Adrenal Insufficiency And Balancing Stress With Support

I am new to the forum, 40 year old woman who has been living with adrenal insufficiency since my pituitary resection for a pituitary macroadenoma in 2011. It's like having stage 4 adrenal fatigue or Addison's disease, except that my adrenals are not the problem; the upstream pituitary gland is stunned and does not produce enough ACTH to make cortisol. I have been on physiologic doses of hydrocortisone since my surgery. My goal is to take the minimum amount possible (I'd eventually like to get off meds) but continue to feel good and perform athletically.

Before the tumor, I was an avid exerciser, both in the gym and outside - lifting, yoga, running, biking, and rock climbing. I have slowly worked my way back to exercise to the point where now I do most of those same activities... except that I find I REALLY lag on the cardio. I'd love to figure out how to do hiking, running, etc. again without feeling wrecked afterward.

BTW I eat a paleo + dairy diet, with resistant starches in the form of potatoes, potato starch, and white rice. I have a relatively low-stress job 3 days/week and sleep 7-8 hours consistently every night. I am also on a low-dose thyroid replacement for subclinical hypothyroidism (also related to the pituitary surgery), and I am on various reproductive meds trying to do IVF to get pregnant. I don't think these are affecting my athletic performance or fatigue levels b/c I regularly test my thyroid, and the IVF stuff is cycled on/off with "tries." Unfortunately I have put on some fat/weight from the IVF meds but hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

I doubt there are many people on here who have my specific problem, but I was wondering if anyone had any insights into improving cardio ability and overall energy level when dealing with adrenal issues. Maybe someone has been on hydrocortisone for adrenal fatigue and has successfully weaned off? With the HPA axis in mind, any suggestions on further supplementation or hacks at this point? Basically, I don't know if I should be supporting my adrenals when I want them to perform or stressing them to work harder in an effort to eventually get off meds. Kind of a rock in a hard place.


  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭
    edited July 2014


    I have probably adrenal fatigue myself. Requires further testing.

    My doctore gave my a couple of print outs for treating it:


    Diet and Lifestyle (very important)

    reduce stress (we all know this)


    Eat lots of Protein especdially in the morning for essential amino acids.

    Get bright light especially in the mornig

    Go to bed early (22pm) ,Shut down, turn of, make everytahing pitch black during night...

    Avoid Caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes

    basic training in the evening...


    Some say avoid snacking because it stresses your body, other say have high protein snacks if you feel you are low on energy.


    Vitamins and Sups


    All B vitamins

    Vitamin C

    Essential Amino Acids



    seasalt (and electrolytes), especially in the morning look up the salt protocol

    Cytozyme AD





    Licorice Root




    Vitamin E

    digestive Enzymes


    essential fatty acids


    And in the end maybe Low Dose Cortisol...but only if severe.

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

    How much to eat:
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  • Welcome to the Bulletproof forum, PBandJ! It looks like you are getting assistance here, but if you need anything, let the moderators know.


    BP Moderator
  • RekaReka ✭✭✭

    Is it not possible to supplement with ACTH, instead of targeting the hormones of the end of the chain? Given that your adrenals are working. Just curious.

    It doesn't get easier... It's you who gets better.


    Is your social worker in that horse?


    Success has a price, not a secret.

  • Is it not possible to supplement with ACTH, instead of targeting the hormones of the end of the chain? Given that your adrenals are working. Just curious.

    I don't think there is any sort of ACTH formulation. Good thinking though. I have considered pregnenolone b/c it is a precursor to cortisol, but it is also upstream of other things such as estrogen and testosterone (which would currently interfere w/ my fertility treatments). So I am thinking about it for later.
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