Low Thyroid vs. Adrenal Fatigue

June 15, 2015

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 Low Thyroid vs. Adrenal Fatigue
One of the most significant health challenges Americans face today is maintaining healthy thyroid and adrenal function. In a society full of processed foods, artificial flavors, high stress, lack of sleep, and environmental toxins, we have created an epidemic of adrenal and thyroid-related health issues.

Symptoms of Low Thyroid vs. Adrenals
At first glance, the symptoms commonly associated with poor function of either the thyroid or adrenal glands can appear quite similar. However, there are differences. Struggles getting going in the morning and having a hard time crawling out of bed are typical of adrenal fatigue, whereas the afternoon energy slump is characteristic of low thyroid. Brain fog and difficulty remembering things you can’t seem to conquer, adrenal fatigue. However, if you describe the sensation more as ‘heavy headed’ and sluggish, then the thyroid is the primary gland of concern. Other symptoms of sluggish thyroid include cold hands or feet, dry skin, or brittle hair. Other signs of adrenal fatigue include poor stress tolerance, trouble sleeping, or getting dizzy upon standing.

Food cravings for fatty or salty foods typically indicate an adrenal issue whereas a desire for sweets and chocolate are a cry for help from the thyroid. Body types and fat distribution can also point towards fatigue of one gland or the other. Individuals with adrenal fatigue tend to gain weight around the midsection whereas hip and thigh fat accumulation is associated more with a low thyroid.

Due to the interconnected nature of the adrenal and thyroid gland roles, if you are struggling with one, the other may be stressed too. Your thyroid sets your basic supply of energy for your body to use. If this energy is lacking, your adrenals have a hard time responding to increased stress demands. Conversely, tired adrenals cause your body to get too inflamed even from normal activities, forcing your thyroid to go slower so that you don't overheat. Even if your thyroid or adrenal lab tests are normal, you may still experience symptoms of "stressed" thyroid or adrenals.

How to Improve Thyroid and Adrenal Health Naturally
We are oftentimes asked, "do I work on improving my thyroid or adrenals first?" If you notice a long list of adrenal and thyroid symptoms, then you have to nurse both systems back to health at the same time. A healthy diet full of high quality protein and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables will help the adrenals and thyroid to get back on track. Consider supplementing high quality whey protein at breakfast to help boost energy in the morning and improve metabolism throughout the day.*

Key nutrients to support healthy adrenal function include pantethine, coenzyme b-vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin C. Key nutrients to support healthy thyroid hormone formation and energy production include selenium, tyrosine, manganese, iosol iodine, and coenzyme b-vitamins.*

It is also important to find a level of exercise you can do on a consistent basis and then gradually increase the amount. When you can get a refreshing response to aerobic exercise three times a week, then both your adrenal and thyroid system will be working better. Do not push too hard with exercise; be consistent and gradually improve what you can do.

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