When Thyroid Patients May Need Adaptogens
(Important note: STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients have reported in their treatment. Please work with your doctor. This is not meant to replace that relationship or guidance, and you agree to that by reading this website. See the Disclaimer.)
Have you ever felt like the pressures around you were all too consuming??
Felt like you might implode due to all that’s going on??
Feel like you are constantly in overdrive to survive whatever is going on?
Having fun, but you know it’s too much?
It happens to anyone. We go about our lives fairly well. But then comes those normal life situations which stress the heck out of us, day after day. Things like too-demanding or negative bosses, or jobs we can’t stand, difficult people we are forced to be around or deal with, loved ones sick, holidays, or our own personal issues.
And to the rescue come certain herbs and supplements called ADAPTOGENS.
Now wait–let’s get one thing straight…
Before we get into what adaptogens are and how they are used, let’s first understand this: adaptogens are usually the most effective for people who have healthy adrenal function, yet are under stress. i.e. one does NOT have “low cortisol”, aka adrenal fatigue, aka adrenal insufficiency two or three consecutive times during a day.
Sure, even with low cortisol, one can take adaptogens! But our vast experiences show that adaptogens will not help you make a full recovery from having low cortisol/adrenal fatigue/adrenal insufficiency. For those people, it’s more about giving oneself back the cortisol they need, which adaptogens do not.
If in doubt, the only way to know for sure is ordering a 24-hour adrenal saliva test to see what is going on (NOT a blood test–blood is measuring both bound and unbound cortisol–not helpful as is saliva, which measures what is available for use i.e. unbound. Blood is also only once; saliva is at 4 key times in a 24 hour period).
You can order your own saliva test from facilities listed on the following page–My Med Lab is quite popular for a saliva test: //www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/recommended-labwork Then it’s IMPORTANT to compare your results to the following page: //www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values
** The saliva result that usually means you have healthy adrenal function but are under stress is like this: low, high, low, high or high, low, high, low. i.e. a see-saw effect. Those kind of see-saw patterns are the ones that usually react the best to the use of Adaptogens.
Now we’ll move to Adaptogens, what they are, who they work best for, etc
An adaptogen is any particular substance found in certain plants and herbs which works to help even out your biological internal response to stress, whether from people stress, job stress…on and on. i.e. an adaptogen helps you cope, helps you adapt, helps you recover better. And negative side effects are few. It’s straight from nature! But each person needs to figure out for themselves if they tolerate any of these, or need to avoid some of them, and in working with your doctor. Because we can’t know that for anyone reading this.
Examples of adaptogens include
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea L.)
- Siberian Ginseng (recommended to take any Ginsengs in the daytime rather than evening to prevent bedtime insomnia)
- Korean Ginseng
- North American Ginseng
- Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
- Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
- Suma (Pfaffia paniculata)
- Holy Basil (patients use this to lower high cortisol alone)
- Maitake, reishi, and shiitake mushrooms are considered to have adaptogenic qualities.
- Licorice root is also considered an adaptogen, but it can have an aldosterone-like effect and cause high blood pressure in some due to sodium retention.
Many of these herbal adaptogens have a long history of use in China and Russia–hundreds and thousands of years. Most scientific study was begun by the 1940’s by two Russian scientists and have continued in the West.
How do we choose which adaptogen, plus how to dose adaptogens?
It’s a bit individual and totally up to you. Janie Bowthorpe loves to use Ashwagandha and/or Rhodiola when stressed, plus has a couple of bottles with multiple of the above adaptogens in them. She keeps them handy since one never knows when stress will fall upon you!
Even one dose is going to help some people, but many people state they need that one dose several times through the day if stress is on-going. Some might need more than the bottle recommends. Each person has to figure out what works for them. Studying each adaptogen may be key, as well.
Is there good research supporting the effect of adaptogens that patients have experienced?
- This study reveals how even one dose can give good results (even if some people say they need more): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16261511
- A good study of Rhodiola: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10839209
- A good study of Ashwagandha: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
- A good study about Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14737017
- And you can look up any others….
Any other beneficial results from adaptogens?
Definitely. For one, regular and multiple doses while under long-term stress can prevent us from falling into adrenal fatigue with its low cortisol three or more times in a 24 hour period.
Wonderfully, adaptogens can be high in antioxidants, meaning anti-cancer. And some folks who have used adaptogens regularly and for years report few to no colds or the flu. Ashwagandha has been shown to possibly help Parkinsons and Alzheimers, as well as inhibit breast, colon and lung cancer in laboratory testing
What if saliva shows two highs and two lows?
That is a stress pattern that can be treated by targeting those two highs–a treatment which in many people, can naturally bring up those two lows over time. Holy Basil seems to be targeted towards lowering high cortisol!! You can read more here.
Where can I find adaptogens?
Health food stores, for sure. Or on the net if you can wait for arrival.