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cortisol test results

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by Rory_5, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Rory_5


    Hi all,

    On my naturopathic doctor's advice I took a coritsol test. Here are the results:

    9AM level: 2.7 ng/ml (range 2.0 - 11)
    9PM level: 0.30 ng/ml (range 0.2 - 1.3)

    .... so, this is very low, esp. for a young, seemingly-healthy person. My ND recommended a few homeopathic remedies. I seem to be getting better, but mornings are still *brutal* for me, and I think this test is quite telling.

    If anyone has experience with cortisol levels, please share your input. Thanks,
  2. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

    Hi Rory_5;

    Those levels look very low to me. Have you been having symptoms, such as persistent nausea and vomiting? Diarrhea? Salt wasting, low sodium? Is your blood pressure low?

    If these signs are occurring, along with low cortisol levels, I would suggest meeting with an endocrinologist for more testing.

    (My levels are <1 nl when I don't take cortisol replacement.)
  3. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    This is not something I know much about, but I have read that there are dodgy tests for cortisol around which are not reliable. It could be worth double-checking to see if the test you had done is thought to be worthwhile. Recommending homeopathy as a treatment might indicate that your doctor is not that up on the evidence around these things, so I'd be cautious about trusting their advice. Best of luck with it all.
  4. snowathlete


    The one at night isn't so bad as you want it to be low before bed but unless you go to bed at 9pm you'd want it higher than that really.
    The morning one is really low. This is when you need it to get you going in the morning. My guess is you struggle to get out of bed. Mine if I remember correctly was 4.7 and I was struggling quite a bit. Well it's not all bad news, good perhaps as you can take steps to improve this area and that might make you feel better.

    I'm not an expert in this area there are people on here who know more than me about this area but my understanding is that there are things you can do to investigate more and to fix this.

    You can have a test to stimulate the adrenals see if they respond by producing normally. Mine did, which suggested my problem would be with the gland (forget which) in my brain that gives that signal normally. That can be tested for too. However just cause my adrenals could do it that one time doesn't rile out that they would struggle to produce if asked to do it repeatedly.

    There is a good site I think it's called stop the adrenal madness or some such. Worth a look. Good luck!
  5. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

    Virginia, USA
    Water for treatment? I am sorry for being harsh but I would find a real doctor...
  6. Rory_5


  7. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    Hi Rory,

    I've had a couple of saliva cortisol tests and a short synacten test from an endocrinologist plus a few other blood tests over the decades.
    The saliva cortisol test showed very low AM and the other tests low cortisol and a blunted response. It was not low enough though to be Addison's disease but this is maybe something you could be tested for.

    In the mornings I have fainting, vomiting/nausea and am very weak. Drinking water in sips helps. Maybe this is also the CFS type low blood volume which is maybe getting worse over night though?

    I've tried hydrocortisone supplementation and at a low dose this does help but only if I can wake very early and take it then. Other people have different responses. Know of people who take hc at different times and different does. There is an argument as to what dose will suppress the adrenal glands as well.
  8. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    Licorice extract isn't homeopathic (unless using so little as to be essentially using none). Homeopathy is based on belief, not science. Maybe you meant your ND suggested holstic, naturopathic, or alternative remedies, rather than homeopathic?
  9. Rory_5


    I guess... she recommended a few different things, and some of them say "HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY" right on the label.

    The licorice extract does not say HR. But I bought it at the same health food store.
  10. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

    Dd your ND suggest adrenal cortex extract ?
    Stop the thyroid madness has a really good writeup on their website and also in their book.

    Following signs and symptoms is important when treating adrenals and thyroid.
  11. maddietod

    maddietod Senior Member

    East Coast, USA
    I worked with a naturopath last year to try to sort out adrenal issues, and nothing in his toolkit helped. I'm now working with an osteopath, because being a doctor, he can run more tests and prescribe medication when necessary. But he prefers supplements, so it feels like the best of both worlds.

    With such low morning cortisol, I second the idea of seeing somebody who can run a few more tests.

    heapsreal likes this.
  12. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

    Midwest USA
    It's more typical for those of us with ME/CFS to have HPA axis (hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal) dysfunction rather than autoimmune Addison's disease which causes the adrenal failure most endocrinologists are (semi) familiar with. In other words, it seems to be a brain problem rather than a structural problem with the adrenals.

    The morning cortisol level should be up at the top of the range. So in my opinion, that result definitely needs to be followed up on. Did you only test twice a day? Most saliva tests are 4x/day.

    The evening level is fine in my opinion. It should be near the bottom of the range at night so you can sleep.

    If it were me, I would do a saliva test 4x/day if you have not already so you can see the rhythm across the day. You may be low all day and not just in the AM.

    I would also consider getting a low dose ACTH stimulation test. The low dose test is better at determining those with secondary AI but it will still miss about half of those with adrenal problems so it is not perfect. But it is worth doing in my opinion especially with a doctor that understands adrenal issues.

    Unfortunately, most endos are all focused on diabetes these days and finding an adrenal expert is tough. And most endos don't think anything of saliva tests at all which is bizarre considering they are so accurate that NASA uses them. Anyway, you may have better luck with a DO or integrative doctor. You just have to find one that is willing to prescribe more than just supplements or adrenal cortex extract. Obviously, I can't say for sure without knowing you or your history, but I would be surprised if you didn't need hydrocortisone replacement based on that AM cortisol value. So getting more testing is key...

    HPA axis dysregulation can be caused by a myriad of issues - infection, methylation problems especially. Replacing the hormones can make you feel better while you work on the underlying issues.

    heapsreal likes this.

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