The thyroid is very complex but we need to make sure to understand that the thyroid can impact weight. This can be through weight loss or weight gain. Learn more about weight management by continuing to read more!
Women’s health can be impacted with thyroid dysfunction. There are specific signs to look for and if they occur to try using a natural supplement to help balance the symptoms. Read more to find out how you can help your thyroid function in relation to women’s health.
Written by Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND
For further questions or concerns email me at [email protected]
The thyroid works with the adrenal glands lets look deeper into what the adrenal glands are and how they work.†
What Are The Adrenal Glands?
In a nutshell they are small glands on top of the kidneys that produce hormones. They look rather like little hats that live on top of the kidneys. These glands produce 3 types of hormones. They produce mineralocorticoids for example aldosterone which can control blood pressure, glucocorticoids predominately cortisol which is the hormone in charge of our flight or fight response, and adrenal androgen such as DHEA and testosterone. What does all this mean? Well to sum it up the adrenal glands are in charge of our blood pressure, sodium balance in the body, water balance in the body as well as the body’s response to stress or illness. Now stress can mean anything from work stress to a long term illness. If any of your bodies systems are not working up to par the body sees that as stress and the adrenals will react by making cortisol. The adrenals are also in charge of regulating metabolism for example weight as well as fat metabolism and glucose regulation. The adrenals are also very important when it comes to sleep regulation. In fact, when the adrenals are signaled to produce more cortisol (which given it is the main hormone associated with stress it is the main hormone I will talk about) the symptoms include fatigue with a difficulty staying asleep. This can lead to feelings of anxiety as well as weight gain and higher than normal blood pressure.† (1)
Thyroid Health Relationship to Adrenal Glands
Well the thyroid as we know it is connected to almost every system in the body. One of the problems of having too much cortisol produced by the adrenals is that they affect the thyroid itself. Stress hormones for example cortisol, cause the conversion of T3 from T4 to be reduced hence increasing the likelihood of hypothyroid symptoms! (2) This may be one reason when we see clients with what is called adrenal fatigue we often are also working with them to address hypothyroid symptoms. Interestingly, in cases of long term thyroid dysfunction there is also adrenal dysfunction. Now you might say “I know I just read that” but what I mean is that the adrenals can affect the thyroid but the thyroid can affect the adrenals long term. How is that possible? Because the adrenals will often try and compensate for the reduced thyroid hormones. To produce energy they will produce cortisol. However, in the long run this can cause adrenal fatigue. What exactly is adrenal fatigue? In the normal process your body will produce cortisol in the morning to wake you up, a small amount in the afternoon to keep you going and none at night so you can sleep. When you are under stress the adrenals are constantly forced to produce cortisol. This leads to the adrenals becoming unregulated or fatigued. One such issue is that they produce cortisol at night rather than in the morning. They also tend to produce either too much cortisol or not enough. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue can include trouble with sleeping/fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues, changes in weight, and anxiety, brain fog, depression and even joint pain. (3) Please see the included picture for a complete system by system breakdown of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.† (4)
Beneficial Supplements For Adrenal Fatigue
Since so many people with hypothyroid also suffer from adrenal fatigue I really wanted to include a brief discussion of it here since it is important to support the adrenals when working with the thyroid.†
The following supplements have been found to be helpful in working with adrenal fatigue:†
Adrenal glandular are very important in working with adrenal fatigue.†
See InviteⓇ Health Supplement Dr. Pressman Adrenoserine†
Ashwagandha root has been found in studies to not only regulate the thyroid but it also helps to act as an adaptogen to regulate cortisol. In fact studies show lower cortisol levels using this herb.†(5)
See InviteⓇ Health Supplements Dr. Pressman Adrenoserine and Thyroid HxⓇ †
Rhodiola has been found to help moderate the cortisol levels when they are high due to stress. This can help with the stress response.† (6)
See InviteⓇ Health Supplements Rhodiola and our Performance multivitamin†
Licorice root helps to maintain cortisol in the morning so that energy is available when needed. One of the things that often happens in adrenal fatigue is that while there is too much cortisol at night there is too little in the morning. Licorice helps to normalize this.† (7)
See InviteⓇ Health Supplements Dr. Pressman Adrenoserine, DGL Licorice, and MinACID Hx® †
See InviteⓇ Health Supplements Methyl-B for an activated complex of B vitamins that go straight to work †
Methylated B vitamins are very good for people with adrenal fatigue since they don’t have to be activated.† (8)
See InviteⓇ Health Supplements B-Complex 50, B-Complex 100 and any of our Men’s Multivitamin, Women’s Multivitamin, Core Multivitamin, and Performance Multivitamin †
Phosphatidylserine is one of the best things to help with cortisol that is waking you up in the middle of the night. After a few weeks most people say their sleep starts to improve. Studies show Phosphatidylserine normalizes cortisol especially when taken at night.† (9)
See InviteⓇ Health Supplements Phosphatidylserine and Cerebral care †
⦁ Al-Dujaili EA, Kenyon CJ, Nicol MR, Mason JI. Licorice and glycyrrhetinic acid increase DHEA and deoxycorticosterone levels in vivo and in vitro by inhibiting adrenal SULT2A1 activity. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2010 Dec 22.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ⦁ HYPERLINK “https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770181/” ⦁ HYPERLINK “https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770181/”⦁ /pmc/articles/PMC6770181/
Please see below for a complete transcript of this episode.
What the Heck Is a Hormone? – InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode 541
Hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
InViteⓇ Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InViteⓇ Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!
Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:40] Did you know that one of the most important factors in anti-aging is your hormones? And did you know that hormones are incredibly important for every single system in the body? Today, I want to talk about what the heck a hormone is and how they influence the way that we feel each and every single day in particular as we get older. † [00:59]
[01:00] I’m Dr. Amanda Williams and I am the Scientific Director at InViteⓇ Health. And when it comes to hormonal imbalances, most people think about the common things and think about men going through andropause, women going through menopause, looking at thyroid imbalance. We know 5% of the US population has Hashimoto’s which is an autoimmune thyroid condition. We know that one out of every ten people in the United States have a thyroid condition and there is upwards of 60% of people who have no idea that they have a thyroid disorder. When it comes to sexual issues, 40% of pre-menopausal women have sexual dysfunction. And when it comes to endometriosis, 10 to 15% of women have endometriosis, we can look at men in hormone impact. We can look at how prostate, cardiac all play a role into hormonal fluctuations.† [01:58]
[01:59] So what the heck is a hormone? Well, hormones are chemicals that are synthesized and produced by specialized glands to control and regulate the activity of certain cells and organs. So these specialized glands are known as endocrine glands. So when thinking about hormones, we want to think of them as these chemical messengers. And they are sending a message in the body. They’re secreted by these glands and then they go off and they send the information. So a organ, for example can function properly and this is known as cell signaling. So the effect of hormones depends on how they’re released. So there are different ways in which hormones are released. You have autocrine these are hormones that act on these cells that are actually secreting them. We have paracrine these are hormones that act on nearby cells without having to enter the bloodstream. We have intracrine these are hormones that are produced within a cell and they act intracellular, so inside of the cell. We have endocrine this is the most common that we think about these are hormones that act on target cells. So once it’s released from its gland, it travels through the bloodstream to act on a particular cell system.† [03:12]
[03:13] So there are different types of hormones you have peptide hormones and you have steroid hormones. So peptide hormones, as the name implies, is made of amino acids. Now, peptide hormones are unable to pass through cell membranes. That contain that phospholipid bilayer or a fatty membrane. Where your steroid hormones can actually pass through so they’re fat soluble. So we have different endocrine glands and they secrete different hormones. So when we look at things like our thyroid for example, we know that the thyroid produces hormones that affect how calories are burned, how our heart rate is regulated. But we have the hypothalamus to regulate our body temperature, our emotions, our hunger how well we sleep. We have the pineal gland, this helps to produce serotonin and melatonin so can help to regulate your mood and your sleep. You have the parathyroid which sits right behind your thyroid gland. This helps to regulate calcium in the body. We have our adrenal gland which controls our stress response, as well as sex drive. You have the pituitary gland oftentimes this is known as the master control gland because the pituitary gland actually helps controlling other glands in the body. You have your pancreas oftentimes people don’t look at the pancreas as a gland, but yet it is secreting hormones such as insulin, so for the regulation of blood sugar.† [04:42]
[04:42] And then, of course, when most people think about hormones, they think about sex hormones. So you have the testes and the ovaries. So we have all these very important hormones that are released from these different glands, most commonly that people think about as cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, melatonin. But we know the we have all of these hormones that help us with daily functioning like our food metabolism, controlling our hunger, maintaining our temperature, our heart rate, regulating our mood and our cognitive function each and every single day.† [05:15]
[05:16] We know that there’s many things that can influence or dysregulate those hormonal pathways through different feedback mechanisms. So we have to be aware that hormones are really pretty darn important. So when I talk about hormonal health on different radio shows or podcasts. I often talk about the importance of having your hormone levels tested. Now, many times when I say that, just in general, people assume that I’m just talking about estrogen and progesterone or testosterone, but certainly not. When it comes to looking at your hormones depending upon what your health concerns may be. This is why I always encourage people to look at their fasting insulin level so we can look at pancreatic function. To look at their cortisol levels and DHEA to assess adrenal function. And of course we can look at the sex hormones as well. Now, when assessing sex hormones it’s very important to make sure that you’re testing estradiol, not just your total estrogens, but actually looking at your estradiol levels. † [06:17]
[06:17] There are so many things that can influence and impact these chemical messaging system, that can screw up those signaling pathways. And we can certainly look at how nutrition has a significant impact on hormone signaling and specific nutrients and dietary patterns can influence our overall sense of well-being. So take for example, you were following a standard American diet then it’s going to make it very difficult for those endocrine glands and those different hormones signaling pathways to function properly when they’re just hopped up on sugar and bad fats. So the more we understand about how the potential of our nutrition can impact hormone levels. The better off we are and we know from scientific research and understanding more about how foods are working in our body, we can start to see that correlation between hormone sensitivities and the foods that we are eating. † [07:14]
[07:15] All of these things are very important because signaling sensitivity of hormones is directly correlated to tissue sensitivity. For example, if someone is eating a standard American diet the likelihood that they’re going to have insulin resistance is much higher, which means we are now affected the pancreatic release of that chemical messenger, insulin. And they’ve been able to show that when people adhere to a Mediterranean diet. That hormonal balance really comes in to check. And at the end of the day, we want to be doing everything in our power to have our diet positively influence our hormonal pathway and that regulation of all of the hormones. So that our heart rate and our metabolism and our mood and our sleep are all working synergistically together to make us feel good. † [08:08]
[08:08] And this is why I go back to saying, when it comes to anti-aging hormones are the primary driver to this, because once you have one disrupted hormonal signaling pathway, you will then start to influence the communication or signaling pathways of other hormones and it’s often when I’m talking to people where I explain this, your hormones are talking to your cellular DNA. So if you don’t have adequate hormones then you can start to recognize how every cell it’s like trying to power up your computer and it won’t start this is how your cells get impacted. When we have hormonal imbalances and we want to be able to regulate our metabolism, we want to be able to repair when we have an injury we want to make sure that we have of course, a healthy reproductive cycle. But as we get older, we want to make sure that we maintain a strong immune system and that we can control our mood and our sense of well-being. † [09:06]
[09:07] Now, hormones themselves are very intricate and detailed in understanding those different pathways, and what can influence those pathways is certainly part of the challenge when it comes to hormones. But the key thing that we always want to zero in on is that we want to have balance or homeostasis when it comes to hormones and creating that cellular sensitivity. We know there are so many things that can impact or throw off those chemical messengers, including stress. So when we have mental, physical, emotional stress, this can create significant dysregulation of your hormones, creating these really pronounced imbalances throughout the body and can affect everything from feeling anxious to having a hard time focusing. This is why hormones have to always be a place that you think about looking at. † [10:02]
[10:02] Ask your doctor the next time you go in and have bloodwork done to have comprehensive hormone testing. Look at your sex hormones, look at your thyroid hormone, or your adrenal hormones. This can give you a lot of insight as to how your body is managing stress, how your body is functioning on a daily basis. And when you see those abnormalities or that dysregulation of those chemical messaging systems, those signaling pathways, then you can start to make modifications to your diet, to your exercise, as well as the supplements that you are taking. So when it comes down to the basics on hormones, they’re very intricate but yet in many ways they’re very simple. It’s our bodies, chemical messengers, and without them, we would not exist. † [10:46]
[10:46] So that’s all that I have for you for today I want to thank you so much for tuning in to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast. Remember, you can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting invitehealth.com/podcast Now do remember to subscribe and leave us a review. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And, we will see you next time for another episode at the InViteⓇ Health podcast. † [10:46]