Thyroid hormones: Chemical substances made by the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck. This gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones, which are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism), and are involved in the circadian rhythms that govern sleep, among other essential functions.
The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland, acts to stimulate hormone production by the thyroid gland. The pituitary gland is stimulated to make TSH by the hypothalamus gland in the brain.
The thyroid also makes the hormone calcitonin, which is involved in calcium metabolization and stimulating bone cells to add calcium to bone. See calcitonin, thyroxine, triiodothyronine.