How Does the Thyroid Affect Metabolism?

When many people hear the word metabolism, they think about calorie burning. How effectively your body uses energy (burns calories) is definitely one of the many functions and outputs of metabolism. Your metabolic process uses more energy and burns more calories when it is increased than when it is slow.

You probably know at least one person that has a metabolism you would kill for. That individual can eat anything he or she wants, never exercises, and is not overly physically active, but is always slim and trim.

This is because that person’s metabolic process is cranked up most of the time. By the way, metabolism is not just about burning calories. Your metabolism is a combination of chemical-based processes which helps keep you alive.

The globally recognized health authority Mayo Clinic tells us that metabolism is:

“… the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.”

When your metabolism is working well, you enjoy a healthy life. When it is not working so well, a number of health problems pop up. How do you keep your complex metabolic process working properly? One way is to keep your thyroid healthy.

What Is the Thyroid?

Whenever the well-known saying “dynamite comes in small packages” was created, it probably didn’t come about because someone was referring to the thyroid gland. However, the thyroid is an excellent example that something very tiny can have a profound effect.

As part of your endocrine system, the diminutive thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck. This gland controls the release of specific hormones.

The amount of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland is small, but they are incredibly powerful. This means that these hormones must be released in exacting amounts, as either too much or little, over time, will have damaging effects on health.

When your thyroid is unhappy, your metabolism is thrown out of whack, and the following vital bodily functions are negatively influenced:

  • Heart rate
  • How much you weigh
  • A woman’s menstrual cycle and overall menstrual health
  • Cholesterol level
  • Breathing
  • The nervous system
  • Muscle strength and health
  • Body temperature

One of the many important roles of thyroid hormones is that of regulating your metabolism. Your thyroid gland affects your metabolism by producing the thyroxine hormone, which has one major job … to control your body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR). Having too much or not enough thyroxine produced by your thyroid can lead to the previously mentioned bodily functions not working properly.

Thyroid Hormone Imbalances

When your thyroid is unhealthy, it can lead to a release of excess thyroid hormones. This results in hyperthyroidism, which usually results in your metabolism functioning at a faster than healthy rate.

The opposite can also happen and is far more common.

If your thyroid is not working properly, hypothyroidism can be the result. This means your thyroid is either not producing enough thyroid hormones, or for some reason, your body is not responding to the hormones as it should. If this occurs your metabolism slows down to the point that it is hard to lose weight, and you develop constant fatigue, weakness, and other related symptoms.

Through proper diet, medicine, and a more active lifestyle, you can promote thyroid health, which naturally leads to a healthier metabolic process and improved overall health.

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