supplements or medications which can effect adrenal function

From Janie, hypothyroid patient and site creator: Over the years, thyroid patients with suspected adrenal problems learned that supplements could be influencing a saliva test. And they didn’t get to see what their adrenals were doing “without influence”. i.e. when possible, we found we want to treat the natural state of our adrenal function, not the influenced state. But we also know it’s not always possible to stop certain meds or supplements–so we talk to our doctors. Check out this information below.

Below is a list of more common supplements or medications that could be influencing one’s saliva testing of cortisol, prevent us from seeing and correctly treating what is going on in a natural state.  Many patients state they stop taking as many of the over-the-counter supplements they can for “up to” two weeks before testing. Some may not be able to go that long without them, though, so it’s individual how long one can go without something. Also, some are pretty much out of our system within 24 hours, like caffeine.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of the below are not easy to get off, or shouldn’t be stopped. For example, if dangerous depression would return by getting off 5-HTP or anti-depressants, patients might need to nix getting off that. Always work with your doctor before considering stopping any medication or important supplement, please. Below is simply information!

SUPPLEMENTS INFLUENCING SALIVA may be giving a slightly false idea of what our adrenals are doing naturally-:

  • 5-HTP (serotonin precursor)
  • Adrenal glandulars
  • Adrenal Cortex 
  • Ashwagandha
  • Asthma supplements (over the counter)
  • Astragalus
  • Caffeine (from your coffee, tea or certain sodas, for example)
  • Cold supplements (over-the-counter with ephedrine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Cordyceps
  • DHEA in higher amounts (it’s recommended to be off all DHEA for at least 3 days, says ZRT)
  • Flonase
  • GABA
  • Holy Basil
  • Insect bite sprays or creams that contain hydrocortisone
  • Jujube
  • Kava kava
  • Licorice Root
  • Maca 
  • Magnolia root extract
  • Melatonin
  • P5P–the active form of B6 (could lower cortisol in some)
  • Paba
  • Pregnenolone
  • Progesterone  (in high doses, can raise cortisol)
  • Rhodiola
  • Phosphatidyl serine (PS)
  • Relora
  • Schizandra Berry
  • Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero)
  • Theanine
  • Valerian
  • Zinc
PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS WHICH DO OR COULD INFLUENCE ONE’S SALIVA CORTISOL TESTING. ADRENAL FUNCTION (you may or may not be able to get off these! Please work with your doctor): 
  • HC (Hydrocortisone like Cortef and other brands)
  • Prednisone or Prednisolone
  • Medrol (aka Methylprednisone)
  • Florinef
  • Anti-depressants (whether Tricyclic or SSRI)
  • Anti-anxiety meds, aka Benzodiazepines or Benzo (Xanax is an example)
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood Pressure medications like Spironolactone (Aldactone and CaroSpir)
  • Clomid (Clomiphene)
  • ADHD meds (Adderall for example)
  • Beta Blockers (Lopressor or Toprol XL, Atenolol or Tenormin, Labetalol like Normodyne and Trandate)
  • Asthma prescription meds or sprays
  • Sleeping Pills (such as Lunesta, Ambien)
  • Pain killers for arthritis
  • Pain killers for Migraines (aka Imitrex)
  • Compounded Progesterone 
  • Lyrica/Gabapentin (See this)


  • Inositol (there are patients who found this has NOT affected their cortisol levels, even though we used to have it above)

And here’s a scholarly article about it all:

How caffeine effects cortisol:

How antibiotics can skew saliva results:



We know that caffeine helps stimulate us in a positive way! It’s a known central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, plus it can stimulate our adrenals to release more cortisol and adrenaline. But “too much” caffeine can further stress already-stressed adrenal function!

So, with all the above in mind, it might be wise to avoid caffeine for approximately 24 hours before doing the saliva test. i.e. it may be miserable for many to avoid it for two weeks, but perhaps a total avoidance for 24 hours will help before doing saliva testing. Or, one can wean a little at a time until they are able to avoid it completely for 24 hours before saliva.

This is a great saliva cortisol test that you can order. Click on the graphic below.

** Want to know more about adrenal issues? Click on the latter link.

** READ CHAPTER 6 in the UPDATED REVISED STTM book for the best information anywhere on how to treat adrenals with HC or even ACE (adrenal cortex)!

** Learn about the Seven Stages of Adrenal problems.

** Electrolytes and Minerals are important in all this.

Important note: STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website's information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.