How to support adrenal and thyroid glands through diet.

How does STRESS affect your Adrenal and Thyroid Glands?

Stress, it is real and it will affect your adrenal and thyroid glands. And now more than ever most of us are feeling the effects of a few years dealing with Covid 19.

Adrenal and Thyroid glands are two very important glands in the body that control the body’s response to stress and regulate the metabolic rate. The two are very much linked together. If we become very stressed for prolonged periods of time the adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol. High cortisol will increase insulin secretion in the body and insulin is a fat storing hormone that encourages the body to store fat even if you’re not eating fat! It will cause an imbalance in blood sugar and create cravings for sugary foods, stimulants and starchy carbohydrates. High cortisol will also lead to Hypothyroidism and this will slow down the metabolic rate and lead to weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, and poor mood and memory. When the body is producing cortisol in high amounts it can make other hormones work less efficiently especially the sex hormones, Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. This can further exacerbate problems with weight, mood, skin problems and more.

Some signs and symptoms that could indicate Adrenal or Thyroid dysfunction and high cortisol:

Symptoms of long term high cortisol:

• Tired but still wired
• Anxiety
• Blood sugar problems
• Irritability
• Feeling tired on waking
• Weight gain around the middle
• Depression and negative emotions
• Digestive problems

Symptoms of stressed out adrenals:

• Excessive sleep but still tired
• Often feel better after 9pm
• Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression, tearfulness
• Muscle or joint pain
• Low mood
• Poor memory, concentration and motivation

Symptoms of sluggish thyroid:

• Weight gain
• Fatigue
• Morning stiffness
• Poor memory
• Cold hands and feet
• Dry skin
• Hair loss
• Low sex drive and infertility
• Constipation
• Loss of outer third of eyebrows

What affect does long term high cortisol have on the body?

• Affects the availability of thyroid hormones
• Suppresses the immune system
• Contributes to digestive problems
• Can increase fracture risk
• Can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and depression
• Cause problems with the sex hormones
• Will eventually lead to adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is associated with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and is a factor in chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, SAD and fibromyalgia. Adrenal fatigue is also a contributory factor to a low thyroid function.

So you see how stress can wreak havoc on the body, how one thing leads to another and it is not just treating one symptom that will help but looking at the whole picture to see where the problem stemmed.

Low thyroid function is now becoming a recognised causative factor in cardiovascular problems and poor pregnancy outcomes.

So now we know what to eat, so what should we not eat?

• Avoid stimulants like, coffee, smoking, alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates
• Avoid foods that you are sensitive to (you may need a food sensitivity test)
• Cut out processed foods
• Cutting out gluten may help some people
• Soya may disrupt the thyroid function so you may benefit cutting it out

So there, diet is covered. If you can clean up your diet and make more of the right food choices you will definitely help lesson the effects that stress has on your body. Lifestyle factors have a role to play too and getting enough sleep is important, so if you’re not sleeping during the night try to get a rest during the day. I know it is almost impossible but even 40 winks will help.

Other lifestyle factors:

• Talk to friends and family make sure you have a support group and people to socialize with
• Be aware that chronic stress can lead to addiction and making the wrong choices especially when it comes to sugar, alcohol, cigarettes and other stimulants.• Be careful with exercise, while it is important exercising to the point of extreme fatigue is not useful in adrenal fatigue, sometimes a more gentle form is required.
• Learn some meditation and breathing exercises.
• Asses your exposure to outside toxins such as Mercury, Lead etc.

Supplements that are beneficial.

  • Higher Nature Alert is great if you have no motivation, your mood is a bit low and the energy levels are down.
  • Bio Care TH207 is the one to go with if you think your Thyroid is slightly under-active or if your GP has told you it is, you can try this to see if it will get the hormone levels up.
  • Bio Care AD206 is a special formula for adrenal glands and this is good if you are stressed, over worked, maybe a bit of an obsessive compulsive.
  • Magnesium for stress, sleep problems, and digestive problems.

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