By Jessah Shaw, Adv Dip (Nut Med)
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. The thyroid gland manufactures the two hormones: T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). The thyroid produces much more T4 than T3; however, T3 is the active hormone and is known to be much stronger than T4.
What do thyroid hormones do?
Thyroid hormones are responsible for controlling the basic activity of each cell in the body, including metabolism, growth and development. Because the thyroid is essentially the body’s thermostat, controlling things like temperature, hunger levels and energy expenditure, if you have a thyroid issue it can be quite problematic.
What are the most common thyroid problems?
The two main types of thyroid problems are: hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
Hypothyroidism occurs if hormone levels drop below normal causing your metabolism to slow down and energy levels to fall. In developed countries such as Australia and the USA, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is when the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid cells, causing inflammation and leaving the thyroid unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormone.