Thyroid UK
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hashimotos and low cortisol dilemma

Hi, I need some advice. I have cortisol levels dropping month on month from 380 to 200 (3 months) and diagnosed with hypothyroidism with TPS over 1000 and TSH 5.7 and T4 11.2 and T3 4.5, Vit D and iron were v low and B12 and folate were sub optimal. Been taking a whole host of vitamins and iron inc Zinc and Selennium, Pro biotic, Omega oil, D3, B complex, E, C, Magnesium and some of the symptoms have slowly got better but the adrenals are still down and going downhill. I've been taking adaptogens / tinctures (licourice, borage, ginseng and fucus drops in morning and evening) to help with this and avoided gluten (soy and dairy) and tried L Glutamine and Glutathione to help gut repair.

Have given 2 months on this protocol and seen some improvements on iron and B12 (i'd imagine D3 too) BUT I cannot take sythentic hormone even if I wanted to as my adrenals cortisol is so low.... Anyone got any good ideas or advice? :) Feeling low on energy, low blood pressure, tired and a bit puffy or carrying extra weight in the face etc still and emotional at times, some other symptoms. Doc has referred me to an endocronologist who wants to do a cortisol adrenal test next week but I can't see how that's really going to help....

Have had an extremely stressful 10 years (child ill health and lost job and home moves galore) so know they have had a long hard journey.... would like pointers for healing these fast...

Ideas anyone?

9 Replies

Sorry, that should read TPO over 1000. And Vit D and Iron were 25 but creeping up now to about 48... taking a slow release iron tablet each day...


Sara, I've edited your title as I hope it will attract the attention of those who know about low cortisol.

Unfortunately, I know very little other than the manufacturers of Levothyroxine advise cortisol testing for long term undiagnosed hypothyroid patients as there can be difficulty tolerating thyroid medication (synthetic and NDT) until adrenal issues are addressed.


Clutter, I never knew this.

My medical history is starting to make sense.

I suspect I had thyroid problems from a child as always had various illnesses (usual ... glandular fever, brucellosis, etc but blood tests were always inconclusive.)

Age 47 eventually diagnosed hypothyroid, start on Levothyroxine, have the worst jumpy heart ever for next 4 years, seek help from Dr P, saliva cortisol test confirm adrenal exhaustion, start on NAX & NT, experience castostrophic episode in my head for 3 days, present blood cortisol levels are massively elevated!!!! Feeling ok ish, if rest a lot but good news.....jumpy heart is no longer jumpy at all.

Have NAX & NT kick started my adrenals? Is that possible? I need to speak with Dr P but am so frightened by what happened to me and have stopped glandulars for now anyway.

I am still coming to terms with what has happened over last few weeks and will post more details as they are uncovered.

I'm guessing that hypothyroid people should never take Levothyroxine without a saliva cortisol test first and then should only supplement tired adrenals with medical supervision.

Everything is so hard without the needed medical supervision.


Flower007, Doctors rarely address adrenals prior to prescribing Levothyroxine, possibly because they recognise Addison's and Cushing's but nothing in between. If TSH is high enough Levothyroxine is prescribed and the patient pretty much has to do well on it, or not. When patients resort to self treating it's usually because the medical supervisors are not helping them or the treatment protocol isn't helping.

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Why do you think that the endo doing a cortisol test won't help? It's possible that when he sees how low it is, he'll treat you somehow. He may give you HydroCortisone - which in my opinion is the best.

There is no way to heal your adrenals fast. They didn't get messed up fast, so why should they heal fast? All things endocrinological take time.

The adaptogens you are taking may not work if your adrenals are too far gone - may even make things worse. But plenty of vit C to nourish them would be good, and plenty of salt. Adrenals need salt.

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Hi, I've experienced very similar problems and tried many things over the years. Just a few months ago I heard about pregnenolone, purchased some and it's really helped an awful lot, I could tolerate NDT within a month of being on it (though I had been having B12 injections for a few weeks also) . I take one a day.

I buy it from Amazon, the brand I am trying is made by a company called "MRM". MRM Pregnenolone which is supposed to be micronized.

Could be worth you trying, it may take you longer than it has taken me to be able to tolerate a little thyroid medication or you may need a higher dose to start with, either way, it might help. It's not cheap but not terribly expensive either. I found it to have a subtle, but very profound effect. I'm on one 50mg tablet a day, not sure how long I will be taking them for but am just going to listen to my body and tweak accordingly.

I read that many people take it with DHEA but I don't.

I had to edit the above as I said I was on it for a week before trying NDT but just checked how many tablets I have taken and it works out at about a month of taking them before I started on NDT. I tried NDT several times over the years but it always made me feel more tired and no improvements at all. Not so this time around, and I do believe it is entirely down to the pregnenolone.


Hi Emjaytee,

I am wondering about using pregnenolone to help my adrenals. I've read a lot about it and understand why it might be a good idea. I already self-medicate with hydrocortisone and adrenal glandulars as well as Nutrithyroid but I'm not sure how to manage the changeover from these to pregnenolone. Were you on any adrenal medication/supplements beforehand? If so, did you stop them before taking the pregnenolone or run them in parallel with the pregnenolone?



Hi Xanthe, from the sound of things, you might be better experienced to teach me a thing or two! I was ready to self-medicate with cortisol but just in the nick of time saw an interesting article about pregnenolone and decided to try that route first.

Several years ago I tried adrenal supplements from the nutri-adrenal range,and various other supplements all to no avail. The nutri-adrenal supplements helped marginally but that seemed to wear off after a few months so I gave up, believing my problems must stem from elsewhere. When I started on pregnenolone, I wasn't on anything other than B12 injections.

So, I wouldn't know how best to advise your change over. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about quitting the adrenal supplements overnight, (you'll soon see if it affects you negatively) but I have no idea about the negative effect of quitting cortisol too suddenly, but I'll see if I can find any reliable information on it.


Can I suggest you try bio energy healing? My cortisol levels have gone from 200 to 417 in just 3 weeks... after being 200-300 for four months. As well as many other systems improvements overnight. Everyone heals at a different pace. But this is beyond the provocation of medicine... find a therapist that can work on you remotely or to visit it matters not. Healing bio energy is a system that is global and immediate and extremely deep and profound and has reversed many 'incurable' illnesses.


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