Thyroid UK
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Adrenal crash after 18 months well. Why?!

Morning all,

I'm in the midst of a bad adrenal crash having been well for 18 months. I'm a bit baffled. I'm hypo but well medicated and had a bad adrenal period about 2-3 years ago. I still take nutri adrenal, 7keto dhea, b vits, vitamin C, 5HTP and magnesium. Oh, and vitamin D. Although I've bad a busy period, I wouldn't say it's been super stressful but my body is completely failing to cope. The only difference this time is that I feel more wired than wired and tired. I'm getting anxiety, reduced ability to deal with stress, irritability and I'm regularly not sleeping well (which i hate the most of all of it). I'm not getting the physical exhaustion I had previously.

It's upsetting when you think you've sorted things out only to find otherwise. I'm doing the saliva testing today but the results take 4 weeks to come back. Not sure what to do in the meantime.

Any ideas anyone?

L x

5 Replies

How well medicated? Where does your free t3, free t4 and tsh lie in the range? It may be that your adrenals have been propping you up?

Xx g


They're all well in range and I have them tested regularly. The problem dates back to when I first started taking thyroxine about 3-4 years ago and it caused my adrenals to crash completely. Over time they improved and I've been good for 18 months but am now having a crash.

My doctor thinks it might be to do with DHEA. I was taking normal DHEA every third day and 7 keto the rest of the time, but the DHEA gave me really bad skin, so I switched over to 7 keto daily. This was about 3 months ago, so the doctor thignks it's possible that falling levels of DHEA are responsible for the crash. I'm not taking it again though, the spots were just too bad.


So dhea can convert to testosterone... Which could account for the spots.... 7 keto doesnt convert the same way.... Wonder if you should look at pregnenalone, which converts to dhea and estrogen?

The welsh lady doctor... Who runs a website wrote an article about pregnenalone and now uses it instead of dhea. Unfortunately i havent had a cup of coffee or a wake up shower yet, so i cant remember her name..... Sarah something....

Will add links below as soon as my brain wakes up.

G xx

Doh! Its sarah myhill. Here is a link about adrenal and pregnenalone.–_underactive

Sorry i cant make the link work.... Do a google search for sarah myhill, pregnenalone and the page shows up.

Here is an excerpt from it....


I used to treat DHEA deficiency with DHEA. However I believe pregnenolone is more physiological because it is upstream of all adrenal hormones including progesterone and cortisol.

Cholesterol is the raw material from which steroid hormones are made in the body. The next biochemical step is pregnenolone- this is the mother and grandmother of all steroid hormones. Starting off with pregnenolone means that all steroid hormones can be naturally synthesised in the correct physiological balance.

In theory this should greatly simplify the business of prescribing and monitoring hormones because the body can do its own natural balancing act. Please see Wikipedia entry on Pregnenolone

A physiological dose is pregnenolone 50mgs. It is better absorbed under the tongue. This works because sublingual doses bypass the liver - the so-called "first pass effect".

This advice applies equally to men as it does to women. If you are taking DHEA now or if a future Adrenal Stress Profile (ASP) result shows low levels of DHEA, my advice is that you should consider taking/swapping to pregnenolone. If you do the ASP test through my practice, then I will recommend pregnenolone if indicated by the results. In addition to CFS sufferers, post menopausal women and those aged over 50 may also benefit from this therapy. For those 'transferring' from DHEA to pregnenolone, the conversion rate is approximately 1:2, so that if you are currently taking 25 mg daily of DHEA then you should transfer to 50 mg daily of pregnenolone.

DHEA is easy. Low levels mean a deficiency and supplementation with pregnenolone is indicated. Sometimes I see a raised DHEA. This can occur in polycystic ovary disease in women and if there were symptoms suggestive of this (irregular periods, lower abdominal pain, infertility) then an ultrasound scan of the pelvis is indicated. High DHEA is a stress response and the causes of such needs looking for. I suspect the most common cause is metabolic syndrome and hypoglycaemia.

Cortisol is more awkward. Levels vary according to the short term level of stress and for how long that stress has been applied. Increasing cortisol production is the normal response to short term stress and is highly desirable, so long as the stress is removed and the adrenal glands can recover. On-going, unremitting stress means the adrenal gland and the whole body is in a constant state of alert, does not get time to recover and eventually packs up. Pregnenolone is upstream of cortisol so taking this should support cortisol production

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Thanks for this. Funnily enough I was just reading about the 7 keto I've switched to and don't feel that confident that it's the right thing or be taking. Some people seem to think it still converts into sex hormones, but to be fair, it doesn't seem to give me spots, unlike the DHEA. However, people were saying online that it makes them irritable and anxious, which is what I've been feeling. I'm wary about changing too much at the moment as it sometimes worsens the crash, but I might up my nutri adrenal a bit (I don't take the 'extra') whilst waiting for my test results. After that I'll look into the pregnenolone. I've read Dr Myhill's site a bit, she seems great.


I've read that 7 keto can increase T3 levels. If ones adrenals are already struggling a wee bit ,then too much T3 can increase the strain on them. Maybe this was significant in your crash.

Have you read Paul Robinsons book on T3 and Circadian rhythmns.. you may find it helpful.

I'm using his CT3M and have recently been having problems with sometimes feeling very hyper at night and sometimes sleeping for 13 hrs.. I eventually twigged that there is a link to when I take my 7 keto - I only take 1/4 of a 5mg tab but the timing seems to make a huge difference  to my body state and hence my sleep and I think that such an increase in T3 levels may be the reason.


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