Your hormones are tiny chemical messengers that regulate your body’s functions, from your sleep cycles to your moods, and everything in between. While all of your hormones play critical roles in different areas of your health, your thyroid hormones control how your body converts energy, which every cell in your body needs.
Your thyroid and your metabolism
While metabolism is one of those things that many of us wish we had more of, what the needle on your scale reports is only part of the metabolism story.
Each of the cells in your body needs energy, and you have trillions of cells to “feed.” They get most of this energy from the food you eat, but only after it’s broken down and converted into energy, and your metabolism regulates this conversion.
The hormones responsible for regulating your metabolism are produced in your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of your neck. The two main hormones are T3 and T4, which help regulate not only your metabolism, but also other functions like your heart rate and body temperature.
How thyroid disorders affect your metabolism
There are several types of thyroid disorders, and not all of them affect your hormone production, but we’re going to concentrate on those that do, including:
- Thyroid nodules
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Graves’ disease
This list is by no means comprehensive, but these are the four most common problems that can affect your thyroid hormone production, which can lead to over- or underproduction of T3 and T4.
In the first scenario (overproduction of thyroid hormones), we refer to it as hyperthyroidism, which can lead to:
- Jumpiness, anxiety, and nervousness
- Racing or irregular heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive sweating
- Abnormal hunger
- Weight loss
In the second scenario (your thyroid underproduces hormones) you can be left with hypothyroidism.
The hallmarks of hypothyroidism include:
- Numbness and tingling in your hands
- Feeling cold
- Gaining weight
- Brittle hair and fingernails
- Loss of libido
So, while we often associate metabolism with weight, a malfunction in thyroid hormone production has a number of effects on your health and wellness. Thankfully, there are several ways we can go about treating thyroid disorders in order to rebalance your metabolism and your health.
If you suspect you may have a problem with your thyroid because you’re exhibiting some of the symptoms we’ve outlined above, please contact our office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to set up an appointment.