What Does the Thyroid Gland Do?


The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. It is found across the windpipe, in front of the neck between the Adam’s apple and breast bone. It’s position allows the blood to pass through it once every hour. One of its major functions is to absorb iodine and perform its second function which is to produce hormones.

Its cells are the only ones that are capable in absorbing iodine. The thyroid gland produces hormones that are needed for internal body functions such as metabolism, temperature regulation and protein production. The thyroid is also known to control organ functions in the body. There are two major hormones produced by the thyroid. These are the triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The numbers attached to these are the amount of iodine molecules that the hormones have.


In hormone production the T3 only accounts for 7 percent and most of it account for T4. These hormones are transported through the bloodstream to reach the body cells; however, they will need to be attached to proteins. After the transport, when they reach the target cells, the protein is released and the hormones are left to be “free”. The thyroid’s T4 and T3 hormones are known to increase basal metabolism or the amount of energy used by our bodies while at rest.

The thyroid hormones are also known to regulate the long bone growth by affecting protein synthesis in the body. Aside from these, the hormones control neuronal maturation and increase the body’s sensitivity to fight-or-flight hormones through permissiveness. The permissiveness is described to be the relationship between hormones and target cells, where a certain concentration of hormones at first “meet” is needed for the second batch of the same hormones to affect the cell. In addition, the thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein. As a result, it affects how human cells utilize these energy compounds and promote body heat generation. It is also responsible for vitamin metabolism.

Published by Zack Williamson

Zack enjoys writing about a wide range of topics from business process consulting and International manpower logistics to digital media and internet marketing. That being said, some people visit his blog to check out the occasional rant about politics, health, music and more.