T Nation

Adrenal Recovery

The more research I do, the more I’m becoming determined that the adrenals are the weak point in my system which is contributing to my percieved T problems. This likely comes from years of youth spent drinking caffeine(loads), then, abstaining for awhile, then, burning myself out with lots of work stress, periods of overtraining, periods of ECA stacks and yohimbe.

I probably should stop all stimulants now, though I continue to take Spike most days, and another supplement which contains caffeine(I take them far apart). I think I’ll stop taking Spike for now, and I’ve been planning on ceasing taking the thing with caffeine as soon as I finish up the bottle.

The licorice root pills seem to be helping “some” but, I wonder if a higher dose might not help more, I might try uping the pill intake. I can’t really find that much about it other then Poliquin recommending the cream. Meanwhile I have no idea whether the pills and the cream will work equally well, nor what dosage, or how long to take them.

Anyone have any other suggestions for adrenal repair/support? Or maybe know some more about licorice root?

Cordyceps is one of the best nutrients for adrenal repair. Here is a link to a site that has an awesome adrenal complex. www.healthline.cc

I think you’re dead on with your diagnosis and smart to take action now. One other thing to note is that is you don’t get at least four-five hours of continuous sleep at night, your adrenal output is dramatically reduced. So if you’re not sleeping through the night or you get up to urinate it will exacerbate an adreanl condition.

Thanks alot for the link and support.

Your comment about sleep sounds dead on for me. Until the last few months, my sleep patterns have been atrocious, partially my fault(too much work and other activities, staying up late sometimes, etc) and partially dietary(brief diet related insomnia spells, plus insulin/seratonin issues caused by past insulin resistance).

Now that I’ve been nailing down 8 hours a night though, I was finding many nights where I would wake up in the middle of the night for no reason at all, feel completely awake, and need 30-60 minutes to get back to sleep. In the past week or so, on the licorice root, I’ve been sleeping the whole night through(though oddly, have been sleeping only 7ish hours, rather then 8) though still waking up with some difficulty.

EDIT

By the way, do you have any idea whether one has to supplement for the rest of one’s life or will the adrenals build back up?

Could you elaborate on where you found your research? websites?

No problem Moon Knight. To answer your question, no. You seem to be handling the lifestyle things to correct the issue. The formulas on the healthline site are designed to rejuvenate the organs and restore function so you can go off them in time (3-4 months)

Thrasher, there’s no one site that really nailed it down for me, just alot of bits and pieces that seemed to fit together, though, one that I’ve found since, which seems to explain it well, is:

http://www.drlwilson.com/Articles/adrenal_burnout.htm

Now, to better explain my line of thinking, I’ll give you a brief overview of my dietary, lifting, and sexual history.

I spent the first 17 years of my life eating utter crap and getting bare minimal exercise. Throughout this time, like most teenagers I had frequent erections but they tended to be weak(in retrospect). I was utterly disgusted when I nearly hit 290 pounds, and decided to fix that. With little exercise or nutrition knowledge, I chopped portion size(then later calories and fat) and took up lots of walking, and some very silly weight movements with 10 pound dumbbells(thats how weak I was).

6 months or a year later, when moving off to college, I had gotten to about 200 pounds with little or no strength gain, and slight muscle gain(from 100s of reps with the dumbbells and walking and some calisthenics). Erection frequency took a down turn as my eating got less, and more sparse in college. Among the crazy things I tried were, eating nothing but breakfast cereal, eating nothing but crackers and peanut butter, and skipping one or two meals a day(with the third being a cafeteria meal).

After about a year of those habits I progressed to a more moderate, mixed diet of what I thought was healthy(cereal, frozen fish sticks, tortilla chips, peanut butter sandwichs on whole wheat, some fruit and fruit juices, etc). I also started working at McDonalds at this time. At the time I thought McDs was OK as long as portion was controlled, and I only chose certain things (egg mcmuffin, not bacon/egg/cheese biscuit). At this time I was having more frequent erections again(though not quite as many as younger), and they were better. I walked alot, did some moderate running, and continued with my own silly idea of weight training, moving up to 30 pounders.

Another 6 months or so passed and I found myself deciding to turn to low-carbs. I picked up a discount book that looked interesting and it opened my eyes to alot of nutritional theory that I had NO idea about before. I also started reading some muscle mags at this point but they were less of an influence, though I did try some of their training routines on occasion. I was working 3 jobs and going to school at this point, plus trying to have a personal life and train. I got little sleep, and started getting sodas again(something I had stopped at the beginning of my dieting). Before low-carbing I had put on some muscle, and continued to.

I eventually floated in and out of healthy eating for quite awhile. Stress and depression, along with times where I felt fatigued would push me back into eating comfort foods, or just to eat whats easiest so I could focus on something else. The times when I was doing low-carb, lower sodium, and no stimulants, I had some of the best erections of my life, but, they tended to be infrequent. I eventually started adding in ECA and yohimbe to the diets.

Since then I’ve slid between one plan to another, low-carb, warrior diet, both, junk food, and back to low-carb/paleolithic. My libido and erection frequency/quality has fluctuated as well, but tended towards a pattern of “more frequent, weaker” when I had sugar, and “less frequent, stronger” sans sugar and more carbs.

Most recently, this past Christmas, I was eating paleolithic(meat, veggies, nuts, fruit) and, only after taking a vacation both from my job and lifting, as well as taking some st johns wort, did my mood, sleep, and erection quality increase. They stayed decent during my fat fast afterwords, though seemed to slowly decline. I was taking an ECA at this time, along with yohimbe.

Stress has been building again, both from work, and from some overtraining. I took a week off from the gym, but that didn’t help enough it seems. I think I’ve already given a history of my sleep in previous posts.

My thoughts on the adrenals began when I read Poliquin recommending licorice to treat persons with low cortisol and low testosterone. Further reading on the subject of licorice here and elsewhere shed light on what it was treating. Considering what leads to the overexhaustion of the adrenals, and then looking at my history, I think its easy to see why I’ve concluded that its a matter of adrenal exhaustion. I sadly have the history and symptoms now to back it up.

[quote]Moon Knight wrote:

and partially dietary(brief diet related insomnia spells, plus insulin/seratonin issues caused by past insulin resistance).[/quote]

Care to elaborate on this?

[quote]j77 wrote:
Moon Knight wrote:

and partially dietary(brief diet related insomnia spells, plus insulin/seratonin issues caused by past insulin resistance).

Care to elaborate on this?[/quote]

I’ve had instances where sleep either was difficult to attain(tried to go to bed at 11 or 12, couldn’t sleep till 2, yet had woken up early), was restless(tossing and turning), or was impossible to get entirely.

The times when I had issues getting to sleep tended to be times when I was eating fewer carbs. This I took for a sign of seratonin trouble. Sometimes, either when having low calories or low carbs, I would feel like I needed to eat a bunch of sugar before bed to knock myself out(didn’t neccesarily do this though). St John’s wort seemed to help, and I’m better now and have gotten off it.

At one point when I began low carbs for the first time, I did not get my potassium up and my electrolyte imbalance I believe was a contributing cause to the complete insomnia I experianced then for several days.

I’ve also been on the Warrior Diet before and at those times, for some reason, I would tend towards inability to go to sleep if I did not eat carbs. When eating carbs with that plan, I did sleep, but only for 4 hours, and then I would wake up a mess.

Sleep seemed to be going pretty well recently after the St Johns wort, until the fat fast and stimulant use during and after that diet. I keep the stimulants away from my bed time and have no problem getting to sleep now, but I wake up in the night for no reason.

Have you tried melatonin/ZMA for sleep?

I’ve taken both melatonin and ZMA.

Melatonin seemed to help some getting me to sleep, but didn’t seem to help so far as staying asleep/getting restful sleep. I noticed also(after having stopped taking it anyway) here a few posts from persons mentioning negative effects of it.

ZMA has always worked well for me. It hasn’t ever put me to sleep, but, I’ve noticed it can help me relax some, and I’ve actually gotten random erections(no visual or contactual stimulation) within 30-60 minutes of taking the ZMA in the past(this has stopped lately which I attribute either to an overall increase in zinc/magnesium in my diet or more likely, adrenal weakening). I also notice vivid dreams and more restful sleep, though, it has not really helped with the waking up during the night. I still take ZMA today, and actually need to order some more this week.

[quote]Moon Knight wrote:
and partially dietary(brief diet related insomnia spells, plus insulin/seratonin issues caused by past insulin resistance).

The times when I had issues getting to sleep tended to be times when I was eating fewer carbs. This I took for a sign of seratonin trouble. Sometimes, either when having low calories or low carbs, I would feel like I needed to eat a bunch of sugar before bed to knock myself out(didn’t neccesarily do this though).[/quote]

I asked because what you describe sounds like a familiar situation to me. I often have trouble getting to sleep at and toss/turn all night after having some p/f meals before bed. Last night was good example… I had just a simple flax/new formula Low Carb Grow! shake. This happens more often when I include EFA oils.

The part I was having difficulty understanding is how this is a sign of insulin sensitivity issues.

I’m in a somewhat similar situation and you might try inositol or ashwaganda before bed. People use high doses e.g. >5 grams inositol day for anxiety but 1000 mg before bed leaves me sleeping 8 hours. Ashaganda I discovered makes me and some others a little drowsy. Taken before bed it also gives me a very restful 8 hours. I don’t think ashwaganda would do this for everyone. it may have something to do with the state of my adrenals, and thus I suspect you might find it helpful also.

On what j77 wrote:

Well, I suppose I shouldn’t call it insulin sensitivity so much as, another sign of carb reliance. My feeling is that my body got used to the high levels of carbs to keep seratonin up.

Berner, thanks for the advice, I’ll have to look and see if I can find some of that.