Understanding Hormonal Pathways and their Metabolic Effects: The Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, situated in the front part of your neck, which is often referred to as the master regulator of your metabolism.
Thyroid hormones set the pace for most of your body functions; they regulate your metabolic rate and how fast or slow your organs and tissues function.
Supporting normal, healthy thyroid function is important in maintaining optimal health as thyroid dysfunction can affect weight, energy levels, appetite and mood.
An individual’s basal metabolic rate is highly regulated by the thyroid gland through the secretion of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
T3 and T4 release from the thyroid gland are stimulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the anterior pituitary.
The availability of T3 and the health of the mitochondria are partners in the production of energy. When T3 gets inside the mitochondria, it enables the transfer of energy from glucose to ATP.
If your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone, you may experience symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue and weight gain.
Healthy mitochondrial function and ATP production is necessary for healthy cellular, tissue and organ function. One of ATP’s primary responsibilities is protein synthesis and the production of enzymes. Enzymes are the catalysts or ‘spark plugs’ for every single biochemical reaction in the body, from digestion to the production of neurotransmitters and hormones, immune function, tissue growth and DNA repair.
Bioenergetics by definition is the flow of energy in a biological system. In the human body it refers primarily to the conversion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into usable energy.
Many nutritional factors play a role in optimising thyroid function.
Cells must also be able to respond to thyroid hormone stimulation.
Much of what determines our health, occurs in our cells. The proper functioning of our cellular metabolism is one of the keys to efficiently producing energy.
When optimum energy is produced by the cell, it has the capacity to fulfill it’s many functions involving regeneration, detoxification, and it’s unique genetically programmed role e.g. liver cell, muscle cell, brain cell, nerve cell, etc. The organs and glands can then efficiently carry out their functions.
The above diagram is part of the Nutrition Foundations course material that looks at bioenergetics and metabolism with the cells. An understanding of basal body temperature testing is also introduced as a valuable initial screen of thyroid function that may indicate the need to investigate further with a comprehensive thyroid assessment.
Essentially we can think of the thyroid as the drums in the orchestra that is our endocrine system – thyroid hormones set the rhythm and the pace for most of our physiological functions. Disordered thyroid function, therefore, upsets the whole rhythm of the body.
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The unique features of Nutrition Foundations truly set it apart from any other kinesiology nutrition course, because we’re not just talking about learning a specific technique or one-size-fits-all approach, but rather life-changing, research-driven, dietary advice according to established nutritional medicine principles.