Post Script: Having high cortisol can be as bad as low!
Thyroid patients can be very familiar the low cortisol issue, but what about having high cortisol?
Turns out it’s a common problem, whether one’s saliva results reveal high cortisol here or there, or high results at all four times, or just having too high levels right at bedtime. And having high cortisol can create the exact same symptoms as having low–nausea in the face of stress, adrenaline surges which wire you or keep you awake, lowered temp, high RT3…you name it. High cortisol inhibits conversion of T4 to T3, and increases your RT3 level,. You can see a return of hypothyroid symptoms and a lowered temp.
Having too high levels of cortisol two or more times in the day can point to untreated hypothyroidism (due to the TSH lab test or by being off by choice), undertreated hypothyroidism (due to being on T4-only meds), dosing with too much progesterone cream, current high life stressors, chronic illness, and more. (By the way, this is different from the disease called Cushings, which is the result of taking too much cortisol prescription meds, or a tumor causing the excess cortisol.)
High bedtime cortisol can cause disruption of your sleep pattern, resulting in problems falling asleep, or staying asleep, or both…which is the very thing you don’t need!
But help is just around the corner at your local health food store. The following are examples of over-the-counter products which could help lower your cortisol levels. Remember to watch for symptoms that reveal your cortisol is back down (such as being able to fall asleep and stay asleep, or less anxiety, or rising temps, etc). You can then decrease the supplement and soon get off so you don’t lower it too much!
- Phosphatidyl serine (PS)is a fatty acid found in your immune cells and muscle tissue,as well as being prevalent in your brain cells. And as a supplement, it helps lower cortisol when its high levels are damaging–lowering it from 30% to 70% according to different literature. When you shop for it, you want simple Phosphatidyl Serine rather than Phosphatidyl Complex, which will contain both PS and Phosphatidyl Choline. The “complexes” will often say 500 mg, of which 100 mg is the Phosphatidyl Serine. But the complex can give you a strange spacey feeling in the mornings. Recommended doses of PS range from 300 mg to 1000 mg, and you might start around 300 mg and see if you get relief, or raise until you do. If you have all day high cortisol, you can experiment with 300 mg at breakfast, another 300 by lunch, and 300 around supper…or every few hours. One downside of PS: it’s derived from soy. And soy is a known thyroid inhibitor. So you might want to pay careful attention to your other sources of soy, and eliminate them.Another good alternative is Seriphos, which has the ingredients that PS converts to: Phosphorylated Serine. And most brands have no soy! Check the label.
- Zinc can also help lower high cortisol levels! Recommended dosages range from 25 mg to 100 mg, and the latter has been the most effective at nighttime, say patients. It’s important to have food in your stomach when taking zinc to prevent stomach upsets. Some patients will add zinc to their PS dosage. Don’t take zinc forever–it can lower copper levels. Use it until cortisol is lowered. Or, add copper to your supplementation, such as 2-4 mg say some experts.
- Adaptogens can help lower high cortisol due to their regulating effect on stress. They include Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Schizandra and Eleuthero.
***The revised STTM book covers the high cortisol topic even more and other supplement suggestions, if needed.
By the way, if morning is low, and noon is high, you can help lower the latter by treating the former with cortisol…or if bedtime is high, and morning is low, you can “improve” the morning by lowering the bedtime.
Want to order your own labwork?? STTM has created the right ones just for you to discuss with your doctor. Go here: https://sttm.mymedlab.com/
Need help interpreting your lab results? Go here: www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/