Last Modified on Oct 15, 2015
Periodic highs and lows in both mood and energy are perfectly normal considering your daily activity and stress level, but when those highs and lows become a constant, recurring way of life, you might be experiencing more than “typical fatigue.” These symptoms are characteristics of a fairly common condition known as Addison’s disease. Any adrenal condition can make normal functioning difficult but especially this one, so we’ve come up with a few home treatments for you including hydrocortisone, plant-source cortisol, and a variety of dietary supplements.
What Is Addison’s Disease?
Addison’s disease is considered an adrenal condition. It is an issue that involves the insufficient production of hormones by the adrenal glands. More specifically, the disease occurs as the glands produce too little cortisol.
The condition is called by a number of other names including adrenal insufficiency and hypocortisolism. It occurs in people of all ages and of either sex and is caused by the irregular functioning of the adrenal glands. While regular treatment typically controls the condition, it can be life-threatening if left untreated.
How Do I Know If I Have Adrenal Insufficiency?
Adrenal insufficiency is a progressive condition that normally begins with limited symptoms that evolve to more involved health concerns. If you are concerned you may have Addison’s disease consider the most common symptoms including muscle weakness and fatigue, weight loss, decreased appetite, hyperpigmentation, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, irritability, depression, body hair loss, and sexual dysfunction. You should consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you suspect you may have the condition based on these symptoms.
Can I Treat Hypocortisolism Naturally?
If you have been diagnosed with the condition or know that your adrenal levels need regulated, you can treat the condition naturally. Hypocortisolism is a condition that responds well to regulatory treatment. Hydrocortisone, plant-source cortisol, and dietary supplements are among the most effective home treatment options.
Hydrocortisone is a regulatory medication that can help treat the myriad of symptoms associated with Addison’s disease. It contains specific compounds that relieve inflammation in the system and regulate the production of specific hormones.
2. Plant-Source Cortisol
As the condition is one that is caused by a deficient supply of cortisol, plant-source cortisol is an effective replacement for the condition. You can take this supplement in capsule form or get it from natural sources like grapefruit, coffee, and licorice.
3. Dietary Supplements
Nutritional supplements are another effective option for supporting treatment of hypocortisolism. The most important supplements include vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin B6, L-carnitine, and licorice.
If you’re struggling with fatigue, weight loss, depression, or any of the other symptoms associated with Addison’s disease try one of these remedies or any of our other reader contributed treatment suggestions. See below for many more tips from our wonderful readers!
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What is the approximate maximum period of time that it's possible to take hydrocortisone (20 mg. with breakfast and 10 mg. with lunch.) for Addison's disease or adrenal fatigue? I should be very grateful for your assistance.
Replied by Connie
Slc, Utah, Usa
Replied by Rose
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[YEA] I am hypothyroid with Addison's. I take 40 mg. hydrocortisone, and 150 mg. ThyroGold, and don't want to take anymore. I still have had symptoms, like getting cold easily and poor circulation and fatigue and some brain fog.
The circulation problem is mostly aggravated by the fact that I do a lot of art work sitting down. I have a little cube timer that goes off every 15 minutes so I can get up and walk around or do something else. But still, even 15 minutes of sitting makes my legs feel heavy and stiff.
I started drinking a lot of peppermint tea, sipping on it throughout the day. Also, I have rubbed peppermint essential oil into my adrenal areas and thyroid once a day and rub some of the oil on my upper lip under my nose. I rub the oil into the reflexology thyroid and adrenal areas of the feet, giving some definite massage there.
Studies show that smelling peppermint essential oil (be sure it's real essential oil) improves circulation and mental function and that's what I'm seeing. Within the first two days I noticed a big improvement in circulation, energy, mood and mental clarity.
Replied by Lauren
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PLEASE HELP, if you can. I have Addison's Disease but have been living a healthy, happy, active, normal life for twenty years because of Bezwecken's Isocort. I thought their plant-source cortisol was a miracle. Then they stopped making it. I am in bed, dying, heart pounding wildly as blood pressure dropping, as I search the Internet for a replacement. No luck. All adrenal cortex formulas have hormones removed, and there are no formulas like Isocort. Extremely allergic to synthetic forms of cortisol. Taking licorice, ginseng, ginkgo, schizandra, astragalus, pregnenolone, C, E, Pantothenic Acid and a multi and eating grapefruit. Those help to increase adrenal function, but not if one has "no measurable cortisol. "
Do you know of a natural glandular with the cortisol not removed? or a plant-source bioidentical cortisol? Please reply. Thank you,
Replied by Mike62
Replied by Ella
Replied by Ashley
Replied by Astrid
Golden Beach Qld
Supplements, Dietary Changes
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|BETTER BUT NOT CURED (1)||100%|
I'm someone who has a similar condition to yours. While Addison's is primary adrenal insufficiency, mine is secondary adrenal insufficiency. (pituitary origin) They are usually caused by an autoimmune assault that results in low to no production of cortisol and other hormones. When cortisol is not produced, there is an extremely high probability of loss of life from even the smallest amount of stress. Cortisol replacement is very difficult to balance because it goes up and down daily, and it goes up with infections, etc. We have to try to approximate this dynamic fluctuation when taking this hormone.
With Addison's disease when cortisol is low, there is low sodium, low chlorides, and resulting high potassium in blood serum. There is often times metabolic acidosis. (low bicarbonates, etc. ) When cortisol is replaced correctly, sodium and chlorides are then held, and potassium returns back into cells from the serum in blood.
If cortisol replacement is too high, sodium and chlorides can become too high, bicarbonates may increase to push out high chlorides, and potassium will be flushed out of the body. This can result with Alkalosis. (often indicated along with low potassium in serum blood test).
Addisonians often have difficulty metabolizing calcium, and it can be high in blood and tissues. Cortisol usually lowers ca in blood, but ca can remain in tissues.
There can be high magnesium with low and high cortisol, because there is probably kidney distress. With electrolyte imbalances, there is most often kidney distress.
Most Endocrinologists now are recommending that patients try to keep maintenance cortisol dosages below 30mg. Daily and as close to 20mg. as possible. If dosage needs to be reduced, then it must be done very slowly, with Dr.s care and attention. (we don't want a crisis to occur).
I have struggled to reduce my daily dosage in the past, but I have found that certain natural substances I've learned about here, and through my own research have made my dosage reduction possible.
I found that increasing my potassium intake reduced my pain exponentially. I did not decrease my sodium intake. (sea salt) I do take a potassium supplement at this time as long as I seem to need it. ( I usually take potassium gluconate because it is more neutral, "plant like"). It is absorbed very quickly, so I take small amounts at a time so as not to disturb the other electrolytes. (250mgs) The amount I take daily varies, and I have a set of symptoms that indicate the need for more. I also eat a high potassium diet, but I salt it to good flavor.
I have found that, reducing the amount of acids that I have each day, helps with pain and helps with lowering my cortisol needs. It is also helping to lower my potassium needs. (less autoimmune, viral, infectious outbreaks).
I take Iodine (Lugol's) for glandular support and infection resistance. I couldn't take thyroid meds. (too stimulating for me). People take it in a wide variety of ways and amounts that change, so it's up to us to find that amount, but I like to put 4 to 6 drops of 2% lugol's in 1 oz. water, and hold it in my mouth for several minutes, then spit.
I also take H2o2 on occasions. When a lung infection arises, I use Bill Munro's method of intake until the infection ceases. I also apply it to my skin a few times weekly.
I also take Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root, (and leaf) regularly, off and on for kidney, liver support. I believe they really help this condition. They are powerful, so I take them 1 hr. apart from meds.
These practices have been so effective with keeping away infections for me, that I'm not sure I can remember when I had to double my cortisol dosage for an infection.
I really hope that this can ease the pain, Connie
Replied by Chris
Replied by Steve
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] As someone with diagnosed Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison's Disease), I would recommend to anyone who suspects that they may have this problem to ask your doctor (MD) to run a morning cortisol test to begin with. The range of normal is quite large, and you may have a low normal reading that would indicate you may need cortisol replacement or prednisone. Some other tests can be done to determine whether the problem is in the adrenals themselves or in the pituitary or hypothalamus. The A.M. cortisol test is a blood test and should be done in conjunction with other tests for blood counts, electrolytes, and hormones. Cortisol is at its highest level first thing in the morning, so if it is low, it is only going down from there for the rest of the day.
Low sodium and postural hypotension are common symptoms as are abdominal and flank pain, sleeplessness, low body temp and feeling cold, hypoglycemia, an unusually dark tan, extreme fatigue(an overused term), and cravings for caffeine, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances to boost you up. If you have all of these symptoms, you need to be tested for adrenal insufficiency asap.
Anything that you use to boost your metabolism-- thyroid hormone, diet products, adrenal stimulating complexes--will make your problem worse. I take supplements that strengthen my body and its overall function: Vit C, 1-3 g/day; Vit E, 400 IU/day; L-Tyrosine, 500 mg/day; liver cleanse product; green foods tabs. I tried licorice for about a month and noticed no difference. DO NOT TAKE POTASSIUM. Adrenal insufficiency causes hyperkalemia (excess potassium) and hyponatremia(low sodium). Be careful of B viamin complexes, too much B6 in the presence of low sodium causes magnesium overabundance which is manifested by tingling in feet, legs, hands, and arms. Low magnesium is not a symptom of adrenal fatigue. Avoid taking supplements that do not have a cal/mag ratio of 2/1.
Someone suggested tin chloride supplements. NO. Tin salts are toxic.
I also have tried to detox my enviroment by eating organic food, avoiding pesticides and chemicals, and changing all the products I use on my body. I juice organic fruits and vegetables almost everyday. The Blood Type Diet has made a big difference by eliminating agglutinating foods from my diet that were making me feel lousy.
I try to control my stress as much as possible by making choices about how I spend my time (as much as a mom with 4 kids can) and with whom I spend it. Some of these are tough choices and require a change in expectations on your part and those you interact with.
Not everyone who is fatigued has adrenal fatigue. Toxic enviroment, toxic food, and toxic relationships all cause a great deal of stress.
Replied by Alice
San Bernardino, Ca
Replied by Tess
Replied by Nurse Jon