What is the Thyroid?
Most people have heard about the organ “the thyroid” but do not understand much about the thyroid. This is because in medicine there is always a mechanism to keep our body systems in check. What makes medicine difficult to understand is that many other processes alter and feedback on the hormone signals. The thyroid is a very important organ and I will not complicate things but like many hormones, the active form of the thyroid is called Free T3 which unfortunately decreases with age.
Hormones Produced by the Thyroid
The main hormone produced by the thyroid is T4, also known as levothyroxine. T4 is secreted by the thyroid gland into the blood stream, but once it reaches the body, it is converted into T3, the active form. T3 is 4-5 times more active and powerful than T4 and is therefore considered the real thyroid hormone.
Low T3 Levels
Low levels of T3 can be a result of:
- Hypothyroidism which is an underactive thyroid gland producing insufficient amounts of T4
- The body’s inability to efficiently convert T4 into T3
The thyroid is responsible for many metabolic functions and effects every cell of our body. The thyroid regulates energy metabolism, temperature, which decreases cholesterol.
Lack of thyroid causes:
- Decreased energy and fatigue
- Decreased cognition
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Thin hair
- Brittle nails
- Dry skin
- Increases cholesterol and therefore increases the risk of heart disease
Optimizing T3 Levels
Unfortunately, it is not common that physicians measure Free T3. We at Your Wellness Center understand that it is important to consider both your laboratory results as well as the symptoms you are facing on a daily basis. We believe in the philosophy of: “Treat the Patient, not the numbers”.
With that in mind, we treat the patient based on the symptoms not necessarily some lab value that has been deemed normal based on a set of published numbers that come with a wide-range of acceptable values.