so i got my tests back, and one of the issues is low cortisol - which is interesting because i thought low cortisol was good. turns out, optimal cortisol is best, low or high is bad. so apparently i used up my cortisol years ago fighting stresses and its now to the point where i have fatigue and pain. it also ties in with low testosterone, and higher than necessary estrogen ratios.
anyone familiar with reversing this trend?
some more info: i'm 31 ,male, 6 foot 185 lbs. spectracell labs were near perfect with nutrients except b5 and cysteine - will take supps b5 and NAC soon. dairy intake is more only recently (post labwork) i.e. kerrygold butter. been taking FCLO & HiVit Butter Oil since december about 2 tsp each daily. i do not eat many starches as i tend to gorge and/or bloat on them. instead i eat a bit of brown rice syrup daily as per jaminet's recommendation. i eat tons of red meat, organ meat, and eggs all high quality with sauerkraut and liberal sea salt. started upping vit c, even though i drink many fresh squeezed lemons daily for years. i take natural calm nightly and sometimes apply magnesium oil on my skin.
Edit: none of this worked. I now follow ray peat to focus on thyroid and decreasing stress marker.
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Though I haven't read the whole thing, the book Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled?: A 3-Step Program to: Restore Thyroid, Adrenal, and Reproductive Balance, Beat Hormone Havoc, and Feel Better Fast! seems to have well researched advice.
In sum it divides intervention into stages:
- Eat frequently, take salt, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sugar
- B5 250 mg, 2-3/day
- B6 50 mg, 2-3/day
- full strength licorice, 300 mg/day first week, increase by 300 mg/day for several weeks (watch blood pressure)
Then add tonics/adaptogenics:
- ashwagandha root powder 600 mg/day
- panax ginseng 400 mg/day
- cordyceps 800 mg/day
- rhodiola root 100 mg/day
- bacopa 500 mg/day
Next, add precursor augmentation:
- DHEA 5-10 mg/day - gently titrate up with supervision no higher than 25-50 mg/day
- pregnenelone 50-100 mg/day
Again, I haven't read all of this, and there may be important specifics I've not written here. Nor have I read the justification or evidence for each part. Also, having the help of a practitioner is strongly recommended by the author.
My interest in this came from exploring the reasons for my low and variable body temperature. Back in December I tried the pupil dilation test and had a lot of vacillation. I started taking magnesium and vitamin C, adding sea salt to my food, and drinking strong licorice tea daily, and last week my dilation was almost perfectly normal. I haven't tested my temperature steadiness recently, though.
(See Those durn adrenals: How they can wreck havoc in many thyroid patients and scroll down, for self-tests for adrenal fatigue, though if you already have confirmed low cortisol, that should be definitive.)
Ck out Robb's post (yeah I'm the 'grace')
Adrenal insufficiency can probably be typed into 3 flavors: --pituitary dysfunction (HPA axis failure) --adrenal dysfunction --mild dysfunction -- 'fatigue'
It is ALL ENTIRELY reversible.
Adress the mental stress and physical trauma (e.g. even stop HIIT, cardio, xfit, intermittent fasting, ketotic diets -- these are all depleting for adrenal function). If you are on a synthetic hormone (birth control) or a drug that kills cholesterol (statins or other cholesterol lowering therapy) STOP IT RIGHT NOW.
Address the gut --heal it
Take the nutrients that are depleted: zinc, vitamin C (as mentioned above), fat soluble nutrients (grassfed animal fats, chol rich egg yolks (if not allergic), ghee/butter, vitamin D3 supplementation if deficient, omega-3 fish oil, phosphatidylserine (AWESOME STUFF for adrenals), amino acids, melatonin, etc
You should look at the following resources: ADRENALS FAQ???the most frequently asked questions, and Dr. James Wilson's Adrenal Fatigue
This is the answer I wrote in another very similar thread:
I'm also in the cortisol/adrenal fatigue situation. I've been looking into this for a while now.
Although diet definitely helps, this problem has to be resolved at it's core (vs dealing with it's symptoms). That is, the most obvious things to do are to decrease cortisol and reverse adrenal fatigue. Most of these come from lifestyle changes (getting enough sleep, decreasing work and exercise stress, increasing exposure to sunlight, etc.)
The same rule applies to all other aspects of a lifestyle: decrease any practice that is a potential stressor.
With regards to dietary considerations. In order to decrease the stress on your system, I would recommend increasing your carb intake to around 100g a day (as being in a state of ketosis adds extra stress to the system). Carbs should come mostly from starches and you should always avoid fructose. I am assuming you are at least 95% paleo, if not, getting there will help a lot.
Don't fast or IF or skip breakfast, although these practices are generally beneficial, they are only so when one's body is healthy. Again, they add unnecessary stress.
As for workouts, they should also be less "stressful" i.e. avoid metcons and endurance exercices, go for heavy lifts instead (press, lifts, cleans etc.) , not too much though. Don't workout on an empty stomach.
Other, less important stuff: drink green tea, contains L-theanine which helps with managing stress. Supplement with magnesium, adrenal fatigue decreases your body's retention.
After I was diagnosed with low cortisol, via a diurnal saliva test, I tried vitamin, mineral, glandular, and herbal supplements, but to little effect. Ultimately what helped me was hydrocortisone pills, which require a prescription. I started with 5mg/day and worked up to 25 mg/day in split doses. At some point after my adrenals have had a chance to recover I'll start tapering off the hydrocortisone and let my adrenals slowly make up the difference.
I know I'm late to the show. But I'm a 20 year old with low testosterone, hypothyroidism, and adrenal fatigue. Could years of hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue cause low testosterone? Haven't seem a connection on that.
What helped for you? I am in the same place, but I have PTSD, which accounts for why. High estrogen, low cortisol, fatigue, chronic daily headache, period issues. I want natural, since I already take meds for the PTSD.
How was your cortisol measured (serum , saliva, 24 hour urine), and at what time of day were you tested?
To diagnose low cortisol output you need a 24 hour urine test.
Make sure your eating some starch... keep carbs around 100g per day. Don't IF. Keep any HIIT or intense cardio to once a week, 20 mins max. Lift heavy twice a week for testosterone. Lots of egg yolks, red meat. Have you just lost a bunch of weight? Make sure you are sleep 8 hours a night.
Meditate, practice yoga. Make sure your laughing, smiling, having fun more. Relax.
I would suggest against melatonin as mentioned by grace... it is a hormone and continued use will only further disrupt your own hormone cycles.
Sex if you can.
Focus on just getting that Test up by lifting heavy twice weekly... like REALLy heavy doing deadlifts, squats, bench, overhead press.. only twice. Keep sessions around 30mins. Walk. Tons of cholestorol. Organ meats, egg yolks. TONS of red meat.
For the high estrogen... are you using alot of plastics? Eating alot of dairy? What about beauty products? These can all contain estrogenic substances.