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Lisa Medlin DNP, APRN, FNP-C

The thyroid gland is the master gland in the body. It has several functions that are important to hormone control. One of its primary functions is to control metabolism within each cell in the body. It produces 5 hormones (T4, T3, T2, T1, and Calcitonin). The focus of this blog is to discuss the purpose and function of T4 and T3.

Commonly known as T4, thyroxine is the primary chemical produced by the thyroid gland. It is an inactive hormone and must be converted into its active form to be used by the body. T4 is measured by the pituitary gland in the brain, which acts as a thermostat and provides feedback and regulates the production of T4 from the thyroid. The feedback hormone produced by the thyroid is known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and is often used by health care professionals as an indirect way to measure the health of the thyroid gland. While this test provides good insight into how the thyroid is functioning, it should never be used as a stand-alone test for thyroid health.

The second most common hormone to be produced by the thyroid is triiodothyronine, commonly known as T3. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone and is readily used by each cell in the body. The thyroid does not produce enough T3 for each cell, so T4 is converted into T3 in the cells. This requires the presence of iodine, selenium, and zinc, along with certain enzymes created by the body. The best measure of T3 is a lab test known as Free T3. This calculates the amount of T3 in the body that is not bound to proteins and is readily available for the body to use.

A low Free T3 count is indicative of hypothyroidism and is usually accompanied by symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, intolerance to cold temperatures, cold feet, dry skin, brittle hair, and constipation. Low Free T3 also increases the body’s risk of sustaining a heart attack or stroke. This condition needs to be treated with exogenous thyroid hormone replacement. The most natural way to do this is to supplement with desiccated thyroid in the form of Armour Thyroid. Armour Thyroid is derived from porcine and is the supplement most like human thyroid that can be found in nature. If the person is allergic to pork, NP Thyroid, a compounded form of desiccated thyroid can be used.

As always, we can help you with this at 45 Urgent Care. Give us a call at 731-554-0571 to schedule your appointment or simply stop by, we take walk-ins. We are here Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm.