Do you feel tired but wired? Can you relate to this scenario?
You start the morning feeling like you could have slept a couple more hours, so you grab a cup of coffee for energy. In the afternoon you start to feel even more fatigued – it’s hard to concentrate and the brain fog is setting in. You crave carbs around dinner time and maybe again at bedtime. Then, when it’s finally time to hit the pillow, you are suddenly wide awake. You lay there knowing that the cycle will repeat itself tomorrow if you don’t get to sleep now, but falling asleep isn’t easy. You wonder how you could have been so tired all day but now not able to sleep. Or, if you do fall asleep easily, you wake up at 2am and lay restless until your alarm goes off.
This tired but wired feeling is often described by women with Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, but thyroid disease might not be the complete answer to the way they are feeling. These women often consult with us after their doctors have told them that their thyroid labs are now normal, and that the thyroid medication dose doesn’t need to change. They are left wondering why they are still so exhausted.
So many Hashimoto’s patients are also struggling with adrenal dysfunction, commonly called “adrenal fatigue.” (or, more accurately called hypothalamic-pituitary axis dysfunction).
Hashimoto’s and adrenal dysfunction may even share a root cause: stress.
Chronic stress causes immune system dysregulation, and can lead to the body’s immune system starting to attack itself – as in the case of autoimmune disease. Over 90% of hypothyroidism is caused by an auto-immune condition: Hashimoto’s.
Chronic stress can also start to interfere the body’s natural cortisol secreting rhythm.
When things are working as planned: The brain perceives a stressor. The brain sends a signal to the pituitary gland to activate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol and adrenaline (more accurately called epinephrine) get secreted from the adrenal glands to get the body ready for fight or flight.
But what happens when your brain is sensing fight or flight all day, everyday? The feedback loop of the H-P-A axis loop stops working as well. You start feeling tired but wired.
What to do about this adrenal dysfunction depends on your personal situation and level of dysfunction. We often test for this using a 4-point saliva curve, or sometimes urine or blood biomarkers.
Most conventional blood tests will not reveal adrenal dysfunction.
We take our functional test results and apply them to the big picture: how are you feeling in day to day life.
We then develop a holistic treatment plan including planned “stop gaps” in your day, self-care, stress management, sleep, nutrition, relationships, lifestyle modification, and adrenal support supplements (adaptogens) and nutraceuticals where needed.
Some key nutrients we use are magnesium glycinate which is helpful for sleep and relaxation at bedtime. We also use B complex in the morning, which helps with energy and repletes the B vitamins that are often depleted in times of stress.