8 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism When You're Hypothyroid

Rejuvenate Yourself

Man boxing with trainer in gym
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

When you're hypothyroid, symptoms like fatigue, difficulty losing weight, or continued weight gain may all be related to a drop in your metabolism that frequently accompanies an underactive thyroid.

Even after your hypothyroidism is properly treated with thyroid hormone replacement, you may find that your metabolism has not bounced back to where it was before.

This sluggishness in your metabolism may leave you feeling exhausted, and unable to lose weight, despite a healthy low-calorie diet and exercise.

The upside is that there are strategies you can adopt to help revive and boost your metabolism.

Make Sure You Eat Breakfast

If you don't eat breakfast, you slow down your metabolism and send the body into "starvation mode," thinking it's starving because you're going a long period of time without food. This starvation mode makes you less effective at burning fat, and you end up needing fewer calories over time. 

Adopt Healthy Eating Patterns

Dinner should be your lightest meal, and some experts recommend you don't eat anything after 8 p.m., or any later than three to four hours before bedtime. This helps your body process and burn the food when you're aware and moving around and burning more calories per hour.

Moreover, contrary to popular opinion, it may be better to eat three scheduled meals and avoid snacks.

This allows the body to go into fat-burning mode.

Exercise

Regular, daily aerobic exercise is important for a healthy metabolism, as well as for weight management. In addition, you should add weight training or progressive resistance exercise that builds muscle at least two to three times a week. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.

 

Drink Water

You've heard it before, but drink those eight ounce glasses of water every day. The energy burning process of metabolism needs water to work effectively. You can add an extra metabolism boost by making the water cold, since cold water requires more energy to metabolize. 

See Your Primary Care Doctor

If you want to lose weight, first work with your doctor to estimate your resting metabolic rate and your daily caloric requirement. Then, cut around 200 to 500 calories per day, while continuing to exercise, for weight loss success. 

Furthermore, if you are suffering from flagging energy, talk to your doctor about other possible causes. Assuming your thyroid function is being treated, there may be other culprits behind your fatigue or low energy. Some health conditions that may cause fatigue include:

  • Anemia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression

Consume Caffeine 

Some daily caffeine, whether from coffee or tea, may help increase your metabolism. If traditional caffeinated drinks make you extra wired, consider trying mate. Pronounced, "mah-tay," mate is an herbal tea native to South America. Mate is considered far more nutritious than black tea or coffee, and though it also has some caffeine, its effects are energizing, and it's less likely to make you jittery.

Consider a Supplement or Herb 

Some supplements that may useful for fatigue include:

  • Co-enzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, which supplies energy to muscles
  • NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) which may help cells convert food into energy
  • D-ribose, which may help energy at the mitochondrial level
  • Green tea extract

In terms of herbal remedies, while you should avoid ephedra and ma huang stimulants, you may consider asking your doctor about schizandra, which is a Chinese herb that is used for fatigue. Ginseng is also popular for energy.

Of course, before trying any herbs, supplements, or vitamins, please consult with your practitioner to ensure they are safe for you.

Ginseng, for example, is not recommended for someone with high blood pressure, and many herbs and supplements are not recommended during pregnancy.

Consider Energy Work

Energy and bodywork, such as yoga, tai chi, qigong (pronounced chee-gung), and reiki, may help in adding and balancing energy. In qigong, tai chi, and yoga, gentle movements are used to move energy along the energy pathways of the body. In Reiki, a practitioner helps open up your energy channels, and direct energy to areas where they are needed.

A Word from Verywell

Managing thyroid disease along with battling weight and fatigue problems can be overwhelming.

Rest assured, though, that with a realistic plan and a bit of personal resilience on your part, you can feel well again—and rejuvenate your spirit in the meantime.

Sources:

Alkhatib A, Atcheson R. Yerba Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) Metabolic, Satiety, and Mood State Effects at Rest and during Prolonged Exercise. Nutrients. 2017 Aug;9(8):882. dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu9080882

O'Keefe JH, Bhatti SK, Patil HR, DiNicolantonio JJ, Lucan SC, Lavie CJ. Effects of habitual coffee consumption on cardiometabolic disease, cardiovascular health, and all-cause mortality. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Sep 17;62(12):1043-51. doi.dx.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.06.035.

Sergiy Oliynyk & Seikwan Oh. Actoprotective effect of ginseng: improving mental and physical performance. J Ginseng Res. 2013 Apr; 37(2): 144–166. dx.doi.org/10.5142/jgr.2013.37.144

Szopa A, Ekiert R, Ekiert H. Current knowledge of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Chinese magnolia vine) as a medicinal plant species. Phytochem Rev. 2017; 16(2): 195–218. doi.dx.org/10.1007/s11101-016-9470-4.

Tanaka M et al. Frontier studies on fatigue, autonomic nerve dysfunction, and sleep-rhythm disorder. J Physiol Sci. 2015; 65(6): 483–498. doi.dx.org/10.1007/s12576-015-0399-y