Forum Replies Created
I’ll speak up in favor of the new format :)
When I first found Matt’s site a few years ago, I had to really push myself to get through all the comments on the blog articles to get some of the gems of info I was looking for. It was a time and energy drain for sure, and I never felt comfortable participating in the voices that seemed so familiar with each other already (I’m introverted even online) So I really appreciated the move to the forums with the hope that it would be more accessible, and in some ways, I think it is. It’s very helpful to have easily identifiably threads for topics, though it doesn’t always seem to matter when you go and see that someone has posted a question months ago that no one answered.
So I see the point about it not really working because there isn’t enough energy pumping through the conversations anymore, but in theory I wish it could work out. I’m not on Facebook anymore either, but I get that it’s easier for some people than coming here. And there is certainly the misconception/false advertising that you will get some “expert” advice here. Not that I don’t think I’ve seen that…the moderators and certain participants have done a great job of trying to help people as much as they can, but I think people come here expecting something more, and don’t come back when they are ignored (or told what to do ;) Just a bummer I guess.
I’d like to hear the rest of it too. My blood pressure has recently skyrocketed and I can’t figure out why :(
Yoga, meditation, avoidance of major current stressors, and just simplifying in general. I’ve let a lot of things slide lately for the sake of getting my cortisol down. But I don’t believe, and neither does my naturopath, that my adrenals need healing yet, because they haven’t burned out (they’re still chugging away pumping out the “good” stuff) I haven’t had symptoms of adrenal fatigue because I think in general, I’m good at managing everyday stresses and I’ve been proactive with things like herbal support for the last few years. But my stress levels went way up recently due to things I could no longer ignore or control.
Anyway, I just realized I neglected to address the main poster’s questions, that my naturopath had an interesting explanation for. I originally went in for extensive testing because I was having major hormonal ups and downs, most notably that I was menstruating every two weeks. But all of my tests except for ferritin, hemoglobin, vitamin d and cortisol came back normal. Her take on my symptoms (aside from clearly needing more iron and sunshine) was that my hormones were no longer being accepted effectively, which in my understanding, is something that can happen with thyroid hormone especially.
Basically, when cortisol is elevated for too long, the tissues stop responding or being sensitive enough to thyroid hormones (as well as estrogen, progesterone, insulin, testosterone, and even cortisol itself), even if the production is still optimal and circulating according to tests. So you can have dysfunction even with optimal test results. I don’t fully understand yet how higher calorie, carb, and saturated fat intake makes tissues more sensitive to hormones, but I’m assuming that’s what’s going on if symptoms are improved, which mine definitely were, and in the face of little more than dietary changes.
So, maybe it does or doesn’t need to be said that you can have cortisol issues without adrenal fatigue (though it doesn’t mean that isn’t where you’re headed) and that stress, in any form; physical, mental, emotional, is a primary factor to consider when trying to address it. Food will help with symptoms and will help keep you afloat and maybe give you enough of a break to de-stress, but I don’t think it will fix the underlying problem, unless the only cause of your stress was food in the first place, or a secondary but related physical issue. For me, relationship stress raises my cortisol higher than anything else, and I know in therapy circles, that is commonly the case. But certainly not always.
Also, my naturopath has me on high dose ashwagandha in addition to my usual support dose to help my body regulate the cortisol levels. So that may be helping a little as well. Supposed to help with the mental symptoms such as memory lapses and concentration.
In the past, I’ve seen higher temps within a month by eating lots of fresh ground (easy in a blender) buckwheat crepes (made with cream and butter), white basmati rice with black beans and pastured cheese, potatoes fried in coconut oil with lots of salt, corn tortilla soft tacos, quesos and burritos with all sorts of fillings, grass fed beef in all forms, Strauss ice cream (no additives) and popcorn popped in coconut oil. And good quality chocolate. I eat real sauerkraut with my meals when it sounds good, and only do cooked broccoli for occasional veggies, and a salad rarely. And I drink kombucha at night or some salted fresh squeezed lemonade when extra thirsty. I’m not saying this works for everyone in a very low metabolic state, but I do think it’s possible for some people to see results without overly processed foods, but only if it doesn’t stress you out to cook or eat that way. I was already used to doing this for my kids, so it didn’t add extra stress, and these foods are still a treat for me.
I think the connection is more about the spikes in adrenaline and cortisol that are causing the “hypoglycemia”, which is really the idiopathic postprandial syndrome Matt talks about. For me, having high cortisol levels lately, and on my third attempt to follow Matt’s advice with very different results this time around, and higher anxiety levels in general, I just don’t think it’s the food’s fault. I’ve done the high carbs before (both of the last two summers) and not had the anxiety, but this time around, I’ve struggled to find anything that didn’t make me crash hard and feel very anxious and panicky. But I’ve pushed through despite the initial reactions and am starting to see steady improvements. I still can’t tell whether I do better with sugar or starch because it’s too stressful for me to consider restricting one or the other at this point, but I do think that even if sugar makes me crash harder, eating it in order to just eat something that shuts down my adrenal response is better than eating nothing because I don’t have a good starch cooked and ready to eat.
I recently had test results come back with very high cortisol and normal thyroid levels as well. I was having very typical symptoms to go with it; waking up with racing heartbeat at 3am every morning, crashing temps and shaking after eating well, phenomenal weight gain…
Here’s my story (short as I can make it) and why I think there is hope even with high cortisol:
The thing is, this is the third time in three years that I am attempting to follow Matt’s advice to full recovery. Both of the other two times, I had very predictable results. My temps and weight steadily went up, my low thyroid symptoms went down, and I felt better, but couldn’t stand the extra weight and the stupid fear of judgement that people thought I wasn’t healthy if I wasn’t thin, so I inevitably went back to intermittent fasting and restricting sugar (and wheat, and potatoes, and rice, etc.) to lose weight (though I maintained a WAPF diet otherwise).
So this time, I was gaining weight anyway, despite restrictions, due to the already high cortisol from recent stresses, so I decided to try again to see it through without reservations or backtracking …with very different results than the past two attempts.
Basically, I was reacting exactly how Matt describes in his new book on hypoglycemia (thank you Freebruary!), and I read it just as I was about to give up because eating was making me feel like crap. The explanation of idiopathic postprandial syndrome described my reactions to a tee, and gave me the reassurance to keep going despite feeling like eating previously warming foods was making me colder than ever (like crashing down to 94.8 after eating anything) So…I kept chugging along, force feeding myself at times when I knew my adrenaline and cortisol were about to spike, and slowly but surely, over the last month or less, I’ve seen a lot of improvements that tell me I’m back on the right track. I’ve stopped crashing after meals, I’m not waking up at night anymore, I fall asleep easier, my temps are stabilizing throughout the day in addition to remaining higher in the mornings. My hair has stopped falling out in handfuls, and I’m much more patient and less reactive with my children and stressful situations. I still get that fight or flight feeling in my stomach that shuts everything down on the occasions when I’m confronted with my current stressor, but I’m hopeful that with more time and de-stressing like yoga and meditation, and not stressing my body with dieting, that I will get to where I want to be, and I’m finally ready to accept that it may take more than months to reverse what I, like so many, have caused over the course of many years.
So, I think with high stress hormones, the short term recovery may look a little different, and it may take a little longer to see positive gains, but the plan is the same and can have the same long term results? Still hoping at least. Oh, and I have been taking Gaia’s adrenal support for 2 years now with mostly amazing results. My only complaint is that if I ever miss a dose, I get very rage-y and it’s difficult to control my anger and reaction response. I’m told it’s not addictive and that I shouldn’t have dependency issues, but it’s a bit disconcerting. I suspect it’s the rhodiola in it and not the holy basil or ashwaghanda, but not positive. I just plan to take it as long as I’m working toward recovery.