Hypothyroid and Levothyroxine

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I've been on levothyroxine for 3 months and have gained about 5lbs. I eat pretty decent (do have cheats) and work out (train martial arts) 3-4 days a week. I should not be putting on this much weight, if anything I should at least be maintaining.

Has anyone else dealt with weight gain on Levo? Most of the research indicates that I should be loosing weight and even my doctor said that weight gain is not a side effect of Levo. Any tips?? Suggestions? Happy stories to make me feel better?

Thank you

Replies

  • phubb3
    phubb3 Posts: 40 Member
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    I also have hypothyroidism and hyshimoto disease. I am on Levothyroxine also. All the research says you should lose weight. I'm with you. I gained. I can only imagine how much weight I would have gained not being on it.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    In hypothyroidism or any other hormonal condition your body will tend to retain water weight during times of larger than normal hormonal shifts. This is temporary and will go away as your body adjusts to the shift. I don't think there's any concern. In this case I would focus on your logging. What does "pretty decent" mean in terms of meeting your caloric budget?

    True - weight gain is not a side effect of taking levothyroxine. To clarify a point on the labeled adverse effects on pharmaceuticals - that this is on the list of side/adverse effects does not mean that the drug causes this, but only that a patient experienced this while using the drug and notified the company.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
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    allybuddy wrote: »
    I've been on levothyroxine for 3 months and have gained about 5lbs. I eat pretty decent (do have cheats) and work out (train martial arts) 3-4 days a week. I should not be putting on this much weight, if anything I should at least be maintaining.

    Has anyone else dealt with weight gain on Levo? Most of the research indicates that I should be loosing weight and even my doctor said that weight gain is not a side effect of Levo. Any tips?? Suggestions? Happy stories to make me feel better?

    Thank you

    Are you on the name brand or a generic? If you're on the generic, get thee on Synthroid. Weight gain isn't a side effect of the drug, but it is a side effect of your condition and the generic is just not as effective as the name brand in this case. This is well-known.

    Also consider that no matter how well medicated you are, if you're anything like me, there isn't much you're going to be able to do. I moved a few weeks ago. I spent a month doing nothing but packing, lifting boxes, going up and down stairs and because of how busy I was, I didn't eat much. My levels are where they should be. I gained weight in that time.
  • ccsernica
    ccsernica Posts: 1,040 Member
    edited April 2017
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    Levothyroxine will not make you gain weight. It ought to have slightly the opposite effect, if you've been showing any symptoms of hypothyroidism. As @rml_16 pointed out though, the generics and name brand (Synthroid) are not necessarily equivalent, and many doctors will prefer the name brand for that reason.

    Also, make sure you're taking it properly. The hormone is very delicate. Many things can interfere with it being absorbed. You must take your dose on an empty stomach, and then refrain from eating for 30-60 minutes afterward. If you take supplements, particularly anything containing calcium, you should wait at least 3 hours after your dose to take them.

    I've been taking it for years, and have had no trouble losing weight.
  • nvmomketo
    nvmomketo Posts: 12,019 Member
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    I've gained weight when under medicated, but not from taking levothyroxine.
  • ekd23
    ekd23 Posts: 89 Member
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    I have been on Levothyroxine for about 3 weeks for hypothyroidism. I've lost about 6lbs since starting. I log and weigh everything I eat. Also, be sure you take the meds on an empty stomach with plenty of water (wait at least 30 mins before eating), otherwise the meds will not be absorbed properly by your body. I don't take any vitamins or other meds until 4 hours after my Levo as they can also affect the absorption.
  • not_a_runner
    not_a_runner Posts: 1,343 Member
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    I'm also hypo, I've been on meds for almost 10 years (I'm 23). Weight gain for me has always been a direct result of my diet/activity level.
    I found that cheat meals did not work for me, I have to track more strictly if I want to see progress (because I can eat enough in one "cheat" to wipe out any deficit I had created the other 6 days of the week). I would tighten up your logging and see if that makes a difference.
    Has your weight been trending up the past 3 months, or is the weight gain recent? I've noticed that strenuous workouts make me hold a few extra pounds of water, so the day I weigh myself makes a difference.
  • emuhawk
    emuhawk Posts: 62 Member
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    I'm taking levothyroxine (the generic, although this thread is making me question that choice) after having a total thyroidectomy last fall. I have been able to lose significant weight during that time by keeping myself in a significant calorie deficit BUT I have noticed that the weight loss has not been at all linear. This is in contrast to several years ago, before I started having thyroid issues, when I used MFP to lose weight a couple of times and was able to see a more or less steady decrease in my weight as long as I stuck to calorie goals. Now, the numbers will stay the same or even go up for days or weeks, and then suddenly they'll drop 1-2 pounds per day for several days. The overall trend is what I would expect with the calorie deficit, but the day-to-day is a mess. I don't know that the levothyroxine is to blame, but I can't explain what else has changed.
  • ccsernica
    ccsernica Posts: 1,040 Member
    edited April 2017
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    emuhawk wrote: »
    I'm taking levothyroxine (the generic, although this thread is making me question that choice) after having a total thyroidectomy last fall. I have been able to lose significant weight during that time by keeping myself in a significant calorie deficit BUT I have noticed that the weight loss has not been at all linear. This is in contrast to several years ago, before I started having thyroid issues, when I used MFP to lose weight a couple of times and was able to see a more or less steady decrease in my weight as long as I stuck to calorie goals. Now, the numbers will stay the same or even go up for days or weeks, and then suddenly they'll drop 1-2 pounds per day for several days. The overall trend is what I would expect with the calorie deficit, but the day-to-day is a mess. I don't know that the levothyroxine is to blame, but I can't explain what else has changed.

    You were just lucky before. The present weight loss pattern you describe is actually typical for most people.
  • not_a_runner
    not_a_runner Posts: 1,343 Member
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    emuhawk wrote: »
    I'm taking levothyroxine (the generic, although this thread is making me question that choice) after having a total thyroidectomy last fall. I have been able to lose significant weight during that time by keeping myself in a significant calorie deficit BUT I have noticed that the weight loss has not been at all linear. This is in contrast to several years ago, before I started having thyroid issues, when I used MFP to lose weight a couple of times and was able to see a more or less steady decrease in my weight as long as I stuck to calorie goals. Now, the numbers will stay the same or even go up for days or weeks, and then suddenly they'll drop 1-2 pounds per day for several days. The overall trend is what I would expect with the calorie deficit, but the day-to-day is a mess. I don't know that the levothyroxine is to blame, but I can't explain what else has changed.

    This is normal, even for people who aren't hypo.

    I lost 60+ lbs a few years ago. Looking back it seemed like I was having steadier losses, but I was also losing a lot faster at the time. Now I seem to hold and then have a big scale drop. I used to worry when I had a week with no change, but it really is normal. We fluctuate. I can fluctuate up to 5 lbs from one day to the next because of my workouts, sodium, intake, hydration, TOM etc etc.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    Hypothyroid, on generic levothyroxine, over about one year lost 60+ pounds (not completely linearly - I think it never is - but overall jagged down-trend of daily weights). I didn't perceive that either the condition or the drug made it any more or less difficult for me to lose weight than it was for people with normal thyroid hormone levels. Eating and activity levels were the crucial variables, with sleep in a supporting role.

    Can't speak for anyone else, of course.
  • allybuddy
    allybuddy Posts: 4 Member
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    I'm also hypo, I've been on meds for almost 10 years (I'm 23). Weight gain for me has always been a direct result of my diet/activity level.
    I found that cheat meals did not work for me, I have to track more strictly if I want to see progress (because I can eat enough in one "cheat" to wipe out any deficit I had created the other 6 days of the week). I would tighten up your logging and see if that makes a difference.
    Has your weight been trending up the past 3 months, or is the weight gain recent? I've noticed that strenuous workouts make me hold a few extra pounds of water, so the day I weigh myself makes a difference.

    The weight gain has been trending up the past 3 months. I typically fluctuate upwards of 5lbs. I still have my holiday weight gain on me (about 10lbs) and by now it should have gone down or at least some of it. I train jiu jitsu and karate and depending on the day I can burn any where from 300 to 800 calories. I do tend to eat and hydrate more on the days I train, however, my calories will stay anywhere between 1200 -2000 (again this depends on training days). Cheat meals I can easily eat 1500 calories in 1 sitting and I usually have 1 good cheat meal a week.

    Before I started taking hypo meds my body would feel really good after my training sessions and now I do notice that I hold more water which is really weird. Pre hypothyroid I never gained more than 5lbs during the year (except for around the holidays it can creep up to 10lbs).

    I'm going to track my food religiously on MFP so that I can get a good representation of where my calories are.

    Thank you for your reply.
  • allybuddy
    allybuddy Posts: 4 Member
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    Thanks everyone for your replies. I just refilled my pills but next month I will be asking for the name brand to see if that makes a difference. I will also track my food diary to see exactly where I am as far as calories go. I take my hypo meds first thing in the AM and wait 1 hour before I eat or drink anything. I then take all my other meds/supplements in the afternoon to make sure my body gets the full benefit of Levothyroxine.

    My doctor did say that in the long run my body should adjust and go back to normal. I guess I'm just freaking out because my heaviest weight is only 13lbs away from where I am now. I worked really hard to get that weight off and now it's just creeping up on me again.

    Thank you again for your replies!! I really needed to hear some feedback from others that are going through this.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    Awesome!

    The trick to this is that you have a gland that isn't operating at full capacity, so the better you stick to a routine, the better off you are going to feel. Doesn't matter so much what the routine is so long as you are consistent.

    A note from your physician should be sufficient for insurance to cover, but is you have an issue you can contact Abbott Labs directly - they have a patient assistance program to lower the drug cost of Sythroid and all necessary drugs.
  • emuhawk
    emuhawk Posts: 62 Member
    edited April 2017
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    ccsernica wrote: »

    You were just lucky before. The present weight loss pattern you describe is actually typical for most people.

    Possibly, but I've seen significant differences in the numbers since my surgery. I love having data to look at, which is why I step on a scale every morning, and I know that water and other issues can cause significant daily fluctuations. But this has been more than that. My body seems to hold on to water (or whatever it is) much longer now, and when I finally do see a drop it is a much larger daily change than I ever saw previously. I'm not complaining -- very happy to be rid of my bad thyroid and on meds that make me both feel better and able to lose the weight I gained prior to surgery. But to the OP's initial question, while my experience hasn't been exactly the same, I have observed a difference with how my body handles weight loss, and that has included several frustrating weeks of gaining without any identifiable reason.