Importance of Thyroid Gland


The thyroid gland, which is in the neck, produces a master hormone within the body that impacts every cell, organ, and tissue. The thyroid is extremely interlinked with many other glands and hormones of one’s body!  

Things like hormone balance, protein production, and signals for other hormones to do their thang are all related and run by the thyroid gland!!!

Energy levels and metabolism in one’s body are controlled directly by the thyroid gland, therefore it’s essential that one’s thyroid function is in tip top shape!  

A thyroid malfunction or problem consists of either an over production or under production of thyroid hormone within the body.

Since the thyroid controls so much throughout the body, thyroid malfunction can result in a slew of symptoms ranging from weight gain or loss, fatigue & energy depletion, brain fog, head-aches, irregular periods, depression & anxiety.  

According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million American’s have some sort of thyroid problem and thus living life at a less than optimal potential.  

These problems are categorized as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, goiter, Grave’s Disease, Hashimoto’s ThyroiditisPostpartum Thyroiditis, and Thyroid Cancer.

Thyroid gland works:

The thyroid gland produces three hormones:

  • Triiodothyronine, also known as T3
  • Tetraiodothyronine, also called thyroxine or T4
  • Calcitonin

Strictly speaking, only T3 and T4 are proper thyroid hormones. They are made in what are known as the follicular epithelial cells of the thyroid.

Iodine is one of the main building blocks of both hormones. Our bodies can’t produce this trace element, so we need to get enough of it in our diet. Iodine is absorbed into our bloodstream from food in our bowel. It is then carried to the thyroid gland, where it is eventually used to make thyroid hormones.

Sometimes our bodies need more thyroid hormones, and sometimes they need less. To make the exact right amount of hormones, the thyroid gland needs the help of another gland: the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland “tells” the thyroid gland whether to release more or less hormones into the bloodstream. Also, a certain amount of thyroid hormones are attached to transport proteins in the blood. If the body needs more hormones, T3 and T4 can be released from the proteins in the blood and do their job.

The third hormone produced by the thyroid gland is called calcitonin. Calcitonin is made by C-cells. It is involved in calcium and bone metabolism.

T3 and T4 increase the basal metabolic rate. They make all of cells in the body work harder, so the cells need more energy too. This has the following effects, for example:

  • Body temperature rises
  • Faster pulse and stronger heartbeat
  • Food is used up more quickly because energy stored in the liver and muscles is broken down
  • The brain matures (in children)
  • Growth is promoted (in children).
  • Activation of the nervous system leads to improved concentration and faster reflexes

Hormone imbalances: Overactive and underactive thyroid gland

An overactive thyroid (also known as hyperthyroidism) occurs if the thyroid gland makes too many hormones. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is where the gland doesn’t make enough hormones. Both of these imbalances can lead to a great number of symptoms.

The thyroid gland may grow in size too. Sometimes the whole thyroid gland becomes enlarged (diffuse goiter), and sometimes individual lumps called nodules grow in the gland (nodular goiter). A special examination, known as thyroid scintigraphy, can be used to see whether these nodules are producing abnormal amounts of hormones. If they make more hormones than the rest of the thyroid tissue, they are called “hot” nodules. If they make less, they are called “cold” nodules.

In most cases, an enlarged thyroid or nodules aren’t caused by anything serious. They are only rarely cancer. But it’s still important to see a doctor if you notice any changes in your thyroid gland.

Media Contact:
Alice Maria
Managing Editor
Endocrinology and Metabolism: Open Access
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