The adrenals, thyroid, and pancreas (which secretes insulin) are tightly linked in the triad of modern medicine. An abnormality in any of these areas should be assessed in concert with your entire system. In the reductionist mainstream model of care, however, each body part is viewed individually.
Stress is the primary cause of adrenal dysfunction. External stressors drive our adrenals to produce stress hormones, including cortisol, DHEA, and adrenaline. The overproduction of stress hormones for prolonged periods of time deregulates the axis between the brain and adrenal glands. The body will allow for increases of cortisol for many months or years. Over time, however, the brain will lower the body’s production of these stress hormones. This has been coined “adrenal fatigue,” but we refer to it as “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction.” Simply put, the brain and adrenal glands are not communicating well anymore. This system’s malfunctions can lead to weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, sex hormone dysfunction, and immune dysregulation.
Mainstream medicine commonly accepts deficiencies in thyroid gland function. The TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test has long been used as the marker for thyroid overproduction or underproduction. This test is not actually evaluating thyroid function but rather the brain’s interpretation of the hormone in the body. If the TSH goes up, the body feels there is not enough thyroid hormone, and if it goes down, the brain feels there is too much hormone. But bodies are more complex than that. For example, estrogen and cortisol can directly affect TSH. Truly understanding the thyroid requires evaluation beyond a simple TSH test.
The thyroid gland garners so much attention because it is a master regulator of energy production at the cellular level in virtually every body system. It is extremely sensitive, and even mild reductions in thyroid function can produce symptoms. Subclinical hypothyroidism refers to when conventional thyroid testing indicates normal or borderline results while clinical symptoms are apparent. These symptoms include constipation, hair loss, weight gain, low energy, brittle nails, and many more.
As thyroid function is affected by many conditions in the body, correcting nutritional deficiencies and hormone imbalances can often regulate thyroid function without the need for thyroid medication. If you do need thyroid medications, our physicians are trained in compounded T4/T3 supplements, glandular or desiccated thyroid, and pharmaceutical grade thyroid hormones.