What Is The Thyroid?
 

The thyroid gland is located in the neck, about where a man’s Adam’s apple is located. It is about 12cm to 15cm long and is the shape of a butterfly.

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, and it’s responsible for releasing hormones (as are all parts of the endocrine system). The thyroid hormones’ main action is to balance our metabolism, which regulates how your body uses energy. Because of this, the thyroid gland influences just about everything in the human body.

Thyroid hormone affects:

  • Digestion
  • Energy
  • Weight management
  • Mood
  • Concentration and memory
  • Immune system response
  • How fats, protein, carbohydrates, and nutrients are absorbed
  • Heart strength and rhythm
  • Breathing and blood oxygen levels
  • Bone marrow and red cell production
  • Hair growth

PLUS the thyroid regulates the secretion and breakdown of all other hormones found in your body and how your tissues respond to those hormones!

There is not a tissue or organ in the body that isn’t affected by the excess or insufficient amount of thyroid hormone in the body.

How Does The Thyroid Work?

It all starts when the pituitary gland (found in the brain) releases TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). TSH is controlled by what the body feels it needs. For example, if body temperature drops, more TSH is produced to increase metabolism and raise body temperature.

TSH works directly on the thyroid gland to tell it to release further hormones. These hormones are T4, T3, T2, and T1. The T4 hormone needs to be converted by the liver into T3, the most active form of the hormones. T2 and T1 are only produced in small amounts, and while they are believed to play a big part in metabolism, they make up less than 4% of overall thyroid hormone and therefore, unfortunately, have not been well researched.

Once these thyroid hormones are released into the blood stream, they are accepted into cells all over the body, so those cells can do their work—boosting energy, regulating sleep, controlling concentration, aiding digestion, managing liver function, regulating hormonal balance, burning fat, developing muscles, prompting immune system response… everything!This is why a poorly functioning thyroid can make you feel horrible in a hundred different ways.

Learn more about how poor thyroid function affects your whole body

What Is Low Thyroid Function And What Are The Symptoms?

Low thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is an abnormally poor functioning of the thyroid gland. Until recently, hypothyroidism was only diagnosed if TSH readings were 5 and over, but thankfully recent changes mean patients are now diagnosed and provided medication in the range of 2-3.

Although some medical communities believe low thyroid function affects only 5% of the population, there is a great deal more research suggesting that in actual fact, low thyroid function affects almost 1 in 4 people and is the cause of many “undiagnosed” health complaints.

The reason it is so hard to diagnose low thyroid function is because everyone has a different variety and degree of symptoms.

Here are some (not all) common symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue (excessive tiredness)
  • Constipation, gas, bloating, and digestive upset
  • Muscle and joint pain and stiffness
  • Weight gain and inability to lose weight
  • Memory loss and poor concentration
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Muscle weakness
  • Puffy face and eyelids
  • Hoarse voice and slow speech
  • Infertility and loss of libido
  • Painful, irregular and heavy periods
  • Early menopause
  • Ankle swelling
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Intolerance to cold, feels much better in the heat
  • Coarse, dry skin and thinning, brittle hair
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Candida
  • Recurrent infections, especially post-nasal drip
  • Breathlessness with little exhaustion

Just because you don’t have all of these symptoms does NOT mean you don’t have a poorly functioning thyroid. Unfortunately, many people suffer from the symptoms of hypothyroidism are told that all their results are “normal”. This should not be taken as the final word! If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and don’t know why, click here.

What Causes Poor Thyroid Function?

The thyroid is an essential part of how the body functions and it is very sensitive to its environment.Today we are lucky enough to have many conveniences, but that convenience comes with a price. Packaged foods with little nutrition and lots of chemicals, plastics off-gassing chemicals, environmental pollution from manufacturing… the list goes on.

Also, we have a reduced need for exercise due to office jobs, vehicles, and even modern appliances that make housework easier. Yet, even with these conveniences, we are usually extremely busy and stressed. These factors are some of the reasons why low thyroid function has become so common in Western society.

Some reasons for low thyroid function in many include:

  • Poor conversion of T4 to T3
  • Liver and gut imbalances
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Oestrogen dominance
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Sugar imbalances
  • Much, much more!

ften it can be very difficult to determine which (if any) of these are a specific issue for you. But one thing is for sure—if these underlying causes are not dealt with it can be very difficult to reduce the symptoms of low thyroid function. That’s why a personalised consultation and treatment plan is the best option to regain your health

What Can Be Done To Improve Thyroid Health?

Because the thyroid system is so complex, and because each person is different, improving thyroid function can be daunting. But it can be done!

Here are two things you can do today to get started:

Get educated. The more you know about how the thyroid works, what’s good for it and what isn’t, and how your environment affects it, the better you can pinpoint the underlying causes (which will be different for each person) and begin to take steps to make improvements in those areas.

In my book, Thyroid Wellness Diet and Lifestyle Program I go into great detail about potential causes of thyroid problems and the simple steps you can take to begin feeling better right away. Learn more about the book.

Get help! This isn’t a journey to take on your own. At times it will be challenging and frustrating. Your symptoms can change. Other health problems can interfere with your progress or confuse you, leaving you frustrated all over again. I strongly recommend you take advantage of my one-one-one consultations and guidance. I’ve been through this! I know how you’re feeling, I know what to expect, and I CAN help you sort it all out and finally, finally get your energy and vibrancy back.

Learn more about my consultation services.