The Connection between Adrenal and Thyroid Health (Part 1)

Did you ever feel like once you turned 40 that your body started to fall apart.  Lets face it, we have put on some miles or should I say kilometres… When our car gets too many miles on it, we trade it in for a new one.  We can’t trade in our bodies.Well maybe on the outside we can upgrade ;), but not on the inside.

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Are you frustrated with weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, cold hands and feet, or salt cravings?  These are symptoms that your thyroid and adrenals are not in balance.  Your thyroid gland and adrenal glands are like best friends and really need to be working optimally individually and together.. Sort of like PB and Jam , Beyonce and Jay-Z or Mojo and Moxie…  :).  They work on their own but they are so much better together..

Note:  This post is not to diagnose you in any way.  It is is bring awareness to how we listen to our bodies.  If you feel you need to delve further into your health, contact your natural health practitioner or medical doctor..

Does this sound like you…

  • Go to bed early, exhausted, only to wake up at 4 am not able to get back to sleep
  • Gaining weight, especially around that middle section (some may call it to the spare tire, love handles) and have no reason why
  • Get that craving for something salty

Its okay, you are not going crazy and are one of many women who feel this way.

I am going to help you understand why these symptoms happen with some tips on how to alleviate symptoms, naturally if possible.  These are things that I do for myself to keep my body running optimally and of course may not work for everyone as we are all different…

I crave salt!!!  Chips are like my kryptonite…

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I have naturally low blood pressure ( learn more about that in Part 2 of this post), and that’s okay.  I just need to be prepared for certain situations.  When working out, which does stimulate adrenals, I need to ensure I have enough fluids to replenish my electrolytes mainly sodium and potassium.  Throw stress into that bucket and this causes my adrenals to be continuously stimulated, which decreases aldosterone (a hormone produced by the adrenals to regulate salt and water in the body), which then decreases blood volume therefore decreases blood pressure.

Ever experience dizziness when you stand up quickly?

Orthostatic Hypotension – normally blood pressure should increase slightly when you stand up, as this sudden movement causes an adrenaline release.  Someone with taxed adrenals will not be able to respond so quickly to the adrenaline release. Their blood pressure will stay the same or drop, causing dizziness and some may even pass out..

So let’s talk about weight gain..Why am I gaining weight around my middle torso area?Well, there are a couple reasons but for the sake of this blog post, we are going to talk about Cortisol and Stress. We all lead busy lives and stress becomes a huge part of that.  Stress can be many things to many people and we all handle it differently.  When we are constantly under stress, our Sympathetic Nervous System or ‘fight or flight’ response is working overtime. Cortisol which is secreted by the adrenal glands during stress, activates all fat cells to store fat.  This then causes our fat cells especially those around are abdomen to become resistant to fat loss.  This is our body’s way of storing up energy to respond to the stress and keep that fight or flight in motion.

Did you know that fat cells in our abdomen area have 4 TIMES the cortisol receptors of fat cells in the rest of our body.?  HMM…

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But then there is the question of..I am working out a ton and find that middle area is still holding weight…Well, we also secrete cortisol when we work out which takes us back to the vicious cycle of our fat cells storing fat..  So making sure that we support our bodies, and our adrenals through this is key when working out or training.

And then to top it off, we are fatigued because when cortisol levels rise and stay elevated into the evening, this prevents us from falling sleep or can cause interrupted sleep..Our body’s systems are always working and we need to replenish them properly.

So here are a few suggestions to help replenish, balance and regulate our adrenal glands

  • try to remove all dietary stressors from your diet (processed food, excessive fat, excessive alcohol intake, food allergies or sensitivities)
  • eat clean with good quality proteins, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds
  • keep hydrated
  • include a B complex supplement with additional B5 (Stress vitamin) if needed
    •  B vitamins are water soluble so they do deplete out of your system regularly
  • For those with low blood pressure add some extra good quality sea salt, seafood, seaweed, kelp to your diet. ( maybe not chips!!)
  • Reduce stress levels by walking, yoga, massage, meditation, or doing a light workout

There are some great supplements out there to help your adrenals over and above the nutrition but again you should talk to your health practitioner to determine what is the best for you..

In part 2 of this series, we will look at how the other friend, thyroid, works and how it partners with your adrenal glands.

Danni

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