Log in
Thyroid UK
93,694 members107,706 posts

Help interpreting Cortisol and DHEA results

Hi everyone,

I got my cortisol and DHEA results back from Geneva diagnostics. I think my cortisol looks reasonable for someone who's hypothyroid. However, although my DHEA: Cortisol ratio shows as 'normal', my DHEA looks a little low to me relative to Cortisol. I never really trust 'normal' these days. Could anyone please advise?

Thank you.

14 Replies

That is actually an excellent result, you are following the normal curve and everything is within range. Your DHEA is at the lower end but in range.

You can check out what Dr Myhill has to say about interpreting adrenal tests, but I'm not sure you need to do anything drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Adrenal...

1 like

Thanks SeasideSusie. Good to know it's looking OK. I am slowly working through various tests, trying to figure out why I seem to becoming a worse and worse converter of T4 to T3 (I take 100mcg T4). I think my problem possibly lies with RT3 which I'll be testing next.

After a year of stable blood results, my T3 has suddenly dropped over a couple of months (4.6 to 3.4 - bottom of range) and T4 has gone up (16-18.6). Only change was trialling night-time T4 dosing for 6 weeks. Looking at my cortisol results, do you think taking T4 meds at night might have sent my cortisol too high and triggered RT3? After 5 weeks back on morning dosing I can't seem to get my T4/T3 back to where they were. I hope I am doing everything I can nutritionally to help.

I am getting my vits checked this week too. I know you are the vitamin expert so can I check with you that this is correct:

- A week of no iron before testing

- Can keep taking folate and Vitamin D but not on the day before the test

- B12 needs avoiding for ages which I've not done, but may as well test anyway!

Are there any other vitamins I should get tested which might impact conversion? I take zinc twice a week, and take a multi that has selenium, chromium, iodine etc.

I am never sure whether I am supposed to supplement iodine or not. Currently I don't supplement the full RDA. What is your take on iodine?

Sorry for the bombardment :-).


I realy don't know if taking Levo at night will affect cortisol or rT3. I take mine in the early hours of the morning when I need the bathroom. You're like me, going through all the tests! I did that a couple of years ago.

As for your supplements, yes leave off iron for a week is fine, take the others after your blood test. As for B12, leaving it off for about 4-5 months will give a baseline, otherwise your result will reflect what you are taking but that can be useful as you can see if you are taking enough or too much.

Have you tested iodine and are deficient? If not then you really shouldn't take a multi that has iodine in it. Iodine is anti-thyroid and used to be used to treat hyperthyroidism, so it can be iffy taking it unless you know you need it. I tested my iodine (urine test) and it was mid-range. The practioner I consulted with at the time put me on a multi which contained iodine (against my better judgement and I did bring it up with her but she said it was fine). I retested iodine a few months later and it had gone from 150 (100-199) to 250. I stopped the multi.

The other thing I tested was sex hormones and all mine were rock bottom. All part of the picture - thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones.

1 like

I am glad I am not the only one who's been on a testing frenzy :-).

I'll get my iodine checked as I've been taking a pre-natal vitamin for over a year with 50% of the iodine RDA. Shame if I have to stop that pre-natal as it's natural with no nasty synthetics (hard to find!) and it has a lot of good thyroid stuff in it too, but nothing in silly quantities.

You'd think after 2 years of constantly miscarrying someone would have tested my sex hormones wouldn't you? But they refuse to test progesterone and keep telling me 'you can get pregnant so can't be deficient!'. And I don't think they've tested estradiol either (just FSH and LH). Are these the sex hormones you are referring to? I might be able to get Medicheck to do them...

Thank you so much for your help.


I did a Genova female hormone test. Have a look at the different ones they do, click on the PDF for their full list of tests for hormones on page 4 thyroiduk.org/tuk/testing/g...

The test I did wouldn't be suitable for you as I am post menopause.


Thanks for this SeasideSusie. It looks like the tests I'd need are very expensive but a lot more comprehensive than the blood test offered by Medicheck. I've already ordered a urine iodine test; the heads-up is much appreciated!


Yes indeed they can be expensive, I purposely didn't add up the cost!!

1 like

One more thing, did you supplement the low sex hormones? I am considering progesterone cream if I need it.


Progesterone cream was one of the things my then practioner recommended.


Hi Emily,

I'm not sure if this will be of any help but I had very similar results to yours test May of last year. I was shocked by the results as I had been diagnosed by a well known Naturopath as being hypo-adrenal and hypothyroid, I also had classic signs of adrenal insufficiency.

After receiving the results I made my self quite unwell by not treating my adrenals. When I revisited the Naturopath he said he does find that sometimes the test aren't always accurate. I am unable to use T4 or NDT as I have conversion issues and I now take T3 for my thyroid and 3 x Adrenavive III, Rhodiola, Ashwaghanda and a high dose of vitamin C, for my adrenals, I also use natural progesterone cream.

It may just be my situation and my results that didn't fit the picture but I just wanted to share by experience. I still can not raise my dose of T3 and I still think part of my problem is my adrenals. If your gut instinct is that your adrenals may be playing apart of your health issues it may be worth while not ruling them out as a potential cause.


Thanks for sharing Rac73. That's really interesting. Have you noticed an improvement since treating your adrenals? How long have you been supplementing? I've tried Ashwagandha in the past but seem to find the improvements are short-lived.

Like you, I seem to have problems converting, and it's getting worse. I've tried taking a small amount of T3 but it made me feel shocking so I stopped after a week. I wonder if I need to reduce/stop my T4 then try introducing it again. Because I want to get pregnant, I am loathed to entirely give up T4 though.

When you say you can't raise your T3 dose, does that mean you are currently under-medicated? Is it side-effects stopping you raising the dose?


I have felt far better with adrenal support and it means I am able to take t3 which helps me to feel like I can function more and I have less pain. T4 was terrible, I had a few months success with NDT but I think I started pooling the T4 due to the conversion issues and it was sending my pulse sky high at night, probably due to stressing my adrenals even though I was taking adrenal support.

When I eventually changed to t3 I started on 6,25mcg and raised it very slowly, I was up to 37,5mcg per day but have recently had to drop back down to 25mcg this coincides with my change in diet, if I follow the stone age diet, it helps with my adrenals.

I am due a blood test in a couple of weeks to see where my t3 levels are but yes the symptoms stop me increasing at the moment.

I also know if I do too much or stress my adrenals even a little then I feel as though I haven't taken any thyroid medication. I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand. I sometimes have a raised pulse at night when my adrenals are stressed, this is the reason I added Ashwaghanda in with my last dose of the Adrenavive at teatime.

I think amongst other things natural progesterone helps calm the adrenals and balance out oestrogen I have Cyclogest on prescription but have recently changed to a more natural amount with a cream. I was using 200mg of the cyclogest per day for PMT and it helped enormously, I do believe it is used more for Pregnancy. I was recommended it through a doctor who had worked with Katharina Dalton. Dr Dalton was an advocate for natural Progesterone. Incidentally I can not tolerate synthetic forms of progesterone.


It's been really useful to read about your experiences Rac73, and I do wonder if I am in a similar boat. I hope things continue to improve for you and that you get your T3 to an optimum level soon. It sounds like you've persevered through a lot. All the best for your next blood test.

I think I'd definitely benefit from natural progesterone cream. I do have some but haven't used it yet. I have signs of progesterone deficiency and that's probably contributed to my recurrent miscarriages. Stupidly I was relying on the NHS to determine if my hormone levels were low. If progesterone helps calm the adrenals too (I didn't know that!), that's an added bonus.

I already take vitamin C, but am going to increase my dose a little more as high doses don't seem to do any harm with vitamin C do they?

The raised pulse at night sounds scary. A bit like a panic attack. I've started waking a lot at night (3am onwards), I don't think my pulse is racing but like you, but I do feel 'wired' and I wonder if I have conversion problems (or RT3 problems), as I seem to have quite a bit of T4 with nowhere to go at the moment. I feel so shattered in the morning currently, but then better come the afternoon/evening.

Was Adrenavive recommended to you by the Naturopath? I wouldn't know where to start choosing an adrenal supplement if it turns out I need one. Guess I should see a Naturopath too at some point if I don't find any answers with the remaining tests I am getting done.

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your experiences.


You are very welcome,

I take between 10,000 and 20,000mg vitamin c a day (more if I've needed it) and I know when I've not had it. Fortunately it does not effect my stomach. I buy vitamin c powder and add it to a fruit cordial to drink through out the day, I think it may lose some of its strength due to being water soluble, I have come across an equation that works out how much is lost but I don't worry too much about it as it works for me that way and its been an important part of my regime. I am under Dr Peatfield and have followed his advise if you google 'Dr Peatfield and vitamin C' it should bring up a page from TPAUK about how to dose vitamin c.

I wake between 12.20 and 3am, it was back in December 2016 when my pulse was at 130 when waking (I was on 2 grains of WP but still had lots of hypo symptoms). I now take a small 10mcg Propranolol as a safety net and I intent to taper it off at some point as I don't think it helps with thyroid issues. When I wake in the night now its usually around the 90's, far better but thats only improve since I've been on just T3 and my resting pulse is around 66.

Dr Peatfield recommended the Adrenavive I and I do believe Dr Myhill also recommends it if you google 'Dr Myhill Conducting the CFS orchestra – how to put yourself in charge' I found it to be a really useful page. My temperatures are very wobbly and low so it definitely rings true for me.

I hope some of this helps, the NHS are brilliant at somethings but not great at others. I had to look outside of the NHS (for my own peace of mind) and I am so glad I did. I have learnt so much about my body, how it works and the signs the body gives.

1 like

You may also like...