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Low metabolism and low thyroid found in formerly obese
Wednesday, January 26, 2005 10:36 am Email this article
Resting metabolism was found to be 8 percent lower in formerly-obese women when compared to never-obese women who were matched for age, fat mass, and fat-free mass (1399 versus 1531 calories per day, respectively, a difference of 132 calories) according to a recent study. T3 thyroid hormone levels 31% lower in former obese women
Plasma levels of free triiodothyronine, or T3 thyroid hormone, were found to be 31 percent lower in the formerly obese women than women who had never been obese (2.4 vs 3.5 pmol/liter).
Lower T3 levels accounted for difference of 109 calories per day
Adjusting for the difference in levels of T3 accounted for 83 percent of the difference in metabolism between the groups, or 109 of the 132 calorie difference.
Does not prove cause and effect of low T3 and low metabolism
The researchers noted, however, that this does not necessarily prove a cause and effect relationship between low T3 levels and low resting metabolism.
Comment: Supplement with low-dose thyroid
Many years ago, people were given thyroid hormones to help them lose weight, however, high doses were used which caused adverse effects and they stopped recommending thyroid for this purpose.
High dose thyroid causes loss of muscle
One problem with using high dose thyroid for helping people lose weight is that about half the weight lost is muscle and the other half fat, whereas normal weight loss is roughly only one-fourth muscle and three-fourth fat.
Low thyroid function associated with 5-10 lbs weight gain, not large weight gain
Low thyroid function may be associated with a small amount of weight gain, maybe 5 or 10 pounds, but it is not associated with large amounts of weight gain according to the American Thyroid Association’s pamphlet titled “Thyroid and Weight”.
Armour Natural Thyroid (T3 plus T4), not Synthroid (T4)
Still, it still makes sense to me to use low dose thyroid—Armour natural thyroid (T3 plus T4) or Cytomel (T3), not Synthroid (T4)—to bring patients up to the middle or upper of the normal range, in order to help normalize their metabolism, however, this is not a common practice at this time.
As far as which thyroid supplement is best, Ward Dean, MD and Jonathan Wright, MD—two doctors who I have a lot of respect for—both recommend using Armour natural thyroid (T3 plus T4) rather than Synthroid (T4), stating that they have found that Armour natural Thyroid (T3 plus T4) works better and has fewer side effects than Synthroid (T4).
To be clear, I am not aware that Dr. Dean and Dr. Wright recommend thyroid for weight loss, but they were simply saying which thyroid supplement they consider to be the best for people who require thyroid replacement.
Most doctors mistakenly(?) prefer Synthroid (T4)
It is my impression that most doctors have been convinced to only use Synthroid (T4) as a thyroid replacement, but based on the recommendations of Dr. Ward Dean and Dr. Jonathan Wright it seems to me that Armour Thyroid (T3 plus T4) is a better choice.
American Thyroid Association
More information about thyroid can be found at the American Thyroid Association’s website.
Ranneries C, Buemann B, Toubro S, Raben A, Astrup AV. [Low energy metabolism in persons predisposed to obesity: significance of the thyroid status]. Ugeskrift for Laeger, 1998 Jan 26, 160(5):644-7.
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