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Is Adrenal Fatigue a Primary Cause or Secondary Due to Methylation?

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by Scotty81, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. Scotty81


    Hi, I've posted other questions about methylation, but this one concerns whether adrenal fatigue is due to some primary reason (e.g. exhausted adrenals or whatever term you want to use) or perhaps some signaling issue in not telling the adrenals to make enough cortisol and DHEA. The source of adrenal fatigue may also be due to a blockage in some biochemical pathway. The methylation pathways does control various chemical messengers that eventually get down to the adrenals. So, perhaps the last two reasons I gave are really one and the same.

    The reason I am asking is that my daughter has been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (low cortisol and low DHEA, by means of a salivary test). But, she was also is heterozygous for both A1298C and C677T. Since we know that these are just genetic predispositions, and no guarantee of illness, we did the Methylation Pathways Analysis from Vitamin Diagnostics (that Rich Van Konynenburg) had written up. We're still waiting for an official interpretation of these results, but her values are pretty much in line with the mean values of the CFS patients both Rich and Dr. Neil Nathan presented in their published research.

    My daughter has been on adrenal supplements, but we think that is just making her more wired. So, we think the right thing to do is treat methylation issues first and then see if adrenal issues improve. However, that's just one idea. Has anyone had experience in asking themselves which to treat first? If there were adrenal fatigue, but no methylation issues, I believe the answer would be to attempt to treat the adrenals first. But, this is not the case. We've also ordered a 23andme test to check for other SNPs, but the results haven't arrived yet.

    I'd appreciate anyone's feedback on the above.

  2. PennyIA

    PennyIA Senior Member

    My experience?

    My adrenal test results were actually extremely high. The doctor called the lab thinking there were errors and they both agreed that the adrenal responses I was showing was similar to someone who hasn't had a decent nights sleep in months. I sleep well every night, but awake exhausted.

    In my humble opinion... I think methylation issues can lead to a lot of different internal signals to the body that something isn't 'right' and can trigger the response (subconscious for some of us and conscious for those of us suffering with anxiety from an unknown source). I think that if you are having methylation issues its likely to ramp up the fight or flight hormones (adrenals) and if they are left too long being taxed that does seem like it would result in adrenal fatigue. Just a theory but any system running at max for any length of time is unlikely to be able to handle it and start to crash. I think methylation issues can lead to a lot of different internal signals to the body that something isn't 'right' and can trigger the response.

    Some of the supplementation supports adrenals that was recommended to me was supposed to help both ultra high as well as ultra low adrenals (as opposed to a prescription).

    I started methylation first (because I knew of my MTHFR status from 23andme before my adrenals were ever tested).

    BUT I did not tolerate the adrenal treatment AT ALL. I got extremely jittery from a micro dose and it caused a lot of side effects in pain (the twitching muscles triggered muscle fatigue and pain within minutes - but wouldn't stop even after I lay down). But that was me.

    To be honest? methylation treatment seems to be highly individualized and can take a really long time to figure out - and then needs to get adjusted. If you wait for methylation treatment to 'settle' before adding any other potential treatment to ensure you know what is helping? You might be waiting a while - It took me over six months to 'ramp up' to the basic levels the doctor wanted me on and I keep choosing to stop/restart/re-ramp up when I have crashes.

    So, it may be helpful to start her out on the smallest possible dose for the adrenals treatment. Ideally, if methylation really is a root cause (just a loose theory from someone without any scientific background) - then adding methylation treatment may end up helping her adrenals and will allow her to back off of the treatment for it. Starting really small doses will hopefully catch a negative side effect before it gets too serious and if she doesn't respond negatively, you can always add more. And if the adrenal support helps her manage her symptoms while working through the methylation treatments, it might be worth trying.

    Just my 2 cents, for what they are worth.
    ahmo likes this.
  3. sueami

    sueami Senior Member

    Front Range Colorado
    No hard science to reply to you with, just personal anectdote.

    I had a hard adrenal crash 3 1/2 years ago that took 5-6 months to crawl out of. I was seeing a naturopath then who gave me a variety of relatively gentle supplements, possibly DHEA for a short while. I also attribute extensive viewings of various and gentle Jane Austen adaptations to my recovery back then. :lol:

    This was prior to sustained chronic fatigue/PEM/major neuro symptoms. The onset of those was January of this year. I started methylation support in April, refined it to Freddd's Deadlock Quartet in June and had a major crash whilst on vacation in July. Thought it was mitochondrial dysfunction.

    Rested through the rest of summer, DH got laid off end of August, I did a crappy job of dealing with my fears about that and had an episode in September of worse than normal hearth arhythmia making me feel quite ill that turned into a full blown panic attack, on the day after my period started.

    My functional medicine doctor figures both the vacation crash and the panic attack were adrenal related. He said adrenals make up for drops in estrogen and progesterone production of perimenopause by pumping more of those hormones out and likely ran out of juice when the onset of menses put additional strain on them. Thinking back, during times I have felt overall sick, I have often noticed relapses or exacerbations of symptoms around my periods.

    I'm now on DHEA at 5 mg and Maca powder at 1/2 tsp a day and tolerating both well, in fact feeling much better, less heart arhythmias, calmer. I'm also doing a heck of a lot more work on attending to and processing my fears and worries as I notice them at the edges of my consciousness. I have also done some very helpful EFT tapping (I like Brad Yates' videos on youtube for that) and a rather wacky but surprisingly effective energy meditation from Dr. Wilson ( )

    So in my case, starting methylation and getting it smoothed out (I was taking about 3.2 mg of mfolate and 2-2.5 mg absorbed MB12 and 2 mg absorbed Adb12 and 500 mg l-carnitine fumarate daily) to the point that I didn't feel too speedy or unstable moodwise, may have helped me tolerate adrenal supplements. I suppose it might also have brought on the adrenal crashes, though I doubt that. I think pushing myself to go on the family vacation and life stressors are more obviously to blame.

  4. caledonia


    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    I believe "adrenal fatigue" is secondary, at least in some cases, and certainly in my case. Your 24 hour saliva cortisol labs will look the same whether you have a primary or secondary problem. You can't tell what kind of treatment to do from that test.

    My 24 hour saliva cortisol labs have always looked terrible - basically a flat line at zero, with a slight rise at night. My naturopath called this one of the four worst profiles they had ever seen. They had me try all kinds of adrenal supplements. Every one of them made me feel anxious and wired, even in teeny tiny doses tried over very long periods of time.

    So what I ended up doing for a long time was supporting all the electrolytes that leak out when you have poor adrenal function. Those would be magnesium, potassium, salt and vitamin C, in a powder form dissolved in water and drunk four times a day. Then also calcium in a capsule form once a day.

    Fish oil, i.e. omega 3 essential fatty acids, also seem to be affected by the adrenals so I supplement with that too.

    You should get a lot of relief from various symptoms from supplementing with these.

    Then I started methylation. You will likely need to supplement with potassium as your body requires extra potassium for cell rebuilding/healing. My need for several of the above supplements has decreased, at the same time as my sleep cycle has gotten closer to normal. I believe this indicates better adrenal function (I haven't retested officially yet).

    At the same time my thyroid has healed from autoimmune thyroiditis and I no longer need medication. The thyroid and adrenals work together, so the fact that the one has officially healed is a good sign for the other.


    So my suggestion would be to first supplement with electrolytes and pharmaceutical grade fish oil no matter what course you choose. Then try adrenal glandulars, DHEA and so forth. The glandulars do help some people, so it can be worth a try. Then if she's not tolerating those, get started on methylation treatment. Electrolytes and adrenal supps can always be reduced or eliminated later, if she starts getting better from methylation treatment.


    ps. I believe the substance which is used for signalling is glutathione (according to Rich Vank). So doing methylation treatment will raise glutathione (the good reduced kind - GSH), and that should help the signalling and thus the adrenals (and thyroid too if there is also an issue there).
    sueami likes this.
  5. Sherpa

    Sherpa Ex-workaholic adrenaline junkie

    Scotty ,

    I had severe adrenal fatigue syndrome. I spent 2 years treating it with the supplements, diet and lifestyle practices recommended by Dr. Lam in his book. I successfulLY solved my adrenal system dysregulstion and 'mostly recovered'. My only remaining symptom was chronic fatigue / PEM. Now I am trying methylation protocols and I am finding success getting closer to well.

    So adrenal work first, then methylation work... is the path I took and it made sense for me.
  6. Johnmac

    Johnmac Senior Member

    From memory, Freddd says that many "hypoadrenal" symptoms are in fact B12 deficiency symptoms.

    I've been on 20mg hydrocortisone for 3 years. Since beginning the Freddd protocol I've been able to drop that to 15mg pretty promptly, and am now contemplating 10. In between my crashes (see separate posts) I have just functioned a lot better because of the Freddd protocol.
    ahmo likes this.
  7. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

    Northcoast NSW, Australia
    @Scotty81 There's no way I could say which came first for me. My thyroid was under-treated all my life, which compromises adrenals. Same w/ B12/folate, definitely deficient all my life. My adrenals had been a mess. I think it was imperative to stop gluten and dairy to begin healing. This preceded me working on methylation cycle. But also, concurrent w/ all the supps and food eliminations, I was detoxxing. I had a major elimination which affected my adrenals, and from that point no longer needed the adrenal glandulars I'd been relying on for 2 years. Since then, May, my adrenals have been slowly improving. I rely on coffee enemas as the center of my detox protocol. By lightening the load on the liver, they relieve the adrenals. If you want more re coffee enemas, I've written a blog post, w/ references for further info. One of the Drs. Wilson adrenal experts (there are 2), recommends CEs, as did a thyroid/ hormone expert I heard recently.
  8. picante

    picante Senior Member

    Helena, MT USA
    @sueami, Jane Austen does the same thing for me. And it's not just the movies of her books. The books themselves induce a very peaceful state for me. I think she's hilarious, in a very INTJ sort of way. Her funniest book by far is one of her first: Northanger Abbey.

    A year ago when my metabolism ratcheted down once again for no discernable reason, I read everything she wrote.
    sueami likes this.

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