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Thyroid UK
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Anyone understand high cortisol and DHEA

I have very high morning cortisol. I wake with my heart racing around 3 am every morning. I have no known stressors other than I am not optimal on my thyroid medication.

I have had a hysterectomy and use compounded estrogen cream. I don’t tolerate progesterone. My DHEA levels are almost non-existent. My doctor has approved me to use DHEA (5-10 mgs) daily, but he was wish washy about it and said it coukd increase anxiety, which I can get from low thyroid.

Would DHEA help bring down the high cortisol? Is it better to just concentrate on the thyroid first? Any experience or knowledge anyone has to offer would be appreciated?

I am in the U.S., so I can easily and legally use it


9 Replies

Dr Myhill's article on interpreting adrenal test results:



That sounds like low overnight blood sugar or low T3. Makes you wake in the night with an adrenaline rush.


I am slowly increasing NatureThroid. I am at 2 3/4 grains and will increase to 3 grains in few weeks and then test 6 weeks after that. I hope it is just low t3 and it will go away when I have enough in my system. I usually have a snack of some sort before bed...something like Greek yogurt and nuts. I haven't had a good nights sleep in months!


Have you heard of the Adrenal Cocktail? If you Google "waking at 3am with racing heart" you will find the recipe. It was like a miracle for me. I now have it every night but a smaller version - half an organic orange, a tiny amount of cream of tartar and a few turns of Himalayan salt. Works for me. Hope it helps you.


I have heard of it, but not regularly consumed it. I will look it up. Thanks!


I am slowly increasing NatureThroid. I am at 2 3/4 grains and will increase to 3 grains in few weeks and then test 6 weeks after that.

What time of day do you take your NDT? How many doses? What size of doses?

In a normal, healthy person without a thyroid problem T3 is produced by the thyroid directly, and by other organs by conversion from T4. This production of thyroid hormones goes on 24 hours a day.

In the case of T3 there is more T3 produced between 10pm and 10am than there is between 10am and 10pm. The difference is slight, but it definitely exists. See the graphs on the second page of this paper :


Many people feel worried about taking thyroid meds at night because they think it will keep them awake. It may be true for some people, but for many people it can help enormously.

Try taking a tiny portion of your daily dose of NDT just before you turn the light out to go to sleep. (Not half an hour before or an hour before or whatever.)

If it helps try increasing the size of that tiny dose. The idea is not to change the overall daily dose, it is to find a dosing schedule that works best for you. As a result you don't have to wait weeks between changes.

When I first started taking thyroid meds I had huge difficulties tolerating them in the morning, and I found it best to take my first dose an hour before a late lunch. Once I'd learned to tolerate it I could then move the luchtime dose to first thing in the morning.

I experimented endlessly, and had to keep changing my dosing timetable every time I increased my dose, even by a tiny bit.

My lack of tolerance was caused by high cortisol.

I put lots of links about cortisol in a reply to this post that you may find helpful :



Today I started taking NT in three different doses. I take 1 1/2 grains first thing in the morning, 3/4 grain in late morning, and the final 1/2 grain late in the afternoon. I might try moving the late afternoon one to bedtime and see if that helps. The 3:00 am heart palps are getting the best of me. I know it is hormones and not anxiety.


I'm sure it is hormones and not anxiety too. Get the hormones right and any apparent anxiety symptoms go away.

Nutrients are vital in the right amounts too.

Good luck with your experiments.

At one time I was taking T3 in 5 miniscule doses. It's taken a long time but I now take 2 doses a day at fairly sensible times - first thing in the morning and just before turning the light off for sleep.


Thanks for the encouragement humanbean! I am reading the links you sent. I know my DHEA is extremely low. I thought about trying 5 mg to see if it will help bring my cortisol levels down.

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