“ATP is synonymous with life…” — Andrew Kim
I love this picture!
And we’ve all been there, right?… Unfortunately.
OK, so many moons ago I promised an article on the Adrenals & Thyroid. I could say that I was too tired to write it, but then the MAG-pies would vote me off the Island — quite deservedly. So this is the first in what will clearly be a series on these pervasively dysfunctional parts of our anatomy.
Actually, as those with any sort of Adrenal and/or Thyroid dysfunction know, these critical Endocrine (energy-producing) glands are really complicated, and based on my Mg-centric research, are really misunderstood. And I hope that this article begins to shed some new light on this vital topic. And please know, I in no way seek to compete with the outstanding information available on STTM (http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/) I’m just offering some added information that is missing in this energy equation…
Truth be known, I was challenged to find an article that was penetrating enough to bring new insights to this issue, that is until I read Chris Kresser, LAc’s recent article on 5 Ways Stress Causes Hypothyroidism. Chris should take a bow for this one… it’s that good, and I encourage all to take a few minutes to read and review it closely.
That said, I want to build on Chris’s excellent post and shed added insight from a Magnesium perspective. (Did you think I forgot our favorite mineral?!?… 😉 ) What this article on Stress and low Thyroid function does is open the door for what I think are some compelling reasons why 100 million Americans are taking Synthroid and not feeling any better for it. Btw, does it strike anyone else as “odd” that 1/3 of our fellow citizens are taking this Rx medication, and are not seeing any metabolic benefit?…
OK, enough intro, let me share the 5 Ways from Chris’s article: (I will offer commentary in between…)
1) Adrenal stress disrupts the HPA axis
Just so we’re clear on this, “Stress!” causes Mg loss. And when it’s chronic enough, it becomes quite severe and disrupts the entire HPA Axis. Here’s an amazing article that sheds penetrating insight on how a lack of a lowly mineral can wreak havoc on our HPA Axis. “Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment.”
So yes, technically, “Adrenal stress disrupts the HPA axis,” but it’s the breadth of relentless “Stressors!” that preceded that CAUSED the chronic, severe, and unrecovered Mg loss that created the Adrenal stress… Given that the Adrenal glands are ruled by the ratio of Sodium/Magnesium. Loss of Mg causes an initial rise of Sodium, and then an eventual collapse of both Sodium and Mg — the classic case of “Adrenal burnout” that so many are subject to.
2) Adrenal stress reduces conversion of T4 to T3
Many are aware that the enzyme 5′-deiodinase is a Selenium-dependent peptide, but it also “Mg-driven,” as it takes Mg-ATP to make this transaction complete, and very often what blocks it is not just a lack of Mg-ATP, but the presence of excess, unbound Copper, which is “lack of Mg-ATP on Steroids!” In fact, Copper must be bound to its target protein, Ceruloplasmin, to be effective, and it takes three separate metabolic transactions that call for Mg-ATP to make that happen. There are many articles on Copper toxicity that point out the effect that excess, unbound Copper has on the Thyroid, but no one shares the Mg robbing effect that this metallo-mineral has.
3) Adrenal stress promotes autoimmunity by weakening immune barriers
It is well established that our gut represents 80+% of our immune system. Huh?… What exactly do they mean when they say that?… Well, the more diversified the gut flora, the more effective your body can respond to external threats. (Given that, does it make any sense that we confront all infections with increasingly potent anti-biotics?… topic for another post!) In any event, recent research has shed keen light on the metabolic origin of “Leaky Gut:” “Changes in intestinal bifidobacteria levels are associated with the inflammatory response in magnesium-deficient mice.”
It’s hard to stress just how important this finding is. That coupled with the fact that WBCs (White Blood Cells) — our 1st responders to threat — are most potent when they have optimal levels of Glutathione, a Mg-dependent and Mg-ATP energized chief anti-oxidant that is critical to our health and environmental well-being.
If our “Stress!” is on overdrive, our Mg is missing, and it leads to weakened intestinal immune barriers and WBCs. Again, it’s the precursor to Adrenals that ushered in the auto-immunity. This stuff is NOT from Mars, it’s comes from within, especially when we have lost our innate “Stress!” response due to a chronic loss of Maggie…
4) Adrenal stress causes thyroid hormone resistance
I’m sure that many of you have heard of Insulin Resistance, Leptin Resistance and Vitamin-D Resistance. What they ALL have in common is that invariably, a key Mg-dependent enzyme keeps the receptor sites clear and operating optimally. And when Maggie is missing, these hormone receptors do NOT work as well, if at all.
For an excellent overview of this topic, please go to Danny Roddy’s blog entitled: “Is Supplemental Magnesium a Surrogate for Thyroid Hormone?”
Danny really lays it out with this blog, and explains the critical role that Mg plays in proper Thyroid function. Trust me, it’s rare for any kind of practitioner to ever use the words “Magnesium” and “Thyroid” together in the same sentence. Given their totally symbiotic relationship inside the cell, it’s a wonderment to me that this is the case. And for those seeking a more erudite examination of this relationship, please read Dr. Vitale’s classic from 1957. This relationship is apparently no longer being taught in Medical Schools across the country.
5) Adrenal stress causes hormonal imbalances
Again, what apparently has gone unnoticed in much of the clinical training across the country is the fact that Cholesterol is the source of all Steroid Sex and Stress Hormones. What’s even more fascinating is that the enzyme family, Cytochrome P-450, is activated by Mg. Hmmmmm… You mean the hormonal dysfunction might be a result of my “Stress!” level?… Yup!
And furthermore, you’ll note the presence of Cortisol at the bottom of that chart. Yes, Cortisol, the ultimate “Stress!” hormone. And what’s it’s relationship with Maggie? Cortisol eats Mg for lunch. So when we’re “Stressed Out!”, we have less Magnesium and therefore less Mg to recycle the Cortisol back to its storage form, Cortisone, where it can do less harm. And even more important to our mission of increasing energy (Mg-ATP), the ultimate T4>>T3 buster is Cortisol. Imagine that. “Stress!” is at the very root of our Thyroid and Adrenal problems, in large part due to our inability to properly restore Magnesium status in our body and in our cells.
What to do? For starters, I would take a spin through how to restore Maggie on www.gotmag.org.
In subsequent posts, I’ll take a closer look at additional ways to ward off the impact of Mg loss on our Adrenals and Thyroid glands. And I’ll also provide additional recommendations for steps to rebuild and restore function to these essential energizers in our body.
A votre sante!