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I had the chance to talk with a friend I rarely get to see anymore.
And I was thrilled to see Michelle — even though the visit was rushed…
She stopped on her way out to her new home several hours north of me, and she was racing the movers to get there first. This would be her third cross-country move in five years since she’d accepted a high-level position with a national company.
As good friends do, we caught up as if no time had passed. But one thing about Michelle had changed quite a bit…
She had not only gained weight but also seemed to have aged quite a bit since the last time I saw her. It was especially surprising because Michelle has always been extremely fit, loved to run marathons, practiced yoga and took care of herself.
As we talked, she broke down and said that she just didn’t know what to do anymore. It was like the pounds had come on out of nowhere and now that they were there, she couldn’t lose the weight no matter what diet she tried.
And, to make matters worse, she just didn’t have the energy to exercise anymore. She was constantly exhausted, even when she first woke up in the morning — far too tired to go for a run or hit a yoga class.
Having little time or energy to work out and after disappointing results dieting, Michelle felt hopelessly stuck — tired, overweight and unhappy. And, she said she’d even noticed that her hair was getting thinner… she felt old!
It was a story I’ve heard all too many times. In fact, it’s a story I understood firsthand – and I immediately recognized what was happening to Michelle… I knew that more than likely, she was not only suffering from a low thyroid but that her adrenal function was probably in the toilet too.
The thyroid – adrenal connection
You see, there’s a connection between the function of your thyroid gland and that of your adrenals…
The adrenals are your “lifesaving” organs because they control your body’s hormones and help you survive in stressful situations. They act as a control center for your “fight or flight” response and secrete many of our most important hormones including pregnenolone, adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol.
When your adrenals are constantly stressed, this sets off an autoimmune inflammatory response in your entire body. The adrenal-hypothalamus-pituitary feedback loop regulates the secretion of cortisol. All of your organs and your immunity are impacted negatively by the resulting constant assault of cortisol.
Low adrenal function can actually cause someone’s thyroid problem to be much worse than it would be otherwise.
Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, depression, sensitivity to cold, muscle or joint aches, brain fog, poor memory, brittle hair and nails, shortness of breath, thinning hair, PMS, significantly calloused heels, chronic yeast infections, low libido, infertility.
Herbal support for thyroid and adrenal problems
And that’s where ashwagandha comes in.
I had researched the herb when I was going through my own thyroid problems and I knew the reputation it had to not only support thyroid hormones but also relieve stress on the adrenals… just the things to help make losing weight and feeling more energetic easier.
You see, ashwagandha is what’s known as an adaptogenic herb — one that’s extremely effective at helping balance your system during stressful periods.
From lab studies with mice, scientists at D.A University, India, have found that ashwagandha root has the capacity to stimulate thyroid hormones and boost serum concentrations of thyroid hormone, making it a potential remedy for hypothyroidism. That alone could make weight loss efforts easier.
Another study found that ashwagandha prevents the loss of cortisol in the adrenal glands — giving you more energy throughout the day.
And, yet, another study says it’s been shown to provide anxiety-relieving effects similar to the benzodiazepine medication lorazepam and antidepressant effects similar to the antidepressant medication imipramine.
I’ve heard of people using ashwagandha in teas, tinctures and smoothies. But I’m not sure about how to measure the herb or the results that way. Supplementing is probably the easiest way to get ashwagandha in your diet. I like Peak Thyroid Support because in addition to ashwagandha, it contains five other supporting compounds, including iodine, selenium, L-Tyrosine, zinc and copper.
If you’re worn out all day, every day and have gained weight, your body needs to get back into the groove. Naturally is always best.
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- Understanding the Adrenal-Thyroid Connection — Holtorf Medical Group
- Ashwagandha for Thyroid Health — Thyroid Advisor
- Benefits of Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome — Michael Lam, M.D.
- 11 nutrients and herbs to fight adrenal fatigue — Easy Health Options