Why Do I Feel So Tired? Hormonal Balance, Adrenal and Thyroid Dysfunction

At the end of winter I find I seem to be lacking vitality, always tired, and find it difficult to get to grips with the simplest things.  This winter is no exception.  I sometimes wonder if lack of sunlight is a factor in all this, so I thought I would see what other people think about the ‘winter blues’ as I call them, or the horrid feeling of chronic fatigue.

 Lisa Schilling does explain why we feel like this, and gives a few simple things we can do to help us get going again.  I did wonder if I suffered from low-thyroid, but if I do, it isn’t low enough to warrant medication.  However I have added kelp tablets into my daily supplements, and that has helped a lot. A reasonable amount of exercise is essential for feeling well and vital, because if your heart muscle gets flabby it won’t be pumping blood around your body efficiently, and it doesn’t take much to become unfit.  Sleep is another area where chronic fatigue can set in, and as you get older this can become a problem.  I find if I exercise, and then have to go out and do something that requires walking, I come home and fall asleep, and then my night sleep is poor, and if I don’t take care insomnia can creep in.  i apologize that there wasn’t an actual You Tube video of Lisa Shilling, but Dr Agrios talks about the problems of Chronic Fatigue due to Adrenal Exhaustion, and adds some interesting points.

Why Do I Feel So Tired? Hormonal Balance, Adrenal and Thyroid Dysfunction

by Lisa Schilling

In Part I of this series, “Glands, Hormones & Chemical Messengers: Restoring Balance,” we looked at how glands secrete hormones, and their vital role in health and wellbeing. In Part II, we will focus on thyroid and adrenal function, outlining how to detect and balance common sub-acute or subclinical hormonal dysfunction.

The adrenal glands lie above each kidney. Their main purpose is to produce the right amount of stress hormones, allowing you to respond appropriately to perceived stressors. There is an intrinsic link between the thyroid and adrenal glands, creating a negative feedback loop, often referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid (HPAT) axis, or sometimes simply HPA. It acts as the body’s stress management system, which ultimately controls the level of cortisol and other stress-related hormones. HPA suppression can result in fatigue, depression, dehydration, and decreased immune function.

Signaling for release of these hormones starts in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that sends hormonal messages to the pituitary, a tiny gland in the brain. Any excessive metabolic activity is perceived as a stress by the adrenal glands, and this affects the actions of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and thyroid. When the adrenal glands are too weak to handle the stress of the body’s normal metabolic energy, they force a down-regulation of energy production, and you feel fatigued.

The pituitary gland also plays a vital role in regulating body function. It is called the “master gland,” because of its control over the activity of most other hormone-secreting glands. The thyroid is considered the “master gland of metabolism.” Located on the neck, this small butterfly-shaped gland’s main purpose is to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone, which sends a message to cells on how fast to burn energy and produce proteins.

A dysfunctional thyroid can affect every aspect of health, and in particular metabolism and energy use. This hormonal misfiring will create vague and uncomfortable symptoms, such as fatigue, exhaustion, depression, brain fog, weight gain, dry skin and hair, cold intolerance, constipation, muscle cramps, menstrual problems and fertility issues as seen in an under-active thyroid. An over-active thyroid can cause nervousness, irritability, racing heart, panic disorder, shaky hands, brittle hair, sweating, heat intolerance, insomnia, and muscular weakness.

Thyroid and adrenal dysfunction create low metabolic energy in the body, which interferes with the communication between cells and their ability to receive nutrients and hormones. Since every process inside the body requires energy, when the body does not have enough for proper functioning, each will malfunction in its own distinctive way, resulting in unwanted symptoms.

Nutrition plays a key role in all gland/hormone function. Try to limit, or avoid:


  1. Gluten
  2. Soy
  3. “White” food such as refined sugar, flour, rice, and grains
  4. Food sensitivities or allergies
  5. Highly processed foods
  6. Carbohydrate heavy meals


These small changes in diet create the valuable nutritional support that can help rebalance glandular health, and reduce symptoms. Because even the healthiest diet cannot supply the complete spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients needed for optimal balance, it is recommended that a multivitamin and mineral supplement be taken daily to support gland/hormone health. Look for supplements including beta-carotene, zinc, copper, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, and others.

Many nutrients and herbs, including iodine, selenium, sage, ashwagandha, bacopa, ginseng, and others, help the body manage the adverse affects of fluctuations in hormones. Phytotherapy involves the use of plant extracts to provide natural support for hormonal health. Daily use of a phytonutrient support formula has been shown to alleviate moderate to severe symptoms in some users.

To allow for more optimal thyroid function, try consuming:


  1. Adequate amounts of protein at every meal
  2. Foods rich in selenium
  3. Foods rich in iodine
  4. Whole natural foods
  5. Balanced nutritional vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrients supplements
  6. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, or Brussels sprouts, cooked or steamed to reduce the goitrogens found in the raw version.


Maintaining emotional wellness plays an important part in overall hormonal balance. Because of the effect of stress on hormonal function, finding ways to de-stress, unwind and deal with tension are essential. Things such as reading, yoga, prayer, meditation, or focused relaxation can be better than medication to help you stay in balance.

Exercise also plays an important role in glandular health, by allowing the body to work at optimum efficiency. Because fatigue is such a problem, finding a gentle form of exercise that you can do consistently, and that you find enjoyable, will improve not only body functioning, but also mood.

From this overview, you can see the vital role that glands and hormones play in how you feel each day. Learning to support your hormonal health can make a significant difference in your mood, comfort, and energy levels. For some, the cure may seem more painful than the cause, and they will continue the lifestyle choices that create their hormone/gland dysfunction.

Nevertheless, for those who are sick and tired, of feeling sick and tired, here is yet another reason to manage your stress, eat smarter, move more and take nutritional supplements. It is not all in your head! Invest in yourself daily. Managing your hormonal balance, by consistently supporting glandular function, will pay dividends in your daily energy, attitude, and mood.

“Wellness Matters” Article Series by Lisa Schilling RN, BSN, CPT
Speaker, Writer, Wellness Coach & Consultant

Lisa Schilling is the author of “The Get REAL Guide to Health and Fitness-FIVE STEPS to Create Your Own Personal Wellness Plan.” She juggles life as a doting wife and the mother of three boys, who keep her feet firmly planted on the ground!

Lisa is a Registered Nurse, author and recovering pageant queen, who spreads hope with her Get REAL approach to wellness. She empowers women, caregivers and groups to unleash their fullest potential by helping them to see their true beauty and discover their REAL value.

As an outspoken advocate for wellness and prevention, her motto is: “See one, do one, teach one!” Visit Lisa’s website http://www.getrealwellnesssolutions.com to claim your FREE Bonus Gifts!

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

I have taken note of what Lisa says about avoiding gluten, soy, white or refined carbohydrates, highly processed food, any foods one is intolerant to, or even allergic to and carbohydrate heavy meals.  Interestingly enough I struggle with all of that, and have found that reducing these things have made a difference, but I probably need to eliminate rather than avoid these foods, especially carbohydrates.  I think they are the hardest ones to get rid of, but I have noticed an excessive thirst when I do have a ‘heavy carbohydrate’ meal.  The other foods she recommends like eating good protein for every meal, and eating sufficient selenium ( did you know that one brazil nut a day will provide your full requirement of selenium) for foods sufficient in iodine, I have added kelp tablets, and the rest is mainly whole foods, good fruit and vegetable intake.

 I like what Lisa said about maintaining out emotional balance and not allowing ourselves to become overstressed.  I find having a quiet time is an essential tool to help me maintain my emotional balance, but keeping mentally active, having a few goals in life are also important.  Sadly I have known too many people who have become mentally ill, and a common denominator has been ‘too much time on their hands’.  These days if due to economic factors you find yourself out of work, it is really hard, but for your own health, try and fill that time with something that is stimulating or creative, for your own emotional health sake.  If you want to read a book called Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Hormonal Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized, and Stress Free than click on the link colored in yellow.

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