Thyroid Hormone Production and Function - Adventist HealthCare

Thyroid Hormone Production and Function

Topic Overview

The thyroid gland uses iodine from food to make two thyroid hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). It also stores these thyroid hormones and releases them as they are needed. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which are located in the brain, help control the thyroid gland. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). When the hypothalamus and pituitary are working normally, they sense when:

  • Thyroid hormone levels are low, so they secrete more TRH and TSH, which stimulates the thyroid to make more hormones.
  • Thyroid hormone levels are too high, so they secrete less TRH and TSH, which reduces hormone production by the thyroid.

Disease or tumors of the pituitary gland can affect this process.

See a picture of thyroid hormone production.

Thyroid hormones affect every cell and all the organs of the body. They:

  • Regulate the rate at which calories are burned, affecting weight loss or weight gain.
  • Can slow down or speed up the heartbeat.
  • Can raise or lower body temperature.
  • Influence the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract.
  • Control the way muscles contract.
  • Control the rate at which dying cells are replaced.

Related Information

Credits

Current as ofMarch 14, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.