How Fasting Impacts Hypothyroidism

My Personal Experience

Fasting has become a natural way for many obese adults to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. If, like me, you live with a thyroid disorder, then fasting can be somewhat challenging as it may work against your thyroid hormone levels. In researching a spike in my thyroid levels, I began to find that it may be my periodic fasting that is leading to a complication with my thyroid and metabolism. Here is what I’ve learned.

Under normal protocol, patients with a low metabolism and underactive thyroid are instructed to take thyroid medicine, on an empty stomach, in the early morning hours. Taking the medication on an empty stomach will help to ensure optimal absorption rates. In my health routine, I always take my thyroid medicine early in the morning and then proceed with a light breakfast within an hour.

After taking up a dietary plan that includes periodic fasting, though, I’ve noticed a change in my thyroid levels as confirmed by the blood work taken by my doctor’s office. To my surprise, my thyroid levels were higher than normal, indicating I may need a lower dose of thyroid medicine. The only change I’ve made to my lifestyle since my last thyroid blood panel is the addition of fasting twice per week. Could it be that my periodic fasting is imposing a change in my thyroid function?

Perhaps. My doctor does not believe so but, when fasting, my thyroid medicines are working for many hours without any interference from food. So, based on my own theory, this may cause a greater release of thyroid hormone into my bloodstream, thereby causing a change to my thyroid function. To my chagrin, there has been no change in my weight but I do feel healthier by fasting periodically. So, what is the solution?

If you are planning to engage in any type of change to your diet – or if you are going to utilize a fasting program – always discuss these plans with your primary care physician. If you have a thyroid disorder, you may need to be monitored more closely by your doctor, with more frequent thyroid blood panels to ensure your blood levels are maintained at a normal level. In my case, I enjoy fasting and the health benefits it brings by allowing me to feel healthier. So, my doctor will decrease my dose of thyroid medicine but, ultimately, there is no change in my weight loss and weight status.

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