Harvard Health Letter

Thyroid hormone: Slim fast, but will it last?

Appetite increase, other effects make long-term weight loss unlikely.

Side effects are something we usually want to avoid, but not when it comes to thyroid hormone. Taking more of the hormone than is needed is tempting because it causes weight loss quickly. In fact, doctors used to prescribe thyroid medication for the express purpose of weight loss, even for patients with normal levels of the hormone.

But like every quick weight loss scheme we know of, thyroid hormone is the hare, not the winning tortoise. Over the long haul, the pounds are likely to come back. Besides, taking too much thyroid hormone is courting trouble that none of us want, including a variety of heart problems and loss of muscle and bone.

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