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What is the thyroid responsible for and how does it affect weight loss/gain.

Posted by Dr. Donna Restivo on May 15, 2019 10:51:00 AM

In Health Tips, thyroid

The thyroid seems to come up in conversations regularly, and there is good reason for that, as it is responsible for secreting the hormones that regulate growth and development in the body. Defined as the large ductless gland in the neck, the thyroid regulates through the rate of metabolism in the body. While scientists aren’t 100% sure about the relationship between metabolism, hormones, and weight changes, they have proven that the purpose of these hormones are to regulate your body’s metabolism, which can ultimately lead to weight gain or loss. Let’s start out by breaking down the two major types of thyroid issues.

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Hypothyroidism. This occurs when the metabolism slows down as a result of the thyroid not producing enough hormones. Because the metabolism changes speed, the number of calories burned in the body is reduced, and in turn, you may gain weight. 

Hyperthyroidism. On the other end of the spectrum, hyperthyroidism occurs when your metabolism is taken up a notch, resulting in weight loss from the more than normal calorie burn. 

Now that you know the difference between hypo and hyper, it’s time to navigate our way through the many roles of the metabolism. This complex issue can be simplified by stating that the metabolism determines how fast or slow your body burns through and uses calories. There is a series of processes that convert the food into energy that your body uses to function properly. Quite simply, the more food that you eat, the more is stored as energy in your fat cells, ultimately causing you to gain weight. Working like a well-oiled machine, your body uses energy at rest, during physical activity, and the means at which this works is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). 

Roles of thyroid hormones. Your body temperature and appetite regulation and metabolism are highly influenced by the thyroid hormones. This is where the hypothalamus comes in. This small area of the brain works with the thyroid to balance weight and energy. It’s been a challenge for researchers to determine exactly how this works, but one thing that is certain is that there are a long line of proteins, hormones, nuclear receptors, and chemicals that all play a significant role in the process. 

Research has proven that many obese patients have three similar factors. Levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and triiodothyronine are high and levels of thyroxine are low.

 

 


 

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