Losing Weight on Levothyroxine - Why it's Not Working

Losing Weight on Levothyroxine (Why It’s Not Working)

Will Levothyroxine Actually Help you Lose Weight? 

Here's the problem:

Is it well known that patients with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) have problems with weight gain. 

Weight gain is probably the most common and most frustrating symptom associated with low thyroid function, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, thyroidectomy, and RAI

There is no disputing the fact that low thyroid LEADS to weight gain

So it makes sense that once you TREAT your low thyroid that this weight should come off, right?

Doesn't it make sense that once you CORRECT the low thyroid problem with a prescription medication like levothyroxine, that your weight should normalize and you should be back to normal?

You would think so, but it doesn't actually happen in common practice. 

And if you ask your doctor about why this is the case they will handwave you off by saying something about how much you are eating, that you aren't exercising enough, or that it's related to your age. 

So what gives?

It turns out that while levothyroxine is certainly NOT a weight loss medication (by any stretch of the imagination), it can potentially help you lose weight but only if it is used correctly. 

This is what we are going to talk about today...

  • Why thyroid patients taking levothyroxine don't lose weight
  • Other options available to you as a thyroid medication
  • Why some thyroid medications are better at helping with weight loss compared to others
  • Who actually does well on T4 only thyroid medications like levothyroxine

Let's jump in: 

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Reasons Levothyroxine is Not Helping You Lose Weight

I've had the opportunity to treat hundreds of thyroid patients when I was practicing and I can tell you from personal experience that levothyroxine really just doesn't work that well at helping shed extra body fat. 

It's not that it CAN'T work, it's just that it's often used incorrectly, it's underdosed, and/or thyroid patients aren't sure what to expect when using it. 

So while levothyroxine certainly isn't the best thyroid medication around (we will talk about some better alternatives later), it is still definitely an option that can be used to help rev up your metabolism and help your body get into weight loss mode. 

But you should be aware of some of the potential issues that you might run into when using it. 

Below you will find 4 important questions that you should be asking yourself if you are taking levothyroxine and not losing weight. 

As you read these questions keep track of your answers. 

The answers to these questions will help you figure out why levothyroxine is not helping you lose weight

#1. Have You Waited Long Enough? (Are you Being Impatient?)

This is something that is really important for thyroid patients to understand. 

Whenever you do anything designed to target the thyroid, you must wait a sufficient amount of time before declaring that that thing either worked or not. 

It takes a long time for therapies to take effect and to impact your thyroid. 

How long?

About 4-6 weeks. 

This means that if you make any change to your thyroid medication dose (OR changes to your thyroid supplements!) you won't see any changes manifest in your body for around 4 to 6 weeks. 

Imagine that you've felt poorly for the last 6 months and you finally get put on thyroid medication. 

And after taking your levothyroxine faithfully for 10-14 days you are wondering why you aren't losing weight and why you aren't feeling better yet. 

This is why. 

And to complicate matters further, you have to realize that most people don't get put on the right dose of thyroid medication the first time. 

When you start on levothyroxine you are just given a basic starting dose. 

This dose may be too high or it may be too low (which is more common) but you won't know for 4-6 weeks. 

It will then take at least another 3-4 rounds of adjusting your dose before you get on the right dose. 

That means it can take up to 12 weeks (at the soonest) to 24 weeks (usually at the longest) to find your dose. 

You get this value by multiplying 3-4x (the number of rounds of adjustments that will be made to your levothyroxine) by 4-6 weeks (which is the number of weeks it will take for you to notice a difference). 

Before you do anything else make sure you have given your levothyroxine enough time to take effect! 

#2. Is it Getting Into Your System? (Is it Being Absorbed?)

The next question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your levothyroxine is actually getting into your system. 

In other words, is the thyroid medication you are taking by mouth actually getting into your bloodstream through your intestinal tract?

It may sound obvious because we just assume that any medication we put into our mouths must be absorbed, right?

Well, you'd be wrong in the case of levothyroxine and other thyroid medications. 

Levothyroxine, in particular, is quite finicky and will look for virtually any excuse to not be absorbed correctly (1). 

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Did you take your levothyroxine with food? It won't be absorbed well. 

Did you take your levothyroxine with coffee in the morning? It won't be absorbed very well (2). 

Did you take your levothyroxine at the same time as other supplements or medications? It won't be absorbed very well if you did. 

And if your levothyroxine isn't making its way into your bloodstream then how will it work?

It won't. 

Which makes absorption a key issue when considering whether or not your thyroid medication is working. 

Thyroid patients are also notorious for having additional intestinal issues which can further complicate absorption of thyroid medication. 

Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, gluten intolerance, SIBO/SIFO (3), and acid reflux can all interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine. 

It could very well be that levothyroxine is the right medication for you and that you are taking the right dose but it can't get into your body because of your gut. 

It should go without saying but if you don't get levothyroxine into your bloodstream then it won't help you lose weight. 

#3. Are You Taking Enough? (Is your Dose Sufficient?)

The next thing you need to think about is your dose. 

And by dose, I am referring to how much you are taking. 

We kind of touched on this in #1 but it's worth going over here as well. 

The unfortunate truth is that a great many thyroid patients are taking the right type of medication for their body only they are on a dose that is too small. 

In other words, they are being underdosed. 

This is actually quite common. 

And the reason is simple. 

Your doctor would prefer that you be underdosed as opposed to overdosed. 

So doctors frequently err on the side of giving you too little levothyroxine. 

In addition, there's a good chance that your doctor is not giving you enough thyroid medication if they are using the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) as a guide

The TSH is one of the worst ways to measure thyroid function in the body because your free thyroid hormones (free T3 and free T4) are much more important. 

It could very well be that your dose of levothyroxine just isn't quite high enough. 

If your dose is too low it will be very hard for you to lose weight. 

#4. Is it The Right Medication For Your Body? (Would Another Thyroid Medication Be Better for you?)

Lastly, and if all other options have failed, it may simply be that levothyroxine is just not the right thyroid medication for you. 

There are at least 8+ different types of thyroid medications and yet doctors consistently prescribe only one or two. 

They love levothyroxine and Synthroid but fail to prescribe any of the other versions of thyroid medications even though they are viable and effective options. 

If you've never heard of these thyroid medications then I would recommend that you spend some time familiarizing yourself with them!

Please see this list below:

These are just a handful of alternatives available to thyroid patients and they can all be used if you are not doing well on levothyroxine/Synthroid

Switching between thyroid medications is not very difficult but it may require some time and energy to figure out what works for you. 

But the result will be worth it if it means more weight loss! 

The Best Thyroid Medication For Weight Loss? (T4 vs T3)

Is there a single best thyroid medication for weight loss?

Not really. 

The best thyroid medication is the one that works for you. 

I've seen people lose weight on virtually all types of thyroid medications ranging from levothyroxine to Cytomel to Armour thyroid and everything in between. 

The key to losing weight on thyroid medication is finding what works for YOUR body. 

Whatever thyroid medication you are taking MUST be getting absorbed and utilized by your body (and converted if your thyroid medication contains only T4), it must be at the right dose, and you must ensure that you've given it enough time to really kick in. 

Having said that, I want to point from my own experience that any thyroid medication which contains T3 is typically more effective than those that only contain T4. 

Levothyroxine and Synthroid both only contain T4 thyroid hormone so they don't often work as well as other medications that contain T3 thyroid hormone such as Cytomel and liothyronine. 

T3 thyroid hormone is usually far more effective than T4 only thyroid medications because it is already activated. 

T4 medications such as levothyroxine and Synthroid require an extra step before your body can actually use them. 

This step is known as thyroid conversion and it is a step that a lot of people have issues with. 

If your body doesn't convert your medication into T3 then your body won't be able to properly utilize it. 

If you bypass this conversion process with a more powerful thyroid medication (such as T3 thyroid hormone) then your thyroid medication is ready to be used by the body quicker. 

Who Does Best on T4 Thyroid Medication? 

Does this mean you have to take T3 thyroid medication if you want to lose weight?

Not at all!

There are still plenty of people who do well on levothyroxine and Synthroid and who can lose weight on these medications. 

There are also plenty of people who don't but let's focus on those who do for a moment. 

The following is a list of people who are MORE likely to do well on levothyroxine. 

Those who are:

  • Treatment naive - If you've never used thyroid medication before at all then starting with levothyroxine is a great idea. It is much more gentle and milder compared to other thyroid medications. 
  • Sensitive to T3 thyroid medication or NDT thyroid medication - Some people can't tolerate even a small amount of T3 thyroid hormone. If you are one of those people then T4 thyroid medication like levothyroxine may be your best bet. 
  • Sensitive to medications and supplements in general - If you are someone who is sensitive to pretty much all medications and supplements then starting with levothyroxine is usually your best bet. 
  • Suffer from minimal chronic illness - In general, the more chronic illnesses that you have the more aggressive you will need to be with your thyroid medication. If you don't have any other chronic illnesses (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, etc.) then levothyroxine is more likely to work. Those who do have these chronic illnesses tend to do better on T3. 
  • Seeing improvement on levothyroxine in a short period of time - If you've been taking levothyroxine for a short period of time (on the order of 2-4 weeks) and you are seeing improvement already then that is a very good sign that this medication will work for you. 

Wrapping It Up

Is it possible to lose weight on levothyroxine? Absolutely. 

Is it easy to lose weight on levothyroxine? Not exactly. 

Is levothyroxine the best thyroid medication for weight loss? No. 

Will it help YOU lose weight? That remains to be seen!

If you are someone who is struggling to lose weight DESPITE taking levothyroxine faithfully then make sure you check out the first section which describes 4 reasons why it may not be working. 

If you've gone through all 4 of those areas and you are still having issues then you may need to consider swapping over to a different thyroid medication. 

Before we close I want you to remember one very important thing:

As a thyroid patient, you do NOT have to suffer from obesity and weight loss resistance. 

There is a way for you to lose weight and keep it off but it may require effort on your part. 

Use the tools on my website to help you get there!

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you currently using levothyroxine?

Are you having issues losing weight?

Do you feel that levothyroxine is helping with your weight loss efforts? Why or why not?

Have you tried any other thyroid medications? Were they more effective than levothyroxine for YOU?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

References (Click to Expand)

how to lose weight on levothyroxine

Dr. Westin Childs

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 45,000+ people have used them over the last 4.5 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do here.

64 thoughts on “Losing Weight on Levothyroxine (Why It’s Not Working)”

  1. First congrats on your blog Dr Westin, it’s very useful and offers a lot of info to better understand our condition.
    I’ve been on levothyroxine for over 3 years now. Current dose 75 mcg-88 mcg (4 days a week- 3 days a week). Since starting the treatment weight went up (14 kilos). No way to get rid of it.
    Labs include just TSH, T4 and T3 (sometimes antibodies: up to the roof). Doctors dismiss to order any other lab test (with a grin: do you think you know better?).
    Last labs: TSH= 2,19 / T4= 6,44 / T3=0,85 / Cortisol 11 am= 139 ng/ml / PTH= 105,7 pg/ml.
    Why the PTH fluctuates from normal to high? Vit D was extremely low=9.
    Currently having supplements (b1, folic acid, antiox complex, vit c, vit d, magnesium, 5-htp, omega3, q10, zinc).
    Haven’t tried any other meds since doctors follow protocols and that’s it.
    Any suggestions you can give me to better treat my condition and lose weight? I’m tired all the time, have trouble sleeping and recently started with joint pain and losing hair.
    Thnaks a lot

    Reply
    • Hi Julia,

      I would start with the recommendations in this article 🙂 Looking for a new doctor to help you with your medication is a great first step.

      Reply
  2. I’ve been on Levothyroxine for two years and my weight continues to rise. I’ve gone to two different specialists and neither have been able to help me. Please, can you accept me as your long distant patient? I am so discouraged.

    Reply
  3. I’ve been on levo for many years. I decided to try compounded thyroid and tried it for about 10 months with 3 changes to my dosing as I had a fair travel to my thyroid dr.
    In the end my t4 got to 9 and my tsh was 0.01 and my t3 was low to, I was so tired, sluggis, depressed and had a nervous breakdown and my Wright loss halted from my sleeve
    .
    I have always struggled with weight I was morbidly obese by the time they realised why I was having weight issues.

    I know my optimal is around 19 for my t4. My thyroid dr is reluctant to prescribe t3 even though my levels are low as I have paroxysml AF.

    I feel better since switching back to levo but only just. Still very tired. Still not losing, still depressed.

    I had gastric sleeve 18 months ago and lost 50kgs and have now ceased to lose while still in the obese category.

    I find weight loss and thyroid so hard and so annoying.

    I’m writing this from Australia so not sure if reference ranges are different here. I’m a 38yo nurse who was official diagnosed with hashimotos at 16.

    Reply
  4. Hello,
    I have hypothyroidism and currently take 60mg of amour
    From September 2019
    TSH- .86 and in Jan 2021 , 1.25
    T4free 0.9 in Jan same 0.9 3yrs straight
    T3 2.5 and in Jan 2021, 3.9
    I have dairy and gluten intolerance and always have bloat and belly issues, can’t loose
    Weight, up 30lbs in 3 yrs, help!!!

    Reply
  5. I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimotos about 25 years ago. From the very beginning I’ve been on a synthetic T4. Only 2 years ago did I change to NDT. I’ve noticed some subtle changes, but I’ve always been overweight and find it extremely difficult to loose weight.

    Reply
  6. So how do you know if you have Hashimoto’s? My doctor keeps saying I have hypothyroidism most like due to Hashimoto’s but what do you use to actually diagnose Hashimoto’s? Is there an article about how to evaluate your lab work and what lab work specifically we should be evaluating ?

    Reply
  7. I am 77 and have been on levothyroxine since age 60. I have not lost weight at all even when being careful of diet, exercising, etc. My doctors (2 over the years) will not discuss increasing the dosage (I have been on lowest dose the whole time) even though I still feel fatigued and can not lose weight. When I was young, up until menopause, my thyroid was so active I bare kept weight on, at 5’3″ barely maintaining 100-105’s. I’d seriously consider the Thyroid Glandular. Do you take it once a day and can I take it in addition to continuing on the levothyroxine?

    Reply
    • Hi Sharyle,

      Yes, the dose for Thyroid glandular+ is 2 capsules per day taken in the morning before noon and it can be used with all types of thyroid medications including levothyroxine.

      Reply
  8. Hello Dr. Childs,
    I’m a 56 y.o. male who’s been a Type 1 diabetic for the past 34 years. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease in approx. 2000. I initially began taking 75 mcg. of Synthroid when I was diagnosed and several years later, 25mcg. of Liothyrinine was added. I also take Toprolol, Lisinopril, Crestor, Wellbutrin, Provigil and Prozac. I also have CKD (stage 3).
    Yes, I’m a waking science project! Everything is under control and my last A1c in March was a 6.4.
    I am always fatigued and do have extra weight (5’11”, 235lbs). My bloodwork of 3/18/21 showed T4 Free at 0.9 ( it has been consistently at 0.9. It was 0.8, 5 years ago and 1.3 3 years ago) and TSH at 2.27 (ranged from 0.91 in 2017 to 3.21 in 2/2020, mostly mid/high 1’s and low 2’s).
    I typically take thyroid, BP, antidepressants in the am and Crestor in the evening. I see in your article it probably isn’t getting absorbed at the time I take it.
    When is the best time to take my thyroid meds? My numbers are in range but, should I be doing something different? I understand there are several possible variables in play regarding my fatigue and weight but, I’m trying to figure things out by process of elimination.
    Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.
    Regards,
    Greg

    Reply
  9. Hi! Thank you very much for the articles (: I haven’t found anything else this clear and complete.

    I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto”s hypothyroidism almost 2 years ago. I’ve been taking 125mcgs of levo all this time and I haven’t really felt well ever since. First I had trouble sleeping, then I realized it was making me feel hot all the time. It took me a while to figure this out because I started in late spring and summers here are pretty hot, but this is my second winter now and while everyone is wearing their warmest garments, I often feel so hot I need to be in a t-shirt. It’s worst when I exercise cause I start sweating like a pig, even walking sometimes triggers it. It’s not menopause as my previous doctor suggested. It’s as if it was in a sauna mostof the time, not just hot flashes. I saw a different doctor a month ago and as my tsh levels came out high on the last blood test (it’s the first time this happens) she gave me a slightlh higher dose of levo, 150mcg. It’s been three days now and I feel hotter than ever. On top of this, I keep gaining weight. I eat healthy and exercise regularly but can’t lose weight. I take the pills early morning and usually an hour before breakfast. I feel weak, my muscles sometimes hurt, my eyes are too dry and I have a very slight but constant sore throat feeling that won’t go away After reading this article, I’m thinking maybe I should change the drug. How should I ask my doctor? Do you know if the alternative drugs you mention are available in Argentina? Is there anything I can do to stop feeling hot? Thank you very much for your time, I’m sorry if my english is a little rusty.

    Reply
  10. I’ve been on levothyroxine for several years steadily bumping up my dosage which is at 100 mcg. The weight loss I just recently had was as a result of going to a whole food plant based SOS free way of eating. It’s been slow. I recently went to a naturopath who tested my T3 levels and I was low so prescribed 5 mcg of liothyronine sodium while still taking 100 mcg of levothyroxine. 6 weeks later I have heat palpitations and jitteriness. Dr had my TSH bloodwork run and is giving me option to reduce levothyroxine dose age or drop the T3. I have noticed more weight loss this month than the last 8 months. Am I not tolerating T3 or should I just drop levothyroxine dosage? Should I supplement?

    Reply
    • Hi Daniela,

      It’s usually best to preserve your free t3 levels, if possible. With that in mind, it would be ideal to drop the T4 dose over the T3.

      Reply
  11. I’ve been on Levothyroxine for 6 months,still experiencing the same symptoms and gaining a lot of weight,so tired of how I’m feeling maybe I might be on the wrong treatment and wrong dosage reading this article I need a visit and talk with my doctor.

    Reply
  12. I’ve been on Tirosint 25mcg and cytomel for over 2 years. I’ve lost weight ever since. I weighed around 107 lb before starting this medication. Now I weigh 93 lbs. My doctor says it has nothing to do with the medication. I’m also a post bilateral lung transplant patient. I’m on a lot of medicines but my weight was stable until I started Tirosint. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Hmmm. Your advice is “read this article or that one”. or talk to your doctor. Or change doctors…. There are no doctors available who are flexible . You seem to be in the know how of what should work but you stopped seeing patients. Why? I am surprised how you can write of what works but decided to give up on seeing patients. But our doctors are not as flexible or willing to be medical sleuths like you. How about being a concierge doctor for us and get us back on track to healthy us?

    Reply
  14. Hi. I’ve been on Synthroid for years now. Really got a different doc to test my T3. It was low. Dr. Started me out on 5 mcg of lyothronine and then upped it to twice a day after testing my T3 after a month. My problem is my hair is falling out. Any help or suggestions? Dr suggested I drop back to just once a day. Thanks, Hane

    Reply
  15. Is there a recommended time difference between taking levothyroxine and having a cup of coffee? Or should you not have coffee at all. I read the linked article but it was unclear to me

    Reply
    • Hi Nancy,

      I personally do not recommend consuming coffee if you have thyroid problems. If you decide to do it anyway then you should take them as far apart as possible.

      Reply
  16. Are you currently using levothyroxine? Yes, for over 25 yrs

    Are you having issues losing weight? Yes, and I stay TIRED all the time

    Do you feel that levothyroxine is helping with your weight loss efforts? Why or why not? No, I feel like I am going to die soon if I don’t find something my Insurance will cover that works. I have NO QUALITY OF LIFE.

    Have you tried any other thyroid medications? Were they more effective than levothyroxine for YOU? Yes, Armour Thyroid, My hair starting falling out in Handfuls within 10 days of starting.
    Thank you for your time,
    Yvette

    Reply
    • Hi Yvette,

      I would strongly recommend searching outside of the insurance model if you can afford it! There is no price that you can put on getting your health back even if it costs some money out of pocket. Getting on the right thyroid medication can literally be life changing.

      Reply
  17. As usual you present the info very well; it was thorough and informative to me although I am a veteran thyroid pt. I suppose and use a t3 med bought from Thailand. I am considered thin, but I still have a well padded abdomen, easily concealed but definitely significant. Can you tell me how to rid myself of this or is it hopeless when one is over 70? Is it strictly a lack of exercise? I had an injury to the achilles tendons last December and it is almost impossible to do much walking. Thanks very much for your kindness.

    Reply
  18. I have been on several thyroid meds, problem is I cannot tolerate any of them. I get terrible headaches that last all day everyday!! My weight is getting worse, no energy to do anything. I feel like I am a total zombie all the time. What r u thoughts about NDT?? I have heard that it has helped many people, should this be something I talk about doing with my endocrinologist? I need help!!! I have never felt this bad on a daily basis in my whole life. I am a 63 yr old female. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. I have been on levothyroxine or Synthroid for probably 10 years for hypothyroid. I continue to gain rather than lose weight. I was always thin until menopause. For the last number of years I have been putting on 5 to 10 pounds a year. I am now going to be 71 in a couple of weeks and I’m sick and tired of feeling like a beached whale. Although I am not clinically obese I am a good 30 to 35 pounds overweight. Whenever they check my T-3, T4 levels, they tell me they are in “normal range”. When first diagnosed, I took armor thyroid. My hair was falling out in clumps and continued to do so even after months of being on it, so I switched to Synthroid.

    Reply
  20. I wish someone would come up with any entirely new medication . Nothing works. I read all the articles and all the comments show the same issues I have. Nothing works.

    Feeling completely defeated

    Reply
  21. Hi Dr. Childs.
    Levothyroxine made me gain almost 50 lbs in around 6 months changing nothing with my diet or lifestyle. I was previously on just NDT and new doc added levo. As soon as he did i started gaining while changing none of my habits. Im a very healthy person, I eat whole foods and exercise, have 5 kids and extremely active with them. I swear this medication is slowly killing me and ruining every bit of progress ive made with this disease. I absolutely cant get optimal while on it either. My functional med doc refuses to give me t3, just ndt with levo. So ive now weaned myself off levo and upped my ndt and it am feeling good after one month of no levo. I recently started your t3 conversion booster and adrenal complex. Really hopeful that will help me BC I tend to feel best when my t3 is “high” . its been a month since ive been off levo and it have not started to lose but I just feels better energy wise. I swear it made me feel sluggish and tired and doc kept upping my dose and it did nothing. I always took it with water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach at least an hour before eating so i wasnt hindering absorbtion. I still feel stuck like i will never figure out how to get back to my old self. I am now 50 sum lbs overweight and nothing i do does anything in regards to my weight. I dont even recognize myself and i feel hopeless. And i 100% blame levothyroxine. I just dont know how to fix whatever it did to me.

    Reply
  22. Well I was petite, energetic & fit until may 2019. My thyroid went out of wack. My GP didn’t get me tested for 3 months. My weight started to increase. I was given T4 25mcg, repeat testing every 6 weeks. No improvement. In January 2020 my dose was increased to 50mcg. Felt a little better mentally/improved ability to focus and work. Weight still going up, hair falling, nails breaking, constipation getting very tired, burning feet preventing me to sleep. Still my GP did not listen. I paid for private doctor. Was put on Natur-troyd, useless for me. Had to return to T4 to be able to work. Then I bought DNT myself from the US, higher dose. Felt much better but my weight did not shift. Tried T3 as this seems to be the magic word. I actually feel better on DNT 1.5 granules and maybe I do not use correct T3 dose, I bought a book to guide me through dosage of T3. Still not logging weight. It has stabilised but I’m still 23 pounds heavier than I was before the isuue started but at least is not creeping up. I think that GPs (UK at least) are not prepared to listen to patients. They flow NICE guidelines and stick to T4. I would love to find a doctor who is open minded and willing to help but do far it is really DIY and very expensive, given this is a lifelong condition. I have reached the point where I accept my life has chafed for good, my weight is not in my control, I avoid gluten, diary and grains, and as long as I can work and don’t want to die feeling to low, it is likely to be as good as it gets, bleak but true

    Reply
  23. Are you currently using levothyroxine?
    Yes, have been for over 25 years. Doses have gone up and down over the years. Currently on a dose of .75mcg, just lowered from 100 mcg a year ago, then .88mcg, now .75mcg when added the Liothyronine.

    Are you having issues losing weight?
    Yes, forever!

    Do you feel that levothyroxine is helping with your weight loss efforts? Why or why not?
    No, I have been on it for so long and no progress of losing, but not gaining either!

    Have you tried any other thyroid medications? Were they more effective than levothyroxine for YOU?
    My Dr. recently added Liothyronine 5mcg with my Levothyroxine. Weight still hasn’t changed but I feel much better with the addition.

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa,

      Glad you were able to get on T3. The T3 dose you are taking is quite small but it’s obviously better than nothing! You might do even better at higher doses. I would say most people do well on doses between 25 and 50 mcg.

      Reply
  24. I have been on 75mg of Levithroxine for at least five years and I still have not lost any weight. I started out losing then I began to gain and have not lost any weight since. It is a constant struggle. I stay constipated all the time. When I take at least 4 stool softeners to help me go. I end up with diarrhea like crazy. I am asking for a better doctor that will honestly help get me where I need to be. I need to weigh 150 lbs. I weigh 216 that is way too much for my height. Please HELP

    Reply
  25. Hi Dr. Childs, thank you for all this great information. When I lived in FL in 2013, my new Endo. saw that I had been having weight problems since I cried in his office about it. I had gained almost 50 lbs from 1997 until 2000. 1997 is when I had a hot nodule but was diagnosed with Graves. My thyroid was ablated and I went on 200 mcg Levothyroxine. Over the next three years I gained all the weight. It wasn’t until 2013 that a new Endo prescribed 25 mcg of the Liothyronine too help with the conversion and over the next 8 years, I lost 30 lbs. Fast forward, moved to TN from FL and my TN Endo’s flipped over the Liothyronine 25 mcg. I was also taking 175 mcg by now of the Levothyroxine. New Endo said my bloodwork showed I was elevated in the results; it was just above the mid-point of normal. She said it had to be perfectly at the mid-point of normal. This new TN Endo immediately dropped the Liothyronine to 10 mcg from 25 mcg and dropped the Levothyroxine from 175 mcg on Tuesday, Thursday, Sat. and Sun., and 150 mcg on Monday, Wed. and Friday. Within days, I started gaining. After about a year, I gained half the lost weight back. I went back to the Dr.’s in March 2021 and she said she had to drop my meds again. It wasn’t at the mid line and had to be. I started crying and told her I couldn’t do “this” anymore. She said she felt she was being blamed for my weight gain and sent me backing to find another Endo. Fours months later I finally got my first appt. with another new Endo. He immediately said my numbers were too high and dropped me to 150 mcg of Levothyroxine and 10 mcg Liothyronine. My body has been on a rollercoaster ride. I want to go back on the old dose of 175 Levo and 25 of Liothyronine. I ordered your Thyroid Essentials and have been taking them for 5 days now. I have NOT continued gaining weight since. It was a pound or more a day. BTW, both Endo’s said I could die of a heart attack or stroke from the “slightly higher” dose of the Liothyronine. I was so happy and felt sooo good being 30 lbs lighter and was still losing. The four months that I waited for my new Endo appt., I went back on the original doses and lost all the weight I had gained from the 1st Endo’s changes in dosage and continued to lose an additional 9 lbs. In less than a month with the 2nd TN Endo, I gained 8 lbs. and I am not a happy camper! It might be important to note here that my normal body temperature is 96.9 to 97.1. It has always been low. Please let me know your thoughts on this. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  26. I’ve been taking Armour Thyroid for several years now. In the beginning I swallowed it. But another thyroid patient told me that Armour could be absorbed sublingually. So I started taking it that way and have had good results. I’m not sure how many patients are aware of this. Allowing the pills to dissolve under the tongue takes little time, and since they have no discernable taste it’s not at all unpleasant. The medication goes into the bloodstream and bypasses the GI tract, so there are no issues with malabsorption.

    Reply
  27. Hashimotos sufferer, Have been taking between 125mg & 200mg Levothyroxine for 10 years, still over weight, still suffering symptoms Have asked for years for T3 but told too expensive in the UK can’t win

    Reply
  28. Hi doctor 🙂
    Does taking Methadone and Tramadol make my hashimoto’s worse? I have almost elevated lymphocytes (about 40%) when taking one of these drugs, confirmed by a CBC test.

    Reply
  29. I took your list of recommended tests to my doctor about 5-6 months ago and said, I have lots of symptoms, my hair is falling out, can you please write me a script for tests. She did so, and my numbers were low. So she started me on Levo 25 for a month…that basically didn’t do much. BUT, from DAY TWO on meds, I started having new and different symptoms..my feet and ankles were suddenly swelling a lot, and then I started having uncomfortable bloating and constipation as well. After a month I went on Levo 50 and Liothyronine 5 mcg, another month, and she was pleased with test results, so I was left on that. I didn’t lose weight and it fluctuated up and down based on how much fluid I was retaining. More tests were set for 3 months, including a kidney test. I just got those results, and I will see dr in a couple days. Recently, maybe because weather is cooler and less humid, my feet swelling has been less, and my weight has been back to where I was when I began. But these tests show that my TSH has dropped BELOW the line, so according to what I read, I now fall into the Hyperthyroid category? Ha! Also, sadly, my kidney function is slightly lower than it should be. I’m really frustrated because I have constant constipation, I ate some broccoli soup one day and the bloating was so bad, nothing moved for 2 days…not much fun when you’re trying to work! I read on your site that if symptoms don’t go away, you probably need more T4. But if your TSH drops below the line of normal, does that mean I’m getting too much?? I don’t know what to believe.

    Reply
    • Hi Trudi,

      A drop in the TSH doesn’t necessarily mean you are hypothyroid. You can easily drop the TSH down with T4 but still experience low thyroid symptoms. This is why it’s best to focus on other metrics such as free T3/total T3 as opposed to the TSH and free T4. Those lab tests tend to track better with thyroid regulation.

      Reply
  30. I’ve been dealing with my thyroid issues for 16 years. I’ve been to multiple endocrinologists and have tried literally all the medications on that list, plus 3 different weigh loss medications. I’m so tired of being tired and fat. I take 137 synthroid and 15 cytomel. Sometimes it just feels like I should just live with it.

    Reply
  31. Hi Doctor Westin Childs,

    Is it bad for T4 to be high 14, but T3 is 3.7, TSH is 0.04 low.
    150 mcg levo and 5 mcg of T3 is my meds.
    I take provitalize for menopause land works great . Yes I have lost weight. Sine July 26 to now lost 16.8 pounds. I’m loosing slowly but surely. I watch my eating and walking.
    I have doctors appointment Thursday coming and wondering what she will say or change.
    I feel good and better every day.
    I take your supplements also.

    Reply
  32. I’m on levo 150 and t3 5mcg
    My t4 thyroxine level is 14.7 high, t4 free is 1.6 and
    my TSH is .04 low
    but my t3 Free is 3.5 and t3 total 142.
    My cholesterol is perfect.
    I feel good and go to doctor Thursday . I am not sure but wondering is the doctor gonna say drop the meds down or you think it is okay to have my levels like this?
    I feel good and lost from 205.4 to 188/189 so far. Working on loosing more weight. I take your supplements also.
    Please give me your input on what you think is okay or not okay with these levels.

    Reply
  33. I’ve been on levothyroxine for years my pcp and endocrinologist says my labs are fine but I still have symptoms like hair falling out dry skin fatigue weight gain I’ve had gastric bypass even though I have lost a lot of weight I have started gaining it back but still eat very small portions I had high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. I still have high cholesterol is there something my doctors could be missing

    Reply
    • Hi Martha,

      There is definitely something that your doctors are missing if you are experiencing those symptoms! The key is to find a doctor who can actually dig enough to help you figure it out.

      Reply

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