adrenal fatigue questions

Earlier this year, I managed to wean off Medrol which I had been on since late 2011, after being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue in November 2011. Since then, I had been on either 6 or 4 mg of Medrol daily alternatively.

After stopping Medrol, my periods came back, after being absent for almost 18 months (only recently did I learn that Medrol can cause cessation of menstruation)...I'm 47, so my periods are not back for more than a limited period of time anyway...

After weaning off Medrol, I went on several supplements, one being Adrenal Booster containing licorice root...and God, did I do well on that...until I measured my blood pressure and realised the following:

Before boing on Adrenal Booster, but on blood pressure medication and beta-blockers: BP 120/80, resting pulse +/- 80 bpm.

On Adrenal Booster, on the same dosage of blood pressure meds and beta-blockers:

BP 140/99, resting pulse +/-113 bpm.

Before any treatment: BP 170/120, resting pulse 120 bpm.

I know licorice root can increase BP, but can it also increase resting pulse..?!

I have also switched from Armour/Erfa to Thai NDT, which I find much more effective than previously mentioned brands, and also might mean my adrenal glands are under more pressure...?

What I have noticed lately is that my salt and sugar cravings have increased significantly...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'd personally hate to go back on prescription drugs (be it HC or Medrol), but I also realise that the effectiveness of Thai NDT might be putting my adrenal glands under more pressure...which is why I'd really appreciate any advice and input on this.

11 Replies

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  • You really need to do a blood test to see whether the Thai NDT really is more effective, or you are just more medicated.

    As for the drugs, if your adrenals really aren't producing enough cortisol, its no different to supplementing your thyroid hormones - you need it!

    Of course it may be that the signals to your adrenals aren't getting through, rather than the adrenals being incapable. In which case the adrenal reset diet (book of that name by Alan Christianson) and the rest of the protocol in the book might help.

  • Thank you, Ruthi!

    In the past, I have been on HC and Medrol alternatively, although I tend to find Medrol more convenient as it does not have to be multi dosed like HC does...although some claim Medrol does not mimic adrenal gland production as well as HC...as the adrenal glands will produce cortisol day and night...

  • I know very little about hypoadrenalism or the drugs used to treat it. What I do know is that most adrenal fatigue is not actually due to fatigued adrenals - but to a failure in the control mechanism.

    The body clearly needs its cortisol, and if you are suffering AF then its reasonable to replace the cortisol while you regularise the control mechanism. In the long run, if the adrenals are capable, they should be doing the job.

    I think you need to be tested for the actual efficacy of the glands. Then you'll know what you are dealing with.

    In my case I produce far too much cortisol, all day and every day. I have had to work on ways to damp it down. When I get some peace I'll be doing another saliva test to see how effective I have been.

  • thecat,

    If Thai NDT is working more effectively, that will be helping your adrenals, not putting them under more pressure.

    According to Dr Wilson, salt cravings are commonly seen in adrenal fatigue as inadequate amounts of hormones including aldosterone are produced. Lack of aldosterone can disrupt the sodium balance at a cellular level and actually increase your needs for natural sodium. I eat//drink extra salt or get bad muscle cramps.

    Be careful with liquorice as is known to inflate BP as can excess sodium. We assume yours is low through craving but unbalanced aldosterone causes unbalanced potassium, magnesium and chloride in the blood. ... You may need to have your electrolyte levels tested.

    Sugar cravings can be due to blood sugar imbalances ... again cortisol helps stabilise glucose levels and low levels can cause insulin resistance when sugar is unable to enter the cells (although high in circulation).

    When blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycaemia), the adrenal glands release further stress hormones to signal the liver to break down proteins and fats for energy but yours will be struggling to do this.. Eating regular healthy meals that include protein, healthy fats and low GI carbs will help adrenals.

    The fact your periods started agains shows some reactive improvements but I do not know about Medrol as have never medicated it. I read that adrenals can be strong in recovering and many have success in weaning off supports. However, for others adrenal health has been so compromised, it may never quite recover.

    I can't remember if you have looked in adrenal glandulars ? ? ...

  • Thanks a lot, very helpful!

    Yes, I have looked into adrenal glandulars. I am currently taking adrenal cortex only, as I have read that the adrenaline naturally found in glandulars can put extra pressure on an already challenged endocrine system...I think the ACE is helping, although I don't know if adding some glandular to the mix could be beneficial in any way...? I know some here have been using Nutri Adrenal Extra with good results.

    One thing I have noticed is that, since weaning off Medrol about four months ago, NDT seems to be working a lot better, and I will have to decrease my current dosage as I seem slightly hyperthyroid at the moment...not sure if that is related to weaning off Medrol, though, or is due to the warmer weather...?

    There are literally hundreds of supplements out there (adrenal cortex and glandular), and it's really difficult to figure out which ones are truly effective...right now, I am taking Nutri-Meds adrenal cortex, although it's not available in Europe, but has to be imported from the US. But I bought it as it has been getting consistently good reviews and is supposedly one of the best products of its kind out there...it seems to be helping for sure.

  • thecat,

    I think your meds "working better" is a sign of improving health albeit very slow.

    I noticed the same after spending the last year tackling many health issues. I still have a way to go but now feel well on very low thyroid meds.

    Improving gut health and removing mercury were my biggest helps. I don't have as compromised adrenals as yours but have to look after them as notice a difference if slacken on my healthy life style & diet.

    Inadequate cortisol will struggle to raise blood sugar into the normal range but regular balanced meals means I now don't have this need to snack all the time to keep blood sugar balanced.

    I always eat a breakfast that includes more protein than (low GI) carbohydrates and consume protein & veg at every meal. I don't eat or drink any high carb or sugary foods as elevated insulin levels will reduce glutathione levels inhibiting the liver’s ability to detoxify and affecting the conversion of T4-T3 and so work adrenals harder.,

    I really have no idea of the protocol in coming off supplemented cortisol but would assume you must be low in all other sex and stress hormones. Have you looked into supplementing pregnenelone, as is the precursor to both sex hormones and cortisol. Again, I have no idea how this is done or if even necessary ? ? .. ... just more food for thought ! ! ..

    Also pregnenolone is made from cholesterol and this is controlled by insulin, so again if you have blood sugar issues or high//low cholesterol it will be hard to progress with adrenal health.

    I practise loads of yoga and mediation .... always have. Good luck with Nutri-Meds adrenal cortex.

  • Thanks a lot for your input and time:-)

  • Yes, I started pregnenolone 50 mg daily not long ago, in addition to DHEA (25 mg daily). My doctor also put me on progesterone (Utrogestan) 200 mg from day 15-25 of cycle, as well as Estrogel, day 5-25 of cycle.

  • TC,

    I take the 100mg Utrogestan days 1-25 of each 28 day cycle and Estrogel every day.. it has been an absolute godsend.

    Our hormones get into such a bl**** mess after years of being undiagnosed with an under active thyroid & Hashi.

    You are being well supported. With good diet, sleep, rest, optimal nutrients & thyroid hormone replacement, etc ... all encouraging low BP and stress hormone output, you have every chance of healing.

  • Yes, I think so, too, although it is frustrating that it takes so long...but then again, it took me years to end up a mess in the first place. After I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, 16 years ago, nothing has ever been the same...

  • Me too. It seems one problem occurs after another....the only consolation is each problem appears slightly less troublesome than the previous.

    ...[... Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day ..] ...

    ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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