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Mending adrenal glands - rising cortisol and feeling DRASTICALLY improved

Discussion in 'Adrenal Dysfunction' started by Athene, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    I've been planning this post for a long while. I wanted to give the therapy a decent time before reporting, because I'm one of those people who often thinks supplements are helping at first, then after a while they stop working. I've given it 7 months so I am really sure this is working for me.

    My cortisol levels were measured about 18 months ago and were 4 and later 7. This is even lower than many people with Addisons disease. I briefly took a low dose of steroid which made me drastically worse.

    I read "Adrenal Fatigue" by James Wilson and here's what the book says. (BTW none of this is cutting edge or controversial, there are articles about all of it on Wikipedia and other websites)

    The adrenal glands produce the following hormones:
    1. adrenaline and noradrenaline for "fight or flight" reactions
    2. DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, estrogens, testosterone, androstenedione - antioxidant, tissue repair, sex hormones, cortisol balancing and anti-aging functions
    3. cortisol - blood sugar regulation, anti-inflammatory, immune response modification, heart and blood vessel toning, central nervous system stimulation, stress reaction normalisation
    4. aldosterone - regulation of potassium, sodium and fluid volume

    When you have low levels of these hormones, the symptoms are:
    1. dopey reactions
    2. Men need low level female hormone and women need male ones, these are made exclusively by the adrenal glands. Women with low testosterone have no sex drive, for example. (That's why women never want sex when they're tired!) They also produce top ups of hormones for our own gender that fine tune. When low, for women you feel terrible the week before your period, for example. These hormones do many others things in the body that are not yet fully understood.
    3. low blood sugar, especially rebound reaction (peak then crash) after you eat carbs - often sugar cravings; chronic inflammation, leading to frequent headaches pains and other signs of inflammation - in long term can lead to autoimmune reactions; overactive lymphocytes - recovery from infections takes too long because immune system doesn't know when to stop; cortisol keeps mid-sized arteries suitably contracted, when it is deficient these are too dilated and you have chronic low blood pressure - also uses many minerals to ensure the heart muscle beats forcefully enough but not too hard; lack of cortisol in central nervous system causes general dopiness and sleep disorders (too high cortisol causes sleep disorders too); Stress as a medical term means injury, infection or psychological trauma which provokes a cascade of other hormones - cortisol regulates and coordinates all the necessary reactions to these situations to ensure the body heals and gets back to normal as fast as possible - lack of cortisol means you take far longer to heal from injury or infections
    4. Lack of aldosterone causes OI, POTS and chronic low BP.

    The treatment that the book recommends is the following nutrients:
    Vitamin E 800 IU daily (try to get mixed tocopherols not just alpha tocopherols if at all possible)
    Pantothenic acid (vit B5) 1,500mg daily (I use Jarrow which is great)
    Vitamin B6 50 to 100mg daily. (I was already on 50, increased to 100 and half of this is the active form called P5P, this is beacause I think I am one of those people poor at converting it to the active form, the usual test for this is whether you have dreams or not, if not, you are not getting enough)
    buffered vitamin C, as much as your intestine can take, at least 6000mg daily (increase by 100mg daily til you get doarrhoea, than go back to the dose that was OK. I'm on 9,000mg daily.)
    Niacin (Vit B3) 25 to 50mg daily
    Magnesium 400mg daily
    Calcium 1000mg daily
    Fibre (psyllium husk or whatever - this is because you will be dumping more toxins through your bile duct and you need to trap the toxins so they are not reabsorbed. I didn't take enough to begin with and this really matters. I need 3 teaspoons a day (half an hour before each meal)

    There are also things you must avoid:
    No caffeine at all
    Any time you want a sugary snack, have a salty one instead- this will actually give you more energy as it helps your available cortisol do its job rather than giving it extra work to do regulating your blood sugar.
    No fats that have been damaged by heat, i.e. no saturated fats.
    You also have to take a fairly ruthless approach to avoiding stessful situations, seeking out things that make you laugh, taking lie-downs and rests as often as you can and make sure you are asleep by 9.30 or 10 pm before that second wind that usually comes on about 11 pm kicks in. Spending a very long time chewing your food helps the last stage of methylation - actually secreting toxins in bile into your intestine ready for elimination, and it relaxes you too and helps you digest your food better, thus getting more nutrients out of it.

    I took about 2 or 3 days in "startup mode" but I was fine after that. Startup mode meant I felt hyperactive and could not relax properly - it was like a feeling of constant agitation. Tired but wired. Actually a bit better than my usual sensation of feeling stoned, but not really what I wanted. When I overdid things I would get that tired but wirded feeling back again in the first 2 months, but it has stopped now.

    When your adrenals get going, you start detoxing much more efficiently and in larger volumes. I have had to increase my B12 injections from 2 a week to 3 a week and I feel very rough if I miss one.

    This is important - taking high doses of any once B vitamin can give you a deficiency in ther others so it is really important you take a B complex tablet and make sure you are not getting deficient in other B vits.


    The book describes a hoime test for cortisol levels. You go in a totally dark room adn shine a torch sideways across your eyes. Your pupils will contract, but if you have low cortisol they will then expend again, even though the light is still there, because the muscle cannot sustain its equilibrium. I tested this on myself and lots of healthy energetic people and it really works. I do it every few days and it varies according to how energetic I feel.
    jeffrez, Enid, RosieBee and 2 others like this.
  2. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Cool athene, im having some success using different adrenal hormones at the moment but adjusting doses at the moment as i can only tolerate small doses but getting big benefits, sometimes i feel overdone , then i just back off for a day or 2. The other day when feeling overdone i backed off and felt cappy that day and slept crappy so i just have to nail the doses right or maybe it takes time to adjust to getting the adrenals working again. Im coming accross alot of good info of this sort of stuff, so when i do i will keep posting it. Dr Kruse is the latest thread i posted which i think you will find very interesting. I think coming from a cfs/infectious background we have to do the adrenal treatments alot slower and lower then normal.

    keep us updated on how you go.

    cheers!!!
  3. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    This is fabulous, that you're fixing your adrenals with this simple protocol. How long did it take for you to to notice a difference? I'm on a regimen very similar to this, but also seem to need some glandular and herbal adrenal support.

    I hope you keep updating.
  4. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hiya Madie
    I started feeling some kind of change very quickly, in about 2 weeks, but it took a longish time to really improve. After one month there was a distinct improvement in energy and general wellbeing but I kept setting myself back by doing too much and crashing. I found it very hard to pace myself as I improved, because the amount I could handle doing each day kept changing. At last I seem to have got the knack of figuring out what I can haldle each day, and cutting back ehen I am having a less energetic day.
    The biggest thing for me has been realising that having an allergic reaction hits the adrenals as hard as having an infection like a cold, (though there's a whole chapter about that in the book, duh!) and therefore accepting that when I'm sniffing, I need some very restful days to avoid another setback.
    Which herbs are you using?

    Heapsreal I've been following your thread and finding it very interesting, Actually I almost added this post to that thread, but I wasn't sure if it would send it off at a tangent so I decided to do a separate one. Have you been taking the nutrients and trying herbal support before using the hormones? In the book Wilson advises doing it that way.

    After getting on all the nutrients I tried Siberian Ginseng, but had an awful reaction to it even though it's supposed to be great for balancing the adrenals. So I am just using the nutrients and my patience seems to be paying off. I hope you can get the doses right heapsreal! I suppose it's a bit like pacing, constant fine tuning in reaction to your body and it takes time to get the knack of it.
  5. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    Hi, Athene!

    I'm on Adrenal Response, by Innate, which is a whole food blend of 6 adaptogens that support the adrenals. 2 with breakfast, 1 with lunch. I'm also taking 2 direct adrenal supplements by Standard Process: Drenatrophin PMG and Drenamin, one of each with meals. I started out taking only the PMG (6/day) and that wasn't doing anything. My response to adding in the Drenamin has been very gratifying! But I'm only on the 3rd day of this change, and like you, I'm an early-responder then lose the benefit person. I figured I'll post about it in a few weeks if the benefits hold.

    Sorry I'm too lazy to provide links, but you can google all of these and see the formulas.
  6. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Madie,
    I think you must be in the start up phase that I went through with my vitamins. It was a really crazy stop-go type experience at first. I think we get used to the feeling of operating without enough of all these hormones and so we go through a painful transition as we revert to actually having them! That's what my doctor suggested when I asked him about the tired but wired feeling.

    I forgot to mention that the book is extremely emphatic you are not to eat chocolate at all. It contains threobromine which overstimulates the adrenals and makes them crash out in no time. And I can guarantee this is true through personal experience!!
    Misfit Toy and Beyond like this.
  7. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    I think you need to add TYROSINE.

    I also have adrenal issues per a test by Senesco, which is a 5 times a day saliva test similar to those recommended at www.stopthethyroidmadness.com. (I had thyroid issues last year and never recovered 100% but have recovered about 95%). I found that I have severe adrenal issues during allergy season. What burns me is that my allergiest has known this for 40 years and never told me nor prescribed any adrenal supplement (but gave me cortizone shots when I had bad attacks and say - had to take finals or whatever -- along with a lecture about how the cortizone shot would destroy my liver so I should not get but 3 in my life). I can't afford to keep testing this stuff but I noticed and medicate as follows (and I get results within the hour or at least by a half day):

    if I have allergy symptoms, I take a dried adrenal glandular
    If they come back before the end of the day I take another (even though the bottle dose says 1/day and is appx 300 mg? mcg?)
    If I have low blood sugar or feel it coming on, I take a dried adrenal glandular
    If I have to use flea sprays (nerve toxins) it turns out I need an adrenal glandular too (or I get low blood sugar that won't quit -- this is what I determined just yesterday).
    If I crave salt I have an adrenal problem (unless it is hot and I have been sweating). I can check this right away because I have 3 genes that cause severe high blood pressure so if I eat salt and my blood pressure is low, it is an adrenal issue. But I don't actually need to take my b.p. because the way I feel is that I can't think w/o the salt and feel like I will pass out. Been that way periodically all my life during PMS.

    I have always has such severe exhaustion during allergy season that I could not lift a finger to pull a weed or do any basic cleaning or anything other than feed my pets so they won't die...like that. And it always persisted for some time after allergy season until I recovered. I used to think it was due to "winter blues" since I had to be inside away from the sun during allergy season (and indeed I do have the VDR genetic defect as well).

    My adrenal issue was diagnosed by Dr. Roberts at www.heartfixer.com. And he also prescribed me to read that book by Dr. Wilson, which I did.

    For the exhaustion/depression (it's an inertial type depression) from adrenal fatigue I find I also need tyrosine. I verified this via the doctors at ww.lef.org when they went through my labs with me. It turns out allergy season caused adrenal issues depleted my dopamine which is EXTREMELY HARD TO DO since I am COMT +/+ and have trouble breaking down dopamine! I crave cheese when adrenal fatigued and it is an excellent tyrosine source (I eat low salt cheese because of my blood pressure as a matter of course so it's not really the salt I am craving with the cheese). The tyrosine connection is brought out many places but most recently I noted it in that book From Fatigued to Fantastic (I actually did not read that book myself though). I just bought an adrenal glandular with tyrosine in it (as this is lower fat than cheese).

    I take many of the supplements mentioned above as a matter of course, such as 50mg P5P every day + however much is in two Thorne Basic B (which is also P5P). I never take any pydridoxal HCL (non-active form of B6), I don't think I can break it down. I take Rhodiola foradrenal fatigue as a matter of course ever since I discovered it helped me with undeserved low blood sugar attacks when I was 45. What it does is increase gylcogen stores. By the time I hit 52 the Rhodiola was not enough which is why I am doing the glandular. I don't like that I am taking a glandular but my allergies are the worst my allergist has ever seen in 20 years of practice and seems to need an olympic sized remedy.

    If I could scroll up to see I'd tell you what else I take...I take a whole pile of pills every day so I do tend to recover fairly fast from problems THANK GOD because I find I am a "fragile bag of protoplasim" and am constrantly running afoul of one genetic defect or another.
    Laurel6123 and Wayne like this.
  8. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    Athene - This is a recurring pattern as I explore ways to deal with my symptoms. I got the same initial boost, then back to baseline with the methylation protocol - which leads me to believe that while something helped, either the supplementation wasn't strong enough (adrenals), or I was missing co-factors (methylation). Off topic - I'm waiting on test results re methylation.
  9. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    I have found most of the herbal stuff like the ginsengs too stimulating for me but withania has been good and has a calming action which i use at night with phosphatidylserine to help lower high night time cortisol, seems to help.
  10. sandralee

    sandralee

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    Hi all,

    Here are my recent saliva cortisol results:

    8am 7
    Midday less than 5
    6pm 8
    10pm less than 5

    These are all in the lab reference range, and when I queried the values with my integrative medical practitioner, he told me that they were ok because no one really knows the appropriate level for cortisol.

    Any comments on these results would be appreciated.

    All the best,

    Sandra
  11. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Saldralee,
    There are two different scales for measuring cortisol - the Wikipedia article says what is normal on both scales
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol#Normal_levels
    On one scale your results do seem to be normal but on the other they're not.

    Rydra,
    Thanks so much for that post with so much useful info. I was fascinated by the tyrosine info especially, as I have been having crazy cheese cravings!!!! I'm allergic to cheese and haven't eaten it for years, so I'll look into other foods rich in tyrosine and see if that helps me.
    I'm going to read up about thyroid on the website you linked to, as I have wondered for a while if my thyroid was unstable. The Adrenal Fatigue book says that this does happen to a percentage of people with adrenal fatigue.

    Madie,
    I bet your methylation results will be really useful. I had to fiddle with all my methylation supplements once I started this adrenal protocol. I'm sure my body suddenly started clearing out a huge backlog of toxins it hadn't been able to shift and so my need for methylating nutrients went up. For me, it turned out to be enough to increase B12 and add trimethylglycine.
  12. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    Glad you worked it out to fit your reactions and circumstances and then took your time. I'm very guilty of this, but most people are. We are looking for great results to fast. but we are going to have to be patient. I don't think it is in someways fair to even mention days and weeks, well maybe weeks. More like months and years, but we ill get there. I have a lot of respect for Athene working through what she feels would be be the best approach and implementing it and sticking with it.

    She has a great foundation to workout newer and or better treatments that may include moving to a completely different segments of the body and again may take weeks months or years (hopefully not).
  13. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    I think Immunpro Protein is made from milk that has never seen any part of "cheese" making process and therefore doesn't have something that makes people allergic to most dairy proteins.
  14. mellster

    mellster Marco

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    The tyrosine info makes a lot of sense, thx. I have had cheese cravings most of my life, but also because I love it ;) Regarding sodium I think the sodium-hypertension link is controversial at best and IMO will eventually be proven as a big myth (at least as a general rule of thumb - individuals may well be salt sensitive) :)
  15. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Mellster,
    What I was told by my doctor is that 20 percent of hypertensives have sodium-related hypertension, for the other 80 percent salt makes no difference whatsoever. The UK government has had a huge poster campaign basically telling people salt is poisonous, and as a result hospitals have seen a major increase in people having heart attacks and going into comas because of sodium deficiency. Everyone is avoiding salt without realising it is a nutrient. I have a friend whose mother went into a sodium-deficiency coma and after 3 weeks she died.
    The book on adrenal fatigue says you need to increase sodium if you have low cortisol, unless you have chronic high blood pressure (for other reasons), in which case you need further testing.
  16. baccarat

    baccarat Senior Member

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    I tried this protocol and made me worse.
    Most of the supplements Dr Wilson talks about I found too stimulating, except for Vitamin C which he believes is the most important nutrient the body needs to manufacture adrenal hormones. Magnesium was also good.
    Felt like on amphetamines when I tried the glandulars and Ginseng.
    Of all the herbs the only helpful has been Ashwagandha.
    It's the only remedy I tried, out of many, that incidentally gives me restful sleep.
    All in all I found Dr Wilson's protocol not suitable for CFS/immune-related adrenal fatigue.
  17. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    SandraLee
    What is important is your DHEA:cortisol ratio. You want a youthful 10:1 to handle stress. I don't know that much about cortisol readings but I know for a fact that if the RATIO is not right it causes inability to handle stress, panic, low blood sugar (undeserved and HARD to banish), etc (I suffer from all these from time to time, such as when applying flea products to my pets -- the poison is SUCH a stress to my body it drives me into a FOREVER low blood sugar attack, which DHEA or adrenal extract banishes).

    That is what *I* know (and I can support it at some time expense (I lost my memory stick). (To maximize (normalize) that ratio will require DHEA supplementation if over 30, which is when DHEA peaks...although no one ever supplements it until over 50).

    But here are some detailed articles about adrenal issues specifically:

    Go here to find out all sorts of stuff about adrenal issues and testing for them: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/adrenal-info/faq/
    Excellent article here (from the stopthethyroidmadness pick list: http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp
    Here is the pick from stopthethyroidmadness to explain labs: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/

    and it says:
    24-HOUR CORTISOL SALIVA TEST: An at-home test to evaluate your circadian cortisol levels at key times during a 24 hour period. Those will healthy adrenal function will have the follow results:

    8 am: at the literal top of the range
    11 am-noon: in the upper quarter
    4-5 pm: mid-range
    11 pm to midnight: at the very bottom.

    Here Janie shows normal and abnormal adrenals via pictorial charts (her labs divide the chart into regions and this is also an important diagnostic. In her book (and probably at her website somewhere) she tells hwo you can divide yours up into regions to make that second diagnostic if the lab doesn't do it:
    http://www.chronicfatigue.org/ASI Normal.html
  18. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    I actually never tried Dr. Wilson's protocol because over the years I already tried everything on it and know a priori that many are do-nothings for me (including ashwaghanda). Rhodiola is what works for me but it cannot handle the degree of adrenal exhaustion I get from chemicals like flea products or from allergens. Rhodiola does work for the kind of stress you encounter on a normal day at work (for me). I started taking it because when someone would cut me off in traffic the stress from that would give me a low blood sugar attack and I would NOT recover until I pulled over and ate something...Rhodiola fixed it. I am afraid to take licorice on a daily basis -- it does something bad related to blood sugar I think - I can't recall. It is only supposed to be taken short term, never on a daily basis for an extended period. I can't take gingseng since I take DHEA. It would be overkill.

    TIE BETWEEN ADRENAL BOTTOMING OUT AND BRITTLE DIABETES?
    Speaking of stress, I will share something disquieting. I had a friend, now deceased, who was not diabetic. As a teen she slipped and fell on the ice and the stress of that caused her to become brittle diabetic! She died of diabetic kidney trouble by the time she was 40. So when my blood sugar started to be affected by stress, I took it VERY SERIOUSLY. I did not want to become diabetic like my friend. I took Rhodiola and when that wasn't enough anymore I took DHEA. And now I am finding I can take adrenal extract. Now I am sure my friend had the genetics for diabetes (but so do I). There is something about bottoming out your adrenals that can cause you to become brittle diabetic! Serious stuff!!!! (Of course we now know that diabetes is tied to low testosterone in men and I am sure they will find to low estrogen &/or DHEA in women. I know I would be diabetic if not for my bioidentical hormone replacement)
  19. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    I am extremely salt sensitive. I cannot eat little enough salt to keep my b.p. normal or even close to it. (It is very hard to eat less than 1500 mg salt/day but that is WAY too much salt for me...I eat 1500 mg but it doesn't get my bp anything close to where I would not have to take drugs so I take DHEA to keep my b.p. down). But when I have adrenal issues (which I do regularly) I have to eat salt or I can't think. I have known all my life I go into these states - the state when my blood sugar is an issue, the state when I have to eat salt, the state when I cannot eat salt, the state when I can eat whatever I want w/o blood sugar effects, etc. Arghghgh!!!

    Dr. Roberts (www.heartfixer.com) is the one who figured out I have adrenal issues just this summer. (The poor man keeps telling me he's a heart doctor, but he's doing wonderfully on me with all my non-heart issues)

    P.S. It has been proven that too much salt is bad for your heart regardless of whether or not you have high blood pressure. Most Americans eat WAY too much salt according to the NHAINES II study of American dietrry habits. WHen I had my high blood pressure diagnosed, I asked at restaurants how much salt was in my favorite meals and got back typical answers of 3,600 mg salt for that ONE MEAL! (That is all the salt I can handle for 3 days in ONE meal!).

    But I do observe Americans lead a very stressful lifestyle NOT THE LEAST due to copious consumption of coffee (2 cups raises cortisol 33%). Coffee is one of the top 5 ways Americans get potassium...we seriously abuse coffee. So if we beat up our adrenals we need salt...
  20. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    You could try pregnenolone or even progesterone as they back fill into helping cortisol or other hormones.

    cheers!!!

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