Do you know how much thyroid hormone is made and secreted per year in a healthy person? Interesting questions huh? How much could it be? We often think of hormones as these fountains of substances that get pumped out throughout our day every day. The truth is, a healthy thyroid will produce about 1 teaspoon full of thyroid hormone per year. 1 Teaspoon, 5 ml, 5 grams (give or take)! That is not very much!
Thyroid hormone has a strong influence over all of our 70,000,000,000,000 cells, each and every day and night. That is 70 trillion cells! Research focusing on tissue sensitivity and molecular biology illustrates that hormones have a massive amount of impact with a VERY little amount of actual exposure or direct contact. I think of it as if I was in a large banquet room eating dinner and a famous celebrity walks in. Very quickly the attention of each person in that banquet room will shift to see what the ruckus is and before long everyone in the room knows that celebrity is there. It doesn’t matter whether that celeb sits by them, talks to them, or even makes eye contact with them, they all become hyper aware of their presence. That awareness will stimulate some action of some kind from looking over, to sparking conversations, to thinking back to the movies the celebrity might have starred in. Some people and their table partners will get quite riled up about it, others will just note it an be on to the rest of their dinner, but everyone will have been affected by the celebrity’s presence.
We see a very similar behavior in our cells and tissues when a specific hormone like thyroid hormone shows up. Many cells will have direct contact with the thyroid hormone, some will respond and change via a direct stimulus while others will start to change their behavior from just the exposure or awareness that thyroid hormone is in the room. Some cells will start a chain of activities that spread from one area of the tissue to another like a whispered message telling every worker in the factory to step it up, the boss is on the floor. So whether the cells were directly stimulated by the thyroid hormone or indirectly through the presence and anticipation of the message of the thyroid hormone, the entire tissue, and at times organs, respond appropriately.
There are many points in the process of hormonal influence that contribute to the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the given hormone in general. The cells can improve receptor sensitivity to the direct contact with the hormone. There is tissue sensitivity to the “awareness” of the presence of the hormone and the consequent indirect, or priming response within the tissue. There is the conversion of the hormones back and forth from active to inactive forms throughout our system and body, as well as the ability to recycle or eliminate excess hormone. Then of course there is the hormonal gland or organ’s ability to respond to proper stimuli and produce the hormone and shut off production when needed.
What is the take away message? Hormonal response, balance, effectiveness and over all health has a tremendously strong energetic element to it. When hormones just show up on the scene it changes our body’s behavior and the amount of actual hormone needed to direct a response or function is very, very, very small. So small that to continue the analogy, just the rumor of the hormone coming starts the cells and tissues of our body to react and change. This is an amazing realization. Think what happens when we take synthetic hormonal medications or bio-identical hormones, how can that affect this incredibly delicate, sensitive process? Is more really better? It is a tough question.
I used to think of the body like a machine. No longer. I then thought of it as a living machine, as in bio-mechanics, or bio-chemistry. Now I realize it has more to do with bio-energetics than anything and the full, overall coordination, globally, and at the tissue as well as the cellular level and is crucial to healing and overall health and wellbeing.
I have a high level of respect for the dynamics of the body in health, healing and disease. So much so that the idea of a treatment, or symptom management seems ridiculous when trying to heal or improve one’s overall health, especially hormones problems, there simply is SO much more to consider.
Be humble my friends. Understand we are learning, and what we think today might not be what we know tomorrow. What your doctor says might be spot of or decades old and light years off what is actually going on. The answer? Learn all you can and process health care professionals concepts against your own knowledge and experience. If they can’t explain things in a way that makes sense to you, then either they don’t know the subject well enough or they are working with a false premise….aka, they are wrong.
Stay sharp out there, you are the final authority for you and the ultimate benefactor of your health decisions….good or bad. So step up and play your health CEO role for you and your family and remember, a little goes a long way!
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