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Hormones & Pharmacological Agents

Thyroid Hormone

10 years, 11 months ago

1744  0
Posted on Mar 19, 2008, 9 a.m. By Bill Freeman

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Thyroid hormone is normally produced in adequate amounts by the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland situated just below the Adam


Thyroid hormone is normally produced in adequate amounts by the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland situated just below the Adam’s apple region of the neck. People who are suffering from hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid gland) and those whom have had their thyroid removed need to take synthetic thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine and Liothyronine to stay healthy. In the past patients were often given thyroid gland preparations from beef or pork, however most doctors now choose to prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone. It is important that hypothyroidism is diagnosed and managed by a physician, as severe hypothyroidism can be fatal.


Thyroid hormone plays an important role in controlling the metabolic activity of all body tissues, thus it is required to regulate the metabolic rate of the body. Although levels of thyroid hormone generally do not decline with age, many anti-aging specialists believe that hypothyroidism is common and when present speeds the development of heart disease as well as the aging process in general. Thyroid hormone also helps to promote weight loss, however it should never be taken for this reason alone. Because of its effects upon fat metabolism thyroid hormone can also help to lower cholesterol levels. It also improves cerebral metabolism and helps to prevent cognitive impairment.


Thyroid hormone deficiency (hypothyroidism) is a relatively common disorder, typically caused by autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland. Symptoms include lethargy, weight gain, feeling cold, dry skin, hair slow, and mental slowness. Severe cases of hypothyroidism (myxedema) can cause coma. In infants, hypothyroidism can cause cognitive impairment and abnormal development of the skeleton, a condition often known as cretinism.


It is important to receive medical treatment if hypothyroidism is suspected, thus therapeutic amounts will be determined by a physician and will vary with each individual case.


Determined by physician


Thyroid hormone can interfere with certain medications and should only be used with caution in people with cardiovascular disease, thus it should only be taken when prescribed and as directed by a physician. Iron supplements can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone; therefore, it is important not to take them during the 2 hours before or after your thyroid hormone dose.  Soymilk and foods may interfere with the absorption of thyroid medication in infants; furthermore, it may also directly interfere with thyroid function. Thus, it may be necessary to adjust the dosage of the hormone.Women taking estrogens (either for hormone replacement therapy or birth control) may also need to take more thyroid hormone.

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