Function of Thyroid gland: Hormones, Metabolism, Weight and Much More

Thyroid Gland Anatomy

Thyroid – A butterfly-shaped gland located just underneath your larynx and significantly weighs less than an ounce. It operates under the control of a peanut-shaped gland in the brain called the pituitary which takes commands from the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that works as the communications center for the pituitary and sends messages in the form of hormones to control the release of thyroid hormones from the pituitary.

The thyroid gland plays an important role in body metabolism and absorbs iodide from the foods we consume and converts it into iodine to make the two essential hormones commonly known as – T4 (Thyroxin) and T3 (Triiodothyronine). T3 –T4  are then released into the bloodstream to facilitate and perform crucial body functions. Generally, these hormones control your metabolism, digestion, fertility, weight, aging, and much more.

Functions T3 and T4 Hormones Regulate:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels and Much More!

The function of the Thyroid Gland in Human Body

Thyroid influences every cell and tissue in the body by regulating metabolic functions and stimulates them to produce proteins by supplying more oxygen to the cells and body tissues.

These hormones maintain normal body temperature. Whenever our body temperature goes up or down the normal limit, the pituitary senses it and produces TSH to trigger thyroid hormone production, which in turn balances the body temperature.

Dysfunction in the thyroid gland can cause the body to overproduce or underproduce essential hormones T3 & T4 giving rise to health disorders hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. These two disorders are also responsible for unusual and abnormal weight gain or loss. If you are noticing abnormal weight gain or loss and your diet seems to be ok, consider getting your thyroid checked.

A racing heart and anxiety could be early symptoms of hyperthyroidism or the overproduction of thyroid hormone. Others include fatigue, weight loss, palpitations, increased heart rate, and nervousness. Whereas common signs of a sluggish thyroid (underproduction of hormone) that further hampers your metabolism include fatigue, hair loss, constipation, dry skin, irregular menses, cold intolerance, slow or abnormal heart rate, and exhaustion.

Thyroid gland act as a storehouse for excess or unutilized hormones as well as iodine and releases it to maintain levels of hormones in the body; whereas the excess iodine is used to generate these hormones in case an iodine deficiency arises.

It plays a vital role at the time of pregnancy and increases the production of essential hormones as per the increased metabolic requirements of a pregnant woman.

Sometimes patients with high cholesterol don’t get relief from cholesterol-lowering medication, and in such a case a thyroid may be the culprit and needs to be medically examined and treated accordingly as it can wreak havoc on your metabolism.