The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that releases hormones to regulate metabolism and other bodily functions. Thyroid hormones are then released into the bloodstream, affecting almost every organ and system in your body. The thyroid affects energy levels, weight control, heart rate, cholesterol levels, brain function, blood pressure, and more. In this post, we will be discussing how these hormones keep your body healthy through their ability to regulate metabolism and provide energy for daily activities.
1. Thyroid Hormones Promote the Breakdown of Carbohydrates and Fats to Provide Energy
Your body converts food into glucose, which is stored as fuel for immediate use. When you don’t have enough glucose stored for energy, your liver breaks down stored glycogen (converted sugar) or fat molecules to release glucose. This process creates adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is a molecule that provides energy for cells throughout your body. Thyroid hormones cause the process of breaking down fat and carbohydrates to release glucose for use as fuel.
2. Thyroid Gland Releases Thyroxine (T4) And Triiodothyronine (T3) – These Are Known as T4 And T3
Thyroxine (T4) is the most abundant of these hormones, producing 70% to 80% of its hormone response. It changes into triiodothyronine (T3), which is the most active hormone. Without T3, our bodies wouldn’t be able to carry out their functions properly—sometimes resulting in a disorder known as hypothyroidism. Lack of sufficient T3 can lead to a sluggish metabolism and a decrease in the conversion of food into energy.
3. The Thyroid Gland Releases Calcitonin, Which Helps Maintain Healthy Levels of Calcium in Our Blood and Bones
Calcitonin decreases the amount of calcium your body breaks down when needed and promotes calcium absorption when it isn’t needed. Your bones are in a constant state of rebuilding themselves. New bone is formed while old bone is broken down and excreted. Thyroid hormones help maintain this balance between building new bone and breaking down old bone so your body can have strong bones without being at risk for osteoporosis-related diseases.
These three hormones, thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin, keep your body healthy by providing the energy it needs to function properly. They also promote cellular metabolism, which keeps cells healthy and active throughout your body. Thyroid hormone imbalance occurs when your thyroid gland releases an insufficient amount of one or more of these hormones. This can lead to many different symptoms, such as weight gain, fatigue, depression, and weakened bones. If you are located in Hoover, AL, you can contact our experts about proper treatment options if you notice any issues related to thyroid hormone imbalance.
4. Thyroid Hormones Help Control Body Temperature
When your metabolism is slow, you have a hard time regulating your temperature. As thyroid hormone levels increase, so does the production of heat in cells throughout your body. This increased cellular heat helps increase blood flow, which also increases metabolism and helps release more energy for daily activities.
5. Thyroid Hormones Also Help Promote Heart Health
Thyroid hormones increase blood pressure by increasing cardiac output (the blood pumped out of the heart per minute). They help your body maintain normal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. They also decrease the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries.
By understanding how thyroid hormones keep your body healthy, you can work to maintain the right balance of these hormones so you can enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. When this thyroid hormone imbalance occurs, talk with your doctor about treatment options to help restore your body’s natural rhythm so you can live well.
How Do You Know If You Have Too Much or Too Little Thyroid Hormone?
If your body cannot produce sufficient amounts of T4 and T3, you can develop either condition known as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). With hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down due to an insufficient amount of hormones. As the thyroid gland attempts to compensate for this by producing more T4, you’re left feeling tired and sluggish. Hypothyroidism can lead to weight gain, depression, digestive problems, slow speech, or hair loss.
If your body overproduces T4 and T3 but cannot keep up with its need for these hormones, you could develop either condition known as hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, irritability and nervousness, frequent bowel movements, and more. Hyperthyroidism is sometimes treated with radioactive iodine to slow or stop the production of T4 and T3 in the thyroid gland.
As you can see, thyroid hormones are key to many functions of the body as a whole and individual cells. Without them, there would be no energy for movement, and our brains would not function. However, too much or too little of these hormones can lead to severe hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Do you have too much or too little thyroid hormone in your body? If that is the case, we can help. Call us now at 205-352-9141.