Turn Up the Heat, Please!

Cold all the time? Find out more about low body temperature.

By Michael F. Roizen | MD from Reader's Digest | December 2007

Q. I’m always freezing, even when others are toasty. What’s going on?

A. We’d like to give you a simple answer, such as your thermostat is too low or your clothes are too skimpy. But body temperature is a little more complex than reading a few numbers on a thermometer. Your body generates heat when your muscles are active, so one reason for your big chill may be that those muscles aren’t generating enough heat. Some experts say that this phenomenon can be caused by having too few carbohydrates in your diet (please choose 100 percent whole wheat, not white, flour). But if you’re constantly chilly, give your doctor a call. You could have hypothyroidism, which slows metabolism and ratchets down body heat. Or you may have a number of other conditions, like low blood sugar, poor kidney function or iron-deficiency anemia. Still, some people are cold for reasons science has yet to uncover, which means that your best prescription may be a warm sweater and a couple of extra blankets.

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