What Controls Basal Metabolic Rate

To regulate basal metabolic rate, the thyroid gland synthesizes hormones thyroxine, or triiodo-L-thyronine (T4), and the more active triiodo-L-tyronine (T3) (1).When secreted into the bloodstream, they associate with transport proteins (thyroxine-binding globulin, albumin, and transthyretin), which circulate the hormones (2). There is nearly 50 times T4 than there is T3, but T3 is more potent. T4 and T3 bind to nuclear receptors that affect gene expression. Increased mRNA and protein synthesis appear to lead to stimulation of oxygen consumption (when awake, at rest or fasting), heat production and also influences enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism (3;4).

Reference List

1. Devlin TM. Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations. Philadelphia: Wiley-Liss, 2002.
2. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.
3. Pereira BM, Balasubramanian K, Govindarajulu P. Effect of thyroxine treatment on epididymal carbohydrate metabolism in the pubertal rat. Int J Androl 1983;6:283-93.
4. Hashimoto K, Ishida E, Matsumoto S et al. Carbohydrate response element binding protein gene expression is positively regulated by thyroid hormone. Endocrinology 2009;150:3417-24.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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