Today’s article we are talking about the role leptin and high levels of reverse T3 have on that stubborn weight gain. Patients who have thyroid disease and specifically high level of Reverse T3 (rT3) or high levels of Leptin are more vulnerable to Weight Gain. We will talk about why that happen in today’s article.
The Struggle for Thyroid Weight Loss is Real
Difficulty losing weight when you have hypothyroidism or an under-active thyroid gland is probably one of the most frustrating symptoms both men and woman experience. But there are two hormones Leptin and Reverse T3 (rT3) that are very often culprits of weight gain because of the role they have in regulating metabolism and these hormone biomarkers are often abnormal when people have an underactive thyroid.
If you have struggled with weight loss resistance despite diet and exercise, it’s time to consider Leptin resistance and elevated levels of Reverse T3 (rT3) as possible culprits.
In previous videos and articles, I have talked about reverse T3. As a refresher, your thyroid gland makes T4 it makes T3 and it makes a small amount of rT3.
T4 is the inactive thyroid hormone and T3 is the active thyroid hormone that is responsible for your metabolism. When we say metabolism- metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy and your metabolism is influenced by your thyroid.
Controlling your metabolism is one of the key functions your thyroid is responsible for and with people who have an under-active thyroid gland we often see both leptin resistance and high levels of reverse T3 (rT3).
Restrictive Diets Can Cause Weight Gain In A Few Ways- Here’s Why…
Restrictive Diets Can Cause Weight Gain because they affect leptin and Reverse T3 (rT3) levels. Over the last few years, I have been seeing more and more patients with high levels of reverse T3 (rT3). There are few reasons for this. One reason for high levels of Reverse T3 is sometimes due to intermittent fasting, or diets too low in carbohydrates. Another reason I have been seeing high levels of Reverse T3 is due to restrictive diets like AIP, low Oxalate diet, Low Histamine diet and low FODMAP diets as in the case of people who have SIBO.
This shouldn’t come as any surprise. People with thyroid disease and even hashimotos often struggle with weight gain, they often struggle with IBS or SIBO, they often struggle with histamine intolerance and so the diets very often they go on are the very diets that in some cases can make their thyroid condition worse.
These diets are all very restrictive and in the short term they don’t pose a problem, but for many patients they embark upon these diets without proper guidance, without proper testing and they are on them for too long of a period of time.
This becomes a threat to the body, because the body is now being deprived of many vitamins, minerals, amino acids that are needed for normal function. These diets can be seen as a stressor to the bodies metabolic rate and a stressor to the bodies adrenal glands.
Essentially as an attempt to preserve metabolism, the body increases these Reverse T3 levels because again, its trying to preserve energy and that’s what high levels of RT3 will do. High rT3 can cause weight gain. Now if you want to know some of the other reasons for high reverse T3(rT3), you can watch and read some of the other articles that I have posted on my website and on my YouTube channel– If you are interested In learning more about Reverse T3 or even calculating your T3/Rt3 ratio using my T3/Rt3 calculator, the other hormone that can be a culprit in weight gain is Leptin.
Weight gain and Leptin
If you have never heard of leptin, leptin is another key hormone that regulates metabolism, how many calories you eat, how many calories and how much fat you store. Sometimes leptin is called the satiety hormone and sometimes its called the starvation hormone depending on its levels.
The interesting thing about Leptin is that it is actually produced by your body’s fat cells. The more body fat you have, the more leptin you produce. When Leptin levels are where they should be, Leptin tells your brain that —have enough fat stored — you don’t need to eat any more, there is sufficient food to be converted into energy. This is how it gets its name the “satiety hormone”- it tells you to stop eating.
But that’s not all leptin does, Leptin also works in concert with your thyroid gland. Leptin increase Thyroid stimulating hormone levels (TSH), which helps in using up excess calories. But here’s the problem- The more fat you carry, the more leptin resistant you become.
In fact not only is hypothyroidism associated with leptin resistance, so is Insulin resistance and diabetes. Blood sugar problems are another problem for people with thyroid disease.
Leptin resistance occurs when your brain no longer listening to leptin signal. Remember leptin tells your brain when to stop eating, it tells your body when you have enough calories, but in leptin resistance, your brain thinks your body is starving. So not only are you always hungry, but the food you eat gets stored as more fat. It’s a vicious cycle, the more fat you put on, the more leptin resistant you become.
The end result hypothyroidism (low T4 and Low T3) High levels of RT3, obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, low Thyroid hormones and host of hormone and cardiometabolic diseases.
The Effect of Leptin Resistance on Weight Gain Can Be Summarized By The Following;
- Low TSH leading to
- Low (T4) and Low T3 thyroid hormone
- Elevated reverse T3
- Increased appetite
- Increased insulin resistance
- Increased fat storage
Few closing thoughts
- If you are struggling with weight gain and you have been on diets like the ones I mentioned, it might be time to consider the possibility of High levels of rT3 as well as high levels of leptin.
- If you suspect leptin resistance, and you have Insulin resistance or diabetes as well, losing weight is going to be incredibly challenging.
- I have done several videos where I have talked about blood sugar problems and thyroid disease. This is great place to start because I review different tips and tricks to stabilize your blood sugar when you have thyroid disease.
- One thing I will tell you is that if you are insulin resistant, this might be one of the very first things that needs to be addressed in order to help you lose weight and stabilize your thyroid.
- On the surface the solution to weight loss might seem that a low carb diet and skipping meals and taking more thyroid hormones is the answer, but I will tell you that it can easily backfire on you. Keep in mind
- Thyroid disease is very complex there are many facets to supporting the thyroid gland- its not as simple as just dumping more T4 or more T3 into the body because you have Low T4 and Low T3 levels.
- This is why when I work with patients I talk about the BIG picture. Each and every one of us has a unique Big Picture. Figure out what that Big picture looks like for you is the first step in correcting your weight gain, leptin resistance, your insulin resistance and your thyroid disease
- If you feel like you have hit a dead end and you just feel stuck, visit my website and look for the start here tab. I have a team of professionals that can help you get on the right track lose weight and feel good again. Till next time I’m Dr Hagmeyer-
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- Blood sugar thyroid disease
- 12 tips to stabilize your blood sugar when you have thyroid disease