The Thyroid, Adrenals And Weight Gain

by London Nutritionist Sylvia Hensher

There is a connection between our adrenal glands, thyroid glands and weight gain. When these two glands are not kept in a healthy state, the result can often be weight gain. The good news is that on the other hand, if these two glands are supported through proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, it can lead to a natural weight loss.

What our adrenal glands do

The adrenal and thyroid glands are very closely connected in how they enable the body to function properly. The adrenals are small triangular shaped glands that sit on top of both kidneys. They are responsible for releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol which among other functions, help control body fluid balance, blood pressure, blood sugar and are designed to help the body deal with physical and psychological stress. In addition, the adrenal glands produce small amounts of oestrogen when women enter into menopause and the ovaries reduce their oestrogen output. This is why it’s so important to maintain adrenal function in the menopause years.

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a “syndrome” that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level.  This happens most often when you are exposed to constant , uninterrupted stress so that your body (and adrenal glands) cannot fully recover, or during or after acute or chronic infections. Consequently, the adrenal glands become fatigued and are unable to continue responding adequately to further stress.

You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not even have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of feeling unwell, tiredness or “grey” feelings. People suffering from Adrenal Fatigue often have to use coffee, tea and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.

Some Manifestations Of Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Confusion, poor concentration, and memory recall
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cravings for salt or sweet foods
  • Decreased immune response – recurrent coughs, colds, flu
  • Difficulty during menopause (the adrenals take over the role of the ovaries after menopause)
  • Fatigue in spite of sufficient sleep
  • Increased fears, anxiety, and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Weight gain

How cortisol levels affect the thyroid gland:

1. Cortisol is required to facilitate the release of Thyroid-stimulating hormone (also known as TSH ) from the pituitary gland, which in turn stimulates the production and release of T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) and T3 (the active thyroid hormone)by the thyroid gland.

2. Cortisol is required to convert the inactive T4 hormone to the active T3 form.

3. Cortisol allows each T3 cell receptor to more readily accept T3.

Thus, low adrenal functioning can lead to decreased cortisol output. This in turn can actually lead to decreased thyroid functioning, or cause someone’s existing thyroid problem to be much worse than it would be otherwise. As discussed in the other issues of this series on the thyroid, because thyroid functioning is intimately entwined with weight management, stress can really impact on the adrenals and therefore on your thyroid functioning.

Call us now on 0207 724 4445 /07812 163 324 for a FREE 15 minute chat or email us at to find out how we can help you find the root cause of your weight management problems!

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