Understanding Your Thyroid
Like many things in life, you probably don’t think much about your thyroid until it gives you good reason to do so. A butterfly-shaped gland located just below the Adam’s apple, the thyroid secretes hormones, supports brain development and influences metabolism, body temperature and growth – it is one of the body’s master controllers or master glands. A healthy thyroid produces the right amount of two hormones, T3 and T4, to keep your body’s metabolism functioning at the right pace. When your thyroid is overactive, something known as hyperthyroidism, you might experience hair/weight loss, a racing heart, muscles aches, sweating and nervousness. Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is experienced by one in every eight women and can include fatigue, depression, dry skin and hair, constipation and forgetfulness. It is not uncommon for women to experience temporary thyroid inflammation after giving birth.
If you think your thyroid is over or underactive, your doctor can test the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which instructs the thyroid to make thyroid hormones, with a simple blood test. Treatment options can include medication, lifestyle adjustments and surgery. To keep your master gland functioning masterfully, make sure you consume a good balance of fats and carbs without excessive calorie restriction, get adequate sleep and exercise, consume iodine (in foods such as eggs, strawberries, yogurt, potatoes and kelp), and try to use natural products on your hair and skin.