some reason modern medicine has itself turned a corner and entered
a darkness and is now committing crimes against humanity unequalled
in the history of our race."
--Dr. Mark Sircus
Alternative Cancer Treatments
by DIANNE JACOBS THOMPSON (under
1979 Around January of that year, I went
home to die.
I was diagnosed with stage 2 stomach cancer, chronic bronchitis,
acutely infected ovarian cysts, arthritis, sciatica, low thyroid,
anemia and a heart condition. Besides that I had chronic ear infections
and long-standing clinical depression. The late Dr.
Harold Dick, N.D., known as a "naturopathic oncology pioneer"
cured me in 5 weeks. It required the diagnosis (the Carroll
Food Test) of digestive enzyme
deficiency food intolerances which most people have and few
know about, and it also identified the primary tissue
salt deficiency, along with treatment with glandular
protomorphogens to restore glandular health, and Constitutional
Hydrotherapy to bring about detoxification, to stimulate blood
circulation and the activity of the vital organs and to jump-start
the immune system. It turned out to be the basic foundation of the
most successful healing system I've ever witnessed.
1986 My 5-year-old daughter was forcibly vaccinated
and immediately developed a flesh-eating
infection so virulent that my husband and I became infected
from contact. Naturopathic medicine brought us back from the brink.
Later that year
we were introduced to escharotic
cancer salves and treated a dog tumor, my husband's cirrhosis
of the liver, various skin lesions, moles, fungal infections, and
a lump in my thigh. It eventually
helped clear up the remaining symptoms from my husband's flesh-eating
infection after he was forced to submit to antibiotic treatment
which made a mess of it. There was much more, gallbladder
problems in 1999, adrenal
deficiency 2001, injury in 2002, arthritis,
diabetes, and other issues between
2003-2012, including glaucoma--cured.
why I research and write about alternative medicine. It's a debt.
*Alternative treatments for cancer, chronic-degerative
disease, infection, stress, harmful emotions and other disorders and conditions;
junk science and bad medicine, including unsafe and ineffective vaccines
and undiagnosed medical conditions mimicking child abuse and Shaken Baby
site provides starting points. The rest of the journey must be yours.
"Truth wears no mask, seeks neither place nor
bows to no human shrine; she only asks a hearing"
FATIGUE * EXHAUSTION * INSUFFICIENCY
Reduced Adrenal Function
has several names, but isn't even recognized by some doctors
who apparently believe that adrenals go from perfect to zero function
(Addison's disease) without anything in between.
know something about lowered adrenal function by whatever name (Google
all of the terms listed in the subject line for updated information) since
mine crashed around 2000 as a result of unrelieved mental stress.
Stress comes in many forms
so it could be emotional, spiritual, chemical, physical, nutritional,
and a number of other ways that the body can begin to wear out from long
periods where no rest and recovery period allows the mind or body time
to heal itself or recharge, so to speak. Eating the wrong foods on a daily
basis can so wear down one's power of adaptation that is fails. Worst
case scenario--death. Lesser consequences--chronic illness.
The following information is
from just a few resources found online in the past.
Chris D. Meletis, N.D., and
Wayne A. Centrone, N.D., A.T.-C.
The human organism is bombarded with an incredible variety of stresses
at any given time. Stress can be categorized in an equally dizzying number
of ways. There are both chronic and acute stressors. There are somatic
stressors that push the body away from homeostasis. There are psychogenic
stressors that seem to be triggered at the slightest provocation.
An elaborate system of hormones and neurotransmitters (coupled with the
human penchant for becoming upset about non- physical stressors) engenders
psychogenic stress in human
beings more than in any other species of animal.
There are two basic kinds of psychogenic stress (1) rational (fear) and
(2) irrational (anxiety). Regardless of the nature of the stress—mental
or physical, rational or irrational—the body responds to all stress
in a fairly predictable manner. In the early 1930s, Selye termed this
predictable pattern of response the gen eral adaptation syndrome. Both
conventional and nutritionally oriented health care providers principally
utilize and share the same biomedical model of stress and its physiologic
effects. However, the two schools of practice diverge when it comes to
diagnostic method ologies that are used to identify subclinical cases
of adrenal dysfunction and the modalities used to treat these patients.
How the Adrenal Glands Respond to Stress
At the center of the stress response are the adrenal glands. The adrenals
produce epinephrine and norepinephrine, along with other hormones such
as cortisol that enable the body to adapt to and survive a stressor. The
acute alarm, or immediate reaction to a stressor, is a physiologic phenomenon
in which the sympathetic nervous system responds to exogenous or endogenous
stressors put the body into what is popularly called the “fight,
fright, or flight” mode. When the body is in this state, such as
in potentially life-threatening situations, adrenal hormones are released
to increase heart rate and blood pressure and divert blood to the brain,
heart, and skeletal muscles. This physiologic compensation is a key mechanism
in stress and the clinical phenomenon of
The adrenal cortex produces steroid hormones, which include cortisone,
hydrocortisone, testosterone, estrogen, 17-hydroxy ketosteroids, dehydroepiandrosterone
(DHEA), DHEA sulfate,
pregnenolone, aldosterone, androstenedione, progesterone, and other intermediates
to hormone production. These are the most widely studied of the stress-related
hormones. Although most of
these hormones are created in different parts of the body, aldosterone,
cortisone, and hydrocortisone are produced only in the adrenal
Aldosterone, working in cooperation with the renal system,
helps to regulate the balance of sodium and potassium in the body. This
regulation is critical to many physiologic functions,
including the ability to react to stress and to maintain fluid balance.
This hormone also contributes to the maintenance of blood pressure.
In “adrenal fatigue” states, patients may have alterations
in the fluid-balancing mechanism., with the most commonly described symptom
being “puffy hands and feet.” Recent conventional
medical research has shown that subclinical adrenocortical disease
can exist without adrenal function failure.
The etiology of this subclinical disease process has not been elucidated
fully in conservative research. Authors who write for alternative medical
periodicals and texts have historically
expressed a belief that severe, long-term stress can lead to a clinical
phenomenon known as “adrenal burnout.” 3,4 Most individuals
adapt to the stresses of life and, when these stressors are reduced, these
patients experience favorable psychophysiologic responses, demonstrating
the correlation between stress and physiologic functioning. 5 Being unable
to adapt to
stressors can manifest as “staleness syndrome” or adrenal
Individuals who experience this disorder are unable to perform at their
customary levels of activity at the office or home. They seem to suffer
from persistent deterioration in their everyday functioning and activities.
Indeed, depression and a marked decrease in performance seem to be the
hallmark of this maladaptation syndrome. 7,8
Biochemical Reactions to Stressors
The fight, fright, or flight response to stressors involves the catecholamines,
substances that prepare the body for a call to imme diate action and response,
by causing short-term hyperglycemia.
This rapid catabolism of blood glucose is the result of liver-glycogen
storage breakdown and an increased rate of gluconeogenesis. Catecholamines
can also liberate rapid stores of energy by catabolizing fat from adipose
Enhancing Quality of Life for Patients with a Functional Disorder *Sapolsky
R. Stress and disease: Who gets sick and who stays well. Institute
for CorTexT Research and Development, Stanford University, Department
of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience. Spring 1995 lecture.
The stress adaptation phase primarily involves glucocorticoids, released
by the adrenal cortex, that have a profound effect on energy metabolism
and biologic functions. These substances raise
blood-sugar levels, increase muscle-protein breakdown and hepatic gluconeogenesis,
and mobilize fatty acids. 9
Following normal diurnal patterns for the release of serum cortisol, glucocorticoid
levels are at their lowest point at approximately midnight to 1 AM . Peak
levels occur between 6 AM and 8 AM.
Research has shown that elevation or suppression of daily cortisol levels
indicates imbalanced hepatic–pituitary–axis (HPA) activity.
10 This may be interpreted as hyperfunction or hypofunction, depending
on a patient’s levels of cortisol and his or her clinical presentation.
Sustained activation of the sympathetic nervous system marks the compensation
stage, also known as the adrenal hyperfunction stage, with a secondary
influence on the HPA axis. The pituitary gland responds to the influence
of sympathetic nervous system activity by releasing adrenocorticotropic
hormone (ACTH). In turn, the adrenal glands respond to the pituitary release
of ACTH by producing excess cortisol and androgen hormones. In an attempt
to compensate for this faulty hyperfunction, the
hypothalamus–pituitary axis becomes less sensitive to the influence
of cortisol’s feedback inhibition.
As serum cortisol levels rise, glucose utilization declines and insulin
gluconeogenesis in the liver increases, and blood glucose levels increase
rapidly. In addition, the body responds to increased cortisol by increasing
the degradation of protein stores to supply
amino acids for gluconeogenesis in an attempt to mobilize energy rapidly.
Adrenal hyperfunction can be marked by a tendency toward insulin resistance,
hypertension, mild obesity, and elevated serum lipid and triglyceride
levels. What is more, high cortisol and lowered DHEA have been shown to
suppress the immune system. 11
Histologic studies have revealed lowered production of secretory immunoglobulin
A (sIgA) in the mucus membranes of competition swimmers under the influence
of chronic levels of physiologic and psychologic stressors. At this phase
of the stress response, athletes and other individuals will often complain
of a decrease in performance or work production and a generalized feeling
The final stage of the stress response is the adrenal hypofunction stage
or the fatigue stage. The body’s ability to synthesize cortisol
and other corticosteroid hormones is greatly diminished.
The resulting excessive fatigue, changes in a person’s ability to
concentrate, inability to tolerate alcohol, intractable headaches, lowered
blood pressure, menstrual irregularities, reactive hypoglycemia, and carbohydrate
sensitivity may follow. 12
With this compromised ability to control inflammation, the body goes into
a proinflammatory state. The absence of cortisol leads to an increase
in endogenous inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines
and leads to eventual tissue damage and degenerative disease. 13
Effects of Stress on the Body
We often hear of 30-year-old marathon runners who are forced into early
retirement because of recalcitrant tendonitis. Are these simply cases
of poor biomechanics and faulty training plans? Or
are these athletes suffering from a maladaptation syndrome in which their
bodies can no longer compensate for massive levels of exogenous and endogenous
stress (work, family responsibilities, exercise, etc.)? Uncontrolled stress
strains the entire organism. Stress increases the metabolic rate, resulting
in the mobilization of stored energy sources and the eventual breakdown
of muscle protein to make up for energy shortfalls. 14
In short, the body attempts to maintain homeostasis at all costs. Extended
bouts of stress, such as high-volume exercise, psychologic stress, or
other lifestyle challenges, lead to abnormal increases in serum cortisol
levels and irregular circadian rhythm and variations in cortisol secretion.
Sustained elevated levels of cortisol may lead to reduced adrenal responsiveness
to ACTH. 16
This is compensated for by increases in pituitary releases of ACTH in
the initial stages of overtraining. However, protracted stress causes
pituitary release of ACTH to decrease and, thus, the pituitary gland becomes
underresponsive to stimulation. The ultimate effects of prolonged elevated
levels of cortisol are suppression of corticotropin-releasing hormone
and ACTH release
and atrophy of the zonae fasciculata and reticularis as a consequence
of ACTH deficiency. 17
Finally, the HPA axis fails to respond to stress and stimulation. 18
This clinical measurement of suppressed endocrine function may be the
defining element in the accurate identification and appropriate treatment
of chronic “overstress syndrome.” 19
Overuse of Corticosteroids
Cortisone and hydrocortisone help to regulate the body’s glucose.
Since the late 1940s, corticosteroids have been used medically to alter
and suppress immune function. With a phenomenal
range of applications, corticosteroids were quickly adopted as “miracle
cures” for the full range of autoimmune diseases including the difficult-to-manage
rheumatoid arthritis. However,
it did not take long for clinicians and researchers to discover that there
was a severe cost for chronic corticosteroid use. Countless patients developed
physical conditions that prior to such widespread use of these agents
were rarely seen by practitioners of Western medicine. Cushing’s
syndrome, an overt hypercortisolemia disease, became the price a patient
paid for poorly monitored corticosteroid administration.
ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—OCTOBER 2002
Botanicals for Treating Adrenocortical Dysfunction
Botanical agent R X
Mechanism of action
1–2 g per day Suppresses 5-b -reductase (Glycyrrhiza glabra) (can
go as activity; may cause blood
high as 30 g) pressure elevations requiring monitoring
Buffers plasma cortisol (Boerhaavia diffusa) elevation; reverses adrenal
cortisol depletion under
high levels of stress
10–60dropstid–q.i.d Glucocorticoid-like (Withania somnifera)
of fresh plant-liquid effects from plant extract asterols
Dry strength liquid Binds to mineral- and (Eleutherococcus extract: 20–60
senticosus) drops q.d.–q.i.d
Tilgner S. Herbal Medicine: From the Heart of the Earth. Cottage Grove,
Acres Press, 1999.
Diagnosing Adrenal Dysfunction
The fine homeostatic balance between health and disease can be
disturbed if the clinical cause of a patient’s original imbalance
not fully explored and treated. Indeed, replacement or augmenta-
tion of hormones from exogenous sources, all too often, merely
suppresses symptoms while leaving the underlying disease pro-
cess to advance without the diagnostically helpful symptoms.
When addressing adrenal imbalance, it is essential to look
beyond laboratory tests and symptoms alone and to integrate the
clinical presentation as a whole. Just as overt signs and symp-
toms of thyroid dysfunction may or may not always manifest
with abnormal laboratory tests, a functional adrenal condition
may be present in the absence of abnormal laboratory findings.
In fact, a recent plethora of medical literature points to the seem-
ingly error-prone assessment that results from measuring thyroid
function solely via laboratory tests.
The main cause of adrenal fatigue is continual low-level stress,
which taxes the adrenal glands, limiting their ability to adapt to
acute stressors. This low-level stress may be caused by emotional
or physical upsets or loss of sleep. Clinically, this manifests in the
development of exhaustion that does not become resolved with
standard rest and relaxation.
A large number of symptoms associated with adrenal dysfunc-
tion have been reported in the literature. These symptoms are
often categorized according to physiologic performance, psycho-
logic/information processing, and immunologic and biochemical
To date, however, there is no universally agreed-
on group of symptoms that describes accurately the condition or
the physiologic/psychologic/emotional distresses that some peo-
ple experience. Rather, multiple symptoms may present in no
particular combination under the general categories of adrenal
exhaustion, hypoadrenocorticalism, and hyperadrenocorticalism.
Perhaps the most confusing and controversial clinical compo-
nent of diagnosing and treating adrenal imbalance is codifying
the testing parameters to determine conclusively the presence of
adrenal exhaustion and dysfunction.
To advance alternative medicine in evidence-based clinical
practice, tools must be developed that can give practitioners a
comprehensive approach diagnosing adrenal burnout syndrome.
By combining biochemical studies, endocrine assays, and physio-
logic functioning tests, these assessment methods would allow a
clinician to gain a greater understanding of a patient’s stress
response. Numerous assessment methods have been proposed
and are utilized to measure and track adrenal dysfunction. Some
of these testing models are listed below.
The 24-Hour Salivary Cortisol Pattern
This pattern consists of four points—7 AM –8 AM , noon, 4
PM –5 PM , and 11 PM –midnight. Research suggests that measur-
ing salivary, as opposed to serum cortisol and DHEA, levels may be the
best indication of adrenal function. 21–24
Yet con troversy exists concerning the complete validity of such test
ing methods because of potentially confounding variables,
such as dietary interference, diurnal variations in salivary pro- ALTERNATIVE
& COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—OCTOBER 2002 269
Treating Adrenocortical Dysfunction
Mechanism of action
1000 mg, 3 times
Acts as a reducing agent for the mixed function oxidase used in the synthesis
500 mg, 2 times per day
Increases corticosteroid production and normalizes response to ACTH
Vitamin B complex
50–100 mg per day
Helps to transfer methyl groups and regenerate methionine
500 mg 2 times per
Orally, prescribed PS product has decreased plasma cortisol and ACTH levels
day, 15 minutes prior
150 mg, 3 times per day
A cofactor for most ATP-dependent reactions and activation of intracellular
15 mg, 2 times per day,
Zinc deficiency increases membrane susceptibility to oxygen free-radical
a -lipoic acid
150 mg, 3 times per
Cofactor for the citric-acid cycle; potent antioxidant; partially restores
suppression of T-helper cell activity
400–500 mg per day or
Unknown; further research is needed
as directed by manufacturer
Kodama M, Inoue F, Kodama T. Intraperitoneal administration of ascorbic
acid delays the turnover of labeled cortisol in plasma of ODA rat, but
not Wistar rat: Evidence in support of
the cardinal role of vitamin C in the progression of glucocorticoid synthesis.
In Vivo 1996;10:97–110;
Pietrzik K, Ginta E. Response of hepatitis drug–metabolizing enzymes
immobilization stress in rats of various ages. Acta Physiol Hungarica
Monteleone P, Maj M, Beinert L, et al. Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine
administration of the
stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal
axis in healthy men. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1992;41:385–388;
Ohmori H, Yamauchi T, Yamamoto I. Augmentation of the
antibody response by lipoic acid in mice. Jpn J Pharmacol 1986;42:275–280.
ACTH, adrenocoricotropic hormone; ATP, adenosine triphosphate; cAMP, cyclic
adensosine monophosphate; PS, phosphatidyl serine.
duction and viscosity, oral contaminants, and the potential
presence of gingival disease or problems regarding the mouth
The 24-Hour Urine Free-Hormone Profiles
ACTHs are part of a complex pathway of biochemical messen-
gers. It is, therefore, difficult to identify where, exactly, in this
“pathway” dysfunction may be occurring. In response to this
complexity, comprehensive testing laboratories have developed
methods for evaluating primary and secondary steroid hormones
and their most important metabolites. This provides practitioners
with a tool to examine the stress response more fully in the con-
text of overall hormonal balance including precursors and
metabolites of the hormones.
A protein modulator of immune
activity, sIgA is intimately linked to
the activity of the autonomic ner-
vous system. Alterations and dys-
functions in the autonomic nervous
system can be measured directly by
changes in salivary composition
and excretion. Medical researchers
have recently theorized that factors
such as exercise and chronic stress
might induce changes in several
components of saliva, such as
immunoglobulins and proteins.
Glutamine is considered to be a conditionally essential amino
acid because it can be synthesized in the body from glutamic
acid. Glutamine is an important modulator of many homeostatic
functions and optimal functioning of specialized tissues within
the body. These tissues are key to gut and immune system func-
tion. Researchers have recognized certain conditions in which the
body’s demand for glutamine exceeds its ability to synthesize it.
Such conditions are associated with high levels of physiologic
stress. Under such chronic, catabolic conditions, the body takes
its supply of glutamine from muscle tissue.
Total Blood Cholesterol
Researchers theorize that because the body alters its ability to
compensate for a shift in adrenal function, stress has a deleteri-
ous influence on cholesterol synthesis and specific lipoprotein
molecules. Measuring total body cholesterol will allow
researchers to correlate changes in adrenal function with shifts in
Ferritin reflects the body’s iron stores and is a good indicator
of iron storage status. The ferritin test is more sensitive than the
iron or total iron binding capacity test for diagnosing iron defi-
ciency or overload. Measuring ferritin levels will provide an
additional means of assessing immune function and physiologic
adaptation to stress.
Morning Basal Body Temperature
Cortisol has a profound suppressive effect on thyroid-axis
function. In the presence of elevated cortisol, thyroid functioning
can become significantly impaired. The resultant changes in thy-
roid metabolism can include suppression of thyroid-stimulating
hormone (thyrotropin; TSH) and decreased conversion of thyroid
hormone from thyroxine (T
) to the more potent form of tri-
) in peripheral tissues. It has been hypothesized
that these effects arise from inhibition of the enzyme 5-deiodi-
nase, affecting the T
conversion and suppression of TSH
by endogenous somatostatin.
Postural Muscle Assessment
Research has identified restricted muscular sodium/potassium
adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity and reduced cortisol
levels in chronically stressed rats.
Studies suggest that it is necessary
to have an “intact pituitary–adrenal
axis for adequate function of the
ion shift with an increased extracel-
lular potassium concentration has
also been proposed as a possible
cause of muscular complaints dur-
ing exercise in patients who use
b -blockers. Postural muscles (gas-
trocnemius, soleus, medial ham-
strings, short adductors of the thigh, hamstrings, psoas,
piriformis, tensor fascia lata quadratus lumborum, erector spinae,
latissimus dorsi, upper trapezius, sternomastoid, levator scapulae,
pectoralis major, and the flexors of the forearm) shorten under
stress. Therefore, evaluation of the postural muscles may be an
excellent clinical tool to assess a patient’s response to treatment.
Herbal Treatments for Adrenocortical Dysfunction
To compensate for increased stressors, many individuals have
turned to ergogenic or energy enhancement substances. These
herbal and nutritional supplements are thought to have some
type of ergogenic activity and are among the best-selling natural
products in nutrition stores, with a financial impact in the $2–3
billion per year range.
Although there is a body of scientific literature on a variety of
natural ergogenic substances—such as pyruvate, creatine,
ephedra (ma huang; Ephedra sinica), ginseng (Panax spp.), and
guarana (Paullinia cupana)—using animal models, there are few
well-designed human clinical trials. This paucity of legitimate
research, and the high over-the-counter use of natural products
suggest an urgent need to conduct studies on the long-term effec-
tiveness and safety of these natural ergogenic aids.
Natural products (such as phytopharmacologic agents), which
appear to enhance performance capacity (as demonstrated in ani-
mal and human studies), include such nutrients as creatine and
pyruvate and such herbs as guarana, ginseng, Siberian ginseng
(eleuthero; Eleutherococcus senticosus), schisandra (Schisandra chi-
nensis), and ashwaganda (Withania somnifera).
ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—OCTOBER 2002
To compensate for increased
stressors, many individuals have
turned to ergogenic or energy
cals with purported ergogenic efficacy include regular coffee
(Coffea arabica), cola nut (Cola accuminata), and ephedra. These
herbs are thought to have ergogenic effects because they contain
methylxanthine compounds (cola nut and coffee beans), which
have been shown to mimic the effects of endogenous epinephrine
(ephedra). Caffeine, a methylxanthine, has been shown, in
human trials, to enhance endurance and exercise performance.
Perhaps the most misunderstood of all adrenal tonic herbs, are
the adaptogens. The term adaptogen, coined by Brekhman, was
proposed as a more appropriate description for isolated phyto-
chemical compounds. Adaptogens, first identified in 1966 by
Brekhman, are, collectively, a group of medically effective sub-
stances that put organisms into nonspecific heightened resistance
states to help organisms to combat stressors and adapt to extraor-
These herbs are of most interest to nutritionally minded physi-
cians as substances that can enhance an individual’s resistance
the long-term, cumulative effects of high-volume and high-inten-
sity stress (such as exercise).
Perhaps the most studied of the adaptogenic herbs are Siberian
ginseng and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Their purported mecha-
nism of action is to reduce the amount of hydrocortisone broken
down by the liver, thereby reducing the workload of the adrenal
glands. These herbs were the first to be studied as adaptogens.
Additional first-generation adaptogens include schisandra and
reishi (Ganoderma lucidum).
There are additional botanical agents that have been reported
to have adaptogenic qualities but these agents have not been
studied extensively for their support of the adrenal system.
These include: ashwaganda, gotu kola (Centella asiatica), wild
oats (Avena sativa), astragalus (huang chi; Astragalus membrana-
ceous), fo-ti or ho shou wu (Polygonum multiflorum), burdock (Arc-
tium lappa), and suma (Pfaffia paniculata). There are other herbs
that may be classified as adaptogens, but they are not yet fully
understood and are not highly available in most Western
In modern scientific research and clinical results, eleuthero is
one of the rare herbal medicines that has been tested extensively
on humans in clinical trials. Eleuthro’s adaptogenic and other
protective and strengthening properties have been studied and
confirmed with thousands of human volunteers. We can still
learn much more about eleuthero, but researchers have already
defined some of the ways in which eleuthero affects the body
biochemically and have identified certain active constituents that
are natural plant steroids, the eleutherosides.
Research has documented that holy basil (Ocimim sanctum) acts
as an antioxidant and may decrease levels of stress hormones.
This herb is a powerful anti-inflammatory that has an effective-
ness that is similar to aspirin and ibuprofen. However, unlike
aspirin and ibuprofen, this herb is not irritating to the lining of
the gastrum. Animal studies have found that holy basil has simi-
lar effects to a variety of mood-enhancing pharmaceuticals such
as stimulants and antidepressants.
Nutraceuticals for Treating
Phosphatidyl serine (PS) is used to treat adrenocortical dysfunc-
tion. One product, Seriphos™ (Interplexus, Kent, Washington),
provides a form of PS that does not depend on enzyme availabili-
ty for gastrointestinal-tract absorption.
This product stimulates
neuronal plasticity, acting as a compensatory adaptive mecha-
nism to cell deterioration. PS is also capable of preventing or
delaying the age-dependent decline of neurotransmitter function.
Some examples of additional nutritional agents use for treating
adrenocortical dysfunction comprehensively include: buffered
forms of vitamin C, vitamin B-complex formulas, pantothenic
acid, zinc, lipoic acid, and glandular extract supports (also
known as protomorphogens or adrenal cortex extracts).
PS is purported to help in optimizing the stress response and
repairing the damage wrought by catabolic stress hormones.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that subjects experience
improvement on computerized and standard neuropsychologic
performance tests for sleep and mental function.
The clinically common prescription of PS for optimal absorp-
tion, is two capsules (250 mg each) taken before meals (at least 15
minutes before eating) or before bedtime. To mimic the diurnal
effect of cortisol, holistic health care practitioners recommend tak-
ing two capsules in the morning and two during midafternoon.
A particularly interesting study revealed that cortisol strongly
fluctuates with increases and decreases in negative affect. The
parameters of this research included testing salivary cortisol lev-
els of 30 healthy young men experiencing an activating and
humorous video, a speech stressor, and a resting control. The
study researchers found that negative affect increased during the
ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—OCTOBER 2002
The author has no vested interest in this product.
Botanicals with Purported
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)
Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera)
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense)
Cola nut (Cola nitida)
Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridum)
Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
Ginseng (Panax spp.)
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Oats (Avena sativa)
Prickly ash (Xanthoxylum clava-herculis) bark
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Suma (Pfaffia paniculata)
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
From: Tilgner S. Herbal Medicine: From the Heart of the Earth. OR: Wise
speech but strongly decreased during the video. The researchers
concluded that their results suggested that the HPA axis is a
dynamic system that is influenced by changes in negative affect
independently of the experience of generalized activation.
An increasing amount of research points to the relation
between emotional states and sympathetic nervous system over-
This research confirms that the mind and body can
no longer be looked on as separate moieties. Whatever the under-
lying mechanism that connects mind and body, the writing on
the wall is quite clear—medicine can no longer separate the
structure of the human body from the function of the human
body. Ultimately, as we have known for a very long time empiri-
cally, restoration of homeostasis requires treatment of the whole
organism, not just one part of it.
With regard to adrenocortical function, even on the purely
physical level, many physicians who practice nutritionally orient-
ed medicine have noted that certain conditions improve with
treatment for adrenal fatigue. Some of the more common condi-
tions that respond to this kind of are acute viral illnesses, aller-
gies, gastritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema,
contact dermatitis, urticaria, psoriasis, and allergic rhinitis.
1. Kovacs K, Selye H. The original and creative scientist. Ann NY Acad
2. Terzolo M, Osella G, Ali A, Borretta G, Cesario F, Paccotti P, Angeli
Subclinical Cushing’s syndrome in adrenal incidentaloma. Clin
3. Tintera JW. Hypoadrenocorticism. Troy, NY: Hypoglycemia Founda-
tion, Inc., 1980.
4. Opstad K. Circadian rhythm of hormones is extinguished during pro-
longed physical stress, sleep and energy deficiency in young men. Eur
5. Ronizo RA. Nutritional support for adrenal function. Am J Nat Med
6. Morgan WP, Brown DR, Raglin JS, O’Connor PJ, Ellickson KA. Psycho-
logical monitoring of overtraining and staleness. Br J Sports Med
7. Chrousos GP. Stressors, stress, and neuroendocrine Integration of the
adaptive response. Ann NY Acad Sci 1998;851:311–356.
8. Szabo S. Hans Selye and the Development of the Stress Concept. Ann
NY Acad Sci 1998;851:19–27.
9. Ronzio RA. Nutritional support for adrenal function. Am J Nat Med
10. Kelly GS. Nutritional and botanical interventions to assist with adap-
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C hri s D. M ele ti s, N.D., s e rv es a s the de an of nat uropa thic
medicine/chief medical officer, National College of Naturopathic
Medicine, Portland, Oregon. Wayne A. Centrone, N.D., A.T.-C., is a sec-
ond-year resident at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and
is also in private practice in Portland, Oregon.
To order reprints of this article, write to or call: Karen Ballen, ALTERNA-
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ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—OCTOBER 2002
The Hormonal System
Your complete health analysis
begins with assessment of the hormonal system provided by the Functional
Adrenal Stress Profile.
Stress Hormone Lab Assessments
The first step in assessing your hormonal system's condition is to measure
the functioning of your adrenal glands with the Functional Adrenal Stress
Profile test. The saliva samples you submit to the laboratory are put
through sophisticated hormonal assays that measure the levels of cortisol
and DHEA hormones over a 24-hour period. This test analyzes how well your
body is managing stress.
Causes of Stress
The Functional Adrenal Stress Profile measures adrenal stress caused by
lifestyle issues such as working long hours, poor eating habits, lack
of exercise, or lack of rest. Adrenal stress can also be caused by internal
organ dysfunction such as poor digestion or inadequate detoxification
ability. When the sum total of all your stresses reaches a critical threshold,
the adrenals react in a predicable pattern.
Symptoms of Stress
The most commonly experienced symptoms of adrenal stress include: fatigue,
depression, inability to lose weight, sweet cravings, decreased sex drive,
insomnia, poor memory, anxiety, PMS, weakened immune response, recurrent
infections, unexplained nervousness or irritability, and joint or muscle
pain. As you experience these external symptoms, profound physiological
changes are taking place inside your body. Please refer to symptoms of
stress for further details.
Three Stages of Burnout
Stage 1 - Stress Overload
Whatever the source of stress, your body's initial reaction is the same:
the adrenal glands make more of the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA
. This first stage of hormonal maldadaptation is called hyperadrenia,
or overactivity of the adrenal glands. Normally, when the stress dissipates,
the glands have time to recondition and prepare for the next stressful
event. However, if your stress levels remain high, your body will remain
locked in this first stage of adrenal stress. If your stress hormone levels
remain elevated for extended periods of time, your body's ability to recover
can be reduced and the ability of your adrenals to make cortisol and DHEA
can be compromised.
Another way to look at this
is to think of your adrenal reserve as a savings account. If you continually
withdraw money from savings and don't replace it, you are eventually unable
to recover financially. Fatigue and other adrenal symptoms are signs that
your body's reserve has been overdrawn and your adrenals are becoming
exhausted. If the stress continues, the high levels of cortisol and DHEA
begin to drop. As the high levels of these hormones can no longer be sustained,
a person enters into stage two of adrenal exhaustion.
Stage 2 - Fatigue
Some individuals have genetically strong adrenal glands and can maintain
health under high levels of stress for many years. Others may enter into
stage two more quickly. Eventually, if we continue to experience excess
stress, we enter into stage two of adrenal exhaustion. This transition
period usually lasts between six and eighteen months during which the
stress response of the adrenal glands is gradually compromised. Under
chronic stress conditions, the adrenals eventually "burn out".
At this point the glands become fatigued and can no longer sustain an
adequate response to stress. This condition ultimately leads to stage
three or hypoadrenalism.
Stage 3 - Exhaustion
In stage three of adrenal maladaptation, the glands have been depleted
of their ability to produce cortisol and DHEA in sufficient amounts and
now it becomes more and more difficult for the body to recover. Constant
fatigue and low-level depression can appear in otherwise emotionally healthy
people because cortisol and DHEA help maintain mood, emotional stability,
and energy levels. As cortisol and DHEA levels are depressed, people experience
depressed mental function. Brain function suffers as these hormones are
depleted. Both poor memory and mental confusion can be a direct result
of adrenal hormone depletion.
Stress and Sex Hormone Production
and Sex Drive
Because all steroid hormone production is linked by biochemical pathways,
cortisol and DHEA depletion impacts the female hormones, progesterone
and estrogen, as well as the predominant male hormone, testosterone. In
both men and women, hormonal symptoms such as mood swings, irritability,
sweet cravings and headaches can be related to the failure of the adrenals
to adapt to stress. Female hormone symptoms such as menstrual cramping,
infertility, night sweats and hot flashes can also be adrenal related.
Many women feel they are on an emotional roller coaster with their female
hormones, yet rarely is the role the adrenals play in female hormones
explored. Testosterone levels in men also suffer as a result of weak adrenal
output. Since sex hormone levels drop as cortisol and DHEA levels drop,
sex drive diminishes in both men and women.
BoneLoss, Pain and Inflammation
When cortisol levels are abnormal due to chronic stress, bone loss can
occur. This is because excessive cortisol blocks mineral absorption. If
you are taking calcium supplements to help protect you from bone loss
and your cortisol is elevated, you will be unable to absorb the calcium.
Calcium can then precipitate in the body and deposit in joints causing
arthritis or deposit in the blood vessels increasing your risk for hardening
of the arteries. Many people experience increased neck, back, and joint
pain from imbalances in cortisol.
Two major aspects of healthy
immune function are mucosal and humoral immunity. The mucosal immune system
consists of the lining tissues of the body that defends us against infectious
organisms such as bacteria, virus, yeast, parasites and food antigens.
The mucosal immune system also protects us from the entry of harmful toxins
from chemicals and heavy metals. Our humoral, or blood immunity, represents
the ability of immune cells in the blood to fight and neutralize harmful
These two basic functions of
the immune system can be easily measured using Functional Diagnostic lab
tests. The strength of our mucosal barrier function, or our mucosal immunity
can be assessed with the salivary mucosal barrier screen test. The humoral
immune system's reaction to candida can be measured by the Candida antibodies/DNA
panel. Both mucosal and humoral immunity are required for our body's to
fight infections and handle food antigens.
Symptoms of suppressed mucosal
immunity include chronic sinus infections or sinus congestion, susceptibility
to colds and flus, intestinal upset, food allergies, environmental allergies
to pollens, animals. Suppressed humoral immunity is a more advanced condition
that results from mucosal barrier dysfunction. This condition is common
in people with chronic health problems such as chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia,
depression and food reactions.
Further immune system function
can be measured by testing antibodies to gluten, milk dairy, soy, corn
and rice. Food reactions are the most frequent hidden cause of immune
system problems. Genetic, autoimmune conditions such as gluten intolerance
affect millions of Americans. Lactose intolerance and cow's milk dairy
allergies are a leading cause of sinus problems and excessive mucous production.
Corn and soy allergies are also increasingly common.
Salivary testing also detects
the level of secretory immunoglobin A, referred to as 'SIgA', a vital,
if long unrecognized component of the immune system.
In a healthy body, SIgA protects
us from opportunistic infections (e.g., parasites, bacteria, yeast, virus)
and reactions to foods. SIgA is a thin, healthy, mucous-like substance
that provides a physical barrier of defense in all the lining tissues
of the body. SIgA defense is found in the lining of the gastrointestinal
tract, respiratory tract, sinus passages, throat, mouth, vaginal tract,
and urogenital system. When SIgA is depressed, we become susceptible to
a wide range of infectious organisms, environmental allergens such as
pollens and molds, and can become reactive to the very foods we eat.
Stress and Immune Function
Cortisol, the "stress hormone", directs the production of special
immune cells called immunocytes which produce, SigA, our first line immune
defense. If cortisol values are abnormal the ability of immune cells to
produce adequate SigA is compromised. This is one reason we get sick so
easily when we are stressed. Simply put, prolonged stress results in adrenal
exhaustion and depressed first line immune defense opening the door for
Physiological Effects of Stress
The repair/breakdown or anabolic/catabolic dynamic is one of the most
important health principles. Depending on our physical and emotional health
we are at all times shifting between a repair (anabolic) or breakdown
(catabolic) state. Being in an anabolic state means you are rebuilding,
repairing, literally re-constructing your body's tissues. Being in a repair
state is like renovating a house by painting, landscaping and replacing
a leaky roof. Anabolic refers to your immune system's rebuilding processes.
When you are anabolic, your body is in a state of constant regeneration,
repairing blood vessels and heart tissue, rebuilding old bone, and even
destroying cancerous cells.
The opposite process, a breakdown state, is referred to as a catabolic
state. The word catabolic is from the same Greek root as the word cataclysm,
meaning disaster. It is a well-chosen term since too much time spent in
a catabolic state has disastrous effects on your health. This breakdown
or destruction phase occurs when your body is operating under stressful
conditions and isn't able to repair itself adequately. Under catabolic
conditions we breakdown our own muscle, our own organs and our own bone.
This breakdown ultimately leads to degenerative diseases.
We maintain a strong immune
system when our bodies spend more time in repairing than breaking down.
A healthy immune system prevents the development of many chronic degenerative
diseases. For example, we have cancer cells that grow in us each day and
it's our immune system's job to destroy those cells so that tumors don't
develop. Our blood vessels and heart require constant renewal to prevent
the plaquing that causes cardiovascular disease. Our bodies are constantly
breaking down and repairing bone and joint tissue; if this breakdown process
is blocked, osteoporosis and arthritis occur. Prolonged immune system
stress can lead the body to attack itself resulting in autoimmune diseases
such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
chemical fire and prednisone
Adrenal Insufficiency--A lack of ACTH,causes a drop production
of cortisol not aldosterone or someone taking medication such as prednisone
for a long time abruptly stops or interrupts taking the medication.
Treatment of adrenal crisis
— Adrenal crisis is a life-threatening emergency. If your doctor
has a reasonable suspicion that adrenal insufficiency is causing shock,
he or she may immediately start treatment for this condition without waiting
for test results.
The treatment of adrenal insufficiency
usually requires lifelong hormone replacement. Correct use of these hormone
medications is essential to minimize symptoms and the chance of adrenal
crisis. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions about medication
doses, schedules, or side effects.
Signs and symptoms of adrenal
Stresses like a demanding job,
raising a family, relationship issues, lack of sleep, financial pressures,
improper nutrition, dieting, and unresolved emotional distress cause the
adrenal glands to produce cortisol. However, when we ask our adrenal glands
to chronically sustain high cortisol levels, they eventually become fatigued.
The resulting adrenal dysfunction not only affects cortisol production,
but also impairs the adrenals' ability to produce and balance hormones
like DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue
The following symptoms are
your body's way of telling you that it is not receiving the support it
needs to maintain healthy adrenal function.
* Feeling tired despite sufficient hours of sleep
* Weight gain
* Hair loss
* Reliance on stiumlants like caffeine
* Cravings for carbohydrates or sugars
* Poor immune function
* Intolerance to cold
Adrenal fatigue is a likely
factor in several medical conditions such as the following:
* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
* Premature menopause
Thompson Est. 2003
The Misdiagnosis of
"Shaken Baby Syndrome" --an unproven theory without scientific
support, now in disrepute and wreaking legal and medical havoc world-wide
Author publication: NEXUS MAGAZINE "Seawater--A
Safe Blood Plasma Substitute?"
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