It sounds like we're all experiencing very similar symptoms although I guess it's a guess as to the exact cause of them. I guess the thing that I keep going back to is that mine came on suddenly, during the administration of thyroid meds which apparently over-drove the adrenals. Same as you I can 'keep time' with many of the neuro symptoms by the beat of my heart, even the ringing in my ears.
JOHN, How is your doctor going to (or is he/she going to) test for neurotoxins? I'm always interested in the helpfulness of diagnostic tests.
ANVIL, how is your doctor (or is he/she?) going to test for nanobugs? And about your blood and urine tests, have you gotten a 4 part saliva cortisol test? There are many labs that offer them. When my adrenals were first in the alarm phase 4 years ago, my tests kept coming back normal, both blood and 24 hr. urine cortisol. Which is why no one could figure it out.
But, as I read different things it occurred to me that perhaps Dr. Wilson was right, I was in the extreme Selye's "Alarm Phase" where the adrenals were producing, but like a horse who is being whipped. The hypothalamus, which acts in a negative feedback loop senses what the adrenals are doing, them come on… like a house thermostat. If indeed the hypothalamus is responsible for central nervous system response, it's like mine went haywire and just never 'reset'.
As time went on and I got a 4 part saliva test it showed I was overproducing cortisol in the morning then nothing for the rest of the day. A year later, it was under producing in the morning then nothing. My adrenal reserve was getting lower and lower. It would make sense that perhaps the initial alarm phase set off the reaction, similar to a patient with RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). They initially have an injury, the nerves get 'programmed' for pain and just never stop, even after the injury heals. I still felt like it was my adrenaline (otherwise known as epinephrine) that was also overproducing, yet the last test I had done by NeuroSciences Inc. showed LOW levels of epinephrine, yet HIGH levels of nor-epinephrine (also known as nor-adrenaline), which is the component that is supposed to level out the elevated adrenaline response. So I can 'maybe' surmise that it may indeed have something to do with that.
I'm going to continue to work on this, look at some of the things you all have been trying and keep in touch. NeuroSciences recommendations on my test results were to try some of their products, TravaCor, Endoplus, Excitacor and Kavinace. (Like I need to buy MORE stuff!!) But it talks about inhibitory neurotransmitters, neuro overstimulation and the like....so that's my next area to study when I get the energy reserves back up.
I still believe that ultimately it's getting the overall body healthy and severely limiting stress of ALL kinds that improve health in general, especially the adrenals, but I'm not going to discount other avenues. I agree in general with AJC that posts here about not getting all you can from pills, but if that were completely true, then why would I have such a pronounced effect both on heart rate (which lowers from 100 to 75) and BP which raises from 90/60 to 100/70 when I take just 2.5 MG. of Cortef? If you’re taking digestive enzymes (which I am) with every meal wouldn’t they be breaking down the components into digestible particles?
Not to say that Propranalol won't help you either. I have a friend with Agoraphobia who says it helped him tremendously, but it does lower BP. I tried a 6 week course of it and when my BP was 70/50 (yup...) and I was woozy in the Dr.'s office we both agreed that it was time to stop.
I bought a BP cuff and a thermometer and I keep track a few times a day what's happening. If you go on Propranalol, keep testing your BP to make sure it doesn't fall too low.
Question for John.....what kind of herbs were you taking?
For ANVIL.....I was taking the lowest dose of Propranalol 1 x day....my 'normal' resting BP is 90/60 and my 'normal' body temp runs 95.0-97.7 in the morning. Both these low numbers (and especially in the absence of thyroid problems) are hallmarks of Adrenal Insufficiency. I also have just above high-normal range of potassium, another symptom, since aldosterone which is also manufactured by the adrenals controls sodim/potassium ratio. By BP is higher lately since I've started using the Baschetti Licorice root, but DON'T use it unless you have low BP AND a baseline potassium test done as this strong of licorice root can lower potassium and help you retain fluid (which I needed).
For the last few months I've been on low doses of Cortef 2-3 mg. 2 x day and I'm using 1-2 Isocort in the late afternoon. As long as I control my stress level, especially internally, and don't overextend what little energy I have for the day, it seems to help and I sleep better. The jury is out right now on all the benefits, but I'm going to run Cortisol tests while I'm on it to see where my numbers are. I read that people take 5-10 mg. bu for me, even with my morning cortisol abou 25% below lowest range I can't tolerate more than 3 mg. If I take around 3 mg. of Cortef I've noticed that it DOES lower my heart rate, sometimes from 100 bpm to around 65-70, but the contractions seem harder, so that's something to consider. Isocort doesn't seem to have the same immediate affect. However, since my ears ring already, I've noticed that if I take more than 2 mg. of Cortef they ring even louder, which makes me just nuts!
For testing I've used 2 places. Both had the same results which says something good for them. If you didn't get any relief from Isocort it would really be a good idea to see where your cortisol numbers are. Keep in mind, if your adrenal fatigue is moderate to severe, it may take a LONG while to see results, so be patient!!!
http://www.diagnostechs.com They only deal with Dr.s' but yours can call and order testing kits. They charge about $100. for the labwork. They have a great website, so check it out, with sample tests and articles.
The other is Neuro-Science, Inc (Pharmasan Labs). Their site is http:///w.thehormoneshop.com. The have all KINDS of tests you can order WITHOUT a Dr. and very reasonable.
Have you read Dr. Wilson's book ADRENAL FATIGUE? An absolute must if you think you have adrenal problems. Another book I highly recommend is the late Dr. Poesnecker's book called Chronic Fatigue Unmasked 2000. It's cheapest (I think about $15.00) if you order it from the Clymer Healing Research Center's website http://.www.chronicfatigue.org. Don't let the title throw you....the book is about adrenal problems and Dr. Poesnecker's decades of treating adrenal patients through the Clymer clinic. He found a great many CFS patients had adrenal problems and for many it was their PRIMARY problem.
Here's what the flyer said that come with my Baschetti Licorice...."The licorice extract inhibits 11 beta hydroxysteroid (11-BHOD) in the kidneys. 11-BHOD is the enzyme that inactivates cortisol. " So I would guess that if your morning cortisol is low, it allows it to stay in the system longer. I'd been taking mine in water but I just started taking it this week in milk substitutes. I can't drink milk so I substitute soy milk, oat milk, rice milk and hazelnut milk in rotation. I also add salt to it. I don't think licorice actually raises cortisol levels, just allows your body not to excrete it through the kidneys.
And the body needs to be in sodium/potassium balance. Potassium, either too high or too low, can cause heart arrythmyia The flyer says, "The increased sodium causes the body to conserve water, which quickly increases your overall blood volume. Increased blood volume indirectly increases blood pressure by increasing the efficiency of the heart." Honestly, I think that the Cortef is the thing for me that's allowing my heart to rest. I was reading this morning in Fatigued to Fantastic that Dr. Teitelbaum also recommends 5-12.5 mg a day of Cortef (over natural glandulars) for 9-18 months to supplement, but not shut down the adrenals. But, the licorice is doing something by balancing my fluid ratio, helping me to keep cortisol in my system later in the day and keeping my BP stable.
Your'e asking the same questions that have been plaguing me for several years. I kept thinking my heart rate was due to either a.) too much cortisol or b.) too much adrenaline (remember they're not the same thing). Cortisol is made by the outer adrenal, adrenaline by the inner part. But when I had my adrenaline and nor-adrenaline levels checked, my adrenaline was actually low. In the same test my cortisol was low at all times tested. I have a theory (still unproven) that it's the hypothalamus that's predominantly the instigator.
The hypothalamus is directly in charge of the central nervous system, including some degree of electrical activity of the heart muscles. If the adrenals are not producing enough cortisol, the hypothalamus signals the pituitary which signals the adrenals to produce. Once the adrenals are on line, then the hypothalamus shuts off. But I've read that in HPA axis disfunction something goes haywire and it never wants to shut off. I think in the beginning my adrenals were being driven to exhaustion and even though my morning cortisol numbers were not elevated my adrenals were simply unable to produce what was needed to make the hypothalamus shut off. Dr. Neville at Clymer believes that if we can get my adrenals producing (or by supplementation) at a the levels they're supposed to that eventually the hypothalamus will calm down. I'll let you know.......I'm not giving up on the finding the root causes!!! Although he and I disagree on one issue. He does not prescribe Cortef, only natural glandulars.
In addition, I spent months and months in a panic state, not understanding what was happening, finding no help from doctors, getting sicker and more debilitated all the time. I think this was making things SO much worse because when your adrenals are sick you simply don't have enough bound cortisol (cortisol which attaches itself to proteins in the blood as opposed to free cortisol which just circulates in the blood) to deal with stress. I got to the point that even GOING to the doctor, any kind of doctor precipitated an worsened adrenal crash. One of the questions I'm going to ask Dr. Neville is HOW do you increase bound cortisol, since taking Cortef just is supposed to increase free cortisol?
Since I started on the Cortef at very low doses my heart just 'feels' different, not beating so wildly or frantically. I started using Baschetti on the advice of the doctor at Clymer. I had taken other kinds of licorice before at varying times and didn't notice any difference.
I also wanted to mention one thing. The HARDEST things I've ever had to do in my life is learn how to find a peaceful place in my mind and heart in the midst of this illness. I can't emphasize that enough. You have to fight ALL the fear, hopelessness, worry, anger and frustration that come with this. Dr. Poesnecker in his book gives an illustration, (if somewhat icky and creepy) that Adrenal Insufficiency is like a monster that feeds on its own dung. You worry about it, worry makes it infinitely worse depleting what little chemicals you're producing, which makes you sicker, which makes you worry more.
Treatment MUST be 3 fold, eliminating the things from your life that you should; chemicals, toxins, junk food, etc. , adding the things you do need; supplements, glandulars, etc. and changing your mind set to a peaceful state to take the stress off the body. I didn't get that the first few years. I kept searching for a magic pill or supplement that would heal me. I still believe in taking those things because I see improvement, but lasting improvement HAS to come also from the inside as well; reducing stress to an absolute minimum, forgiving every single person who has ever wronged you, not accepting society's idea that a stressed and busy person is a productive person. Adrenal Fatigue is an epidemic and no wonder. I don't think society was ever meant to be so stressed, so busy, so overwhelmed with input.
Hang in there......tomorrow will be a better day!!! I'm going to continue to post periodically on my progress.