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Hormone Profile: Thyroid Hormones

Hormone Profile: Thyroid Hormones | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic


Hormones are chemical messengers within your body.

They control your bodily functions, including your energy levels, mood, development, metabolism, and reproduction.

Hormones are released from various glands throughout your body, and are important in maintaining your health.

If these glands are not functioning properly, it could impact your hormone levels and cause health issues.

Today we’ll be focusing on the thyroid.

The thyroid is important for making hormones that regulate your metabolism.

In fact, these hormones affect every single cell in your body.

Issues with your thyroid can cause fatigue, hair loss, and anxiety, among other health issues.

If you’re dealing with hormone imbalances and other associated issues, Mindful Healing Naturopathic Clinic is here to help.

Contact our Streetsville naturopathic clinic and let’s work together to uncover the root of your health issues and create a personalized treatment plan.

Keep reading to discover what your thyroid is, diseases that can arise when your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, and how a naturopathic doctor can provide treatment.

What Is Your Thyroid?

Glands are bodily organs that produce substances, such as hormones, for specific functions.

Your thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland that’s located at the front of your neck, along your trachea, and below your Adam’s apple.

There are two halves, or lobes, that make up your thyroid, which are joined by thyroid tissue.

It’s a part of your endocrine system, which is responsible for releasing and regulating hormones necessary for vital bodily functions.

The thyroid gland’s main job is to release hormones to regulate your body’s metabolism, or the rate at which your body creates energy from the food you consume (metabolic rate).

RELATED: Getting To Know Your Body: Your Thyroid

Which Hormones Does Your Thyroid Produce?

As a part of your endocrine system, the thyroid produces hormones that are released into your bloodstream and travel to your body’s cells.

These hormones are produced from iodine contained in the food you eat.

The primary hormones produced by your thyroid are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which are both involved in regulating how your body uses energy.

They can be either inactive (does not impact your body’s cells) or active (impacts your body’s cells).

The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which regulates the calcium levels in your blood.

Any imbalance in these hormones can lead to health issues.

Let’s take a closer look at Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).

Triiodothyronine (T3)

The majority of T3 is produced by your thyroid.

But it’s also produced in tissues of various organs that convert T4 into T3.

These organs can include your liver, muscles, kidneys, and other tissues.

The main source of T3, responsible for about 80% of T3 in your body, is through the conversion of T4 into T3 in these bodily tissues.

T3 is an active thyroid hormone, meaning that it directly affects the cells in your body.

This hormone controls numerous bodily functions, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Alertness
  • Digestion
  • Muscle development
  • Bone maintenance
  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate

Thyroxine (T4)

T4 is the main hormone that is produced and released by your thyroid gland into your bloodstream.

T4, unlike T3, does not affect your body’s cells because it’s inactive.

However, once released into your bloodstream, T4 can convert to T3.

This process is known as deiodination.

When instructed by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain, your liver and kidneys convert the majority of released T4 into T3.

What Do Thyroid Hormones Do?

T3 and T4 thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating numerous bodily functions.

They coordinate functions by carrying chemical messages to your organs, tissues, and muscles through your bloodstream.

They control the rate at which your body converts iodine in the food you consume into energy that your body can use, which is also known as your metabolism.

These hormones are also critical for brain development, especially in infants.

Furthermore, they’re involved in a feedback loop with your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and other hormones.

Your hypothalamus releases thyroid releasing hormone, TRH, when it senses that T3 and T4 levels are low.

This signals your pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH.

Then TSH stimulates your thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3.

Any drop in T3 and T4 will cause the loop to start again, allowing for thyroid hormone levels to be controlled and maintained.

Some of the key functions of thyroid hormones consist of regulating:

RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Hormones

Health Issues Associated With Your Thyroid

Issues with your thyroid, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus, which control T4 and T3 production, can all cause abnormal thyroid hormone levels.

Having too little or too much of either T3 or T4 in your bloodstream can cause a number of health issues.

Too low of T3 or T4 can cause slow heart rate and weight gain, as a result of slowed metabolism.

With high T3 or T4 levels, you may have a rapid heart rate or weight loss.

Thyroid issues tend to have an increased risk in women rather than men.

RELATED: Naturopathic Solutions For Women’s Health

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is the result of a thyroid that is overactive.

This means that your body is producing too much T3 and T4.

You may develop hyperthyroidism from an autoimmune disorder, lumps on your thyroid, an inflamed thyroid, or too much thyroid hormone medication or iodine.

You’re also at a higher risk if you are older (over 60), have a family history of hyperthyroidism, are pregnant or were previously pregnant, or are a woman.

The processes in your body work overtime to try to counteract the overactive thyroid, which can lead to health issues.

You may experience a number of symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble sleeping

The onset of symptoms may be gradual or occur suddenly.

2. Graves’ Disease

Hyperthyroidism can also occur due to Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disease that can cause an overactive thyroid.

Graves’ disease can occur when your body’s immune system makes antibodies that target areas they shouldn’t.

Your immune system attacks your body rather than protecting it and fighting diseases.

Your antibodies attack your thyroid gland in Graves’ disease, causing it to secrete excess thyroid hormones.

These same antibodies that attack the thyroid gland also attack tissues around your eyes and on your skin.

It can cause premature birth, inflammation of the skin, eye pain and eye bulging, along with an enlarged thyroid.

RELATED: Naturopathic Treatments For Skin Conditions

3. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism.

It occurs when your thyroid isn’t as active as it should be.

Either your thyroid isn’t producing enough T3 and T4 or these hormones are not affecting targeted tissues effectively.

As a result of decreased thyroid hormone levels, all of the organs in your body slow down.

This can be caused by:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Removal of your thyroid
  • Inflammation of the thyroid
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Radiation treatment
  • Being born with hypothyroidism
  • Other causes

Just like with hyperthyroidism, your risk for hypothyroidism increases as you age, if you’re a woman, or if you were recently pregnant.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

4. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hypothyroidism may also be caused by Hashimoto Disease, which is an autoimmune disease.

Similar to other thyroid issues, this disease is more common in seniors, women, and those with a family history of it.

Like with Graves’ Disease, in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis your immune system makes antibodies and targets areas it shouldn’t.

The thyroid peroxidase antibodies in Hashimoto disease target your thyroid gland and make it inflamed.

The inflammation causes your thyroid to make fewer thyroid hormones than it should and causes hypothyroidism.

Symptoms can include:

  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Fertility issues
  • Decreased libido
  • Fatigue

Left untreated, it can lead to more serious health issues.

5. Thyroid Cancer

This is the most common disease involving your endocrine system.

This involves cancer of your thyroid gland where a tumor grows in your thyroid gland.

Cells grow at a rate that’s too fast for your body’s immune system to fight and control them.

Thyroid cancer is most common in women and those aged between 25 and 65, although it can occur in anyone.

There are usually no symptoms of thyroid cancer.

It’s usually found by your doctor when examining your thyroid and discovering a lump.

If you do show symptoms, the most common one is swelling in the neck.

It may also cause problems swallowing, discomfort when moving the head, hoarseness, or a persistent cough.

RELATED: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Role In Cancer Treatment

What Is Your Thyroid? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

How To Balance Your Thyroid Hormones Naturally

We’ve discussed what thyroid hormones are, what they do, and some of the health issues that can affect your thyroid.

I’m sure by this point you’re wondering what you could do to help balance your thyroid hormones naturally and reduce your risk of thyroid related diseases.

Luckily, there are many ways in which you can help to balance your thyroid hormone levels.

RELATED: Naturopathic Treatments For Thyroid Problems

1. Get Iodine In Your Diet

The primary function of the thyroid hormones is to regulate the rate of your metabolism using iodine from the food you consume.

In order to make thyroid hormones, your thyroid needs iodine in your diet.

You can get additional iodine in your diet through:

  • Seaweed snacks
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Saltwater fish
  • Soy milk
  • Soy sauce

Just like with any other food, it’s important to maintain a balance.

Eating too much iodine can also cause health issues.

A naturopathic doctor can help you to discover what level of iodine in your diet is right for you.

2. Anti-inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle

Thyroid issues may also arise from inflammation in your body.

There are foods that can lower your risk of inflammation, which include fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, garlic, onion, turmeric, green tea, etc.

You may also want to avoid processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats, which can increase your risk of inflammation.

Managing your stress levels can also play a part in reducing inflammation and other thyroid associated issues.

High stress levels can cause issues with your thyroid hormones, and can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other issues.

There are many naturopathic stress solutions that can help you out here, and keep your mind and body healthy.

3. Get Exercise

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of thyroid issues.

Exercising can improve your health by improving circulation and promoting weight management.

Workout at your own pace and try to do at least an hour of mild to moderate exercise daily.

By regularly exercising you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and maintain optimal thyroid function.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Are you someone with a family history of thyroid issues?

Have you been diagnosed with a thyroid related condition or believe that you may have issues with your thyroid?

Whatever the reason, I can help.

I’m Dr. Maria, a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, Ontario and I run the Mindful Healing Clinic.

I’ll work with you to uncover natural solutions for your thyroid issues and help you optimize your health.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Until next time,

Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, N.D
Mindful Healing Naturopathic Clinic
Mississauga, ON L5M 1L7
(905) 819-8200

Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.