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Hypothyroidism is the primary topic for the majority of what follows. For a better understanding, you need to know something of how your thyroid gland works. The scientific names and terminology will likely only be useful for some type of trivia game, but it is difficult to accurately explain how such an important part of your body works without them.

:: Note ::

Your thyroid gland actively collects and concentrates any iodide you ingest in your water or food (see Note below).

Iodide is converted inside your thyroid gland to organic iodine and then combined with the amino acid tyrosine to make thyroglobulin. Through a very powerful microscope, amino acids, which are the simplest forms of proteins, look like long feathery strings. The organic iodine is added to one or both ends of the tyrosine string. If only one iodine is added, it is called a monoiodotyrosine (MIT). If iodine is added to both ends, it is called a diiodotyrosine (DIT).

Your thyroid gland adds the building blocks it has just put together to each other to make hormones. When two DITs are added together, the result is a tetraiodothyronine called thyroxine or T4. When one DIT and one MIT are added together, a triiodothyronine is made called T3. Together, T3 and T4 are contained within the thyroglobulin and are absorbed into your thyroid gland's cells. Inside these cells, enzymes separate the T3 and T4 from the thyroglobulin. Some of this free T3 and free T4 has its iodine removed for storage in your thyroid gland. Most of the free T3 and free T4 is passed into your bloodstream where it combines with blood proteins so it can be carried to other parts of your body.

These blood proteins are like little carts specifically made to hold and carry thyroid hormones from your thyroid gland to specific locations in your body. The major protein, accounting for about 80%, picking up and carrying thyroid hormones, is called Thyroxine-Binding Globulin (TBG). The other 20% of blood proteins carrying thyroid hormones are Thyroxine-Binding Prealbumin (TBPA) and Albumin.

The most active form of thyroid hormone doing the most metabolic work is T3. About 15% of the T3 in your blood is produced and released by your thyroid gland. The other 85% is made primarily in your liver where one iodine is removed from a T4 resulting in a T3. The released iodine is available to return to your thyroid gland and start the process again.

But, you ask, 'What controls how much thyroid hormone your body makes?' Excellent question. The hypothalamus gland in your brain is constantly checking and assessing the contents of your blood. If the amounts of T3 and/or T4 are less than they should be, your hypothalamus releases Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone (TRH) into the blood. The next stop for your blood after the hypothalamus gland is the pituitary gland. The TRH message from your hypothalamus tells your pituitary to release Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Next in the journey for the TSH message is your thyroid gland. TSH does just what its name says. It stimulates your thyroid gland to make more of the T3 and T4 hormones. Likewise, if your hypothalamus sees there is just enough or too much thyroid hormone in your blood, it will slow down or stop your pituitary gland's secretion of TSH.

OK, you say, 'Now I know where and how thyroid hormones are made and what controls their amounts, but what do they do?' Ah, now this is the question. They affect everything. They increase the production of protein in every body tissue. As you know, proteins are the basic building blocks in your body ' to make all your hormones, all your enzymes, all your cells, and everything else. No protein equals no growth, no repair, no digestion, no immune system, no energy, no life. In addition, thyroid hormones increase the use of oxygen, especially in your liver, kidney, heart, and muscles. In other words thyroid hormones are responsible for your cells using the oxygen they need to produce energy. This is what controls whether your metabolism is too fast, too slow, or just right for you. As you can see, thyroid hormones can and do affect every part and function of your body. Imbalances of thyroid hormones can cause symptoms and problems anywhere.

:: Note ::

Iodide is found most plentifully in sea vegetables such as the many different types of kelp; sea foods especially clams, shrimp, haddock, halibut, oysters, salmon, sardines, and tuna; pineapple; beef liver; eggs; and green vegetables especially lettuce, spinach, and green peppers. Whenever possible, fresh, organically grown or raised foods are always your best choice.

Chlorine or fluoride should always be removed from your water. You should also refuse any fluoride treatments at your dentist and avoid any products containing fluoride. Chlorine and fluorine will cause your body to lose its iodine stores. If your water contains chlorine or fluorine, use a PUR 18 Cup Water Dispenser or an Aquasana Water Filter System for any drinking or cooking water. Also, since your body absorbs a significant amount of chlorine during a hot bath or shower, purchase an Aquasana Shower Filter and/or a filter for your bath tap.



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