thyroid gland function

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is a small, atrophied butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of your neck. It is an endocrine gland that produces hormones, which travel through the bloodstream to help control many important metabolic processes throughout the body.

What is the Function of the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is an important endocrine organ and is responsible for secreting three hormones – triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), and calcitonin. T3 and T4 help to regulate metabolic rate, growth, development, and energy levels in the body. Calcitonin helps regulate calcium levels in the blood. Without proper thyroid functioning, these metabolic processes are disrupted, potentially leading to health complications.

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How Do Thyroid Hormones Regulate Metabolism?

Thyroid hormones help regulate metabolic processes through direct and indirect pathways:

Direct Pathway

  • T3 binds to thyroid hormone receptors found in cells in every tissue of the body and alters gene expression to produce proteins.
  • This changes cellular metabolism, which regulates energy production, allowing cells to convert food into fuel.
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Indirect Pathway

  • T3 indirectly affects metabolism by acting on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. This triggers the release of hormones that in turn regulate metabolism.

What Happens When the Thyroid Gland is Dysfunctional?

When the thyroid gland is dysfunctional, it can produce too much or too little of the hormones it produces. This can cause a number of thyroid gland disorders, including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In addition, a dysfunctional thyroid can cause a variety of health conditions to arise, such as depression, infertility, obesity, and heart disease.

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The thyroid gland plays an important role in maintaining optimal health by regulating metabolic processes in the body. If the gland is not functioning properly, it can lead to a host of health issues such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, depression, infertility, obesity, and heart disease. It is important to speak to a doctor if you think your thyroid may be having problems.