The thyroid gland plays a major role in regulating your metabolism, which is your body’s ability to break food down and convert it to energy.
Our food is our fuel for our body, and each of our bodies uses that fuel at different rates. This is why you may have heard about some people having a “fast” metabolism and others having a “slow” metabolism.
Today I want to share some information about the thyroids impact on metabolism, and why addressing sub-optimal thyroid status is essential for weight loss, and to prevent re-bound weight gain after losing weight.
How the Thyroid works
The thyroid keeps your metabolism under control through the action of thyroid hormones (t4 & t3), which it makes by taking iodine from the blood and incorporating it into these hormones. One of the main actions of your thyroid hormones is to produce an increase in basal metabolic rate and an increase in the oxygen intake and heat production of cells (this is why your practitioner might ask you to record your temperature first thing in the morning!)
Every single cell in your body depends on the thyroid to manage its metabolism, which is why thyroid imbalances can contribute to such a wide variety of symptoms. Some of the symptoms that suggest your metabolism may need a tune up include;
- Issues with appetite (excessive hunger, or no hunger at all).
- Irritability or mood swings.
- Anxiety or nervousness.
- Intolerance to cold.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Shortness of breath
- Poor circulation.
These symptoms are a sign of hormone imbalance, and should not be ignored or endured. Not addressing them now can lead to more persistent issues, such as Metabolic Syndrome, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, diabetes, and cardiac disease.
With Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease on the rise in Australia, it’s more important than ever to check your thyroid function and whether it’s contributing to any of the risk factors, particularly weight and blood pressure!
Test, don’t guess. The role of pathology for diagnosis.
Pathology helps us to understand the life cycle of thyroid hormone in your body and all the intervening factors that affect it.
Testing is extensive and thorough, and will include tests you may not think relate to the thyroid – but they do – such as vitamin D, 5MTHF, homocysteine, and iodine.
- Thyroid hormone profile looks at TSH, free t4, free t3, thyroid antibodies and reverse t3.
- Iodine testing is essential, as this is a key component for thyroid function.
- Nutritional co-factors such as vitamin D, iron, and B12 that are essential for thyroid hormone metabolism.
- Cardiovascular markers such as cholesterol, CRP, triglycerides and homocysteine are important to address, as heart disease has a strong correlation with metabolic disorders.
- Blood Sugar markers such as glucose, insulin, and leptin are indicators of how well you use your food for energy, or whether you store it as excess fat.
If the thyroid system has been sub-optimal for many years, then other hormone systems will also be out of whack as a result. This is because the thyroid is the master hormone of your endocrine system, and other hormones play a tight role in regulating your energy when thyroid hormones are a bit low.
- Adrenal function tests – covers 3-point cortisol, DHEA and Melatonin.
- Blood sugar function tests – covers glucose markers, leptin and energy regulation.
- Sex hormones – necessary in cases where menstrual irregularities exist, peri-menopausal symptoms and fertility issues.
- Food Intolerances – assists with correct diet modification based on pathology to dramatically reduce inflammation and calm an overactive immune system.
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