Thyroid UK
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Adrenal test results; very grateful for advice

I have just got back my adrenal test results and would be really grateful if anyone here can advise on what to do next.

I am on, apparently, Resistance stage 3., maladaptation.

My first morning test was low; 8.2

The second was inside the range, 6.3

Third was low; 2.7

Fourth was high; 3.8.

DHEA levels

sample 2 inside range, 0.22

sample 3 low; 0.14.

DHEA:cortisol ratio 0.86, which is within range.

I have been told that 'Stress analysis and adrenal support and restorative measures are exceedingly important', and to recheck after 1 month.

I'd be really grateful for anyones views on this, and any ideas about the kind of support i need to give myself. I have been given advice about getting proper sleep, but as this is one of my main stressors and has eluded me for years its difficult to know what to do next.

4 Replies


I understand the sleep thing. "Get a good night's sleep!". "I wish!" was always my reply.

One thing you can do, even if you have trouble sleeping, is to rest during the day whenever possible or whenever you feel tired. Even nap if you can. When you rest it should be in a horizontal position, even if it is just in front of the telly (comedy is good as laughing can help reduce stress and regulate cortisol levels). Ignore all the people who tell you not to nap or you won't sleep at night; it's rubbish - usually. You already aren't sleeping at night so sleeping during the day may actually help. I always sleep the worst when I am over-tired. A nap can help to avoid this. I would say that rest is probably one of the most important things you can do.

You probably feel tired and lethargic all the time if you are not sleeping well and have cortisol issues. Don't be tempted to use caffeine or sugar to keep you going. Try to avoid these where possible and rest instead if you feel tired.

You may be tempted to have a glass of wine at night to help you sleep, but this can actually make the situation worse. Again, alcohol is best avoided, particularly in the evening. Nicotine is another problem substance, but quitting may be too much stress at this time if you do smoke.

Eat good amounts of healthy foods, especially protein. Fruit and vegetables are also important.

Many people find taking 500mg vitamin C with each meal helps them recover. B12 should also be taken, especially if you suspect a deficiency, in which case you will need more than the recommended maintenance dose of 1000mcg.

A little light exercise outside each day can be helpful, especially if followed by a rest in the horizontal position or even a nap.

Taking magnesium at night can help to reduce your high night-time cortisol levels. It is best taken as magnesium citrate or as a cream or epsom salts in the bath if you find it upsets your stomach.

Avoiding stress is also essential. If you have stressful elements in your life, do your best to avoid them or deal with them if they can't be avoided. Plan some relaxation into your day to help you deal with any stressors that may occur.

I'm sure there is further advice, but that is all I can think of for now. It will take a while for your adrenals to recover, but hopefully you will notice some improvement soon. The main improvement I noticed was being able to sleep at night, which helps in itself!

I hope that is helpful.

Carolyn x


I've had the same problem, but nearly sorted out now.. My cortisol profile was within range (just), but my DHEA was very low..

Dr Wilson's book (Adrenal fatigue - the 21st century stress syndrome) was my bible (full of practical advice, including recommended diet and supplements, with dosages), along with support from a nutritionist and Dr P.

I supplemented with vit c. B5 (pantothenic acid),adrenal glandulars and rhodiola rosea amongst other things. The adrenals use a lot of vitamin C, so you may need quite high doses I was taking several grammes a day. I changed to a high protein diet (for rebuild and repair), with low GI foods (so avoid sugars, alcohol etc) and no caffeine. Keeping your blood sugar level stable is important to avoid stressing the adrenals.

Rest and relaxation are also important and you need to avoid stress as far as possible (you may need to change your lifestyle) I took half-hour rests a couple of times a day and went to bed early - 9pm at latest. I also used relaxation tapes.

The adrenals tend to struggle most around mid-afternoon, so taking some of your supplements then, eating a small protein snack (eg nuts) and having a rest at that time are important. Licorice extract is good for supporting your cortisol levels.

Taking DHEA ( available on the internet) made a big difference in my case - I think it took about 3 months (initially 10mg/day, later increasing to 20mg) or so to get my levels back to normal and I certainly noticed the improvement.

The book has lots of information and guidance, so would be a good first start. If you can afford it, Dr P is good on adrenals.

Good luck!



I forgot to mention the thyroid gland - secondary hypothyroidism often occurs with low adrenals, so it might be worth getting the thyroid tested too. A good DIY test is the Broda Barnes basal temperature test - check it via the TUK website or google it. Where both thyroid and adrenals are low some dcos recommend sorting the adrenals out first (eg Dr P) whereas others seem to give thyroid priority (eg Dr Skinner)



thank you both of you for taking the time to write all this. I may try resting/sleeping more in the day as i always avoid it. I feel sure that sleep is my biggest stressor and its always been so difficult to break the cycle of sleeplessness thus just making things worse and worse. My underactive thyrid is what lead me down this route in the first place.............. I am about to begin advice given to me by bionetics (hair analysis) and hoping that will help., i will read dr wilsons book. Thank you.


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