The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, situated in the front part of your neck, which produces hormones needed for normal metabolism. Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolic rate and how fast or slow our organs and tissues function. Disordered thyroid function, therefore, upsets the whole rhythm of the body.
Dysfunction of the thyroid can cause a number of different symptoms. Thyroid problems can affect weight, energy levels, appetite and mood; but the effects will be different depending on whether the thyroid gland is over-functioning or under functioning.
Hyperthyroidism is a state of over-activity of the thyroid gland with excessive production of thyroid hormones and an increased metabolic rate – it’s as if the drums that set the rhythm for our bodies have sped up too much and are making everything function too fast. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:
- Feeling hot and intolerant of hot weather
- Weight loss
- Anxiety, restlessness and insomnia
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Fine tremors of the fingers
- High blood pressure
Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is a state of under-activity of the thyroid gland with an underproduction of thyroid hormone – as if the drums have slowed down and the beat that is running how our body functions are too slow. When your body does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone, the body’s metabolism slows so much that you can experience symptoms such as:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Weight gain
- Intolerance to cold weather
- Brittle hair
- Slow heart rate
- A croaky, hoarse voice
The good news is that there are many herbal remedies and nutrients available to help improve the activity of the thyroid gland in hypothyroidism and have a calming effect with hyperthyroidism.
By combining the wisdom of nutrition and herbal medicine we can assist in the management of thyroid conditions, helping you feel your best.