The thyroid is a gland found in the neck whose job is to produce the hormone that bears the same name.
The thyroid hormone is more commonly known for its ability to prevent people from losing weight despite dieting or exercising, but in reality its action goes much further and is involved in various functions of our body.
What role does the thyroid play in metabolism?
To understand the role of the thyroid in metabolism it is important to have an idea of how the metabolism works in general.
For each of the body’s functions (breathing, heartbeat, moving, digestion, etc.) to be carried out, it is necessary to use energy, this is known as basal metabolism (the minimum amount of energy that is needed to perform our basic functions).
When doing some physical activity (running, going to the gym, swimming or even sleeping, the body expends a certain amount of energy.
When you eat, food is transformed into substances that the body can use (carbohydrates, fats or proteins) and glucose is stored in the liver, in the muscles and circulates in the blood so that it can be used as energy.
When this stored energy is depleted (because a lot of physical activity was done, for example or because you are fasting or even when there is some disease) then the body must look for where to obtain energy and that usually does it using its own reserves (fat or You can even use muscle for energy and to maintain essential functions for life.
In normal situations, the ideal would be that the amount of energy from food is the same amount of energy that is used when performing activities, in that way the balance is maintained and would help maintain body weight and energy levels would be stable.
To lose weight
For example, if you want to lose weight and you follow a reduction diet to decrease the amount of energy you obtain through food and thus allow your body to use its energy reserves.
In the same way, if you exercise to expend more energy, your body will use the energy reserves or, in ideal cases, you do both a balanced diet low in calories and exercise.
As energy is directly involved in metabolism, it is also involved with the generation of heat (for example, when it is cold), the production and use of cholesterol and triglycerides and in general with all processes that require the use of energy.
Thyroid and metabolism
Thyroid hormone helps regulate metabolism by promoting proper management of energy reserves, if you eat too much it helps the extra nutrients you consume to be stored as energy in the reserves and if you do not eat or exercise it stimulates the use of the reserves for energy.
When this hormone fails then the metabolism is affected, if the hormone does not work or is not produced then the metabolism will slow down because the functions will use less energy and the reserves stored in the body will not be use (even if you diet or exercise). As is the case with hypothyroidism.
On the contrary, if this hormone is produced in excess then the body will accelerate spending more energy even if no activity is performed but at the same time it can be dangerous because it is like being in a constant state of stress (even when sleeping). As with hyperthyroidism.
It may seem like a simple hormone but in reality it is very important for your body to function properly, so if you suspect that your thyroid is not working properly, it is best to see your doctor who will help you verify your health.