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Adrenal Fatigue and Thyroid: How Are They Connected?

Thyroid and Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

If you regularly experience one or more of the following thyroid and adrenal fatigue symptoms:

  1. You have salt cravings
  2. You lack energy and you’re tired for no reason
  3. You feel run down or overwhelmed
  4. You need coffee or other stimulants to give you a boost of energy
  5. You fall asleep, but wake up several hours later and can’t go back to sleep
  6. You’re exhausted when you wake up
  7. You are exhausted throughout the day, but wake up after dinner
  8. You have no libido
  9. You’ve experienced weight gain
  10. You feel anxious and angry with little stressors
  11. You suffer from recurring infections
  12. It takes you a long time to recover from sickness
  13. You’re memory is not as good
  14. You suffer from chronic respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies
  15. You have low blood pressure
  16. You feel faint when you stand up quickly from a sitting position.
  17. You feel like you have cotton in your head
  18. You’re not interested in the things that used to make you happy
  19. You have hot flashes, night sweats, or PMS
  20. You suffer from depression

Connection Between Adrenal fatigue and Thyroid Gland
Adrenal Fatigue and The Thyroid Connection| Dr Hagmeyer Explains Some Common Treatment Pitfalls 2

If you have a thyroid disease and are on thyroid medications but still suffering from worsening fatigue, weight gain, stomach problems, immune system problems, insomnia, mental sluggishness, or if you continue to require increased thyroid medication dosage to sustain the same energy level, you should be on the alert for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue symptoms can have numerous similarities and unless proper testing is done to determine if one or both of these problems exist at the same time, a person will never get better.

With that being said, It is not important whether your fatigue is stemming from your Adrenals or your fatigue is stemming from low thyroid function. What is important is that both the adrenal gland and the thyroid gland are evaluated together. These two glands are intimately connected through the neuroendocrine system.

How You Can Associate Your Adrenal Fatigue and Thyroid Health

Improving adrenal gland health until your adrenal function normalizes often leads to improved thyroid health and a reduction in thyroid medications. Increasing thyroid medication will only aid primary thyroid dysfunction. If low thyroid function is secondary or due to Adrenal Fatigue, increasing thyroid medication to enhance energy and reduce fatigue only puts the adrenal glands on overdrive at a time when it needs rest. With time, this will often lead to worsened adrenal function and increased adrenal crashes.

How High Cortisol Affects Your Thyroid Gland

High cortisol levels affect many parts of your body, but one area of special interest is your thyroid function. When you encounter stress, the adrenal glands secrete hormones and one of them is called cortisol. Cortisol is known as the hormone involved in the fight or flight response. Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, and in times of stress, it will increase metabolic function leading to increased sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose, increasing the body’s heart rate and breathing rate, and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Stress and Your Thyroid Hormone

Your thyroid works hand in hand with your adrenal glands and if you have been struggling with thyroid problems such as hypothyroid symptoms or with elevated TSH levels that suddenly plummet down or vice versa, it might be time to look at the relationship between high cortisol levels and the health of your adrenal glands.

If you looked at the symptoms of high cortisol above and you checked the box on many of them and you currently take synthetic thyroid hormone medications such as Synthroid, Levothyroxine, Armour or Cytomel, my suspicion is that something is going on with them.

Regardless of what may have been told, prolonged stress caused by adrenal fatigue will have a series of negative consequences on your cortisol levels, thyroid hormones, and sex hormones.

Cortisol Affects Your Thyroid in Several Ways.

    1. Elevated cortisol can reduce or suppress the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Axis (HPA) resulting in low TSH levels.
    2. It can reduce T4 and T3 production.
    3. Cortisol can lower your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels leading to reduced thyroid hormones.
    4. Thyroid Receptor Down regulation- Thyroid receptors become dull
    5. Persistent elevations of cortisol can reduce the conversion of T4 to T3 and increase the conversion of T4 to rT3.

3 Primary Common Causes Of Adrenal Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  1. Chronic Stress

This is the most common and major causes of adrenal fatigue. I have said it in many previous articles: our bodies were never created to handle the amount of stress that we face on a daily basis. The adrenal glands were meant to deal with sudden acute stress situations; they cannot deal with chronic, prolonged, stress effectively. We live in a world where the majority of people have some type of chronic stress, job, relationship, finances, which over a period of months and years even, will wreck havoc on the adrenal glands, resulting in adrenal fatigue.

Dr Hagmeyer Explains How High Cortisol Shuts Down Thyroid Function 1

  1. Poor eating habits

Allow me to be blunt, eating poorly will definitely affect the health of your adrenal glands and will eventually contribute greatly to adrenal fatigue. This is even truer for those that constantly eat crappy refined carbohydrates, which many people fit under this category. The reason why this affects the adrenal glands is that refined foods have both the nutrients and the fiber from the whole food source REMOVED. These foods no longer have the fiber component to slow down the absorption even though the manufacturers do replace some of the removed nutrients. Are you ready for this? This means that when you eat refined food, it very quickly absorbs into the bloodstream and spikes up your blood sugar levels. So when somebody has a habit of eating refined carbohydrates all throughout the day (cereals bread, pasta, snacks, etc.) their blood sugar levels are going to spike up and come crashing down hard, over and over again.

Over the duration of months and years, this is putting significant amounts of stress on the adrenal glands, as well as other endocrine glands in the body specifically the hormones Cortisol and insulin. Cortisol is released when the blood sugar levels are too low and insulin is released by the pancreas when the blood sugar levels are high. Adrenal fatigue affects these two areas. Over a period of time, this condition can lead to depleted cortisol levels and lead to insulin resistance, Leptin Resistance, diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disorders, etc. Depleted cortisol levels can lead to chronic fatigue and many other symptoms associated with adrenal dysfunction.

  1.  Not eating regularly

In addition to eating junk food frequently, many people are guilty of skipping meals and not eating on a consistent basis throughout the day. I find most adrenal fatigue suffers will skip breakfast but have their Starbucks in the morning which also isn’t a good thing to do. This once again all ties in with balancing blood sugar levels, and if you skip breakfast and/or go more than a couple of hours without eating upon awakening, this will put a lot of stress on your adrenal glands, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue.

What Would Happen If I Have Adrenal Fatigue With Hypothyroidism?

Both the thyroid and adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production to keep your body in top shape. If your thyroid glands function declines or low thyroid (hypothyroid), your body would exhibit the same symptoms as adrenal fatigue. This symptoms would include low energy levels, brain fog, depression, etc. Due to this similarities, hypothyroidism is often confused with adrenal fatigue. Most of my patients with hypothyroidism also have weak adrenal glands. If there are any adrenal insufficiencies especially in cortisol hormone production, your adrenal fatigue symptoms may worsen if your also have thyroid disease such as hypothyroidism.

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