Low cortisol levels… and fasting

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  • I am wonderng if anyone has any information on fasting and low cortisol levels.

    Mine I discovered today are very very low, way below the normal range…so…curious now about the fasting and the cortisol. I don’t imagine it will harm me but am not sure where I am at.

    I have had a number of conditions that I have been working my way through and am of the opinion now that fasting is good for pretty much everything but am not a medico…so, a bit insecure and hoping somone will know the answer to this question..

    Weight loss is extremely difficult for me…I think that there may be a connection with the cortisol being so reduced, just discovered due to a big batch of blood tests throwing back results to my GP from the endo, which I’d requested be sent on.

    I can’t get an appointment with my endocrinologist until October…she is booked out!

    Hello Matrika, Did you end up experimenting with 5:2? If so, I’d be interested in hearing more about your experience.

    I’ve had very, very low cortisol myself and ended up needing to take bio-identical cortisol replacement hormone for a period of time to help give my adrenals a rest. While I was on the replacement I did a number of things to help heal various underlying causes and was eventually able to successfully wean off the cortisol replacement. I took my last dose of cortisol replacement at the end of March 2016. I have since had morning cortisol tested via blood which showed levels now at near optimal level. Because of this, I thought I might be ready to trial a 5:2 fasting day. I was a bit hesitant given a friend of mine who had low cortisol who decided to give 5:2 a ‘go’ and didn’t do so well. Thankfully my experience was more positive and I’m happy to report that all went well.

    Typically fasting can pose challenges for those with low cortisol because fasting naturally puts extra stress on the body and in response the adrenals secrete more cortisol (the stress hormone)to compensate. If unable to make the amount of cortisol required, to compensate the stress of fasting, symptoms may result, such as fatigue, dizziness and feeling of being light headed, brain fog, headache, sudden and intense hunger and/or cravings.

    One way I knew that I was ready to give 5:2 a try is that I noticed that I was able to skip a meal here and there with no ill effects. In other words, I already knew I could go several hours between eating without experiencing any type of backlash. This is in contrast to what would happen when I was struggling with low cortisol and also when I was taking cortisol replacement. During those times I had to eat frequent small meals or I would develop the symptoms I described above. I’m happy to chat further about this.

    Hi Lael. Im about to start hydrocortison treatment. Im very happy to read about your success. How much cortison were you on and for how long? What did you to to be able to wean it of?

    Thanks

    Hi berten!

    I started on 25 mg. bio-identical hydrocortisone per day, split into divided doses through the day. I did my best to provide the amount of HC that my body would need at each point of the day, so my morning dose was largest and I tapered down as the day went on. I tracked my progress by taking Daily Average Temperatures since this was the only way I could objectively determine whether I was on a dose correct for my metabolic needs. I was on HC for 1 1/2 years before I got ‘weaning’ signals; signs that my body was ready to wean. It then took me another 1 1/2 years to slowly wean off. The process sped up at the end when I implemented something called the ‘Circadian T3 Method’ which is a way of taking T3 only thyroid medication in a way that supports the adrenals to effectively produce cortisol. I still practice this on a continual basis and is probably the main reason why I’m able to remain weaned off HC.

    I found out about how to optimally take HC and really get it to work for me, not so much from my doctor who wrote the prescription, but instead from a group similar to this! I studied and read, especially others’ experiences. The group of many thousand did a lot of troubleshooting and what worked and didn’t became quite evident. Of course some things work for some and not for others, though there were some patterns that emerged. It was in that group that I learned about taking my Daily Average Temperatures and charting these, which I found as the most valuable tool while I was taking HC.

    May I ask if one of your conditions is related to your thyroid? In other words, do you have Hashimotos thyroiditis? I’m wondering because chronically hypothyroid and especially autoimmune thyroiditis can put extra stress on our adrenals, so the conditions can be related.

    Hi
    Thanks for you reply. Yes i have hashimoto. I was functioning fine until i tried a low carb diet (ketogenic) stupiest mistake in my entire life. My problem is that i wake up every night at 2 and have trouble going back to sleep. and than a wake up around 5 again. Im doing kind of CT3M, im taking my T3 in the evening, i dont want to set my alarm in the night because i already sleep bad. This method has helped me, my morning cortisol is in the mid range insteadof in the low range. Which group did you get help from for the HC?

    Thanks

    Hi berten76, Sorry to be so long in getting back to you! How are things going? I used to be a part of the FTPO – (For Thyroid Patients Only) FB group which is based on the ‘Stop the Thyroid Madness’ books.

    What you could consider with the 2 am wake up is to take your circadian dose at that time. I set my alarm to wake up at 3 am every night and it’s gotten to the point whereby that dose actually helps me get right to sleep if I’ve already been awake!

    My sister takes her NDT at bedtime and it helps her too!

    Yes, as I understand things, carbs are required to convert T4 into T3 and on ketogenic diets insulin is kept at very low levels. No wonder you crashed! Also, from what I understand, from Chris Kresser and his team who are up on all the latest paleo, have found that low carb diets tend to increase cortisol, but for those of us who have a weakness there, it can actually be an ongoing stressor. I know fasting can be a stressor as well, which is why I’m careful and basically use my fasting days as my ‘health retreat’ days where I relax and do things like take baths and rest. Given it is only for 36 hours, I do okay.

    Hello

    I Saw your posted and I have something similar. I did low carb for a year no normal weight loss but at the end I did get insomnia wake a lot of times not sleeping and a few weeks later a lot of skip heart beats.

    So I stopped the diet but my symptoms are still here after 1.5 year.

    If I read your post this could be because I stressed my adrenals. How can you reverse the sleeping. Never had this before. I want to try fasting but I am now wondering is this okay because with the low carb stuff you read a lot it is healthy for hypo. But I think my problems could Come From trying to loose weight with low carb?

    Any thought?

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