Thinking Out Loud on Shortness of Breath and Adrenal Function

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by bpmwriter, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    hi all,

    it was recently suggested to me that this shortness of breath we experience is related to adrenal problems. at the time, this didn't make sense to me as i was supplementing with cortisol when my problems began.

    i knew that ultram (tramadol) was helping with my breathing problems, but why? i learned that tramdadol inhibits reuptake of norepinephrine which soothes bronchial muscles and opens up the lungs. ok, so could there still be a connection to adrenal function? then i began doing some in-depth reading about our friend, the adrenal gland.

    the adrenal gland is comprised of an INNER MEDULLA, which is reponsible for the synthesis of norepinephrine and epinephrine (i didn't realize this since they're neurotransmitters and i assosicated them strictly with the brain), and an OUTER CORTEX, which secretes cortisol and aldosterone. so it seems that addressing adrenal exhaustion must go beyond supplementation with cortisol to also enhance the work of the inner medulla and its production of norepinephrine.

    are you still with me? :)

    the chain looks like this:

    DLPA (DL-Phenalalynine) ---> Tyrosine ---> Dopamine ---> Norepinephrine

    bottom line here is, anyone experiencing shortness of breath might want to try supplementing with DLPA or Tyrosine, or medications that enhance dopamine (ie. requip, mirapex) or norepinephrine (ie. tramadol, SNRIs like effexor).

    once again, it all starts coming back around to the HPA axis and the complicated connection between the nervous and endocrine systems!

    for anyone educated on the use of adrenal glandulars, i would love to know if treating adrenal exhaustion in this manner addresses ALL functions of the adrenal gland as opposed to cortisol supplementation, which is limited to only one of the adrenal glands many functions.

    eddie [This Message was Edited on 01/02/2006]
  2. Tantallon

    Tantallon New Member

    Going to read this tomorrow, thanks for posting.
  3. TwinMa

    TwinMa New Member

    You have made some interesting connections Eddie. You certainly have your thinking cap on! I'll have to ponder this some more.

    One observation I have is that John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus guy), says that women are typically low in serotonin and men are typically low in dopamine. He is mainly talking about nutritionally deficient diets that lead to these chemical deficiencies. He talks about brain chemistry imbalances, though, not adrenal dysfunction. And, of course, since his book is on diet and exercise, he talks of correcting these problems through proper diet and exercise.

    I think it is all interconnected, though. If you get the proper balance on the HPA axis, brain chemistry, diet, exercise, immune system, etc., we'd all be healthy!

    Good post, Eddie!

  4. lease79

    lease79 New Member

    Very interesting, thankyou for this. I have a terrible time with shortness of breath.
  5. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    how does your acupuncturist move heart energy to your adrenals? someone on this board recommended the REN 17 point on the chest for shortness of breath. i haven't tried it with my acupuncturist yet.

    i didn't stay on the 5 mg cortisol because i couldn't determine where the shortness of breath was coming from and basically freaked out. i quit everything, first my t3 for thyroid, then the cortisol. as for weaning, i took the cortisol every other day for about a week, then every third day for a couple days. no problems or ill side effects at all while weaning off. prior to september, i had never had any sort of chest symptoms / breathing problems, so i was convinced it was a side effect of something i was taking. alas, 4 months later, i'm still having the shortness of breath.

    by trial and error, i arrived at this idea that it may be related to low norepinephrine. i like the ffc's hormone protocol, especially the fact that they use bio-identical hormones, but it seems an entire part of the adrenal equation is left out when you only supplement cortisol and/or testosterone. as i mentioned in my original post, the adrenals also produce norepinephrine, which i seem to be lacking. i thought maybe taking glandulars would provide a more well-rounded approach to addressing the adrenal fatigue. with the glandulars, you're essentially rebuilding the adrenals as opposed to doing their work for them by taking hormones.

    then again, i could just go back to cortisol and t3 and add a natural dopamine booster which would convert to norepinephrine. i may seek out an endocrinologist so i can bounce all my theories off of him or her. i'm wearing out my acupuncturist with all my research :) but i'm committed to putting together the pieces of the puzzle this year so i can get on with my life!

    [This Message was Edited on 01/02/2006]
  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Eddie - to be honest, my brain right now does not want to process everything you wrote (even though I can tell you tried to make it as simple as possible). But I'm tired . . .

    I just wanted to tell you that in the past I had very good results with adrenal glandulars. I don't know the chemistry behind it, so I can't give you that. All I know is they greatly helped my very weakened adrenal glands. I understand that they do so by supporting the glands, so there is no problem getting off the glandulars once you no longer need them, unlike Cortef or other steroids, which I believe force the adrenals to perform when they are exhausted, which further exhausts them. Get the difference? The glandulars let your adrenals rest and recuperate, while Cortef forces them to work when they are very weak.

    I've taken adrenal glandulars on and off for several years with no ill effects and am now on a very minimal dose. My present fatigue is from battling a flu bug for several weeks, and I just went to buy some much needed groceries.

  7. tansy

    tansy New Member

    is discussions like this one, we can learn so much from them.

    Eddie DLPA and Tyrosine were problematic for me, and the low dose cortisol disappointing. An adrenal cortex glandular and an ayurvedic adaptogen worked a lot better.

    The discussions on acupuncture have proved timely for me. I was getting my winter/low light sleepies by the end of November, had acupuncture which solved that problem nicely but brought back heart flutters etc. When I told my acupuncturist 4 weeks later he just said that doesn’t sound good, he was not able to understand he might have used the wrong Tx.

    PJSMonster’s reply here given me some important clues as to what may have happened. My acupuncturist knows PWCs cannot take strong Tx, but whilst considered technically very good, he’s yet another “holistic” practioner with tunnel vision.

    My breathlessness and air hunger seem to be triggered mostly by infection and environmental factors including hot humid weather. My cervical spine issues have since been implicated too. Until very recently the breathlessness had improved considerably but not through any direct Tx for my adrenals or HPA; some are heart related. I am having even more problems with this thanks to a recent virus and sinusitis, another known trigger for breathing problems.

    Sometimes we find our answers the wrong way around, it was Tx backfiring that helped me better understand what I was up against.

    Love, Tansy[This Message was Edited on 01/02/2006]
  8. sdown

    sdown New Member

    Doc prescribed B12 sublingual drops under the tongue and hawthorn (supplement) for shortness of breath. I used to do the B12 shots but the doc said now that they have the drops under the tongue they are just as effective and of course no pain. I take 1-2 hawthorn a day depending how bad my shortness of breath is. I take 25 mg a day of cortef and 25 mg a day of DHEA for my adrenal gland exhaustion also known as Addison's disease. Take care.
  9. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    i agree that the board is wonderful for providing pieces of our own individual puzzles that seem to be missing from the table. it's like a kind friend stopped in, picked up the missing piece and laid it on the table for you.

    which adrenal cortex glandular did you use? is this the same as the raw dessicated adrenal? and which ayurvedic adaptogen?? i imagine the ayurvedic adapatogen is similar to what's available in chinese medicine (ie. ginseng). i have some DLPA that i've started to take a few times, then i'll remember it's contraindicated for people with panic attacks in their history and i stop taking it. i've read that tyrosine is even worse for sensitive folks.

  10. ruby711

    ruby711 New Member

    Who is maker of the ACE drops?
  11. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Hi Eddie

    After a lot of reading I decided to follow Julia Ross's advice and use a cortex glandular and the one she recommeded in her book "The Mood Cure". I used the organic adrenal cortex glandular by Allergy Research.

    Julia Ross advises against whole adrenal glandulars since they can cause even more problems with raised adrenaline. At the time I was already having hyperthyroid episodes so wanted to avoid anything that could raise my adrenaline as well, hence my choice.

    I tried siberian gingseng but even that was too stimulating so I opted for Ashwagandha, one of ayurvedic medicine's most popular herbal remedies. It has many properties as well as being an adaptogen, Ashwagandha is said to raise low cortisol levels and lower high cortisol levels. It was the other properties of Ashwagandha that made this seem worth a trial run for me.

    love, Tansy

  12. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    i just ordered two bottles of dr. james wilson adrenal rebuilder which is a blend of adrenal (primarily) plus gonad, pituitary, and thyroid concentrates from porcine sources. someone, i think jeanne-in-canada?, had good results with his product.

    i'm going to speak to my acupuncturist at our next session about adrenal fatigue. like yours, she's very sensitive to my energy and weaknesses. all physicians ought to be required to take at least a few courses in chinese medicine.

  13. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    i figured it was ashwagandha. i've read a lot of good things about it. perhaps i will try that along with the adrenal rebuilder i ordered. going to focus mainly on my adrenals for the next couple months. it seems that CFS, though people want to make it mysterious, could easily be explained as adrenal fatigue gone completely awry. stress, poor diet = adrenal fatigue = the domino effect on immune and nervous system function.

    thanks as always for sharing your great info,
  14. tansy

    tansy New Member

    of your acupuncturist. I have written down notes from your post here for mine but he has ego issues; I know he will not take it well no matter how tactfully I put it. After what I've been through recently, which ended up being very scary when this virus hit me, I think it's either time to take a break from acupuncture altogether or find another acupuncturist who can think as well as follow the book.

    What amazed me was he could not connect his Tx, which worked very well for other problems, with what had happened. It's happened before so it's not the first time. He gets defensive when anyone else comes up with an explanation and Tx for my symptoms; he insists he genuinely wants to help his clients, but only if he's the one to do so.

    love, Tansy
  15. tansy

    tansy New Member

    When acupuncture caused more constant heart fluttering I stopped the hawthorn thinking it might be making matters worse, that break and going back onto it has confirmed hawthorn is having a positive effect on my heart generally but less so with the fluttering atm.

    I learned about Hawthorn here and in Stephen Buhner's "Healing Lyme....", then did some research on it.

    love, Tansy
    [This Message was Edited on 01/03/2006]
  16. sdown

    sdown New Member

    Tansy, That's good Im glad it helps you. Ive been taking it for 4 years. Happy New Year!
  17. tansy

    tansy New Member

    qualified over 25 years ago, but he has changed a lot in the last 12 months. It seems I did not help matters by telling him about my other Tx and why my specialist and I had opted for them. My purpose was to have him work with me so that none of the Tx cancelled one another out. I am incidentally the only PWME/CFS or FM in the area who still has Tx from him.

    He gave me a qigong exercise to do to strengthen my arms, it made matters worse and was negating welcome gains through very gentle movements my PT had given me to retrain the neural pathways. Telling him I had stopped that particular form of qigong and would try it again when I’d plateaued using the PT, was apparently wrong - he was right the PT wrong.

    Although he does not have great interpersonal skills he never used to be like this. In the last year he’s decided to take care of his own physical and mental well being, but the path he has chosen is extreme. He insists his life is much better; he was already underwieght but is more so now, and looks as though he’s aged 10 years in just one. Ironically in the same time span I am looking less old than I did 12 months ago.
    So I will see how my next appt goes but I suspect it’s time for me to move on. It’s a shame cos when he gets it right things go well, there were just too many severe hiccups in 2005 and the last few had worse consequences for me than in all the years he’s treated me.

    Thanks for your replies here; they have focussed my mind and given me some invaluable things to look out for when I’m ready to find another acupuncturist and hopefully one who uses Chinese herbs as well.

    Love, Tansy[This Message was Edited on 01/03/2006]
  18. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Well going back onto the hawthorn has definitely helped. Today for the first time in a while I was able to use my rebounder properly; the only breathlessness was due to my respiratory tract and once again my heart function outstripped my leg muscles' tolerance.

    love, Tansy
  19. rockstar69

    rockstar69 Gail

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