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Adrenal Fatigue and High Cortisol??

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by dominover, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. dominover

    dominover

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    Can anyone explain how Weight gain and adrenal fatigue are related. As I understand it those with adrenal fatigue can gain fat around the middle, but that kind of weight gain is associated with high cortisol levels. So if the adrenals are weak then how can this kind of weight gain occur?

    I know adrenal fatigue can through out the timing of many hormones but it still doesn't explain why high cortisol related weight gain occurs. Even if cortisol was unusually high at the wrong times (for one period in the day) would that be enough to make you gain fat around the mid-section?
    Can anyone explain this?
     
  2. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Like most states of unhealth or dis-ease, adrenal fatigue usually develops over time. It starts with overstressed adrenals that are almost constantly putting out cortisol. This could be due to a number of factors including life stress, poor eating habits, lifestyle at odds with normal circatdian rhythms (party all night or late/graveyard shift work), etc. This hyper-stressed state is usually when the weight gain occurs. Then, like everything that goes into overdrive and never stops, over time the adrenals "wear out" and can't produce enough cortisol. But by this time the hormone cascade and metabolism is so screwed up the person has a lot of difficulty losing weight.

    This was me.
     
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  3. dominover

    dominover

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    Thanks for that. That's a pretty good explanation. I hope you're feeling better nowdays ;)
     
  4. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    The initial high cortisol i think reduces insulin sensitivity as cortisol increases blood sugar and puts fat on us. When we drop into a low cortisol state we have a hard time maintaining adequate blood sugar levels so can end up rating too much, combined with our now current reduction in insulin sensitivity and our lowered activity levels, we can put more weight on or have a hard time trying to lose weight.

    I think many prefer eating low carb diet as it can help with insulin sensitivity, and stabilize appetite .
     
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  5. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

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    Does that explain my freakish gut? It's an alien.
     
  6. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    So, can cortef/hydrocortisone reverse the adrenal damage or just vitamins/nutrition?
     
  7. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    I'm not a doctor and I don't have any experience with cortef so I'm not qualified to answer that question definitively.

    I can say that from what I've read and what I've heard that cortef is a sort of bandaid to mask the symptoms of adrenal dysfunction. It's primarily used in severe cases when the adrenals have lost the ability to manufacture cortisol at all (like in Addison's Disease). Corticosteroids are hard on the body and should be approached cautiously. At one point my cortisol was so low that my doctor prescribed some for me but I was too scared to ever use it. It might have worked for short-term symptom alleviation, but I got better without it.

    Whether or not damage to or problems with the adrenals can be reversed by anything is probably dependent upon the severity of the damage or problem. My personal belief is that for most people, adrenal problems can be helped greatly if not corrected outright by the right combo of diet, supplements, and lifestyle adjustment. YMMV.

    But that's what helped me. I wouldn't say I'm necessarily "cured", because it's a delicate balance and my adrenals can slip back into dysfunction fairly quickly if I get careless (or cocky :rolleyes:), but I do quite well on a daily basis as long as I pay attention to my diet, take my adrenal supps, and make sure I get enough rest to balance my daily activities.
     
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  8. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    Funny, I was prescribed this back in 2010 following saliva cortisol testing, but never really took it. My doctor looked at testing and said " you sure are stressed".
    Currently my am cortisol is 12.9 (that was with taking amphetamine)and my mean glucose is5.2. According to Dr. Titlebaum under 16 am cortisol with glucose test under 5.3 should have adrenal support. He does say low dose hydrocortisone is helpful. I guess I could just try his adrenal support vitamins. Just worried cortisol issues won't let me lose weight. Might be the valtrex? Thanks for replying!
     
  9. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    I was excited about intermittent fasting to lose weight and the fist/only time I fasted overnight I got the worst headache and bad fibro pains thru whole body. This seemed to hint I might by hypoglycemic or adrenal issues? I have read and will have to re-read some of your weight lose ideas. I have such a slow metabolism, bc even diet and some exercise is not helping. I'm freaking out!! But, could be valtex, so I need something to counteract this.
     
  10. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    @Clerner : When I get adrenal symptoms from fasting or under-eating, it tends to be light-headedness and fatigue, little bit of thready heartbeat, stuff like that. IMO headaches are probably detox or maybe blood sugar. My feeling is that most headaches caused by fasting are detox related, because they go away with time, but YMMV.

    That said, if your adrenals are really in the toilet, even a single overnight fast might be too much.

    I stopped fasting so much because eventually it did seem to be giving my adrenals a hard time, and then my thyroid a bit. I like fasting so plan to go back to it more gently (no more than two days a week) after the first of the year sometime. Every other day or three days per week is too much for someone like me (and probably you) to sustain long-term. Maybe for anyone to sustain.

    But in the interim I found another strategy that has helped me lose weight quickly if not painlessly: very high carb/very low fat. It's an old strategy that's fallen out of favor, but a friend thankfully put me onto it right around Thanksgiving, and after reading about what it did for insulin sensitivity in the majority of folks (insulin sensitivity is of primary importance to me since I am hyperglycemic), I decided to try it. Damned if it didn't work, and fast, too.

    The book I got about it is called "The Rice Diet". It's on Amazon. You can also Google it. The book is not entirely satisfactory in that it's what I call a 20th-century self-help book: short on science and kind of long on fruity anecdotes. But it gives a thorough run-down of how to do it. It's pretty simple.

    I tried Pritikin back in the day, hated it, but I didn't have a spine then, either. :lol: Plus I think I'm tolerating the Rice Diet better than Pritikin becuase it's a little different in that it emphasizes starches not veggies. It's also different that in the weight loss phase of it you're not supposed to use any animal protein except a little milk, and fish once per week. I think it may be easier than what I remember of Pritikin because of the emphasis on starches.

    Anyway, the Rice Diet has been around for quite a long time (since the '50's), and anecdotally it can be used for a long time, even for morbidly obese people to reach their weightloss goals. But I see it as more of a shorter-term intervention. It can be easy to under-eat while on it, and although I've only been doing it since Thanksgiving I had to break with it twice already to get my calories up a couple days per week because I was getting adrenal and thyroid symptoms like when I was fasting too much, pushing my body too hard. But I exercise quite a bit now (at least an hour per day) so that may have something to do with it.

    So, if you want to try "ricing", my experience with it has been very positive. It's called the "Rice Diet" but it's not all rice, and I've lost about 12lbs in a little over two weeks. I know it's not all water, too. My loss stalled a bit because of my last break over this past weekend, but I plan on not being anal-retentive with it until after the first of the year when the holidays are over. I have a big wedding to go to in March so I'm hoping to reach my goal by then, otherwise I wouldn't be in such a hurry.

    Keep in mind that ricing can be kind of an extreme diet change, though, and the first week can be troublesome with cravings and headaches (detox symptoms), etc. Starches with no fat and no salt can be unsatisfying. You're not hungry, but your mouth just wants to chew other food, if that makes sense. Maybe suck on a stick of butter. :p Etc.

    Also to keep in mind that if you choose to try the Rice Diet and are having acute adrenal symptoms, the very low salt component of the diet may not be the thing for you. You need that salt. But you can salt your food and still do very low fat, which IMO is the biggest key to the success of this, anyway.

    Do you have blood sugar problems...?
     
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  11. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Just saw that post.

    I don't know anything at all about Valtrex so definitely can't comment on that.

    What do you mean by "mean glucose"? A1c?
     
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  12. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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  13. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    @whodathunkit. See my post above embedded in yellow. I goofed
     
  14. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    ThAt is a measure of average glucose, blood sugar level from the last 3 months. They use this to check for diabetes also. Mine was 5.2, but you are considered pre- diabetic if its 5.7 or greater.
     
  15. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Thanks, I know what A1c is. Just wasn't sure what you were talking about because I've never really heard it called "mean glucose", and I didn't know if you were talking about some measure I wasn't familiar with.

    Two years of low carb? Wow, that's a long time! Sustained stints of low carb can actually be very bad for your metabolism, causing insulin resistance and a bunch of metabolic problems. There are a lot of metabolic pathways affected by low carb but our guts take the biggest hit. Low carb is *death* on beneficial gut flora, and beneficial gut flora control metabolism and immune function. That's kind of oversimplified but that's the gist.

    I actually believe that low carb was a primary player in wrecking my metabolism. Atkins but also dallying around with The Zone, which is low carb plus lots of small frequent meals. I lost a lot of weight on Atkins, too, but after it I began to gain more weight than ever, couldn't lose it even when I went into induction again, and my glucose control went to hell. There were other factors that crashed me (like SSRI's) but I didn't get really, really heavy until after Atkins.

    Honestly, from what you say you're really NOT a bigger mess than I have been for the last 10 years or so. Certainly you're not as heavy as I was when I started this big journey a couple years ago. I was also badly estrogen dominant, and my body HATES supplemental progesterone :meh:. I'm also anemic (still battling that), have terrible uterine fibroids (ongoing), had completely crashed adrenals (fixed those), hypothyroid (fixed that), etc., etc. I had a a preponderance of symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of CFS, which I've been able to resolve. It's been a long road to recovery. Eating a clean diet with good carbs and enough of them has been COMPLETELY instrumental in my weight loss and in recovering my health. For whatever that's worth. Carbs are not the enemy. Low carb *is*.

    P.S. Please note I didn't say diet cures CFS. In and of itself, it can't. But a good diet has been instrumental in recovering my health.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  16. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    Wow, I do have gut problems! Dealing with yeast and BV and have had irritable bowel. Better now since probiotics. I added more carbs throughout the program and try to never eat bread, pasta, and rice. I continued to add, and I am now addicted to sweets, hence 173 lbs. But even if I cut out all carbs now, I still can't lose weight! I bet your right about insulin resistance!

    You sound just like me! Was on prozac for 10 plus years and just quit in August per new dr request.

    I also had a painful ovarian cyst at one point.


    Plus, I am also estrogen dominant! When I did saliva cortisol in 2010, dr gave progesterone cream, used it a few times and then quit. Current tests show low progesterone, so need to try cream again. Maybe this will help weight too?

    Unfortunately I do have a diagnosis of cfs/fibro as I have 3 out of the 4 viruses(reactivated) implicated in cfs. I had just moved to new state with a new job and away from family when I got sick in August of 2014. I think stress is what threw everything out of whack.
    Now I am on my 2nd monothing of antivirals and they are slowly working!!!!

    Today I tried half the dose of phentermine prescribed by Dr in August and it worked great with no fibro pain!!! It is an amphetamine for energy (and weight) for cfs. Maybe now that the mitochondria is healing (d-ribose) and lots of vitamins and eating healthy the amphetamine now has some energy to work with ( just read article on this by cort johnson).

    Anyway, you sound alot like me! I think half dose amphetamine will help me do intermittent fasting like I did today. No headache or fibro pains!!!!

    So, think I should try the IF diet to help with insulin resistance? I wasneed able to awhile ago bc I was to sick, but I can now. Do the 5/2, eat really healthy.

    Forgot, I had super low vitamin D which lowers immunity to all these viruses, problems etc.

    Any advice as I go forward? I will take adrenal support vitamins too.
     
  17. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    What do consider good carbs? Yes, I felt carbs were/are the enemy. Have to get out of that thinking#
     
  18. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Well, I'm not a doctor but I can tell you what I would do if I was in your shoes, based on my experiences so far.

    I wouldn't do IF more than one day per week. Between adrenal problems and amphetamines, it sounds like IF could turn into a very great stress that could push your adrenals further into dysfunction. I don't know much about using phentermine, though...so you should probably do some more research and decide what's best for you.

    Any whole starch (as opposed to processed foods) is a good carb. Potatoes (especially if cooked then cooled), sweet potatoes, rice, Ezekiel bread, oats, etc. Depends on what you can tolerate. Some people have allergies to these things. I'm lucky...I never had any real overt food allergies. I can eat wheat and milk, nightshades (potatoes and tomatoes and things in that family), etc.

    Try to stay away from omega-6 (polyunsaturated) fat. It is death on weight loss. Nixing omega-6 out of my diet has been another key to my weight loss. I eat saturated fat, but pretty much avoid omega-6 unless it comes in a whole food (like my beloved porridge). I don't eat a lot of nuts because they're loaded with it, even though they're a whole food.

    Start doing a lot of reading. This thread has a lot of good stuff about the gut and why starchy carbs are needed for good gut health. You need to read and absorb more than the first few pages, though. Starting starches can be challenging for some, especially if there are problems like IBS already present.

    A couple books I found helpful: Perfect Health Diet, and The Rice Diet. They're good guidebooks to get someone back into eating carbs.

    Progesterone always made me gain weight. One reason I say my body just doesn't like it. Seemed like I reacted pretty much the same way to bioidentical progesterone as to birth control pills. So I can't offer anything about that.

    Good luck with the antivirals. I hope they continue to work for you. :)
     
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  19. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    Oh my, I eat lots of nuts and seed for their omega-3 healthy fats. Ugh! Thanks for the info.
     
  20. Clerner

    Clerner Senior Member

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    So right! Just googled it and I had no idea nuts had this!!!! I eat walnuts with the highest amount! Wow, now maybe I will lose weight. THANKS!!!
     

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