Anyone who has read my story of nearly 20 years of absolute misery on T4-only meds would think I’d be right in the thick of adrenal fatigue / HPA dysfunction and low cortisol. Those were horrible, miserable, stressful, debilitating years.
Yet, I escaped it.
For awhile after I entered the thyroid patient activist field, I felt guilty. That was especially true as I saw how terribly people suffer with low cortisol. But I also realized there was something potentially amazing to be discovered as to WHY I escaped it.
But years went by, and I have always been extremely busy as an activist: daily emails to take care of; constant updates to the website, keeping track of Yahoo and Facebook groups; thinking about and writing the blog; activities around the book, phone consultations, and so much more. I have also fought to have an important private life.
So, it wasn’t until recently that I readdressed this question: why did I escape adrenal dysfunction? Was it genes which gave me strong adrenals?? That thought has drifted through my mind many times. But I wasn’t sure. So recently, I took some time to really search my past to find answers. And something else really stood out.
Namely, because I had always been a fitness and health buff, I was big into supplements. Sure, I was unable to do hardly anything about fitness part of the equation–my T4-induced and crippling dysautonomia killed that. But my belief in supplements never ended. That was impressed into me by my mother who always stressed taking a vitamin pill as a child. I also remember her putting my cigarette-smoking Dad on Vitamin C in the 1970’s, having read it might delay his inevitable lung cancer. (It was too late.)
So when I became a young adult, married with little children, I learned even more about supplements, and took them. And one thing I remember always taking all those years as a young adult was high amounts of Vitamin C. High amounts of Vitamin C!! That stood out to me. And below are facts about Vitamin C and adrenals:
VITAMIN C and ADRENALS:
- “Of all the vitamins and minerals involved in adrenal metabolism, vitamin-C is probably the most important. It is essential to the adrenal hormone cascade and manufacture of adrenal steroid hormones. It acts as an antioxidant within the adrenal cortex.” ~ www.bluemountainrx.com/adrenal.htm
- “While the adrenal glands need numerous nutrients to function normally, perhaps the most important of them all is vitamin C. The highest concentrations of vitamin C reside in the eyes, brain and adrenal glands. ~ http://www.adrenalfatiguefocus.org/adrenal-fatigue-and-vitamin-c.html
- “Healthy adrenal function requires vitamin C, and some of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the whole body are found in the adrenal glands.” ~ http://www.naturalnews.com/029842_vitamin_C_adrenals.html
- “Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your vitamin C is rapidly used up in the production of cortisol and related stress-response hormones.” ~ http://www.adrenalfatiguerecovery.com/vitamin-c.html
- “The adrenal gland is among the organs with the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. Interestingly, both the adrenal cortex and the medulla accumulate such high levels of ascorbate. Ascorbic acid is a cofactor required both in catecholamine biosynthesis and in adrenal steroidogenesis.” ~ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15666839
There is much more on the net than the above, as well. And in fact, the important relationship between Vitamin C and your adrenals was proposed in 1951. This was huge, to me, as to why I may have escaped adrenal dysfunction. Even the use of B-vitamins and magnesium are important, tho I don’t remember what I was taking of those.
ANOTHER CLUE: I had a conversation with a gal recently. Like me, she suffered a long time, yet did not fall into adrenal fatique. I asked her why she felt she escaped it. She explained that she had worked for a naturopath for many years, and thus, took many supplements, including high dose Vitamin C. I was dumbfounded.
MY CONCLUSION: Whether I have found the irrefutable reason as to why I didn’t fall into adrenal fatigue and low cortisol may not be answered inconclusively. And who knows if some of us just have genetically strong adrenals. But I lean to believe that my early use of high-dose Vitamin C all those miserable years may have been a huge factor, along with B-vitamins which can also be depleted. Today, I take a minimum of 2350 mg daily via my buffered C powder, and in water, and usually double that amount, as I like taking it before bedtime for the magnesium. I am also a fanatic about adding squeezed lemon to my water or occasional fluoride-laden iced tea.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: Adrenal patient experience has shown that once your adrenals or HPA function drops, as does your cortisol, the use of hydrocortisone is usually the best way to treat it. See the adrenals page here. And patients have learned in leaps and bounds on how to use HC with their open-minded doctors (…if they can even find a doctor who looks beyond his dogmatic training. It’s not easy.) But the use of high dose Vitamin C might not be something you want to ignore, whether you have to use HC or not:
- “Sufferers of adrenal fatigue are hit particularly hard by vitamin C deficiency. The production of cortisol and other adrenal hormones, characteristically low in this disorder, is dependent on an ongoing supply of vitamin C. If this supply dwindles, so too does the secretion of adrenal hormones. This feeble response from the adrenal glands places the body under further stress, further increasing demand for the vitamin C. The importance of intervention with the appropriate amounts of this nutrient should not be overlooked.” ~ http://www.adrenalfatiguefocus.org/adrenal-fatigue-and-vitamin-c.html
- Have you heard of Scurvy? This is a progressive disease from the deficiency of vitamin C that ultimately leads to death. And Linus Pauling wrote in his 1979 book, Biomolecular Sciences, that death from Scurvy is actually “adrenalcortical failure”. That is profound as to the importance of Vitamin C with YOUR adrenal health and/or recovery.
- “In two separate studies about vitamin C supplementation (1,000–1,500 mg per day for one week), ultramarathon runners showed a 30 percent lower cortisol level in their blood when compared to runners receiving a placebo. In another study of healthy children undergoing treatment with synthetic corticosteroids, 1 gram (1,000 mg) of vitamin C, consumed three times a day for five days, resulted in significantly lower cortisol levels compared to healthy children given a placebo. In a study of lung-cancer patients, a dose of 2 grams of vitamin C, given daily for one week prior to surgery, was able to bring elevated cortisol levels (resulting from the surgery) back to normal ranges in a significantly shorter period of time compared to patients receiving a placebo. ~ http://cortisolconnection.com/ch8_3.php
* IODINE: Finally, I have updated the iodine page on STTM–long overdue. Thanks to VRP for pointing out that their links have changed. You can read many different links about iodine, the controversies and more, and decide for yourself what is right for you.
* FINDING A BETTER DOCTOR: Want to try to find a better doc that the vast majority of cows…oops, doctors? Go here.
* TALK TO OTHERS: Talking to other patients is what started me on new path years ago. You can too, here. Scroll down to view them all.