Semaglutide and Hypothyroidism: What You Need to Know

woman holding thyroid area in neck to illustrate a semaglutide and hypothyroidism discussion
Medically Reviewed
January 4, 2024

If you’re dealing with hypothyroidism – or have just been diagnosed – and you’re struggling against the weight gain that can accompany it, you might be curious about the potential benefits of semaglutide medication. So – in this article, we’ll dive into semaglutide and hypothyroidism issues.

What is Hypothyroidism?

This is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is essential for regulating your metabolism, growth, development, and body temperature.

Hypothyroidism can be caused by various factors, such as autoimmune disease, iodine deficiency, medication, surgery, or radiation.

However, the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States (and other developed countries) is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland.

When you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down, and you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irregular periods
  • Muscle and joint pain

The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroid hormone that you take daily. Levothyroxine replaces the missing thyroid hormone and restores your normal thyroid function. However, levothyroxine may not be enough to reverse all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, especially weight gain.

So this remains a problem when you want to maintain a healthy target weight – and it’s why we recommend you consult a clinical nutritionist to help you solve the problem effectively.

How Does Hypothyroidism Affect Your Weight?

When your thyroid hormone levels are low, you:

  • Experience slower metabolism
  • Burn fewer calories
  • Have less energy and motivation to exercise
  • Experience more hunger and craving for carbohydrates

That’s a vicious circle! Losing weight is challenging with hypothyroidism, as you may need to eat fewer calories and exercise more than people with normal thyroid function. You can also feel guilty, as if you were at fault. You’re not.

But as weight gain can have adverse effects on your physical and mental health, such as increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression, maybe you’ve read about semaglutide and wondered if it’s safe for you with hypothyroidism.

At Nava Health, we offer semaglutide within our NavaRX weight loss program and monitor your progress carefully. However, we believe in functional nutrition, so this program also includes nutrition counseling to help with overall health around weight. It’s critical to make real lifestyle changes regardless of if you choose a medical weight loss program or take another path.

Healthy Weight Loss Habits for Thyroid Problems

We encourage you to make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle alongside semaglutide medication. If your hypothyroidism diagnosis makes you feel overwhelmed, here are some tips to start you off:

  • Reduce simple sugars and carbs to stabilize your blood sugar level and reduce calorie intake.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, such as berries, nuts, and leafy greens, to improve your overall health.
  • Eat small but frequent meals throughout the day to help you keep constant energy levels and prevent overeating.
  • Maintain a food diary to keep you aware of your eating habits.
  • Have an exercise routine to burn more calories and build muscle.

If you’ve already started making these changes, medical treatments like semaglutide may help you – not only with weight loss but by improved thyroid functioning.

How Does Semaglutide Help With Weight Loss?

Semaglutide is a medication that mimics the effect of GLP-1, a hormone produced in your gut after you eat, and it has several effects on your body, such as:

  • Stimulating insulin secretion and lowering blood sugar levels
  • Slowing down gastric emptying and reducing food intake
  • Increasing energy expenditure and fat-burning
  • Reducing appetite and hunger
  • Enhancing satiety and fullness

Semaglutide was originally approved by the FDA as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, and in 2021, it was approved for chronic weight management in adults. It’s been shown to be effective for weight loss in several clinical trials. The best results were achieved in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

So, how might it help you with hypothyroidism weight gain problems?

Semaglutide and Hypothyroidism: Navigating Benefits and Risks

Semaglutide may be an attractive option if you have hypothyroidism and struggle to lose weight. It can help you lose weight by reducing calorie intake, increasing energy expenditure, and improving your metabolism. These all work in your favor against the challenges we mentioned up top that you have with hypothyroidism.

Losing some weight will also improve your hypothyroidism symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, and joint pain.

Moreover, semaglutide may have some positive effects on thyroid function, as it has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can be a contributory factor in autoimmune thyroid disease.

But semaglutide is not a magic pill, and it’s not without risks – as with any medication. Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Injection site reactions

These side effects are usually mild and tend to decrease over time, but they can be bothersome and affect your quality of life. Having a program, similar to NavaRX, is critical to mitigating symptoms. Nava integrative experts can help you avoid the foods and lifestyle choices that trigger adverse reactions.

Can You Take Semaglutide with HypothyroidismSafely and Effectively?

If you have hypothyroidism and want to try semaglutide for weight loss, you should consult with your doctor first. Your doctor can help you determine if semaglutide is suitable for you, based on your medical history, current medications, and weight loss goals.

There might, for example, be interactions between semaglutide and hypothyroidism medication, such as levothyroxine: Semaglutide can delay the absorption of levothyroxine, which can affect your thyroid hormone levels and your hypothyroidism control. When you have hypothyroidism, we carefully monitor your thyroid levels for any unwanted side effects.

You should report any side effects in between visits, any weight change, or concerns you may have while taking semaglutide. Your integrative medical team can adjust your medication dose and decide the best route for you to reach your target weight.

Semaglutide and Hypothyroidism: A Path to Health and Wellness at Nava Center

Managing treatment of both semaglutide and hypothyroidism can have its challenges, yet it also holds the potential for significant rewards for you in terms of helping you reach a sustainable weight for you.

At Nava Health, our expert integrative medical team is committed to guiding and supporting you through this journey. Our ground-breaking NavaRX medical weight loss program is a personalized, integrated, and balanced approach to ensure the best outcomes. Combining semaglutide with hypothyroidism management can become an effective strategy for enhancing your overall health and wellbeing. Call us today and let’s discuss how it can help you!

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A Medical Director, and one of the first physicians to join the Nava Health & Vitality Center, Dr. Douglas Lord has made significant contributions to our Center and its founding principles. Dr. Lord has helped develop and implement the Nava Method™—Nava’s proprietary approach to total body wellness. He has also been instrumental in liaising with other expert practitioners to successfully implement Nava’s range of therapies, treatments, and products.

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Semaglutide and Hypothyroidism: What You Need to Know
Combining both semaglutide and hypothyroidism management can be an effective strategy for enhancing your overall health and wellbeing.