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It’s estimated that over twelve percent of the population in the world will experience a thyroid problem at some point—still more conditions will go mis- or undiagnosed.

The situation has been called “epidemic” by some and the incidence of thyroid cancer has doubled in the last forty years.

This is troublesome because the small bow-tie gland in the neck is a primary component of the immune system; if it’s not functioning properly, we become susceptible to an infinite number of illnesses.

The thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, digestion, muscle control, and brain development.

Typical problems with the thyroid are hypothyroidism (under-active) or hyperthyroidism (over-active).

When the thyroid doesn’t produce adequate amounts of hormones—particularly “T3” and “T4” (triiodothyronine and thyroxine)—the metabolism slows, resulting in weight gain, fatigue, increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and depression.

Producing too many of these hormones has the opposite effect—uncontrollable weight loss, accelerated heart rate, insomnia, and anxiety.

Most of the current thyroid problems are of the hypo variety, hence the obesity epidemic.

Environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to a malfunctioning thyroid and, while some are seemingly out of our control, many are not.

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