I think I finally understand why I've had bronchitis off and on for months, why I had scary heart palpitations for years up until a few days ago, and why I couldn't fast or do well on keto/Atkins induction. The reason is adrenal fatigue. Some call it a made-up illness (there's no insurance code for it), but here are the results of my lab test for adrenal hormones:
|Green is optimal; my cortisol levels are mostly suboptimal. DHEA is in the tank.|
My adrenals are clearly at the low end. As Dr. William Jefferies put it, "Patients with mild adrenal deficiency describe wanting to do things but feeling too exhausted to undertake them..." The latter is exactly how I've felt for quite a while.
Cortisol, one of the adrenal hormones, helps you deal with inflammation and stress; it also helps regulate blood sugar, metabolism and immune responses. When my dog Molly died in 2017 and I started breaking out in hives at night, it was probably a lack of cortisol. When I got ravenous after a fast in 2010, I probably wasn't making enough cortisol. When it took me three months after moving to Indiana to feel like going back to work full time, it was probably a lack of cortisol and other adrenal hormones, depleted after two of the most stressful years I ever lived through.
I've started taking DHEA. Dr. William Davis recommended a starting dose of 10 mg; he writes in Wheat Belly Total Health that high doses can induce facial hair in women. My office mate says that if I ever show up looking like I need to shave, she'll know what happened. I've also been using 35mg of hydrocortisone cream every day (about the level recommended in Stop the Thyroid Madness) for going through an illness like bronchitis). I'm feeling better, but still have a ways to go.