Original email for context: Also, you discuss adrenal fatigue a lot. There was a period I feared I had that. I bought “Active adrenal” and started taking that. I don’t know how to tell if it’s working &/or whether my adrenals are okay now. You say it takes a long time to heal from that…. what does that mean? A long time?”
As you know I like to discuss things in detail. That is and will always be, me.
But just for a very short synopsis:
- Adrenal fatigue is profound fatigue and lack of stamina. You feel fine and then after exertion for 20 minutes of something (not talking exercise here, just talking regular every life), you feel like you just ran a marathon and have to lay down and do nothing for hours to recover.
- For me the best way to help myself so that I had truly significant better energy was physiologic dosings of actual cortisol. I took 7.5mg am, 7.5mg around 12/1pm, and 5mg 4/5pm, for a couple of years.
I’ll share my own experience with Adrenal Fatigue in more detail next, but I’ll also give you a few links to good articles that explain it.
For me anyway, adrenal fatigue is a consistent lack of stamina where you fatigue easily and really lack ability to handle stress. Like something stressful that’s pretty routine for most people will just completely knock me out physically – where I have to crawl into bed and do nothing. Where I can’t even read because my brain won’t even process the information. For me it is an ongoing thing because of my Hashimotos and Lyme disease. For regular people who get a touch of it, I’m not positive how long it would take to resolve – but you would know if something you are taking is working or if you’re healing if your stamina and energy and ability to handle stress improve. I don’t know everything but I can share what I have researched to help you in your own knowledge gathering.
One reason that I hit rather hard on my blog about being conscientious about how ladies do the hCG diet – not doing overly long rounds, not doing extreme exercise during P2, and not doing rounds back to back so close, (see my article on why slow your hCG journey down) is because to me, adrenal fatigue is a serious thing, and from my research, it seems possible that once you have dealt with it, your adrenals after that become more susceptible to that in the future than previously. There is not 100% proof of this, but I feel like I’ve seen it my husband and myself. We’re just not the same people we were. Neither of us can handle stress well and we just feel like more delicate people overall.
Here’s a few bloggers who discuss their adrenal fatigue recovery:
- Ascension Kitchen
- MindBodyGreen’s experience
- CycleHarmony – she seems to have caught herself in early stages and was able to feel mostly better in a couple of weeks.
What you notice about these experiences, is that, it’s a lot of work. And time. If avoiding this problem entirely can be done simply by doing the hCG protocol in a wiser more mindful way, I think once you read all this, you’d be crazy to still choose to push yourself on hCG and risk that.
Additionally, much of the adrenal research seems to tell us that eating some carbs is important to recovery too – that too low carb a diet is a strain for people with adrenal fatigue – and I know that concerns you ladies too!
This article has a very good balance discussion on the matter though, acknowledging carb need and tolerance varies from person to person and different seasons of life:
Mainstream medical people think adrenal fatigue isn’t even real, which to me is ridiculous. I love how people who’ve never experienced something can say it doesn’t exist, don’t you? I feel completely different on my small dosings of cortisol vs. without them – cortisol is one of the main adrenal hormones that affect your stamina and ability to handle stress.
Here are a few websites/individuals I respect who speak on Adrenal Fatigue:
- Dr. Wilson – has a nice video with some explanation
- RawlsMD – this has some graphs to show you what normal adrenal function should be like, and what adrenal fatigue causes in the way of symptoms.
- Stopthethyroidmadness – my favorite site for all things thyroid and cortisol because the information is based on what thousands patients have actually experienced, both with treatments and symptoms- so it’s based on real world info, not just theories.
Perhaps one reason that makes some medical people think Adrenal Fatigue doesn’t exist is because cortisol lab testing can appear as if you have normal cortisol (which would indicate no adrenal fatigue is present) – but the lab ranges that are considered normal are taken from a pool of sick people- the kind who get these sorts of lab tests. When I initially got my own 4 sample saliva cortisol testing, on initial look it appeared to be normal- a bit on the lower side, but still normal. So I put the test away and say, “welp, I guess that’s not the cause of my extreme fatigue and lack of stamina…one more closed door.”
Several months later while still researching and trying to get to the bottom of my continuing issues, I did some reading on one of my favorite websites for all things thyroid and hypothyroidism – stopthethyroidmadness.com – and came across a written interview there – this one in fact – of a woman who described her immense improvement of symptoms after getting on a small dose of cortisol – she posted her lab test values in the article – I pulled mine out to compare and I was shocked- they were almost the exact same test result levels! Except she had interpreted hers as being indicative of adrenal fatigue, whereas on my labs they made it seem that these were sufficient levels for being normal.
After that I got on a small dose of cortisol- this is called physiologic dosing, where it’s just enough to replace what your own adrenals are not able to make in your current condition, so there is no risk of permanent damage to your own adrenal ability, and I felt SO. MUCH. BETTER.
While not cured since I have hashimotos, lyme disease, and other auto-immune illnesses, my functioning capacity went WAY up. I would be bed-ridden a lot more of the time without my cortisol.
HOW TO GET THIS CORTISOL RAYZEL??
Ideally, you want to get it through a prescription – naturopathic or more open minded doctors may do this for you- it’s basically just small 10mg tablets of hydrocortisone.
However, there was a time I didn’t really have access to a doc like this or the money. At that time, I did find some sources online where I could buy it without a prescription.
While I can’t seem to find pharmaceutical tablet cortisol online anymore, the current source I use for cortisol adrenal support is a sublingual liquid made from bovine sources – it works very well and is all-natural which is even better.
It’s a family-owned company that sells it, and as far as I know, can’t be found anywhere else in the United States.
ACE extract – it has real cortisol from bovine animals in it. It’s a sublingual spray. It says you only need a few sprays 2-3 times a day- my adrenal fatigue must be bad because I personally required 7 sprays twice a day. The first dose in the morning when I wake up, 2nd dose I take between 1-2pmish.
It really has improved my stamina and ability to do things.
DOSING AND STARTING CORTISOL
You do not just add 10-20mg of cortisol to your system overnight. You add gradually. So like as an example with myself, I probably started with 5mg in the morning for a couple days, then added 5mg in the afternoon for a few days, then increased to 7.5mcg in the morning for a few days, then maybe added 2.5mg to my late afternoons, till I was at a level where I was feeling normal. For me this was 15mg for a time, and for awhile this was a total or 20mg. Most women in general don’t typically go over 20mg per day total. Some may only need 5-10mg.
Initially, I found when starting cortisol that I felt very very sleepy, but not the same sort of tired as the adrenal fatigue fatigue that felt horrible. It was more just like an I need to blissfully sleep heavily for awhile. That lasted a couple few days, and then I began to feel a lot better with my energy and more normal.
HOW MANY DOCS TREAT ADRENAL FATIGUE
The way many doctors who do believe in adrenal fatigue like to treat is with herbs. But even they will tell you that it can take a loooong time for this to help you heal (like a year).
When you feel as bad I did, where I was basically non-functional for most of the day, and I have a business, a young child, and a husband, I don’t have 1 year to wait till I am well enough to handle those matters. Additionally feeling that incredibly crummy so many hours of the day is extremely depressing – since I have binge eating in my history, this is not a good recipe for being able to make good healthy decisions for myself. I NEED to be a productive member of society in some way. A day here and there being in bed miserable is okay, but days on end? No way joe.
So while I love the idea of using herbs, and I do use them for many things, for me I felt the physiologic dosing of actual cortisol was the route for me, as it immediately replaces what your adrenals are not producing in the way of cortisol (like the second you swallow it basically as you digest it) and this allows you to operate a lot more like you have normal functioning adrenals.
I know this is a lot, and if you are totally new to the arena of chronic illness issues you may be overwhelmed, but all I can say is, give yourself time to learn and read and process the info. But to treat chronic energy problems, you will have to not rely purely on your doctor. You really do have gather your own research to get to the bottom of this stuff.
BUT AGAIN, the best way to avoid this whole scenario is to do the hCG diet in a wise, slower way.
I hope that helps!