I recently received this email from a reader, whom I shall refer to as Teephos (thanks man!), who provided me some invaluable tips and insight regarding adrenal fatigue, which I talked about earlier.
Teephos pointed out two supplements that might be helpful to adrenal fatigue sufferers, and also graciously consented to my publishing his email.
Here it is:
I just read your entry about adrenal fatigue. Thank you for putting out this important information. As a sufferer myself, I know how devastating adrenal fatigue is and how hard it is to get it properly diagnosed and treated. I suspect that a great many people have adrenal fatigue and never find out. Spreading the word is a must. So kudos for helping others.
I’d like to point out two things:
1) There are lab tests that can detect adrenal fatigue. Saliva tests allow for the measurement of bio-available cortisol and are the standard procedure of adrenal fatigue savvy (more or less so) health practitioners. Unfortunately, the tests are little known. Also, while abnormal cortisol readings on a saliva test can prove that adrenal fatigue is present, the opposite isn’t true: A negative saliva test doesn’t mean the patient isn’t suffering from adrenal fatigue for two reasons (at least): a) saliva levels are measured against what is considered the “normal” cortisol spectrum. However, there’s a big difference between the minimum and maximum level and every individual has a different natural level. So it’s entirely possible that even though cortisol levels are within normal range, the patient may be lacking cortisol. b) in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, the morning low can actually disappear (see below); the daily rhythm seems normal.
To sum it up, saliva tests are certainly the way to go if you suspect your adrenals are fatigued. However, a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean much. In the end, as you point out, you have to rely on the symptoms. The advantage of a saliva test is that if it detects adrenal fatigue, you have some tangible evidence for the condition.
2) In advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, the typical adrenal fatigue daily rhythm (morning lows etc.) can actually disappear (and a host of other seemingly paradoxical symptoms can manifest). That’s what happened to me. After suffering from severe trauma, I couldn’t get up in the morning and showed all the other signs of adrenal fatigue. After about three months, symptoms got worse (dehydration, constipation, inability to fall asleep), but suddenly, the morning low was gone.
Unfortunately, I had a saliva test done after the morning low had already vanished, so my daily rhythm didn’t look too bad (although my cortisol level at lunch and 8 p.m. were very low). The doc told me it wasn’t adrenal fatigue (even though everything fit). I did a second test (7 measurements instead of 3), which showed that my daily rhythm was indeed messed up (short spike midday etc.), but the lab said I had sufficient cortisol levels (even though, again, they were low) and hence no arenal fatigue was present.
So I took matters in my own hands and started taking an adrenal gland extract. For the first three, four days, nothing happened, and I was about to stop. But then, I suddenly got better: sleep quality improved, my mood became way better, I could handle stress better etc. For the first time in a half year, I started feeling close(r) to normal. I’m still a long way from being back to where I was pre-adrenal fatigue, but finally there’s hope.
The lab tests are definitiely a two-edged sword: Many docs don’t know how to interpret them properly (especially, where the limitations are) and neither do the labs. Yet both make definitive statements based on those tests. I’ve been misdiagnosed by one doc and two labs, which is 3 out of 3. (Luckily, I’ve found a competent doc recently.)
I’ve done some research on the net, and the only source I found that mentions that seemingly normal cortisol levels and day rhythm can be present in adrenal fatigue is Dr. Lam (http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp?page=3#11). There are other great sites, but I haven’t come across a better one. However, it seems to me that Dr. Lam portrays the road back to health as more difficult than it is. He almost makes it sound as if it’s rocket science.
Apart from adrenal gland extract, another substance you might want to look into is pregnenolone. I can vouch for the effectiveness of adrenal gland extract in my case; I’ve only read about the beneficial effects of pregnenolone.
Again, thank you for uploading your article.