Metabolism ‘rev up’ and hypothyroidism

Thank you for your lovely newsletter! I find it very inspiring. and thought-provoking!! I have a question that is probably not new, so I hope is very easy for you to answer.  I have hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s disease.  I must take 125 mg of the thyroid hormone daily.  Her is the issue: many, many of the exercises that one sees around at the moment, seem designed to “rev up” the metabolism. However, with a failing thyroid function, is it not correct that it cannot respond to “invitations” to be more active, as this is the nature of its flaw? If the thyroid is able to give some response, does the synthetic thyroid medicine not also inhibit the activity of the thyroid so that it can’t actually become or stay reved up?

This is a recurring question as today, much of the exercise seems designed to “rev up” the metabolism. If I know that a hypothyroid condition that is being treated with hormone replacement medicine will NOT respond, then I can concentrate of other forms of exercise. If however, there are other benefits than revving the metabolism to be derived from this type of exercise, that cannot be found in other exercise forms, that is important for me to know as well.

I’m just trying to figure out what would work for me. It is not so easy, but I’m hoping that you can help.



JJ: Went straight to my thyroid guru – here is what Dr. Alan Christianson has to say…

Dr. C: So what is going on chemically in response to training is a higher amount of direct T2 synthesis.  Normally your gland releases mostly T4, your body makes this into T3 and rT3, T3 can also be made into T2.  Your gland also releases pre-made T3 and T2.  When you exercise, your gland releases more T2.  With Hashimoto’s disease, you’re relying on an external source of thyroid.  When your medicine is T4 only like synthroid, about 1/2 the time T3 can be made as needed, but only about 1/10 the time is T2 made in adequate amounts.  That’s the biggest plus about dessicated thyroid – it is the only source of T2 for those who are not making their own thyroid hormones.

JJ: So then exercise would be even more important here, right?

Dr. C: It would, along with detox, appropriate iodine intake and selenium. Controlled cold exposure can also help, easiest way is to do 30 second bursts of cold in the shower.  Start with 2 min of warm, 30 sec cold/1 min hot for 3 cycles than finish with 3-5 min of warm.  As far as how cold, slightly challenge your comfort level