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Functions of the thyroid

A small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck may not seem like a significant part of the body, but it performs many critical functions. The thyroid is a part of the endocrine system and it’s responsible for controlling various hormones throughout the body, notably T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine).

The pituitary gland tells the thyroid how much of these hormones the body needs. Here’s a look at some functions of the thyroid, courtesy of University of Michigan Health.

Metabolism: The thyroid is estimated to be responsible for up to 60% of one’s metabolism or basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate relates to how many calories a person burns at baseline while performing normal functions to survive.

Hair: The thyroid affects hair texture and growth.

Energy level: The thyroid can ensure that a person has enough energy to get through the day.

Controls other hormones: Testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol are regulated by the hormones of the thyroid.

Ability to focus: People who have issues with their thyroids may experience difficulty focusing and may feel as though they have “brain fog.”

Regulates heart rate: Thyroid hormones help to regulate heart rate by influencing how fast or slowly the heart pumps.

Digestion: The thyroid influences the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract.

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