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.