Obesity Punches Thyroid Gland in the Nose

December 6, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Obesity Punches Thyroid Gland in the Nose
Many believe that a sluggish thyroid has led to obesity. A new study in children shows the opposite – that obesity inflames the thyroid1 leading to potentially life-long thyroid problems if the weight is not lost.

The researchers did thyroid lab tests, thyroid antibody tests, and thyroid ultrasound and followed the overweight and obese children for three years. They found that excess fat got in the way of thyroid function, causing swelling of the gland (based on ultrasound) and in some cases progression to a full autoimmune response (based on elevated autoantibodies.

This is further proof that leptin is actually in control of thyroid function and that by improving leptin function, as happened with weight loss, thyroid function can return to normal. This study is in children. In adults I don't think the problem is quite so easy to fix, especially if a person has a history with yo-yo dieting.

Nevertheless, losing weight healthfully will take stress off your thyroid and in turn a better functioning thyroid will help you burn calories more efficiently.

This study is important because it shows that weight gain itself is a source of adverse thyroid inflammation leading to slightly impaired function. There are now a whole host of health issues directly linked to slightly impaired thyroid function (see related articles below).

There is just nothing good that can be said about being overweight.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Obesity and Thyroid  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.  Giorgio Radetti, Wolfgang Kleon, Lucia Pappalardo, Claudio Crivellaro, Fabio Buzi, Natascia di Iorgi, and Mohamad Maghnie.

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