Subtle Hormone Changes Can Increase Your Weight

Often when people receive blood test or other lab results, they are told that their results are normal, yet people know that  their body is not working the way it is supposed to be working.

The authors of this research from Denmark demonstrate that even small increases in a hormone function, in this case TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone produced in the pituitary gland, which activates thyroid production of  mostly T4), is associated with increased weight.

What is particularly interesting to me is that the actual thyroid levels in this research did not show a correlation with BMI (body mass index). It shows that we still have so much to learn about the complexity of our bodies, and in particular hormones and effects on weight.

Our purpose in this clinic is not only to help the body to adjust to symptoms of hormonal imbalance and weight gain, but first to find underlying barriers to healing that are not allowing the body to maximize its healing potential.

Once we do so, we see patients moving more easily and quickly through individualized programs to regain their health. Then the nutritional, exercise, diet, functional medicine approaches have a better chance of working.

The first step is to find what is environmental stressors, what internal stressors, have been blocking or slowing the body’s organizing intelligence to do what it has been designed to do: to take care of itself naturally.

The quick changes that most of our patients experience in our clinic are the result of making sure that we take the right step first, which is to make sure that your body is ready for whatever approaches are best for it at that time.

Small Differences in Thyroid Function May Be Important for Body Mass Index and the Occurrence of Obesity in the Population

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 90, No. 7 4019-4024
Copyright © 2005 by The Endocrine Society

Nils Knudsen, Peter Laurberg, Lone B. Rasmussen, Inge Bülow, Hans Perrild, Lars Ovesen and Torben Jørgensen

Context: Increasing prevalence of overweight in the population is a major concern globally; and in the United States, nearly one third of adults were classified as obese at the end of the 20th century. Few data have been presented regarding an association between variations in thyroid function seen in the general population and body weight.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between thyroid function and body mass index (BMI) or obesity in a normal population.

Design: A cross-sectional population study (The DanThyr Study) was conducted.

Participants: In all, 4649 participants were investigated, and 4082 were eligible for these analyses after exclusion of subjects with previous or present overt thyroid dysfunction.

Main Outcome Measures: The study examined the association between category of serum TSH or serum thyroid hormones and BMI or obesity in multivariate models, adjusting for possible confounding.

Results: We found a positive association between BMI and category of serum TSH (P < 0.001) and a negative association between BMI and category of serum free T4 (P < 0.001). No association was found between BMI and serum free T3 levels. The difference in BMI between the groups with the highest and lowest serum TSH levels was 1.9 kg/m2, corresponding to a difference in body weight of 5.5 kg among women. Similarly, the category of serum TSH correlated positively with weight gain during 5 yr (P = 0.04), but no statistically significant association was found with weight gain during 6 months (P = 0.17). There was an association between obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) and serum TSH levels (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that thyroid function (also within the normal range) could be one of several factors acting in concert to determine body weight in a population. Even slightly elevated serum TSH levels are associated with an increase in the occurrence of obesity.