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I am currently experiencing the first elevated cortisol episode in my life and it is torture: If I succeed in falling asleep, my pulse starts racing, then I wake up and cannot fall asleep. I also find it difficult to breathe. I have had a hypothyroid since age 27 and have always been slim with zero stomach fat. Some fat crept on at 45 and I suspect it was an underlying cortisol imbalance that reared its ugly head when I did a low carb experiment – for just a week! T3/T4 conversion shut off and my body reacted with great stress. Even though I stopped and started to compensate with a lot of carbs it still continues. First of all I
suggest taking the 24 hour cortisol saliva test. It will show if Cortisol levels are high/low or mixed… Secondly, in addition to eating alot of food and carb/sugar turn off the stress hormones…there are many herbal “adaptogens” that help to balance cortisol levels – it doesn’t matter if they are high or low…
Good brands are Adaptocrine and Gaia Herbs “Eleuthero Root”. Ashwaganda and Rhodiola are excellent not to mention Panax Ginseng. Also Supplement with Mega Vitamin C doses, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E. I have been taking these for about a week and I am still having bad nights. If you know your night Cortisol levels are in fact elevated (and not low) there is a natural supplement called “Seriphos” also known as Phosphorylated Serine – Seriphos is non soy. Some people have excellent results with it. For more info the Thyroid-Adrenal Group on Yahoo provides more support. Most conventional docs no nothing about this stuff unfortunately. They would also probably put you on a low carb diet to “control sugar” due to the elevated cortisol, which is the opposite of what you need… good luck!