Energy: Adrenal – Thyroid – Pancreas

Encompasses the relationship between 3 important hormones: cortisol, insulin, and thyroid. These hormones reflect the current state of stress, sugar, and metabolism. In their most basic function, each is responsible for energy production and circulation. When Triad 1 is balanced, a person feels vital and healthy, and when unbalanced, a person feels fatigued and has a greater risk of being overweight or obese.

adrenalADRENAL

adrenal2LOCATION  

The adrenals are pyramid-shaped glands that sit on top of each  kidney. The adrenal glands contain an inner medulla and an outer  cortex, the interior or central portions of the adrenal glands house  the adrenal medulla, while the exterior or outer portion of the  adrenal glands contain the adrenal cortex.

FUNCTION  

The adrenal medulla secretes epinephrine (adrenaline) and  norepinephrine (noradrenaline), two chemicals found in high levels  in the brain called catecholamines. Catecholamines are released in  high amounts in response to acute stress and control body  functions that are beyond conscious control like pupil dilation,  heartbeat, digestion, and secretions of glands. Under chronic stress  too much of theses chemicals are produced resulting in  hyperarousal of your nervous system.

The adrenal cortex secretes more than thirty different steroids and hormones (known as corticosteroids). The most important  corticosteroids are cortisol, aldosterone, and the adrenal  androgens (sex hormones, like estrone and the prohormone  DHEA). Cortisol is the main hormone secreted in reaction to stress.

RELATIONSHIP 

Chronic stress can increase the production of adrenal hormones,  especially cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Chronic stress  responses can be triggered by emotional stress, too much exercise,  inadequate sleep, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins and  physical illnesses. Chronic stress can cause your body to enter into  three stages – initial stress hormone production, overactive  adrenals, and adrenal exhaustion. High levels of stress hormones  have a dramatic impact on your future health, leading to the  breakdown of lean muscle tissue, poor blood sugar regulation,  reduced immune balance, increased belly fat accumulation and  slowing down of your metabolic rate all resulting in increased  inflammation response. Inflammation is thought to be the principle

process that accelerates aging and leads to chronic  illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and  Alzheimer’s disease.

You can get all sorts of variations in stress patterns  when under chronic stress. But, as you age and are  under more duress, your body slowly but surely  changes from a metabolism leading to health to a  metabolism leading you to a path of chronic illness.

IF CORTISOL LEVELS ARE HIGH, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Anxiousness, nervousness
  • Increases cravings for carbohydrates and sugar
  • Increases cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Mid-day fatigue
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood disorders
  • Alterations in immune system balance, less ability to fight off infections
  • Increases in inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF alpha, IL-6 leading to allergies
  • Estrogen dominance
  • Thyroid hormone levels can be lowered  slowing metabolism
  • Increased insulin release and blood sugar regulation
  • Weight gain
  • Aches and pains
  • Hair loss

IF CORTISOL LEVELS ARE LOW, the following symptoms may occur:

  • General weakness and becoming easily tired.
  • Alterations in thyroid hormone levels
  • Low blood pressure and dizziness upon  standing.
  • Abdominal pains, cramps
  • Cravings for salty foods
  • Alterations in blood sugar regulation
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Lowered testosterone in men

 

THYROID

Thyroid GlandThyroidLOCATION  

The thyroid gland is the largest gland in the neck. It is situated in  the anterior (front) neck below the skin and muscle layers. The  thyroid gland takes the shape of a butterfly with the two wings  being represented by the left and right thyroid lobes, which wrap  around the trachea.

FUNCTION   

The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones that are the driving  force in your metabolic rate. Everything from the utilization of  carbohydrates and fat in your food, to promoting protein synthesis  needed for cell growth and the production of key biochemical  compounds, like neurotransmitters Thyroid hormones activate  nearly every receptor to hormones and neurotransmitters in your  body. They also are responsible for activating your genetic  transcription. Subtle changes in thyroid hormone balance can have  a dramatic impact on your metabolic code. Low hormones can turn  off your insulin receptors leading to weight gain, reduce  absorption of nutrients, and even cause you to become  depressed.

Thyroid hormone production starts in the hypothalamus located in  the brain. Initially, the hypothalamus responds to a metabolic  change, such as low body temperature, by releasing thyrotropin  releasing factor (TRF), which then signals the pituitary gland to  release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH.) TSH stimulates the  thyroid gland to then make thyroid hormone (T4).

The thyroid gland needs the amino acid tyrosine and iodine to  make thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland captures these two  nutrients from the blood stream and keeps them stored and ready  for production, whenever it gets the signal to make the two major  hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T3 is the more  active form of thyroid hormone, while T4 is the most abundant.   Factors like low selenium and iron as well as chromium an  influence your ability to make thyroid hormone. Chronic stress can  lower your ability to make T3 resulting in a drop in metabolic rate

as much as 40%. Also your immune system can begin  to attack your thyroid leading to the production of  antibodies.

Within the thyroid gland are also two nodules called  the parathyroid gland that secrete calcitonin, which  regulates your calcium and phosphate levels in your  blood and bones. Any number of shifts can occur in  your thyroid hormone numbers. Your measurements  included Free T3, Free T4, TSH as well as antibodies  TPO and thyroglobulin.

RELATIONSHIP  
Major triggers that can lead to changes in optimal thyroid hormone production can include:

  • Elevated stress
  • Environmental exposure, such as pesticides, chemical additives in foods and heavy metals
  • Essential Nutrient deficiencies
  • Inflammation of the GI tract and loss of beneficial flora
  • Exposure to halogens, like fluorine, chlorine  and bromine
  • Sex hormone imbalances

Symptoms of low thyroid (hypothyroidism) include:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Insulin resistance
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased metabolic rate
  • Depression
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry hair, skin, nails
  • Constipation
  • Reduced rate of breathing
  • Aching muscles
  • Poor coordination
  • Fatigue, insomnia
  • Poor concentration
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Low body temperature
  • Heartburn
  • Slow to start in the morning
  • Mental fogginess, Memory loss
  • Heart failure

Symptoms of high thyroid hormone levels (hyperthyroidism) include:

  • Palpitations
  • Heat intolerance
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Breathlessness
  • Increased bowel movements
  • Light or absent menstrual periods
  • Fatigue
  • Fast heart rate
  • Trembling hands
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Warm moist skin
  • Hair loss

PANCREAS

PancreasPancreasLOCATION  

The pancreas is located behind the stomach and is attached to  the small intestine.

FUNCTION   

The pancreas has two functions. As an excretory gland, it secretes  digestive juices into the small intestine by way of the pancreatic  duct. As an endocrine gland, the pancreas secretes hormones  from a group of specialized cells known as the islets of  Langerhans.

The islets of Langerhans contain three types of  hormone-secreting cells—the alpha cells, which secrete glucagon  (hormone that increase blood sugar levels); the beta cells, which  secrete insulin (which lowers blood sugar levels); and the delta  cells, which secrete somatostatin (a hormone that inhibits  gastric-acid release important in proper digestion). Somatostatin is  also secreted in other parts of the body.

Each hormone has an important role in maintaining the balance of  blood glucose concentration and supplying cells with energy.  Glucose is burned to produce energy for cells in the form of  adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “energy molecule” that runs  body functions.

Insulin decreases the concentration of glucose in the blood. First,  it stimulates the conversion of glucose to be stored as glycogen in  the liver and muscle tissue.

Insulin facilitates the transport of glucose across the cell  membranes of cells. These cells, including skeletal and cardiac  muscle, the brain as well as cells in adipose (fat) tissue, have  insulin receptors. Glucose uptake by these cells results in a  decrease in the blood glucose concentration.

Under certain conditions people will begin to release too much  insulin because cells begin to become “resistant” to its signal.   This is called insulin resistance.

RELATIONSHIP  

Many serious, chronic conditions are associated with  impaired blood sugar regulation. One of the more  serious is type 2 diabetes and its complicating  factors. The inability to lower blood sugar in people  with type 2 diabetes is linked to several predisposing  conditions, including impaired insulin secretion,  hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, impaired  glucose tolerance, and increased glucose production  by the liver. All these conditions occur when the  pancreas is not working efficiently. The two glands  that most influence the metabolic performance of the  pancreas are the thyroid gland and the adrenal  glands.

HYPERINSULINEMIA 

Hyperinsulinemia is an overproduction of insulin by  the pancreas. The causes of Hyperinsulinemia  include obesity, with age, chronic stress, low thyroid  hormone, environmental pollutants, dietary  deficiencies and a high-carbohydrate or high-sugar  diet, lack of exercise. Frequent spikes in blood sugar  require the pancreas to release insulin, resulting in  overstimulation of the beta cells and increased  insulin secretion. This promotes excessive storage of  visceral fat which has drastic effects on your  metabolic health.

INSULIN RESISTANCE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF TYPE 2 DIABETES 

Insulin resistance (IR) is defined as an inability of insulin to bind to the insulin receptor on a cell and  carry glucose from the blood into the cells to be used  as fuel.

Consequently, blood sugar remains elevated. To compensate, the pancreas initially releases more and  more insulin (hyperinsulinemia). Blood glucose can  be maintained within normal limits for years if enough  insulin is produced. So part of the problem from IR  occurs as a result of the build up insulin and glucose  in the bloodstream. The other part of the IR problem

is that it rapidly causes the accumulation of belly fat. Insulin is the most inflammatory chemical that your  body makes. It causes devastating damage to the  eyes, kidneys, brain, heart, and all the capillaries of  your cardiovascular system.

You should know that belly fat is not just hanging  around! It is a factory for making hundreds of  inflammatory chemicals, hormones, enzymes, and  signaling substances that begin to accumulate and  accelerate the march toward chronic illnesses.  Eventually the pancreas can no longer make enough  insulin or the insulin signal cannot be heard  efficiently. At this point you become a Type 2  diabetic.

INSULIN RESISTANCE LEADS TO:  

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Kidney damage
  • Cardiovascular damage
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Sleep disturbances; sleep apnea
  • Neurochemical imbalances
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Dementia
  • Arterial damage
  • Premature aging
  • Macular degeneration