Thyroid UK
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Whole adrenal .v. adrenal cortex supplements

I know this has been discussed over the years on here and I've read the posts but I wanted to raise it again, please!

I am under Dr P and told to take NAX; I'm currently on 1 per day and have to build up to 3/4 (I am on T3, only).

I know there has been a debate about taking adrenal cortex supplements (which supply cortisol, DHEA) versus taking whole glandulars, such as NAX, because the whole glandular would also give you adrenaline, something most of us have too much of already.

I can't get hold of Dr P yet to ask him directly, but I believe he says that NAX contains the entire gland - and hence contains the entire gamut of hormones, including adrenaline? I have contacted Nutri Advanced and asked (i) if NAX contains hormones, and (ii), if it doesn't what are we getting from it taking which will help our adrenals?! They have come back to me and state:

Our glandular formulas do not contain any hormones.

We don’t have a breakdown of what is in the adrenal concentrate as it is a natural substance. This would be the same as having a nutritional breakdown of a piece of meat that you buy from the shop. It is thought that the hormone free concentrates provide nutrition and nourishment for the gland in a like heals like manner.

SO, they can't tell us what it's doing for us but it's providing 'nourishment' but no hormones; I thought the whole point of taking it was to give us back some missing cortisol, DHEA etc?

Any thoughts, comments, please..?

18 Replies

Hello Tracer,

Yes, this debate comes up from time to time and nobody ever gets to the bottom it.

You have heard what Nutri have to say but Dr P will state that Nutri products do contain all thyroid and adrenal gland hormones and that is the whole point in taking them.

The mystery continues.....


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Thanks, Flower007, yes mystery indeed!

After I posted I carried on searching and found another glandular which also has no hormones - Glandular Rebuilder - but which has a lot of information about it. It states:

"Because Adrenal Rebuilder contains a carefully balanced blend of glandular tissue concentrates in the same form in which they occur in nature (but with the hormones removed), it provides already constructed building blocks that your body can readily absorb and use...Their constituents provide building blocks that can be readily incorporated into your same glands to strengthen them and support their healthy function."

So, it sounds like NAX probably provides 'building blocks' for our adrenals to utilise, which, if they work, is great and probably better to get our own adrenals working than just giving them replacement hormones?


I have tried NAX and Dr Wilsons and can't tolerate either.

However, don't be put off because a lot of people do well on them.

I would really like to be able to take the adrenal glandular as I think they are incredibly important when nurturing the poor adrenals back to health.



Sorry to hear you can't take them. I'm currently on 1 NAX and don't feel any effect as/after I've taken it but I am having lots more lower back pain and last night my back, over where my left kidney/adrenal is, was very painful and hot to the touch so I don't know if that's the NAX doing causing it. (I used to have such pains periodically before but now it's more often/permanent)


Will you be increasing dose Tracer?


Good question; I'm not sure. If I think the pain and the NAX are connected. I'll probably try to talk to Dr P first; I'm due to increase in four days time.


I haven't heard of NAX giving pain. The usual side effects are heat and palpations or a spacey feeling in the head.

However we are all different and react in different ways so only you will be able to make the connection by trial and error I guess.

Good luck.




One of the many usual reasons for trying NAX (I do know from saliva test I'm low OOR) is because I'm still suffering awful sweats (for the past 12/14 years) so it's difficult to know if I'm feeling more heat from them - espeically as the weather's hot! It's all so difficult isn't it?!


I also saw Dr P earlier this year and came off T4 and on to the Nutri Thyroid and NAX...I noticed the 'no hormone' statement on the bottles but Dr P said they do have hormones. My (limited) blood tests after two months on this protocol showed my previous;y suppressed TSH (on T4) had risen again to 6.5 and my T4 was low so I took the decision to self medicate with T3 as I believe I have difficulty utilizing T4 as have fibromyalgia symptome etc I would happily continue the Nutri products but not for hormone replacement but rather for glandular support. It is very confusing!!!

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Why oh why can't we have thyroid/adrenal helpful and knowledgable NHS staff...aaagh!! We're all trying to help oursleves - as they want us to - but a bit of clued-upped support would be nice, wouldn't it?!

I'm on T3 only and by far the best of every thyroid med. for me.

I really am beginning to think Dr P must be wrong about NA/NAX - perhaps it used to contain the full gland but they changed it somewhen.

Good luck!


I just don't know.

About your sweats, they are probaably hormone related.

What about adding bit of T4 or have you been down that road before? You shouldn't have to live like this Tracer.


Thanks Flower007, for your concern, much appreciated :)

Yes, I've done the T4, T4 + T3, NDT routes and the best one for me is most definitely T3, only. I'm certain I don't convert T4 - whenever/however I take it I just get more hypo and my T4 levels shoot up high, out of range.

I was diagnosed in 2009 (hypoT), 2010 (Hashi's) [and only then given meds - T4!] but specialist says it's clear I was hypoT since at least the 1970s if not childhood (I discovered my mum died (2007) from undiagnosed hypoT/Hashi's - same Dr!). So, having been undiagnosed for so long it's taken the usual toll on my adrenals - saliva tests, show low out of range cortisol and practically no DHEA - and so I am trying to sort them out, 'once and for all', having done all the adaptogen etc. type stuff!!


Ahh, that's probably why your poor body rejects the T4. What a set back when you just want to get better.

In that case, I would definitely persevere with the glandulars.

I know it's basic stuff but have you had vits and iron checked lately?

Deficiencies have huge impact on issues such as this and only serve to exacerbate the problems.



Thank you Flower, yes, I have known deficiencies and do supplement and try to get everything to optimal, rather than, within range(!), levels. I've been totally gluten free for about 13 years and my diet is optimal for hypoT/Hashi's, so I'm trying to be a 'good girl!' ;)

I will continue with the glandulars, including increasing on the due day and then increasing my T3 after that etc. and see how it goes. I'm trying the slow and steady route and taking my vitals consistently and constantly - they're still weird at times, as well as low: I will feel it a huge triumph if I get my temperature as high as 36.6, during any time during the day; I think 37 is way out of my league!!


Hi Tracer,

This info from the internet might help you:

The adrenal cortex produces three types of hormone:

Mineralocorticoids: the most important of which is aldosterone. ...

Glucocorticoids: predominantly cortisol. ...

Adrenal androgens: male sex hormones mainly dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone.

So both whole glandular and cortex-only should meet your needs. I moved from NAX to Dr Wilson's Adrenal Rebuilder (cortex only) because I wanted to avoid too much adrenaline.

I recall seeing a study online where many glandular supplements were tested for hormone content. Most did contain hormones, but the study would not reveal which. That makes sense to me because if I take too much cortical extract I get the symptoms of too much cortisol - jittery and a bit "wired".

I hope this helps!


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Hi Xanthe, I've just started taking Dr Wilson's adrenal rebuilder and noticed a small but definite increase in energy within an hour of taking just 1/2 a tablet. Which makes me think there might be some hormones still in there, even though the company says it removes them all.

Any chance you'd be able to find the study showing the hormone content of supplements? I've been looking around but there seems to be very little analysis of what's actually in these things...




Hi Mark,

I can't find the study, but it didn't contain much more information than was in my earlier post. None of the supplement names were disclosed. The article stated that a percentage ( quite high as I remember) did contain hormones at varying levels. It is quite possible that Adrenal Rebuilder contains hormones I have noticed the effects if I take slightly too much. Apparently, these supplement manufacturers deny that their product contains hormones, probably to avoid medical regulations. Dr P has that view.

As I understand it, the tablets contain the dried, ground-up glands of the animal concerned, whether it be cow or pig, presumably suitably treated for shelf-life etc. This shouldn't sound far-fetched: historically, treatment for adrenal problems involved feeding people the glands themselves. i.e. the whole idea of treatment with supplements of this type is based on sound principles.

Beyond that, I can't help much more. They have worked for me, and I judged the dose I needed by how I felt, increasing slowly every couple of weeks or so. The most I took was 2.5 in one day and I am now reducing that.


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Interesting post. What are peoples experiences with Thorne Adrenal Cortex?


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