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The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. The gland wraps around the windpipe (trachea) and has a shape that is similar to a butterfly formed by two wings (lobes) and attached by a middle part (isthmus).
The thyroid gland works like a tiny factory that uses iodine (mostly from the diet in foods such as seafood and salt) to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones help to regulate the body's metabolism and effects processes, such as growth and other important functions of the body.
The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), representing 99.9% and 0.1% of thyroid hormones respectively. The hormone with the most biological power is actually T3. Once released from the thyroid gland into the blood, a large amount of T4 is converted to T3 - the active hormone that affects the metabolism of cells throughout our body.
Text: MedicineNet, Inc.
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