Dr. David Clark, DC-Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC-talks about how cortisol can cause low thyroid symptoms even if you are taking thyroid hormones or your lab numbers are “normal.”
High levels of cortisol is hidden cause number five why you still have thyroid symptoms even though you’re taking thyroid hormone or even though your lab numbers are normal.
Cortisol is a hormone made by your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. They make a lot of hormones for you…aldosterone, cortisol and androgens. You could say your adrenal glands are crucial for your good health.
Cortisol is the main thing that regulates your blood sugar–not insulin. When cortisol is released by your adrenal glands, it is accompanied by cytokines. Cytokines are messengers used by your immune system in inflammation. In that scenario, the cytokines are suppressing the ability of your pituitary and your hypothalamus to make TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone.
So follow me as I explain cortisol and low thyroid symtpoms….
Your adrenal glands make cortisol in response to stress. There are different kinds of stress. Anything that promotes inflammation or that causes inflammation, will make your adrenal glands pump out more cortisol.
As that cortisol is released, those cytokines are going to come out as well—that is what’s going to suppress your pituitary and give you low thyroid symptoms.
The most common causes of elevated cortisol are:
Well, let me say a couple words about each one of those.
When you have a “blood sugar problem”, it means that your blood sugar is not regular.
Your blood sugar is going up and down….
When your blood sugar goes up and down, your cortisol levels are going to go up and down…
…and the cytokines are going to go up and down….
…and then we have this whole pituitary getting squashed…
…and you not making enough thyroid hormones and you’re starting to have symptoms such as:
…depression, hair loss, fatigue, feeling cold all over, can’t get enough sleep, can’t lose weight.
But there’s two varieties of that blood sugar problem. You don’t have to be diabetic to have this. You can have hypoglycemia (reactive hypoglycemia), which means your sugar drops between meals…or you don’t eat when you need to and…when you do eat the next time, you get these big surges of insulin, big surges of cortisol.
It doesn’t matter to your body whether you have low blood sugar or high blood sugar; in both cases the blood sugar is not regular.
So, for example, if you get shaky, light headed or irritable in between meals and you have a thyroid problem…this could be one of the reasons why because that blood sugar going up and down, that fluctuation causes this fluctuation in cytokines and inflammation.
The second thing that can cause excessive cortisol is infection. It’s not necessarily like getting strep throat. We’re talking about, many times, hidden G.I. infections that you have no idea you have because you may not have any G.I. symptoms that cause high cortisol…and then low thyroid symptoms.
There’s a test that you can do that is a DNA PCR test of stool.This test is definitive as to whether you’ve got a parasite, a fungus or a yeast or some sort of pathogen living in your gut that’s driving – and that’s the word I use – driving your adrenal glands to keep pumping up cortisol—which makes increased levels of cytokines, which suppresses your pituitary. (follow the path?)
Psychological stress is the third thing that can cause these adrenal glands to keep pumping out cortisol. Many low thyroid sufferers are stressed by many different parts of their life. They feel bad. It’s the classic stress response. So, for those people – and this is part of what we do for my treatment program – we have to teach them how to deal with their stress.
I’m not talking necessarily about being a therapist. I’m talking about teaching you a very powerful but simple way of helping your body not have a stress response but have a relaxing response. If whoever’s taking care of you right now, if you’re under care, if they’re not addressing this stress component, you’re being underserved. I believe you’re being underserved.
If your stress levels are still high, your adrenal glands are still going to pump hard. Cortisol levels are going to increase to excess. Cytokine levels are going to increase, and it’s going to squash your pituitary.
High cortisol will sabotage your honest attempt to combat your low thyroid symptoms.
That’s hidden cause number five—cortisol suppressing your pituitary and hypothalamus.
©2010 Dr. David Clark ,DC
Dr. David Clark, DC-Center for Low Thyroid Solutions in Durham, NC-reveals the fourth reason why thousands of women still suffer with low thyroid symptoms.
I’m going to tell you about hidden cause number four, why you still have low thyroid symptoms. It is related to a hormone called prolactin. Unlike the other three hidden causes that we’ve talked about, this one is more or less screened for by your medical endocrinologist.
Here’s a short explanation of how Prolactin causes low thyroid symptoms.
Prolactin is a hormone made by your pituitary gland. High levels of prolactin suppress thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), the marker your doctor has been measuring.
Prolactin is tightly balanced by progesterone and dopamine.
When you have a dopamine deficiency or a progesterone deficiency, your prolactin will rise up and will squash their pituitary’s production of thyroid stimulating hormone. If you’re lucky, that imbalance will show up on your labs,, as a TSH that is low but not quite out of the lab reference range. That’s why this particular problems gets missed as a cause of your continued low thyroid symptoms.
What I’ve just explained is a functional model of how prolactin excess can suppress your pituitary and make you have thyroid symptoms (even though your TSH didn’t fall outside of the lab range.)
Remember, I use a functional range; it’s a narrower range than the lab’s “normal” ranges; it’s an opinion and it picks up things like this prolactin-dopamine-thyroid problem.
…So that was a functional model of how prolactin can cause thyroid suppression and low thyroid symptoms.
One of the ways that you might know if you were having a prolactin excess is discharge from the breasts in both men and women
Also, Prolactin will suppress luteinizing hormone (LH). So, in women, prolactin excess causes infertility…in men, excess prolactin depresses testosterone so they have low libido.
You can understand this prolactin-progesterone-dopamine situation would confuse medical and alternative doctors because people who have low thyroid function often have these exact same symptoms of infertility and low libido.
…Now the pathological medical model take on Prolactin…
High prolactin usually is caused by a tumor called a prolactinoma. Many of these tumors can be surgically removed.
Hopefully, whoever you’ve seen before for your low thyroid symptoms, has evaluated you for this tumor.
If you don’t have the tumor, it’s still possible that you’ve got this functionally elevated prolactin because you may have dopamine deficiency or progesterone deficiency.
The dopamine deficiency could manifest as you having ADHD type symptoms along with low thyroid symptoms. You may have difficulty concentrating, difficulty paying attention, being impulsive, hyperactive. If you’ve got those symptoms, plus you’ve got these low thyroid symptoms, you may have a prolactin excess that needs to be balanced out by working on dopamine.
Same thing with progesterone; you may have a progesterone deficiency that’s allowing the scale to tip high for prolactin and shuts down your pituitary, which means you have low thyroid hormone activity.
But remember, and the point I want you to understand is, if you go to your medical doctor and you ask them about this, they’re probably going to know about the tumor thing…buth they’re going to know very little about the dopamine and the progesterone aspect of it.
That’s because they’re not using a functional model like I use. The functional approach is how we’re able to find a lot of women that are missed….Because there’s a lot of women reading this right now that have been through the wringer…or they haven’t really been helped at all just because they’ve been getting prescribed thyroid hormones–which will NOT help this situation.
That’s hidden cause number four; it’s an excessive level of prolactin that’s caused either by a tumor – again, I hope you don’t have one of those – and can also be caused by deficient dopamine and deficient progesterone.
And I can test for all those things–do some detective work – and find out exactly why you have low thyroid symptoms. For example…
If you’ve got a dopamine deficiency, then why do you have that? Maybe it’s because you’re iron anemic.
If you’re progesterone deficient, what does that really mean?
There’s still investigation that has to be done.
If your doctor is not going to take a comprehensive look at your low thyroid symptoms, you’re going to suffer for a long time.
© 2010 Dr. David Clark, DC
Today I’m starting a new series called,
“Why You Still Have Low Thyroid Symptoms When Your Labs Are Normal”
There are millions of women walking around right now that have low thyroid symptoms.The number one cause of low thyroid in America is an autoimmune attack called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis— but I’m not going to talk about that. I’m going to reveal one of the other 23 reasons why you still suffer with low thyroid symptoms.
The first hidden cause of your thyroid symptoms is Central Nervous System Serotonin Deficiency.
“What? Serotonin has something to do with thyroid function?”
Yes, it does, and it’s complex but I’m going to reveal the major players.
There’s a place in your brain called the hypothalamus. In the hypothalamus is a region called the periventricular nucleus (PVN.)
This brain area is critical for your suffering with thyroid symptoms (even though your thyroid labs look normal and you’re taking thyroid hormones.)
Levels of Serotonin in your Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) influence the PVN.
Low levels of Serotonin make you have low-thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
I’m not going to get into the pathways more than that. I’m telling you about the Serotonin-PVN-TSH-Connection because I would be shocked if any of your “thyroid” doctors know one iota about this important circuit and how it could help end your suffering.
See, taking thyroid hormones for this problem– this serotonin problem– is not going to help your low thyroid symptoms.
Your labs will look “normal” and pretty soon your doctor is going to drop the “D” word on you…depressed.
He/she will say…”Maybe you need to just go ahead and take an anti-depressant.” NO! The extra-confusing thing is when you take the anti-depressant, you might actually feel better —but not because you were depressed. You might feel better because some anti-depressants will temporarily increase the activity of Serotonin in the brain! But taking the anti-depressants will fail to make you symptoms go away.
The biggest influence on Serotonin is your blood sugar.
Blood sugar regulation is the one thing that determines how well you will make serotonin in your brain.
So that means you need to have regular, steady glucose, not up and down glucose. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemai) is bad for your thyroid. High blood sugar is bad for your thyroid..
Unstable blood sugar levels cause unstable Serotonin levels that can cause LOW Thyroid Stimulating Hormone…
…And you end up with thyroid symptoms like these:
You can have any or all of these symptom, even though your lab numbers are “normal.”
This Serotonin-Thyroid connection is real science. This is evidence based medicine.
Sidebar: “Evidenced-based medicine”, by the way, is really prejudiced-based medicine because if your evidence isn’t drug-based evidence then the establishment doesn’t believe you. Well, they can believe the Serotonin Connection because it comes straight out of scientific research.
So that’s hidden cause #1….and one reason why you can still be having thyroid symptoms even though your labs look normal.
I hop you use this important information and can get plucked out of the jungle of thyroid hormone disorders, because my goodness, they are mismanaged and misunderstood.
Today I reveal “Hidden Cause Number 3 Why You Still Have Thyroid Symptoms”, even though your labs look normal…and even though you’re taking thyroid hormones.
The third hidden cause of Low Thyroid Symptoms is high levels of cytokines.
Cytokines are messengers that your immune system uses as part of the inflammation process.
Women that have inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions, asthma…or autoimmune conditions like Lupus or RA…usally have high levels of cytokines.
High cytokine levels depress and squash the circuit in your brain that helps you make thyroid hormones.
Cytokines may not squash this circuit so much that your TSH is low according to “normal reference range.” But remember, the lab ranges that are used to measure TSH and T4, are too WIDE. Too forgiving.
In my office, I use a “functional” range. It’s a narrow range. The power of the functional range is that every day I discover “hidden” thyroid dysfunction using this “functional” narrow range.
“How do you know if I have elevated cytokines?”
Well, these cytokines have names like interleukin 2, interleukin 4, tumor necrosis factor alpha. You can easily test for these. These are blood tests. In fact, these are some of the same tests that I do for my Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus and RA patients to find out about exactly how their immune system has become unbalanced.
I do the same deep analysis for the women who have thyroid hormone problems….the women that come in suffering with thyroid symptoms but “mysteriously” their labs are “normal.”
Thousands of women are wandering through life lost, feeling awful, without hope because their thyroid problem is mis-diagnosed and mis-managed.
They feel horrible…they have fatigue, depression, they can’t lose weight. It’s cruel, but they gain weight very rapidly. Ttheir hair is brittle, their nails are brittle, a lot of them are depressed.
But the doctors are telling them, “Well, I just don’t see a reason why you still feel bad. Maybe I’ll up your prescription–or maybe I just need to give you an anti-depressant.”
Giving antidepressants to these women is WRONG.
There are over 24 different ways that your thyroid hormones can go wrong. (24!) And the third way, is when cytokines get high enough to put their foot down on that normal circuit that helps you make thyroid hormones.
The next question that must be is… “What’s causing the inflammation?” At the Center for Low Thyroid Solutions I answer this question using a comprehensive analysis.
I use sophisticated lab tests to investigate:
What I’m telling you is that you can’t just accept the fact that your doctor says,
“Your labs are normal; you’re taking thyroid hormones; you still feel bad?; I guess maybe you’re just depressed. Try this antidepressant drug.”
Don’t buy that load of junk! Do not settle for a life where you feel horrible.
You have to find the right doctor that knows how to assess comprehensively… and knows about these different factors I just told you about (There all in the scientific literature.).
Here’s the giant roadblock in your way….,a scary large number of doctors don’t read. Even the so-called “number one” endocrinologist in your city– many of them don’t read.
What I do is not their approach. They do not take a functional approach. They’re looking just at the lab ranges and if the lab numbers are okay, you’re okay.
Ridiculous isn’t it? These doctors have forgotten how to think.
Today I’ve shared with you how cytokine elevations can cause low thyroid symptoms. You can test for these with simple but specialized blood tests.
Do NOT settle. You don’t have to suffer.
© 2010 Dr. David Clark
Today I’m going to reveal hidden cause number two, why you still have thyroid symptoms.
This series is designed to do is to help open your eyes so that you can understand why you still are suffering with symptoms like fatigue and hair loss, low libido, feeling cold….understand why you still have those symptoms even though you’re taking thyroid hormones…. or even though your thyroid numbers look normal.
And hidden cause number two why you’re still suffering is because of a neurotransmitter called Dopamine.
Now I’m going to keep this science really simple…..
Your pituitary, which is a very small gland in your brain, makes thyroid stimulating hormone – TSH.
I’m sure you probably heard of that because that’s probably the only thing your doctor is monitoring, right?
Monitoring TSH is the only thing the status quo medical model does when it comes to thyroid hormone problems.
Pretty much no matter what the doctor thinks your problem might be (and they really only think it’s about one of two things) you get prescribed thyroid hormones.
The doctor doesn’t actually manage your thyroid problem… the doctor manages your TSH.(!)
So, if your TSH gets too high, well they increase your medication. If your TSH gets too low, they decrease your medication. (so easy I could teach a 5 year old to do it).
The doctor looks at your TSH levels as the Be-All End-All… that couldn’t be more wrong.
The thing about thyroid hormone problems that confuses most doctors and endocrinologists is there are about 24 different ways that your thyroid hormones can go wrong – 24.
And most of your doctors are only testing TSH and total T4 and that’s about it. That’s going to detect only 1, maybe 2 of the 24 different patterns.
The one I’m revealing to you today is Dopamine.
Your hypothalamus in your brain tells the pituitary to make TSH.
The Dopamine problem and its connection with thyroid works like this...there has to be sufficient Dopamine in your hypothalamus to generate the signal to pituitary to make TSH.
If there’s not enough Dopamine activity in your brain, then your pituitary doesn’t know how to make TSH.
Now, The TSH number on your labs will be within the normal lab range, but outside what I call the functional range.
The functional range is different than the lab’s range, because the lab range is pretty much garbage as a reflection of optimal function. It’s so wide that only the very high and very low get flagged.
…So with this Dopamine problem your TSH looks normal but you have thyroid symptoms—cold, fatigued, depressed, can’t lose weight, hair loss. You may even be taking thyroid hormones.
“How Do I Know if You Have the Dopamine Problem?”
The clue to the Dopamine problem is that you have, along with the fatigue and libido problems and the depression and the constipation and the can’t lose weight—along with those thyroid symptoms you have Dopamine symptoms.
The classic symptoms of insufficient Dopamine are:
Then there’s a really good chance that Dopamine is why you still have a thyroid problem.
This Dopamine problem can be helped with special diet modification, lifestyle changes and specific supplementation.
Blood sugar control is probably the biggest thing to look at because Dopamine synthesis is linked with blood sugar fluctuations.
ALERT: I don’t want you to fall victim to the idea that you can test central nervous system neurotransmitter levels with urine testing. That’s not valid at all.
I use an extensive questionnaire that helps me pinpoint specifically if you do actually have those Dopamine problems.
If you do, then I have to start digging into WHY do you have those Dopamine problems–this takes some detective work. That’s what a good doctor will do.
If you’re suffering with thyroid hormone symptoms AND those Dopamine symptoms, dopamin can be the reason why you are still suffering, even though your labs look normal.
© 2010 Dr. David Clark