STRESS: WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
Without a doubt, stress causes most of our illnesses – to convince yourself of that idea, look at the statistics:
Most illnesses, from depression to chronic fatigue syndrome, from high blood pressure to heart attacks, from obesity to diabetes, from cancers to neurodegenerative conditions, etc. etc. are more common among the poor and disadvantaged, than they are among those who are well-to-do and relatively stress-free: the connection with chronic socioeconomic stress is a “no-brainer”.
The phenomenon of illness brought on by stress, is also seen in the veteran military, among whom PTSD is related to virtually all pathologies.
How stress produces illness:
To understand how stress produces illness, you first have to know
how thyroid hormone, the body’s “accelerator”, is produced.
The thyroid gland makes Thyroxine (“T4”), which is the raw material for production of the “accelerator”, triiodothyronine (“T3”).
Actually, Thyroxine is not a hormone.
T4 has 4 iodine atoms: to make T3, all our cells (except in the pituitary gland) remove a special iodine atom from T4 with an enzyme called deiodinase #1 (the pituitary makes its own special enzyme, deiodinase #2).
The body also has a special “shutdown” enzyme called deiodinase #3, which removes the wrong iodine atom, converting T4 into a twisted form of triiodothyronine called “reverse T3”.
THIS IS WHAT THE DEIODINASES DO – the graphic below was copied from “Cardiomyocyte-specific inactivation of thyroid hormone in pathologic ventricular hypertrophy: an adaptative response or part of the problem?”, by Christine J. Pol, Alice Muller, and Warner S. Simonides, in “Heart Fail Review”, Nov 24, 2008).
Under stress conditions, the body increases production of cortisol, the “stress hormone” (perhaps cortisol should be called “the shutdown hormone”).
Cortisol blocks deiodinase #1, so inside the cells, T3 production stops.
Cortisol turns on deiodinase #3, so T4 in the cells is converted into reverse T3.
Deiodinase #3 also changes T3 into T2, which is also inactive.
Therefore the total effect of cortisol is to almost completely remove T3 from inside your cells.
The pituitary gland is unaffected, because it uses deiodinase #2 and because it does not have any deiodinase #3.
The pituitary therefore does not notice that anything has gone wrong and does not change its production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).
The other thing of course is that your MD won’t notice that anything has gone wrong either, because he/she tests TSH, not thyroid 3 and he/she does not think that reverse thyroid 3 is of any importance whatsoever, so reverse T3 isn’t tested either.
Treatment for intracellular hypothyroidism:
there is no way of blocking cortisol production; what you can do is to supply your cells with the T3 that they are not making.
This works very well and the stress-related symptoms go away quickly.
However if stress could be eliminated, much of the difficulty would disappear and my therapies would be guaranteed success!
With this in mind, I have done a search on the subject of stress relief.
Of the many websites which purport to solve the problem of “stress”, most peddle patent remedies of one sort or another:
I have however found one admirable, very well-designed website which satisfies my penchant for well-considered advice supplied in a tasteful and pleasant, non-capitalistic framework.
So if you have stress what you can do about it is as follows:
(1) Read and learn about intracellular hypothyroidism via this website
(2) Consult with a functional medicine physician for analysis of your hormone balance
(3) Follow that physician’s instructions re. correction of your T3 and other hormones
(4) Consult with Cheryl Conklin, at the website below, for stress-relieving ideas.