By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC,
Weight struggles, many of us have them. The question we get asked almost daily is, why do people have trouble losing weight even though they are eating right? The answer can vary from person to person.
Thyroid Imbalance: Unfortunately when people visit their primary care and explain they eat right but are still struggling with weight, their doctor will test the thyroid gland but it is usually just a TSH level that is checked. The medical range for TSH is .5 – 5.0 so if you are not above a 5.0 you most likely will not be diagnosed with a hypothyroid. In the functional medicine blood chemistry classes I have taken most functional medicine minded doctors teach that the TSH level should be .5-2.0. Anything above a 2.0 indicates the thyroid IS slowing, but it is not a clear medical hypothyroid case. And we also learned the importance of testing Total and Free levels of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3. It is entirely possible to have a normal TSH level and a very low T3 or T4 level. If either of these scenarios occurs, the person may not be able to lose weight, even if their diet is good.
High Leptin Level: Leptin is a nasty hormone that can be elevated. It is not a typical item that most clinicians test for. Leptin is called the obesity hormone or the fat hormone. It also can make a person “hungry” more then they should be. When leptin is high, the brain does not get the signal to tell the brain that you are full and can stop eating. It is kind of like, your body will have too much fat on it, but your brain refuses to acknowledge it.
Inflammation and Food Intolerance: We have learned over many years in our clinic that even the best eaters can be overweight. Inability to lose weight can be due to healthy foods contributing to food intolerance which causes inflammation which causes the inability to lose weight. Someone may be eating spinach for example 5 times a week thinking the spinach is good for them, but if they have a spinach intolerance , it can lead to inability to lose weight and other symptoms. Many times we have someone do a food intolerance (IgG and IgE ) test, and they let us know that these simple changes led to their body balancing out and the weight came off easier.
High Hormones in the Tissues: Hormones are usually tested in the blood. When there is a struggle with losing weight even though the person is eating right, we always run saliva hormone testing. The reason is that high hormones do not always show up in the blood, but they do show up in the saliva. I will never forget one weight loss client that ate very healthy. Her thyroid labs were all fine but ALL the hormones tested high in the saliva. She did not use hormones at all, but her body just made excess hormones. We gave her one supplement to help this issue, and she dropped the excess weight she needed and kept it off!
If you are eating right and you cannot lose weight consider some comprehensive testing to get the answers you need!
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Medical disclaimer: Our hormone imbalance Test kits and all tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.