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A Patient’s Experience Using Nutri Adrenal Extra, Isocort and Cortisol

I now feel I may have rushed in to taking Isocort and subsequently Hydrocortisone. My reasons for feeling that way are based on the deficiencies that I have since discovered that I have. If a person has deficiencies the body really doesn’t function well. It doesn’t cope with thyroid hormones and it doesn’t make it’s own hormones very efficiently. If there is ferritin (stored iron) and B12 deficiency, then the blood cells will be of a poor quality or insufficient. All of these things can affect how we use Armour and this could be a cause of the side effects that we often associate with fatigued adrenals.

If you find yourself failing to thrive on thyroid hormone replacement, either synthetic or natural (Armour) don’t automatically assume that the culprit is your adrenals. Certainly they may be fatigued, but there is much that you can do to boost them without having to resort to Hydrocortisone.

Nutri Adrenal Extra (NAE)

can be a good first step, but for those of you who have been ill for a long time, there is a chance that you have additional deficiencies. These deficiencies can cause palpitations, cramps, thudding heartbeat, pms etc.

I didn’t get tested for everything because my finances simply couldn’t stretch to it but if you can afford to test then here are some of the more useful ones to go for: However, ask your GP (if you live in the UK) to test the following as they may be low in the range.

Ferritin
B12
Calcium
Zinc
Magnesium
Sex hormones
Vitamin A

Since supplementing with some of the above I’ve found I’ve reacted so much better to the Armour. There’s so much that being on Armour, supplementing deficiencies and starting to get well can do for you.

Often when the body finally starts to get thyroid hormones it can begin to heal but this can sometimes take years. If we support the body carefully during this time, our hormone imbalances can begin to redress. I certainly believe that is happening in my case.

I have been exercise intolerant for about 6 years; finally I am beginning to feel that I can exercise. I don’t get palpitations or breathlessness any more and I’m beginning to force through the tiredness and am building some stamina. As yet I’m not doing more than walking 3 miles a day but this is from being someone who couldn’t walk for more than 5 minutes unless I was prepared to do nothing else for the rest of the day.

I have been on Hydrocortisone too long but sadly that’s a symptom of having been ill for such a long time and not really knowing enough to treat myself effectively at the start.

The best advice I can give anyone considering taking HC is to seek out your deficiencies first and treat those. NAE is a good stop-gap and unless your adrenals are severely fatigued NAE might be enough for you.

Again, getting tested is really important and will help you to make the right decisions about your health and the best way forward. I would hope that no one has to self-treat because using HC and dealing with the side effects can be quite difficult.

Nutri Adrenal Extra (NAX)

is a very effective supplement, which helps the adrenals to function. I believe from what I’ve read that NAE should probably not be taken for too long a period as some claim that it forces tired adrenals to continue producing when they may really need to rest. This is why it’s important to get tested to establish whether you have adrenal fatigue and what stage your adrenals are at.

Isocort

is a dried adrenal cortex and it’s claimed that each tablet is the equivalent to 2.5mg Hydrocortisone. It’s advised that one doesn’t take more than 8 tablets daily because it also contains herbs which taken at higher doses can cause minor reactions and potential allergies.

I took Isocort for around 2 months but ultimately I felt I needed something stronger.

Things to bear in mind if considering taking HC:

Your adrenals are responsible for making quite a few hormones, taking HC may affect the production of these hormones. DHEA often reduces when supplementing HC, as do several others.

You may not get your dosage right and this could lead to overdosing. Overdose causes thinning of the skin, stretch marks, moon face, thread veins and long-term usage may cause glaucoma or cataracts.

You will need to wear a Medicalert bracelet detailing what you take.

You must tell a doctor that you are on HC if you are going to have a medical procedure or if you have suffered physical trauma such as a road traffic accident (RTA).

If at all possible you should undertake Hydrocortisone treatment under the supervision of a doctor.

Increased Risks due to illness/injury

Another worry about being on HC is that one is at risk if injured. Healthy adrenals are capable of kicking out huge quantities of cortisol (natural equivalent to HC) when our bodies suffer trauma but if we are taking HC then the adrenals are suppressed and incapable of doing so. Cortisol is a life-saving hormone and this is why there is much made of stress dosing.

I feel it is wise to devise a back up plan in the event of accident/injury. If you are taking HC under a doctor then it could be useful have a letter from him confirming that you take HC and giving details of how much HC to administer in the case of emergency.

I always carry 100mg HC, a bottle of water and a phone. The 100mg HC is believed to be the minimum that one should take in an emergency situation but sometimes nothing less than an injection will do.

I would suggest that anyone considering starting HC might read through the info on this UK Addison’s site as it is very relevant to anyone taking HC.

Dosing Schedule

If you decide that HC is for you then here’s how to dose it. This is the suggested dosing from Stop the Thyroid Madness.

Day 1-3: 2.5 mg first thing in the AM (2.5 mg total)
Day 4-6: 2.5 mg first thing, 2.5 mg in four hours (5 mg total)
Day 7-9: 2.5 mg first thing; 2.5 mg in four hours; 2.5 mg in four hours (7 1/2 mg total)
Day 10-12: 5 mg first thing; 2.5 mg in four hours; 2.5 mg in four hours (10 mg total)
Day 13-16: 5 mg first thing; 5 mg in four hours; 2.5 mg in four hours; 2.5 mg bedtime (15 mg total)
Day 17-20: 10 mg first thing; 5 mg in four hours; 2.5 mg in four hours; Bedtime 2.5 mg (20 mg total)

Coming off Hydrocortisone

This seems to be a very individual process. Some people find that (having stayed on a low dose for a short period of time) they can ease off fairly easily and rapidly. Optimising on Armour will also have a bearing on how soon you can get off of HC. If you have been ill for many years you might be in for a struggle because this can sometimes have a bearing on how difficult it is to optimise and consequently you may need to use HC for quite a while.

I know of people who have been on HC for years and have finally eased off it and their adrenals have kicked back in but there is the risk that your adrenals may never be able to take up the slack again. This is usually because they were too far-gone to start with but sometimes it
can be due to using HC too long.

This is one way of doing it. Many others have devised their own methods but this hopefully minimises the strain.

A 2.5mg reduction should be made every 2 to 4 weeks. If you begin to feel quite poorly, suffer vomiting etc then you may not be ready to reduce. Some people find that they need to take the reductions more slowly whilst others are often able to reduce faster.

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