Thyroid UK
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Adrenals first, Thyroid thereafter?


After the past 4 years of trying and a false start with a Dietician, I have very recently been dealing with a Nutritionist who does Biomeridian testing in a bid to address why I put on weight around my middle and cannot shift. After completing an extensive questionnaire and meeting her, she has decided that I have Adrenal fatigue and has advised that I take Adrenal supplements which I started doing before Christmas. She has also recommended a food list of Do's and Donts which seems to be a mixture of GI and metabolic dieting.

My question is, what improvements if any should I see in the short term? Should I expect that the Thyroid will be next to be addressed or, is it the case that rectifiying the Adrenals is sufficient enough? I guess I am worrying because from what I amseeing on here, adrenal supplements are usually given to people who are having trouble losing weight.

Not an exhaustive list but my symptoms include Weight gain around my middle and bloating, gut issues, thinning hair, sensitivity to light, heightened anxiety (mainly due to external factors) coldness, pooor memory, skin prone to acne.

I have already wasted a lot of time and money on trying different approaches to weight loss and other health issues - I am committed and just want it to work

19 Replies

Are you on any thyroid medication because if not, I suggest you first see your GP and ask for a blood test to check thyroid. Your symptoms are all those of hypothyroidism and you should certainly address this before adrenals. If the adrenals are mildly fatigued, they may well improve when the thyroid issue is sorted. An underactive thyroid affects every part of your body and is vital to good health. When you receive the blood results, ask for a copy and post them here for comments. Remember to include the reference ranges, as these vary from lab to lab. Hope you get help soon.


If you look at the SPC for Actavis Levothyroxine you can read this:

Patients with adrenal insufficiency or other causes predisposing to it such as panhypopituitarism may react unfavourably to levothyroxine treatment so it is advisable to initiate corticosteroid therapy before giving levothyroxine. Caution should also be exercised when administering levothyroxine to diabetics (mellitus or insipidus) or digitalised patients.

I actually agree that people with hypothyroidism may suffer some impairment of adrenal function, and that in some cases this will correct with levothyroxine being taken. However I have absolutely no idea how you can identify who is in this category as against those who need adrenal insufficiency addressed first. Indeed, I believe this is a difficult area with poor guidance.

In general I avoid joining in discussions of adrenal issues here because I feel so ignorant - despite being convinced I have witnessed someone go through problems when started on levothyroxine. I still do not know what the best approach would have been.



Hennerton Hi

No, I am not on Thyroid medication - my GP is not interested in my battles with feeling unwell and weight gain atrributing this to age and other factors. I did have tests 3 years ago which were deemeed 'normal' and perhaps even on here some would say they were normal but something changed, startign with when I stopped taking the combined pill.


Definitely worth asking for a new thyroid test and then posting results here with ranges. I doubt if we shall think they are as "normal" as your GP!


"Adrenal fatigue" is a catch-all phrase, which covers all kinds of situations where the adrenals are not behaving optimally. Usually the adrenals are doing the best they can in the face of other physical illnesses, and dealing with the physical illness is the best way forward - in other words deal with the root causes if you possibly can.

In my opinion, weight gain around the middle is likely to be a symptom of high cortisol, rather than low cortisol. Many supplements for adrenal fatigue aim to treat low cortisol (the more common meaning for adrenal fatigue), and are not suitable for people with high cortisol. So, some caution is warranted.

One possible reason for high cortisol is constant immune over-activity, another is insulin resistance. Have you been tested for thyroid antibodies and blood sugar response? Food allergies/sensitivities can also cause chronic immune stimulation, and mess up your gut function, which would make you very worn out.

You can also get your cortisol tested to see if it tends to be high or low. It's easier to work out what to do when you've got a better idea about where the problems lie. I don't put much faith in diagnosis by questionnaire.


Hi Poing

The nutritionist does a Biomeridian test - 'biomeridian stress tests and biomeridian testing in general involve the use of a machine that measures energy flows along channels (meridians) connecting acupuncture points'. She used the questionnaire to get a back ground on my health situation. I have not had a recent test from my G.P - like many on here, I have found them to be unhelpful in my quest to find out what is wrong with me and why my health has deteriorated - I am having to pay for this assistance myself. Previously, I dealt with a dietician who immediately put me on the 5:2 even though part of my issue was that I have over the years become very cautious of eating and was probably eating far less than I should have done. She 'suggested' this even before meeting me and knowing my symptoms - I should have been wary when she said she worked within the NHS, a system which has not been interested in getting to the bottom of things in terms of this where I have been concerned. My overall problem in being taken seriously is that I am not obese - I am over weight in terms of my height and recommended average and by BMI is shocking but they kept telling me that I should disregard the BMI and my weight was symotmpatic of age, stress, and many other things. One doctor even said to m that no harm would come from eating 700 cals a day like the POW in Holland did and 'they survived'. I am sick and tired of not being in 'control' of my body.

This is really worrying that again I might have stumbled across someone who has diagnosed me incorrectly.

I am due a follow up with her next week - shall I ask her to put me on to thyroid medication?



I've been to someone who did VEGA testing, which sounds similar in that it uses acupuncture points and energy flows, and while I think there might be something in the technique, I don't trust it absolutely. If it were me, I would use it to provide ideas, and then look for other ways to back them up.

It sounds like you need to ask your nutritionist a few more questions about her approach. It's not really possible to say whether she's on the right lines with you from the little information that you've given. Someone worth working with won't mind answering a few more questions.

Undereating is a stress on your system, and might be a factor in what's happening to you. I have a good friend who lost weight by eating more not less, so sometimes that can be the right thing to do (she happens to be vegetarian, so eating more means LOADs of vegetables.) Dietary advice really needs to be personalised.

I'm in a similar situation in that my GP has been unable to help me, and I've ended up paying for other sources of help. But I've still used my GP as much as possible, they are still my first port of call, even if we have slightly different ideas about what my results mean!

If you haven't seen your GP in a while, then it might be worth seeing them again, asking them about specific health issues (is my thyroid okay? what about my iron levels?) then getting hold of the test results and looking into them in more detail. If you do have a thyroid problem, then the results might now show something.


Hi Poing

The Nutritional Health Plan that I have been put on by the Nutritionist is as a result of the questionnaire, the Biomeridian test and a 2 hour consultation with her. To be fair, I had read a fair bit myself prior to meeting with her after the huge financial and personal disappointment with the dietician and because I desperately want to understand what is going on with my body. I started the Metabolic approach a few days before going to see her and, given all that I have read about Adrenals, insulin and Carbs, was not surprised when she put a kind of a revision on a GI/Metabolic programme my way.

I took another leap of faith with this individual - I am aware that my hubby is getting a little frustrated with the money being spent on things in this way, though he appreciates it is not my fault and, I wanted to show that I am fully engaged with things. It is only as I have had a bit of down time over the xmas period that I have been reading a bit more and cannot see any clear associations with weight loss and adrenal supplements. As per the link I posted, I was hoping that more people would concur with this - it seems that the commenter went to see Dr Peatfield who I know is respected in this area.

In terms of GP's, the same people are still there - as I am not obese they are just not interested. I have an appointment scheduled for next week with the nutritionist - I would be grateful if anyone could give me an insight in to what their experiences or some guidance on a way forward.


...there is a book - Fat around the Midddle - which has been around for a few years. Maybe useful.....


Yes it is - if you need to jam a door or stop a table wobbling! More of the same tired LFHC BS. Glanville's just another Pretty Hopeless Dietician.

My fave health books: -

The Primal Blueprint - Mark Sisson

Death By Food Pyramid - Denise Minger

Wheat Belly - Dr. William Davis

Primal Blueprint 90-Day Journal - Mark Sisson

Living Low Carb - Johnny Bowden

The Paleo Primer (UK version) - Keris Marsden

Cholesterol Clarity - Jimmy Moore

Those are just the first few off my 'health shelf'. I can recommend them all!


...have enough doorstops thank you ! My belief is that if you learn just one small thing from each book it is worth a read. Maybe you are further on your journey than SandraCC....


I couldn't agree more about Glenville (being an ex-patient).

I often wonder if there IS such a thjng as a 'good dietician'? All I can see is a lot of people makibg a lot of money out of other peoples misery.

I was prescribed Siberian ginesing. Oh my days, did i feel so ill on that. The worse thing about dietician advice is that your contact is reatricted to set days and can't be as an emergency. Which then means you and a whole bunch of others are fighting the phone line to get help on thise designated days.


Thanks Marz


Re my post above, I have found a post that relates to my query - I take it things have changed and that Dr P no longer recommends this first of all?



I am under dr p's guidance. He doesn't believe in treating thyroid before addressing your adrenals if he thinks you have a problem. I cannot quote anything from his book as I am on holiday and didn't bring it.

I have been on adrenal support and thyroid (Armour) for a few months now. Gradually getting better (chronic Fatigue plus myriad of other symptoms) but. My weight is really worrying me too. ALL around middle, slim legs. I am overweight too but not obese but look like I'm pregnant. I am 5' 3" and 11 st 4-5 probably. Gets me down as nothing fits.i can't eat anything without putting on weight literally next day so its a real struggle. And it seems to be getting worse. I don't eat nearly as much as others. Snack on nuts/cook fresh and healthy. The only thing is I am intolerant to exercise because of chronic fatigue, so that Doesn't help matters.

I will bring up the weight issue with him when I speak with him.


Hi cat

Thank you for your response. Can I ask, how long does the treatment for adrenal go on for before he introduces 'other' supplements?


You may WANT it to work but, let me tell you this: - no amount of WANTING is going to make an UNHEALTHY low-fat/high--carb diet HEALTHY!

There's not a SINGLE dietician or nutritionist who can tell you why you've put on weight round your middle - because none of 'em would know healthy if they tripped over it - but I can: - it's known as Grain Gut, and is the result of eating a LFHC Neolithic diet.

You CANNOT lose weight PERMANENTLY by eating a LFHC Neolithic diet - it's IMPOSSIBLE; attempting to lose weight by reducing fat intake further, and increasing consumption of grains, starches and fruit is no different from a smoker attempting to cure their lung cancer by increasing the amount they smoke! You're NOT going to lose weight permanently by working AGAINST your body's evolutionary blueprint, you MUST 'Eat To Your Genes To Fit Into Your Jeans', as the tag line of the book which helped me lose 23 stone in 3 years - and keep it off for 8 - has it (search for 'The Primal Blueprint' on Amazon, and visit for tips on fat-adaptation, intermittent fasting and exercise (hint: - calories in/calories out is BS).

If you refuse to believe Sisson because he's not a doctor, then there's Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt's website at (that will take you straight to his FAQ, where he explains exactly WHY eating LCHF Palaeo is the ONLY way to eat for PERMANENT weight loss. I also urge you to visit the rest of the site, including the 'success stories').

Then there's Chris Kresser's site at His wife has serious thyroid issues, which is what prompted him to develop alternative therapies and how to deal with thyroid issues through diet.

Finally there's Tom Naughton's Fat Head. Tom is an American comedian and the writer, director, producer and star of the first 'docomedy' or 'comdumentary'. I URGE EVERYONE TO WATCH THIS - IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE! Http:// You can't stream it, but it's available to buy for £12 - and SURELY your health is worth £12...?!

There's also a link to another VERY important film: - Cereal Killers ( Tom has a link to a 75s YouTube trailer, and the film can be rented for £3, for immediate streaming, or purchased for £12.


And, as Tom's T-shirt slogan says: - Wheat Is Murder. Go Paleo.

If you want/need further advice, just ask me...

But just ignore the dietician. Your health depends on it. I ignored one once and I'm now 7st and a size 4/6.

Being committed is one thing, but committal to a diet that'll NEVER work is the definition of insane futility (or futile insanity)!

Go Palaeo. Your health depends on it...

Sarah X❤X


Weight round the belly is also a hypo sign, not ALWAYS diet related. I have lost two stones recently after going from Levo to T3. almost all of it was from my middle.

I eat no special diet although I have never been a great lover of sugary drinks, or low fat. My diet has changed not one bit yet I have changed shape completely!

Athene_Noctua, it's great you have done well with your weight loss. Congratulations! However, please remember that we are not all the same!

Also although it is nice to give our own experiences and advice even, we are none of us medically trained and urging someone to change to something which works for ourselves does not take into account other underlying issues which an individual might have.


To make it clear, I eat butter, lard, beef dripping. full-fat milk (Unhomogenised) red meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, bread, pastry, potatoes, chips, in fact anything I feel like eating! Yet I am losing weight round my middle! Mind you, that's how I ate as a child -and I was skinny to the point of bony! I have never been greedy, but have always eaten in that way. (maybe not very much meat in the 40s-50s, then again, I don't eat a lot of anything now either.

I was NEVER overweight until I had a total thyroidectomy. That's how I reasoned that it could not be diet that was making me fat, but the obvious thing - no thyroid. I ALWAYs believed that when I was having the right thyroid replacement FOR ME, then my weight would go back to it natural, genetically programmed level. The signs are that this is actually happening.

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