Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Weight Loss & Dieting

Hypothyroidism treatment does not equal weight loss, caution researchers

See also

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are well known: Weight gain, brain fog, thinning hair and feeling cold. The prescription (levothyroxine) is also standard.. But a third presumption - that hypothyroidism treatment reverses weight gain - has just been blown out of the water in a new study, reported Medscape on October 21.

"We found that modest weight loss following initiation of levothyroxine treatment for hypothyroidism occurs in only about half of patients," said Elizabeth Pearce, MD, from endocrinology, diabetes, and nutrition section of Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts.

Michael T. McDermott, MD, director of endocrinology and diabetes practice at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, admitted that he was surprised by the findings.

"I would expect weight loss to occur but would expect [it] to be much more significant in people with more severe hypothyroidism and less, if any . . . in those with mild or very mild hypothyroidism, which most of the subjects in the current study had," he commented.

However, Dr. Pearce noted that despite the expectations of most physicians and patients that weight loss will occur following treatment, very few studies actually have analyzed weight changes in patients who had been treated.

For the study, scientists analyzed the electronic medical records of 101 patients. More than 70 percent were women, and the average age was around 50. All were newly diagnosed with primary hypothyroidism.

The surprising results: Although the patients improved based on their laboratory tests, the impact on their weight was insignificant. Only about half of the patients lost weight, and they lost about eight pounds on average.

So is the message that expensive laboratory tests and medication for hypothyroidism aren't worth it? No, emphasizes Dr. Pearce.

"Although we did not have a control group for comparison in this study, in general, in adult populations, weight gradually increases over time," she noted. Therefore, if those individuals had not undergone thyroid treatment, they might have gained weight rather than lost or stayed steady.

Adding to the difficulty in quantifying the benefits of hypothyroid treatment: "There is no research demonstrating how much weight patients gain with the onset of hypothyroidism; this would be hard to do, as it is usually impossible to determine exactly when hypothyroidism first developed," Dr. Pearce added.

Advertisement

Life

  • Dead babies found
    Seven dead babies were found in Utah resident Megan Huntsman's old home
    Video
    Shocking Discovery
  • Kendall Jenner
    Get the Coachella looks: Kendall Jenner’s nose ring, green hair and edgy nails
    Camera
    Coachella Look
  • Dog's Easter basket
    How to fill your dog’s Easter basket with the perfect toys
    Easter Basket
  • Rabbit owners
    Bringing home the bunny: Important information for rabbit owners
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Haunted island
    The world’s most haunted island may soon be the most haunted luxury resort
    Haunted Resort
  • Sunken ferry
    Search continues for missing passengers after a ferry sinks off the South Korean coast
    Video
    Sunken Ferry

Related Videos:

  • Juicing for cheap and easy, and a taste you can stand
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/bDcvZML7jVM?rel=0?rel=0&amp;VQ=HD720&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • cute kitten
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517990288" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=517990288&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Red hair and pale complexions on some Neanderthals say archaeogenetic researchers.
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518106227" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518106227&autoStart=true"></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!