Cortisol/Thyroid/Interpreting Labs

I love to listen to & learn from podcasts. We live in a time where there is an endless amount of free information at our fingertips, and I like to take full advantage. I’ll be doing some #podcastpick posts and writing a summary for you all. I’ll include my biggest take aways/action items from the episode as well as a link to where you can listen to the episode for yourself if you wish.

For today’s #podcastpick I’m listening to What the Func? Season 1 Episode 30 HORMONES, featuring Dr. Kyrin Dunston, MD which you can find here

Biggest topics of the conversation: Cortisol, thyroid dysfunction, and interpreting lab results.

First, it’s important to understand that hormones within our body are the communicators that tell our cells what to do. As a result, if one hormone is off-balance it can throw off all the others. Our hormones affect: sleep-wake cycle, cognitive function, energy levels, immune system, libido, menstrual cycle, weight, and more. Hormones are largely made up of cholesterol. If you don’t have enough cholesterol, you won’t have proper hormone production.

Cortisol (aka the stress hormone)

Level should be at its highest first thing in the morning, slowly comes down throughout the day, and drops to a minimum at night to allow for sleep.

Levels can be affected by life stressors, dietary stressors, or internal stressors. Life stressors are pretty self-explanatory: work, children, relationships. It’s impossible to eliminate all of life’s stressors, so be mindful of what you choose to let stress you out. Make lifestyle changes to reduce stress when possible, and incorporate stress management techniques. Dietary stressors come from peaks and dips in blood sugar levels. Limiting sugars and simple carbs can reduce blood sugar spikes and keep the blood sugar in a steadier range. Internal stressors can be from hidden infections, heavy metals, and biologic toxins that accumulate from processed foods we eat/products we use. Hidden infections are commonly identified in the gut or mouth and can also be from undiagnosed parasites in the gut.

(I’ll be diving deeper into reducing biologic toxins from products we use in an upcoming #podcastpick post)

Thyroid dysfunction

Our thyroid is our metabolic regulator. Hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism and often goes undiagnosed. Common symptoms of a low functioning thyroid are feeling cold, constipation, hair loss, brittle/dry nails, dry skin, frequently feeling tired/sluggish, depression, anxiety, and poor cognitive function.

Interpreting Lab Results

When lab work is performed, there is always a normal reference range used to determine if your results are abnormal or not. This normal range is where 95% of the population’s results would fall. However, this does not mean the normal range is ideal for optimal health. Optimal health levels are the results that a person with perfectly functioning systems would exhibit. This is why someone can feel like something is wrong, exhibit symptoms of an imbalance, but their lab results come back “normal”.

An example of this would-be fasting blood sugar. Normal is 99mg/dL or less, but for optimal health fasting glucose should be 85mg/dL or less. As a general rule, optimal levels would be ¼ below the upper range of normal.