Thyroid UK
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Adrenal Supplement

Started this as a simple question and on writing it down it morphed into a bit of a muddled offload. If you could persevere I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the question: Does anyone have any experience of “Adrenal Gland Concentrate” described in the brochure of the company as “a high potency adrenal glandular supplement to help support adrenal function”? I think that I am struggling a bit with the fact that the tablets contain adrenal concentrate from a bovine source. (Please note that it is sourced from a reputable company and have been recommended by a BANT-registered nutritionist.)

Background (WARNING – if in a hurry I don’t advise getting embroiled in this background): Had my adrenal function tested last summer 2012 (24-hour salivary cortisol and DHEA) PRIOR to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism in January 2013. (I have been struggling with my health increasingly for about 12 years and after being refused blood tests by my GP last June, even though I was once again feeling dreadful, I turned to a local nutritionist.) The cortisol levels came back within range but the DHEA levels all came back low - "out of range" and the diagnosis was "pre-exhaustion or pre-adrenal fatigue". Through the nutritionist I started to take a magnesium supplement, some 7-ketozyme and high concentrate fish oil tablets, as well as something to boost my iron levels which I was taking through Autumn. Although I was as yet undiagnosed thyroid/anaemia….and the rest-wise, I did feel a bit of improvement. It all kicked off health-wise about Christmas, I had broken another bone and asked for a bone density scan (“Why do you want that?” – guess who!). It came back that I had osteoporosis, and follow up blood tests revealed anaemia/neutropenia and hypothyroidism.

At my first haematologist appointment (Jan 2013) I was asked to stop taking the supplements and just take the Ferrous Sulphate tablets prescribed daily (as well as the meds for thyroid and osteoporosis). The anaemia is much improved and at my most recent haematologist appointment was congratulated on much improved readings though Ferritin is still low (24). That was early May. I have been continuing with 2 x Ferrous Sulphate tablets daily taken with Vit C, and keeping it well clear of the calcium, in the meantime.

My GP has reached a point whereby (I think?) she considers my thyroid is sorted. My latest test results (April 2013) were TSH 1.87 and T4 13.4. Checking around this seems to be within range. My hypothyroidism is caused by antibodies which were 135 in Dec 2012 and 79 in April (should be below 59?) Don’t have any other information thyroid-wise as it took me two visits to the GP to get this (the first time since I had seen her since diagnosis in January???!!!!). She bit my head off when I asked about T3 and I was told that unless I am a trained professional I won’t be able to understand this information. (My existence is severely compromised by my physical health. After both appointments I walked home weeping with frustration.)

Still suffering a lot of the symptoms from pre-diagnosis. Have got to the point where I am thinking it must be my adrenals. (Just a reminder for those who have persevered– haven’t been taking those since January.)

But nervous……. and overwhelmed, hence I think just wanting a bit of re-assurance about the bovine adrenal gland supplement.

Any advice gratefully received.

14 Replies

I am sorry you are having a rough time. You don't state the ranges of your blood tests which would help others to comment but I will say that your TSH should be 1 or below. Most GP's only know about referring to the TSH and not recognising clinical symptoms which I think you have. (I am not medically qualified).

Are you taking your thyroid gland hormone with 1 glass of water 1/2 to 1 hour before breakfast. Some find they feel better when they take it at bedtime, leaving 2 hours gap after eating. When having a blood test, early a.m. is better and don't take your meds until after your blood test. Always get copies of your blood test complete with the ranges.

If you get the booklet from Amazon which has been recommended by quite a few on this forum and discuss the point (one which you think refers to you) with your GP. I haven't read this myself but this is an excerpt from an article in Pulse Online. Although I don't agree with some of his comments, this is acceptable. If you want a copy of the whole article for your GP to gain knowledge, email I would send whichever you decide to your GP beforehand, so that she has time to read and absorb as they don't have time whilst consulting.

This is the link for the booklet.

The following is from Pulse and you will see your TSH is too high:-

6 What is the correct dose of thyroxine and is there any rationale for adding in tri-iodothyronine?

The appropriate dose of levothyroxine is that which restores euthyroidism and serum TSH to the lower part of the reference range – 0.2-0.5mU/l.

In this case, free thyroxine is likely to be in the upper part of its reference range or even slightly elevated – 18-22pmol/l. Most patients will feel well in that circumstance.

But some need a higher dose of levothyroxine to suppress serum TSH and then the serum-free T4 concentration will be elevated at around 24-28pmol/l.

This ‘exogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism’ is not dangerous as long as serum T3 is unequivocally normal – that is, serum total around T3 1.7nmol/l (reference range 1.0-2.2nmol/l).

Even while taking the slightly higher dose of levothyroxine a handful of patients continue to complain that a sense of wellbeing has not been restored. A trial of levothyroxine and tri-iodothyronine is not unreasonable. The dose of levothyroxine should be reduced by 50µg daily and tri iodothyronine in a dose of 10µg (half a tablet) daily added.

Best wishes


Many thanks for such a prompt and detailed reply. I am indeed leaving an hour before breakfast and taking my levo with a glass of water.... but it is interesting what you say about taking it before bed.

I will e-mail you for a copy of the article. Thank you so much once again.


If it "requires a trained professional" to understand T3 results (ridiculous rubbish) then respectfully ask her to have the test done and explain the results to you. Then ask for a print-out.

Your T4 is also low. As a guide, and this is my own personal experience, my TSH is now 0.2 and my T4 around 19. But I take nutri thyroid as well as thyroxine. You might want to consider doing the same.

Adrenals are my main problem. As a guide, take this questionnaire

Also take your body temperature. It's my understanding that if it varies then you are more likely to have an adrenal problem. Mine varies by up to one degree from day to day and around half a degree within a day, although it is steadying. I take quite a high level of adrenal support and I am slowly but steadily improving.

If you can, make an appointment to see Dr P. I saw him in April and his advice has been invaluable. If you can't see him face to face he also does telephone consultations. He isn't cheap, but he's worth every penny. His details are here:

With that level of antibodies, you might have hashimotos. I don't, so can't offer any advice. Something else worth looking at might be which I understand can be helpful for auto-immune conditions.

There is a lot to learn and ultimately we have to learn to take control of our own conditions and work out the treatment that suits us. Your doctor is not the "all seeing, all knowing" entity that many believe they are.


Thank you so much for your lovely reply, with such a lot of useful information to follow-up. Feeling a bit teary as a write this, cos so wonderful to encounter someone who understands.


Your doctor is arrogant! Many people who are not trained medical professionals understand about T3! That's like saying that doctors are cleverer than everyone else, which is blatantly not true. To be fair, most doctors know less about thyroid disorders that a lot of us on here as they spend very little time on it at medical school. I think I have a pretty firm understanding of T3, in the scheme of things. I'm not a doctor (although I am a scientist by trade :D )

As Shaws said, you will probably need to get your TSH lower to fell well. Quote Dr Toft and the pulse article at her. Hopefully she will back down!

What I will say is that many people do very well on levothyroxine, although this seems to mostly be the case with people who are in general good health and were diagnosed early (that's just my observation and may be totally wrong!) It is probably best to see how you are on a good dose of thyroxine that restores your TSH to the bottom of the reference range. If that fails you may be better with T3.

T3 is required for your adrenals to function properly. T3 only treatment can be an effective way to recover your adrenals. Conversely, good adrenal function is essential for conversion of T4 to T3 so it's a bit of a vicious circle! You may well find that you are best with T3, at least until your adrenals have recovered.

I hope you get to see a doctor who actually knows what they are talking about and doesn't think she's cleverer than everyone else on the planet purely because she is a doctor! My previous doctor never treated me like that and used to explain things to me in great detail following up with "you probably know more about this than me" (which I didn't, lol). But it was never assumed that, because I was a patient, I didn't have the capacity to understand biochemistry.

Good luck :)

Carolyn x


I should add that if your doctor can't explain to her patients about T3 in a way they can understand, then she is not a very good doctor!

As for adrenal glandulars, I have only use Nutri Adrenal and got on very well with it. It didn't worry me that it was bovine because it was from New Zealand where they have had no cases of BSE. I'm afraid that's all I know.


Thank you so much for your response Carolyn B. Have just registered with Pulse Online. What all of you have said about my particular results has given me the confidence to proceed. What you yourself have said about T3 & adrenals is of particular interest.

For reference, four days ago, I registered with a new GP having done as much research as I can to make sure that I am not jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Haven't seen them yet, but feeling very stressed about the whole thing.

Will do the "prep" for my first meeting.

Thank you again.


Good luck with the new GP :)


Thank you...oh and thank you for your view of the Nutri Adrenal


I took Nutri Adrenal for a few weeks and it did help with energy. I switched to Adrenal Cortex though (made by Thorne) as it contains no adrenalin. Nutri Adrenal on the other hand does. I'm getting on great with the cortex! As for the T3. Doctors and some endocrinologists are a bit iffy about prescribing it. If your doc won't, (and sorry, but it's time you found another one by the sounds of it) and you would like to try it, you will have to buy it from abroad though it can take 2/3 weeks to get here. (Mexico) T3 takes a lot of fine tuning - a great book is Paul Robinson's Recovering with T3. I would suggest you read, read and read as much as you can for yourself about thyroid issues and DON'T rely on the medical profession completely!! A good place to start would be Dr Peatfield's book Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy. There's a growing movement worldwide to insist upon better treatment for thyroid suffers and there is a LOT of information out there, should you wish to (gulp) even consider self treating. That's exactly what I and many others have been forced to do because of the T4 only meds and inadequate guidance we are offered. Good luck x


Many thanks for taking the time to respond Daisybean. I am very interested in what you say about the adrenalin and will check this out. Thank you also for the references (Peatfield and Robinson). It takes a lot of getting your head around doesn't it, especially when there are so many things with your health that are "out of kilter", but this forum and the wonderful support it provides give you the impetus to persevere (I keep using that word and always have to check the spelling!!!!). I am on a really steep learning curve at the moment.

Thank you so much once again.


I think I'm trying the same product you have and it's because of reading the above.


You are welcome MacG. I'm reading P. Robinson's book just now and so far it's fantastic. So detailed and easy to follow (except for the super technical stuff). I've just taken my second dose of Ts - yikes! and am monitoring my bp and temps throughout the day and for the next while.

Will catch you on my DHEA post!


Wisdom in your treatment of adrenal issues

How Adrenals Can Wreak Havoc


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