Feeling good is similar for everyone – the boundless energy, the joy, the zest that makes life flow – but feeling bad can take many different forms.
Some of us have low energy. We ask, “Why do I feel tired all the time?” We wonder why we fatigue so easily, even when doing things we enjoy.
Others wonder why they can’t concentrate and become easily distracted; or why they feel anxious, depressed, or restless.
What Ties All These Conditions Together?
Still others have insomnia, migraines, perhaps weight or digestive issues.
Diabetes, heart problems and cancer wreak havoc with many lives. Serious health issues that can make every day a struggle.
I’ve often wondered: does it have to be this way? How can we prevent or mitigate this pain and illness?
I’ve always tried to connect the dots in my own life and the lives of those I love, believing there must be a common factor to all these seemingly separate and mysterious illnesses.
Does Your Body Struggle to Produce Energy?
I believe there is a common factor, and it is sunlight. Or, more precisely, our bodies’ ability to use the energy from our food, which ultimately comes from sunlight.
It’s really an amazing process. And the outcome is life and growth and muscles and complex brains – all nourished, ultimately, by the orb in the sky that makes all plants and animals grow.
It is a beautiful thing – when it works right.
We eat our food and it travels along our digestive tract. Along the journey, the food is broken down into molecules to feed our cells.
All foods – steak, potatoes, apple pie – are reduced into carbohydrate, protein, and fat molecules, most of which are further reduced into sugar (glucose) to feed every cell in our body – our brain, our muscle tissue, our heart and lungs – everything!
But to do its work, the food energy must penetrate the cells effectively. And something has to put this process into motion.
How We Get the Wheels Turning
Imagine that your body is a car and the food you eat is the fuel, the gasoline. The object is to start and drive the car, right? So you will need an engine as well. If you don’t have an engine, your car (or body) won’t start or run properly.
It may have a full gas tank, a charged battery, new tires and reliable breaks. But if it doesn’t have an engine it won’t move. And if the engine is faulty, it may sputter and spit, but it won’t run smoothly and reliably. You won’t be able to count on your vehicle to get you where you need to go.
A Healthy Thyroid is Your Engine
In the human body, the engine is the thyroid gland. It produces the chemicals that deliver the energy into your cells to make them operate effectively – that make your heart pump and your lungs inflate and your brain fire.
Without a healthy thyroid gland and the chemicals it produces, our energy falters, and many processes start to go wrong. Our cells don’t get enough oxygen, chemical reactions become less efficient, and our organs begin to starve for nutrients.
And to make matters worse, if the cells aren’t functioning well, they will not use the thyroid hormones properly to produce energy. Each cell in the body has special receptors to which thyroid hormones must attach themselves to do their work.
If the receptors aren’t functional, the thyroid hormones will not be able to enter the cells, and energy will not be produced and stored.
Stress Hormones Are A Temporary Solution
When this happens, the body undergoes a stress response, because it isn’t getting enough energy. If glucose (sugar), the energy that powers every cell, is not readily available, the body will release adrenaline and begin to break down muscle and fat tissue into glucose to feed our hungry cells.
This stress response is designed to help our bodies deal with an overload, as when we are faced with a challenge or emergency and our normal cell metabolism just can’t keep up. Perhaps we must run fast or far or use all our strength and intelligence to avert danger – then this secondary energy system kicks in to help us through a crisis.
But it is just that – secondary. It is not as efficient as our normal metabolism and places great stress on the body if used over time.
If this secondary system is called upon frequently, it will eventually create a feedback loop that will reduce the output of the thyroid, reducing our ready energy reserves even further, as well as the healthy functioning of all our cells.
In this negative feedback loop, the body stays in stress mode most of the time and illness can more readily take hold.
Yet, this cycle can be reversed if the primary energy system, centered in the thyroid, is allowed to heal and take over its vital functions again.
Heal Your Thyroid and Heal Your Life
In the next post, I will discuss a couple of simple at-home tests to help you assess the health of your thyroid, tests that have been used for decades by adept doctors to undercover thyroid issues quickly and reliably. (Even when blood tests show thyroid function as “normal”, yet you still feel bad.)
Then I will discuss tips I’ve learned to help reduce your stress, refuel your cells, and help your body recover its mental and physical energy.
These methods, discovered in my own pursuit of better health, are offered as a step-by-step recovery plan from the Hypothyroidism Revolution program founded by Tom Brimeyer, a functional medicine practitioner, and former hypothyroidism sufferer.
I will discuss this program further in subsequent posts – as I continue to follow it myself – and invite your thoughts along the journey.
Please leave your comments below and I’ll talk to you soon,