Cold hands and feet, when accompanied by weight gain, constipation and a sense of apathy or even depression may be a sign of an underactive thyroid gland. This gland governs metabolism, producing hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), known together as thyroid hormone. T4 has to be converted to T3, and when this conversion fails to happen adequately, thyroid issues arise.
Thyroid hormone oversees your basic metabolic rate. Metabolism creates heat, which is why coldness is a symptom of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. This condition more commonly affects women, especially those over the age of 35.
If you suspect you have an underactive thyroid your first step should be to see your GP for testing. You may have to start taking the hormone thyroxine. If however tests prove negative, you could still have mild hypothyroidism which may not be detected by tests, especially if your results fall just outside the ‘normal’ parameters. Mild hypothyroidism can go on to become overt hypothyroidism, so you will need to have your thyroid hormone levels regularly monitored. Be sure that you have an adequate dietary intake of the nutrients required for thyroid function, in particular selenium and iodine. Deficiency of these two nutrients is not uncommon, as I discuss in I Wish I Hadn’t Eaten That. Selenium is found in nuts, especially Brazil nuts, meat and fish. Iodine is found in seafood, seaweed and dairy produce.
There is of course also the possibility that your poor circulation is due to lack of exercise … and if that’s the case you already know what to do.