Study Title:

Thyroid Hormone, Weight Gain, and Iodine Deficiency

Study Abstract


Different studies, mostly cross-sectional, have found an association between low levels of thyroid hormones, even within the normal range, and a greater body mass index. The aim of this study was to determine the association between thyroid function and the risk for obesity.


In this population-based prospective study, measurements were made of anthropometric parameters, thyroid hormone function and urinary iodine in a cohort of the Pizarra Study (n = 937), and repeated 6 years later (n = 784). At the second point, measurements were also made of leptin and adiponectin.


Among the persons who were not obese at the start of the study, the odds ratio (OR) of becoming obese for those in the fourth quartile (Q(4)) for free triiodothyronine (FT3) (versus those in Q(1)) was 2·94 (1·46-5·90) (P = 0·005). The OR of becoming obese in persons in Q(4) of FT4 (versus those in Q(1)) was 3·06 (1·23-7·43) (P = 0·01). Those persons in Q(4) of weight gain had a higher FT3 at the 6-year follow-up than those whose weight gain was in Q(1) (P < 0·001). Leptin correlated with thyrotropin (β = 0·58, P = 0·001) and the FT4 (β = -1·12, P = 0·005). Adiponectin correlated with FT3 (r = -0·24, P < 0·001). The urinary iodine correlated negatively with both the BMI (β = -0·08, P = 0·01) and the increase in weight (β = -0·08, P = 0·04).


The changes in the thyroid hormones could be the consequence, rather than the cause, of the increase in weight. The same pathophysiological mechanisms that induce obesity might also be modifying the thyroid hormone pattern.

Study Information

Soriguer F, Valdes S, Morcillo S, Esteva I, Almaraz MC, de Adana MS, Tapia MJ, Dominguez M, Gutierrez-Repiso C, Rubio-Martin E, Garrido-Sanchez L, Perez V, Garriga MJ, Rojo-Martinez G, Garcia-Fuentes E.
Thyroid hormone levels predict the change in body weight: a prospective study.
Eur J Clin Invest.
2011 November
Servicio de Endocrinología y Nutrición, Hospital Regional Universitario Carlos Haya, Málaga, Spain.

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