Part 2: Two Hormones You Need to Know that are Even More Important than Thyroid

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Hi, Y'all! I'm Dr. Dana Gibbs, a thyroid hormone expert and the founder of Consultants in Metabolism, and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this blog post where we'll continue out deep-dive into the stars of the show: Cortisol and Insulin. If you've ever wondered about the intricate balance of hormones in your body and their impact on your health, you're in for a treat.

In our recent Tuesday Live session, we explored Insulin and Cortisol, two hormones that often fly under the radar but play crucial roles in your well-being. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, remember that the information shared here is not a substitute for medical advice, and consulting your physician for personalized guidance is always recommended.

In part 1 of this 4 part series, we touched on the effects of stress on cortisol levels. While cortisol is essential for survival, chronic elevation can lead to a cascade of negative impacts on the body. Today, we'll expand our understanding by exploring insulin and cortisol in more depth and uncovering their profound effects on various aspects of our health.

The Hormone Symphony: A Recap

As you probably remember, stress triggers the release of hormones such as ACTH, TSH, LH, and FSH. In times of chronic stress, the predominant release is ACTH, affecting the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and gonadotropins responsible for sex hormone production. This sets the stage for the intricate dance of hormones that influence our overall health.

A major player in this hormone symphony is insulin. Insulin resistance, a condition where cells demand higher insulin levels to process sugar, takes center stage. Driven by the body's survival instinct, insulin resistance aims to conserve glucose for active muscles during stress. However, this comes at a cost, leading to elevated glucose levels and a range of health issues.

Insulin resistance doesn't operate in isolation; it affects sex hormones, promotes autoimmune diseases, increases the risk of allergies, and even raises blood pressure. The rollercoaster doesn't end there – high cortisol, similar to a steroid shot, creates a pro-inflammatory environment, compromising the immune system and making the body vulnerable to infections and cancer. The delicate balance of hormones becomes a tightrope act with far-reaching consequences.

Cortisol's Impact on Thyroid

When cortisol levels soar, the thyroid takes a hit. High cortisol signals a threat to survival, prompting the body to lower thyroid hormone production. This, coupled with the production of reverse T3, creates a roadblock for thyroid hormones to activate cells properly.

The result? A slew of symptoms, including exhaustion, sleep problems, weight gain, and more – a symphony of signals that something is amiss in the hormone orchestra.

What Happens to Our Sex Hormones?

Now let's zoom in on the sex hormones – estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Men and women alike require a delicate balance of these hormones for vitality, mood stability, and overall well-being. However, the body, in survival mode, breaks down these hormones under the influence of high cortisol, leading to a host of issues ranging from low motivation to infertility.

The crux of the matter lies in understanding insulin resistance, a force that, fortunately, can be tamed through lifestyle choices. Insulin resistance ultimately poses a risk of diabetes, yet, even before reaching that point, it triggers depression, anxiety, heart disease, obesity, and an increased risk of cancer. The interplay of insulin and cortisol paints a vivid picture of the delicate balance required for optimal health.

Adrenaline's Entrance: When Stress Extends Its Stay

As stress becomes prolonged, the body, running low on cortisol raw materials, resorts to an increase in adrenaline. While adrenaline serves a vital purpose in emergencies, its prolonged presence causes chronic anxiety, speeds up heart rates, and diminishes the body's ability to handle stress. This results in chronic fatigue, weakness, and emotional disturbances, and leads to conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and PTSD.

Hormones and Menopause

Our journey through hormones also touches on age-related shifts, particularly in women approaching menopause. As estrogen levels decline, insulin resistance can emerge, unveiling a new set of symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy becomes a valuable tool in navigating this phase, but additional measures are necessary.

Looking Ahead: The CGM Experiment and Beyond

Next week, we'll continue our exploration by delving into the four pillars of excellent health. I'm excited to share specific actions you can take to manage stress and keep insulin levels in check. Additionally, stay tuned for the CGM experiment – a unique opportunity to gain insights into your body's response to various factors, helping you take control of your health.

In conclusion, understanding the intricate dance of hormones in our body empowers us to make informed choices for our well-being. As we unravel the mysteries of insulin, cortisol, and beyond, let's embark on a journey towards holistic health. I'm Dr. Dana Gibbs, and I look forward to sharing more insights with you soon. Visit my website,, and sign up to stay informed about upcoming events and experiments. Until next time, take care and be well. Goodbye!


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