If you live in sweaters, you need to read on.
Are you ‘that person’ who’s always just a bit chilly? Could it be a scorching hot day and you’re still always cold? Or suffering chronic iceberg syndrome on a mild Winter’s day?
Feeling unusually cold all the time can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. There are many factors capable of making you shiver like you’ve just kissed Channing tatum, so here are three of the most common causes, and ways to banish them. You’ll be warm again in no time.
1. Your thyroid is out of whack
Low body temperatrure is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, a thyroid disorder affecting six to 10 per cent of women, and according to Dr. Alan Christianson, the most common of all thyroid conditions.
“It’s caused by your thyroid under-producing its hormones, which reduces your energy and impairs the function of cells throughout your body. This can result in numerous ailments, ranging from the relatively trivial (brittle nails) to the devastating.” Other symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, hair falling out, and insomnia.
Chronic bouts of coldness are also symptoms of the condition, as your thyroid acts like your body’s thermostat by regulating body temperature. Fortunately, Christianson asserts hypothyroidism is very treatable, which will start with a quick visit to your GP, where you should request a thyroid blood test, the most common of which involves testing your TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone levels.
“Either the results will be positive, putting you on the path to treatment, or negative, which will inform your doctor to explore other potential problem sources,” Christianson says.
Treatment usually involves prescription medication, increasing your intake of thyroid-boosting foods and vitamins including iodine, selenium and zinc, found in high quantities in seafood and nuts.
2. You’re lacking iron
Iron brings heat and nutrients to every cell, and as such, if your body doesn’t have enough of it, red blood cells can’t do their job. The result is a shivering, unhappy you.
“Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. It is estimated that at least eight per cent of women are iron deficient,” says dietitian Susie Burrell.
“Women who have had multiple pregnancies and those who are pregnant are more likely to be iron deficient. Strict dieters and crash dieters are also likely to be losing out on iron.”
Lack of iron can also make your thyroid lethargic, therefore, by boosting your iron levels, you can boost your thyroid levels and warm up. Eating plenty of iron rich foods, such as meat, eggs and leafy greens like spinach, and seafood is typically enough to keep a deficiency at bay, however if your levels asre severely low you may need to supplement, so speak to your GP about having your levels tested.
3. Your BMI is too low
“The amount of area over which your body can lose heat – the area of your skin – remains more or less constant when you lose weight, but the amount of body tissue that generates heat is much reduced when you are underweight,” explains Dr. Cecilia Bergh of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
In order for your metabolism to function, your body needs glucose to burn as fuel, which you obtain from food. Lack of glucose resulting from a lack of food causes your metabolism to lag, as your body doesn’t have the fuel to keep it ticking. As such, body temperature decreases because your body is trying to conserve heat and energy to compensate for the deficiency in external energy sources.
“Consequently, you will always struggle to retain the heat that your body makes,” says Bergh.
If you already have a low body weight and are feeling cold even in Summer, it’s worth seeing your GP, who will assess your symptoms and create a treatment plan to ensure your body’s getting the energy it needs to stay warm and healthy.