Advertisement

What are parathyroid glands?

The parathyroid glands are four tiny glands, located in the neck, that control the body's calcium levels. Each gland is about the size of a grain of rice (weighs approximately 30 milligrams and is 3-4 millimeters in diameter). The parathyroids produce a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH raises the blood calcium level by:
  • breaking down the bone (where most of the body's calcium is stored) and causing calcium release
  • increasing the body's ability to absorb calcium from food
  • increasing the kidney's ability to hold on to calcium that would otherwise be lost in the urine.  

Your parathyroid glands are in your neck. They are directly behind your thyroid gland. You have four parathyroid glands, two on each side of your thyroid.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

When Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be Good
When Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be Good
Fear-mongering about hormone replacement therapy isn’t good science. For the right woman with nasty menopausal symptoms and the right man with low tes...
Read More
What can be done to influence leptin and ghrelin?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Ghrelin is a hormone that controls meal initiation, and leptin is a hormone that regulates fat stora...
More Answers
What is the role of the endocrine system?
William B. Salt II., MDWilliam B. Salt II., MD
The endocrine system is the second of the three mind/brain-body communication systems. It is a major...
More Answers
What Nutrients Are Important for a Healthy Thyroid?
What Nutrients Are Important for a Healthy Thyroid?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.