The thyroid system is well known to be important in the regulation of the body’s metabolic rate. It can decrease or increase the metabolic rate under certain circumstances. Why is this important? We can think of the metabolism as having two speeds or modes, one that uses less energy and one that uses more. I’ll call the slower mode the conservation mode and the fast mode I’ll call the productivity mode.
There are two things that your body is designed to do:
1. Not Starve
2. Get things done
It is easier to survive famine if your body is not using as much energy (conservation mode). On the other hand, the more energy you spend (productivity mode) the easier it is to get things done. If you didn’t have a conservation mode, then when food was scarce you’d be more likely to starve. And if you didn’t have a productivity mode, then when resources were plentiful you’d have a hard time getting as much done. People who are in the conservation mode frequently tell me: “I don’t have any interest in anything anymore, and I just don’t feel like doing anything.” What a way to conserve energy!
It is normal for the thyroid system to enter into and out of the conservation and productivity modes at the appropriate times and under the appropriate conditions. This helps the body to cope with the changes and challenges of life. The body enters into the conservation mode under conditions that threaten the survival and/or physical, mental, emotional resources of the body, such as childbirth, divorce, death of a loved one, job or family stress, surgery or accidents, etc., and starvation (not very common in the United States except for severe dieting). It seems that stress is not always measured by the challenge itself, but by the relationship of the presenting challenge to the available resources. When the brain determines that there is a threat, or that there may be insufficient resources available to easily meet a presenting challenge, a signal is sent to the body to begin entering into the conservation mode to conserve energy. When the stressful conditions have passed, the body is supposed to return to the productivity mode; but in Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome it doesn’t, leaving people to suffer with frustrating and often debilitating complaints long after the stress has passed. So essentially, Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome is a natural and normal starvation/stress coping mechanism gone amuck.