First, I am not a doctor and am not giving medical or diagnostic advice. I have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science and learned a lot about how to do research like a pro. Because I am always cold, I hit the library–online of course, from under my heated blanket–to figure out possible answers to the question: Why am I always cold?
Seriously though… WHY am I always cold?!
Not only am I always cold, but I cannot seem to recover without an external source of heat. Like an iguana, I need a hot rock–or a cuddly human, hot shower, sauna, heated blanket, or fireplace. Here are some possible reasons for having an abnormal sensitivity to cold.
9 Possible Reasons you are Always Cold
- Dehydration. When you’re well hydrated, water basically helps to insulate and regulate your body temperature. Drinking enough water is good for your blood volume (if you have low blood pressure drinking plenty of water can really make a difference) and your metabolism.
- Body weight, composition, and metabolism. These are all listed together because they are super related. Do you weigh enough? If you’re underweight, that could be why you’re cold. Do you have enough muscle? If you’re “skinny fat” (low or normal weight + high body fat percentage = skinny fat composition) this could be why you’re intolerant to the cold. Why? Because muscle burns more energy than fat. This generates heat and means your metabolism is higher. A higher metabolism burns (burning is hot) more energy thus keeping you warmer.
- Anemia. There are many causes for anemia and this needs to be tested for and addressed by a doctor. Your red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen. If you don’t have enough iron in your diet, aren’t absorbing it, have a low blood count (not enough red blood cells), or are deficient in vitamin B12, you may be anemic. If you are, it’s important to know which type you have. Again, talk to you doctor!
- Sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, it screws up everything, including your ability to tolerate the cold. So many wonderful things happen while you’re sleeping. Just don’t mess it up.
- Thyroid Function. If your thyroid isn’t making enough hormone, you may notice you feel cold all the time. See below for more info for when you go to the doctor.
- Sex. As in gender. Women are basically just incubators programmed to keep vital organs warm so feet and hands are on a the bottom of the list for temperature regulation. Lucky us.
- Blood pressure. Having chronic low blood pressure can lead to poor circulation which can cause cold extremities. Combined with any of the above and you’ll be a freezing cold human for sure. You may need more salt in your diet and water. Or, maybe you have Reynaud’s Disease which causes drastic reduction in blood flow to the hands, feet, and other areas when exposed to the cold. If so, you’ll notice discoloration in affected areas when they’re cold. Again, time to talk to a doc!
- Diabetic. Having diabetes causes kidney damage, called diabetic nephropathy that can lead to feeling cold all the time.
- Vitamins. As stated above, some vitamins and minerals like iron, B12, and electrolytes (like salt) can lead to conditions that cause abnormal sensitivity to cold.
If always being cold is affecting your life, you should talk to your doctor and have some blood work done. Make sure they test your total count, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) AND circulating T3 and T4. For some reason that I cannot figure out, a lot of doctors argue that testing for TSH alone is enough. But that doesn’t give you the full story of how your thyroid is functioning. Be sure to insist that they run these tests.
If you’ve received a clean bill of health and are simply one of the many freezing cold people out there, check out these great products for people who are always cold.