What Exactly Does The Thyroid Do For Us - Enlighten Functional Medicine

What Exactly Does The Thyroid Do For Us

What Exactly Does The Thyroid Do For Us

If you’ve ever heard the term “thyroid disease,” but didn’t know what it was, then you’re in good company. Most of us have a vague understanding of this imbalance and how it can negatively affect our health. But do we really understand what causes metabolism issues?


It’s no secret that thyroid dysfunction can wreak havoc on our metabolism and overall health. But what, exactly, does the thyroid do for us? And how can we keep it functioning properly? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the thyroid gland and discuss some tips for keeping it in check. So read on to learn more!


Did you know that your doctor most likely is missing some key markers when they’re checking your thyroid? 


Sluggish metabolism really is frustrating when you’re trying to hit some goals, weight loss, or just get some energy and strength. 

The thyroid is a gland in your neck that controls your metabolism with a few hormones. T4 contains four iodine atoms, and T3 contains three iodine atoms. These two hormones are created by the thyroid, and they tell the body cells how much energy to use.  Each cell on your body has receptors waiting for that active form to log onto those receptors for those hormones to connect and work.

Before the thyroid releases those hormones from your neck, it has to get the signal from your brain. There are a whole lot of steps that regulate your thyroid, which start your brain signaling. But it has to be the right signal being sent.  When we think of a sluggish metabolism, there may be many reasons that may not even begin with your thyroid.


How else could this metabolism be a little sluggish? 


The first thing to look at is blood sugar dysregulation. Maybe there’s too much sugar in your diet and for most Western Americans, there is. Too much sugar in your diet can affect blood sugar, causing you to feel fatigued and causing that sluggish metabolism that you might be blamed on your thyroid.



Macros are how your food breaks down into three different things.  When you look at any food or any drink, they should break down to either fat, protein, or carbohydrates. Those three things are called your macronutrients. So maybe they’re not in the right ratio, maybe there are way too many carbs or not enough protein, or maybe fat is out of whack.



Are your B vitamins depleted? Maybe you have iron deficiencies. If you have really heavy periods as a woman your iron can be depleted significantly.  We can look into micronutrient testing, which is a fantastic way to identify what is going on with your nutrient status.

Are they breaking down? Are they absorbed in your body?  


How are you sleeping? When are you sleeping? How much are you sleeping? How deep are you sleeping? There’s some really cool wearables to help you track your sleep. 


Hydration is huge. It’s absolutely huge. Are you getting hydrated? Are you drinking enough water? What type of water are you drinking? And is the water you’re drinking actually getting into your cells?   


Maybe your family history is also something that you need to consider in terms of metabolism, issues.

Maybe there are some female hormones that we really do need to check.


Finally, maybe that Thyroid is something that’s off-kilter that needs to be adjusted. 


Thyroid auto-immune disease is very common. 

In fact, autoimmune thyroid diseases are also known as AITD are the most common autoimmune disorders in Western countries.   And get this, they affect 5% of the general population.  According to the study published in 2007. 


5% of the population is dealing with a thyroid autoimmune disorder.  These diseases are also known as Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease.

Are you a dog lover like I am? 


We have two dogs and just a few months ago I was sorting through some health issues with my dog, Zoe. We discovered a functionally low thyroid, I found that they can have autoimmune diseases just like humans do.


When a dog is positive for a marker called thyroglobulin antibodies, it is noted as a genetic marker in dogs, meaning that a breeder cannot breed a dog without, or with a positive marker. 

Here in humans, in the human world, we don’t think a thing about it. Most doctors and OBGYNs never test their patients for the antibody. 


Luckily, Zoe, my dog was not positive.  But my family is, this in my family history and it’s genetic.


And when it’s genetic, it goes from parent to child.

Don’t you deserve to know if you have an autoimmune disease, when your doctor suspects your thyroid as the culprit? This is why I encourage you to look at these five things if you’re concerned about your thyroid.

  1. IRON:  I need a full iron panel, including ferritin, because iron really affects how that thyroid functions. We’ve got to make sure that iron is on track.
  2. MINERALS AND ELECTROLYTES:  Minerals are super important. They’re like the little keys that get the factories running in your body.  You need to have those minerals. Getting those factories and those genetic components, those enzymes working properly, electrolytes, meaning sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium. Those are needed to move enzymatic reactions. And selenium is very important with thyroid function.
  3. GENETICS:  Ask your parents if they’ve had thyroid problems, or if they’ve been on thyroid medications.  Hashimoto’s is a genetic disorder in humans and dogs as well. And it will determine if you should be eating gluten ever again. It’s a big deal. So ask your parents.
  4. POSITIVE THYROID PEROXIDASE, TPO antibody, or thyroid globulin antibody test. Ask your doctor to check.
  5. BLOOD SUGAR.  How is your blood sugar regulation?   If you are sluggish, my number one secret tip is you have to regulate blood sugar before you start chasing the thyroid.


It’s extremely important to get that dialed in first. Diet is huge. 


In this article, I’ve discussed the basics of what a thyroid does and how it can affect our health. But as with many things in life, there’s more to learn about this topic. To find out more or if you have questions that aren’t answered here, please request a free discovery call where I will walk through all your options! 

I’m happy to answer any question you may have so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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About Enlighten Functional Medicine

Known for her successful treatment of mystery illnesses, Dr. Emily Hecker and her team at Enlighten Functional Medicine combine an integrative, functional medicine approach with the appropriate lab testing.

Our unique approach to diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders recognizes that lasting health depends on resolution of the root causes of your disease. Click here to learn more »

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