Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Getting Over Adrenal Fatigue

I've got it back, I'm feelin' better every day. Tell all those pencil pushers, better get outta my way.

I'm doing well enough that I've worked out the past couple of days and started going for walks at lunch again--once when it was 14F (-10C). I'm cooling off at night now. It's good to put on my winter pajamas and pull up the covers. Adrenal cortex and hydrocortisone FTW!

Here's what I've learned from my reading and experience:


In other words:

  1. Sort out your minerals first: iron, magnesium, potassium and iodine. Salt your food to taste.
  2. If you think you have adrenal problems--being tired or wired at the wrong time of day, heart palpitations, frequent colds, sex hormone problems--take a 24-hour cortisol test. Sort out your adrenals--I use Seeking Health adrenal cortex; others use stuff with adrenaline in it, or "adaptogen herbs." The former gave me palpitations; I haven't tried the latter.
  3. If you think you have thyroid problems, get your free T3, free T4, reverse T3 and antibodies tested. I took Thyro-Gold, and it was wonderful for awhile, until I took too much.

I wish I'd done those steps in order. I did them bass-ackwards and it was a big mistake. (Well, I did start with iodine, thanks to the advice of Dr. Davis of Wheat Belly fame.)

So why didn't I see a regular doctor instead of joining Dr. Davis's forum? Sad to say, but if it's not broken, bleeding or infected, a lot of doctors don't know what to do. And many of them don't realize they don't know what to do. If you disagree with them, you're wrong or you're lying. There are the kind of doctors who care about people and want to learn new things to help them--some of those doctors are in my blog roll. The other kind of doctors can fuck off.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Improvements on Milder Adrenal Medication

Changing my adrenal medication has done me some good. I'm now taking one that's just adrenal cortex. That's what the last one was supposed to be, but I'm sure it had adrenaline in it. I've been a lot less jittery and the heart pounding has all but stopped. It was so distracting when I was trying to sleep! I can't quit wholesale--I start catching cold every time I try. Even in the few days after I quit the one and waited for the other to arrive, I got cold and tired.

So Saturday I had groceries delivered because I didn't feel like leaving the house. I filled up my online cart with about 20 items, then tried to change my address from work to home. I couldn't. The site said my home and work were in different regions. So I emptied the cart, changed the address, and started again. I got a pop-up message saying I'd changed my address--did I want to change it? I clicked yes, I wanted to change it. When I was ready to check out, there was my work address. Dammit! That wasn't what I meant! I emptied the cart again and by the time I finished shopping, the delivery window I wanted was closed and I had to choose a later one. I eyed the street, hungry, while I waited on the groceries.

As long and bumpy as this road to recovery has been, I've made definite progress. I don't have the aches and pains I had a year ago. I'm off the thyroid medications and so far, I don't think I have any hypothyroid symptoms. I'm off the stronger adrenal medication. Mentally, I'm happier and feel more purpose. A year ago, I felt very apathetic. And I'm wearing clothes from my thin closet. I can do keto without getting scary heart palpitations, which was a problem for me some five years ago.

I now know I've had symptoms of low adrenal function all my life: hypoglycemia, allergies, sinus infections that went on and on, then frequent neck pain, then poor digestion, then lack of energy, and finally, low thyroid. So I don't think I'll ever be able to go off adrenal medication, nor would I want to. If I hadn't done something about my health problems starting a year ago, I'd have ended up on disability. Things were going that far downhill. I'm not quite back to where I was about five years ago, but other things like palpitations, neck pain (which started in my 20s) and struggling to stay under 130 pounds are improved or gone. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Iatrogenic Condition?

Taking more adrenal and natural desiccated thyroid was a bad idea. I had an instinct Friday morning that I didn't want to take NDT, but I ignored it. All day and part of Saturday, I was jittery and my heart was pounding. I finally decided to follow my instincts, informed by reading and experience.

I didn't take any NDT Saturday and didn't take any NDT or adrenal hormones today. I'm feeling better. I also quit doubling up on iron, since I've started feeling hot at night.

There are times when it's better to have a specific plan, but this might not be one of them.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Finding the Right NDT Dose

Saturday, I quit taking NDT (natural desiccated thyroid) for a while, figuring my problems (pounding heart, feeling hot, lack of energy) were from taking too much. The problems went away, so I was right. Yesterday, I felt great: normal heartbeat, energetic, cheerful...then I went outside after work and felt too cold. My heart started pounding again. I woke up later that night and felt puffiness behind my eyes. This morning I was up a pound and my face was so puffy it looked like Elvis circa 1976. My stomach was rumbling after lunch and sending acid the wrong way.

Not wanting to repeat the misery I went through from taking too much NDT, I waited until this afternoon, thought about making absolutely sure my iron and adrenals were straightened out this time, and finally said, screw it, if I don't like taking NDT, I'll stop. So I took 150 mg--and felt better.  My face doesn't look like I need to lay off the peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwiches.

What I'm doing now:

  • Very low carb.
  • 50 mg Thorn adrenal cortex pills twice a day
  • 18 mg iron twice a day
  • 1 scoop Ultima electrolytes once per day
  • 2 scoops Keto 1000 electrolyte mix per day for the potassium
  • 1 full glass magnesium water a la William Davis
  • 800 mcg iodine per day (kelp tablets)
  • 2 Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins per day
  • 7,000 IU vitamin D every other day
  • NDT--planning on 150 mg twice a day

Weight this morning: 127; it was 126 yesterday. Before starting hormone replacement, I was struggling to stay under 130. Those few pounds aren't a big deal for most people, but for me, it's the threshold to having a roll of fat around my waist. The weight loss has been effortless.

I made a big mistake not taking care of my iron level and adrenals before my thyroid, and another big mistake taking way, way too much NDT. But my concentration was so poor when I was hypothyroid that I couldn't focus on learning new information. In any case, I now know how it feels when I'm hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, low on adrenals, and hyperadrenal, and if it's not that, I probably need iron or potassium. I feel empowered. That's better than asking a doctor who isn't hip to NDT, "Please sir, may I have the right medication?"

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Some Good News: Troubleshooting and Mega Potassium Source

Figuring out my endo problems has been hard. Palpitations can be caused by too much or too little potassium, magnesium, iron, adrenaline and T3 (thyroid hormone). Having experimented with the first three, I think I still have too much T3 in my system. That, and I felt a lot better a week ago after taking a break from taking it, then cutting my dose in half.

Back when my adrenals were low, eating more carbohydrate made me feel better. It doesn't now. Another sign that the problem is too much T3.

Lab tests last week showed almost everything was normal: iron, magnesium, potassium, hemoglobin, and various kidney functions. My fasting glucose was high, though (106); I'm hoping it's because I was in some distress.

I'm also hoping that getting my iron straightened out will help downstream functions of adrenals and thyroid. I went about things backwards: first (says Nora Gedgaudas), it's iron, which affects adrenals, which affects thyroid. There's more to it than that, but those are the main players in my case. Upping magnesium and potassium has also made me feel better. I'm no longer lying down after bringing laundry up from the basement, but I'm glad it's winter and I don't have to mow the lawn.

There's finally a decent potassium source on the market: keto electrolyte mixes with 1,000 mg per serving. Yay--I don't have to eat potato chips to get plenty of potassium anymore.

As a result of cutting back carbs--I might as well, since they don't make me feel better--I can fit into pants I that haven't fit in several months. And since taking adrenal hormones, dairy doesn't give acne. I've been enjoying homemade quiche and tortilla soup with sour cream. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Still Figuring out my Endo Problems

Reducing my NDT was a success: the aches and pains are gone and I can sleep at night again.

However, my heart started pounding after meals, then between meals, and then I had to lie down after meals or any exertion like bringing a basket of laundry upstairs from the dryer.

Google is a lot less helpful than it used to be for finding answers. No matter how I phrase search terms, I get answers involving high cortisol, which I don't have. And the top answers are from corporate pill pushers and official sounding agencies that are adrenal fatigue deniers.

I finally found some answers from Nora Gedgaudas's book Rethinking Fatigue, which I heard about over at Jimmy Moore. The second suggestion in the chapter about low cortisol is to check your iron. It's a big deal in adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems. She also says that doing keto is going to be really hard with low cortisol (but to try anyway) and to dig deeper for the source of your adrenal problems.

I respect what Gedgaudas says, but sometimes you do need a bandaid. I'd prefer to get to the root of my problems, but in the meantime, I need to function. If I hadn't taken adrenal hormones I might still have bronchitis. I still wouldn't be digesting my food well without digestive enzymes. I wouldn't be able to take much thyroid hormone. I wouldn't be able to use her book--focusing on a book was that hard when my thyroid and cortisol were low. I understand now why my mother hardly read anything but gossip magazines.

Meantime, I've upped my iron dosage, I'm eating a little more carbohydrate (but not going berserk), taking more electrolytes and salt, and trying DGL tablets, which she says increase how long your cortisol lasts. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Too Much NDT!

Even with lab tests, it's hard to tell if you're dosing yourself right on NDT (natural desiccated thyroid) and adrenals cortex. Palpitations, being hot or cold, aches and pains, fatigue and nervousness are symptoms of high and low levels of both. They can be symptoms of other things, too.

Changing only one variable at a time helps; so does changing doses a little at a time. Turns out I've been taking too much NDT and got symptoms of headache, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and a bit of diarrhea. I wasn't hot, but didn't get cold even when going out in 44 degree weather with no coat.

I've stopped taking it for the time being and will start again at a lower dose.