Low cortisol

Hello, I am new to this forum and would really appreciate any feedback regarding a blood test Ive just had with Blue Horizon. I am feeling quiet desperate and worried. I suffer with Hashimoto's but also with adrenal fatigue which I'm assuming is causing me problems with raising my thyroid meds. At present I am taking 3 and a half grains of Armour plus 15mcg T3 and 35 mg Cortef. I have tried to work my way up to 4 grains but always have problems near the 6 week mark. I therefore had a blood test done for my cortisol at 9am in the morning and didn't take my usual 10mg Cortef dose. My cortisol was 45 nmol/L . Blue Horizon suggested I see my GP to test for Adrenal Insufficiency. Does anyone know if this reading is indicative of Addison's disease? Any feedback would be really appreciated to arm myself with when seeing my GP who seems to want to put all of my symptoms down to M.E. Many thanks

8 Replies

  • Punch54, serum cortisol below range can indicate primary adrenal failure (Addison's Disease) or secondary adrenal failure due to pituitary adenoma or dysfunction.



    I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

  • Thanks for this Clutter, I am seeing my GP tomorrow and am going to ask for more tests to look into my adrenal function.

  • Hi Punch, low thyroid puts a lot of strain on your adrenal glands since they have to restore functions necessary for survival where your low metabolism is deficient. It uses cortisol and adrenaline to do this. Maybe you should have taken your cortef to see how well it is replacing what you need. I'm just speculating about that. So I'll speculate more and am thinking your high dose of Armour may not be helpful. I know more articles have said you should not even begin to replace thyroid until you bring the adrenals under control. It's very complicated for sure. I have some articles bookmarked and maybe you can peruse them.


  • It also might be worth trying 3.75 grains rather than going straight to 4 - it's amazing how fine a balance it can be finding the right dose for you. The additional quarter grain might be just the right amount.

  • Hi Jazzw, thanks for your reply. I have tried numerous combinations of T3/T4 but to no avail. I feel as though as soon as I go above 3 grains I start to have problems even though I know I need more because I start bloating up like a balloon, feel awful and inflammation in my ears and throat becomes unbearable when I lower to the 3 grain mark. I'm thinking I might try topping up with T3 on top of the 3grains and see if that helps as I'm presuming it's the T4 that is causing the problems.

  • Hi Punch

    Your GP will probably do a blood test and if your 9am cortisol level is under 400 you should be referred for a short synacthen test. In our case this is done by Endo, not sure if this varies around the country. Cortisol is needed for your cells to take up thyroid hormones. I remember reading something by I think Dr Peatfield which said that getting adrenals working better can sometimes resolve thyroid issues. Best of luck.

  • Hi Jossiesmum, thanks for your reply. When you say 400 do you know what measurement is used. I had a reading of 45 nmol/ L of cortisol from a blood test but other than being told it was low it doesn't mean a lot to me. Thanks

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