How Adrenal Glands affect your Thyroid Health
What does "gut health" even mean?
Most people, when diagnosed with a thyroid dysfunction, are told by their doctors to only focus on the thyroid. They are usually prescribed medication to see if it helps. But it’s very common for people to continue to feel very poorly, even when the medication is technically helping their lab numbers.
This is where the infamous “but your labs look good” conversation comes in. Labs look good, but you still feel terrible. Anyone out there relate to this?
There are SO many other things we need to consider when there is an issue with the thyroid. The body is an amazing ecosystem and everything works together. Think of it as a highly powered machine that has many different systems working together to keep you alive. And if one thing is off many things can be off. It’s never just one thing.
The Endocrine System
The thyroid gland is part of our endocrine system, so when it’s malfunctioning, we need to look at other parts of the endocrine system as well to see how they have been affected, or how they are affecting the thyroid.
Which brings me to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of both kidneys. Adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.
What the adrenal glands do:
One of the main hormones the adrenal glands are responsible for is cortisol – also know as the stress hormone. You might not think of yourself as living in a high stress environment, but it is almost impossible to avoid stress in modern life.
When you live a high stress lifestyle, you force your adrenal glands to produce cortisol all the time, which eventually exhausts them. When you run out of cortisol, you can start experiencing crushing fatigue.
Here is a list of things that trigger a stress response in your body, that can eventually lead to exhausting your adrenals:
- parenting — especially more than one small child with little support or with a child with special needs
- single parenting
- an unhappy marriage
- caring for an ailing parent
- stressful work conditions
- self employment
- drug or alcohol abuse
- odd work patterns that alternate and don’t allow for a daily rhythm
- lack of sleep
- poor food choices
- staying up late — especially when already fatigued
- being a perfectionist
- remaining in no-win situations
- death of someone close
- major surgery
- serious burns
- head trauma
- loss of a job
- abrupt change in financial status
The Role the Liver Plays
When you are living in this constant fight/flight state, you asking your liver to process large amounts of cortisol all the time taxes your livers ability to do its many other jobs.
One of those very important jobs your liver does is convert the thyroid hormone T4 into the active hormone T3 (the feeder to your TSH) but if your cortisol and adrenals are working overtime, your liver can’t keep up, so there is a domino effect of health problems.
See how everything is connected? This is why it’s very important to take a functional approach when it comes to your thyroid health.
According to recent estimates, as many as 20% of the American population (mostly women) could have low thyroid function, and a large percentage might not even know it. Additionally, thyroid cancer has doubled in the past 10 years and over 60% of women with hypothyroidism also have hashimoto’s disease but many go undiagnosed.
This is why checking your cortisol levels and attending to your adrenals is so important. I can’t stress (pun intended) this enough!
A proactive solution
In my coaching program we take a functional approach to your health. We look at nutrition. We look at sleep patterns, stressors, vitamins, minerals and lifestyle habits. We look at your exercise patterns (like if you are doing HITT all the time) and we deep dive on your labs to connect the dots.
All these things are important for a whole body healing approach.
Wondering where to start?
If you are finding yourself stuck and not getting anywhere on your own or with your doctor, that’s what I am here for. Standing in that gap for you and helping you make it make sense again.
Ready to make that change? Book your free consultation with me lets chat.
Welcome to the UnDiet Yourself Revolution
Inside the UnDiet Yourself community, I teach you to take a holistic approach to your health. You’ll learn the foundations of health and nutrition for a sustainable healthy lifestyle that will last a lifetime. Some of the areas I specialize in are hormones, gut health, macros, mindset, movement and habit building.