How Stress Affects your Thyroid

How stress impacts your thyroid

Stress has been linked to the development of thyroid issues. Most people with thyroid problems have an impaired ability to deal with stress.

If you are not adequately wired or well equipped to respond to a bounce back from life’s daily stresses, you might issue with your thyroid.

There is research that showed that elevated thyroid stimulating hormone is associated with elevated cortisol in a healthy adult.

This suggests that hypothyroidism is linked to reduced peripheral disposal of cortisol.

So, to live a healthy life and a healthy thyroid gland, stress management is very key

Relationship between stress and your thyroid

Some researchers have shown that the relationship between stress and the thyroid gland may be bidirectional—stress disrupts the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis and at the same time disturbed thyroid function alters our stress response.

Stress is a normal body and healthy part of life however issues may come up when the stress becomes chronic and prolonged.

Chronic stress is stress that lasts for a long time. This chronic stress caused an impaired ability of the body to respond to the stress.

Thyroid hormones are connected to the body’s stress system (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), and stress hormones like cortisol. This makes people with thyroid problems more sensitive to stress.

Dr. Stefano Guandalini, Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Medicine has shown that having a thyroid condition does not make you more vulnerable to stress.

When you have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you become more sensitive to both mental and physical stresses. Excessively high or low levels of thyroid hormones how the whole body reacts to stress.

Stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol which is produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol can inhibit the secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland, leading to the partial suppressed release of the hormone thyroxine.

So, stress could potentially worsen symptoms of thyroid diseases which in turn causes more stress.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress is known to play a role in the development of many diseases. One article published in 2005 in the journal of Thyroid showed that stress precedes the onset of Grave’s and Hashimoto’s disease. Another research written in 2013 argued that stress plays a role in the pathophysiology of Grave’s disease.

So, stress management is very important for managing chronic health conditions or just trying to stay in good health.

But for those with thyroid issues, extra attention should be paid to stress reduction.

6 Ways to manage stress

  1. Take your vitamins. There are stress-busting vitamins such as vitamin B complex, vitamin C and Magnesium. Deficiency of vitamin B12 is usually linked to hypothyroidism while magnesium deficiency is also has a link to thyroid dysfunction. Certain nutrients such as vitamin C, Magnesium, and B vitamins are essential for the healthy functions of the adrenal glands and the nervous systems. These vitamins are more often depleted in times of stress.
  2. Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep gives your body the chance to recover from a day’s work and rejuvenate from stress. Research suggests getting adequate sleep is an important part of stress management. Prioritize sleep, so sleep for at least 5 hours.
  3. Eat whole Foods: eat whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. Fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, eggs, and whole grains. Getting the right nutrition for your body can help build resilience and help you cope with stress. People with hypothyroidism should be sure to get enough iodine in their diet to support thyroid health.  Natural sources of iodine are iodized salt, dairy products, eggs, tuna, cod, and seaweed.  Practice eating healthy nutrition, get adequate sunshine
  4. Exercise regularly: being physically active helps you to increase your stress tolerance. Doing cardiovascular, strengthening, and flexibility exercises will you help to combat stress. Engage in activities that relieve stress such as walking in nature, yoga, swimming, and hanging out with a friend. Even reading can help to relieve stress.
  5. Practice relaxation and self-care: Go to the massage parlor for a massage and pampering. Massage helps to relieve stress. Practice yoga and meditation.