The thyroid is in the front of the neck, has two lobes, or halves and sits just below the Adams apple. It controls breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature and cholesterol levels.
In fact, every cell in the body depends on thyroid hormones to regulate metabolism – how you change oxygen and food you eat into energy to use.
The thyroid does this by absorbing iodine from your food with a mix of an amino acid called Tyrosine to make hormones like thyroxine T4 and Triiodothyronine (T3).
However, it is the Pituitary gland, a small gland in the brain, that decides how much T3 and T4 get’s released into your blood stream. If there is not enough it will release it’s own hormone, (TSH, thyroid stimulation hormone) that tells the thyroid to produce these hormones.
The thyroid hormones travel to every cell via the blood stream to regulate your heart rate as well as how fast your intestines process food (metabolism). If your T3 and T4 levels are low (hypothyroidism) you may have slow heart rate and weight gain and constipation. Symptoms also include having trouble sleeping, dry hair and skin, feeling tired or depressed, frequent heavy periods as well as muscle and joint pain.
If the levels are too high (hyperthyroidism) , you may have a increased or high heart rate, weight loss, diarrhoea. You may also feel anxious, nervous or irritable, find that that you are too hot, sweating and experiencing light or missed periods. Hair loss is also common.
Keep your thyroid healthy and balanced by eating naturally occurring iodine rich foods like seaweed, cod, prawns, eggs, tuna, prunes.
And to really love your thyroid you might want to be practice yoga postures such as the Cobra or Shoulder Stand with mindful breathing at night. It will help calm the neck region, balancing hormonal secretion of the endocrine glands in the head and neck.