by Senior Clinician Victoria Fisher
As a clinician, one of the most common symptoms I hear about among clients is that they are always cold. For some people, being cold is just a nuisance, while for others, it’s almost unbearable. There are numerous reasons why people feel unusually cold, but here are the most common contributing factors:
The hypothalamus is a key factor in the endocrine system, and is located in the brain. It controls the autonomic nervous system and the function of the pituitary. Its responsibilities include regulating thirst, hunger, circadian rhythms, and body temperature. If the hypothalamus is in distress, it can have far-reaching ramifications throughout the entire body. Since the hypothalamus is the body’s thermostat, dysregulation within it can cause the body to have difficulty regulating body temperature and responding to external temperatures.
Another player in the endocrine system that can cause you to feel cold all the time is the thyroid. The thyroid helps to regulate the nervous systems, breathing, heart rate, body weight, menstrual cycles, muscle strength, and body temperature. If the thyroid is hypo-regulated, your metabolism slows down and the energy triad (aka the body’s engine) cannot produce sufficient heat.
Lack of Muscle Mass
Lean muscle cells have great energy potential, and each one acts as a microscopic furnace. When the body’s composition is higher in lean muscle mass, there is more energy generated, therefore the body generates more heat. Conversely, a lack of lean muscle (including those referred to as “skinny fat” with low body weight) can result in a lack of body heat generated. This lack of muscle mass can be due to thyroid dysregulation, loss of testosterone, or lack of exercise.
Vitamins and minerals contribute to every cell, organ, and function in the body. If there are deficiencies in certain nutrients, the body can have difficulty regulating body temperature. The most common nutrients associated with body temperature regulation are iron and vitamin B12. Low iron (anemia) decreases your body’s oxygen-carrying capacity, which decreases the ability of red blood cells to generate heat. While red blood cells need iron to function, the body requires adequate levels of vitamin B12 to make red blood cells.
Most factors contributing to the “I’m always cold” phenomenon can be addressed through guided nutritional support. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about gender. Women tend to have more trouble regulating body temperature compared to men. Women often shunt blood flow to vital organs, which causes the extremities to run almost 3 degrees cooler than the core body temperature. In addition to this, women usually have less lean muscle mass while having a higher tendency toward thyroid and hypothalamus dysregulation.
By addressing the root cause of the symptom of always being cold, you can help your body regulate its internal thermostat. If you want more information on ways to regulate body temperature, please contact the Well of Life Center to set up a consultation.
Victoria Fisher, RN, NTP
Victoria is the Senior Clinician at the Well of Life Center for Natural Health. The Well of Life Center is a holistic wellness center that specializes in nutrition, chiropractic, massage services, and more. Celebrating their 11th year in business, the Well of Life Center has locations in Doylestown and Bethlehem, PA. For more information, please visit welloflifecenter.com.