My doctor called yesterday with the results of my saliva cortisol test. I haven't yet received the written report with ranges, but my doctor said that things are out of whack in that my cortisol is high; in fact, it's highest at night when it should be at its lowest (at least that's what I understood her to say). She recommended that I start taking Ashwagandha, an Indian herb that is an adaptogen and somehow lowers cortisol.
From what I've read, high cortisol can cause poor sleep, anxiety, depression, and weight gain. I've got all those (except my weight gain is primarily in the hips and thighs, not in the belly as is typical of high cortisol). I've also read that high cortisol, like low cortisol, can interfere with the cells' efficient use of thyroid hormones. If that's true, that might explain a lot.
I know a lot of folks here have had adrenal fatigue, and my understanding of that is that high cortisol for an extended period of time can lead to the adrenals burning themselves out, so I hope I've caught this in time. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has experience with high cortisol or has taken Ashwagandha or has any other insight or helpful hints.
I also had blood drawn yesterday for Vit D, electrolyte, and thyroid levels, so I'll be interested to see what those reveal.
My first cortisol test had very high levels in the nightime, way off the chart. Then the next one was high in the morning. Now my third test is showing levels dropping all around, below midline in the morning and I think it's a sign of more advanced fatigue. I've never tried the Ashwagandha and am interested to hear how it works for you. I did try the phospatidylserine, but I really couldn't tell if it did much or not, my AF symptoms continued unabated and I was unable to optimize on my thyroid meds (high FT3 and RT3 with continuing hypo symptoms). I'm currently taking Isocort and will switch over soon to hydrocortisone.
EMCsquared, I will be curious to see your full results. You sound so like me! I feel best late at night like I know you've mentioned (here it is almost 1 am and I'm just starting to feel sleepy!) Then when it's time to wake up in the morning I will be in my best sleep!! I also have a lot of the symptoms of high cortisol and although I am not overweight (only because I watch what I eat and exercise daily!), I have gained a little weight and it tends to be more in my hips, butt, and thighs, too.
I go to a new D.O. Endo next Tues. and will take my results and let you know what he recommends. These were my results:
Cortisol Morning (4.3) Range 3.7-9.5
Cortisol Afternoon (2.9) Range 1.2-3.0
Cortisol Evening (2.3) High Range 0.6-1.9
Cortisol Night (0.8) Range 0.4-1.0
Post yours when you get them!
javelina, what is the difference between Isocort and hydrocortisone and what are they suppose to do? I've never heard of Ashwagandha either and will be curious to see if it helps you, EMCsquared.
Isocort is freeze-dried sheep adrenal cortex. It has low levels of cortisol in it. Many try it first to see if it helps but it's not very strong and I can't say it's making much of a difference for me.
Hydrocortisone is considered the best way to treat AF because it will actually replace your cortisol and give the adrenals a chance to rest and heal. You need to start at a very low dose and slowly titrate up over about 3 weeks to your physiologic dose, usually around 20-30 mg. Once optimized (as indicated by lessening AF symptoms and stabilizing averaged body temps) this is the time to add in the thyroid hormones up to their optimal level. Once the thyroid has been figured out and things are stabilized for a while, we start to wean off the HC and see if our adrenals are recovered and able to handle their task once again.
just got back from a long trip to my doctor. i found out the results to my adrenal 24 hour saliva test. my cortisol was high at night before and for about a month i have been taking the phosphotytidl serene. apparently it helped so much so that it brought it down too low that is what the test results showed...so i am decreasing my dosage from2 to 1 per evening and taking glycine to help me sleep well and so we shall see. no hydrocortisone yet....during the day i was in normal range which is insane...cause i feel like crap , but maybe it is just not enough thyroid meds because i was still hypo.. so now i am increasing my thyroid meds ..she said i should feel better.
i guess i should mention i take dhea and prognolone and progesterone..which are helping too but i guess that is to get them(adrenals) "working" you have the opposite problem in the am so i guess this doesnt apply just the phophotytdl would apply.
Everything I read about PS is that it doesn't cause low cortisol. As one report says:
" Phosphatidylserine is believed to facilitate the repair of the cortisol receptors in the hypothalamus. It is believed that the cortisol receptors get damaged by high cortisol levels reducing the ability of the hypothalamus to sense and correct high cortisone levels. Because Phosphatidylserine helps repair the feedback control apparatus, it is useful in correcting both high and low cortisol levels. "
I think you are low in cortisol now because you have moved to the next stage of adrenal fatigue. If you find you can't normalize your thyroid meds it is probably because you will need HC to support your adrenals.