The Thyroid Gland: Function And Effects Of Toxins
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of the neck, below the thyroid cartilage which forms the 'Adam's apple'. The word 'thyroid' comes from the Greek word for 'shield'- and this powerful gland deserves its name as it organizes and manages the body's defenses.Additionally, the thyroid gland also controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins and controls how sensitive it is at any moment to other hormones.
It does so by producing thyroid hormones, which act as a master switch to regulate the growth and function of many other systems in the body. In fact, every single cell in the body has thyroid hormone receptors on its DNA. When thyroid hormones are at just the right level, then optimal energy levels are maintained. When their levels dip, we tend to become fatigued and sluggish. If thyroid hormone levels are too high, our minds race, our hearts speed up and we begin to feel irritable. The thyroid gland also produces calcitonin, which plays a role in the calcium balance in the body.
In fact, the thyroid gland is the central gear in the body's metabolism and affects literally everything - growth, body temperature, muscle strength, appetite, as well as the health of the heart, brain, kidneys and reproductive system. So if your thyroid isn't working properly, neither will you. There is a strong correlation between thyroid disease and weight. Weight gain is more severe in people with hypothyroidism (lower than normal functioning of the thyroid gland) due to an excess accumulation of salt and water; on the other hand, weight loss is common in people who have hyperthyroidism, when the thyroid is more active than normal.
Many people with thyroid issues, and people without thyroid issue too, can benefit from taking detox supplements. Taken on a daily basis, these can promote a healthy body cleanse and provide your body with beneficial trace minerals.
Keeping the thyroid working optimally is important for everyone, especially for women of childbearing age. Statistically, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from thyroid problems. This is especially true after giving birth, when about 5% of women make either too much or too little of the hormones. About one-third of those women will never return to normal levels and will continue to require lifelong thyroid hormone treatment. In fact in the months following the birth of a child, thyroid problems can be mistaken for postpartum depression. Continuing to keep thyroid hormones at the right levels after birth is important for making sure that new moms have the energy they need to take care of their babies.
Not only do thyroid hormones help new moms cope with childcare, but they are also crucial for ensuring that pregnant women give birth to healthy babies. For the first 10 weeks after conception, the fetus is completely dependent on the mother to supply thyroid hormones. These first 10 weeks are a critical time in brain development. That is why it is so important that mothers make enough thyroid hormones to share with their babies. Women with low thyroid hormone levels are at risk of giving birth to children who have developmental delays and lower scores on intelligence quotient (IQ) tests. In fact studies have shown that children born to mothers with low levels scored on average 7 points lower on IQ tests than children whose mothers had normal thyroid levels.
Several factors have long been known to influence thyroid function. For instance, thyroid disorders tend to run in families so there is a genetic component. Low iodine intake can depress thyroid activity, while exposure to radioactivity can damage the gland. In addition to these factors, newer research suggests a harmful role for many chemicals in our environment. The thyroid is extremely vulnerable to environmental toxins. Several studies have linked thyroid disorders to industrial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and even the antibacterial compounds now found in soaps and toothpastes.
- Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the womb can lead to reductions in the level of infant thyroid hormone. Many researchers believe this disrupts brain development and leads to lower IQ and behavioral issues in children. Since the banning of PCBs in the 1970s, researchers are finding fewer cases of impaired brain development due to these chemicals, according to recent studies.
- Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical added to soaps, toothpastes, bath towels and many other products, interferes with thyroid hormones in North American bullfrogs, leading to limb deformities, according to a study. The similarities between humans and amphibians in terms of the thyroid system are enough to give scientists cause for concern.
- Plastic-softening phthalates have been found to reduce thyroid hormone levels in men. These chemicals are commonly found not only in plastics but also in many other consumer products. Because they are so broadly used, phthalates may affect a large number of people.
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is an industrial chemical used to make nonstick cookware, microwave popcorn bags, stain-resistant clothing, and many other products. PFOA does not readily break down and is now found in the bodies of many Americans. Research has linked PFOA to low thyroid activity, and some animal studies have found an association between PFOA exposure and thyroid tumors in rodents and monkeys.
- Flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been found in several studies to disturb thyroid function. They are also widely detected in house dust and have been linked to behavioral and developmental problems.
- Perchlorate is a thyroid toxin used to make fireworks and rocket fuel. Several pockets of groundwater contaminated with perchlorate exist in the US. The chemical has also been found in milk and lettuce as well as in human breast milk. Pregnant women who ingest perchlorate and develop low thyroid levels are at risk of giving birth to infants with developmental difficulties.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in plastics and the liners of food cans, including baby formula - it can alter the function of thyroid hormone in the brain, potentially leading to the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In conclusion, there are tons of chemicals used in modern day society that can affect your thyroid gland. It's best to avoid these toxins whenever possible, lead a healthy lifestyle and incorporate detox and liquid mineral supplements into your daily life in order to achieve optimum health.
Read More on this Topic:
Common Carpet Chemicals Could be Destroying Your Thyroid
The Thyroid Gland: Function And Effects Of Toxins
The Benefits of Iodine for Thyroid Health
Does Hypothyroidism Cause Hair Loss?