Want an easy way to look and feel years younger?
Well, the answer might not be as far from reach as you might think.
In fact, thyroid hormone (T3) is one of the most effective and natural anti-aging supplements available.
In this post, I’ll show you how thyroid hormone can help you to reverse the signs of aging and feel younger by lowering your “aging” hormones and boosting your “anti-aging” hormones.
Most people understand that adequate thyroid hormone is necessary for proper thyroid function and that it helps to improve one’s metabolism.
However, the benefits of using thyroid hormone and restoring proper thyroid hormone levels extend far beyond that.
There are many, potentially more important, benefits of thyroid hormone that have a lot more to do with the “aging” of your body.
That’s right, restoring proper thyroid hormone levels helps to keep you young.
And it does so in part by putting the brakes on a few thyroid-suppressive hormones that promote accelerated aging.
Thyroid-Suppressive Hormones That Accelerate Aging
In the 1930’s Dr. Hans Selye first discovered that chronically elevated stress hormone levels accelerated the aging process and shortened lifespan.
There are many hormones that promote stress and stress hormone production.
The most notable are:
And it just so happens that hypothyroidism promotes the overproduction of all three of these hormones due to what we call thyroid-suppressive feedback cycles.
For example, in hypothyroidism, your body compensates by over producing cortisol. Yet, cortisol strongly inhibits thyroid function.
So, this creates a feedback cycle where the more dependent you become on cortisol, the more hypothyroid you become.
And the more hypothyroid you become, the more cortisol you have to produce to compensate.
All three of these thyroid-suppressive hormones promote accelerated aging in many ways, such as causing:
- Premature cell death, especially in the brain
- Fibrosis or calcification of tissue, organs, joints, etc.
- Accelerated breakdown and wasting of healthy tissue
- Free radical damage
- Mitochondrial damage and dysfunction
As you can see, simply being hypothyroid promotes the overproduction of these “aging” hormones and both amplifies and accelerates the aging process.
Stopping these unwanted hormones is the first piece of the puzzle.
But how can thyroid hormone help?
And how can it help to make us look and feel younger?
The key to all of this is increasing what I like to call your Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones.
Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones That Reverse the Signs of Aging
This isn’t like those new anti-aging supplements that are supposed to be the “Holy Grail”, yet never pan out to anything.
Thyroid hormone (T3) is kind of a ‘primitive’ anti-aging supplement.
Remember, thyroid hormone does more than just give you energy and improve your metabolism.
Yes, those are important benefits, and yes those are important anti-aging factors but there’s much more to the story that most people don’t know about…
The bigger anti-aging effects of thyroid hormone (T3) stem from its ability to increase production of Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones that protect you from those unwanted “aging” hormones.
These youth hormones are part of what makes us invulnerable to stress and full of energy when we are young.
Unfortunately, our production of these youth hormones drastically declines with age, making us more and more vulnerable to the negative effect of stress (and aging).
However, thyroid hormone (T3) increases the production of these youth hormones.
So, by supplementing thyroid hormone later in life, we can help to restore and maintain adequate levels of youth hormones to help reverse and prevent an accelerated aging process.
Now, let’s take a closer look at these Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones and how they prevent accelerated aging.
Pregnenolone — The Body’s Answer to Cortisol
Pregnenolone is produced by thyroid hormone (T3), vitamin A and cholesterol.
When pregnenolone is produced at sufficient levels, then pregnenolone and its byproducts (progesterone and allopregnenolone) can help to decrease cortisol by up to 60% (see study below).
The neurosteroid tetrahydroprogesterone attenuates the endocrine response to stress…
“Pretreatment of rats with a single dose of THP or P4 (50 micrograms/kg) significantly attenuated the elevation of plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and serum corticosterone…”
That alone can provide a significant reduction in accelerated aging.
Yet, if someone is hypothyroid and they don’t have adequate T3 levels, then they can’t (efficiently) produce pregnenolone… and therefore will be more susceptible to the thyroid-suppressive and “aging” effects of cortisol.
And, as mentioned above, this also makes you susceptible to the dangerous thyroid-suppressive feedback cycles that trap you in your hypothyroid condition.
So, by supplementing thyroid hormone, you can boost your levels of the anti-aging hormone pregnenolone and help break that feedback cycle and get back on a healthy footing.
But, pregnenolone isn’t the only important anti-aging hormone your body depends on.
In fact, pregnenolone is the precursor hormone to two other essential hormones needed to reverse an accelerated aging process.
One of which is…
Progesterone — The Most Protective Hormone in the Body
Progesterone protects you from stress in many different ways…
…which is why it’s considered to be the most protective hormone in your body.
For example, it inhibits cortisol in two ways, by:
- Lowering ACTH (the pituitary hormone that activates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol).
- Inhibiting cortisol’s actions by blocking cortisol cell receptors.
By blocking cortisol receptors, progesterone essentially blocks the action of excess cortisol, even when excess cortisol is present.
That might seem impressive, but progesterone does much more than that…
Progesterone can also decrease and inhibit the actions of estrogen, another hormone that accelerates aging when overproduced.
For example, it does so through its ability to inhibit aromatase enzyme, an enzyme found in fat cells.
Estrogen is often overproduced in hypothyroidism by increased production of aromatase, which converts testosterone and other androgens into estrogen.
A lot of women who are postmenopausal think they no longer produce estrogen.
In fact, their bodies can still produce lots of estrogen through increased aromatase activity.
Progesterone inhibits the aromatase enzyme, which can help prevent the overproduction of estrogen in your body.
Progesterone inhibits glucocorticoid-dependent aromatase induction in human adipose fibroblasts.
“Progesterone must be considered a potential physiological inhibitor of glucocorticoid-dependent aromatase induction in adipose tissue. It is proposed that it is a suppressor of aromatase induction in adipose tissue in premenopausal women.”
Aside from progesterone’s ability to lower estrogen…
T3 itself is essential to normalizing estrogen levels because it’s necessary for detoxifying excess estrogen through glucuronidation.
Glucuronidation is a detox pathway by which fat-soluble hormones are made water-soluble, so they can be eliminated from your body through your urine.
If we can’t detoxify estrogen, then it tends to increase and build up in the body, which is when it suppresses thyroid function and promotes accelerated aging.
Then there’s another important youth hormone…
DHEA — Stops Cortisol Before It Starts
Remember, thyroid Hormone (T3) increases the production of the anti-aging hormone pregnenolone.
Pregnenolone is also the precursor to another important youth hormone, DHEA, which has additional anti-aging benefits.
For example, DHEA inhibits an enzyme called 11β-HSD1.
This is the enzyme that actually controls the synthesis of the “aging” hormone cortisol.
So even if the pituitary hormone ACTH is elevated and the adrenal glands are activated, DHEA can still help stop the excess production of cortisol.
Dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA] inhibits the amplification of glucocorticoid action in adipose tissue.
“Nevertheless, a recent randomized controlled trial in elderly women and men demonstrated that administration of 50 mg/day of DHEA for 6 mo significantly reduced abdominal visceral fat as well as abdominal subcutaneous fat (57). DHEA treatment also led to a significant increase in insulin sensitivity… In conclusion, DHEA downregulates 11β-HSD1 both in the liver and in adipose tissue, thereby inhibiting the local amplification of glucocorticoids.”
In other words, by blocking the enzyme, it blocks excessive cortisol production at a completely different level than the other two Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones we’ve covered.
This is very important, because we need to address thyroid issues at all levels in order to make true progress towards health.
It’s more effective to decrease cortisol by both preventing the overstimulation of the adrenal glands and blocking the synthesis of the hormone than either one alone.
But, that’s not the only benefit DHEA has to offer…
The study referenced above also showed that DHEA reduced (dangerous) visceral fat and stubborn abdominal fat, while helping to reverse diabetes…
…all of which help to protect you from accelerated aging.
(NOTE: To learn more about the connection between diabetes and hypothyroidism, check out the article, Hypothyroidism and Diabetes: How to Reverse It and Why Sugar Is NOT the Problem.)
We’ve just covered how all three of these youth hormones protect us from the aging effects of cortisol and estrogen.
But, what about the stress and aging effects of serotonin?
(NOTE: Serotonin, is not the “happy hormone” you might have heard about. It’s not only thyroid-suppressive, it has also been implicated in many major disease processes. But, we’ll save that discussion for a later date.)
Well, the good news is that research shows that all three of these Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones (and others like testosterone) also help to block serotonin receptors.
In doing so, they help block the accelerated aging and other negative effects of serotonin.
That was surely a lot to cover.
But, what’s important to understand is that thyroid hormone (T3) is essential for the production of all of these Thyroid-Protective Youth Hormones that protect you from aging and keep you looking and feeling young and health.
Of course, there are many cases where supplementing additional Pregnenolone and Progesterone can help amplify and accelerate the healing process.
But that’s a topic for another day.
For now, use thyroid hormone to your advantage.
Use it to restore, protect, and preserve your youth.
This is an interesting article. However, you only address the reduction of cortisol. What if a patient has low cortisol? How would that be addressed?,
From the article: “So, this creates a feedback cycle where the more dependent you become on cortisol, the more hypothyroid you become. And the more hypothyroid you become, the more cortisol you have to produce to compensate.”
What’s not mentioned (unfortunately we can’t cover every detail due to length) and that’s important to understand is that cortisol is also a steroidal hormone that is derived originally from thyroid hormone (T3). So, the more dependent you become on cortisol, the more hypothyroid you become, and the less T3 is available. It’s a supply and demand issue. Eventually you reach the point where there’s no longer enough thyroid hormone available (supply) to produce the amount of cortisol required (demand). So, even though cortisol production is inhibited, the stress response is still overactive. Essentially that’s the point where your natural compensatory mechanisms begin to fail, which is also when many disease processes begin.
This is covered in more detail here: https://www.forefronthealth.com/hypothyroidism-and-adrenal-fatigue/
I recall reading that there was a study of exceptionally long lived Jewish people that correlated with them being hypothyroid.
So it seems it may not be that clear cut in all groups.
It looks like that is based on the “rate of living theory” which has long been disproved by metabolic studies. It essential states the obvious, that in old age, TSH increases, which is well known. They use that as their reasoning that a low TSH must be a good thing for everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.
Of course there are many factors that influence longevity. For example, studies also show that the more coffee you drink the greater your lifespan. There have also been studies on bonobos (species of chimpanzee) that maintain unusually high T3 levels into late life who show little to no signs of aging during their lifetime.
the article mentions DHEA and I’m wondering if that supplement is something that should be added to the supplements pregnenolone and progesterone. If so, which brand do you recommend? Thank You
We don’t recommend the general supplementation of DHEA simply because there’s a greater risk of potential negative side-effects in some cases. So, if one does use it, it’s best to do so under supervision. Pregnenolone is very safe and converts primarily into progesterone and DHEA as needed.
Thank you for your prompt reply re: the study I referenced above (even though it appears to have been cut off at the end). Yes, what you say makes sense. So hard to interpret all these studies!
if I want to increase my pregnenolone, should I take it twice a day or just increase my morning dosage?
Pregnenolone has a long half-life so you can simply increase the daily dosage.
Tom, I’ve been wanting to get your quick take on my recent use of NDT (T4/T3). I’ve long had very low morning temps, slowish pulse and other hypo symptoms and never realized the likely cause. In using doses of NDT, I’ve noticed that my temps and pulse increase shortly after dosing — there is a clear metabolic response. However, by morning my temp has fallen back to its usual 95 or 96 and I continue to feel terribly fatigued (like I’ve been through a title bout w/Apollo Creed). Any tips on use of NDT (or maybe T3) alone to feel better more consistently, esp. in the morning?
Hi Mark, T3 has a relatively short half-life so when used once per day, it typically raises T3 levels for a period of time but then levels drop back down. This is why it’s important to multi-dose desiccated thyroid to help maintain stable T3 levels instead of the constant rise and fall day to day. You can learn more about that here: https://www.forefronthealth.com/thyroid-hormone/
I’m enjoying reading your emails. You have a progressive interpretation and I appreciate that. I have taken your advice and divided my armor thyroid into several doses all day long, following with a pat of butter about 20 minutes after each dose. I can tell the difference! I’ve also incorporated an orange with Himalayan salt and … wow.
I started drinking the 4 oz of coffee with 2 oz of cream, but my adrenal glands weren’t happy about that at all- extreme back aches, which I have come to identity as my adrenals communication!
Any feedback for me on the coffee?
There’s no info that supports my coffee with cream! :(
Thank you for this blog and for all your info!
I really appreciate you and all you are doing to educate and bring healing:)
Thank you for the kind words.
Keep in mind that coffee should always be consumed with carbohydrate and should be started slowly based on toleration. If you have an adverse reaction to coffee then that means that you’re liver isn’t storing glycogen. The caffiene stimulates oxidative (sugar) metabolism and pushes blood-sugar to your cells. If you’re liver isn’t able to store/release glycogen, then your blood-sugar will drop and stimulate your body’s stress response. Restoring liver function and Keeping blood sugar properly regulated is key.
I was on nature thyroid for six months. Then i started passing out. Having bouts of atrial fibrillation . Left side of heart was shaking and not beating. Cardiologist ran all kinds of test. Then I noticed when it started too much t3. So I’m a little nervous about trying t3 again . My dr placed me back on levothyroxin. Now I’m in thyroid storm again have gained 20 pounds in two months
Using too much T3 than one can handle at a given time tends to amplify the effects of adrenaline and can put unwanted stress on the heart. So you do have to be careful. That’s why it’s better to start with a lose dose and increase slowly. Keep in mind too that a-fib often has a lot do with the electrical system of the heart. Vitamins D and K, calcium, and magnesium are all helpful in stabilizing the heart rhythm. Decreased production of steroidal hormones is another known contributing factor.
is it OK to use this “Synergistic Complex
(Thyroid Tissue, Adrenal Tissue, Pituitary Tissue, Thymus Tissue, Spleen Tissue, Malto-dextrin (corn-derivative, American Ginseng), 390 mg”?
I wouldn’t recommend it, especially because of the pituitary hormones. We had to fix a lot of issues with a client years ago after her ND prescribed her pituitary tissue.
Thank you for your prompt reply, I’ve been using it for maybe about a month and feel bad, thinking I need more time. What kind of damage should I expect? Heart issue is my biggest concern.
Can the male use progesterone supplement?
Thank you for your very important post
It can be helpful in certain cases. However, we typically start with the Pregnenolone Powder with men.
So if I am taking synthroid, do I still take my normal dosage or stop that while taking this?
We never recommend you stop or alter any medication. Only your doctor can do that.
Love your collagen as I do not like meat and have low intake of protein and calcium. Was PCO and infertile. What will decrease hot flashes?
Hi Barb, thanks for the kind comment. We’ve covered hot flashes in detail here: https://www.forefronthealth.com/hypothyroidism-and-hot-flashes/
Would taking desiccated thyroid in conjunction with levothyroxin be acceptable?
Yes, we have clients who use both.
Hi Tom, you respond to somebody here “Decreased production of steroidal hormones is another known contributing factor.” for heart rhythm. How to increase it? Also, is “Ona’s progesterone” OK to use? And last – why I’m feeling chilly after raw thyroid supplement? I have about 100 mg two times/day.
Hi there, I’ve just started on your thyroid meal plan and recipes as well have ordered the collagen. I found you online after literally trying everything. Spending thousands on two naturopaths and buying their supplements both addressing adrenal fatigue, two years of this now and nothing improving, in fact got so much worse. Ive recently taken a leave from work as my stress levels are through the roof, I woke up not able to get out of bed. Crippling anxiety, severe depression, not wanting to eat. SO back to where I started explaining ordering your meal plan. Maybe I’m crazy but for first time in two years, I feel good today. And I’ve only been doing the booster and meal plan ONE DAY. It’s like a serious miracle. The OJ and salt alone was a godsend last night when I drank it at night and again sipped on it in waking from an anxiety attack in middle of night. I was able to feel relief from the anxiety in minutes. I’m still in disbelief that it could work so instantaneously but then today I’ve spent the day cooking and eating the meal plan and kid you not I’m in almost a euphoric state in just the amazement that I’m not feeling like I’m dying today. What the heck, who knew??. All this suffering for so long and to have a day where I actually have happy feelings and stamina?! I’m dumbfounded and equally so thankful, I truly can’t wait to see how this will feel as the week goes on.
That’s great to hear. Thanks for sharing your experience Erynn.
After my lengthy comment, I actually wanted to also explain that the first naturopath put me on 30mg of dessicated thyroid that I’ve now been on for almost two years. Due to market shortages often happening here in Vancouver BC, I’d like to know if it’s possible to wean off the hormone as he had put me on it before I was ever showing any hypothyroid in blood work. He put me on it to increase my body temp. My issue is that when there’s a shortage, I can’t get any and this concerns me. I don’t want to be dependant on it and feel it even made me become more hypo than when I was just suffering from exhaustion. I now am fully dependant on it as when I tried to go off, I was fine for a few days and then BP dropped suddenly and I went into storm. This was terrifying. I’m not even on a high dose. Can I wean off of it with this diet? Especially if I think long term and becoming a senior (I’m only 43 right now), I don’t like that I’m dependant on something that could kill me if I can’t get access to it down the road. I know you advocate for it’s use and maybe now is not the time for me to come off it but my goal is definitely to do so, especially since I quite plausibly was put on it for incorrect (adrenal exhaustion) reasons. You advice would be greatly appreciated.
Keep in mind that we don’t recommend stopping thyroid medication. We do have a desiccated thyroid supplement that can be used together with thyroid medication if/when more support is needed. But thyroid hormone is often necessary in helping to stabilize and restoring thyroid function. Also keep in mind that adrenal issues stem from the thyroid as covered in detail here: https://www.forefronthealth.com/hypothyroidism-and-adrenal-fatigue/