The Thyroid Gland: What is it?
The thyroid gland is a little gland inside your neck that has big implications for your metabolism and some of the functions of your heart. A gland, is a piece of tissue that releases hormones in the body. Your hormones dictate a lot of things (as any women going through menopause can attest to!). The thyroid gland releases two hormones, T3 and T4. Both are important in your metabolism but T4 seems to be the one that has the most influence.
How does it work?
The thyroid gland receives signals from the brain that tells it when and how much hormone to release into your blood stream. It gets its signals from another hormone, called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH. This is important because when you get a blood test to see if you have low thyroid hormone, this is what they will be looking at.
There are two types of issues with your thyroid gland, too much or too little. If you have too little thyroid hormones, it is said that you have hypothyroidism. If you have too much thyroid hormone, you are said to have hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is by far more common.
Why does this affect my weight?
Your thyroid affects your weight because of its role in metabolism. It determines what your metabolic rate is. Specifically your basal metabolic rate or BMR. Your BMR is the amount of calories you will burn if you are doing absolutely nothing! We call them our sloth days! If our hormone levels drop, so does our metabolism. If we aren’t burning as many calories, it can result in weight gain. Definitely not what we want!
What can I do about it?
In the podcast, we talk about some of the symptoms for people that may have low thyroid levels. If you think it might be you, talking to your doctor about testing your thyroid gland might be in order. It is a blood test and might give you the answers. If the test comes back positive, there are some medication options that you can take to regulate your levels.
Our last take home point: Losing weight with low thyroid isn’t impossible… it’s just harder.
We hope you enjoy the episode and if you have any other questions – contact us!