Shooting from the hip, looking at my myself, I don't think that my leptin sensitivity is out of whack (albeit it could probably be much better) -- I am pretty sure my cortisol levels are completely out of whack --- high stress from my day job, high stress from admin-ing PaleoHacks (just kidding), not enough sleep b/c of job & Paleo babby, and I probably drink waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy too much coffee. (Bad Patrik! Bad Patrik!)
One of our most popular PaleoHackers, The Quilt writes:
If you are fit or in decent shape and not sure based upon the above symptoms I would tell you to go get a blood test and check your reverse T3. It will be elevated. I also recommend simultaneously checking a salivary cortisol level.
Which describes me fairly well --- could stand to lose a few pounds (maybe 10-15 lbs) but am not really overweight and don't have any inflammation.
So, my question is -- for people in my condition, leptin probably okay, but could be better. Cortisol levels probably very bad. What would you and/or The Quilt suggest about people in my condition?
Gimme a prescriptive hack, the more concrete the better.
BTW If you say "stop stressing" or "work less" -- I might drop my ban hammer on you. Only sort of kidding.
This graph shows the effect of a morning coffee on cortisol levels.
Changes in serum cortisol concentrations in men after the control (triangles), Caffeine (diamonds), and Defafinated (squares) interventions.
The 16 healthy young men in this study were habitual coffee drinkers. They were given 200ml of instant coffee, decaf or water with a meal at 9am after an overnight fast.
Cortisol is naturally high upon waking and falls during the morning. As you can see from the graph the coffee prevented most of this fall in cortisol for at least 3 hours and cortisol levels were a third higher. Even a single coffee in the morning might not be a great idea if you are worried about being stressed and having high cortisol levels.
I think you need to get your saliva cortisol result first before deciding a plan of action. There are different stages of adrenal fatigue, each needing their own specific treatment. You don't know for certain that you have high cortisol - for all you know, the cortisol rhythm (peaks in the AM, dips in the evening) may be out of whack (in some people it is actually reversed), or you may be low across all 4 readings in the 24 hr test.
That said, there are many general things you can do, most of which have been suggested above. Other things are Vitamin C (the adrenals are Vitamin C hogs), high B5 (plus the other Bs are needed too), adaptogens are mentioned above. I have personally benefitted from licorice root which helps prevent the breakdown of cortisol by the liver (this effectively stretches out your cortisol supply) but you cannot take this if you have high blood pressure. I'm currently using Now's Super Cortisol and Nutricology's Adrenal Glandular to wean myself off hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is used by many "alternative" docs to give the adrenals a rest from cortisol production for a short period of time in the case of adrenal fatigue. I've also found that upping my fat intake has helped me immensely with weaning off it, which seems to indicate my use of fat as an energy source is taking some of the stress off different bodily systems.
Also get your DHEA-S (sulfate) checked as often this can be pooped if your adrenals are a bit tired.
A few people I know on a thyroid/adrenal forum take pregnenolone as this is a precursor to many steroids and hormones in the body. Ensuring you have enough good cholesterol in the body means you have the right building blocks to create these steroids and hormones in the first place.
For high cortisol, I know some who have taken phosphatidyl serine but I haven't personally.
The best book on this subject is "Adrenal Fatigue" by James Wilson: http://www.amazon.com/Adrenal-Fatigue-Century-Stress-Syndrome/dp/1890572152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311590364&sr=1-1
And, yeah, cut back on the coffee (swiss water decaf tastes just the same - I often mix half/half with regular coffee when I make it at home) - it sends your adrenals into a spin by releasing adrenaline which can eventually contribute to burnt out adrenals - something you want to avoid!
This may be too along the lines of "stop stressing" and is going to sound really cheesy, but practicing gratitude about every little thing that goes right in your life can crowd out stressful thoughts, and I'm assuming stress hormone production too.
Eat 30 to 50 g of your daily protein soon after waking up. Eat it at the same time every day.
Eat your last meal, 10 to 12 hours before waking the next day.
This should help reset your daily hormonal rhythms, including cortisol.
Been dealing with the same cortisol issues here - this is what worked for me so far -
~ Totally gave up coffee. Still drink black tea, but for some reason the caffeine from tea affects me differently than coffee. Doesn't "wire" me.
~ Being REALLY strict with sleep - start winding down at 9:30, lights out at 10pm. This is the hardest, especially socially. But so worth it. I know that you said the sleep thing is hard, but I would go so far as to alter other things around sleep to facilitate it - sincerely believe it's THAT important.
~ Cutting back on Tabata style HIIT stuff and doing more "relaxing" exercise - long walks and callanetics.
~ Doing a few more things just for pleasure and freeing up the mind to distract yourself from work stress - watching movies, drawing for fun (I am am illustrator and have been exclusively drawing for clients only for months and months (stressful) neglecting my own personal art. Doodling for myself helped tremendously, alter to fit your hobby/passion in life)
After about a month my IBS is much better and the fat around my midsection is finally starting to budge.
Go for long walks in natural places - beaches, forests, mountains etc. Put the emphasis on enjoying and relaxing rather than making time. Pick some edibles on the way. Sit in a stream or walk in the surf. Very paleo.
leptin receptors 1 Answer