It is estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, while 60 percent of people that have the disease don’t know that they have it. Generally, although complications surrounding one’s thyroid and adrenal glands can vary with age, there are some culprits that are more widespread than others.
Hashimoto’s is the most common thyroid disorder, and along with autoimmune illness overall, appears to be rapidly increasing in prevalence. For the adrenal glands, the major issues are adrenal fatigue, along with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Hypothyroidism—a “slow” thyroid—is typically more common for women than men, especially after the age of 60. Younger people can have hypothyroid conditions and overall, about five people out of 100 will, regardless of age. It can take time for someone to make the connection between the fatigue and weight gain that are often symptoms of a slow thyroid and the need for iodine and L-tyrosine or other nutrient interventions.
Hyperthyroidism is much more common for men than women. This may be due to testosterone signaling or due to males having more muscle-to-fat ratios. However, adrenal fatigue is much more common in men. The causes are stress in acute situations occurring several times a day or week, general lack of stress management, testosterone supplementation or genetic factors. Men tend to have fewer circadian rhythm cues than women and will fight sleep and eating schedules.
Women have more complex hormone balances than men and children. With monthly changes to powerful communicating hormones, there are more checkpoints that can fail. Women are eight times more likely to develop Hashimoto‘s disease.
There are various natural supplements that can benefit the thyroid and adrenal glands, both nutrient based and herbal. Using diet and nutritional support to provide essential compounds for healthy function can be foundational to a good treatment plan. Each gland has its own nutritional needs, such as the thyroid needing plenty of iodine and the adrenal gland needing adequate levels of vitamin C.
Prescription medications as well as over-the-counter remedies provide little symptom relief. Because of this, natural medicine has become a logical choice for people with thyroid or adrenal issues.
Sleep at the same time every night and wake at the same time every day. This simple change regulates the adrenal glands and their natural internal clock. Furthermore, the thyroid can start to communicate with the brain and other tissues when cortisol is controlled.
Eat a whole foods diet rich in fruits and vegetables—nature’s natural medicine. Exercise regularly, as the muscles are huge communicators for hormone balancing.
Cutting back on inflammatory foods, like sugars and refined grains, will help reduce some of the highs and lows associated with the buzz and crash of sweets and carbs, and make the day seem to run on a more even keel. And for some people, cutting back on coffee or other stimulants can have a remarkable effect.
The entire endocrine system is sensitive to environmental toxins, endocrine disrupters, ongoing stress, poor nutrition, rogue inflammation, and emotional stressors. All of these work against the healthy function of the thyroid and adrenal glands.
Source: Steven M. Rachlin, M.D., of Rachlin Medical Center (927 Willis Ave., Albertson), has been practicing for more than 30 years. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-873-7773 or visit RachlinMedical.com.