I’m not sure what’s worse…
A: The fact that adrenal fatigue doesn’t really exist.
B: The fact that the most common recommendations for treating adrenal fatigue actually put more stress on your adrenal glands while ruining your thyroid in the process.
There’s really no such thing as adrenal fatigue.
Because it’s impossible for your adrenal glands to actually fatigue.
In fact, Dr. Hans Selye, the forefather of modern endocrine research, showed that you could remove the entire contents within the adrenal capsule and the adrenal tissue will regenerate rather quickly.
Your adrenal glands are rather miraculous if you think about it.
But I also know this because long ago when I studied Functional Medicine, we used to run adrenal labs on all of our clients.
And way back then we used adrenal support supplements and the same illogical and ineffective diets that are being recommended today for adrenal fatigue.
But something was missing.
After retesting adrenal labs every 3 months we rarely ever saw improvement.
And in many cases adrenal function became even worse.
Every wonder why so many people with adrenal issues never get better?
When I figured out what I’m going to show you today, everything changed.
Now, how we fix adrenal function actually works.
And it work extremely well.
It has everything to do with your thyroid and your diet, which I’ll show you in a second.
And I’ll also be giving you five simple fixes for your adrenals that will actually help your thyroid rather than ruining it.
But, before we do that, you have to first understand why adrenal fatigue is really a hoax.
(Note: One reason why our 3 Food Triple Thyroid-Boosting Protocol is so effective is because it helps to fix adrenal issues that are sabotaging your thyroid health.)
If you aren’t using this protocol then get started now.
You can download it for free right here.
Why Your Adrenals Aren’t the Problem (and Why Your Thyroid Is)
As I mentioned previously, adrenal fatigue doesn’t exist because your adrenal glands don’t actually fatigue.
However, you can easily develop “adrenal insufficiency” (lack of cortisol) with hypothyroidism.
And it’s quite common.
But while many people will tell you that you have to treat your adrenals in order to improve your thyroid health… it’s actually quite the opposite.
What you might not realize is this…
Your body requires thyroid hormone (T3) to produce your adrenal stress hormones.
Can you make a cake without all the necessary ingredients?
Of course not.
And this is why your cortisol levels begin to drop, the more hypothyroid you become.
Not because your adrenal glands become “fatigued”.
It’s because you lack the thyroid hormone (T3) you need to produce that cortisol.
So, if you’ve developed adrenal insufficiency, it’s because you’re hypothyroid in the first place.
The Thyroid-Adrenal Stress Cycle (The Real Cause of Adrenal Insufficiency)
We just established that your body requires thyroid hormone in order to produce cortisol. And when you become hypothyroid, your body is forced to compensate by over-activating your adrenal glands… forcing your body to over-produce cortisol.
However, this over-production of cortisol blocks your Thyroid Hormone Pathway, preventing your liver from converting T4 into T3…
…which further decreases your thyroid hormone (T3) levels.
Glucocorticoids decrease in conversion of thyroxine into 3, 5, 3′-tri-iodothyronine by isolated rat renal tubules. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7053919 “Our data provide strong evidence that physiological concentrations of glucocorticoids are able to affect T3 production from T4 directly and suggest that they may be important regulators of T4 deiodination.”
It all boils down to supply and demand. The less thyroid hormone (T3) you have available, the more your adrenal glands are stimulated.
And the more your adrenal glands are stimulated, the less thyroid hormone (T3) you have available.
This creates a vicious Thyroid-Adrenal Stress Cycle.
As this thyroid suppressive cycle continues, you eventually reach a point where the demand for cortisol exceeds your ability to produce it because you don’t have enough thyroid hormone (T3) to do so.
This is how you progress through what are commonly referred to as the 3 stages of adrenal fatigue.
Initially with hypothyroidism we see a rise in cortisol levels as demand increases (oftentimes referred to as stage 1 of adrenal fatigue).
Then, as your thyroid hormone (T3) levels continue to drop, you begin to lack the thyroid hormone needed to continue producing this larger demand of cortisol, and cortisol levels begin to fall (oftentimes referred to as stage 2 of adrenal fatigue).
Then, as this vicious cycle continues further, you become more and more deficient in thyroid hormone and your cortisol begins to plummet (oftentimes referred to as stage 3 of adrenal fatigue).
Then, as you’re adrenal glands can no longer produce adequate cortisol, you begin to compensate further by chronically producing adrenaline, which can lead to common symptoms such as…
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Heart Palpitations
- Inability to Handle Stress
- Extreme Insomnia
- Need to Constantly Be Active
- Crash When You Try to Relax
- And more…
Oftentimes you will hear that if you experience any of the above symptoms when taking thyroid hormone that it’s a sign of adrenal fatigue.
In reality, thyroid hormone (T3) makes you more sensitive to the effects of adrenaline, thus intensifying these symptoms.
And this is where adrenal fatigue treatment can get you into big trouble, further ruining your thyroid.
Why Adrenal Fatigue Treatment Is Ruining Your Thyroid
The general recommendations that adrenal fatigue proponents recommend is both supplement and diet.
Oftentimes supplemental cortisol is prescribed when a deficiency exists.
While this can help improve symptoms in the short-term, it’s ineffective in the long-term because it doesn’t do anything to fix the bigger and more pressing underlying problem.
You’ll simply forever be dependent on a supplement while your thyroid remains continuously suppressed.
Yet, here’s the bigger problem…
The diets that are most commonly prescribed for adrenal fatigue recommend cutting out carbohydrates and increasing protein to regulate blood sugar.
Unfortunately that’s a very backwards approach. Eating protein alone without carbohydrate actually lowers your blood sugar.
So, you’re not regulating your blood sugar at all.
You’re actually forcing your blood sugar lower, stimulating your adrenals even further, and forcing your body to produce even more cortisol to bring your blood sugar back up.
And as I mentioned previously, cortisol suppresses your thyroid. So, in reality you’re just ruining your thyroid in the process.
(Note: You can learn more about the dangers of low-carb diets and how they are dangerous to your thyroid in this article “Stop Eating Low-Carb (If You Care About Your Thyroid)”).
5 Simple Thyroid Fixes That Also Fix Your Adrenals (by Breaking Your Thyroid-Adrenal Stress Cycle)
The real solution to your adrenal problem involves breaking the vicious Thyroid-Adrenal Stress Cycle that’s sabotaging you thyroid.
And this involves addressing this cycle from both sides. First, you need to stop the over-activation of your adrenal glands to decrease the excessive demand for cortisol.
Second, you need to ensure that you have adequate thyroid hormone (T3) (and the ability to use it) to produce adequate cortisol when needed.
So, here are some simple fixes that can help you do just that.
1. Regulate Your Blood Sugar (the right way)
Your liver requires thyroid hormone (T3) to store glycogen. And without glycogen, blood sugar regulation becomes extremely difficult.
This is why hypothyroidism sufferers quickly develop blood sugar issues.
And this is the primary reason why your adrenal glands become over-active when you become hypothyroid.
Simply put, you become dependent on cortisol to break down protein within your body and convert that protein into sugar to bring your blood sugar back up.
The only solution is to use your diet to do the job of your liver, until your liver function improves.
(Note: Healing your liver is one of the most important requirements to overcoming hypothyroidism. I show you how we do this in this article “How to Heal Your Thyroid By Healing Your Liver”).
And as mentioned previously, you can’t do this without adequate carbohydrates in your diet.
Protein alone will only make the problem worse.
This can be done by using more fruit in your diet. Fruit has a unique ability to regulate your blood sugar, both up and down as needed.
And using it frequently enough will help to keep your blood sugar stable and prevent your blood sugar from dropping between meals and stimulating your adrenals.
2. Lower Your Serotonin
No, serotonin is not the “happy” neurotransmitter you might have been led to believe.
It’s actually well known for activating your body’s stress response and your adrenal glands.
When you become hypothyroid, you develop a dysfunctional state of metabolism that results in a decline in carbon dioxide production.
And this is important because as your carbon dioxide levels drop, serotonin production rises proportionally.
Anything we can do help stimulate oxidative metabolism and increase carbon dioxide production will help to lower serotonin.
A simple way to do this is to use bag breathing. It’s as simple as breathing in and out of a paper bag (preferably through your nose), on and off for a few minutes three or four times per day.
This can help you increase your carbon dioxide levels by reabsorbing some of what you’re breathing out.
This in turn will increase your carbon dioxide stores to help to keep your serotonin lower, and ultimately help take some of the load off of your adrenals.
3. Lower Your Estrogen
Estrogen itself is also well known for both directly activating your adrenal glands as well as indirectly activating them by also increasing serotonin production.
When you become hypothyroid, your estrogen levels rise because your liver isn’t able to detoxify it.
(Note: Has your estrogen tested low? Because estrogen accumulates in your tissue and not in your blood, blood testing can be very inaccurate as covered in this post on “How to Accurately Test for Estrogen Dominance (Without Testing Estrogen)“)
Adequate carbohydrates, protein, and thyroid hormone are all necessary to help your liver detoxify estrogen.
But a simple yet very effective way to help lower your estrogen is through the use of raw carrot. I show you exactly how to do this in this article on “How to Boost Your Thyroid in 60-Seconds with a Carrot”.
4. Avoid Polynsaturated Fats (PUFAs)
Not only are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) extremely thyroid suppress and block every part of your Thyroid Hormone Pathway, they are also known to over-activate your adrenal glands.
An oxidized metabolite of linoleic acid stimulates corticosterone production by rat adrenal cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12689852 “We conclude that EKODE stimulates corticosterone biosynthesis and amplifies the effect of ACTH. Increased levels of fatty acid metabolites may be involved in the increased glucocorticoid production observed in obese humans.”
Not sure what foods contain PUFAs?
They are found in many foods, such as nuts and seeds.
And just about any liquid cooking oil is predominantly PUFA and should be avoided.
5. Boost Your Thyroid Hormone (T3)
The good news is that anything you can do to boost thyroid hormone is very effective at de-activating your adrenal glands and decreasing the demand of cortisol.
Plus, anything that boosts your T3 will also help protect you from adrenal insufficiency by ensuring you’re able to produce adequate cortisol.
Thyroid hormone does this through a variety of different means including many of the fixes just mentioned previously…
- It allows your liver to store glycogen, helping to regulate blood sugar.
- It increases carbon dioxide production, which helps lower serotonin.
- It improves your liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen.
But, as I also mentioned previously, some people with severe adrenal insufficiency might not tolerate thyroid hormone (T3) all that well (elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, anxiety, etc.).
This includes all medications and supplements that contain T3, including desiccated thyroid, cytomel, etc.
This is because T3 makes you more sensitive to adrenaline, which can become quite elevated in hypothyroidism and severe adrenal insufficiency.
In this case, it’s important to start very slowly with a small enough amount of thyroid hormone that doesn’t cause an adrenaline response.
Then as your adrenal insufficiency improves slowly over time, you’ll be able to slowly increase your thyroid hormone as well.
In any case, boosting your thyroid hormone can make all the difference.
And you’ll learn about some very simple ways you can boost your thyroid hormone to help heal your thyroid and adrenals when you download the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol.
This daily protocol will show you how a few little foods can make a big difference in your thyroid health.
It’s something that I use with every single one of my clients… so it’s been tested and it doesn’t just work.
It works extremely well.
Not only will it help improve your adrenals, the 3 Food Triple-Thyroid-Boosting Daily Protocol is all about taking the first step to overcoming your hypothyroidism by fixing some of the hidden underlying issues that are holding your thyroid hostage.
If that sounds like what you need, then just download the protocol and use it for yourself.