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Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

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Old 04-11-2006, 02:20 PM   #1
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Anne88 HB User
Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

I was wondering if any of you are taking natural cortisol (Cortef) for adrenal fatigue, as I know that often goes hand in hand with thyroid problems. Has it helped you? I've read exerpts of the book, "Safe Uses of Cortisol" and I'm confused on what Dr. Jefferies states as the safest dosage - 20 mg per day or 35?
nks in advance for any info or personal experiences you can provide.

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Old 04-12-2006, 09:20 AM   #2
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

Hi Anne,

I read Dr. Jeffries' book several yrs. ago, got it through interlibrary loan as my local public library didn't own it.

Most of the cases in Jeffries' book are resolved w/20 mg. hydrocortisone per day, a few w/less, a few w/more. The closer you go to 40 mg. daily, the more that one's natural adrenal function is suppressed.

When people are on HC, they usually need to double the dose they are taking for a period of time when they are exposed to infection, trauma, or serious stress. That is because once you start monkeying around w/supplements, you can't count on your own natural & necessary cortisol boost any more.

I think it's impt to have adrenal function testing done before supplementing w/hydrocortisone. There are natural feedback loops that occur, and taking any amt does change one's adrenal function.

I'm somewhat leery of using saliva tests alone to determine adrenal function. My DD had blood, urine, and saliva tests all run during a crisis period & there was not good correspondence among these tests in terms of which hormones were glitched. You would think there might be at least somewhat similar trends.

My DD did try HC but was unable to tolerate even 2.5 mg. Recently (a few yrs. later), I was put on 5 mg. HC. I felt great the first 2 days, then came down w/a really nasty bug -- haven't had one like that for at least 5 yrs. -- and suffered sequelae that lasted almost a month. I did double the HC as directed by my doc during the active infection.

Not everyone will have side effects w/low dose HC, however I did:water retention & ankle swelling, even at 5 mg. Mood changes -- euphoric at first, but then it got darker.

Unfortunately, I did not see much benefit from the HC (other than the first 2 days). Supposedly this med was going to take away my aches & pains & help my body tolerate T3 better. Well, it actually made me feel achier. I never found a T3 dose while on HC that was helpful w/out hyper side effects.

Well, that's my experience. But I know that HC has helped others. I think it's a highly individual thing.

Best wishes.

Old 04-12-2006, 11:54 AM   #3
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SadFreek HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

sites say the side effect is a lower immune ability. Is that only true in people with normal adrenal function? In other words, if someone needs the HC because their adrenal suply is low, it should make their immune responce "normal", correct?

Old 04-12-2006, 12:38 PM   #4
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

Well theoretically, but there's a negative feedback loop to the adrenals & no one can guarantee that theory will work out well in practice.

I sure felt like low dose H/C (which blood test said was reasonable due to mild low cortisol) messed up my immune response!

Old 04-13-2006, 05:00 AM   #5
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Anne88 HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

Thanks so much for posting. I'm sorry to hear about what happened when you took Cortef. I get so confused.... I've heard really wonderful things about it from some people, and other people have experiences like yours, or worse.... Have you or anyone you know ever tried Dr. Wilson's (author of 'Adrenal Fatigue') adrenal supplements? I'm considering trying those, but they're extremely expensive if you take as much as he suggests.

Old 04-13-2006, 09:00 AM   #6
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

Sorry, I haven't tried his supplements.

My DD w/adrenal fatigue (post-viral CFS, everything was screwed up) -- the one who couldn't tolerate HC at all (felt wired, couldn't sleep at night w/2.5 mg. a.m.) -- did marvelously well with a combination of low-dose pregnenolone (3 mg.) plus B5 (an adrenal vitamin helper). Both of these are available OTC & not very expensive, either. You might want to look into them, do a little research, etc.

As I understand it, pregnenolone is a "grandmother adrenal hormone" -- your body can use it to make HC or any number of other hormones.

I am still hoping someone will give you a positive HC story. I know they are out there. Sorry I had to be such a wet blanket. It's just ... that's the way it was for me.

Old 04-13-2006, 01:21 PM   #7
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secretsarah HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?


My doctor recently put me on Cortef along with Armour Thyroid. I don't even really know what to expect from this. He prescribed it for adrenal fatique. I have been feeling markedly better since beginning this combination of medication. Can someone explain to me specifically what the Cortef is supposed to do and also if there are any side-effects?

Old 04-13-2006, 03:35 PM   #8
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Divermon HB User
Re: Safe Uses of Cortisol - Adrenal fatigue?

I haven't done a lot of research yet on the adrenal side, but I want to keep this thread alive, as I too am currently following up on suspected problems there.

As I understand it, Cortef simply mimics cortisol, making up for what your exhausted adrenal glands are not able to produce.

If you had Addison's disease, where the adrenal glands are being destroyed by antibodies, much like in Hashimotos Thyroiditis, where our thyroid glands are destroyed by TPO antibodies.... then I believe you take a corticosteroid such as Cortef for life. And I would imagine, increasing doses as the disease progresses.

However, the theory is a bit different with adrenal exhaustion. The Cortef is used for two reasons:
1. To fill in for the missing cortisol, allowing you to function more normally, while taking the Cortef.
2. To take some of the pressure off the adrenal glands, and let them rest, theoretically allowing them to come back to full operational ability on their own.

Some period of time later, you wean off the Cortef, and the adrenal glands take over, and continue functioning normally, as before the original problem that made them weak in the first place.

Personally, I have some concerns (I just need to do more research) about further suppressing the adrenals, including possible atrophy, by using Cortef. I guess ATCH would self-level everything anyway. Maybe that's just an issue if you use it for too long.
My opinions only, not medical advice. Always follow advice of your Doctor, not what I say here.

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