Adrenal and thyroid glands are responsible for producing hormones that keep the body running optimally. Common symptoms of adrenal and thyroid disorders include: fatigue, weight gain, depression, sensitivity to cold, muscle or joint aches, poor memory, thinning hair and chronic yeast infections.
Adrenals are organs that control the body’s hormones and help it endure the most stressful situations. When your adrenals are always under strain, it sets off an autoimmune, inflammatory response in your body where all your organs and immunity are impacted negatively as a result of constant assault of cortisol. This can cause a person’s thyroid issue to be worse off than usual.
Retailer Tony Joffe, owner of Health Best in Union, NJ, said that glandulars are the first recommendation for adrenal health. But, “If someone is a vegetarian, we’d switch to a homeopathic,” he said.
Tom Donnelly, retailer and owner of Autumn Harvest, Scotch Plains, NJ, said the three most important nutrients for the thyroid are: iodine, selenium and tyrosine; with secondary nutrients: magnesium, zinc, B-complex and vitamin C. He also recommends herbs ashwagandha, hops and forskolin. “There’s also iodine in capsule form, seaweed extracts, and dulse for people who don’t want to take capsules,” he said, adding, that he has been noticing more thyroid formulas on the market. “If you take good care of your thyroid, your adrenals are going to benefit.”
Michael Schwartz, president of Michael’s Naturopathic Programs, San Antonio, TX, agreed that there is a great need for adrenal and thyroid health products. “I think almost everyone is dealing with an issue related to either or both glands at the same time.”
As a company, Michael’s Naturopathic Programs doesn’t follow trends, as they are momentary, said Schwartz. “The issue in healing and health is ensuring that the basic nutritional needs are met in meaningful amounts. This will provide the nutrients to facilitate all of the processes the body systems go through.”
The company’s product Thyrodrenal is designed to provide meaningful amounts of necessary nutrients to ensure that both glands are fed a supportive nutritional blend. Cheryl Myers, chief of education and scientific affairs at EuroPharma, Inc. in Wisconsin agreed that the state of the market for these products is very strong. She said, “More than ever, we’re seeing people who are looking for ways to recharge their adrenal and thyroid glands to have better energy, more efficient metabolism, and more physical and emotional stamina. If people have noticed a slowdown in their ability to burn calories, or a challenge just trying to stay alert, or a lack of being able to react well to stressful events, it’s very likely that either thyroid or adrenal health is an issue.”
Regarding iodine for the thyroid, Myers said, “We’ve known that iodine is critical for a long time. After all, it’s one of the reasons we started adding iodine to salt. However, somewhere along the way, the knowledge of iodine was lost. As synthetic drugs became more popular, the basic understanding of iodine’s relationship with the thyroid was forgotten to the point that you have many iodine competitors in the environment—chlorine, bromides, fluoride—that move into iodine receptors in the thyroid throughout the body.”
Continuing, she said, “To make matters worse, even the small amount that people would get in table salt has diminished as many have moved toward low-sodium diets. And you have a situation where people are feeling the very real effects of thyroid slowdown, even if they don’t officially have hypothyroidism according to standard practice. However, we see subclinical levels of hypothyroidism, rampant fatigue, depression, overweight and obesity, and susceptibility to illness like never before. Additionally, stressful schedules and non-optimal dietary choices set us up to feel easily drained.”
Energy and Vitalty Support
According to Myers, EuroPharma, Inc.’s formulas, Thyroid-Care, Tri-Iodine, Adrenaplex and Adaptra have been well received because they help restore the nutrients that people have been missing or have depleted through years of stress, exposure to iodine competitors, dietary choices, aging, temperament, or any combination of the three, she said. “People love them because they work. If they once felt drained or stressed, they now feel energetic, focused, have greater endurance, and recover faster from physical and mental challenges.”
One of most overlooked elements in daily energy is the nutritional status of the thyroid, Myers added. “A drop in thyroid activity can make anyone feel weak and tired. The thyroid gland dictates the speed with which the body converts fuel/calories into energy. The problem is that most standard thyroid tests still read at ‘normal’ levels, despite suboptimal functioning, and these issues are then not fully addressed. Some integrative practitioners estimate one in two women and one in three men over the age of 40 have less than ideal thyroid function.”
Myers stressed that the most critical element for optimal thyroid function is the essential mineral iodine. “Yet studies have found that dietary iodine has decreased almost 50 percent in the last 30 years, while exposure to iodine’s competitors from the halide family—chlorine, astatine, fluoride, bromine, and bromides—is increasing. It is not surprising that the need for supplemental iodine is also increasing,” she said.
Thyroid Care is one of EuroPharma, Inc.’s most popular products because it says right on the package what it’s for and it provides three forms of iodine—molecular iodine, sodium iodide and potassium iodide—plus the amino acid L-tyrosine, which is required for the formation of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
EuroPharma’s goal with thyroid-supporting products is to help people feel healthy and vital again. Myers said, “Once a person’s thyroid is working properly, they’re going to have more energy and less fatigue. After all, fatigue is stressful. Not being able to think clearly and go about your day with enthusiasm is tough. Plus, the thyroid is the metabolic ‘gas pedal’ of the body. So when it gets the iodine and L-tyrosine it needs, keeping a healthy weight is going to be much easier.”
Although Tri-Iodine is an iodine-only product, it also provides three different forms of iodine—molecular iodine, sodium iodide, and potassium iodide—at different strength levels. While it’s an excellent choice for thyroid and metabolic support, it also supports prostrate and breast health, immune function, and helps detoxify bromide, fluoride, and chloride as well. It is available in 3-, 6.25-, 12.5- and 25 mg capsules, and in new chocolate chewable tablets as a 500 mcg dosage level. EuroPharma, Inc.’s Adrenalplex provides hormonal, nutrient and botanical support that helps people energize, feel renewed and resist stress. It contains adrenal extract, DHEA, L-tyrosine, pregnenalone, vitamin B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, pantothenic acid, licorice, rehmennia-root and vitamin C.
Each ingredient covers overlapping concerns. For example, pregnenalone is a building block for adrenal hormones; L-tyrosine and licorice help resist the effects of stress; adrenal extract re-build energetic responses day to day and helps feel less worn out. Myers said, “I think Adrenaplex is a perfect choice for people who have been feeling exhausted and ‘burned-out’ and who need to energize again without feeling ‘revved up’ but with a sense of the energy that they may have been missing for quite some time.”
Adaptra is an all-herbal blend that helps anyone with energy issues, including those with adrenal dysfunction. It provides clinically studied levels of rhodiola and ashwagandha—two botanicals that have generations of traditional use and decades of cutting edge research behind them.
Supplements Playing a Role in Overall Health
While Rainbow Light in California currently doesn’t have any products targeted specifically for adrenal or thyroid health, their new food-based Vibrance products are targeted for supporting energy, vitality and stress management.
“The adrenal glands produce numerous hormones responsible for multiple functions in the body, like regulating metabolism, immune system, blood pressure and other essential functions, but they are probably most well-known for secretion of hormones responsible for how we respond to stress,” said Marci Clow, MS, RDN, at Rainbow Light. “Adrenal dysfunction is not recognized by mainstream medicine as a condition, but if the adrenals are overstimulated for long periods of time, they can weaken and result in adrenal fatigue, causing feelings of constant tiredness, mild depression and general malaise.”
Several Rainbow Light multivitamin options contain key nutrients that may be supportive to thyroid health. Some of the key nutrients for stress and energy support in Rainbow Light products include: B-complex, Pantothenic acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), vitamin B-12, vitamin C and magnesium.
Clow said, “As a precaution, it is always advisable to consult with a health care professional regarding possible interactions to assure safety prior to taking any supplement, especially when taking medication or being treated for an illness.”
Clow noted the importance of heal-thy digestion and its importance to adrenal health. “Good digestion is the foundation of life and if our GI (gastrointestinal) tracts are functioning optimally, our bodies can process food into energy more efficiently, our immune system will function better, and adrenal weakening may be less impacted” said Clow. “Rainbow Light products include digestive components ranging from plant source enzymes and probiotics, to botanicals for easing digestion. In addition, adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng and Rhodiola rosea, are commonly recommended and traditionally used for adrenal support.”
Adrenal and Thyroid Products—Separate in Consumers’ Perception
While they are interrelated via complex internal networks of communication and response, the adrenal and thyroid product categories tend to be separate in consumers’ perception, according to Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA, senior nutrition education manager with Illinois-based NOW Foods.
“Adrenal formulas narrowly focus on promoting optimal levels of stress markers and supporting our ability to be strong, resilient, and resistant to physical and seasonal challenges,” Levin said. “Thyroid formulas focus on supporting normal body temperature, metabolic rate, and body composition, with related benefits for supporting weight management and energy levels. Yet the hypothalamus-pituitary connection controls adrenal function, thyroid function, and gonadal function via three separate but interrelated functional pathways that include feedback loops to monitor and modulate these glands in a grand multi-faceted coordination scheme.”
He added that, because of the current focus on optimizing the stress response, controlling body composition and weight management, and maintaining strong energy levels, the market for natural adrenal and thyroid formulas is very strong.
Agreeing with other marketers, Levin said that iodine is an essential nutrient for thyroid function. “The frequent lack of iodine in the modern diet, due to a reduced intake of dietary iodine from seafood and iodized salt, is implicated in a resurgence of goiters in the American population and a reduced ability to maintain healthy metabolic rates to control weight and provide energy,” he said.
“Stress produces an adrenal response, with the stress of everyday life becoming a factor in appetite control, accumulation of abdominal fat, temporary spikes in blood pressure and other normal responses,” he said. “The adrenal glands help the body respond and adjust to physical, mental and emotional stressors through the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol-related stress responses can also increase appetite, stress-related nervous over-eating and accumulation of abdominal fat. When stress becomes a part of everyday life, cortisol and blood sugar, and consequently appetite and body weight, may become difficult to manage. A healthy stress response can be supported by a number of nutritional factors, including certain vitamins and botanicals.”
Knowledge of these potential issues is spreading, according to Levin, first among the medical and public health communities, and now to the general public concerned about stress, energy and metabolism issues.
Ashley Koff, RD and spokesperson for Natural Vitality in Texas, noted trends in the following ingredients for adrenal and thyroid health: vitamin D3, magnesium, probiotics, iodine, ashwagandha and rhodiola.
In addition, among the most popular adrenal stress support ingredients is the botanical blend Relora, according to Levin. Relora, a combination of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense, has been shown to help control appetite and stress-related eating, thereby helping to manage body weight.
“Other herbal products known collectively as adaptogens are also valued for their ability to help the body adapt to stressful conditions,” Levin said. “These botanicals include ashwagandha root, holy basil leaf, reishi mushroom, rhodiola root, eleuthero root and various ginsengs, especially Panax quinquefolius and Panax ginseng.”
While glandular extracts have a long history of use, but are not vegetarian friendly, Levin said he feels that many consumers do not want to take them. “Additionally,” he said, “many people prefer to first try the basics—vitamins and minerals, with some well-known botanicals added—over what seems to be more exotic glandular substances. Because of our understanding of what consumers prefer, NOW offers only gentle, glandular-free formulas that support healthy adrenal response and thyroid function.”
NOW Thyroid Energy is a nutritional supplement for the support of a healthy thyroid gland. NOW has combined iodine and L-tyrosine, the two integral constituents necessary for the synthesis of thyroid secretions. The minerals selenium, zinc and copper have been added as co-factors needed for normal thyroid function.
In addition, NOW Thyroid Energy contains the ayurvedic herbal extracts from guggul (Commiphora mukul) and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) to complement its nutritional support components. Guggul contains the active compound guggulsterone, which has been shown to support normal thyroid activity.
NOW Super Cortisol Support with Relora is a botanical and nutritional blend formulated to naturally support a healthy adrenal stress response. The formula combines nutritional factors such as vitamin C, panthothenic acid and chromium chelavite with Relora, a proprietary herbal combination, to support healthy adrenal function, relieve typical everyday stress and promote healthy eating patterns.
And, ultimately, improving nutrition, supplemental support, rest and properly addressing stress can dramatically improve adrenal resilience. VR
For More Information:
EuroPharma, Inc., (866) 598-5487
Michael’s Naturopathic Programs, (800) 845-2730
Natural Vitality, (800) 446-7462
NOW Foods, (888) 669-3663
Rainbow Light, (800) 635-1233