Many things affect our health, but research has shown that people whose body weight is within a certain range tend to live the longest and enjoy the best health. Those who are underweight are below this range, which means their health could be at risk.
A number of underweight people are fit and well and simply have a slender constitution. Being underweight can also mean that someone’s bones aren’t as strong as they could be and they have fewer reserves if they fall ill. It can also affect a woman’s fertility.
If you’ve experienced recent and unintentional weight loss and you’re always tired, you should see your doctor in case there’s an underlying health problem.
If you find it hard to gain weight, calls of “you don’t know how lucky you are!” from your well-meaning friend are very unhelpful and can make your very real problem feel irrelevant.
If you consciously restrict how much you eat, or feel anxious about the thought of gaining weight, you may have an eating disorder and should talk to your GP or contact the eating disorders charity Beat.
Diet: underweight people often simply do not eat enough calories each day to meet their energy requirements. They may be not eating the right foods or they may have a very active lifestyle.
In order to gain weight at a healthy rate, you need to eat an extra 300-350 kilocalories per day. Smart Nutrition can assist by finding practical ways to incorporate extra calories and monitoring food intake, but you should also investigate any possible underlying nutritional imbalances that may be contributing to your weight gain challenges.
Parasites: weight loss or difficulty maintaining weight is one symptoms of intestinal parasites, micro-organisms that live in the intestines. They survive by hijacking our nutrient supply! Parasites can be picked up from undercooked foods, pets and when travelling abroad or even eating out at home.
If you suspect a parasite infection, you should investigate. The GI Effects Test is can check this for you.
Hyperthyroidism: in healthy people, the thyroid makes just the right amounts of two hormones, T4 and T3, which have important actions throughout the body. These hormones regulate many aspects of our metabolism, eventually affecting how many calories we burn, how warm we feel, and how much we weigh. In short, the thyroid runs our metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism is the medical term to describe an overactive thyroid. Symptoms of include weight loss, feeling hot and irritable, nervousness, diarrhoea, increased appetite and difficulty sleeping.
If you suffer from these symptoms it is advisable to have a Thyroid Blood Test to measure thyroid hormone levels and check for markers that indicate the underlying cause of the thyroid dysfunction.
High histamine levels: as well as being the chemical that mediates allergic reactions, histamine is an important signalling molecule in the brain. When brain histamine levels are above normal, symptoms such as hyperactivity, compulsive behaviour, poor pain tolerance and allergies can occur. People with high histamine levels frequently have a rapid metabolism and difficulty gaining weight.
The Intestinal Barrier Assessment assesses the likelihood of leaky gut by measuring possible causes of that – including histamine levels. A Smart Nutrition consultation helps to find out if this is a possible cause of your weight loss, and can help you to lower your histamine levels.