Supplements and meds that can influence your cortisol saliva results
Over the years, thyroid patients with suspected adrenal problems learned that if they maintain taking certain supplements and medications up until doing saliva testing, they don’t get to see what their adrenals are doing “without influence”.
i.e. when possible, we found we want to treat the “natural state” of our adrenal function, not the “influenced state”…if possible.
Below is a list of more common supplements or medications that may be influencing adrenals. 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. 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!
SUPPLEMENTS OR SUPPORTS THAT COULD AFFECT ADRENAL FUNCTION (giving a false idea of what your adrenals are doing naturally–it’s the latter you want to know):
- 5-HTP (serotonin precursor)
- Adrenal glandulars
- Adrenal Cortex
- Asthma supplements (over the counter)
- Caffeine (from your coffee, tea or certain sodas, for example)
- Cold supplements (over-the-counter with ephedrine and pseudoephedrine)
- DHEA in higher amounts (it’s recommended to be off all DHEA for at least 72 hours)
- Holy Basil
- Kava kava
- Licorice Root
- Magnolia root extract
- P5P–the active form of B6 (could lower cortisol in some)
- Phosphatidyl serine (PS)
- Schizandra Berry
- Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero)
- HC (Hydrocortisone like Cortef and other brands)
- Prednisone or Prednisolone
- Medrol (aka Methylprednisone)
- Anti-depressants (whether Tricyclic or SSRI)
- Anti-anxiety meds, aka Benzodiazepines or Benzo (Xanax is an example)
- Blood Pressure medications like Spironolactone (Aldactone and CaroSpir)
- 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)
OTHER MEDICATIONS WHICH MAY NOT EFFECT CORTISOL:
- 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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2257922/
A WORD ABOUT CAFFEINE IN OUR COFFEE OR OTHER SOURCES like chocolate:
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.
** Want to know more about adrenal issues? Click on the latter link.
** READ CHAPTER 6 in the revised STTM book for the best information anywhere on how to treat adrenals with HC! All the principles on Chapter 6 can also apply to Adrenal Cortex.
** Learn about the Seven Stages of Adrenal problems.