Running on Empty? Is It Your Thyroid, or Really Your Adrenals?

Do you play the denial and cover-up game when it comes to how you feel?

In today’s busy world, it’s more common than not to feel worn down, anxious, stressed out, or short on time to get everything done. Unfortunately, this is totally accepted as OK by society, and when slowing down is suggested, you may actually get laughed at.

Are you running on empty?

The problem with living this way, is that we are actually doing more damage than good when it comes to our health.  The chronic stresses of everyday life are making a lot of us very sick.

  • Constant interaction – work, social media, kids’ activities, etc.
  • No pausing – the word “NO” is not a part of our vocabulary
  • No relaxing – taking time out to nap, meditate, do yoga, go for walks, etc.

However, stress can also fall under the following categories:

  • Chemical – toxins in our everyday life.  Beauty products, food additives, smog, cleaning supplies.
  • Mechanical – too much exercise, too much work. Refer above to constant interaction.
  • Thermal – over heating or over chilling our bodies.
  • Emotional – drama at work, rough times in your relationships, a death in the family, depression, anxiety, etc.

How does all of this affect our bodies?   We have these two glands located above our kidneys called the adrenal glands. The adrenals are responsible for the release of cortisol, aldosterone and our sex hormones.  They are also the key players when it comes to our bodies handling stress.

Word cloud for Adrenal fatigue

When our adrenals become overworked due to the stresses we put on them, we may experience any of the following symptoms, but not limited to:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Sugar cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Salt Cravings
  • Getting dizzy when standing up
  • Having trouble falling asleep
  • Low sex drive

What is even more troubling is that prolonged adrenal fatigue can lead to structural problems, osteoporosis, hormone imbalances, leaky gut, immune and thyroid disorders, and other illnesses.

Over-stimulated adrenals can cause imbalances with the hypothalamus and pituitary axis, which then leads to thyroid issues.  In most cases, thyroid medication is prescribed without ever looking into our adrenal health.

Your doctor or naturopath can perform blood or saliva tests to determine your cortisol levels. Your Nutritional Therapist can perform functional body tests and determine which supplements or herbs would help best.  However, there is one simple way you can test yourself to determine if your adrenals are fatigued.

The test is called PARADOXICAL PUPILARY RESPONSE, or in layman terms, checking your pupils with a light.

1. Darken the room and wait 15 seconds.
2. Look at a fixed point and try not to blink.
3. Come in from the side of the eye, and direct the pen light at the pupil at approximately a 45 degree angle. Hold the light 6-12 inches from your eye, depending on the intensity of the light.
4. Count 20 seconds observing the reaction of the pupil.

Grade on a scale of 1-5
1. Excellent:  pupil constricts and holds tight for 20 seconds without pulsing.
2. Fair:  pupil holds but pulses after 10 seconds.
* 3. Poor:  pupil pulses and becomes larger after 5-10 seconds.
* 4. Failure:  pupil pulses and becomes gradually larger over the first 10 seconds.
* 5. Extreme Exhaustion:  pupil immediately becomes larger or fails to constrict.

* Note:  This person will normally feel the need to wear sunglasses outside even in moderate sunlight.

The great news here, is that adrenal fatigue can be reversed.  Simple lifestyle and dietary changes can do wonders, plus the use of adaptogenic herbs can have you back feeling good again.

There are several quizzes one can take by Googling “adrenal quiz”, or simply email me at and I will send you a copy.

Adrenal fatigue, the causes, and how to correct it naturally is one of the cornerstone topics in my upcoming TAKE BACK YOUR HEALTH 12 week program. If reclaiming your health is a priority to you, then this program is for you.

Are you experiencing or have you overcome adrenal fatigue?  Please share below, I would love to hear your stories.

To your health,

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