The Thyroid and metabolic functioning
The Thyroid Gland And Metabolic Functioning
People who have unexplained weight gain may have an underactive thyroid. When the thyroid is not functioning correctly, weight gain can occur due to the role that this gland plays in burning food for use as energy. It is important to understand how this process works to ensure that your thyroid is healthy and not a major cause of overweight or obesity.
Exploring The Metabolic Function Of The Thyroid Gland
Membrane transporter proteins allow the thyroid hormones to enter the cells. The hormone heads to the nucleus and then it binds to a receptor. Pretty much all of the cells in the body benefit from thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones play a major role in a number of physiologic processes, such as growth, development, and of course, metabolism.
The majority of tissues in the body require metabolic activity for survival and thyroid hormones work to stimulate these. This increases a person’s basal metabolic rate, which is the term used to describe the calories that your body needs to burn for basic survival, such as calories burned for breathing and maintaining a regular heartbeat.
Two examples of the specific metabolic effects of these hormones are:
- Carbohydrate metabolism: Almost all of the components of this type of metabolism are stimulated by thyroid hormones. This includes the processes necessary to create free glucose in the body.
- Lipid metabolism: Lipids are a type of fat. Fat mobilization is stimulated when there are higher levels of thyroid hormone levels.
In order for the thyroid to produce the necessary T4 and T3 hormones, it needs iodine. Without sufficient iodine intake, these hormones will be lacking and will affect metabolism.
T3 plays the biggest role in metabolism, but metabolism speeds up when there are higher amounts of both hormones in the blood. When the levels of both increases and the basal metabolic rate gets higher, this results in the body needing more energy due to the cells working harder.
How The Thyroid Gland Can Cause A Slow Metabolism
When there are reduced amounts of T3 and T4 in your blood, your metabolism is going to slow down. When this is a constant state, it results in a condition known as hypothyroidism.
This is condition typically occurs at some point in life and is not something that one is born with. When it comes to the T3 hormone, about 20% of it comes from the thyroid gland. The kidneys, liver and other organs in the body take T4 and convert it to T3 to make up the other 80%.