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Thyroid Hormone Controls Our Metabolisms

When your thyroid is functioning well and producing thyroid hormone (TH) your have energy and feel young and strong.

This process is controlled by the hypothalamus, another gland which regulates the body's hormones and their activities. When it detects low blood levels of TH, it release thyroid releasing hormone (TRH). This signals the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH kicks the thyroid into gear to make more TH.

Two situations can interfere with this process. If the thyroid gland itself lacks iodine, it swells up (known as a goiter), or has a tumor, it can't produce enough TH. This is primary hypothyroidism.

When the hypothalamus or pituitary glands aren't functioning properly, the thyroid gland doesn't receive the TSH signal it needs. This is secondary hypothyroidism.

The list of symptoms of hypothyroidism reads like a list of the symptoms of aging: fatigue, weakness, lowered immune system, heavy breathing, muscle cramps, persistent lower back pain, mental sluggishness, headaches, emotional instability, poor circulation, loss of appetite, stiff joints, reduced libido, increase in artherosclerosis, and increase in the heart's inability to pump properly.

Because TH governs your body's metabolism, hypothyroidism makes it easy to gain weight and difficult to lose it. Low TH levels are also associated with diabetes, because it's essential to the body to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. Low TH is linked to increased risk of heart disease and developing cancer.

Low thyroid functioning can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, and also: pollutants such as fluoride in water, barbituates, certain antidiabetic medications, prednisone, supplemental estrogen, some cough medicines, Cordarone, Lithium, painkillers that contain salicylates, oil of wintergreen and cigarette smoke (another reason to quit).

TH supplementation is available by prescription, but first try eliminating the above causes from your life and taking thyroid-healthy nutrients: Vitamin A and beta carotene, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, sea kelp, the amino acid Tyrosine, unsaturated fatty acids and zinc.

Don't think of hypothyroidism -- or the problems of aging -- as an inevitable part of living longer.

By: Richard Stooker

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