High cortisol: symptoms / experiences - Thyroid UK

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High cortisol: symptoms / experiences

130396 profile image
53 Replies

Hello

I'm writing to ask if anyone who has had high cortisol has experienced hard heartbeat when cortisol is high.

Also hot flushes during tines of high cortisol.

Any help please

53 Replies
ja4ne profile image
ja4ne

Yes I have 130396, I get them a lot.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to ja4ne

Hi ja4ne

Do you get both pounding heart and hot flushes?

Are you taking anything to lower your highs?

Thanks

ja4ne profile image
ja4ne in reply to 130396

No 130396 I'm not, I haven't known of anything to take and my doctor says it is stress, I have all the symptoms of thyroidism and am waiting to see an endocronologist.

ChristinaT profile image
ChristinaT in reply to 130396

Pounding heart can be a symptom of POTS, and that can be linked with high cortisol levels

Heloise profile image
Heloise

Hi 130396, That sounds more like adrenaline rush. This article might help.

stopthethyroidmadness.com/a...

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Hi.

It ties in with my highs. I saw in sttm tid bits #5 it's says about this with high cortisol so was wondering if any had also experienced this

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator

Yes - see my profile for more.

had thumping heart beat and palpitations - all now under control as also take regular propranolol as well as Levo.

Tried T3 and NDT (not through NHS) but both were much worse for me.

humanbean profile image
humanbean

You could do some research on Seriphos, phosphatidyl serine, Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi). They all help to lower cortisol.

I found lowering cortisol to be very difficult. I tried Seriphos, which did reduce my bedtime cortisol, and my insomnia became less severe for a while as a result. I also drink Tulsi tea in the evenings, but I doubt the dosage in tea does very much.

I buy this kind of tea :

pukkaherbs.com/pukka-produc...

The cheapest place to buy it that I've found is Holland & Barrett. On-line the price varies enormously, from "sort of okay" up to daylight robbery.

But I suspect the best thing to do would be to buy Holy Basil/Tulsi supplements. At least the dosage would be standardised.

In the end though, the thing which helped me the most with my high cortisol was fixing my known nutrient deficiencies and treating my hypothyroidism. I also improved my diet - increased my good fats intake, and reduced carbs a bit. I didn't do anything drastic though.

If there is anything causing you physiological stress, such as nutrient deficiencies, inadequate calorie intake, insufficient good fats, too much sugar, it will keep your cortisol high.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to humanbean

Thank you.

I've been taking holy basil supplement since Jan 1St..

I take multivitamin b complex B12 vit C vit D.

I'm thinking this high cortisol is what has stopped me converting t4 properly

I am now on combo t4 t3,

I am also checking out RT3 now.

I am not usually an anxious worry head but I had two years if my husband being ill with osophageal cancer and I reckon the stress of watching hin in pain and his life and our plans slipping away is what must've triggered the not converting properly

I had previously been very stable and very well on levo only.

I am hoping once I get the high cortisol down my heart will stop banging hard

Thank you for your reply

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

Stress takes an awful toll on your body and I'm so sorry to hear. I hope your husband will look into natural support during other treatments.

Here is something on high cortisol.

youtube.com/watch?v=BwWqj1E...

youtube.com/watch?v=qYeFh06...

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Hi heroine.

I went through terrible emotional stress all the while my husband was suffering so bad. He passed away on Xmas day 2012.

It was a relief in the end that he was out of pain and no longer suffering.

After he passed away, although sad and grieving I actually felt well. Then 8 months later boom, I started to feel ill.

It's only now 2 1/2 years later that the penny has dropped and I realise my cortisol must've been high all through the stress and had continued to be high because I've been searching for an answer as to how do I get to feel well again

All my thyroid levels now look pretty good but I still have ongoing issues. One of the biggest ones is this banging heart. It isn't fast. Just hard.

Plus I have awful trouble getting off to sleep.

I have been using holy basil since beginning of January to try to address this high cortisol.

I am of course hoping that I can sort the cortisol out and feel like my old self again.

Does this all make sense??

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

It's terrible the treatment people undergo for cancer. It's another area of medicine that is just as bad or worse than thyroid neglect. I'm quite suspicious of all things medical now because of it's political nature.

Now that all this time has passed I have a suspicion that our adrenals are very passive and unable to produce enough cortisol to sustain you. This causes a lowering of the TSH and probably a rise in your reverse T3 which is the method used to control thyroid use. If you can afford to have a saliva test for cortisol, it would answer questions. I've not done one myself but I understand you can use Blue Horizon and do it at home. It's better than the blood test your GP might offer. If you have time to watch, this video is excellent to explain the basics.

youtube.com/watch?v=T_Re4ja...

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Heroine

Thank you for you reply.

I have done 24hr saliva test. Results were high low high high.

I am trying to address the latter two highs with holy basil.

My latest blood results from last week were

Tsh <0.03(0.35-4.74)

Ft4 12.8(9-19)

Ft3 4.5(2.6-5.75)

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

Thank you. I'm going to check something on Dr. Rind's site. I understand if only one of those testings are off, it's a problem. How high was your first reading as I think it should be at the very top of the range. Would you mind posting the ranges?

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

a.m 35.11 (7.45-32.6)

12.25pm 8 (2.76-11.31)

5.25pm 10.42(1.38-7.45)

10.25pm 2.57(0.83-3.86)

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

Thank you. It is very high in the morning but there is a huge drop by midday which is odd and then over range by dinner. Not too bad by nightfall.

Something is definitely not right but I don't enough about that loop with ACTH.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

I was told the morning one is just a tad high so not to address that one.

I was then told that my t3 dose could be making the next one low but it's not much out of whack there.

The next one spikes. No idea why.

I've been told holy basil to address highs at ladt two. And by bringing down the highs should get the lowish one up.

A year prior to that test I was LOW a.m

Good midday

High

High

So it has changed.

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

I think this is saying your adrenals are struggling and sometimes playing catch up and then goes over. At least that is one explanation I have read. In the end we want the adrenals to be functioning smoothly so choosing the right support is important.

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

labtestsonline.org/understa...

There is a list for high and low cortisol on this page of ACTH.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

I've been tested for benign tumour.

Blood tests was negative.

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to 130396

Sorry to read about your husband's illness. That kind of stress would make anyone anxious. No wonder your cortisol is high.

With regard to reverse T3, I had high levels of this. I have tested it three times - on levo, on NDT, and un-medicated. It was way over the range on levo, and well into the upper half of the range the other two times. I started doing better when I started taking T3 only. On this treatment my body can't make high levels of reverse T3, so I've never measured reverse T3 since, it would be pointless.

I've been on T3 only for just over a year now and it suits me very well. I have no regrets. But I still want to try taking NDT again at some point. I would be happier if I was taking something that gave me all the same hormones that I would get from a healthy thyroid.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to humanbean

Thank you humanbean

I'm on combo at the moment. I tried NDT but didn't get on with it at all.

Can high cortisol give pounding heart? Not fast but hard!! Also so difficult to get to sleep

My thyroid levels now look pretty good but even with good levels I still have ongoing symptoms. Pounding heart, hot flushes (15 years post menopause) difficulties getting to sleep and feel anxious a lot of the time.

Could these be due to high cortisol or reverse t3 or both?

Thank you

Rose

Ps my husband passed away Xmas day 2012

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to 130396

I do have episodes where my heart seems to pound heavily but they don't happen all the time, and it has reduced a lot over the last 2 or 3 years. I could well believe it is cortisol and/or adrenaline related when it happens. If I'm late in taking a dose of T3, that will give me the pounding heart too, and taking some T3 will reduce this.

Anything that makes the body get stressed - e.g. low minerals and/or vitamins, poor diet, anaemia, lack of sleep and/or relaxation etc will cause my heart to pound. But fixing any nutrient deficiencies, and keeping them fixed, does help me a lot.

Sorry to hear about your husband.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to humanbean

Thank you very much.

My heart starts pounding every day from about 3 pm. Starts off just noticeable then it gets to can't ignore it

I get this every single day since July.

I take a dose of t4 at 2-2,30pm

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to 130396

Have you tried changing the time you take your levo? Most people seem to take it first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to humanbean

Sorry

That should of read I take a dose of T3 2-2.30pm

I do take 100mcgs levo on waking with 15mcgs t3

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to 130396

Have you tried leaving off the 2-2.30pm dose of T3? What happens if you do?

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

I do hope you watch the video and see if you agree these could be "low" cortisol symptoms. If you are making reverse T3 out of your levo, it may be better to increase your T3 and reduce T4 for a time but this is just a suggestion. Your heart is pleading for T3 in my estimation and that's why it is working so hard for you.

The adrenals are another issue.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Heroine

Thank you again.

I have high low high high cortisol. Results via saliva tests

I have put my thyroid results in the previous reply.

I am on 100mcgs levo and 25mcgs t3

I take 100mcgs levo and 15mcgs t3 on waking.

I take 10mcgs t3 at about 2.30pm

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Heloise I am trying to address the latter two highs with holy basil.

My latest blood results from last week were

Tsh <0.03(0.35-4.74)

Ft4 12.8(9-19)

Ft3 4.5(2.6-5.75)

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

Your FT4 and FT3 are both low. Do you notice your cortisol drops after you take your first dose of T4?

Low thyroid does stress the adrenals so possibly that is why it is so high in the morning and then drops after a dose. Perhaps you could try increasing either hormone. We learn your body uses more hormone while sleeping and some prefer taking their whole dose at night.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Hi again

I take both my 100mcgs levo and 15mcgs t3 on waking.

I then take 10mcgs t3 about 2-2.30.

As you can see I am high waking.

Low sample was 12.45pm

High was 5.25pm

Last high was 10.25pm

I did try taking levo at night but didn't sleep well.

I was taking levo at night when I was doing the test.

I appreciate all your help.

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to 130396

Well, if the holy basil doesn't do enough, I have found Thorne Adrenal Cortex makes me sleepy. Maybe it's just me. You could look into Gaba also if you haven't done so already. Someone mentioned Seriphos as well.

I do hope you work this out and I know you will.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Heloise

Thank you.

I'm.tokd HB is subtle and xan take a little while to work.

Sometimes adding Seriphos is advised but not sure how long I need to wait until adding HB

I appreciate your help

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to 130396

Hi 130396, couldn't help but read your post which seems the same as me. Was OK on Levo for 10yrs and everything has gone tits up for me the last few months. For some reason (now I have Hashi's) I started to go hyper instead of hypo. Lost lots of weight and even though I reduced my Levo gradually I was still getting severe hyper symptoms, anxiety,panic.palps. Am now down to 75mcg which is more the right dose for my current weight. Thankfully the symptoms have eased off but all that suffering for months has shot my adrenals, although I am still getting the palps/heart fluttering which I noticed you mention with your high cortisol levels. Had mine done recently and they are through the roof.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Jefner

Hi

Did you do the saliva adrenal stress test.? 4 point saliva test to ascertain where your cortisol levels are in the day.

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to 130396

yes hon, did it via this site cus you get a slight discount

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Jefner

Do you know what your latest blood results are including ft 4 and ft3

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to 130396

yes mine came through from Blue Horizon this morning

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Jefner

Have you got the results with the ranges you can put on hete

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to 130396

09.30 Sample 1 84.83 (7.45 - 32.56

1.30pm Sample 2 29.33 (2.76 - 11.31)

4.30pm Sample 3 24.35 (1.38 - 7.45)

11.15pm Sample 4 5.39 (0.83 - 3.86)

Sum of cortisol 143.9

DHEA sample 1(am) >3.47 (0.25-2.22)

Sample 3 (pm) 0.88 (0.25 - 2.22)

******17 Feb Results*****

CRP 0.4 <3.0

Ferritin 87.3 (20-150)

FT4 19.63 (12-22)

FT3 2.88 (3.1 - 6.8)

TSH 1.28 (0.27 - 4.20)

T4 Total 125.7 (64.5 - 142.0)

Anti Thyroidperoxidase abs 305.6 <34

Anti Thyroidglobulin abs 29.6 <115

B12 828 (high) 615 Deficient <140

Insufficent 140-250

Serum Folate 35.99 (10.4-42.4)

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Jefner

Well you are very high across the board.

Your thyroid results suggest you are not converting your t4.

Your tsh should be 1 or under.

Your ft3 should be much higher. It's very low.

What symptoms are you getting?

Are you also getting pounding heart? Flushes or anything

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to 130396

here is the bigger picture hon which I posted earlier but haven't received a response yet

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to 130396

I am OK knowing about how T4 and T3 works but TSH is confusing me. Why does it have to be below 1 and how does it affect you if it's higher? Just can't seem to understand about TSH

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Jefner

It is a matter of observation.

In healthy people without thyroid issues, it is usual to see TSH results somewhere around 1 to 1.4 (the precise numbers vary a bit).

If TSH is significantly higher, it is an indication that your pituitary gland is not seeing enough thyroid hormone.

If TSH is significantly lower, it is an indication that your pituitary gland is seeing too much thyroid hormone.

So, in someone who is getting about the right amount of thyroid hormone, their TSH is likely to be around 1.

There are many circumstances in which TSH does NOT rise and fall in the nice neat way that my description above suggests. Indeed, in the very simplest cases, just the taking of adequate thyroid hormone such as levothyroxine is likely to result is a slightly lower TSH.

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to helvella

thank you Helvella, I understand a little better now. Even though my TSH has risen, it's not too high then? When I spoke with Lyn (site founder) last week to get my results she suggested I get my pit gland tested in light of my high cortisol levels. Am assuming it's a standard blood test that my doc can sort out?

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Jefner

TSH of 1.28 does indeed reflect the changes in T4 and T3 (approximately).

So long as it doesn't continue to rise, I suggest you are probably seeing reasonable results.

I'd rather not get into areas I don't know enough about.

Jefner profile image
Jefner in reply to helvella

I was wondering whether to slightly increase my T4 by taking 100/75 alternate days?

Ruthi profile image
Ruthi

I had high cortisol. It was consistently high throughout the day - in general about double the middle of the range, so rather higher than yours. Mine too was brought on by stress, in my case an abusive relationship, but it was a good five years before I was diagnosed.

My heart didn't pound, but it was very noticeable at night. And I had terrible night sweats. Have you measured your pulse and blood pressure when its like that? Mine were normal, so it was more perception than malfunction with me.

Here's what I did to help

1) I followed the Adrenal Reset Diet - not to the letter, but in general principle. I found I was too hungry so ate rather more than was prescribed, but with carbs in the right proportions

2)Rhodiola in the morning and Ashwagandha in the evening

3) Light therapy (I use a Valkee ear light because its to much more convenient than a light box, and my light box was on its last legs) every morning, right through the summer. I am also outdoors for at least an hour every day with the dogs, but I made a point of getting out in the sun

4)Meditation. I used the guided meditations on headspace.com. I still try to meditate at least a few times a week. I always sleep better when I have meditated that day!

5)I went to bed when I felt sleepy. That was around 9.30 in the evening when I was at my sickest. If I didn't go to bed then (I have always been a night owl) I would get my second wind, and then it would be the small hours before I could get to sleep.

6) I forgave myself for waking up in the night, and did relaxing things like reading, or playing solitaire or sudoku on my phone (I use Twilight to filter out the blue light) till I was tired again, which could be 2 or 3 hours. And I didn't set the alarm in the morning.

7) I took magnesium and its co-factors wholefood vitamin C and vitamin B6. I found the cheap magnesium citrate stopped me getting to sleep, but magnesium glycinate is fine. B12, ferritin and D3 were good. I ate/eat liver at least once a week.

8) I avoided all caffeine(including that in chocolate) and cut down on sugar as much as I could.

When I was bad the slightest thing would set me off, flooded with adrenaline, and then difficulty getting to sleep. Nowadays I cope much better - more normally, I would say. I no longer have much difficulty getting to sleep, but I still wake up in the night, and often cannot get back to sleep for a while. That is fine, I get to read! My residual symptom is the sugar craving. That still needs addressing.

130396 profile image
130396 in reply to Ruthi

Thank you very very much for all that information. Im using HB at the moment to bring two of my highs down I have one low.

I'll read your reply again and look at the re set diet

Heloise profile image
Heloise in reply to Ruthi

Ruthi, I didn't read this immediately but you have some wonderful tips to share. Would you be willing to copy this over and post it as a testimonial?

reliablerebel profile image
reliablerebel in reply to Ruthi

The most helpful thing I have read today!! Thankyou. I just got my saliva cortisol results today - all highs, and am looking at where I go from here to lower them. You have given me a starting point. Hope you are continuing to do well x

Ruthi profile image
Ruthi

I'd be happy to, Heloise, if I knew how!

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