Underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is a condition that significantly slows your metabolism. Your thyroid gland, located at the front of your neck below your voice box, is part of the endocrine system. This system is responsible for producing, storing and releasing hormones into your bloodstream to regulate several processes including heart and nervous system functions, weight and metabolism. Some medications, surgeries, iodine deficiency or gland inflammation can cause this condition and once you have hypothyroidism, you must get lifelong treatment to manage the symptoms. Make lifestyle changes to supplement the medical treatment of this condition in order to help improve your metabolism.
Talk to your physician for medication intervention treatment. The first line of treatment for hypothyroidism is a synthetic thyroxine medication, to replace the hormones your thyroid is not making adequately. Since your metabolism is stimulated by a working thyroid gland, taking the medication will improve your metabolism significantly. Discuss this option with your physician but also explore the additional options of dietary changes, supplements and exercise to help improve your metabolism.
Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Physical activity boosts your metabolism naturally and also helps you stay healthy overall. Start exercising if you are not use to it by walking for 30 minutes, three times a week. Increase your walk time and days each week until you workout for at least five days at 60 minutes. Add variety to your workouts by including fitness classes, strength training or flexibility and stretching.
Drink green tea and plenty of water daily. Green tea is a thermogenic food that stimulates your metabolism and body so you burn calories. Water keeps you hydrated throughout the day and does not add unnecessary calories. Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day plus two 8-oz. servings of green tea to boost your metabolism.
Eat vitamin-rich foods. Focus on the B group of vitamins, which are important for regulating your metabolism. Add whole grains like wheat bread, fortified cereals or fish, eggs and low-fat dairy to your diet to ensure you get enough B-complex vitamins.
Add a bladderwrack supplement. Bladderwrack is an herbal supplement containing iodine, which activates a low thyroid. Take a 600 mg supplement once to three times a day for low thyroid. Consult your physician before taking this supplement to ensure safety for your condition.
Cook with virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil naturally speeds up your metabolism when used on a regular basis. Buy the virgin type, which has no cholesterol or hydrogenation. It does contain fat so use it sparingly as an accent to cooking instead of regular vegetable oil. Drink a tablespoon mixed with water daily before your workouts to boost your energy. Add coconut oil as part of a healthy low-saturated fat diet.
Metabolism boosting herbs like cayenne, cinnamon and fennel may also help stimulate your thyroid. Do not use herbs without physician consultation.
If you are taking a thyroid medication avoid soy products because these may interfere in medication absorption.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypothyroidism; Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; March 2010
- MayoClinic.com: Metabolism and Weight Loss; How You Burn Calories
- WomenFitness.net: Herbs That Help Shed Pounds
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- Coconut-connections.com; Hypothyroidism and Virgin Coconut Oil; Bruce Fife, N.D.; 2001
- National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service: Hypothyroidism