The Metabolic Hike

The Metabolic Hike

It’s been 50 degrees and raining every day in the National Olympic National, a far fly from the heat of Florida.

Going from extreme climates, especially if you’re hypothyroid, can help you to appreciate how the body takes time to adapt. Thyroxin (T4), has a half-life of 7 days, which means that it will likely take a week or so with a normal thyroid for the body to produce more T4 to ensure adequate T3 is available for metabolism. If your body is extra slow at that or doesn’t do it… Well, you’ll be very cold and slow (at least without medication)!

The other curious thing about thyroxin is that this also applies to exercise. The more you increase your overall exercise, the more T3 you need to convert from T4. Which has that long half-life and takes a bit of time to up-regulate. This, from an evolutionary standpoint, is quite sensible and helps prevent overloading organs & muscles while reducing injuries. Instead, ensuring that you build up everything in parallel.

That feeling of tiredness from increasing activity level for most of us has more to do with using up our stores of T3 for metabolism (energy) than the classic adrenal thinking – unless of course, your activities have been too high-intensity. I can say this with some confidence, having done 1000+ measurements of blood temperature (metabolism), blood pressure (adrenals), and blood sugar (pancreas), while at times also experiencing Addisions, hypothyroidism & high blood sugar. This tiredness of course is great news, as it means you can correct your metabolism by increasing your activity!

So goes the theory… So, let’s test it out!

Hypothyroidism or Adrenal Fatigue?

  • Step 1 – Find an isolated hike in an area that is completely overgrown and the trail is hard to see.
  • Step 2 – Make sure it’s steep and long and only has a view at the top, so you have to keep going till you get to the view!
  • Step 3 – Forget your phone that has the trail downloaded on it to make it more of an adventure – like you’re a tracker finding their way through the jungle.

All 3 of these are necessary for a true test of Hypothyroidism or Adrenal Fatigue.

We set out at the start – well, you can’t even see the start of a trial, just undergrowth behind a concrete slab. Then, after pushing undergrowth aside we see other footsteps have broken through. Intrepidly, we follow to where few others have trod before. A few hundred meters in, we hit a couple of rivers – with missing bridges… Wading through with Avi under our arm, we make it across. Although, where to? We see the remains of the bridge at the water’s edge and scramble up the mud bank to make our way through the thickets… until we pick up a faint path… and then it clicks…

The path is on an old foresty road from maybe 100 years back that has since let nature retake it. However, if instead of looking ahead and down toward the ground to find the path, you look up… you can see the gap in the trees marking the old roadway! So that now becomes our guiding star… for 4 hours to the top… upon which you can see this stunning view.

Worth it!

Another 2 1/2 hours down again, and this is where it gets interesting. I do get more uncoordinated on the way down, to the point of slipping after wading back across the two rivers. Fortunately, Avi has an amazing nose and could find the way home without us having to look for the gaps in the trees above – just follow the wagging tail!

So the great question (if you are into health detection mysteries) is… Are we dizzy from low blood pressure and adrenal issues, or… Did we burn all our thyroxin up? Bring out the trusty thermometer, blood sugar and blood pressure monitors. And, you guessed it! Despite hiking all day and feeling quite hot, our blood temperature was only 97.4! With a blood pressure reading of 113 and blood sugar reading of 100, both normal.

So, how do you build up metabolism without over stressing the body? Stay tuned for Blog #4

PS– If you want to know more about how to interpret reading your temperature, blood pressure, and blood sugar, have a read of this blog. Your blood temperature is one of the easiest and most direct ways to know your metabolism – arguably better and more accurate than blood tests, which can only tell you levels of various hormones involved in your metabolism. Temperature, on the other hand, tells you directly how fast or slow your metabolism is.

So, what is the healing motto of the story? Use simple tools to learn what effects you and why. And for me personally, to put more focus on nurturing our metabolism and thyroid.

Additional note: This story isn’t to say that adrenal crashes aren’t legitimate. However, more often than not (as adrenals can’t function properly without enough thyroxin to make various hormones), it’s more a matter of adrenal fatigue being a secondary issue to hypothyroidism for most people. In my case, undiagnosed hypothyroidism for 24 years didn’t allow our adrenals to produce cortisol, eventually causing Addison’s crises that didn’t resolve until we worked on correcting our hypothyroidism from a whole systems perspective.