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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Laboratory Assessment of Thyroid Function (retired 3/27/2020). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Metabolism and Metabolic Rate

Thyroid hormones control the metabolic rate and have a direct effect on a number of metabolic processes:

  • Weight management
    • In decreased caloric intake, thyroid hormone slows the body's metabolism which initially reduces the associated weight reduction
    • This is believed to be an evolutionary role for surviving in times of starvation
  • Food metabolism
    • Following consumption of a meal rich in fats and carbohydrates, thyroid hormone is released to increase the metabolic rate
    • Inadequate release of thyroid hormone may lead to weight gain
  • Energy expenditure
    • Thyroid hormone stimulates oxygen consumption in metabolically active tissues
    • This aerobic metabolism provides essential energy to muscle tissues