"Elephant in the Room"! CFS and Addison's Disease (Cortisol Deficiency) | ProHealth Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme Disease Forums

"Elephant in the Room"! CFS and Addison's Disease (Cortisol Deficiency)

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Dr. Bashetti reported in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism that "Hydrocortisone, used to treat Addisons's Disease, has recently been confirmed to be effective also in the treatment of CFS. This comes as no surprise if we consider that CFS and Addison's Disease share 26 common features."
Folks, there are probably many, many types of CFS, but imbalance and deficiency involving our stress-hormones, affecting so many health-aspects, offers the most logical explanation AND treatment. Given, endocrinology isn't the most exciting or trendy subject, and the CFS-brain-fog makes it an extra challenge. Also, most doctors aren't in the loop on this, and the "natural" or alternative treatments are usually going in other directions. Are there "natural" supplements to really boost your cortisol (or receptors)? Worth trying also!


I think this is often overlooked in treating chronic fatigue. Years ago CFS doctors were telling patients to increase their sodium which helps compesate for adrenal insufficiency.

I do think before starting therapy it's a good idea to get a cortisol profile with samples taken at different times of the day. My cortisol is actually elevated in the early morning hours, then goes way below normal in the evening. So if I were going to take something like prednisone or hydrocortisone it would be very important to do that in the evening, not the morning. You need to have some drop at night because a little inflammation is necessary for the body to know where to focus resources to heal, but you don't want it to be so low that you suffer.

I have found two natural supplements that help. One is the amino acid L-Histidine which works by slowing down an enzyme that degrades cortisol. The other is licorice root (I use capsules). This increases aldosterone, another adrenal steroid. It is similar in activity to Florinef or fludrocortisone. Licorice root also has anti-viral activities, especially against herpes viruses like Epstein-Barr. The only contraindication is high blood pressure. It is very sweet tasting and makes a good tea...it has no licorice taste at all (licorice flavoring is usually made from anise oil).



...and I wonder if any of the natural cortisol-boosting supplements contain the ingredients you mention? Considering your case, cortisol levels seem unusual and maybe you wouldn't be a candidate for low-dose HC or prednisone treatment. But several studies have shown lots of CFS people to have abnormally-low cortisol, and supplementing with the actual hormone has really helped. Consider how many CFS-symptoms resemble hypoglycemia, but aren't resolved by eating. Cortisol plays such a major role in blood-sugar levels, wondering if you've been tested for non-reactive hypoglycemia (low fasting levels in the morning)?
At any rate, the way stress-hormones have largely been ignored in this long ongoing CFS puzzle, considering all the research findings over the years, is a little crazy!