The Adrenal-Thyroid Connection
Sep 28, 2022
By Casie Giroux
When we experience stress, our brain triggers a response via the HPA-axis (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal) in order to properly address a stressful situation)–our “fight or flight” response. It is a valuable system to protect us from possible threats, but the constant stress of modern life can keep us in a consistent state of activation, taxing the entire system. A chronically-activated stress response system can lead to an array of health issues, including weight gain, weak immunity, irritability, poor concentration, and metabolic imbalances. Under chronic stress, your adrenal glands signal your body to slow down and conserve energy, which can leave you feeling fatigued and impact just about every system in our bodies. The thyroid is a gland that performs hundreds of essential functions, such as regulating metabolism and energy use, as well as hormone production.
What is the connection between the two? HPA-axis dysregulation is often at the root of thyroid imbalances. A stress response in overdrive signals the adrenals to produce more and more cortisol and stress hormones, which are then sent to the thyroid glands to be dispersed throughout the body. When the thyroid works to send cortisol throughout the body, its other functions are suppressed–which can lead to sluggish digestion, weight gain, low libido, and eventually hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), and chronic fatigue.
Additionally, the thyroid requires vital micronutrients from our diet to function optimally. Iodine, iron, selenium, and magnesium are just a few of those nutrients that play an essential role in the thyroid gland’s function. A study showed that deficiency in these minerals can impair function, and by adding them into the diet we can help address thyroid dysfunction. Regulating our overall stress response with adaptogenic herbs and nurturing the thyroid with mineral-rich herbs are key aspects of supporting both the adrenal glands and thyroid.
Our Fall 2022 Inside Scoop features two blends, Adrenal Come True and Pinch Me finishing salt, which we formulated to support adrenal and thyroid health, respectively.
Adrenal Come True is a nutritive powerhouse formulated to regulate our stress hormones, nourish the thyroid gland and balance our adrenals. Its adaptogens, holy basil and Siberian ginseng, can mitigate our stress response and improve adrenal function when taken overtime. Siberian ginseng is an energizing adaptogen while holy basil is generally calming to the nervous system. This makes for a well-balanced formula, but we would recommend it for daytime use as it can provide a slight energy boost you might not want in the evening! Horsetail and moringa leaf are two of the most nutrient-dense plants on the planet. Together, they contain many of the vital micronutrients needed for our thyroid to function at its best. (Micronutrients in levels we need for optimal thyroid function are often difficult to get through our diet.)
Our Pinch Me finishing salt blend contains both mineral-rich salt as well as plants that have been shown to support thyroid function. A delicious salt to add as a finishing touch to meals, the seaweeds, nigella seed, and nettle in this blend add both flavor and nourishment to your plate, so you can support the adrenal-thyroid axis on both ends.
About Casie Giroux
Casie Giroux is a Clinical Herbalist with a background in communication sciences, herbal product formulation and creation, sustainable wildcrafting, teaching, and organic farming. She earned her certification through the California School of Herbal Studies in Forestville, CA. On the weekends you can find her playing in the garden, foraging for abundant plants, and camping by the water.