Do you know what your body does when you experience stress?
It produces cortisol.
Cortisol is an adrenal hormone that is meant to help your body respond to stressful situations. But…too much and too often can have damaging effects on your thyroid. Here’s why:
➡️Cortisol increases the production of reverse T3 (rT3), which blocks thyroid function.
➡️Cortisol decreases TSH, which is needed to stimulate thyroid hormone production.
➡️Cortisol can indirectly lead to higher levels of TBG, which decreases the amount of free thyroid hormone available for cells.
There really is a quite complicated relationship between thyroid health and stress because of the hormones involved with each. But there’s a pretty simple takeaway message here:
If you want to support optimal thyroid function, you cannot ignore the effects of stress—and that means anything your body PERCEIVES as stress (including things like undereating or overexercising!).
Here are a handful of things you can do to reduce your stress:
- Eat in a way that supports healthy blood sugar balance (you might need to be open to including some carbs!)
- Exercise the right amount for your body (movement is key but not in excess!)
- Take breaks (your body needs rest as much as it needs activity!)
- Aim for sound sleep (this might mean cutting the glass or wine or social scrolls at night!)
I’ve written a complete series on suboptimal thyroid function this month because thyroid is one of the most misunderstood hormones. Way too many people struggle with issues that are related to their thyroid and never know why.
If you or somebody you love would like to have your thyroid function assessed, look for root causes, and get a personalized plan…that’s exactly what we do. Please reach out to make an appointment with Dr. Ryan here.