What is the function of the thyroid, and what role does it play in a person’s health?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Sheela Krishnaswamy


The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in your neck. It secretes hormones, namely Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Collectively, these two hormones are referred to as thyroid hormones. They play a significant role in the body’s growth and development. It also regulates the body’s metabolism i.e., it controls the heart, digestive functions, muscles, bone maintenance, and brain development. 

In certain conditions, whenever the body needs more energy, like during the growth phase or during pregnancy, the thyroid gland produces more hormones. To make the exact amount of hormones, the pituitary gland tells the thyroid gland whether to release less or more hormones into the bloodstream.

The thyroid helps in regulating the process of transforming the food that we consume into energy. This energy is used throughout your body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly.

Iodine is needed in the right amounts for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Our bodies can’t produce it, therefore we need to get enough of it in our diet.

If the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, i.e., if it becomes overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism), it can lead to health problems and affect normal functioning of the body.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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