How to Help your Underactive Thyroid
Seeing patients day in and day out you start to learn very common co-morbidities many bariatric patients are facing. One particular medical condition found in a lot of patients, mostly women, is an underactive thyroid. As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.” What does this mean exactly? It means that the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. The thyroid hormone is responsible for that every important metabolism! When your body doesn’t get enough of the thyroid hormone it will cause your metabolism to slow down, often leading to weight gain. For people battling this condition it is often corrected by taking thyroid medication. People are simply prescribed a medication with a dosage that works for their body to secrete the correct amount of hormones; and if the issue only stopped there. Several people I see a week are taking their thyroid medication incorrectly, mostly in part because they were never told how to take it. If you are not taking a medication correctly, chances are you will not reap the benefits you are supposed to. This article will hopefully outline some important guidelines for those taking thyroid medications.
Understanding what your thyroid medication does may be the most important issues to address. Thyroid medication helps restore your thyroxine balance by replacing thyroid hormones that the body naturally makes. So if you aren’t taking the medication properly, it most likely will not be helping you much. Firstly, you should always take your medication once a day, at the same time everyday. Next and a very important key that people aren’t aware of is that your medication must be taken on an empty stomach and you cannot eat or drink anything for 1 hour after. So the best time to take your medication is right when your eyes open in the morning. Then do not eat or drink anything besides water, not even coffee, until one hour after. By eating or drinking anything you may affect the absorption of the medication, thus not getting its full effects. According to the Synthroid website you should also avoid ingesting some cholesterol medications, calcium and iron supplements for at least 4 hours after taking your thyroid medication due to possible absorption issues. Therefore, if you take your thyroid medication at 7 am do not take an iron or calcium supplement until 11am. As far as your cholesterol mediation is concerned, you should check with your provider. Some other items were also listed to avoid for four hours such as antacids, dietary fiber, soy and walnuts. However, there seems to be less scientific research to support that claim.
Regardless of being on medication for your thyroid, there are other things to help with speeding up your metabolism. Make sure you are getting in enough protein throughout the day. You should be aiming for at least 50-60g of protein per day. You should also not skip your meals and avoid going too long without eating. By practicing those techniques as well as taking your thyroid medication as directed, you can ensure you are doing everything you can for a faster metabolism.
The source is from the Brooke Army Medical Center, the US Army Medical Department http://www.bamc.amedd.army.mil/