Today we move out your head and travel south to the next, technically we’re talking about your thyroid hormone. Yet another small specimen, this 2-lobed gland is located below your Adams Apple (or if you like fancy anatomy talk, the larynx). It uses iodine to convert to thyroxine (T4) and triiodothronine (T3). During normal thyroid function, T4 is the star pupil (with 80% production), while T3 only gets 20% of the production (but it makes up for this because it is actually four times stronger than T4). What do they do? Control metabolism. Every cell in the body depends on thyroid hormones for metabolism regulation. The pituitary dictates release. The following analogy I found appropriate to describe this:
- the thyroid is like the furnace and the pituitary is the thermostat. Thyroid hormones are like the heat, when the heat gets back to the thermostat, it turns the thermostat off. As a room cools (thyroid production levels drop) thermostat turns back on (TSH increases) and then the furnace produces more heat (thyroid hormones)
The thyroid can be a brat sometimes, thyroid problems can be quite common and there are several different types of issues that can arise:
- Goiters: enlarged glands, goiters can often be removed
- thyroid cancer: a fairly common malignancy, with a majority of excellent long-term survival.
- hyperthryoidism: too much thyroid hormone (this is what my daughter has). It’s often associated with an increased metabolism, with slow weight loss (even though they may be eating more, in some cases they may actually gain weight because of their increased appetite), fatigue by days end, trouble sleeping, irritability and they’re easily upset. The symptoms are usually gradual so one might not know they have it until the symptoms become severe. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is often Graves’ disease. This is an autoimmune caused by antibodies created by the immune system).
- hypothyroidism means the gland produces too little thyroid hormone and is the most common thyroid problem
- thyroiditis is inflammation of the gland
Like I said yesterday thyroid health is accomplished through a diet (and lifestyle choices) that is hormonally balanced. For more on our fat-burner weight loss programs check out our website at bodychange.net. Check in Thursday when we’ll discover the adrenal gland.