20 Feb 2011
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/High Cortisol and How To Heal From It
by Eileen Nauman, DHM (UK)
Copyright 2010 Eileen Nauman
All Rights Reserved
Update on Cortisol treatment with Seriphos
In January of 2010, I called Dr. Maya Brownsberger and asked if I could take a second saliva test (Diagnos-Tech) to see where my cortisol levels were at from the first test I’d taken back in September 7, 2009.
Dr. Brownsberger is part of a new branch of medicine known as “Functional Medicine.” If you go to their website: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/findfmphysician/index.asp, you can not only learn more about this important new branch, but also to locate the nearest FM specialist near where you live.
I received the test results back on January 28, 2010. And, I wanted to share them with you. Also, to make a comparison to the first test I’d taken in September, 2009, I’m putting up both test results in this blog so you can compare them for yourself.
Maya told me that the second test showed wonderful improvement from before. Keeping in mind that I was on two months of Seriphos, an adaptogen. I was prescribed to take at the times of the day my first test indicated (the stress/elevated or low/depressed peaks). And here is that first test. You can see that that 3 out of the 4 test times, I was “out” of the normal cortisol levels. Maya prescribed one capsule of Seriphos for me at 11 am, 3 pm and at bedtime. This, I took for two months and then stopped taking it.
It took about two weeks of being off from it to see the results. I felt completely calm with no anxiety, no sense of danger or threat throughout the day. I was handling all kinds of situations that would normally spike me into the “danger/anger” that I’d felt all my life. But not now.
The only thing I felt hadn’t been addressed was my sleep–I was back to the same old stuff of waking two to three times a night, no dreams, and being chronically sleep deprived. Considering how bad my first test was and that Maya had rarely seen anyone as ‘bad’ as my test results, I felt pretty good about it. At least during the day I was a function, normal human being with no anxiety or feeling in danger or in a threatening situation. For me, that was like getting out of prison. An amazing and wonderful experience
When January 2010 rolled around, I felt I wanted to see the results of the two months of Seriphos in lab results. The first two examples are my results from September 2009.
Let’s now look at the second test results. The first box are the values and then below it will be the lab box. Compare them to the first set above. Quite a change, but look for yourself and make that determination.
When I got the second lab test results back, I was wowed, to say the least. My 8 a.m. peak was brought down from a “8” depressed to a “5” depressed.
My 11:00 a.m. peak was 18 and elevated. I the second test, it was 4 depressed. This one was the greatest change of all and I could certainly feel the difference between them–like night and day. Whereas before I was tense and anxious, I was now mellow and calm.
My 4 pm in the first test was 4 normal. Now, in the second test it was 11 elevated. This one went from normal to high.
The 10 p.m. on the first test was 7 elevated. In the second test it was 2 normal.
On the first test, my “Cortisol Burden” (this test is an indicator of over all cortisol exposure, where high values favor a catabolic state, the low values are a sign of adrenal deterioration) was 37 and the “normal” were between 23 – 42.
Now, after taking the Seriphos the second test shows: 22 (with the reference values of 23-42) . So, the Seriphos has created a remarkable change in my cortisol output by my adrenal glands.
Maya emailed me and told me to go back on the Seriphos and take one capsule at 3 pm and the other at bedtime. I could certainly, within two days, feel the difference in my sleep pattern. I’m sleeping normally and even dreaming and remembering my dreams now. Plus, I’m waking up less (once instead of three times), and I’m only two weeks into a four week cycle of Seriphos.
She also put me on an adrenal supplement, ADHS by Biotics Research Corporation. I am to take 2 tablets at noon meal and 2 tablets at my dinner.
I was also on Bio-Glycozyme Forte by Biotics Research Corporation three times a day. This particular product is there to help lower blood sugar levels. Now, I’m taking one at noon and one in the evening, a reduction for three a day.
And, other things happened along the way. The amount of thyroid I was taking before the Seriphos has been REDUCED. Maya said that once the adrenals get back into balance, the other endocrine glands can also start more normal functioning too. Now, I’m no a lower dose of thyroid the last two months and doing fine on it.
My fasting insulin was >50 (Normal is 3-12 ulU/ml) and I was hyper insulin on the first test.
The second test my fasting insulin was >40 and had dropped! This is very good news indeed because the Adrenals play a part in the carbohydrate processes within the body.
Two other endocrine glands besides my adrenals, were showing positive progress as a result of lowering my cortisol levels.
It’s fascinating to me how the cortisol is responding to the Seriphos that’s designed to get it all into the normal daily values. Before, on the first test my highest abnormal peak was 11 am to noon. Now, after taking the Seriphos, the highest is my 4 pm with an 11 elevation.
I was on Hydro-zyme, two tablets with each major meal of the day. This is an HCL (hydrochloric acid) supplement. Why? Because as we get older, our stomach acid isn’t like it used to be. The results of weakened stomach acid is heart burn, esophageal ulcer, acute gastritis and full blown stomach ulcers. I had one bout of heartburn about six months ago and Maya felt that even one episode was a red flag. Since taking them, my swelling has reduced considerably and I can now really feel the difference if I forget to take them. I’ve had no bouts of heartburn after taking them.
I went to three tablets with each major meal and there is no more swelling after I eat and I’ve been at this level for about a month. Again, no swelling and no heartburn.
The bottom line since taking Seriphos the first time in September 2009 is: I felt calm and centered inside. I didn’t realize how anxious I was until it was GONE. Completely gone. I marveled at how quiet and balanced I felt. Even more astounding and heart rending was I was myself for the first time in my life. And it continues now (and I’m blogging on March 3, 2010 about this). There has no “slide” back to the way I used to be.
I felt intense peace, calmness, extra patience and no irritability. My fear was gone. I could think of things that would make me fearful, and I had no emotional reaction to them. It was simply amazing and life-changing for me. I am, once again, feeling happiness. The only feelings I felt were fear, anger and threat. I did not know what it felt like to feel joy and happiness until just now. And now, my heart stirs and swells with these wonderful ‘other’ emotions. The positive ones.
I also feel an incredible detachment from everything that I used to fear or have anxiety about. Now, my mind can clearly see what is going on without the ‘haze’ of the cortisol kicked up emotions to cloud my perspective. I haven’t felt one bit of fear, irritability or anger in the first month since being on the Seriphos. I have been living in a wonderfully centered, grounded, peaceful and quiet inner radiance that simply did not exist for me until now.
This is what one hormone can do to a person’s entire emotional systems. It’s tragic. And yet, it shows everyone how much of our emotions can be skewed and distorted by that high level of cortisol. I used to have what I termed a mental gray attitude toward life. Before Seriphos, I would see nothing but problems and possible outcomes and then never feel hope that something different could occur. My emotions were so on guard, so waiting for something bad to happen that hope had been erased from my life. Now, it’s back! I no longer look at a problematic situation and try to figure out all the ways it might occur. Now, I just shrug and understand I don’t have any need to waste precious energy and time on such things. I have hope that things will turn out just as they are meant to be without my mental meddling.
My memory is slowing improving too. Now, words that had hidden in the fog, are returning. And as a writer, this loss was terrible for me. Cortisol will steal your memory. Now, it’s coming back.
FINDING A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN
There are two places to go. First is the FM web page. You can find an FM specialist nearest you at: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/findfmphysician/index.asp
Secondly, Diagnos-Techs. Inc., the creator of saliva tests for hormones, has a directory at http://www.diagnostechs.com/gibby/PROVIDER_wrap.html
These providers utilize the all-important ASI, Adrenal Stress Index saliva test by Diagnos-Techs, Inc. See more below about this test.
SALIVA TEST FOR HIGH CORTISOL
Since 1987, saliva has been found to be a good indicator of a number of our hormone functions. Diagnos-Techs, Inc., led the way in this discovery. If you’d like to know more about how our saliva can be utilized, go to their website and read up on: Saliva is a Valuable Diagnostic Tool for Hormone Assessment, 9.19.2009. It can be found at: http://www.diagnostechs.com/gibby/index.html#EVENTS
Dr. Brownsberger likes the ASI (adrenal stress index) saliva test that is put out by Diagnos-Techs, Inc. http://www.diagnostechs.com/gibby/index.html. This test is $99.00 and opens up the world via saliva, on a number of hormones, among them cortisol. You cannot buy this test without a physician’s prescription. It may be sent in by a physician’s assistant, Naturopath, or other health care providers as well as MD’s. There are other test kits out there, but this is the BEST one.
My advice is if your physician (who may not be Functional Medicine oriented), ask them to call this company to order this particular kit: 1-800-878-3787.
Below is the info onThe Adrenal Stress Index (ASI).
The ASI Index evaluates several markers of stress on the body, which include:
4 Cortisol tests help assess stress response
2 Insulin tests help examine blood sugar control
DHEA – Helps determine stress adaptation Secretory IgA – Helps evaluate possibility of strain on immunity
17-OH Progesterone – Helps determine adrenal reserve
Gluten Antibodies – Help identify grain intolerance
Abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence:
Immune system health
Muscle and joint function With only four saliva samples, your health care provider can use the findings in this panel to recommend customized treatment and preventive measures that may include diet and lifestyle changes, hormones, botanicals and vitamins.
The advantages of the ASI are:
1. The test is non-invasive & can be performed wherever you are. Only four saliva samples are needed.
2. Saliva is collected under real life conditions. There are no stressful blood draws and no gallon-sized urine containers to carry around for 24 hours.
3. With typical blood and urine testing, a number of borderline adrenal conditions are missed due to lack of sensitivity. ASI samples are taken within one circadian cycle (24 hours) and are able to provide more definitive measurements of adrenal health.
4. The ASI is an in-depth test, such that options for treatment are expanded by 400-500% over serum and urine test results.
Note: The ASI was invented and introduced by Diagnos-Techs, Inc. in 1989. All other panels offered on the market today are reproductions.
Do you need the ASI Test?
Request a stress questionnaire from your physician to determine if the ASI is the appropriate test for assessing your health condition. The score can help your doctor determine a course of action. The ASI is typically ordered for individuals that suffer from:
Chronic stress and related health problems
Lack of vitality and energy
Muscle and joint pain
Low sex drive
Low body temperature
Dr. Brownsberger likes Seriphos, which is manufactured by InterPlexus. In order to reduce high cortisol Seriphos is what is known as an ACTH-dampening Phosphorylated serine supplement. I am going to be on 2 bottles (there is 100 capsules in each) because of my extreme PTSD high cortisol test results. Seriphos will basically plug the cortisol receptors and not allow them to fire off and keep the cortisol high in my bloodstream. Instead, by taking it daily, based upon the lab test results, I take it at 11 am, 3 pm and 10 pm, when my cortisol is outside the ‘normal’ limits. Over time, the cortisol resides and comes back within normal boundaries. At the same time, the Pituitary gland, which is supposed to be the “brake” that stops cortisol from being poured into the bloodstream, wakes up and starts to take over this function once more. Seriphos, in other words, retrains the brain/Pituitary hormones, to get involved once more in monitoring the amount of cortisol in my bloodstream and when the ‘threatening’ event is over, orders the adrenal glands to stop pouring cortisol into my bloodstream. The result of this retraining is that the cortisol is controlled, as it once had been before the trauma experienced, and goes back to normal limits.
Seriphos should be administered by your health care provider after you’ve gotten the saliva ASI test. Why? Because where the points of your cortisol lab test our out of normal range, you take a capsule at that time. This shouldn’t be guessed at or assumed by you. If you use it at the wrong times, you’re actually messing up the cortisol process. That’s why it’s so important to enlist the help of a health care provider who knows when you need this product.
Seriphos can be ordered online at http://www.vitacost.com. Just put “seriphos” in the Search box and it will turn up.
There are many other products out there that are ACTH dampening like Seriphos, but I’m going with what I have been on because it worked for me. Your health care provider may have another brand label that does the same thing.
WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN WHERE I LIVE?
After going to the FM website and you find that the closest physcian is hundreds of miles away from you, I would suggest you go to your primary care physician and discuss this ASI test with her or him. And give the health care provider the name/phone number of the nearest FM physician. In this way, they can talk with one another on your behalf and your primary care health provider will be guided on what to do, and how to do it for you.
Or, if your primary health care provider refuses to work in this way, call and make an appointment with the nearest FM phyiscian and drive there. To me, after experiencing the miraculous changes in myself, no amount of driving would be too much. Even if it’s 200-500 miles, it would be worth it, in my opinion. But, that is something you must decide for yourself.
Also, check with Naturopaths in your area–frequently they may be aware of the ASI test. That’s another lead.
NORTHERN ARIZONA REFERRALS
If you are lucky enough to live in Northern Arizona where I live, there are two people I recommend. First, my primary care physcian, Linda Haggard, PA. You can call her for an appointment at (928) 284-0166 at their Sedona Integrative Medical Clinic, Oak Creek, Arizona. She and her husband, Eric Haggard, PT, have a website at: www.celebrationsoflight.com. They take care of the entire Verde Valley area and will be your connection for further cortisol testing. Linda has been a PA for twenty years and knows about high cortisol and its deadly affects on a person.
Secondly, if you live in the Flagstaff, Az area, there is Dr. Maya Brownsberger, Functional Medicine specialist. Her office is at: 1 (928) 214-7005 and her website is: www.optimalhealthandaesthetics.com.
I hope you find this helpful. You can always email me privately at email@example.com, if you have questions. I’d like to see everyone with high cortisol get the benefits I’ve been given. No one realizes the change in their life until they’ve had their cortisol corrected and the brain retrained. I wish freedom for all of you who have this condition. Please pass this series of blogs on to your family and friends who you suspect may have the same condition. You can be giving them a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Schmookler, E., Ph.D., Trauma Treatment Manual, 1996, Revised 2001, http://www.trauma-pages.com/s/schmookler-manual.php
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, American Psychiatric Assn., Washington, D.C., January, 1995
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 16th Edition, edited by Robert Berkow, MD, Merck Research Labs, Rahway,NJ, 1992.
Butler, K., The Biology of Fear, July/Aug., 1996, The Family Therapy Networker, Washington, D.C.
Diagnos-Techs, Inc., ASI test