Understanding Your Thyroid
Your thyroid gland, located below the Adam’s apple in the front of your throat, is a butterfly-shaped gland that weighs about 1-2 ounces. The word thyroid comes from the Greek word for “shield,” which is apt because your thyroid protects your body in many ways.
The five primary functions of your thyroid
- BMR: Your thyroid regulates your basal, or resting, metabolic (cellular activity) rate (BMR) and temperature. This is why you can measure your armpit temperature upon rising to see how your thyroid is doing.
- Protein synthesis: your thyroid regulates how your body creates new proteins and tissues.
- Hormone buddy: your thyroid hormones increase the sensitivity of your cells to other hormones, including certain adrenal hormones.
- Calcium: your thyroid helps balance the amount of calcium in your blood and body tissues, in conjunction with its accessory gland, the parathyroid, which consists of four small glands on the back side of your thyroid.
- Brain development and function: thyroid hormones are critical for brain development and function, in the fetus during pregnancy, in children, and in adults’ memory, thinking and concentration.
A common problem
An estimated 1 in 10 Americans (about 30 million) has some type of thyroid disorder, mostly hypo (low) thyroidism. Thyroid problems are five to ten times more common in women.
80% of hypothyroid cases and 90% of all hyper (high) thyroid cases have an autoimmune component. This means that there are excess antibodies to thyroid cells. The autoimmune aspect is generally not the cause of the thyroid problem, but rather part of a long-term process of thyroid degeneration. This is true of most or all of the 155 or more known autoimmune conditions. Amazingly, 1 in 6 Americans has one or more autoimmune conditions, perhaps more, with the recent addition of Alzheimer’s disease to the list.
By a wide margin, the United States has more autoimmune disease per capita than any other nation on earth. There are many reasons for this. One, we are the most vaccinated population on earth. We give more than twice as many vaccines as any other country, with worse health outcomes than any other advanced nation. Worldwide, we rank 37th-50th, despite spending at least twice as much on disease management (so-called healthcare) than any other country. Vaccines are a known and well-established cause of autoimmune disease, and dozens of other diseases, while providing no credibly-proven benefit.
Second, we do not allow our citizens to know if the food they eat contains genetically modified (GMO) ingredients (also unique among all advanced nations). Most advanced nations have banned GMO. All of the others mandate labeling. GMOs have consistently been shown in credible scientific research (none of which published in the US, of course) to cause organ damage and many other diseases.
It could be accurately said that all disease eventually becomes autoimmune disease. So for 80-90% of all people with thyroid problems, the imbalance in the immune system must be addressed. This can be done effectively with a guided program of diet, and food-and plant-based supplementation, under the guidance of a licensed health professional trained and experienced not only in natural medicine, but also in the autoimmune process and its correction.