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Re: Why lowering cortisol is not always good cybercafe

Posted by BarbaraCat on October 19, 2003, at 21:26:26

In reply to Re: Why lowering cortisol is not always good, posted by cybercafe on October 19, 2003, at 18:20:02

Hi Cyber,
I'll just ramble instead of addressing each of your items. First, I don't have narcolepsy. My dx is bipolar II mixed states and fibromyalgia and am hypothyroid. But I do have sleep apnea and have a rotten time getting or staying asleep. I really notice everything much more awful when I'm not sleeping - fibro pain gets terrible, energy low, etc. When I get a good night's zzzzz it's like a new world. I take Ambien to help with this but quickly get tolerant. So in my case, the anti-stress things are really important. I had a really demanding high tech job before I eventually burnt out completely with fibromyalgia and can't work. I'm usually pretty highly wound up, sometimes tired but wired, and start getting revved up in the evening. Lousy cortisol fluctuations. My thyroid condition has been a real challenge as well, especially taking lithium. But things are getting better as I begin to address the underpinnings of the whole dysfunction.

You have a good point however with getting adapted to a certain level of stress just to survive the jungle, but in order to do that you have to make sure your support systems are strong and not burning out at a slow simmer - like my hubby. Vitamins good for adrenal health are the B's, especially B6 and pantothenic acid. Vitamin C at around 6M per day, magnesium. There are formulations made for general adrenal health. If you go to and do a search on adrenal or whatever you'll get lotsa hits on supplements.

As far as the testing and treatment methods of mainstream medicine - don't get me started. This will probably get me booted over to the Alternative Board but, truly, I feel like I'm on a mission from God about this stuff to anyone who cares to listen. I've had, oh you can't imagine, how many go arounds for the past 5 years trying to figure out what the hell was going on with my health. With the help of the internet I finally sleuthed out fibromyalgia which has since been verified. But I didn't know why. All my HMO doc could say was 'well, there's nothing we can do. Here's a script for some oxycodone.' Fun stuff, but not really doing much for the problem. You're absolutely right that mainstream docs don't have the time and have mandates to keep costs down. But more importantly, they don't have the training to deal with wellness issues or conditions that don't conform to standard insurance codes.

There are many things they do great. I sure wouldn't go to a naturopath for an appendectomy, lance a boil, heart surgery, heavy duty meds that we all need at times. None of the natural methods I've ever used have done a whit to get me out of a major depression, severe anxiety or insomnia. Sometimes we need heavy artillary. But for wellness issues, hormonal imbalances, chronic conditions, immune support - healing at a deep whole body level - mainstream medicine absolutely sucks. You just can't expect anything else from 15 minute office visits where everything is standardized and mandated by HMO insurers and influenced by pharmaceutical companies. It's really pathetic and scary what's happening to us and it's sad how doctors want to help but can provide care that's only adequate at best.

As far as blood tests vs. saliva, it used to be the case that saliva tests weren't as sensitive as they've gotten in the past few years. They along with urine tests used to measure only metabolites or free values rather than serum free and bound values. But things have changed with recent diagnostic methods and saliva is able to provide very sensitive measurements. If you want more info, go to This is the website of ZRT labs, which is the one my naturopath uses.

I had a precancerous condition last year whereby I was getting way too much estrogen from the hormones I was getting from my HMO ob/gyn - even though they were as bioidentical as their pharmacy could manage. It wasn't fun. I had to basically go off all hormones and get back to square one then get the bejesus scraped out of me and bled for weeks afterwards. When I told him I wanted hormone tests now that I had a good zero point baseline and wanted to monitor my levels from that point on, he said the same thing you heard 'oh, hormone tests aren't accurate and besides I wouldn't know what to do with the numbers anyway'. I kid you not! This is someone women are letting deliver their babies! When I told this to my naturopath, she just shook her head and said it's really sad how so many women go through this kind of thing.

As far as the bipolar/cortisol connection, I sure don't know. You mention high norepinephrine and that sure fits, but high cortisol means high norepineprine. But a major piece of the puzzle is falling into place for me. On the suspicion of my naturopath, I had an IGF-1 test done that measure Human Growth Hormone levels. Sure enough, very very low. The pituitary makes HGH and it's a key player in regulating the whole HPA-axis, meaning that cortisol, sex hormones, thyroid hormone, muscle repair, all those important things, aren't working and no matter how many hormones I pumped into my system, nothing was maintaining. So I've been injecting HGH 6 times a week - the real stuff, not the secretogogues crap. It'll supposedly take about 6 months before I'll see a major diff, but my recent test levels are looking good and I'm feeling much better.

I wish I had a better understanding for the mood disorder stuff, chicken or egg, who knows. I'd be very rich if I did. But I can't help but believe with everything I have in me that hormones are a very big piece of the puzzle. Think PMS - any questions? So if I can leave you with anything it's this: Follow the money when it comes to your medical care and don't settle for less than excellent compassionate care and insist upon the tests you feel you need. It's not our concern if the medical business money interests are satisfied or not. We pay plenty for our medical care, and believe me, way too much when a company is no longer picking up the premiums. This applies to alternative health practitioners as well who push expensive supplements and treatments on you. Beware the hungry healer, or the hungry HMO for that matter. So, with that I'll leave you to go fix some chow for my poor ex-herniated guy. Take care and keep in touch. - Barbara




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