I had someone contact me today who has diabetes who is being managed well, but she also suffers from reduced thyroid function along with poor adrenal function, and is under the treatment of a physician and things don’t seem to be going too well.
So I thought this would be a good topic for a post, and something I really haven’t spoken a lot on yet. There are some big problems that you can run into if you’re on thyroid medication, and especially on T3, and in some ways T3 therapy is preferable to T4, especially if it’s delivered in a time released form, although it seldom is.
However, in all cases we need to be very aware of how these therapies can reduce adrenal function, and not just ignore this. MDs generally don’t really pay any attention to adrenal function, unless you’re on the far end of the spectrum, and when they start wanting to prescribe for this you know you’re in deep, deep trouble, well beyond the point where this becomes a medical problem and maybe even entering the realm where your life may even be on the line.
The adrenal glands, like the thyroid glands, play essential functions in our health, and adrenal function can be driven so low as to be a dangerous condition indeed. If I had to choose between managing these two conditions, low adrenal function and low thyroid function, I’d choose to always treat the adrenals first, mostly because if you treat the thyroid instead without fixing the adrenals you will make your overall condition worse.
This is why practitioners in the know will always tell you to address the adrenals first, although the problem with conventional practitioners is that the only tool they have in their bag is steriods, and they aren’t indicated unless one is on the far end of the spectrum, and rightly so actually.
You will find this opinion shared by just about anyone with a clue, for instance Dr. Rind explains that thyroid medication places additional stress upon the adrenal glands, and if they are in a weakened state already, and you don’t take things to support the adrenals, then your adrenal function is going to get worse, and in the case of our friend, her adrenals have worsened to the point where steroids are being recommended here, which is actually pretty scary given that these doctors ignore all but the most extreme forms of adrenal dysfunction.
Dr. Bruce Rind is an MD that has expanded his knowledge into holistic, functional medicine, and if one requires a physician to manage these hormonal disturbances, beyond what one can manage themselves, or even in cases where one does not want to play an active role in their own health care, it is very important to seek out someone competent rather than just rely on traditional medical school education whose goal is not health but selling the most medications.
So now our friend is on high doses of T3 and now is supposed to go on hydrocortisone, and that’s between a rock and a hard place, the T3 makes adrenal function worse in the presence of ignoring it, and steroids will wake up the gland of course but this is going to end up messing up a lot of things, she mentioned weight gain, that’s just one of the problems, and if someone has diabetes then this stuff is famous for elevating blood sugar.
So this is not a situation you want to be in, and that’s why it’s so important to get someone who knows what they are doing, someone that realizes that these two glands are very much related, and adrenal dysfunction is more than just Addison’s or Cushing’s, extreme adrenal dysfunction, but the reason they think that is this is what the drug companies teach them, as the drug companies’ focus is only on situations where they can make a sale, where their medications would be indicated.
So you do have to be on the far end of the spectrum, adrenal failure, before you would ever want to consider steriods, and all they have is the steroids, they aren’t trained in natural medicine of course, but this is where someone like Dr. Rind is, and he suggests a number of things to take that people with this situation are welcome to check out, as well as his other advice on his site.
There are other doctors and other lists but I think his is pretty comprehensive, which is why I’m sharing his articles, he’s really done his homework and is pretty knowledgeable and it always warms my heart to see an MD who knows what he or she is talking about when it comes to good medical care.
There are some instances where people will benefit from thyroid hormone support and especially from T3, but ultimately what we want to do is to try to restore thyroid function naturally, but sometimes people do need hormonal therapy. T3 is always the real problem, it’s the active form of thyroid hormone, but this needs to be used with a lot of care, and one must in particular be careful not to zonk your adrenals, and you cannot responsibly use T3 without taking things that support the adrenals, and this requires a good knowledge of holistic medicine, prescribing things that are found in nature, as there’s no effective patent medicine for this, not that patent medicines are effective for things all that much anyway.
The reason this is all here is that a lot of diabetics have issues with their thyroid and adrenal glands and often with both. Sometimes people do need medical care to manage this properly, and it may not be that easy to find a good functional practitioner, especially one that is skilled in prescribing T3 properly, which extends beyond the standard protocols that drug companies provide, and always involves properly managing adrenal function, which drug companies don’t care about at all.
These are glands that we need to pay a lot of attention to regardless, as diabetics, and testing your basal temperature is something we all should be doing, taking your temperature upon first arising and looking to be 97.5 or higher, and this is the best test of thyroid function there is. There are doctors who both prescribe and adjust dosages of T3 based upon basal temperature alone, it’s that good of a test, and really indicates T3 function like nothing else does, better than even T3 levels, because that will tell us how much is in the blood but basal temperature tells us how effective it is in the cells.
This is just an overview of the topics and those who are concerned about this, and we all should be to some degree, can investigate this topic further, and there is a lot of good information out there to be learned if one is so inclined.