctors tell us her levels are normal. We feel like as soon as she started the Synthroid she grew and gained weight. On her growth chart she was around the 25% then she started her meds and now she is 89%. Being a teenager that is trying everything she can think of, including cutting out gluten it is so frustrating. Thank you for your articles. I want to take her off of Synthroid waiting to hear back from her doctor.

  157. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I’m 52 and have been on 75 mcg ofLevothyroxine and 5 mcg Liothyronine for several years. My most recent thyroid labs are all in the “normal range” (Total T3 114; TSH 1; Free T3 3.1; Free T4 1.7 Thyroglobulin Antibodies <20). I understand from your web site, these aren't all the labs needed, but its what I have for now. Just over a year ago I was put on 25 mcg Atenolol for high blood pressure and also at that time I began having severe anxiety and panic attacks. I was on effexor but have recently weaned myself off of it. I have gained about 10 to 15 pounds over the past few years and cannot lose it counting calories. For the most part I eat healthy and avoid known sensitivities like dairy and gluten. I probably consume 1500-1800 calories per day, I am active and work out regularly. I have numerous traditional hypo. symptoms recurring and know that something is off. I have begun your 10 day reset program and will likely start the 60 day program as well. I was being treated by my general practitioner for thyroid issues and cannot get an appointment with an endocrinologist until December. Do you think I am taking too much Levothyroxine and way too little Liothyronine? Do you think 1500 calories per day is restrictive at my age? Thank you for all your information, I'm hopeful this is the beginning of the end!

    Best,
    Shawna Reynolds

    • Hey Shawna,

      The 10 day and 60 day programs are completely different, but the 10 day is a great starting place. There’s no way to tell if you are on enough medication, the factors involved are more complex than just looking at lab work and why most providers miss the mark when it comes to medication and dosing.

  158. I started out on the levothyroxine and I felt absolutely horrible for 2 years.finally my endocrinologist put me on Cytomel and it made a world of difference in my energy level so he decided to go ahead and put me on Armour Thyroid. once I got on the Armour Thyroid I felt fantastic, but still had a lot of problems losing weight 2 months ago I started a diet through a clinic. i dropped 20 pounds in a matter of 3 weeks I feel fantastic I continue to drop weight.

  159. Hi, I’m a 34 yr old female. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid Oct 2015. I was prescribed .50mcg of Levothyroxine and experienced rapid weight lose within 2 months and then it all came back. I asked my doctor to adjust the dosage and add Cytomel.

    I’ve been taking .25mcg of Levothyroxine and 10mcg of Cytomel. I’ve been putting on one pound per month and from the date I was diagnosed I’ve now put on 22lbs. I’ve dieted, worked out vigorously and nothing works.

    Do I need to stop taking Levothyroxine? Increase my Cytomel? Increase both I’m at the point that I want to stop taking all these meds and just try supplements.

    My latest labs:
    Tsh: 1.24
    T3: 143
    Free t4: 0.77
    T3 Free: 3.10
    Reverse t3: doc won’t order this lab test
    Weight 139

    I’m desperate to lost this weight. Any advice would be very appreciated.

  160. Hi

    My latest blood tests show I’m optimal , I’m on levothyroxine 75mg and 50mg alternate days. I have 40lbs to lose. Being overweight is ruining my Life!
    Shall I increase my dose o for levo to 100mg per day?
    Thanks

    • Hey Susan,

      I wouldn’t recommend increasing your dose without physician supervision, in addition increasing your dose by 25mcg is not likely to help with weight loss at all.

  161. Can my family doctor do this for me? I have been to 2 different endocrinologist and neither will run a full thyroid panel for me? My family doctor listens to me much more than my endocrinologist. But, I’m not sure how familiar my family doctor is with hypothyroidism after RAI.

    • Hey Susan,

      Any Doctor can do this for you, but as I’ve mentioned previously ordering the tests doesn’t mean anything if your Doctor doesn’t know how to interpret them correctly.

  162. Hi,
    I am a 36 year old female. I just started taking Levothyroxine 25mg 3 days ago for an under active thyroid. I also have anemia. I was extremely exhausted and was eating a lot before meds but the strange thing was is that my weight didn’t go up. Since I started the Levothyroxine and iron 3 days ago, I have gained 1.5 pounds. The 1st day on Levothyroxine, I felt ridiculous energy, I couldn’t sit still but I liked this since I was feeling so tired and unmotivated before. I also wasn’t as hungry! The 2nd day, pretty much back to normal but with a little bit more energy than before meds. I was hoping to feel the same as the 1st day which I don’t think is a typical reaction? My stomach is now so bloated and crampy. I’m not sure if the weight gain is caused by the thyroid meds or the iron or both! I am stopping the iron to see if that helps but I am very concerned with gaining weight on this medicine. My thyroid was only slightly off the past 2 times they have tested me. I am wondering if I should be taking medicine for thyroid? Maybe my symptoms of exhaustion are from the anemia? Do you have any recommendations on taming both thyroid and anemia problems without weight gain? I am going to speak to my doctor tomorrow. Thank you!

  163. My doctor started me out on Levothyroxine recently. I gained even more weight, so he switched me to Synthroid (saying that some people do not have good results with the generic form). I have continued to gain weight.

    Before starting the medications, I had a sudden weight gain of 15 pounds in 2 days time. Both my cardiologist and internist detect no evidence of edema.

    I have tried to find a functional medicine doctor but cannot find any in our state.

    How do I find a doctor in my area, Omaha, that will be able to help?

  164. My doctor also started me on Levothyroxine and has switched to me to Synthroid 125 mg. Both medications caused weight gain. I can’t lose weight no matter what I do. I have always been a thin, athletic person but, since thyroid cancer (complete thyroid removal in October 2015) I have gained 45 pounds. After being switched to Synthroid, my energy level increased but, I am still gaining weight. I play volleyball, so I am still active.

    I had my parotid gland and three lymphnodes removed soon after, in January 2016, because of a tumour. I have heard of another person who also had their parotid gland removed soon after thyroid cancer. Have you ever heard of a connection between the thyroid and parotid?

    Since the surgeries I noticed that I am very sensitive to milk products and some grains.

    I am going to try your suggestions to see if this makes a difference and will update my findings.

  165. I stopped taking levothyroxin a month ago after taking it for at least seven years. During that time I did a hormone test and was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Over fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
    I didn’t feel like levo was helping. I still felt tired a lot while taking it. But I was also using caffeinnated pop daily for energy which was a viscious cycle.
    I stopped drinking pop almost four months and and started drinking a green smoothie every morning consisting of kale, spinach, blueberries, protein powder, beet powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, almond milk and coconut water.
    I was feeling more energy after stopping pop and starting smoothies, but since I’ve stopped the levo, I’m feeling more sleepy and sluggish throughout the day.
    I wondered if having taken the levo all these years made my thyroid lazy and now it just needs time to get used to working right again.
    My doctor is a traditional one and has only tested my T4 levels. He said he would test again two months after my stopping the levo to see where my levels are.
    After reading this article, I learned more about my thyroid than I’ve ever known and will be requesting more extensive testing but most of all I’m going to listen to my body and make sure I do the basics first, good nutrition, enough sleep, some exercise. All of my other blood work is normal except for the autoimmune numbers that show sjogrens but that’s better than lupus like in the past. As for weight gain, the smoothies and eating better and smaller portions and taking care of grandkids two days a week have helped with that. I’ve lost seven pounds in about two months going from 172 and staying at about 164-165. I am 52 years old.

  166. Hi I have been on levethyroxine for 20yrs now. I did try armour thyroid at one point but couldn’t afford it and Dr didn’t run all my labs and switched me back. I am on 190mcg and my weight keeps on increasing. This is very informative and I will look into it as I’m at about 260lbs when I am 100lbs overweight and keep telling my Dr things are not right. Time to look for a new dr. Thank you for this info.

  167. Hi Dr. Westin,

    I am looking for some advice. Firstly, apologies for the long story, I am not good with writing short emails.

    I was diagnosed at 20 with hypothyroidism. To quote the doctor, it was difficult for them to pick it up in the blood test because the values were so close to the “recommended range” (I can’t remember what they tested for exactly). My symptoms were hair loss and the fact that I was overweight. Note that at this point in my life, I was a severely stressed person who did little to no physical activity and ate poorly. Since then, I have been taking 0.05 mg Eltroxin (believe it is similar to Levothyroxine) per day. I did not notice a significant decrease in weight after using it, but the abnormal hair loss stopped.

    In the last 2 years (4 years after the initial diagnosis), I have lost about 20 kgs by changing my lifestyle, i.e. eating habits (I follow a diet very close to the typical banting diet) and exercise (combination of strength, cardio and yoga). I have also learned how to deal with stress in a better way. This weight loss was not triggered by the thyroid medication, although I was still on the medication. I am weighing about 62 kg (136 lbs) and feel as healthy as I think a person could. There has also not been a need yet to increase the Eltroxin daily dosage over the course of 6 years.

    Today, I am 26 and worried that the initial diagnosis was too extreme/perhaps not even necessary. I am worried that I will become totally dependent on the medication and that at some point, it could completely inhibit natural thyroid functionality. My mother had thyroid problems as well and I remember reading that it can be passed on.

    I asked my doctor how we could do a proper thyroid test and he recommended that I stop taking Eltroxin for 3 weeks before doing a full blood test (incl. antibodies to detect whether it is auto-immune or not). Obviously, this scares me. I would like to hear your take on this. Is this something you would recommend? What can I expect? As I mentioned, my symptoms were minimal. I understand that the half life is typically around 10 days, so would I even notice any recurring symptoms in just 3 weeks?

    I am an idealist, and hoping just by following a proper diet/exercise regime and supplementing my thyroid naturally, I will be able to continue without taking the medication again. Unless it is auto-immune, of course.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and respond. Generally I avoid forums like the plague because it is dangerous to compare your story to the others here, but I would really like to hear your opinion.

    • Hey Violet,

      I’ve seen very few cases of patients who were able to control and manage their thyroid without the addition of medication or other factors that they are usually unaware of. You are certainly welcome to try but I wouldn’t continue the lifestyle therapies without further assistance from a physician for very long especially if you continue to feel poorly.

  168. Hi Dr Westin,
    Its a nightmare… I have always been healthy, in shape, exercise regularly, teach zumba, eat right, taught others how to lose weight, and generally been within 10 lbs of my goal weight at all times. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos about 1 1/2 years ago after experiencing awful but classic symptoms. I am 45 years old but feel 80. I have joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, and depression. So I was first subscribed Levothyroxine. That did not work… but my TSH numbers got within range. I still felt all the symptoms. So I was switched to Synthroid. It works marginally better… but I still feel joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, and depression. I have been steadily gaining weight despite working out regularly and my nutrition on point. WHAT THE!!!!! I just went over 200lbs! I am almost the same size I was when I had my son 12 year ago! OMG! Seriously!

    My doctor says… my Synthroid is right cause my TSH is within range… so he won’t HEAR me! I am not crazy! I am over 200lbs! and my joints hurt! and I am tired!

    Anyway, (I am breathing now, lol) I just ordered your recommended supplements. I need to find another doctor asap!

    Hopefully, this works. Thanks for the info!

  169. I take synthroid and cytomel. I have been tracking my thyroid levels from each test over several years and found that the number didn’t matter so much to why I would gain or lose weight. What really made a difference was exercising and switching to gluten free, dairy free, organic diet. This may not work for everyone but Everyone can adjust their diet and exercise first to see if that helps before just assuming it’s not enough/too little thyroid medication and relying on that to resolve all problems. I did for so many years and kept thinking a perfect tsh level or number would be my answer. My realization was how much nutrition and the right diet for my body played a part in healing my body.

    • Hey Kristina,

      You are absolutely correct that thyroid medication is just a small part of the overall picture, but in many patients it does take more than simply changing up the diet. It’s also very important to get on the right combination of thyroid medication(s) which usually means some form of T3.

  170. Hello Dr Childs.
    I have a unique situation. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2012. I’ve had a total thyroidectomy and went thru radioactive iodine treatment. I am currently cancer free. However last year I was diagnosed with Cushings Disease and had a tumor removed from my pituitary gland in April 2015. After the surgery I was put on 60mg of hydrocortisone and have been working on tapering off. This week is the first week I am not taking it and have bloodwok next week to see where I’m at. I am on 112mg levo because I was having tacacardia issues most likely due to the Cushings and/or the steroids. I can’t get a clear answer from any of my Drs if the steroid has been effecting my levo and thus making hard to lose any weight. I have thought about supplementing with selenium to see if that would help but I’m worried about the warnings about taking it. Is there a safe dosage to take long term and do I also need to take zinc as well?

    • Hey Krista,

      You have a complex case but your hydrocortisone is absolutely contributing to your weight gain/weight loss resistance. You will need to find a physician knowledgeable in hormones to help you further.

  171. I am on the Levothyroxine and everything you are saying is exactly what I’m experiencing:(. Can I stop taking it all together without bad side effects for starters? I know you practice in AZ and we recently moved here…I’m hoping to get connected with you in order to stop this crazy cycle. I’m also wondering if leaky gut is associated with all of this, is there a connection between the 2?

    • Hey Stephanie,

      I wouldn’t recommend that you stop taking thyroid medication without physician supervision as that can be dangerous. Your gastrointestinal tract is involved in thyroid conversion and may play a role, but not usually a very large role as most patients believe.

  172. Hi. I was diagnosed a few years back w/ hypothyroidism. I was on Levothyroxine and then switched to Synthroid. However, I still have had the same symptoms as many here who are struggling w/ the tiredness and brain fog and achy joints and depression and weight gain (even though I have been working out like crazy and limiting my calories). I am also on Welbutrin for depression, which I am not sure how that affects weight. To add to that, I am in full blown menopause and was MISERABLE w/ the hot flashes so my ob/gyn put me on Prempro/hormone replacement therapy. It really has helped me w/ the hot flashes but the symptoms of hypothyroidism are even worse. Like I said, I have been VERY disciplined w/ my diet and exercise and still have gained 17 pounds over the last year and a half. My dr. referred me to an endocrinologist and just today I had my first appt. w/ her. She is switching me to Naturethroid. I really really really hope it helps. I am so discouraged. 🙁 Anyway, just stumbled across this blog on Pinterest and thought I would check it out. Wish me luck. Thanks.

    • Hey Amy,

      Thanks for sharing your story and good luck on naturethroid! As long as your dose is high enough you should be fine.

  173. Yes I am on Leventhroxydyne and haven’t lost weight in 6 years since I’ve been on it. Thank you I’m going to talk to my Dr.

  174. Hi, I have recently been gaining weight that I can not loose at all. I have not had a thyroid for 20 years, and have been on synthetic. I have in the past gone thru Thyroid Storms, and wish to never experience that again. I use a Endro for my testing and meds, but all he will ever prescribe is the synthroid or levothroxin. I have asked him many times about trying something else such as the armour, he refuses. However, I am very scared to do anything on my own because I do not wish to go thru the storms again. The panic attacks are unreal. I just need something to give me some energy, I am sluggish all the time always having trouble with bloating and fatigue. Do you recommend adding anything to the levothroxion that I currently take that may help. I take 112mg daily, at this time my family is on the Obama care so going to another dr is out of the question. It is very hard to get referred.

    Regards
    Nancy

  175. Hi, I have hashimoto. I am currently taking 125mcg Levothyroxin and Tsh levels are good. My T3 free is 2.7 and my T4 free is 1.3. For the life of me I can’t lose a single ounce. I work out at the gym 5 days a week, I eat a hard boiled egg for breakfast, eat spinach and carrots for lunch and fish for dinner. Only drink water and nothing in between. What do I do? I’m 20 and so discouraged.

  176. Does all this apply if I have no thyroid? I took a radioactive pill 14 yrs ago to disolve it. Depending on how I eat I can lose 9 lbs in 3 days & then gain 7 lbs in the next 3 days.

  177. Dr. Child’s,

    Thank you for your article. I have learned a great deal of information. I am 24 years old and have struggled with my weight most of my life. I have hypothyroidism and I currently take 150 mcg of levothyroxin. I have seen an endocrinologist who specializes in the thyroid department. He had me on 35 mcg of levothyroxin and then put me on qsymia (weight loss medication). He told me I would need to take qsymia like it was heart medication because I would be over weight my entire life if I dont. I switched doctors to an family doctor who specializes in endocrinology and as a tested my thyroid every 2 months and did a huge panel she eventually put me on 150 mcg of levothyroxin. I don’t currently see a doctor right now because of an insurance change. I think I remember her talking about my thyroid not making t3, although I don’t remember her saying what we could do about that. I although curious about supplements I could take to help t4 convert the the good t3 and any other advice you could give me. Thank you so much again for your article and your time!

    Brandi

  178. Dr. Childs,
    I have been on synthroid for about ten years and although I have gained some weight, I am not that concerned about that issue. I am more concerned about feeling sluggish and tired. I have also lost almost all of my eyebrows. I have read that this has something to do with thyroid. My doctor has said that my numbers are within the normal range. Should I be asking for other thyroid tests?

  179. Hi Dr. Childs,
    I have hypothyroidism and take 50mcg levothyroxine,
    My bloods are stable and I have been able to lose weight. So I want to ask what are the best diet changes to make for losing even more weight!
    Thanks

    • Hey Atiebah,

      That’s great! There are lots of resources on this site regarding diet and such – I would start with those.

  180. Hi Dr Childs, my name is Hele. I’ve been on levothyroxin for over 15 yr. I currently take 2 pills a day of 112 mcg a day. I’ve gained alot of weight over the years. Ue to a large appetite. I’ve switched Dr and I was on 200mcg for yrs. The increased dosage haven’t seemed to help my energy level. Even though I m 64 yrs old I have to push to do everything I want to do. I try exercise which help make me feel some better. I’ve been told my levels are fine up until recently wen the dosage was increased. I’ve only seen enough endocrinologist once.This was when I was first diagnosed. I have mood swings,depression and the rest that goes with it. Now I feel like I am coming unglued at times. I have an 11 yr old granddaughter I’m trying to help raise,which doesn’t help my body seemed to have really gotten bad with fat in so many ways. I have low self esteem which didn’t just start. I have been forgetting alot and really have to style focused in order to get through things. What is your advice?

    • Hi Helen,

      The best and first place to start is with a complete thyroid and hormone profile, from there you can determine what your main issues are and then treat them!

  181. I have no thyroid (it was removed) and I take 600 mcg a day and can’t lose weight, have problems sleeping, very dry skin and drs that just check levels and increase medicine.

  182. Hello,
    Really enjoying the information in you article. I too have been on levothyroxine for over 20 years. I am constantly battling my weight. I have often complained that even thou I am on the medication I still have the symptoms of hypothyroidism. My doctor insists there is only 1 test and that my levels are normal. I am definitely going to start with my morning temperature.

  183. Hi I was put on Thyroxine by my GP despite my blood work been within in the normal range, this was becasue I complained of tirdness and not been able to loose weight despite eating 1000-1400Kcal per day and excerising daily. I took the tablets for 8 months and my dose varied 25-75mg. I became concerned that the tablets were causing damage and stopped taking them over 5 years ago…I am now eating 1000Kcal per day and excerising daily and my wieght has not changed my concern is that these tablets wrecked my metabolism and if they have can i fix it?

    • More likely the caloric restriction has caused the metabolic damage, but it is definitely present and be very difficult to reverse.

  184. Hello wonderful article. I have recently had my thyroid removed due to a very large goiter on the isthmus. I’m 3 month post op an I do realize it takes time to feel better however how can I convince my doc to add in a t3….currently I’m on 175 levo and he seems content to keep upping it. I feel like a train hit me most days but the weight gain is out of control. I’m frustrated. Any ideas on how to sway him to athe least try would be great thanks.

    • Hey Samantha,

      I hope you found it helpful. It’s often very difficult (almost impossible) to convince a Doctor to treat you a certain way so I usually recommend against that. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to “convince” them to change how they treat because chances are they have been treating this way for years.

  185. Thank you for your very informative and interesting article.
    After finally being diagnosed with overt autoimmune thyroiditis I was put on levothyroxine. It took 9 months to get my levels in range but after two years on it I still felt dreadful and had put on 3.5 stone in weight which nothing would shift. I took the law into my own hands and started a gluten free diet and slowly swapped from levothyroxine to ThyroidS (NDT) results were almost immediate and I slowly improved in all areas – better energy, depression banished, psyche integrated again so I felt like the person I had been, heart pains reduced and I lost 3 stone. However several problems remain intractable. My sex drive seems to have gone for good. It remained albeit a bit unreliable for the first year on levothyroxine then it went completely. NDT has not restored it. I also get anxiety and feel completely wiped out in the evening. I do an outdoor physical job full time but it still feels wrong. I also crave sweet things like pineapple juice and sugary coffee. My toe nails and finger nails are horrible the toenails are deformed and very to hard to cut and my fingernails are fragile and the quick lifts up I have to keep them very short indeed. I take vit D3 3000iu daily and a good quality multivitamin (vitabiotics immunace). I have also developed a bakers cyst in my right knee which started on levothyroxine. Any idea why I have these problems and what I could do to alleviate them? I am in UK otherwise I’d be looking to get on your books.

    • Hey Frances,

      NDT can help many patients but it certainly isn’t perfect for everyone. Many patients need more T3 than what is provided by NDT and that may be part of the issue. Another big part may be that your symptoms are caused by some other problem unrelated to your thyroid. You need full testing to determine where they are coming from.

  186. Thanks for getting back to me so rapidly with some food for thought as to my ongoing problems and how their origin might be further investigated. It had not occurred to me that they might be unrelated to the thyroid condition given the huge significance it has had on my life and health over the many decades it went undetected and the massive struggle it has been to get to where I am now. Your suggestions give me something to work with to try and move forward, which I very much appreciate.

  187. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism 5 years ago and Hashimotos 2 years ago. I started seeing an Endocrinologist last fall after not being able to lose weight when I used to have trouble gaining weight. I have gained 30 pounds since my diagnosis. I am taking Synthroid 75mcg, Liothyronine 5mcg and Low Dose Naltrexone 1.5mg. I am having no luck in losing any weight and am getting really frustrated.

    • Hey Aimee,

      Most likely you will not be able to lose weight with “traditional” weight loss methods, you can poke around my site to look at case studies and examples to see how/why hypothyroid patients can lose weight. The worse thing you can do is try low calorie diets, the HCG diet, Jenny craig, etc. as these will only make your condition worse.

  188. I have no thyroid due to two cancer surgeries. I weighed 150 in 1989 and now 230. I have been on levothyroxine and keep gaining. Please email me some info to take to my endocrinologist. Sometimes I feel like they don’t listen.

    • Hey Beatrice,

      Unfortunately they probably won’t listen, so you may have to look to other specialists to get better care. The current paradigm of treatment includes T4 only medication based only on the TSH despite evidence to show that this approach does not work for every patient (this alone is a huge reason I have so much success in treating patients).

  189. Hello Dr. Westin, I have always suspected that my Levothyroxine is in no way really regulating my thyroid function enough to help me from “not gaining extra weight”. I have been on Levothyroxine – 175 mcg for almost 20 years. For the past 5 years my levels have been consistently going down – after Hysterectomy. Right now I am at 137 mcg.

    I am fairly active. Active than most of my family and friends and very careful with my diet. But, no matter what I do or do not do, my weight has been an issue. I am atleast 10-15 lbs overweight. I keep fluctuating between 138 and 146 lbs. My Ideal weight would be 125 – 128 lbs. I am 5’2″ and 45 yrs.

    I have tried various training techniques.. but something really needs to change and I believe it is the T3 supplement that might be the key.

    My Sugar levels seem to be good. But, I never tested A1C so I do not know. So far I have been high 80s and 90s with glucose during well exam.

    Having said that, id there is anyway I can try T3 over the counter. Just in a small dosage to see if that makes a difference before I approach my doc for a regular dosage or combo dosage.

    If so which one would you recommend ? Thanks for your time. I would love to get a one-on-one but at this time it is pretty expensive. I would like to start off something on my own, before I think about the consultation.

    Thanks
    Preethi

    • Hey Preethi,

      Unfortunately there isn’t a way to get T3 over the counter because it is a prescription medication. I would also advise against using it without physician supervision due to the number of side effects that may occur as a result.

  190. I am 66 years old and a thyroidectomy on 11/2013. I still have my parathyroids though. I take 100mcg of Synthroid 6 days/per week as ordered by my endocrinologist. I gain weight very easily and have a hard time losing weight now. In listening to your discussion, I wondered if the information you discuss is the same for having a thyroid and taking meds vs. thyroid removal and taking meds? I also take Losartan for blood pressure and Simvastatin for high cholesterol. My doctor does testing for TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 but not the others you have suggested. My last results: TSH 0.502, Free T4 l.660, Free T3 2.880. I will talk with him about Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies.

    • Hey Melissa,

      It can be done, but I wouldn’t recommend it without physician supervision due to a theoretical lack of thyroid receptors in brain tissue. In general it’s safer to keep some T4 and increase T3 as you titrate down T4 dosage over time.

  191. I had my thyroid removed years ago and was put on SYNTHOIRD, 125mg daily. Every thing was fine,but 2 years ago I had to go on Obama care and my new Dr changed it to Levothyroxine and said it was no different! ! I have gained 28 pounds in a year and my new Dr said it’s ok…… I have never been this heavy and I am extremely uncomfortable! Can it be the meds? The Dr also said my thyroid # is high and wants to lower it!!!!#!

    • Hey Theresa,

      Yes, your change could be related to change but also could be related to other factors such as hormonal changes, changes in stress/sleep, etc.

  192. I’m still struggling with horrible fatigue. All thyroid tests suggested seem to indicate optimal ranges. Taking 315mg np thyroid (NP says that is maximum I can go on) plus 30mg of hydrocortisone for adrenal fatigue but still can’t lose weight. Still have hypothyroid symptoms. Gained 60lbs in 6 months about 3 years ago. Can’t get any weight to come off. Too tired to exercise or do much of anything but the minimum. Hungry all the time and cravings are bad. Premature ovarian failure so on BHRT as well. Have 2 nurse practitioners that have done tests thyroid tests suggested but no one can figure out the weight, fatigue and still some hypothyroid symptoms.