The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, which produces thyroid hormones, or “chemical messengers,” that signal cells throughout the body to increase oxygen use and help control your metabolism. The two key thyroid hormones are L-Triiodothyronine (T3) — the more biologically active thyroid hormone — and Thyroxine (T4).8
Hypothyroidism occurs when there is an inadequate secretion of thyroid hormones, resulting in a slowing down of the body’s metabolism. While low production of these hormones results in hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid), high production of these hormones results in hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
The goals of thyroid hormone replacement therapy are to normalize thyroid hormone levels and to provide symptomatic relief from an imbalance or deficiency. Although there are several types of thyroid hormone replacement available, not any one type is an optimal therapy for everyone. Thyroid treatment options vary from person to person and a physician who is also a hormone replacement specialist can assist you with diagnosis and a suggested hormone treatment program.
Thyroid conditions can be successfully treated with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). A thyroid condition is classified by an under-active thyroid gland where the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. There are various hormone treatments available and you should ask your physician about thyroid hormone replacement therapy if you suspect a hormonal health condition.
How thyroid therapy works.
To best understand thyroid hormone replacement therapy, you need to better understand the interaction of T3 and T4 which are the two thyroid hormones.
T3 and T4 Thyroid Hormones
The full name of T3 is triiodothyronine and the full name of T4 is tetraiodothyronine or thyroxine. Hormones T3 and T4 control your body’s metabolism. If you don’t have enough of them, then your metabolism slows down. Your metabolic rate dictates how quickly you process food, how fast your heart beats, how much heat your body creates—and even how quickly you can think. In essence, T3 and T4 are in charge of how your body uses energy.
As we have already pointed out, T3 and T4 are not equal in strength. T3 has one iodine atom less than T4 and it is T3 that is the more active hormone of the two hormones in your body. While T3 is the stronger hormone, taking synthetic T4 hormone is considered the standard treatment for hypothyroidism. The reason for this is because most of the T3 in the human body is converted from T4. When the T4 hormone comes into contact with other cells, it gives up one iodine atom to interact with those cells. When the T4 hormone loses its iodine atom, it becomes T3.
When this T4 to T3 conversion occurs, T3 conveys the metabolic “message” to the other cells throughout the body. The purpose of Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy is to optimize the level of thyroid hormone in your system and compensate for the lack of hormone secreted by your thyroid gland. In most cases, you will take a daily dose of T4 in a pill taken orally that is prescribed by your physician.
The rate at which your body absorbs the hormones will dictate your hormone treatment regimen. Synthetic T4 supplements are the most prescribed form of thyroid hormone replacement therapy but there are other hormonal therapies including animal thyroid supplements. Along with T4, synthetic T3 may also be occasionally given as part of treatment especially after thyroid surgery.
Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is a very personal treatment process that is most effective when tailored to your specific medical condition and the dosage is prescribed properly. Successful thyroid hormone replacement therapy normalizes your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. You and your hormone doctor will discuss what thyroid treatment option will best alleviate your hypothyroid symptoms allowing you to live a healthy, normal life.
To read more about Thyroid Hormone Health Supplements, Anti-Aging Vitamins and Nutrition, visit Thyroid Hormone Health, Hormone Replacement and Anti-Aging Vitamin Supplements
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