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The hormones cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone are secreted by the adrenal glands, which reside on top of the kidneys. These hormones affect the body in a myriad of ways, including in regard to weight distribution, allergic reactions, and sexual traits. Intense or long periods of emotional and/or physical stress along with various illnesses can cause Adrenal Fatigue. When this happens, it severely inhibits the body’s ability to reduce allergic and harmful reactions, like cancer and autoimmune disorders. Cortisol and similar hormones directly affect the use of carbohydrates, fats, cardiovascular function, gastrointestinal function, and the translation of fats and proteins into energy. Appropriate adrenal support is fundamental to facilitate the proper hormonal structure for optimal wellness and requires correct nutrition, adequate sleep, habitual exercise, stress management, and supplementation of any deficient adrenal hormones.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, Chronic Fatigue and Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome, CFIDS) refers to severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not the direct result other medical conditions. It often presents as a hypothalamic, pituitary, and/or immune dysfunction.

How is CFS treated?

In most CFS patients, the pituitary dysfunction, thyroid resistance, and high reverse T3 produce hypothyroidism. When this occurs, supplementation with T4 alone is often unable to produce a favorable outcome. T3 or a combination of T3 and T4 are a preferred alternative. Unfortunately, the retail medication Cytomel, a short acting T3, and is very difficult to use, due to its tendency to spike blood levels and cause undesired adverse reactions, such as arrhythmias, MI, angina, hyper or hypo tension, and even heart failure. At AgeVital, we can compound sustained-release T3 that your practitioner can use to avoid spiking blood levels and help you to reach your goals for effective CFS or FM therapy.

While hypothyroidism is often manifested in CFS, it is not the only condition. Other treatments aside from thyroid hormone supplementation can be beneficial. Various nutritional supplements, proteins, amino acids, and hormones can complement and strengthen the immune system. Since the immune system is often degraded by free radical damage, antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, may also prove advantageous. Low thyroid or adrenals gland can also inhibit the absorption of vitamin B-12. Since low B-12 has been associated with fatigue and depression, supplementation could be beneficial. Also, D-ribose supplementation has been known to reduce symptoms, with improvements in energy and well-being of over 30% on a visual analogue scale. Supplementation with NADH for one month has resulted in significant improvements in CFS, and magnesium has also produced some measurable improvements. Since most CFS patients tend to respond poorly to placebo treatments, favorable, measurable results in regard to supplementation is often interpreted as confirmation of successful treatment.

Thyroid Hormone Therapy

The treatment of thyroid conditions is complex and can vary drastically from one patient to another. The medications are precisely adjusted and may not be substituted haphazardly. One could argue that dosing for thyroid is as much an art as it is a science, and it is for such reasons that we often speak of the “practice” of medicine.

Low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can lead to aching muscles, aching joints, anxiety, cold and heat intolerance, constipation, decreased heart rate, deep voice, depression, dry hair, dry skin, enlarged tongue, fatigue, fluid retention, headaches, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypoglycemia, hypotension, infertility, irregular menstruation, low sex drive, memory impairment, slowed metabolism, swollen neck, and weight gain.

Hashimoto’s Disease

While hypothyroidism is a condition, Hashimoto’s is a disease. Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease, but not always. Sometimes known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, autoimmune thyroiditis, or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where antibodies interact with proteins in the thyroid gland, causing a gradual degradation of the gland, and decreasing the gland’s production of thyroid hormones. Possible symptoms include those common in hypothyroidism and is usually diagnosed with a clinical examination demonstrating one or more of the following:

A goiter (enlargement of the thyroid) A radioactive uptake scan showing diffuse uptake in an enlarged thyroid An ultrasound revealing an enlarged thyroid Fine needle aspiration (biopsy) of the thyroid showing lymphocytes and macrophages High antibody levels against thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG) detected with a blood test Periods of anxiety, diarrhea, insomnia, and/or weight loss may come and go or be followed by periods of constipation, depression, fatigue, and/or weight gain as Hashimoto’s causes fluctuations in thyroid performance. Such cycling can be typical with Hashimoto’s but is not always evident.

Often Hashimoto’s is caused by environmental triggers such as iodine, infection, pregnancy, or cytokine therapy, resulting in the generation of large numbers of T helper cells, cytotoxic lymphocytes, and autoantibody-producing B cells. Immune cells accumulate in the thyroid and lead to a prevalence of T helper mediated autoimmune responses and cytotoxic effects of T lymphocytes. All of this results in apoptosis (destruction) of thyrocytes, which is the ultimate cause of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

How is Hypothyroidism treated?

Most often, hypothyroid patients are treated with levothyroxine (synthetic T4). However, some patients remain symptomatic, and T3 is sometimes required for optimal therapy. Both T3 and T4 are secreted by a healthy thyroid gland. Unfortunately, the only commercially available T3 is a synthetic liothyronine sodium in an immediate release form which is absorbed rapidly and can lead to high systemic T3 concentrations in the body, resulting in undesirable side effects, such as heart palpitations. AgeVital can compound sustained-release T3 which could be an alternative when the administration of T4 alone has not proven sufficient to produce the desired results. Some studies have shown that the inclusion of T3 in thyroid hormone replacement therapy has improved cognitive performance, neuropsychological function, overall physical status, and has reduced depression when compared to therapy with T4 alone.

Contact us if you have any additional questions about thyroid disorders or treatments. We are more than willing to assist you in your quest for information, and would welcome the opportunity to become part of your health team.