Adrenal glands are two tiny glands sitting on top of your kidneys. They are in charge of producing hormones (testosterone and oestrogen), catecholamines (noradrenaline) and cortisol (stress hormone).
Have you ever wondered what speeds up your heart beats during an exam or a stressful event? or why when you get sick people ask you if you have been experiencing a stressful event?
In those two aforementioned events, your adrenals produce cortisol.
Cortisol, acts by:
decreasing your thyroid activity
down regulating your immune system
down regulating your digestive, reproductive snd growth processes
increase your heart rate
increase glucose concentration in your blood.
How does Cortisol affects the thyroid?
It suppresses brain activity. It does so by making your pituitary gland to produce less TSH.
It also prevents the conversion of T4 to T3, thus accumulating reverse T3.
It increases levels of thyroid-binding globulin (TBG), which is the protein that allows your thyroid hormones to travel through your bloodstream. When thyroid hormones are attached to TBG they remain inactive, so T4 can’t be stored in your tissues or converted to Free T3.
Your immune system slows down to prevent a state of chronic inflammation. This on the long run can make you prone to develop autoimmune diseases.
Inflammatory immune cells called cytokines make thyroid receptors less sensitive to thyroid hormones. This means that even if you’re taking thyroid medication and your thyroid hormone levels are normal, you can still be suffering from underactive thyroid symptoms.
Increase in glucose can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause leptin resistance which increases your reverseT3.
Inflammatory molecules can also cause a weakened gut barrier leads to leaky gut, which sets you on the path toward autoimmune disease by releasing gluten and dairy into your bloodstream. These can trigger attacks on your thyroid via molecular mimicry.
In case of chronic stress or chronic diseases your body can eventually go to a stage known as adrenal fatigue, which symptoms resembles those of hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue:
As you can see these symptoms are highly unspecific and can mimic hypothyroidism.
For this reason if you DO NOT respond to thyroid therapy you must assess your adrenal glands.
The test is a bit tricky. We suggest you to go for 24h urine test. This way you can have an idea of your cortisol release.
Bear in mind that cortisol peak should only occur in the morning at around 8am.
Let us know your story...
Have you every experienced adrenal fatigue?
How did you manage your symptoms?
Have you ever read or tried adrenal adaptogens?