Stressed out? Who isn’t?

Ashwaganda

The functioning of your adrenal glands and your thyroid are intimately connected. Together, these regulate hormones and basal metabolic rate. Add an urban life in the big city, a two-parent working household, the economy, parenting, or almost every other permutation of living and you have a recipe for either stressed and tired or stressed and wired. You know which category you fall under. Generally speaking, women are of the stressed and tired variety. Their thyroids, particularly after childbirth, frequently become under active. Quite often, blood tests of thyroid parameters (see what to test below) reveal normal values. Clinicians who practice functional medicine believe, however, that these women have subclinical hypothyroidism. The clinical picture: normal thyroid values with symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, malaise, constipation, and hair loss.

One way to ameliorate this situation is to support the adrenal glands, rather than going directly to thyroid medication. Of course, if weight gain is dramatic and you cannot get out of bed, a prescription is of utmost importance. In other less extreme cases, you can use adaptogens. As the term implies, adaptogens normalize bodily functions — in either direction. All are plant-based (usually herbals or fungi) with names that are often unfamiliar to consumers and health practitioners alike. Some top adaptogens:

  • Ashwaganda
  • Rhodiola
  • Maca
  • Cordyceps
  • Eleutherococcus
  • Schisandra
Adaptogens are taken in combination under the direction of a healthcare professional. Preparations take the form of pills, tinctures, and teas.
 
Many standard thyroid blood tests miss a few key values. Ask you doctor to measure all of these if you suspect that your thyroid is working against you.
  • Free T3
  • T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Free T4
  • TSH
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
  • Antithyroidglobulin Antibodies

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