The thyroid gland is a small endocrine gland that produces two types of hormones. Nearly 93 percent of its production is the inactive T4 and about seven percent is T3 – a hormone that is in its active state.
T4, the inactive hormone produced by the thyroid gland can be turned into T3 in the liver. The main role of the hormone is to regulate the body’s metabolism and to control nearly each biological function.
Thyroid hormones interact with nearly all other types of hormones in the human body, including insulin and the reproductive hormones. The production and secretion of thyroid hormones is regulated by the brain, more specifically – by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The two produce respectively TSH and TRH. If the mechanism is functioning properly, the body will produce just enough of the thyroid hormones.
T3 has the power to affect specific receptors in the cell nucleus, thus informing the DNA on cell level to activate metabolism and to speed up the burning of lipids. This way, it makes each part of the body work with the exactly needed speed.
Thyroid hormones affect all of the major bodily functions. They affect brain activity, the nervous system, the heart, the work of the lungs, the sensitivity of muscles, appetite and the body’s thermoregulation.
These hormones are vital to sustaining human life. Any thyroid gland problem or condition will lead to changes in hormone secretion. Lower production of T3 slows down metabolism and leads to the accumulation of excess weight, higher chances of developing infections and problems related to the production of other hormones like insulin.
The production of smaller amounts of hormones by the thyroid gland is called hypothyroidism. It can be diagnosed very difficultly, especially if the development is symptom-free.
Dealing with thyroid gland problems is essential to guarantee a proper metabolism rate. Nutrition, exercise, diminished stress and getting rid of pesticides will all play a role.
The production of thyroid hormones demands iodine and omega 3 fatty acids. Selenium is needed to turn the inactive T4 into the active T3. In order to interact with cell receptors, T3 needs vitamins A and D, as well as zinc.
Foods that influence well the function of the thyroid gland include marine foods, which are rich in iodine, salmon, which contains iodine and omega 3 fatty acids, green leafy vegetables, fresh nuts and shrimps.
Limit the intake of foods, which hinder the functioning of the thyroid glands. These are mainly foods rich in gluten like wheat and rye products and soy proteins.
Our lifestyle will also affect the health of the thyroid gland. Avoid stress as much as you can. Refrain from sun tanning over long periods of time. Get sufficient sleep and try to have as many positive experiences as possible.
Sources of information:
University of Maryland Medical Center