The keto diet is often seen as the answer to health conditions that cause substantial weight gain. Hypothyroidism is one cause of weight gain; this condition can add stubborn pounds to the body that can be hard to melt away. However, it also causes a number of other problems throughout the body, from higher markers of inflammation to decreased basal metabolic rate. So, is keto good for hypothyroidism?
If you have an underactive thyroid, read on to learn more about how your diet can impact your thyroid health. First, let’s look at whether keto can reduce some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Using Keto to Lower Inflammation
Many people who are affected by hypothyroidism also have a case of thyroiditis, a condition marked by inflammation and swelling of the thyroid gland. This thyroiditis is caused by an immune reaction where the body actually begins to attack the thyroid gland. Reducing this inflammation and demonstrating some control over it may actually help to control the function of the thyroid.
The good news is that there appears to be evidence that ketosis can decrease inflammation in the body. One 2019 study that looked at the development of heart disease found a fascinating effect: those who adhered to the low-carb, high-fat diet had much lower markers of inflammation in the body. 
Other studies point to the important role that inflammation plays in conditions that cause the development of hypothyroidism, namely Hashimoto’s disease. A decrease in overall carbohydrate consumption leads to lower body mass and can also decrease the sentinel antibodies found in this condition. 
Keto for Weight Loss
In addition to seeing higher levels of inflammation in the body, hypothyroidism often causes metabolic changes to the body as well. This frequently results in patients gaining roughly five to ten pounds. Losing this weight may be difficult as it is caused by a big change in basal metabolic rate (BMR). 
Many people find that the weight gain they incur due to hypothyroidism is stubborn to melt away, even with routine diet and exercise.
The good news is that ketosis can be a great solution for those who are overweight or fall into the obese category. Research shows that the keto diet is highly effective at improving metabolic processes compared to other types of diets that are focused on low fats instead of low carbs. 
Keto can also help you to cut calories that lead to more weight gain since a high-fat diet allows you to feel fuller faster and to stay fuller (a measure known as satiety). 
Influence of the Keto Diet on T3 and T4 Levels
One crucial thing to note when switching from a low-fat diet to a high-fat diet like keto is that the change can interfere with your T3 levels. Most experts and research points to the fact that when the thyroid is underactive, people tend to have a reduction in their T3 levels. 
If you have a high level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), you may also have a low level of T4. This T4 is what is used by the body to make T3, creating a negative feedback loop on your thyroid hormones that are needed for important body functions. 
Both T3 and T4 play significant roles in body temperature regulation, strength, weight gain, and nervous system functioning. Many people take prescription medications to help correct T3 and T4 levels resulting from this condition.
Studies have found that ketosis has an interesting effect on the T3 and T4 concentration found within the body. Compared to a high-carb, low-fat diet, those who followed the keto diet strictly for three weeks had a lower plasma T3 concentration, but an increase in T4 concentration. It did not seem to have any effect on TSH. 
If you intend to try the keto diet, make sure to monitor your symptoms carefully. You may need to adjust your prescription medication in order to keep your T3 and T4 levels at the appropriate levels. Work with your endocrinologist or primary care physician to make sure that you keep your body healthy during this transition to a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Is Keto Good for Hypothyroidism?
There are lots of resources that seem to indicate that ketosis can be a great thing for those who also have hypothyroidism. It can lower inflammation in the body, trigger weight loss to counteract the gain seen when metabolism decreases, and can increase T4 levels in the body. All this is not to mention the fact that you are more likely to feel full and satisfied when sticking to a high-fat diet.
Consult with your doctor before switching to a new diet, but keto offers some promising effects that can make you more comfortable and keep symptoms of hypothyroidism in check.
Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their
lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary
components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't
typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.
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