What does this little organ do? And why is it so important?
It is a small endocrine organ that can have big consequences when not working correctly. This organ is responsible for regulating your metabolism.
When it is over functioning it is called Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone, resulting in acceleration of the body’s metabolic rate. Hyperthyroidism causes the body’s cells to burn fuel so rapidly that they waste much of it in the form of heat.
Some signs of hyperthyroid include:
- Weight Loss/Increased Appetite.
- Loose Bowel Motions/Diarrhoea.
- Increased Sweating.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Heart Palpitations.
- Hand Tremor.
- Tiredness/Weak Muscles, particularly around the upper arms and thighs.
- Enlarged thyroid gland.
When the thyroid is under functioning it is called Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone and there is decreased conversion from T4 to T3. A large proportion of the population suffers some degree of hypothyroidism; however, the majority of those cases go undiagnosed.
Signs of a hypothyroid include:
- depression, feeling withdrawn and a lack of motivation
- inability to concentrate
- body fatigue, muscle aches and low energy levels
- needing more sleep
- intolerance to cold temperatures
- unexplained weight gain
- dry skin and /or pale skin and facial bloating
- hair loss or thinning out
- heavy, irregular or prolonged menstrual periods
- goitre (enlarged thyroid gland that is visible)
As you can see the symptoms are a bit non-specific and can be related to many other reasons, hence the reason these conditions can take a while to be diagnosed.
Both of these conditions can accelerate to become autoimmune conditions. Hypothyroidism can become Hashimotos Disease while Hyperthyroidism can become Graves’ disease. This when the body starts to attack itself.
The thyroid gland is very susceptible to toxicity, especially heavy metals. It is also governed by the hormonal status of the body. Hormones, mood, diet, sleep and motivation are all involved with any of these conditions.
There are many different treatment options available for these conditions but it will depend on the root cause of your condition. As per usual diet can make a big difference to how you feel.
If you are experiencing thyroid symptoms and need some help to regain control of your metabolism then book in for a nutritional consult with me.
This article was written by Jan Caton BHSc of Naturopathy. Jan is the owner, naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist of Magnolia Apothecary. Jan practices in the Mount Evelyn and Boronia