Linda Wilbert-Stewart, FDN, HHP, Contributor Thyroid Nation
Can low cortisol, or problems with your adrenal glands, be the real cause of your hypothyroidism?
So, you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you may be on thyroid replacement hormones and still have symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Brittle nails
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Cold hands & feet
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
- Low Blood Pressure
- Poor memory
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
You need thyroid hormones in every cell in your body, in order to produce energy. If you are low on thyroid hormones, consequently you will experience symptoms.
The simple explanation is the fact that the thyroid gland works in conjunction with the adrenal glands, the liver and the gut.
Now, is your thyroid at fault or are your adrenal glands to blame?
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and they produce the main stress hormone cortisol. Nowadays people are under a lot more stress than in the past through the use of herbicides and pesticides in our food, chemicals in our water such as chlorine and fluoride, polluted air, unhealthy food choices such as the consumption of sugar, refined flour, refined salt, fried foods and diet sodas, and a stressful work environment which often times result in digestive problems and down the road in disease processes. Any kind of illness is stressful to the body and weakens the adrenal glands. Once the digestive system is weakened one can develop food sensitivities, gas, bloating, indigestion and even parasite infestation. The list of stressors our body has to endure is long and oftentimes overlooked. Due to years of living with chronic stress, the adrenal glands will get weak and tired and cannot produce as much cortisol as they did before they were run down by stress. This weakness can also manifest as hypothyroidism.
The adrenal glands are connected via a feedback loop to the hypothalamus, which is a section of the brain. The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland gets hormonal signals from the pituitary. In short this is called the HPA axis. Now, the thyroid has a similar feedback loop through the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid axis, also called HPT axis. If the thyroid would work at an optimal level, your cells would have enough energy. Since the adrenal glands are already weak and putting out less and less cortisol, they are not able to keep up with the demand. As a result you would wear out the adrenal glands which then produce less and less cortisol. We can’t live without cortisol, we would die without it. Or, your physician can give you medication to replace your own cortisol production.
Here is the wisdom of the body at work, slowing down the thyroid gland in order to protect the adrenals and in the end, your life depends on them.
Instead of suffering for a long time and ending up on some kind of medication which suppress symptoms I would recommend to work with a health coach early enough, before the adrenal glands are very fatigued, to look for underlying causes of the problem and improve adrenal function. Adrenal fatigue is most reliably tested through a functional saliva test. In my health coaching practice we look at these test results and then work through a protocol to improve underlying function. I can help you to understand what is going on in your body and why you are not getting well.
About the Author
Linda Wilbert – Stewart, FDN, HHP is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Practitioner and Certified Holistic Health Practitioner with diplomas from the Natural Healing College. She is a Certified Health Coach from Beyond Organic University. She took classes in Functional Blood Chemistry. Module one and two MTHFR, Methylation & Biochemistry master course. She graduated in Germany as an Occupational Therapist in 1988. Linda uses functional diagnostic lab tests to find underlying causes of symptoms. Check out her website, ExclusivelyHolistic.com to get a Free Health Consultation and get her Free EBook, here. Please be sure to follow her on Facebook.