It’s a wonder how some people can regularly indulge on a diet of cake and fast foods, but you can’t tell just by looking at them. Everyone’s body is different, so the rate at which we gain weight is also different. One of the key factors to consider here is how high and low your body’s metabolism rate is. It may seem like you have little control over this because of your genetic make-up, but there’s a lot more to it. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating metabolism with the help of some key hormones. Find out how it does this, and how that can affect your weight and your health.
The Important Function of the Thyroid
The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is situated below the Adam’s apple in the neck. It is part of the body’s endocrine system. This system produces many different hormones to regulate body functions such as growth, metabolism, reproduction, and even a person’s mood! The main hormones produced in the thyroid gland are known as tri-iodothyronine or T3 and thyroxine or T4. These are vital in controlling your metabolism rate, which is your body’s ability to break down the food that you eat and turn it into useful energy. If you have a faster or higher metabolism, that means that your body burns food faster.
Metabolism takes place in all living cells in the body, and that makes the thyroid a very important gland. Iodine extracted from the blood is incorporated into the thyroid hormones when they are being made. When the level of thyroid hormones in the body drops to a low level, other hormones are produced by the endocrine system to stimulate the production of more thyroid hormones.
Common Weight Loss Strategies
Some of the more common methods people use to lose weight include dieting, exercise, and taking pills and supplements. A lot of these methods attempt to harness the power of your metabolism. This is because when you burn more food than your body uses, you lose weight.
There are some sure ways you can increase your body’s metabolism and use its natural regulation to your advantage. You can eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates, drink more water instead of sugary drinks, and use a healthier cooking fat such as olive oil. Exercising regularly, especially with a high-intensity workout and weight lifting, is also an important habit to develop.
Health Conditions Related to the Thyroid
A body functioning normally requires about four times as much T4 hormone as T3. When the numbers get out of whack, we’ve learned that a chain of events stimulates more or less thyroid hormone production to maintain a healthy balance. For many people, the thyroid gland has ceased to function normally. There are many reasons for this and many disorders and diseases as a result. Here are three of the most common. They can and should be treated medically.
- Goiter- A goiter is seen as a bulge on the neck. In its simplest form, a goiter is caused by a lack of iodine. Iodine is vital for thyroid hormone production and consequently, for metabolism regulation. This is the reason why iodine is an essential part of the diet. It can be found in iodized salt, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
- Hypothyroidism- This is a condition when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Because of this, metabolism is slow, lethargy is common, and it is easy to gain a lot of weight.
- Hyperthyroidism- This is the opposite condition when the thyroid hormone is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone. Common symptoms include a goiter on the neck, excessive appetite, and sensitivity to heat.