Thyroid Gland General Function and Description

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A lot of people probably have heard about kidney functions and other information related to it, but thyroid gland function in many cases is less clear. Beyond that, many people are not even aware of what the thyroid gland is to begin with! Where is it located? What is it used for? Well, it’s not as complicated as the word appears to be. The thyroid gland is an important part of the body which is located in the front of the neck area and has different functions throughout the body. The gland itself looks like a butterfly, but there is much more behind what it is besides the shape. It is worth knowing more about it to understand the importance everything it is connected to.

The main function of the thyroid gland is it produces thyroid hormones. To make these hormones, iodine is used. Thyroid hormones are important to the function of every cell in the body!

Thyroid main functions:

  • To help regulate growth
  • Regulate the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism)
  • Take part in the circadian rhythms that govern sleep and other essential functions [1]

Metabolism itself consists of chemical processes “through which the body breaks down and uses energy”. [2] The thyroid makes two types of hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). 10%-20% of hormones produced are T3, but T4 needs to be converted to T3 for the body to be able to use it. Apart from all that, the thyroid gland itself regulates the speed of other biochemical reactions happening within the body. So it is not a surprise that dysfunctional thyroid glands can lead to different health problems. The most common of problem is feeling fatigued.

The thyroid gland also produces sex hormones, which have importance in the body. Hormones are synthesized through iodine, but you might wonder where the body gets it. The answer is simple, it is obtained through food such as seaweed. The body has to keep thyroid hormone levels within the blood level and there is a system to how it is done. It is primarily accomplished through “thyroid-stimulating hormones” (TSH), which are secreted by a part of the brain called the pituitary gland. [3] When the level of thyroid hormones in the blood is too high, TSH from the pituitary gland is reduced while working as a thermostat that prohibits secretion of thyroid hormones. However, if the level of thyroid hormone is not enough, TSH is increased to induce the secretion of thyroid hormones. This process is called “feedback mechanism” and usually allows maintaining the normal level of thyroid hormones in the blood.

The thyroid gland is an important organ in the human body so it is important to understand its function. Your lifestyle and what you eat has a big influence on the iodine levels needed for thyroid hormone production. If its levels get out of order, fatigue, weight change, muscle and joint pains, high cholesterol levels as well as other problems can kick in.

[1] Definition of Thyroid hormones. Accessed from:

[2] Thyroid. Accessed from:

[3] The function of the thyroid gland. Accessed from:

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