Thyroid Adrenal Pancreas Triad
Adrenal gland imbalances are also one of the major factors that cause thyroid hormone imbalance. Stress from work, relationships, electronics, poor diet choices such as consumption of refined carbohydrates and trans fats, chronic infections, poor sleep and environmental toxins all contribute to adrenal disorders.
Cortisol abnormalities from adrenal fatigue can cause the thyroid to function at a suboptimal level by inhibiting the conversion of T4 inactive thyroid to T3, active thyroid in the liver. Additionally, elevated cortisol can lead to thyroid hormone receptor insensitivity where even with adequate levels, normal function can be blocked. Cortisol can increase reverse T3 which is inactive and binds to normal T3 receptors blocking normal function. High cortisol can also increase the excretion of iodine which is very important to the thyroid function. Lastly, elevated cortisol blocks TSH production and thus affecting the feedback loop of the thyroid.
Blood sugar is intricately related to adrenal gland function and vice versa. Chronically elevated cortisol levels from adrenal stress will cause insulin receptor insensitivity and elevated blood glucose levels. Excess sugar will be converted into fat and stored mainly around the abdomen, hips and thighs. This also puts extra stress on the pancreas to make more insulin to deal with the excess blood sugar which increases the risk of diabetes.
The connection continues as the thyroid hormone’s main function is to regulate metabolism through the burning of sugar, fat and protein. Insulin resistance prevents adequate sugar transport into the cell decreasing the available fuel for energy production. This puts an increased strain on the thyroid to make more hormone and can eventually lead to hypothyroidism and similarly hypothyroidism can put a strain on insulin transport and may cause insulin resistance.
You may ask which comes first – adrenal dysfunction or blood sugar dysfunction or hypothyroid? It doesn’t matter because when one starts to become imbalanced so goes the others. Hence the important of treating each pyramid with symptoms and lab abnormalities and starting with the overriding pyramid.
The Adrenal & Gut are connected as well.
The links continue pyramid to pyramid—-
Elevated cortisol levels slowly eat away at the one layer thick lining of the immune system that lines the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Cortisol also increases inflammation in the GI tract and prevents the cells that line the GI tract from regenerating which increases the risk of ulcers. This leads to increased infections from parasites, yeast, mold, fungi, viruses, and bacteria which further stresses the adrenal glands creating a vicious cycle. Chronic stressors and high cortisol can also perpetuate a leaky gut which is a condition in which gaps open in the intestinal barrier allow undigested proteins and toxins to enter the bloodstream uninhibited. This puts a major stress on the body’s immune system and can lead to immune dysfunction, further adrenal stress, fatigue, and thyroid hormone imbalance.