Interviewer: Let's talk about the thyroid a little bit. Can you just explain why we have one? What's the role in the body?
Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski: The thyroid gland is located right near the Adam's apple, and it produces one teaspoon of thyroid hormone every single year. One teaspoon, that's it. It's in every cell of the human body. It's what gasoline is to an engine.
I don't know if you've ever driven one of those cars from the '70s or '80s where you get water in the gas, and the car just doesn't run right. It just putts along, or the battery starts to drain, or the alternator goes bad. The car's just not going to run right.
It's the same thing with the human body. If you don't get thyroid hormone inside the cells and the tissues, the body just doesn't run right. It's what gasoline is to an engine. It runs the entire body.
Interviewer: We hear a lot about stress when we talk about the thyroid. What does stress do to that organ?
Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski: Stress is a pretty big word. If we looked at stress we can probably just pinpoint stress until it causes just about all the health problems we have. Stress is mental/emotional. It's bio-chemical, and it's physical.
If we really just focus down to stress and what stress does to the human body, it creates cortisol. The body has two glands that sit on top of your kidneys called the adrenal glands. The body goes underneath stress. The body doesn't know what's happening.
Years ago we were under physical stressors, right? We always refer to this as the caveman days. We're trying to hunter-gather. We're trying to find our food. All of a sudden, we get approached by animals, and we either have to fight, or we have to run. That's when the adrenal glands kick in.
It helps the body produce energy really, really quickly. That's when you hear about these stories of people lifting up cars. Sometimes it does happen because they get this norepinephrine and epinephrine circulating to the body. Blood sugar goes up so you can move, and you can think, and react.
But we're under stress every single day from work, from family life -- you name it -- driving to work. The body is constantly producing cortisol. If you're under stress for a prolonged period of time and all of a sudden these levels start to drop, your body cannot convert thyroid hormone. It actually blocks it from your body using it. When you're under stress, your body just can't use thyroid hormone.
Again, the stress could be physical. It could be bio-chemical, or it could be mental/emotional.