Do you have cravings for chocolate, or for foods that are salty, sweet or caffeinated? If so, these cravings could be a sign that your thyroid or adrenal glands need support. Learn the difference between a sluggish metabolism versus weight gain around the waistline and what you can do about it.
The Fight or Flight Response
The adrenals are two tiny glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Even though these glands are small, they have an essential role in handling stress, whether it's a chronic illness, pressure from work, or not getting enough sleep.
The adrenals manage stress by creating cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol helps the body maintain and regulate metabolism. (1) Adrenaline provides that extra protection to get you out of danger fast. Cortisol can have many benefits, including helping you wake up in the morning, lowering inflammation and stimulating glucose production. However, too much cortisol can have a negative impact, including making you fatigued at the wrong time of day, and causing weight gain, especially around the waistline.
Chronic Conditions and the Adrenal Glands
When a thyroid condition goes undiagnosed or undertreated, this can cause stress on the body which the adrenals perceive as a threat. As a result, the adrenals harder and harder to compensate for the chronic condition. Initially, the stress could cause the adrenals to produce more adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, however, as the burden goes unmanaged, the adrenals get tired, which can result in lower cortisol production. Lower cortisol function can lead to fatigue, illness, and weight issues. (2)
Clues from Your Adrenal Glands
When the body is under stress, it needs rest to help recharge and reduce the risk of illness. Like when you have a cold, you might feel exhausted and need to sleep more. Feeling worn-out is the adrenal glands telling you to slow down so the body can restore itself.
When we don't listen to our tired adrenals, they will try to fuel themselves with foods that contain caffeine, sugar, and salt. Cravings for coffee, potato chips, and chocolate can be clues that the adrenals are getting run down. The quick energy provided by these foods can fool the adrenals into thinking they are getting proper fuel. In actuality, these foods cause a spike and crash, leaving the adrenals even more fatigued.
Stress and Your Thyroid Gland
Stress triggers the adrenals to produce cortisol, and over time cortisol lowers thyroid hormone production. For these reasons, weight loss can be very hard with hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or both.
Not only is the thyroid function low, cortisol decreases TSH inhibiting the conversion of the T4 to T3, which causes the thyroid to slow down further. Cortisol also increases the conversion of T4 to reverse T3, which means the thyroid hormone isn't making it to the cells where it is needed. (4).
Exercise, Stress and Weight Gain
Is there a woman who hasn't wanted energy to exercise and feel good? With low thyroid function, women may find it hard to muster the energy for staying active. As a result, she may feel discouraged. If a person has adrenal fatigue, they may discover exercise makes them feel even worse, not better. Even more discouraging, the added stress on the adrenals from activity may cause weight gain, not the desired weight loss.
The Importance of Iodine and Selenium
When it comes to our metabolism, hormone production, and achieving homeostasis that tiny gland at the base of our necks called the thyroid has an important role. The thyroid gland can help you feel your best, or it can make you feel drained of energy, mental focus, and the ability the metabolize.
There are two nutrients required by the thyroid gland to function. First, the thyroid needs iodine to help make the thyroid hormones. Second, the thyroid needs selenium to help convert the thyroid storage hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3, which fuels the body. Thyroid hormones control your body's metabolism, which regulates everything from body temperature to heart rate, amount of fat burned for energy, and glucose consumption. (5)
When the thyroid is struggling to function, this creates more stress for the adrenal glands. When the adrenals are under pressure, TSH, and thyroid function lowers further. The vicious cycle of chronic strain, exhaustion, cravings, weight problems followed by more stress continues in a loop.
A happy thyroid means a happy you. Learn how to support the thyroid and adrenals through iodine and selenium.
“I must say this was the missing piece of the puzzle...Since starting [Lugol's iodine] combined with selenium I have lost 30 lbs! I know this was the only change!” -- Lisa P.
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“Noticed improvement in 3 days!! Now after 2 months I feel so much improvement in my overall well being. Better stamina, improved sleep, energy levels, dropping some weight... I feel fabulous!!“ -- Anne
The Countess of Low Carb founder Elizabeth believes not overdoing it when it comes to supplements. When asked what is the one supplement you can't live without as part of your Keto diet, she said, “Thiodine Lugol's Iodine. It's all-in-one natural source for supporting my thyroid which helps all my other efforts. And it's so easy to use in my coffee after breaking a 14 hour fast.”
“There is this pressure to be slim,” said Elizabeth. “I also understand that slim is kind of awesome... Don’t over-supplement — that’s the other thing.”