Tired, Puffy, and Brain fogged…not your Thyroid? Is it your Cortisol? However, if cortisol is an underlying reason behind your symptoms and it is not treated, you will find that you never really feel better even though your thyroid condition is being addressed, be it with medication such as thyroxine, or natural medicine solutions.
How Cortisol-STRESS affects THYROID
Cortisol is extremely important to our thyroid hormones, and it is affected when we have too much cortisol - or when we have too little - such as in chronic fatigue.
Cortisol influences most cells that take part in the immune reaction, especially white blood cells. And it’s a potent anti-inflammatory.
Some of the primary cortisol/thyroid interactions:
• TSH secretion
• T4 to active T3 conversion
• activation of T3 at the cell entry point
• T4 to rT3 conversion
In our modern world, being busy is seen as a badge of honour. However, being constantly on the go every waking minute, without giving the body adequate downtime, overstimulates our nervous system, pushing our adrenal glands hard to produce all those excitatory hormones to keep us going. This affects our thyroid hormones. Stages of Adrenal StressOur adrenal glands have 3 stages of adapting to this daily stress. Pushing our adrenal glands (stage 1) over a prolonged period of time - often when also associated with a traumatic event - can result in sudden fatigue that usually is manageable with periods of rest (stage 2). If this fatigue becomes intrusive and persistent and doesn't seem to get better with rest it is stage 3. When present for 6 months or more, is classed as chronic fatigue (stage 3).
Stage 1 - Hyper AdrenalCommon Symptoms:
• High blood pressure
• High blood sugars
• Moodiness, irritability, or depression
• Muscle and bone weakness
• Skin problems, such as acne, psoriasis or rashes
Stage 2 - Adaptive ResponseCommon Symptoms:
• Body aches
• Wired and Tired
• Low blood pressure and/or high blood pressure - it may fluctuate
• Loss of body hair
Stage 3 - Chronic FatigueCommon Symptoms:
• Fatigue often worsens with activity
• Doesn't improve with rest
• Forgetfulness, foggy head
• Joint pain and muscle aches
• Sensitivity to pain
• Sore throat, hoarse voice
How does Cortisol affect WEIGHT GAIN? Cortisol is metabolised through the liver and turned into glucose moles (SUGAR) by the process of gluconeogenesis. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. It's a deadly cycle that can lead to:
• sugar craving
• insulin resistance
• fat storage around the middle
Testing Know How and What to Test
When testing adrenal function and its impact on the body, it needs to be done alongside other tests to truly understand the root cause - and of course alongside symptom surveys and thorough consultation.Many symptoms of thyroid issues are similar to adrenal issues, so testing both is vital to get the full story and then be able to treat it correctly.
• DHEA-s - adrenal hormones that can be tested by blood or saliva samples
• Melatonin - our sleep neurotransmitter tested by saliva sample.
• Thyroid test - TSH, fT3, fT4, rT3 minimum blood test and reflex test.
• Blood sugar studies
• Nutritional panels
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