Acupuncture and Functional Testing – Part 2 Thyroid & Adrenal Tests

Thyroid and adrenal problems are almost epidemic in our modern society. I frequently see clients with ‘burnout’, extreme fatigue and underactive thyroid function – many of them are taking thyroid medications and still feel awful!

Adrenal fatigue is not really recognised by doctors: they only consider adrenal problems if you suffer Addison’s disease, a condition causing little or no cortisol (one of your main adrenal hormones) to be produced. In reality, chronic stress is pushing many people onto the spectrum of adrenal fatigue and causing adrenal hormone imbalance.

How do adrenal hormones work?

Adrenal glands produce adrenaline – your ‘fight or flight’ hormone – and cortisol. Cortisol levels are naturally high first thing in the morning (they peak at around 8am) in order to get you up and going for the day ahead. Then they gradually decline over the day, reaching their lowest point in the evening when you go to sleep.

Chronic stress has the ability to disrupt this natural rhythm and I explored this in a previous article: “Where do you sit on the Stress Spectrum”. Some people have low cortisol in the morning and struggle to get up, followed by too much cortisol being released in the evening, disturbing their sleep. Others have flatline levels – no peak in the morning and very little produced all day – and as a result, struggle to find any energy at all.

How do I test my adrenal hormones?

Testing for adrenal function is simple. The laboratory requires 4 saliva samples, taken over the course of a day, so they can look at variations in cortisol levels and work out where any imbalances are. This type of testing is far more sensitive than a single blood test as it gives a true picture of your daily cortisol variations rather than a snapshot of how much cortisol is in your blood when the sample was taken.

What about Thyroid testing?

Thyroid testing can be done with urine samples. These types of tests tell us how much and how well your body has used your thyroid hormones, rather than just how much is sitting in your blood at a particular time.

But my GP says my thyroid tests are fine!

Standard thyroid testing looks at blood levels of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and Thyroxine (also called T4). These hormones are just part of the complex picture of thyroid function – they don’t tell the full story of how your body is coping with an underactive thyroid!

Your brain produces TSH which tells your thyroid to produce T4. This then needs to be converted to T3 – a much more active and useful thyroid hormone! So many people struggle to convert T4 to T3 yet never know it as the doctors don’t routinely test T3!

Why do they struggle with this conversion?

Let’s look at what stops T4/T3 conversion:

  • Stress! This is the number 1 problem. High levels of cortisol can cause a malformed type of T3 to be produced (reverse T3) – this is virtually useless to your cells.
  • Alcohol
  • Low levels of selenium, zinc, iron, omega-3 oils, B-vitamins and magnesium. Most people are deficient in at least 1 of these nutrients!

By checking on T3 levels, we get a much clearer picture of how your body is using thyroid hormones and how to support you in regaining your health. As stress has such a deep impact on thyroid health, it is helpful to take an Adrenal Hormone test alongside a thyroid test to reveal just how much of an impact stress is having on your system.

Are you struggling to cope with an underactive thyroid?

Struggling to cope with chronic stress?

Contact Tiziana on 07788 633292 or email at TODAY and begin your journey back to health!

Have more questions about how Traditional Acupuncture can help you? Simply contact Tiziana Bertinotti on 07788 633292 or

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