26 Dec , 17

Is Your Thyroid Preventing You From Gaining Muscle?

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It is important to examine thyroid function as part of your overall picture of health. So many guys spin their wheels in the gym not realizing they are fighting a battle which they simply cannot win.

Without a properly functioning thyroid gland, the efforts you put in may very well be in vain. At the very least your testing should include your TSH levels, Free T4 and Free T3. T3 being the most important for the regulation of metabolism.

But it isn’t just in the gym. A poorly performing thyroid can contribute to low energy, low libido, erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol… and a lack of morning wood <= Not cool !!

It’s true that thyroid disease affects women more frequently than men. Statistics state that 5-8 women are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for every man who is diagnosed.

With thyroid issues (and autoimmunity as a whole) being less common in men, it is often overlooked by doctors.thyroid system

In fact, most men aren’t ever given a thyroid test or panel unless they specifically request the testing. The takeaway from that statement is ASK and ye shall receive.

You guys know by now that I am adamant when it comes to getting yourself tested so you have a foundation of knowledge to work from, which will enable you to get the results you are working hard to achieve.

  1. Male hormones are believed  to play a protective role in the development of Hashimoto’s, and men with low testosterone are more likely to be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, while men with hyperthyroidism are more likely to have elevated levels of testosterone. While you might think that is a good thing, elevated testosterone as a result of hyperthyroidism is not an optimal condition.  
  2. In addition to fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain, and the “typical” symptoms of Hashimoto’s, men with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism may notice symptoms such as low libido, depression, high cholesterol, loss of executive function, a reduced frequency of morning erections, difficulty in growing facial hair, erectile dysfunction, as well as a loss of muscle mass. Fertility issues may also result! Some of these symptoms could be related to low testosterone. 
  3. Low testosterone could be a trigger, a single factor, and even a consequence, of thyroid disease. Thyroid hormones can normalize the testosterone levels either low or high. In some cases, TRT and/or DHEA may also be a beneficial therapy for reducing symptoms and/or thyroid antibodies.  
  4. Selenium deficiency has been found to be a trigger for Hashimoto’s. Numerous studies have been done to support the use of selenium in Hashimoto’s, but there is conflicting data on the connection between selenium and prostate cancer. Some studies have said that high selenium levels reduce the risk of prostate cancer and that selenium supplements can help prostate cancer, while others stated that taking a selenium supplement can increase the risk of death in men with prostate cancer. The form of selenium may make a difference, as can the type of cancer. I recommend annual PSA screenings and prostate exams for all men, starting at age 40. Granted it is not the most pleasant of exams but a necessity nonetheless. 
  5. Family history where your father has had Hashimoto’s increases the chances it will occur in the offspring. So if your dad had it, this should be even more reason for you to get tested.  
  6. Optimizing thyroid hormones, addressing food sensitivities, nutrient depletions, the stress response, chronic infections, and toxins are the fundamentals to helping men with Hashimoto’s recover their health. Targeted therapies to balance hormones may also be used for a male specific Hashimoto’s Protocol. It should always be directed at getting to the root of the issue rather than just a bandaid.

Guys, don’t let all of your hard work go to waste because you are fighting an internal condition which is undermining your efforts.

Optimizing Thyroid Naturally

Free T3 levels are THE most important measure of thyroid function.


Because T3 is the active hormone. The majority of people want to increase free T3 levels, because when it is at an optimal level it will make you feel better!

So the question is how do you do it?

There’s an easy way to increase Free T3 levels and there’s a not so easy way to do it.

The easy way is to do it is by adding T3 medication to your regimen.

This can be impossible depending on the type of Doctor you are working with… I recently spoke with a client who wanted the tests and his doctor simply denied it suggesting it wasn’t necessary… WTF? Time for a new Doc.

In the absence of a medical solution here is the natural way to getter done.

In order to optimize your free T3 levels you really need to optimize several systems in the body…

Take a look at this image and you will see it can be very complex. Ultimately the goal is to improve T3 but getting there can require a very integrated approach.

factors affecting thyroid

Just by looking at this image you can see where you need to work on.

The first place is the production of T4 hormone. The second place is the conversion of T4 to T3. The third place is the conversion of T4 to Reverse T3. And the final area is the action of T3 at the cellular level.

Each of these areas needs to be optimized in order to have as much free T3 as possible. Not much different than optimizing testosterone in terms of being required to optimize more than one system in your body.

Optimizing Nutrients

​There are many nutrients that are required to create thyroid hormone in the body, in addition several are involved in the conversion of T4 to T3.

When you are deficient in these nutrients your body will not convert thyroid properly!

For this reason it’s critical to optimize these nutrients.

The most​ common being: Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin B6.

Yes, vitamin C and Vitamin A are important – but for the most part people aren’t commonly deficient in these.

Nowadays almost everything has vitamin C in it.

But, not everything has high quality zinc, selenium or B6 in it.

For that reason I recommend that patients supplement with these nutrients.

​Here’s why they are so important for thyroid function:

  • Zinc – Zinc helps convert T4 to T3 so inadequate levels will make your body more likely to convert T4 into Reverse T3 and may make your thyroid function worse! Zinc is also a powerful anti inflammatory and it helps regulate the immune system. It’s also great for your skin.
  • Selenium – Selenium helps convert T4 to T3. It can also help balance the immune system and has been shown to be effective in helping reduce antibody levels in Hashimoto’s.
  • Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 helps create thyroid function and it also helps create and maintain neurotransmitters in the brain. In addition it’s required for normal and healthy brain development!

From the image I included you can see optimizing T3 can be a complex process, however let’s keep it simple for the moment and start getting your thyroid online by adding in these supplements. More to follow on additional strategies in upcoming articles.



Todd Lamb is one world's most trusted sources of Health and Fitness information and programming. He has dedicated his life to the service of others having served as a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment in the Special Service Force and as 17 year veteran Police Officer with 10 years on SWAT and 4 as a Team Leader. Todd is dedicated to transforming the lives of 1,000,000 men through honest science based information backed up with years of practical experience in Tactical Operations. Todd is a Best Selling Author of multiple best selling fitness programs and the book STAND APART

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5 thoughts on “Is Your Thyroid Preventing You From Gaining Muscle?

  1. Imaabasi

    I took a pretty long time to me to be diagnosed of hypothyroidism. The time wasted has resulted in cardiac issues as well as inbalance in ovwment. I would appreciate information that could help me out of my current situation. For the past two years, I am unable to work

    1. Todd Post author

      Hopefully, you are receiving medical assistance to alleviate this condition. Generally speaking, physicians will prescribe Synthroid which is T4 and then hope your body will convert it to T3 which is the usable thyroid molecule. Often times your body is not efficient in this process. Make sure your T3 levels are high normal, low normal often does not alleviate the symptoms you are experiencing. You can have T3 prescribed in combination with Synthroid which is what will likely make you feel better.

  2. Jose quijada

    This is very valuable I went vegan fort 6 months experimenting and got hyperthyroidism right after I believe I am mineral deficient. I am back to a paleo diet which I’ve always followed. My next step is to check selenium and make sure i am not deficient. This has been an on going battle for me to the say the least. Terrible position to be and I can’t build muscle.

  3. robert schroter

    Love the article and as a chiroprator, I understand thyroid physiology as well. As always, us Docs make terrible patients and so after going thru a period of various symptoms/issues, I pulled some labs and found a suppressed TSH, low T4 and low T3…conclusion being that the pituitary was not driving the thyroid and that T4 was also not being converted to T3 the hormone that acts on our tissues. What was the primary reason for my search? Well, as an ex national level bodybuilder, I felt as tho I had lost some hard earned muscle for reasons I couldn’t account for. Fortunately, I run a functional medicine practice so I had the supplements needed to address things and I look forward to my entire body feeling better and in gaining the muscle I’ve worked so hard for. Again, I felt it was an accurate and well written article..

    1. Joyce Roberson

      I agree Dr. Robert! I am a doctor also. As a naturopathic doctors we pull lab work for a full panel not just TSH. Getting the whole picture can really help with optimal treatment.


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