Very good post but there are a few things I would like to point out.
You mention saliva testing a number of times and you do point out that they are not necessarily accurate, which is true. This really needs to be emphasized though since so many people seem to think these are some type of gold standard. Saliva testing DOES NOT correlate to tissue levels of hormones, so people should not rely on these.
Try to eat at least 100 grams of carbs in order to prevent gluconeogenesis (when your body burns protein for fuel).
This is not what gluconogenesis means. Gluconogenesis is the process by which the body generates glucose from different sources such as protein, fats, lactate, etc.
Learning to eat well is a lifelong study, but a good place to start is the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation: http://www.westonaprice.org/
The Weston Price Foundation has been discredited thoroughly. They are merely spokespeople for their sponsors, the beef and dairy industries.
High-quality meats and eggs. Organ meats, especially liver.
There are several things that need to be kept in mind about liver. First of all it is the body's filter, which is full of what the body was trying to get rid of in the first place. Secondly it is about 7 times higher in cholesterol than red meat. Although cholesterol is essential to health, it can also pose problems in high doses. In particular with hormonal balance. And it can lead to the use of statin drugs, which can cause muscles deterioration, liver damage and heart failure. Another issue with liver is the fact that it is high in iron. This can be extremely dangerous to people with hemochromotosis. In addition iron can feed certain pathogens and cancer and well as promote damaging oxidation. Unless a person is losing blood on a regular basis, such as internal bleeding or menstruation, it is very easy to overload on iron since the body does not have any efficient way of reducing iron stores.
Drink enough water, but not TOO MUCH water. It's just extra work for the kidneys. Take 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (not refined salt) in water when you wake up, maybe another 1/4 teaspoon at noon.
A mined trace mineral salt like Real Salt would be a better choice since it is less contaminated with heavy metals.
When it comes to vitamins, more is not better.
I totally agree with this. These people megadosing on vitamin C are not doing themselves any favors. They are simply putting their systems under more stress as the body has to work harder to eliminate the excess vitamin C and oxalic acid it breaks down in to. Oxalic acid is a strong tissue irritant and can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones as it binds to calcium also preventing the body from utilizing it.
And keep in mind that natural sources are generally better than the synthetic ascorbic acid commonly sold as vitamin C. With few exceptions, such as camu camu, natural vitamin C sources tend to be much stronger and more stable than synthetic vitamin C, so less is required than the synthetic.
99% of the information out there concerning adrenal fatigue and herbs is wrong wrong wrong. And it's a shame.
First of all, "adaptogenic herbs" DO NOT help people with low cortisol. This is misinformation that's been repeated so many times that practitioners think it's true. It just goes to show you that most health practitioners are parrots who simply repeat what they hear.
Adaptogenic herbs like ginseng, eleuthero, ashwaganda, rhodiola, maca, cordyceps, and schizandra, LOWER cortisol. That is why they're so effective for people with HIGH cortisol.
People say that adaptogens can both lower and raise cortisol, but this is NOT true. Anyone with low cortisol can easily prove this by trying adaptogens; it may make them feel "something" at first, but it will eventually cause them to crash.
It makes sense, if you think about it. How could a plant do both? How could it figure out whether you have low cortisol or high cortisol?
This is something I strongly disagree with. Adaptogens do not have a brain to know if you need to raise or lower cortisol, but they can still balance cortisol levels. The way they do this is by strengthening the adrenal glands. This allows the adrenal glands to produce the cortisol the body requires. On the other hand strengthening the adrenals prevents the over release of both cortisol and epinephrine during times of stress. This is why adaptogens help us to adapt to stress. This also means they DO NOT reduce cortisol, they simply prevent excess excretion during stressful periods. So they do have a regulatory effect on cortisol levels.
On the other hand there are different adaptogens, and some are slightly to strongly stimulatory to the central nervous system, which is not a good idea with severe adrenal fatigue. These include the Panax ginsengs, American licorice root (but not Chinese licorice root, which is calming) and rhodiola (Arctic root).
Licorice root can mimic the effect of cortisol in our body, which is why some practitioners use it. However, it has the same side effects of cortisol supplementation, including water retention and electrolyte imbalance.
There is more to this. First of all the steroidal component of licorice root also prolongs the effects of the adrenal's cortisol, which gives the adrenals a bit of a break.
As for side effects these effects take at least 50 grams a day over 6 months to cause water retention, loss of potassium and high blood pressure. That is the equivalent of 1 bottle of 100, 500mg capsules a day. It would be pretty hard to consume that much licorice root over 6 months. And even if a person did these side effects can be easily avoided by increasing potassium intake. This is why I use potassium containing herbs in conjunction with licorice root.
If people are taking steroid medications such as Prednisone they must be very careful with licorice root though as licorice root can also prolong the effect of these drugs. Though licorice root can be used to wean off of these drugs for the same reason.
Not only that, but there's no proof that long-term use of licorice actually HEALS the adrenals. It seems to be something that needs to be taken continuously.
Chinese licorice root strengthens the adrenals. And licorice root does not need to be taken for a lifetime. The trick is to use the proper adaptogens in a formulation with the nutrients needed for adrenal health to build up the adrenals so they regulate the proper production and release of their hormones and neurotransmitters. Also avoiding things that suppress the adrenals such as stimulants, stress and steroidal medications.
(Traditional Chinese formulas may contain tiny amounts of adaptogenic herbs, but this is okay. You need to stay away from the modern "adrenal" formulas that have large amounts of adaptogens.)
Again I disagree. The Chinese are very big on adaptogens and in very high doses. Most of their formulas contain adaptogens, especially licorice root in various forms such as gan cao and gan cao zhi. And the recommended dose for most Chinese herbs or herbal formulas is around 15-20 grams per dose. This is a very hefty dose. Even with my adaptogen formula I only recommend 1.5-2 grams.
Glandulars are a tricky topic, since there are many different kinds.
Glandulars should be avoided altogether since they can atrophy the glands they substitute for, especially in high doses or long term use. A great example of this was a lady I knew who was given adrenal glandular for her asthma, which adrenal dysfunction plays a big role in. The glandualr atrophied her adrenals so bad that every time she tried to come off the glandular she would experience severe asthma attacks worse than the ones she got before starting on the glandular.
To boost serotonin, you can take 5-HTP or L-tryptophan. These supply the raw material that serotonin is manufactured from. 5-HTP seems to be preferred by most practitioners, but some people don't do well with it, so tryptophan is another option. In rare occasions, a person who can't take either of these can try St. John's Wort. SJW doesn't provide as many benefits as 5-HTP or tryptophan, but it still helps.
I think one reason why AFers have trouble sleeping is low serotonin, since sufficient serotonin is needed to make melatonin.
Just wanted to point out to be careful with trying to raise serotonin since there are side effects to elevated serotonin, which can include heart valve damage, fatigue and loss of libido.
To boost dopamine, you can take L-phenylalanine.
To boost norepinephrine, you can take L-tyrosine.
These are interchangable. Phenylalanine breaks down in to tyrosine. Then tyrosine can be converted in to dopamine or norepinephrine as well as epinephrine (adrenaline). Phenylalanine can raise blood pressure in some in individuals and is contradicted in people with phenylketonuria (PKU). In these cases tyrosine is a better choice.
Also note that phenylalanine lowers serotonin levels.
To boost GABA, you can take GABA.
Glycine and taurine also work and are easier to absorb. Regardless of which is used make sure to take the amino acids on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before meals.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are excitatory neurotransmitters, and too much of them will harm AFers.
It is not that simple. We have to keep in mind that there is a variety of neurotransmitters that play a balancing act. They do this in part by antagonizing each other. So how a neurotransmitter will affect us will depend on various factors such as the actions or inactions of other neurotransmitters.