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Thyroid Diseases

Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss

05/01/2006

Question:

I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and currently taking 150 mg or synthroid daily. I have noticed that I am having problems losing weight, still, despite trying to watch what I eat and exercising vigoriously four to five days a week. I have started to take ephedra as well as cytomel to see if that helps. Is this something that would cause serious problems in a healthy person? I am taking 30 mg of Ephedra stack twice a day and 25mg of cytomel. Can you give me some advice?

Answer:

If your dose of Synthroid results in a normal thyroid blood test, then your difficulty losing weight is not from your thyroid.  Many people are born with a metabolism that requires them to eat amazingly small amounts of food each day (as little as 1000 calories per day, or even less) in order to lose weight.  I suspect you are one of those people.  There are now four good studies in the medical literature showing that you gain nothing by adding Cytomel to Synthroid. 

If you take too much thyroid hormone you can lose weight, but a lot of the weight you lose is muscle, not fat.  That is bad for you.  There are also significant safety concerns about Ephedra.  My suggestion is that you stop the Cytomel and ephedra, let a doctor adjust your Synthroid to the correct dose, continue exercising, and work with your doctor and a dietician to find the daily calorie level that will allow you to lose weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Learn important new information concerning the FDA withdrawal of dietary supplements containing Ephedrine Alkaloids (Ephedra or Ma Huang)

 

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University