What a fascinating gland! It is relatively small - about 30g in an adult - but controls so much in the body. Thyreos, meaning shield is a great description since it not only looks a bit like a shield, but also acts like a shield.
The thyroid reacts to the smallest changes in the environment of the body and tries to keep the balance. No wonder it goes out of balance so easlily if we so often live lives on a rollercoaster of stress, caffeine, sugar and other junk!
The thyroid is involved in temperature control, how fast your metabolism works, influences your mood and so much more.
One thing the thyroid seems to be famous for or blamed for very often, is that if it is not functioning well you get fat! That is true to a great extent, but if you look at it closely, the thyroid is not entirely to blame for this malfunction. Other factors come into play.
Understanding the thyroid better might help you loose that weight again if you are one of these victims of thyroid malfunction.
The thyroid might also be blamed for a whole lot of other problems if you understand its complex job. If it is on the low side of functioning, you might suffer from cold hands and feet, high cholesterol levels, sleeping problems, constipation, mood and memory problems, fatigue, itchy dry skin, circulatory problems, numbness in hands and feet, muscle cramps, hair-loss, water retention and possibly loss of the outer third of the eyebrows.
On the other hand, if your thyroid goes toward the hyperactive side of imbalance, you could struggle with palpitations (heart racing), restlessness, nervousness, emotional stress, sleeping problems, night sweats and excessive weight loss.
There are a number of people with immune system-related thyroid problems (such as Hashimoto thyreoiditis) that alternate between underactive- and hyperactive-thyroid symptoms. This can make life really hard and also make it difficult for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis and treat it correctly.
Due to the fact that the thyroid constantly seeks to bring back balance, the blood test results might differ from day to day and even depending on the time of day.
One of the biggest problems with diagnosing and treating the thyroid properly is the complexity of the diagnosis and how the thyroid works.
One part of the brain, the hypothalamus, tells another part of the brain, the pituatary, to tell the thyroid to make more thyroid hormones when the body needs it. However, the thyroid hormones that are made are not yet the active hormones that we need for the main jobs the thyroid do. The hormones made by the thyroid must first be converted to the active thyroid hormones at various places in the body, including the gut and liver.
Long story short: You might be suffering with low thyroid symptoms because your liver is possibly toxic and your gut might be a mess! To complicate things, other hormones have a massive impact on the conversion of inactive thyroid hormones (T4) to active thyroid hormones (T3). Your stress levels, testosterone levels (also in women) and more could be determining how much active thyroid hormone is converted to do its job. You might think the thyroid is to blame, but it could be your day-night-rhythm or other lifestyle factors.
We need a good day-night-rhythm, great relationships, sunshine, decent sleep, fun, movement, fabulous food and so much more! If we keep on denying ourselves this in order to chase whatever is expected of us by society - money, "success", who knows what... we will be messing with our health and for many this will mean the thyroid going out of balance.
There are wonderful ways to get it back into balance and it is absolutely possible.