The power and pitfalls of omics part 2: epigenomics, transcriptomics and ME/CFS
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Moderate cognitive impairment, weight gain, suicidal - at my wits' end with severe adrenal fatigue

Discussion in 'Adrenal Dysfunction' started by Mikee5, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Mikee5

    Mikee5

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    I am literally at rock bottom with my adrenal fatigue. I have no social or dating life, I am rapidly gaining weight, my memory is getting worse, I'm starting to stutter and take longer to comprehend basic conversation and information. My cognition has deteriorated significantly over the past two years, from a creative writer and fierce debater to a mere inarticulate amateur. I lead a lonely life, preoccupied with the seemingly false hope of a miraculous recovery one day.

    I find every passing day an effort. I cannot hold down a job without driving myself to severe exhaustion after only a couple of days. I cannot exercise. I sleep deeply for 10 hours every night, waking up feeling unrefreshed and groggy. I am prematurely aging and losing hair.

    No method of adrenal support has helped in any way, whether it's nutrition, supplements or even salt to balance my electrolytes.

    The progress I have made is relatively good, but not good enough for me to enjoy an even decent quality of life.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that I probably need some direct cortisol support, in the form of hydrocortisone.

    Any advice?
     
  2. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Have you had thorough medical investigation for well defined diseases? On what basis have you decided that you're suffering from adrenal fatigue? There may be other well defined diseases such as growth hormone deficiency, thyroid disease, or testosterone deficiency (for males) that produce the symptoms ascribed to adrenal fatigue. Some of these are easy to miss ith standard testing.

    If a definite explanation for the symptoms cannot be made, you can try low dose cortisol, but this should happen with the help of a doctor.

    Do you think that you're suffering from episodes of hypoglycemia? If so it's worth buying a home glucose meter to confirm this, and if confirmed, to follow a diet for stabilizing blood sugar levels.
     
  3. Mikee5

    Mikee5

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    Yes my adrenal fatigue is confirmed. I had a saliva test done a few months ago that indicated low cortisol and DHEA, which I now suspect are lower. I also had a full thyroid panel last year and my T4 was borderline low. It's costly to follow up on these tests as they are only available privately here in the UK. Post my adrenal crisis a two years ago I had chronically low blood sugar - primarily reactive hypoglycemia to all foods, which has now mostly stablised but there are days when it feels low. I do have energy fluctuations but that may be linked to cortisol and not blood sugar.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
  4. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Adrenal fatigue can also be a symptom, not a cause. Or a co-morbidity.

    What about lifestyle modifications? Any success with those? What are your sleeping patterns like (i.e., when do you go to bed and when do you get up)? And eating? Do you eat processed foods? Or even whole foods with an emphasis on foods that have a lot of omega-6 fats? Do you eat low cal/low fat/low protein/vegetarian/Etc.?

    Do you take adrenal glandulars or anything like that? Tried high-dose vitamin C? Any of the adaptogen herbs that are supposed to be good for adrenals like ashwagandha?

    I was in about the same shape you say you're in, about six years ago. I had definite crashed adrenals according to lab tests, and all the symptoms of CFS (which in severe cases of adrenal fatigue are pretty similar). I came back. Hard slog. But I think it's doable if you find the approach(es) that work for you.
     
    Mackee likes this.
  5. CantThink

    CantThink Senior Member

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    England, UK
    What's your free T3 like?
     
    Mackee likes this.
  6. drob31

    drob31 Senior Member

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    Adrenal Fatigue isn't a real condition but rather a collection of symptoms resulting most likely from HPA-axis dysfunction. This in turn is caused by something else, which could itself be caused by something else. A single low cortisol test doesn't tell us much, and neither does low T4. You need multiple cortisol saliva tests for a baseline. You also need free t3, and a myriad of other things, and that's just the beginning.

    There are many culprits here, from a pituitary adenoma to a nutritional deficiency. Unfortunately this requires allot of time and money to figure out. You could have a low level infection as well.\

    If you can prove it's low cortisol that's causing all of the symptoms, you can treat the symptoms and there are ways to get hydrocortizone, very easy ones, however you need to know for sure. Many times it is ideal to safely treat the symptoms (start without cortisol replacement) while seeking a root cause.

    Pregnenolone will convert to progesterone and that can be used for cortisol. Increasing this may or may not help, as well as taking DHEA.
     
  7. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Hmmm. I would argue, then, that it's as real as CFS, if being a conglomeration of symptoms as opposed to being defined by a single pathogenic diagnosis is your basis for an illness being "not real".

    Anyway, @Mikee5, I had quite severe symptoms and recovered most of my adrenal function by doing the following:

    Cleaning up my diet (whole real foods only)
    Limiting sugar (not carbs, just sugars)
    High dose vitamin C (liposomal for a while if you can afford it)
    Raw adrenal glandulars
    Getting my circadian rhythms in sync with the sun (I'm now early-to-bed, early-to-rise after a lifelong adrenal stress/vampire rhythm of late-to-bed, late-to-rise)
    Salt loading
    Extra magnesium

    I can't remember everything now, but those were the foundations.

    It's worth noting that resetting my circadian rhythms dang near killed me, but since that time I've learned there are far, far better ways to do it than the "crash course" way I did it. And even with what I went through before I turned from vampire into a day person, looking back it was entirely worth it. Tough going through, but a worth endeavor.

    Also, after my adrenals got a bit better, I got my thyroid in order, primarily by using iodine. But I don't recommend that for you, at least not at this point. If you consider it at all, please educate yourself before trying it and make an informed decision. Using iodine can get complex, and causes some people problems. And if you rev up your thyroid before your adrenals can handle it, it may cause even more problems.

    Methylation, gut therapy, and moving away from omega-6 fats really seemed to resolve whatever adrenal fatigue symptoms I had left after using all the approaches above for several years

    @drob31 has some good points (there may be something else wrong with you), but if you don't want or can't afford to do a bunch of expensive labs, you might try some other things before deciding you need to take expensive, drastic measures like multiple cortisol saliva tests. It's quite possible you can help yourself to feel better without all that. At a few hundred $$$ a pop that's definitely not something I could afford (not to mention cortisol saliva tests are intrusive into your daily routine and a PITA to complete), and I did quite well without all that. I took the one cortisol saliva test but that was it.

    YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
    Mackee likes this.

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