Does adrenal fatigue cause hypothyroidism, or vice versa??

I'm aware that both tend to go hand in hand, if you have one - you most likely have the other. What I don't understand though, is - how do you know which is the secondary condition?!

I found out I was suffering from adrenal fatigue in Jan, and then did a thyroid test a couple of months after that, which showed that I'm also hypo.

In my Dr Wilsons book, 21st century stress syndrome, it says that usually when the adrenals are treated, then the thyroid will also improve. I'm just wondering - would taking thyroid hormones be unnecessary if it's a case of looking at the adrenals as the primary issue? Has anybody else noticed their thyroid improving after treating the adrenals?

I've ordered another stress test to check my adrenals again as it's been a few months, and I have an incline things have (hopefully!) improved. I suppose, depending on those results, it might be wise to do the same thyroid test again after that?

14 Replies

  • This is a link in which Dr Brownstein recommends unrefined sea salt for a few different conditions particularly adrenals p. I believe it's about 1/2 teaspoon per day which can be spread throughout the day. Unrefined sea salt is stronger but it contains many minerals etc.

  • hi there can I ask please what they check for in your blood for adrenal fatigue.

  • Hiya - it's a saliva test, that checks your cortisol and DHEA levels throughout the day :)

  • thankyou do you know your cortisol level.

  • A chart comparing adrenal fatigue with hypothyroidism symptoms, but underneath explains how

    How hypothyroidism can be primary or secondary:

    Hypothyroidism can be primary or secondary. Primary hypothyroidism can easily be cured with administration of thyroid replacement therapy. If hypothyroid symptoms such as low body temperature, fatigue, dry skin and weight gain persist despite thyroid replacement therapy regardless of laboratory values, one must look elsewhere for the cause of the low thyroid function.

  • My personal view is that the hypothyroid normally comes first.

    When hypothyroid the body tries to keep going and part of this is to increase production of adrenal hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Eventually, however illness or stress causes the adrenals to become fatigued and it is at this point that health declines quickly.

  • This would make treatment less complicated at least, but I suppose Dr Lam is saying IF no improvement is made with thyroid medication, then try treating the adrenals. I certainly hope you're right in my case.

  • Everything I have read so far, says to treat the adrenals before the thyroid. I know that since I've been focussing on the adrenals I feel better than I did this time last year, so I'm wondering if I continue - how I'm going to feel in another, say, 6 months time. I'm going to do another adrenal stress test this weekend and see how that comes back. If it's improved - I'm thinking I may wait a while and then re-check my thyroid. I certainly don't want to treat my thyroid, if there's a chance that it will right itself. It's a difficult one, but I suspect that I have the adrenal fatigue due to severe anxiety all my life, and if I'm right, then the thyroid is secondary.

  • That's what concerns me, I have also had extreme anxiety all my life and wondered if my adrenals then effected my thyroid which is TSH 8. A specialist did say that it was my thyroid (genetically weak) that affected my adrenals, though his recommended treatment was to start with Nutri Adrenal Extra, for a few weeks, then add Nutri Thyroid. He based his diagnosis on my blood test results, but no adrenal test.

    Have you read about Seriphos helping with anxiety?

  • I haven't no, have you tried it? I've been wondering how I'm going to address the anxiety actually, because it's ridiculous and it affects my life so badly. I did consider taking fluoxetine again, but I'd rather not! I'm fairly sure anti-depressants aren't good for pooped adrenals lol, but I need to tackle the root of the problem.

    Have you not had an adrenal test at all? Did the Nutri Adrenal Extra help? I did look into that one, but decided to get certain supplements individually and I've also been using Gum Guggul which has been a massive help, as this helps convert T4 - T3.

  • Please see reply below, didn't hit reply to this, but additional info:

    I worked on my adrenal repair as natural as I could. I supported them with DHEA-5 - sea salt and high levels of Vit C to repair them. The adrenals are complicated - if not more so - than thyroid can be for a patient and treatment/conditions vary widely from patient to patient. I found good things doing this treatment plan and why I chose it was I wanted to not go to extreme levels to medicate if not needed - ie - HC treatment.

    I like to start slow if I can and see what works minimally - then just jumping on the horse and going full speed on something I would have to do for life after I start.

    DHEA adrenal support, also for depression - Women tend to convert excess DHEA into testosterone, which can lead to acne and facial hair growth.

    Seriphos lower cortisol


    I buy it frequently from an online retailers in the US - never once had a package stopped. I take Natrol 10mg DHEA - it costs $3 for a bottle of 30 pills (this is the same brand/dosage I was prescribed on the NHS - but they won't supply this any more).

    If you import then keep your total cost under £15 so that it gets through customs without a charge. If you order more than £15 worth then your package will get stopped.

    I felt dreadful for quite a long time, but over the summer this year I started getting better and now feel pretty good! I'm on a cocktail of thyroid hormones, minerals and vitamins, and DHEA and progesterone. No unwanted side-effects just a great improvement.

  • Relevant info on adrenals and thyroid:

    CarolynB Administrator

    It does sound like it could be an adrenal problem. The diarrhoea could be a symptom of high adrenaline compensating for lack of cortisol. If you have low or high cortisol levels T4 doesn't tend to get converted very well, causing high T4 levels. Low cortisol can also cause a low TSH that is not reflective of your thyroid function. If your TSH is low, conversion to T3 is usually slower too.

    You could be right that the T4 is just building up in your system due to it not being converted. If you could get your cortisol levels checked this would at least point you in the right direction. If you have adrenal insufficiency, Dr S will probably want to prescribe T3 only from what I hear. Your body will be able to use the T3 and the presence of T3 will support cortisol production too.

    There is also a possibility that you have low iron and/or B12. These are believed to help thyroid hormones get into the cells so they can be used. If you have deficiencies in these, your thyroid hormones would probably build up in your blood. So this is something else to look into.

    NDT can help if you take it in accordance with Paul Robinson's Circadian method. I haven't tried this but many have and have found it extremely successful. Dr S may prefer T3 though.

    It seems that anything containing direct T3 can help with adrenals (T3 is needed to make cortisol) so I would have thought NDT would be better than levo.

    I'm not a doctor but I can tell you that I am better on NDT than levo. I had at least partially sorted out my adrenals before hand but NDT does suit me much better.

    I hope you find something that works for you.

  • About Seriphos and a quicker-acting supplement called hydrolyzed casein or lactium (e.g., De-Stress by Biotics or "Womens Anti Stress Formula" by Swansons)

  • I have been on fluoxetine for over a year, switched to it from Paroxetone, but basically been on these type of anti-depressants for over 20 years. Only discovered recently that these anti-depressants, particularly fluoxetine is bad for the thyroid.

    Never had any adrenal tests done, financial reasons. I started on 1 x day NAE, but found when I increased up to 3 x day in 3 weeks, that I was waking up in the early hours, very stressed and anxious, so cut back to 1 a day, now sleep almost till morning. It's hard to say if they helped at all, but I do know still had a lot of fatigue. I started the Nutri Thyroid after 3 weeks but I thought this wouldn't be affective, in the same way as thyroxine wouldn't be with iron, b12 low, so decided to stop and wait few weeks till levels higher (supplmenting and B12 injections) and now have started 30mg of Naturethroid a day, when higher mg will add NA too.

    Have you got a link for Gum Guggul about converting T4 to T3 please?

    I did read that tryptophan can be helpful with depression, full posting on:

    A couple of posts about effectiveness of Seriphos:

    KentuckyWildcat From Kentucky on Jul 21, 2013

    Purchased at iHerb

    Seriphos seems to protect the brain from high levels of cortisol due to anxiety and stress. However, this form does not have the other phospholipids. To get those naturally, you can take an inositol supplement (inositol helps your body build those phospholipids needed for neurotransmitter health). This combo of Seriphos and inositol has been a lifesaver to me, allowing me to say goodbye to depression and anxiety during a very stressful time in my life.


    I use Seriphos at night to stop high cortisol late in the day. Works for me better than melatonin. My adrenals are not up to much anyway, so I supplement with glandulars in the am. That seems to work for me to raise cortisol in the morning and lower it at night. Not sure what will happen long term. Before I knew about its effect on the adrenals, I'd always thought of it as a supplement to enhance brain power.

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