How Stress Effects Your Thyroid

Unfortunately, thyroid health is something many people never hear about or take into account until they’re diagnosed with a disorder, when in reality your thyroid is a vital part of your body’s ability to function at an optimal level.

The good news is that there are natural, positive steps you can start taking today to protect your thyroid and prevent damage (or prevent further damage) to this vital system.

Is Stress Hurting Your Thyroid?

We all know that too much stress isn’t good for our health, but we don’t always make the connection between stress and thyroid problems — or know how to change our lives to reduce our stressors. Continuous stress leads to high levels of stress hormones, which then can have a negative impact on thyroid function, especially if those levels stay high over the long-term.

What’s exciting to note is that we have many natural ways to stop this cycle — without drugs. Over the years, very effective tools have been developed to help women support their thyroid glands simply by reducing stress. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not, it can help to take a closer look at the impact that the adrenal and thyroid glands have on each other. Then you can lighten the stress load on your already busy thyroid and prevent thyroid imbalances.

How stress can cause thyroid symptoms

Any kind of stress prompts the brain to release CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone). This hormone tells the pituitary to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which, in turn, sends a message to the adrenal glands: make cortisol! But both cortisol and CRH can inhibit TSH and the conversion of T4 to T3, our most active thyroid hormone. Because every cell in the body uses T3 for healthy function, the decrease in T3 can lead to symptoms like:

  • fatigue
  • sluggishness
  • cold intolerance
  • weight gain
  • memory loss
  • poor concentration
  • depression
  • infertility
  • hair loss, and more

This inhibition of your thyroid and hormone receptors often takes place quietly behind the scenes for months or years without causing overt symptoms. And this is why so many women are caught off-guard when they are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. They think everything has been going fine and all of the sudden, they feel horrible.

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If you want to start taking steps to protect your thyroid and make sure it’s functioning at the highest, healthiest level, then it’s time to get your stress level in check. There are a few easy ways to rebalance your life without having to sacrifice anything.

So much of finding balance and managing stress is about small steps taken regularly, like the simple act of looking after yourself and being aware of your body.

How to break the stress-thyroid connection

  • Nourish yourself. Eat three well-balanced and two healthy snacks each day that include high-quality protein. Breakfast is especially important to help regulate blood sugar and hormone production. Reducing sugar and caffeine intake is important to help combat stress. Also, enjoying meals in a relaxed setting and eating slowly can help digestion and metabolization of important nutrients.
  • Add vitamins and supplements. There are many important elements to healthy thyroid functioning. Iodine, Selenium, zinc, copper, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, and E all play crucial roles in the production and maintenance of thyroid hormones. High-quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplements can help support the necessary balance.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is an amazing way to restore and rejuvenate our bodies and our minds. When we have the right amount of sleep, our bodies will regulate and reset our neuroendocrine system to help promote hormonal balance, and also help us face the next day’s challenges. Especially important is adequate downtime before bed, so that our adrenal glands slow down the stress response and rest as well.
  • Relax. There are many ways to counter daily stress and help our bodies and minds relax. Options include deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, walking, or simple exercise. Too much exercise can actually stimulate our adrenal glands as opposed to relaxing them, so moderation is key. Be sure you find a few methods you enjoy, so that you can commit to a daily relaxation regime.
  • Think about therapy. Making emotional changes can be very difficult. Sometimes we are so entrenched in certain negative patterns that we not only cannot get out of them ourselves, but also may not even recognize it. Exploring both positive and negative patterns in our lives can help us break the stress responses that over time can lead to physical distress and disorders.

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Have you been diagnosed with a form of thyroid disfunction? Are you ready to start investing in your heath today by fighting stress and protecting your thyroid from further damage?



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