What is your Thyroid and why should you care?
There is lots of talk about the thyroid these days. It is often called the “master glad of the metabolism”, which isn’t entirely true, but the hormones it secretes controls the way your body uses energy.
The thyroid is a cute, little butterfly shaped gland that sits along the front of your windpipe. The hormones it produces are aptly named – thyroid hormones. The ones you’re typically tested for are T4 (thyroxine), T3 (Triiodothyronine) and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).
The thyroid is a part of your endocrine system. If you remember from 9th grade biology, the endocrine system is made up of a bunch of glands that produce, regulate and store hormones. I like to think of hormones as “long range messengers” because they travel through your blood stream, so they can take a little time to get where they need to go. It is also easy for them to become dysregulated. Thyroid hormones can impact a lot of things in your body, to name a few:
· Body weight
· Central and peripheral nervous system
· Heart rate
· Muscle strength
· Menstrual cycles
· Body temperature
So, making sure these hormones are functioning properly is important.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms are:
1. Chronic fatigue
2. Feeling unusually depressed
3. Low sex drive
4. Thinning hair or dry skin
5. Heart palpitations or feeling jittery
6. Irregular periods or drastic changes in periods
7. Poor sleep
8. Unexplained weight gain
Now, clearly these can be signs and symptoms of other things…like a late night our drinking perhaps…but if you feel like you have a few of these chronically it might be time to contact your doctor and ask them to check your thyroid levels.
There are medications to support your thyroid, but there are also foods and supplements that can also support it along with a strong self care regiment.