The Thyroid – Adrenal Connection
November 5, 2014 | Published by Dr. James L. Wilson
It has been known for over half a century that about 80% of those suffering from adrenal fatigue also have a number of symptoms of low thyroid. If your adrenal fatigue has a thyroid component, it is usually necessary to strengthen both the adrenals and the thyroid simultaneously for full recovery to take place.
The thyroid is another endocrine gland sensitive to the effects of stress. Unlike the adrenal glands that have many functions, the thyroid has one major function: to control the rate at which energy is produced in the individual cells of the body. However, getting your thyroid function tested has the same disadvantages as testing for adrenal function using blood tests; marginally low thyroid function does not show up on these standard tests. Compounding the problem, insurance companies have limited thyroid testing to only one test (typically the TSH) instead of allowing a wider range of thyroid blood tests that could give more information.
There are some observations, though, that you can make yourself to determine if your thyroid may be low. Although these are not precise or conclusive, I have found them valuable clinical indicators that make me suspect thyroid function to be lower than optimal. A list of these follows:
- Your basal body temperature, taken before rising in the morning, is below 98.2°F (oral) or 97.2°F (underarm).
- Your stamina or capacity does not improve with increased exercise. (Typically, as you exercise, your stamina and capacity increase with repeated exercise, even if you have adrenal fatigue).
- At 9:30 PM you hit a wall and are ready for bed but there is no 11:00 PM second wind (as is often seen in pure adrenal fatigue).
- Reaction time is slightly slower than you know it should be when you are driving a car, engaging in sports or operating equipment.
- You gain weight easily, especially around your hips and thighs, even when eating the right foods in normal portions.
- The outside of your eyebrows are much thinner than normal.
- You feel sluggish and not fully awake much of the day. (Those with pure adrenal fatigue usually feel awake by 10:00AM, or if not by 10:00AM, after the noon meal.)
- Your energy does not noticeably improve after your evening meal or after 6:00PM.
If approximately half of the above indicators are present, then you may have a low thyroid component to your adrenal fatigue. If so, there are several possible solutions. Both your adrenals and thyroid are ultimately regulated in similar ways by a gland called the hypothalamus. Taking a hypothalamus extract may help normalize your thyroid as well as your adrenal function when they need a little fine-tuning.
Supporting the adrenal glands can also go a long way in supporting the thyroid gland. Underperforming adrenals can tax the thyroid, and vice versa. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, there are herbs, vitamins and glandular extracts available that can help with adrenal support.
Note that both of these glands are very sensitive to and easily undermined by body burdens. If low thyroid seems to be a factor in your adrenal fatigue, check for body burdens again before doing anything else. The above are only some of the body burdens that can continually compromise your health without your knowledge.
The key to determining underlying body burdens is to look at your “Health History Timeline” (PDF link-right click to save). Note any things that occurred within a few months of the onset of your adrenal fatigue. Once the body burden is discovered, find a way to limit or remove it. Just because they are sometimes difficult to isolate or treat, does not mean they are not important. The real detective never gives up until the crime is resolved.
Image Credits: Thyroid system via Wikimedia Commons
About the Author: With a researcher’s grasp of science and a clinician’s understanding of its human impact, Dr. Wilson has helped many physicians understand the physiology behind and treatment of various health conditions. He is acknowledged as an expert on alternative medicine, especially in the area of stress and adrenal function. Dr. Wilson is a respected and sought after lecturer and consultant in the medical and alternative healthcare communities in the United States and abroad. His popular book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome has been received enthusiastically by physicians and the public alike, and has sold over 400,000 copies. Dr. Wilson resides with his family in sunny Tucson, Arizona.
Categorised in: Adrenal Fatigue