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What Is The Function Of The Thyroid

Who Tells The Thyroid To Produce And Release Hormones

Thyroid gland – What’s the function of the thyroid?

The signal comes from a small gland located at the bottom of our brain called the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland produces and sends out a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone . TSH then tells the thyroid gland how much hormones to produce and secrete. TSH levels in your blood are rising and falling depending on your bodys needs to produce more or less thyroid hormones.

There is a third actor involved in this communication. The pituitary gland responds either directly to the thyroid hormones in the blood, but it also responds to signals from the hypothalamus, which sits above the pituitary gland as part of your brain. The hypothalamus releases its own hormone thyrotropin-releasing hormone . TRH in turn stimulates the release of TSH in the pituitary, which then signals to the thyroid gland.

This whole network is also referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and it adapts to metabolic changes and your bodys needs.

What Is The Function Of The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a crucial hormonal gland that plays an important role in growth and development, metabolism and regulating several functions of the human body such as temperature and calcium balance. It constantly secretes, stores and releases multiple hormones, collectively referred to as thyroid hormones.

A sufficient supply of thyroid hormones is important for brain development during childhood and infancy. The major hormones secreted by the thyroid glands are T4 and T3 they affect virtually every cell in the human body, and help regulate human body functions. T4 and T3 are produced in the follicular epithelial cells of the thyroid gland their main component is iodine. While some of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland are stored as droplets, others are joined to carrier proteins in the blood.

The thyroid gland is found at the base of the neck, immediately below the Adam’s apple. It has a butterfly shape, with each wing lying on either side of the windpipe. The most common medical condition associated with the thyroid gland is hypothyroidism, which occurs when too little hormone is secreted. Hyperthyroidism occurs when too much hormone is produced. Other conditions associated with the thyroid gland include thyroiditis, goiter, Grave’s disease, thyroid cancer, thyroid storm and thyroid nodule.

Supporting A Healthy Thyroid

Now that you have a basic overview of thyroid function, you may be wondering if there are ways to support your thyroid health in addition to medication. This is important because sometimes it can take a while before medication can correct hormone imbalance. In this case, the next best thing you can do is adjust your lifestyle habits.Managing stress: Because there is a relationship between your adrenal health and your thyroid health, its wise to get a hold on your stress levels. When you are chronically stressed, adrenal fatigue an overtaxing of the adrenal system may kick in, triggering your body to release hormones as a way of coping. This chronic stress can worsen thyroid issues, leading to imbalanced hormone levels. Chronically stressed? You might notice slowed metabolism and weight gain and stress may even further lower your levels of T3 and T4. It can also affect the conversion of T4 into T3.For this reason, its key to find a regular stress management ritual. This might be a daily yoga, meditation, or journaling break in which you disconnect from all distractions and stressors and simply focus on your breath and your emotional well-being. Regular nature walks also referred to as earthing or forest bathing have been proven to provide stress reduction on a physiological level as well.

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Biochemical Evaluation Of Thyroid Function

Thyroid function can be assessed by measurement of total T4 and T3 levels, along with indices that reflect thyroid hormone-binding proteins .22 The levels of estimated free T4 are measured to assess thyroid hormone status without the confounding influences of carrier proteins.

Several conditions occur in which thyroid hormone levels are abnormal, yet the individual is euthyroid. Because of their confusing nature, these conditions may result in the patient being erroneously diagnosed or treated for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. When FT4 values are normal yet total T4 values are high, familial dysalbuminemic hyperthyroxinemia needs to be considered as the cause.23,24 In the United States, this autosomal dominant disorder is most commonly seen in Hispanic individuals and can be diagnosed by thyroid hormoneâbinding protein electrophoresis. If FT4 values are normal but total T4 values are low, the possibility of TBG deficiency must be entertained. TBG deficiency is an X-linked disorder that may be associated with color blindness.25 In these and other conditions affecting thyroid hormone binding, treatment is not needed and the patient should be educated about the condition to avoid unnecessary treatment by unsuspecting practitioners.

M. Lawson, in, 2005

Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery

Thyroid Function: 101

If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.

The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:

  • With an incision on the front of your neck.
  • With an incision in your armpit.

The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.

Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.

  • Are not at a healthy body weight.
  • Have large thyroid nodules.
  • Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.

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Sea Vegetable Miso And Mushroom Soup

This soup is light but super healthy and ready in no time!

Ingredients A

  • 1 1/3 cups of dried sea vegetables
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cups mushrooms of your choice, lightly cooked in olive oil
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced


  • Place the sea vegetables and water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove sea vegetables from pot and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add miso to water, stir well, and add the sea vegetables.
  • Serve the soup in bowls and top with Ingredients C.
  • Serve and enjoy.
  • This recipe serves four.
  • T3 Resin Uptake Results

    A T3 resin uptake, also known as a T3RU, is a blood test that measures the binding capacity of a hormone called thyroxin-binding globulin . If your T3 level is elevated, your TBG binding capacity should be low.

    Abnormally low levels of TBG often indicate a problem with the kidneys or with the body not getting enough protein. Abnormally high levels of TBG suggest high levels of estrogen in the body. High estrogen levels may be caused by pregnancy, eating estrogen-rich foods, obesity, or hormone replacement therapy.

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    Iodine For Hormone Production

    The thyroid gland produces two primary hormones – thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine . The numbers 3 and 4 refer to the number of atoms of iodine in the hormones. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and humans need about 150 mcg each day. Iodine is found in most foods, especially seafood. The soils in Tasmania and along the Great Dividing Range are low in iodine, so the food from these areas can contain insufficient iodine. Iodised salt is the best way to supplement dietary iodine, but taking too much iodine can also be a problem.Of the two hormones produced, T3 is more active than T4, but is produced in much smaller quantities. T4 has a lesser effect, but most is converted to T3 by enzymes that remove one iodine atom. The greater the amount of T3 and T4 circulating in the blood, the faster the metabolism. Lower amounts of T3 and T4 result in a reduced metabolism.

    Th Delivery Into The Developing Braintransport Across Biological Barriers

    Thyroid Function Overview

    Before the onset of fetal TH production THs enter fetal tissues by passing through the placenta, which serves as an active filter allowing only limited amounts of the active hormone to enter the fetus . The main deiodinase expressed in the placenta is Dio3 , the ability of which to inactivate THs is thought to protect the developing fetus from toxic levels of the maternal hormones, especially in the brain, which is uniquely vulnerable . Notably, Dio3 has a preference for T3 as substrate, which contributes to T4 being the main TH passing through the placenta . Dio2 is also present in the placenta, albeit at lower levels than Dio3 , and is thought to act as a provider of bioactive T3 for local use. Total fetal T4 is kept lower than the adult level for the entire gestation in both human and rodents until birth or at 2 weeks postnatally, respectively . An additional mechanism balancing active TH levels involving sulfation was postulated , although only low activity toward THs by the placental sulfotransferases was detected .

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    Common Problems And Conditions With The Thyroid

    Many problems can arise that have to do with the thyroid gland. Problems start to occur when the thyroid begins producing too much hormone or not enough. This is known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively.

    An underactive thyroid is more common than an overactive thyroid . However, each can cause problems.

    Here are common problems with the thyroid.

    Why You Should Consume The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health And Function

    The reason you should consider having the best sea vegetables for thyroid health as part of your diet is that they contain iodine. Your thyroid gland needs iodine as a building material to make thyroid hormones, namely thyroxine T4 and triiodothyronine T3.

    What many of us do not know is that your thyroid hormones play a particularly important role in your bodys metabolic rate and helps with bone maintenance, brain development, and your heart, muscle, and digestive functions. These hormones also play a role in cellular repair. So, in effect, these important body processes need thyroid hormones so they can successfully carry out their function. And this means a steady supply of iodine which one could naturally ingest by consuming the best sea vegetables for thyroid health and function.

    Interestingly, approximately a third of the worlds population suffer from an iodine deficiency. This is especially true of those living in areas where only trace amounts of iodine occur in the soil. Yet an iodine deficiency may result in hypothyroidism, swelling of the thyroid known as a goiter, fatigue, weight gain, and numerous other symptoms often associated with adrenal fatigue.

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    What Does The Thyroid Gland Do

    The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate controlling heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance. Its correct functioning depends on a good supply of iodine from the diet. Cells producing thyroid hormones are very specialised in extracting and absorbing iodine from the blood and incorporate it into the thyroid hormones.

    Gene And Protein Expression


    About 20,000 protein coding genes are expressed in human cells: 70% of these genes are expressed in thyroid cells. Two-hundred fifty of these genes are more specifically expressed in the thyroid, and about 20 genes are highly thyroid specific. In the follicular cells, the proteins synthesized by these genes direct thyroid hormone synthesisthyroglobulin, TPO, and IYD while in the parafollicular c-cells, they direct calcitonin synthesisCALCA, and CALCB.

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    Production And Metabolism Of Thsmaternal And Fetal Sources

    Mammalian THs are produced in two forms 3,3,5-triiodothyronine and 3,5,3,5-tetraiodo-L-thyronine . T4, the main product of thyroid gland secretion, has a low affinity for nuclear TH receptors and therefore is thought to act largely as a prohormone in the classical TH signaling pathway . In contrast, biologically active T3 has a high affinity for nuclear TRs and is produced by either the thyroid gland or locally from T4 by target tissues and cells . Additionally, multiple TH-derivatives arise as products of TH metabolism, some of which have biological activity while others are degradation byproducts and storage forms .

    In addition, TH modifications, including decarboxylation, deamination, ether-link cleavage, sulfation, and glucuronidation, affect their bioactivity and downstream metabolism . Most of them lead to deactivation and eventually degradation of THs , however some of the generated compounds, such as rT3 , iodothyroacetic acids and thyronamines , have been shown to convey biological effects in specific contexts. The conversions and main metabolites of THs are shown in Figure 1.

    The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health

    Many Asian countries get their iodine from consuming sea vegetables. Yet western countries often rely on iodine supplements to their salt to get their daily iodine intake. However, we could limit or stop this second method of gaining our iodine requirements by eating the best sea vegetables for thyroid function and health.

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    What Are The Functions Of The Thyroid Hormones

    • Thyroid hormones help with brain development and function
    • It also helps with muscle control as well as bone health
    • Regulates the metabolic rate of the body
    • Also regulates the metabolism of fat, proteins and carbohydrates
    • Thyroid hormones also help with protein synthesis
    • Increases the bodys sensitivity to catecholamines
    • Essential for the development and differentiation of cells

    What Does The Thyroid Do

    The Thyroid Factory: Understanding Thyroid Function and Thyroid Function Tests

    Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your bodys systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.

    The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones T4 and T3 . These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.

    This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone . The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.

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    Can I Live A Normal Life With A Thyroid Disease

    A thyroid disease is often a life-long medical condition that you will need to manage constantly. This often involves a daily medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor your treatments and make adjustments over time. However, you can usually live a normal life with a thyroid disease. It may take some time to find the right treatment option for you and control your hormone levels, but then people with these types of conditions can usually live life without many restrictions.

    The Role Of The Thyroid Gland

    The thyroid secretes three hormones: triodothyronine or T3, thyroxine or T4 and calcitonin which perform various functions. The secretion of these hormones is regulated by the pituitary gland which secretes a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone to achieve this. The pituitary gland is in turn regulated by the hypothalamus gland which secretes a hormone called Thyrotropin-releasing hormone to achieve this. They work on a feedback loop system, one controls the other.

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    The thyroid gland is critical to normal development and functioning of the human body. It plays a major role in metabolism, regulating many body functions and maintaining the energy balance. That is, if the body requires more energy as in cold weather or if the person is pregnant, the thyroid responds by producing more hormones.

    The thyroid regulates all of these and more:

    • Normal development of the brain during childhood
    • Central and peripheral nervous systems
    • Breathing and heart rate
    • Calcium and Phosphate levels in the blood
    • Bone metabolism, maintenance and growth

    To achieve all this, the thyroid requires small amounts of the trace mineral iodine. This is absorbed by the body from the food we consume. Its for this reason that several governments around the world have mandated addition of iodine in common salt.

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    How Can I Promote The Health Of The Thyroid Gland

    Iodine is most essential to maintain a healthy thyroid. Iodine is the critical ingredient for the production of thyroid hormones. We dont need a lot of iodine, it is said that one teaspoon of iodine is enough for a lifetime. Nonetheless, the daily and constant supply of this micronutrient is important. Too much iodine at once is counter-productive and causes your thyroid to produce less hormones. The best way to get your daily dose of iodine is through eating healthy foods like seafood and dairy products. In addition, iodized salt is a good source and you can use it to season your food. Nowadays, iodine is added to salt to combat goitres .


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