The thyroid gland is situated at the front of the neck on the trachea. It produces hormones that play a significant role in regulating metabolic rate, temperature control, blood pressure, heart rate, tissue growth, digestive system function, apetite, nervous sytem function, and musclular and skeletal function.The tiny parathyroid glands sit at the back of the thyroid gland, and regulate calcium levels in the blood, which is a critical aspect of muscle contraction, nerve signalling and blood clotting in the body.
The thyroid gland can become underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism). If this imbalance in homeostasis becomes extreme enough, it can lead to such diseases as: Hashimoto's disease (extreme hypothyroidism), Graves' disease (extreme hyperthyroidism), goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland due to iodine deficiency), and cretinism (severe hypothyroidism in infants). Thyroid dysfunction is typically more common in women than men.
Possible Signs of Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland):
low basal metabolic rate (BMR)
decreased body temperature / sensitivity to cold
decreased heart rate
low blood pressure
dry, pale skin
coarseness of the hair / hair loss
puffy, swollen face
muscle pain / cramps / sluggishness
lack of mental clarity
Possible Signs of Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland):
high basal metabolic rate (BMR)
increased body temperature / intolerance to heat
increased heart rate
high blood pressure
reduced muscle mass / weakness of muscles
flushed, moist skin
fine, soft hair / hair loss
increased frequency of bowel movements
Things That Effect the Healthy Function of the Thyroid Gland:
exposure to radiation
certain drugs e.g lithium, NSAIDs, SAIDs
chemical overload in the body / exposure to chemicals
food allergies / intolerances
Testing Your BMR (basal metabolic rate):
First thing in the morning on waking, before getting out of bed or moving, take your temperature. Do this for at least five days in a row, taking note of your temperature each day. A temperature reading consistently below 36.8 degrees celcius is an indication of a low BMR and may be a possible indication of hypothyroidism. A temperature reading consistently above 37.2 degrees celcius is an indication of a high BMR and may be a possible indication of hyperthyroidism.
Note: do not perform BMR testing if you are sick, have an infection of some sort, or are stressed, as this can effect your BMR.
If you suspect you have an underactive or overactive thyroid, a blood test can be done to ascertain thyroid hormone levels in the body, to further support your findings.
One of the best natural ways to assist with amelioration of hypothyroidism is with the use of bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), a form of seaweed.
One of the best natural ways to assist with amelioration of hyperthyroidism is with the use of bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus or Lycopus virginicus), a herbal plant.
Seek qualified naturopathic advice for best health outcomes.