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New Here With Cortisol Question

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Hi, All,


I'm new here, and this is my first post. I am grateful to have folks to ask questions of!


Anyone here had high cortisol levels due to gluten? If so, can you tell me about your process of going gluten-free?


My story in a nutshell: about a year ago, I started working with a wonderful integrative doctor (an osteopath) on what I thought was garden-variety hypothyroidism, but which turned out to be more complicated (you're not surprised, are you? lol.)


Current symptoms: PMS including flooding, cramps, breast tenderness, crazy mood swings, and extreme fatigue. Mild, intermittent joint pain. Insomnia and fatigue. Eczema. I've been hypoglycemic my whole life and am just now starting to think that's connected, too.


Current meds: armour thyroid, compounded progesterone cream, zoloft. Low-dose xanax just to sleep. Lots of supplements, including Stress B Vitamin Complex, B12, Vitamins C and D, Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc, and a digestive aid.


I recently did a neurotransmitter test and saliva cortisol test. My cortisol is high at all four times throughout the day, including off-the-charts high (42.0 with a range of 8.0-10.0) first thing in the morning. My glutamate was also very high. My doctor said that the cortisol shows that I am in early-stage adrenal fatigue, and the glutamate shows that it's likely due to leaky gut. She says I wake in the middle of the night because my blood sugar gets low, and my body compensates by flooding itself with cortisol.


I've been dairy-free for ten months, so doc said gluten is the next most likely culprit. I had celiac and food sensitivity testing done last week and am waiting for those results. 


In the meantime, I've stopped eating gluten. So far I'm not finding it difficult to find stuff to eat, but the emotional part is tough. 


Sometimes I think I can tell a big difference in my symptoms--I feel more energetic, less tired, and have less brain fog (which I actually didn't think I had anymore, since stopping dairy). Other times I think I can't tell at all, or I feel worse than usual.


I'm also noticeably more jittery than before. I've come up with a homegrown theory to explain why: gluten, for me, may be both cause and effect of high cortisol. Low blood sugar revs up my cortisol, which makes me crave gluten/sugar. Gluten makes me tired, which cancels out the effect of the cortisol--takes the edge off.  Is it possible that, newly gluten-free, I still have high cortisol but am no longer getting the "relief" of gluten making me tired?  


If you read all this, thanks. It helps to have a place to get it all out. If you have similar experiences, I'd appreciate hearing about them.



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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

Welcome to the board.  :)


I had slightly low cortisol, which is more common - I think. I thought low cortisol was a sign of adrenal fatigue with not enough cortisol being made


Is your thyroid balanced?  I believe hyperthyroidism can raise cortisol levels.


Has the doctor checked you for Cushings?  Autoimmune diseases, like celiac disease and thyroiditis, often come in clusters.


Are they testing you for celiac disease?  A gluten sensitivity test will not tell you if you have celiac disease.  I know a few celiacs who had normal results on an IgG food test.  


Get tested for celiac disease BEFORE going gluten-free.  You need to be eating gluten daily in the 2-3 months prior to having the blood tests done, so get tested now so you do not have to go back on gluten in a few months.


Get the tTG IgA, tTG IgG, DGP IgA, DGP IgG, EMA IgA, and total serum IgA done.


Best wishes.


"Acceptance is the key to happiness."

ITP - 1993

Celiac - June, 2012

Hypothyroid - August, 2012


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Bexbex, hi, yes I did have issues with high cortisol!! I haven't heard many others talk about that so it's interesting to hear someone else mention it, but mine appears to be related to celiac, and also Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

I was actually referred to an endocrinologist and tested for Cushing's, which was negative. While testing other things, he found I had elevated thyroid antibodies. Getting my thyroid into a more optimal range lowered the cortisol a little bit.

Then found out I was celiac: I removed all gluten and felt a further reduction in cortisol, though still not optimal.

A little while later, I realized I was still getting cross-contaminated by a few kitchen items like colander and cutting boards (dont know how I missed those - blame the celiac brain fog). Once I removed those, I really started to see huge improvements in the cortisol normalizing. In fact, I had been taking a supplement called Cortisol Manager which is supposed to be proven to lower high cortisol by like 200% or something?. I never noticed anything from it, but once I removed the cross-contamination sources I had to cut down my dose because I was getting symptoms of it lowering my cortisol too much.

Lately my cortisol has been a bit higher again so I'm trying to figure out if I'm getting cross-contaminated again or my thyroid is weird again or what.

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