Thyroid Dysfunction

Thyroid Dysfunction, HPA Axis Connection

The thyroid gland, which produces hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), is regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland through a system known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Here’s how these components are connected:

  1. Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid (HPT) Axis:
    • The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) in response to low levels of thyroid hormones or other signals indicating the need for increased thyroid activity.
    • TRH signals the pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
    • TSH, in turn, stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and release T4 and T3. These thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating metabolism and energy balance in the body.
  2. Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis:
    • The HPA axis, as mentioned earlier, is involved in the body’s response to stress. It includes the hypothalamus, which releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), the pituitary gland, which releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and the adrenal glands, which release cortisol in response to stress.
  3. Connection between HPA Axis and Thyroid Hormones:
    • Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands in response to ACTH from the pituitary gland, can have effects on the HPT axis and thyroid function.
    • Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels may influence the HPT axis, leading to alterations in thyroid hormone production and metabolism. In some cases, chronic stress can contribute to thyroid dysfunction, such as decreased production of TSH or alterations in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3.
    • Conversely, thyroid hormones can influence the responsiveness of the HPA axis. For example, hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) has been associated with changes in the HPA axis and an increased susceptibility to stress.

In summary, the HPA axis and the HPT axis are interconnected, and changes in one axis can influence the function of the other. Chronic stress and alterations in cortisol levels can impact thyroid function, and thyroid hormones, in turn, can influence the responsiveness of the HPA axis. Maintaining the balance between these hormonal systems is crucial for overall endocrine and metabolic health.

”Vicious Circle”

These are the essential components of the proposed “vicious circle” involving thyroid function within chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS):

  • Studies have demonstrated that certain cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-⍺, have the ability to suppress thyroid hormone activity.
  • Having insufficient thyroid hormone activity results in the body being incapable of producing adequate antioxidants, which results in oxidative stress.
  • Oxidative stress triggers pro-inflammatory cytokines, completing the circle.

Oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory cytokines reinforce each other.


Thyroid Dysfunction, HPG Axis Connection

Cytokines might suppress growth hormone and adrenocortical hormone axis in the “central” region (hypothalamus or pituitary) and add more complexity to our understanding of the disruption.

The functional connection between growth hormone (GH) and thyroid hormones involves a complex interplay that influences various aspects of growth, metabolism, and overall physiological well-being. Here’s an overview of how growth hormone and thyroid hormones are interconnected:

  1. Growth Hormone (GH):
    • GH is produced by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. It plays a central role in promoting growth, particularly during childhood and adolescence, and has diverse effects on metabolism.
  2. Connection between Growth Hormone and Thyroid Hormones:
    • Stimulatory Effects: GH can stimulate the thyroid gland indirectly by increasing the production of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) from the hypothalamus. TRH, in turn, stimulates the pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which then prompts the thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3.
    • Metabolic Effects: Both GH and thyroid hormones have significant metabolic effects. GH promotes the breakdown of fats for energy and supports the maintenance of lean body mass. Thyroid hormones, on the other hand, influence the metabolic rate by affecting the utilization of nutrients and energy.
    • Growth and Development: GH is crucial for growth and development, especially in childhood and adolescence. It stimulates the growth of bones and tissues. Thyroid hormones, while not directly involved in longitudinal growth, contribute to overall development and maturation.
    • Mutual Regulation: There is a complex interplay between GH and thyroid hormones in terms of mutual regulation. Thyroid hormones, particularly T3, can influence the sensitivity of tissues to GH, and GH, in turn, can influence the metabolism of thyroid hormones.
    • Imbalance Effects: Disorders affecting either the GH or thyroid hormone pathways can lead to growth and developmental issues. For example, growth hormone deficiency or excess can impact stature, and thyroid dysfunction can affect metabolism and energy balance.


Abnormalities in the GH-IGF-1 Axis:

    • The GH-IGF-1 axis is crucial for growth, tissue repair, and metabolic regulation. Some studies have reported abnormalities in the GH-IGF-1 axis in individuals with CFS.
    • Reduced levels of circulating IGF-1, which is influenced by GH, have been observed in some individuals with CFS. Low IGF-1 levels could potentially indicate disruptions in GH secretion or function.
  1. Potential Impact on Energy Metabolism:
    • GH plays a role in promoting the breakdown of fats for energy and supporting the maintenance of lean body mass. Disruptions in the GH-IGF-1 axis could potentially impact energy metabolism in individuals with CFS.
    • Reduced GH activity may contribute to symptoms such as muscle weakness, exercise intolerance, and fatigue.
  2. Interplay with Other Systems:
    • The endocrine system, including the GH-IGF-1 axis, is interconnected with other systems, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the thyroid axis. Disruptions in one system influence the function of other.


Hypothalamus and Pituitary Stimulation

A study found that infusions of growth hormone-releasing peptide (GHRP-2) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulated the hypothalamus and pituitary in patients with protracted critical illnesses, restoring thyroid hormone concentrations but addressing problems at other endocrine axes controlled by the hypothalamus as well. 
It is highly unlikely that many of us can get such medical treatment, but it is helpful as an information. Boosting growth hormone naturally can be possibly beneficial.
Growth hormone how to increase naturally:
Cold exposure,
Intermittent fasting
Liver detoxification
Low glycemic foods
Iodine, selenium, zinc
Essential fats
Glutamine: Increases HGH and acts as antioxidant

Boost thyroid hormones naturally

Nutrient-Rich Diet:

    • Ensure your diet includes sufficient levels of essential nutrients, including iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, and vitamin D. These nutrients are crucial for thyroid function.
    • Seafood, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables are good sources of these nutrients.
  1. Iodine-Rich Foods:
    • Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormones. Include iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, dairy products, and iodized salt in your diet.
    • However, excessive iodine intake can also be detrimental, so moderation is key.
  2. Lifestyle Changes:
    • Manage stress through techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
    • Ensure sufficient sleep, as lack of sleep can negatively impact thyroid function.
  3. Regular Exercise:
    • Gentle, regular exercise can help manage symptoms of CFS. Consult with your healthcare provider to develop an appropriate exercise plan based on your individual capabilities.


Thyroid hormone supplementation

By supplementing with thyroid hormones, it is possible to disrupt the “vicious circle” in two ways: firstly, by directly boosting thyroid hormone activity, and secondly, by indirectly influencing the immune system. This hypothesis is reinforced by the unexpected discovery that immune cells have the ability to independently produce TSH, T4, and T3.


  • Iodine:
    • Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormones. However, excessive iodine intake can be harmful, and it’s important not to self-prescribe iodine supplements without professional guidance.
  • Selenium:
    • Selenium is essential for the conversion of the inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3). Selenium supplements or incorporating selenium-rich foods (Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish) may be considered.
  • Zinc:
    • Zinc is involved in thyroid hormone production and function. Zinc supplements or zinc-rich foods like oysters, nuts, and seeds may be beneficial.
  • Iron:
    • Iron is important for thyroid hormone synthesis. If you have iron deficiency, your healthcare provider may recommend iron supplements or iron-rich foods like lean meats, beans, and dark leafy greens.
  • Vitamin D:
    • Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial for overall health, including thyroid function. Vitamin D supplements or safe sun exposure may be considered.
  • B Vitamins:
    • B vitamins, including B12 and B6, play a role in thyroid function. A balanced B-complex supplement or foods like meat, fish, and leafy greens can contribute to B-vitamin intake.
  • L-Tyrosine:
    • L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is a precursor to thyroid hormones. It is sometimes included in thyroid support supplements. However, its use should be monitored by a healthcare professional.
  • Ashwagandha:
    • Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that may help support the body’s response to stress, potentially benefiting those with CFS. It’s important to use ashwagandha cautiously and under professional guidance.
  • Fish Oil/Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
    • Omega-3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory effects and support thyroid function. Fish oil supplements or incorporating fatty fish into your diet can be considered.
  • Adaptogenic Herbs:
    • Adaptogens may help support the body’s response to stress, which can be beneficial for people with CFS. Examples include ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
    • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and flaxseeds, may have anti-inflammatory effects and support overall health.


Thyroid Treatments Summary

Thyroid Dysfunction Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Wight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Brain fog

Thyroid Support:

  • Iodine
  • Kelp
  • Selenium
  • Tyrosine
  • NAC
  • Vitamin D
  • Ashwagandha
  • Panax ginseng