Can I follow a ketogenic diet if I have no thyroid?

By Dr. Stephen Phinney and the Virta Team

In general terms, taking thyroid medication can fully replace what the thyroid gland normally does.

It’s important to point out that the thyroid gland doesn’t make active thyroid hormones. It makes a precursor that has four iodine molecules on it. Active thyroid hormone has three molecules. The thyroid makes the one with four, your liver takes away one of those iodines to make the three. So you can take the thyroid hormone by mouth, and then the liver does the final step and can regulate much of that process.

TSH is a useful test because that’s a measure of what the brain perceives in terms of what the liver’s doing, and that can be used by your physician to help judge the dose of oral thyroid medicine as prescribed.

This is something that has to be managed between you and your primary care physician. We can’t give you specific advice for that.

Back to Keto FAQ


Related blog posts

Dr. Stephen Phinney on Nutritional Ketosis and Ketogenic Diets: Video Series - Dr. Stephen Phinney put together a three-part video series on ketogenic diets and nutritional ketosis. You'll learn the nutrition science… ... Read More
Ketone Supplements: The Pros and Cons - Ketone supplements rapidly and transiently increase blood concentrations of BOHB. On the surface, this seems like it should promote positive… ... Read More
Sarah Hallberg, DO, MS Reversing Diabetes 101 with Dr. Sarah Hallberg: The Truth About Carbs, Blood Sugar and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes - You may have heard a lot about type 2 diabetes, but do you know what it actually does to your… ... Read More

25 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I just want to know yes or no can ketosis help me losses weight if I have no thyroid.

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      As long as you are taking thyroid hormone, a well formulated ketogenic diet can be used for weight loss.

      Reply

    2. Avatar

      I have no thyroid, trying to eat ketosis way make my stomach have growling sound,diarrhea what I doing wrong at first seem like fat was fall away then I started feeling heavier

      Reply

      1. Virta Health

        Have you looked at our post on diarrhea? It may help you identify what could be contributing to your challenges. https://blog.virtahealth.com/fix-diarrhea-keto/

        Reply

    3. Avatar

      I also want to know too

      Reply

  2. Avatar

    I take synthroid, I do not have a thryroid at all, is it safe to take Keto advance weight loss pills? Just a yes or no please

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      We are unable to comment on weight loss pills.

      Reply

  3. Avatar

    Same question take thyroid medication is utcsafe too use keto.i would think with all thus research u have the answer yes or no

    Reply

  4. Avatar

    I have no thyroid and take Synthroid. I started keto about two weeks ago. Lost 5 lbs already and don’t feel as hungry.

    Reply

    1. Avatar

      Congratulations! I need to try this as with having no thyroid I’ve been feeling helpless hopeless re weight loss.

      Reply

  5. Avatar
    Valerie Martin March 7, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    I just had my thyroid removed. Can I take veto burn extreme or the dieters tea to lose weigjt

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      We are unable to provide specific medical advice via this forum.

      Reply

  6. Avatar

    i had my thyroid removed a few years ago and have been steadily gaining weight every since. i don’t know about the keto diet but i hear its like Atkins. i been doing Atkins faithfully and so far i have only lost 6lbs in a month but at least it is something and there was no gain, i am gonna continue on Atkins to keep losing, so far it is working so i would think keto would work as well. keep in mind that carbs turn i to sugar and sugar turns into fat, good luck

    Reply

    1. Avatar

      lb a week is a good weight loss keep going x

      Reply

  7. Avatar

    I have hypothyroidism but my endocrinologist says that for now I don’t need to take medication. I’m obese and I lost 12 pounds the first 3 weeks on keto. Then my weight plateaud for another 3 weeks. How can I continue to loose weight on keto? Why is my weight not going down?

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      Thanks for your question, Yasmin. There are many reasons for stalled weight loss on a ketogenic diet. You may find it helpful to go to these posts and read more: https://blog.virtahealth.com/top-keto-mistakes/ and https://blog.virtahealth.com/break-weight-loss-plateau-low-carb/

      Reply

  8. Avatar
    Angela O'Brien June 24, 2019 at 12:27 am

    I have no thyroid and have lost over 2 stone with slimming world and pinch of nom cookbook I take just 125mcg of levothyroxine and have proved to myself that diet and exercise work I probably have to work harder than anyone with a thyroid but it does work I’ve done this in just 16 weeks

    Reply

  9. Avatar
    Laura Hacker-Brown July 2, 2019 at 5:09 am

    I have no thyroid (10 years) and found this guide to be helpful. The key factors are to avoid bread/tortillas/chips/crackers/bagels…eat more meat and cooked vegetables.

    Fun Fact: I tried a vegan diet for three days with mostly salads and it sent me crashing into Hypothroidism because all the raw veggies were making my bowels more active. (Sorry for the word visual.) Make sure veggies are properly cooked. Anything that makes your bowels move too quickly will flush out the Synthroid before it can be absorbed and prevent your Synthroid absorption.
    P.S. I just recently learned about Synthroid in a liquid gel capsule that absorbs immediately, so you don’t have to worry about the absorption problems from the hard pill form. I am calling my Endo this week to see if I can try it.

    Foods To AVOID To Treat Hypothyroidism:
    Raw or half-cooked green leafy veggies or cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, bokchoy, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, etc.
    Gluten containing foods.
    High-sugar foods as uncontrolled insulin spikes deteriorate the hypothyroidism condition.
    Junk food and processed foods, like deep fried foods, batter-fried foods, potato wafers, French fries, etc. These foods have a truckload of sodium but no iodine or nutritional value. They will only increase the cholesterol levels and take a toll on your health.
    Green tea. There are many studies that have confirmed that green tea possesses anti-thyroid properties and consuming excessive green tea can cause hypothyroidism.

    Reply

    1. Avatar

      Making a sudden switch to a raw vegan diet (or any other major diet change) will affect one’s bowels. But don’t blame it on thyroid hormone. L-thyroxine (Synthroid and others) has a half life of six to seven days, so you can skip your dose completely for a few days and feel very little change. In fact an accepted way to treat non-compliant patients of to take a weeks worth of pills one day per week. (Note: This does not apply to Armour thyroid that contains a large amount of T3 which has a half-life of only one day, making blood levels much less stable.)

      Raw or cooked greens and cruciferous vegetables are an important part of a keto diet. A dramatic increase in these, adding a lot of soy, or starting an iron or calcium fortified breakfast food, for example, can all have an impact on thyroid levels. The keys is not to avoid these, but to maintain a generally consistent diet and get a TSH blood test done six to eight weeks after any major change.

      Reply

  10. Avatar

    I had my thyroid removed and radioactive iodine treatment 20 years ago for thyroid cancer. Have been successful with LCHF diet over the past eight months.

    Even though my thyroid replacement dose has not changed, my TSH has dropped from 1.6 to 0.04. I can think of no other major change in diet or supplements other than LCFH and modest weight loss. This would seem to support Dr. Phinney’s theory that the body becomes more sensitive to T3 on a ketogenic diet.

    The important message for patients taking thyroid hormone replacement is to get regular blood tests to see if your dosage needs to be changed.

    Reply

  11. Avatar

    To the ppl who have had their thyroid removed ,May I ask why you had thyroid removed? Was it cancer? I’m going to see my specialist in November and I want to see about having mine removed and not cancerous.

    Reply

  12. Avatar

    Very informative

    Reply

  13. Avatar

    I tried Keto diet 2 times first in 3 days I couldn’t hold nothing or walk without jerking or falling. 2nd time in was longer 2 weeks but same problem. Idk what was happening but it was severe jerking. Any suggestions ?

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      We are unable to provide specific medical advice via this forum. We would encourage you to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.

      Reply

  14. Avatar

    I have hypo for at least 25 years and could not lose an ounce. I had additional symptoms that related to my gut. I tried reducing elements of my diet, without success until I totally eliminated everything with flour “gluten” and lactose, which naturally put me into low carb, I lost 20 pounds in two months. So on investigating further I started reviewing keto and played with the elements to forms a sustainable diet. It’s difficult to get right because it’s not just a diet, there are so many aspects to lifestyle that need to be taken into consideration. Fasting is the way to get yourself into keto and then ramp up slowly. I have increased my muscle mass through exercise and protein requirements drive my total calorific requirements on a daily basis. Having said that my weight fluctuates 3-4 pounds weekly and so I use fasting to bring it under control.

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.