Thyroid Has Company; Insulin Now Found to Impact Temperature

December 2, 2009 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Thyroid Has Company; Insulin Now Found to Impact Temperature
A new discovery shows that insulin may be an important regulator of body temperature1, something to consider for any person that is too cold or struggling with thyroid issues.

The idea that insulin is active in your brain to help regulate your body temperature is a novel finding with widespread implications for metabolism. The researchers surprisingly discovered insulin receptors on key cells in the hypothalamus gland that help regulate body temperature. They then proved that insulin interacting with those cells sent messages down nerves that activated brown adipose tissue, the kind of fat that disposes of calories as heat.

Various weight loss strategies have sought to manipulate or stimulate brown adipose tissue, often by dangerously ramping of nerve activity. This discovery is quite unique as it implies that insulin functioning normally has a profound effect on maintaining over heat homeostasis – which by definition would improve or support healthy thyroid function.

It also implies that insulin resistance, meaning that insulin is not getting into the brain or being produced in the brain normally, will slow down metabolism and result in a lower body temperature. The net result would be the same as a hypothyroid problem. This study raises more questions than it answers, such as which comes first, an insulin or thyroid problem?

It is likely that both systems malfunction together. It is an important study because it implies you can improve your body temperature and consequently your thyroid status by improving insulin function. You can improve insulin function by improving leptin and adiponectin function.

This is clearly another angle of possible solution for the person who is always cold or feels that their metabolism is stuck in hibernation.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Insulin and Core Body Temperature  Diabetes  Manuel Sanchez-Alavez, Iustin V. Tabarean, Olivia Osborn, Kayo Mitsukawa, Jean Schaefer, Jeffrey Dubins, Kristina H Holmberg, Izabella Klein, Joe Klaus, Luis F Gomez, Hartmuth Kolb, James Secrest, Jeanine Jochems, et al.

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