Your thyroid is two inches long and its “wings” are wrapped around your windpipe (near your Adam’s apple in your neck). It’s an important little bugger that produces several hormones including two that are key in regulating growth and metabolism: T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).
T3 and T4 hormones are essential because they:
- Help cells convert calories and oxygen into energy
- Determine growth and development of many tissues in the body, including the brain and skeleton
- Work to increase Basal Metabolic Rate—the amount of energy you burn just sitting still
The pituitary gland produces TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), which stimulates the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. The production of the TSH is dependent on sufficient iodine intake from foods and supplements. The hormones then work to regulate cell growth and development by converting protein, carbs and fat into energy. The catch? Vitamin D must be present for the TSH to do their important work.
If your thyroid slows down, every other organ and system in your body slows down, including your brain, heart, gut, and muscles. The thyroid hormone is like a master switch that turns on the genes that keep every cell running. This problem affects men and women of all ages. Thyroid gland produces master metabolism hormone that controls the function and activity of almost every organ and cell in your body — so when it is sluggish or slow, everything slows down.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland becomes underactive and does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Since most of the body functions are directly or indirectly regulated by thyroid hormones, reduced formation of thyroid hormones affects the body's ability to function efficiently. When you have hypothyroidism your overall metabolic gas pedal slows down because the master gland that controls it, your thyroid gland, is not functioning at full speed.
In Hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland becomes overactive and starts producing excess thyroid hormones. The increased amount of thyroid hormones can lead to increase in body’s metabolism and result in symptoms like increased pulse rate and excessive sweating. You’re more likely to develop hyperthyroidism if:
- You’re a woman
- You’re over age 60
- You have a family history of thyroid disease
- You have type 1 diabetes
- You’ve been pregnant in the last six months
- You have a vitamin B12 deficiency
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: insomnia, nervousness, weight loss, mood swings and irritability, rapid and irregular heartbeat, heat intolerance and the development of a goiter (an enlarged, swollen thyroid gland). Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Graves’ disease, thyroid nodules (lumps in the thyroid), inflammation of the thyroid, consuming too much iodine, or taking too much synthetic thyroid hormone to treat hypothyroidism. Diagnosis for hyperthyroidism is made after your doc does a few blood tests. The following factors point to a batty butterfly:
- TSH levels are very low
- T3 and T4 levels are high
- Radioactive Iodine Uptake is abnormal
The first step would be to inspect yourself for above symptoms, and if you have any test your thyroid hormones level with 'Thyroid Profile' blood test and consult your doctor.