What you are about to read is a new theory about the cause, and prevention, of thyroid disease. We believe a simple lifestyle issue that characterizes modern life is leading to thyroid dysfunction. It’s something you can test for yourself, on yourself. And the concept itself will change the way science thinks about thyroid function.
If correct, this theory has the potential of significantly reducing the need for thyroid medication, and may help prevent thyroid disease, potentially causing significant loss of revenue for the multi-billion dollar thyroid treatment industry. This information is therefore being shared directly with the public without peer review, since the peer reviewers are part of that treatment industry.
The issue has to do with a commonly known feature of the thyroid, something which everyone knows about the thyroid, but has failed to recognize as a significant feature. It has to do with the location of the organ.
The thyroid is located directly beneath and partly around the thyroid cartilage, or the Adam’s apple, in the throat. Tilt your head back and feel for the most prominent cartilage sticking out. That’s the Adam’s apple. Underneath it is your thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly.
While the thyroid is on the outside of the Adam’s apple, on the inside is the larynx, or voice box. You can tell this by placing your hand on your thyroid and humming. Try this. Hum by saying, “MMMMMMMMM”. Then say it louder and louder, until you are yelling. You will feel your thyroid vibrating. The louder you hum, the more it vibrates.
What happens to the thyroid when it vibrates? The thyroid is filled with a gel-like material that is the storage form of thyroid hormone. The gel releases hormone when the thyroid is massaged, which is why massage therapists avoid throat massages for hyperthyroid patients. There have also been medical studies that show certain types of occupational vibrations cause injury to the thyroid. The thyroid is clearly affected by vibration.
It is logical, then, to conclude that the vibration of the thyroid by using your voice also stimulates the release of thyroid hormone. This is a natural mechanism the body has for thyroid stimulation. This would also explain why Nature has designed the thyroid to be surrounding the voice box. In its wisdom, Nature developed a way that our activity level can influence our thyroid function.
That makes sense when you consider the function of thyroid hormone. This hormone is responsible for overall metabolic rate. Too much thyroid hormone, and you essentially burn up. Too low, and you can’t get your fire started. So when your life is full of excitement and stimulation, and you talk, sing, or yell a great deal, your thyroid gets stimulated to release more hormone, stoking your fires and keeping your energy up. When you have times of being restful and quiet, your voice gets a rest and your fire gets turned down.
The throat is essentially functioning as an activity indicator, since activity is usually associated with using one’s voice. We are social animals, and our activities usually involve other people with whom we communicate by using our voice. And this is true for other social animals, as well. Groups of social animals keep in constant vocal contact with one another, whether it is geese honking, chickens clucking, dogs barking, or humans chatting. In all mammals and most vertibrates, the thyroid gland is associated with vocal structures.
Which raises a question regarding mute humans. If the thyroid is stimulated by vocalizing, and if the person is mute, then you would expect that person to have an understimulated thyroid. Indeed, that is the case. One of the common problems mute children face as they grow up is their thyroid gland does not function properly, and they soon are put on lifetime thyroid medication.
But what if these mute children had their throats vibrated for them, perhaps by some voice simulator? Or what if they had their thyroids massaged? Surely, something could be done to replace the lost stimulation caused by mutism. Unfortunately, the link between vocalization and thyroid function is not considered, so these therapeutic alternatives to drugs are not tried.
Of course, mutism is the extreme case of underutilization of the voice. What about the millions of speaking people, mostly women, who are being told they have low thyroid and need lifetime medication and doctor visits? Could some of these people be underutilizing their voices, too? Are people these days not speaking as much as they used to?
When you think about the reality of modern life, that could certainly be the case. For example, people used to talk to each other in person or over the telephone. Now, they email instead of using the phone. We can communicate with people all over the world, but that communication is electronic, not vocal. Then there were the evenings, not long ago, when people used to sit together and read books aloud, tell stories, and sing songs. People made their own entertainment, and this usually involved using their voices. Now, people silently listen to iPods, watch videos, or surf the Internet. We now consume entertainment, instead of making our own.
We also have less exposure to other people in our daily lives. Many jobs today involve little contact with other people, except over the computer. And more people are working at home, further reducing interpersonal contact. More people are living alone, too, due to record divorce rates and a general trend towards single living. For many people, there’s just nobody to talk to.
These people may be suffering from their silence by having an understiomulated thyroid. They may benefit from singing, huming, massaging their throats, or even letting a purring cat caress their throats. They need throat stimulation to keep their fires burning.
On the other hand, there are those who overuse their voices, and overstimulate their thyroids. Hyperthyroidism is associated with stress, and many people who have stress in their lives yell. Yelling really vibrates the thyroid, and could cause vibrational injury. This could cause too much hormone to be released, resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism until the vibrational injury can heal. In fact, most cases of high thyroid get better by themselves, assuming the doctor hasn’t already destroyed the thyroid with radioactive iodine or surgery. We have already recorded several case histories of people who developed hyperthyroidism after experiencing months of stress that included intense fits of yelling.
So that’s the great discovery. The thyroid vibrates when you use your voice, and this stimulates the thyroid to secrete hormone. It is another axis for thyroid hormone control, along with the well recognized feedback mechanism from the brain’s hypothalmus and pituitary. It is something that is obvious, and yet has gone unrecognized by medicine. Perhaps telling a patient to talk or sing more is not something that fits well into the medical pharmacopeia.
Of course, this theory still needs more research. Despite its sensibility and the supporting evidence briefly mentioned above, there need to be biochemical studies. But these studies will have to be funded, and drug companies, and the government agencies they influence, will probably not be interested in funding them (and if they are, beware of the results!) Fortunately, you do not have to wait for the medical industry to considers these comments, (and the potential impact of this information on drug revenues and professional fees.) You can start singing right now, unless, of course, you have high thyroid, in which case you may want to whisper for a while.
And tell your friends, especially those who are depressed, quiet, and told they have low thyroid. This is something they can shout about.