Stress and Hashimoto’s: How it Triggers and Impacts Thyroid Function

In the video “Stress and Hashimoto’s: How it Triggers and Impacts Thyroid Function” by Martin Rutherford, he aims to shed light on the connection between stress and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Rutherford explains that while stress does not directly cause Hashimoto’s, it serves as a trigger and exacerbates the condition. The adrenal glands play a crucial role in managing stress, but when under prolonged stress, they can negatively impact thyroid function. High levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can cause inflammation and interfere with blood sugar control, leading to immune responses that target the thyroid. Rutherford emphasizes the importance of understanding the impact of stress on thyroid health and invites viewers to share their feedback and join him for future videos on Hashimoto’s.

Stress and Hashimoto’s: How it Triggers and Impacts Thyroid Function

Overview of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. In this condition, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid tissue, leading to inflammation and the gradual destruction of the gland. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. The symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can vary from person to person but often include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and depression.

Stress and Hashimotos: How it Triggers and Impacts Thyroid Function

The Link Between Stress and Hashimoto’s

Stress has been identified as a significant trigger for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. While stress itself doesn’t cause the condition directly, it can exacerbate the underlying autoimmune response and lead to the development or worsening of Hashimoto’s. When you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is essential for managing the stress response. However, prolonged and chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in your body, including those involved in thyroid function.

Impact of Stress on Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands play a crucial role in managing the body’s response to stress. When you face a stressful situation, the adrenal glands release cortisol and other stress hormones to prepare your body for the fight-or-flight response. However, chronic stress can put excessive strain on the adrenal glands, leading to adrenal fatigue or dysfunction. This imbalance in adrenal function can further impact thyroid health and contribute to the development or progression of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Stress and Hashimotos: How it Triggers and Impacts Thyroid Function

Effects of Cortisol on Thyroid Function

Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, has negative effects on thyroid function. High levels of cortisol can interfere with the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3), leading to inadequate levels of T3 in the body. This disruption in thyroid hormone conversion can result in symptoms of hypothyroidism, even if the levels of T4 appear to be within the normal range. Additionally, cortisol can contribute to inflammation in the body, affecting thyroid hormone regulation and worsening the autoimmune response seen in Hashimoto’s.

Inflammatory Response and Thyroid Health

Inflammation plays a significant role in the development and progression of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The immune system’s response to stress and other triggers can cause chronic inflammation, leading to damage to the thyroid tissue. This inflammatory process can further disrupt thyroid hormone production, impair thyroid function, and contribute to the development of hypothyroidism. Managing stress and reducing inflammation are essential for preserving thyroid health and preventing the progression of Hashimoto’s.

Stress and Hashimotos: How it Triggers and Impacts Thyroid Function

Effects of Stress on Metabolism

Stress can have a significant impact on metabolism, affecting thyroid function in the process. When stress hormones are elevated, the body’s metabolic rate may decrease, leading to a slower metabolism. This slowdown in metabolism can impact the production and utilization of thyroid hormones. Additionally, increased stress levels can cause a decrease in estrogen levels in women, further affecting thyroid function and hormonal balance.

Stress and Female Hormones

The interplay between stress, thyroid function, and female hormones is complex. Stress can disrupt the delicate balance of female hormones, including estrogen. When estrogen levels decrease, it can hinder thyroid function and worsen the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. Achieving hormonal balance is crucial for overall thyroid health and managing the impact of stress on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Under Conversion of T4 to T3

The conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3) is essential for proper thyroid function. However, chronic stress can disrupt this conversion process. Inflammatory responses triggered by stress can interfere with the proteins responsible for transporting T4 to where it needs to be converted into T3. As a result, even if T4 levels appear normal, the under conversion of T4 to T3 can lead to symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Insulin Resistance and TSH Levels

High levels of cortisol, associated with chronic stress, can cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This disruption in insulin control can impact the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the bloodstream. Low TSH levels can affect the stimulation of thyroid hormone production, contributing to thyroid imbalances and worsening of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Inflammatory Response and Pituitary Gland

Chronic stress can also impact the pituitary gland, which plays a vital role in regulating thyroid function. Prolonged stress can trigger an inflammatory response against the pituitary gland, leading to decreased production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Without sufficient TSH, the thyroid gland may not receive proper stimulation, resulting in decreased production of thyroid hormones and exacerbation of Hashimoto’s symptoms.

Various Triggers for Hashimoto’s

While stress is a significant trigger for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it is important to note that there are various other factors that can contribute to the development of the condition. These include genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, certain medications, and exposure to environmental toxins. Understanding the multiple triggers for Hashimoto’s and addressing each of these factors is crucial for effective management and treatment of the condition.


Stress and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are intricately linked, with stress triggering and exacerbating the condition. Understanding the impact of stress on thyroid function is crucial for individuals with Hashimoto’s to effectively manage their condition. Stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, exercise, and therapy, play a significant role in improving thyroid health and reducing the symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s. By addressing stress and its impact on thyroid function, individuals can take proactive steps towards managing and improving their overall well-being.

You May Also Like