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What's the Story with Thyroid?

You may have heard about the thyroid. You may know that it has something to do with weight. You may know that it is a hormone… But, what else do you know about it?

Thyroid Basics

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly, and it is located in your throat. It is actually wrapped around your windpipe. The main function of the thyroid is to make hormones that regulate metabolism and human growth and development. The gland itself is made up of hundreds of little sacs known as follicles; these store the thyroid hormones in the form of little droplets.

Thyroid Threesomes

There are actually three thyroid hormones - Triiodothyronine (T3), Tetraiodothyronine/ thyroxine (T4) and Calcitonin. If you look closely, you might see that all three of these contain the beginning of the word iodine. That is because iodine is one of the main building blocks of T3 and T4. The kicker? Our bodies don’t make iodine, meaning we have to get it from our diet…and, you guessed it, we often don’t.

Before we get into that, let’s learn a little more about how the iodine interacts with the thyroid. Iodine is absorbed into our bloodstream from food in the intestines. It gets carried to the thyroid gland where it is used to make T3 and T4. Calcitonin, the other thyroid hormone, is involved in calcium and bone metabolism.

Who Else is Involved?

We know, it’s already getting crowded in here, but there are some other key players when it comes to thyroid function. The amount of thyroid hormone we need is regulated by another gland – the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland signals to the thyroid gland to make more or less of T3 and T4. T3 and T4 increase the metabolic rate. They make all the cells work harder, so the cells need more energy too. This means body temperature rises, the heart beats stronger, food is used up more quickly, activation of the nervous system leads to improved concentration and faster reflexes.

Thyroid levels are affected by the level of other hormones, especially progesterone and cortisol. Progesterone and thyroid hormones have a reciprocal relationship. What that means is that you need adequate amounts of thyroid hormone for your ovaries to make progesterone and you also need an adequate amount of progesterone for optimal thyroid function. Progesterone is needed to make the enzyme thyroid peroxidase (TPO) which in turn is used to make T3 and T4. So low progesterone can mean low TPO which can mean low T3 and T4.

Ok, that was a lot of science. Let’s take a breather. Want to hear a good thyroid joke? A thyroid is just a robot with legs….

Yikes, moving on -

What is the Role of Progesterone?

Low progesterone can lead to an increase in a molecule called Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). Think of TBG as a goblin grabbing T3 and T4 so that it’s no longer available to do its thing. In this situation, your body may be making T3 and T4, but if it is also making that thyroid binding globulin, then overall there won’t be enough thyroid hormone for normal metabolic processes.


Having low thyroid levels is called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is more common among those age 60 plus and more common in women than men. Doctors will often test for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, but that’s all. A more extensive test includes looking at T3,T4, TPO and TBG levels. If you have ever wondered if you are experiencing low thyroid, you can now talk with your doctor about getting a more detailed picture of thyroid levels and function.

Unique body responses to low thyroid levels are: intolerance to cold, constipation, difficulty losing weight, dry skin, thinning hair/ hair loss, decreased libido, hoarseness, puffy face, swollen joints, lack of concentration, and slower heart rate. Does any of that sound familiar?

So, How the Heck Do I Help?!

Think about adding a little Vibrant Third progesterone cream so that you give your thyroid hormones the best chance to do their thing.

Make sure you have adequate levels of iodine. Seaweed is a great source but we know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The supplement Iodoral by Optimox is a well respected iodine supplement. The daily 12.5mg of iodine will support thyroid hormone production (and help keep your breasts healthy – look for that article soon!).