A new study that was just published a few weeks ago found 82 percent of those suffering with Fibromyalgia who took part in this study had Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency (SAI) as well as HGH (Human Growth Hormone). This could open the door to symptom relief for us Fibro Warriors!
What is SAI and why is it “secondary”?
Primary adrenal insufficiency is also known as Addison’s disease, named after the doctor who described this condition. Addison’s disease is rare. It affects 110–144 of every 1 million people in developed countries. It occurs when your adrenal glands are damaged (from infection, injury or autoimmune problems) and can’t produce enough of the adrenal hormones cortisol and sometimes aldosterone.
Secondary adrenal insufficiency is more common and occurs when your pituitary gland (a pea-sized gland at the base of your brain) doesn’t produce enough adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). This hormone stimulates your adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol. Without enough ACTH your adrenal glands can shrink over time.
Fibromyalgia and HGH Deficiency
As well, 86 percent of those in this study were found to have HGH (Human Growth Hormone) Deficiency.
“In conclusion, patients with FM can have co-existing SAI and GH deficiency…”
At the same time, none were found to have pituitary gland damage, ruling out Addison’s Disease.
“MRI pituitary imaging was performed in 20 patients and showed no significant pituitary pathology,” the report stated.
Cause or Effect of Fibromyalgia?
Whether this is part of the causation of Fibromyalgia symptoms or as a result of having Fibromyalgia, I can’t tell, but there is obviously a connection. Either way, this does open the door to some things that can be done to improve our symptoms.
What does this mean?
Part of the conclusion in this study included the fact that replacement of these hormones improved symptoms.
“Conclusion: Patients with FM can have concurrent SAI and GH deficiency. Appropriate glucocorticoid and/or GH replacement may improve symptoms in some patients.”
However, Cortisol and/or GH replacement can be expensive and can have side effects. A better approach, I believe, is to help your body recover and increase its own hormone production. And there are things you can do to help your adrenals recover and to increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels more naturally.
To Improve Growth Hormone Levels and Recover your Adrenals
- Exercise helps a LOT and stimulates the production of HGH. A 2015 study found that regular resistance exercise, such as the use of free weights and bodybuilding machines, led to increased secretion of HGH. If you are not up to any of this, please know that ANY type of exercise will help increase HGH levels, in addition to releasing endorphins.
- Intermittent Fasting: A 2013 study noted that intermittent fasting substantially increases the levels of HGH. As HGH plays a key role in breaking down fat, the body can then use that as energy while fasting.
- Reducing sugar intake: Cutting out as much sugar and simple carbs (which act like sugar in the body) as you possibly can also result in high HGH and less taxing of your adrenals. When your body responds with insulin to bring blood sugar levels down. An increase in insulin may inhibit the release of HGH, reducing the level of HGH in the body. As well, when your blood sugar levels drop after consuming sugar, this taxes your adrenals more.
- Good Sleep: Research has shown that HGH levels increase while you sleep due to the influence of melatonin. A regular sleep cycle is vital to naturally increase the level of HGH in the body.
- Healthy Diet: a nutrient-rich diet that includes protein, good fats, lots of veggies, some fruit and no or reduced intake of sugar, simple carbs, and processed foods.
Not that long ago I just happened to start following the above steps and found myself feeling better than I had felt for years and I started losing weight (something that had seemed impossible for a long time). Now, after study this new info about SAI and HGH, I understand WHY I started feeling so much better!
Vitamin Deficiencies can Contribute to Adrenal Fatigue
Numerous studies (see links below) have indicated that certain vitamin deficiencies influence both cortisol and the immune response.
- B Vitamins – in addition to the many benefits of B complex such as reducing inflammation and improving brain health, mood, and mental clarity, B vitamins, and particularly pantothenic acid, are key for adrenal health.
- Magnesium deficiency directly affects and improves the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. It is also a muscle relaxant, which can be helpful for the achy muscles of FM.
- Vitamin D helps regulate cortisol and other endocrine processes such as insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
- Vitamin C helps regulation of cortisol and also improves the immune response.
The Importance of Pregnenolone and Melatonin
Although these are hormones, they can be purchased over the counter easily. Pregnenolone is best known for helping to improve memory, fibro fog, mood, and sleep. It is the precursor from which almost all other hormones are made including DHEA and cortisol (adrenal hormones). Pregnenolone production declines with age, but can also decline when the body senses that cortisol levels are low and starts to basically “steal” pregnenolone to make cortisol which then further depletes pregnenolone. This can then cause a cascading effect of multiple hormone deficiencies.
Melatonin is best known for aiding in getting to sleep and sleeping more deeply. It may also help with some types of depression and numerous studies found it very helpful in preventing or recovering from Covid. Better and deeper sleep will help the body to heal, adrenals to recover and Melatonin can increase HGH levels.
Stress and Cortisol
Cortisol is often referred to as the stress hormone, or “fight or flight” hormone. Your adrenals produce a number of hormones, but
cortisol is the major one. You need cortisol to manage stress, keep your blood sugar balanced, regulate blood pressure, and modulate the immune system.
When you are under stress, your body pumps cortisol, over time causing you to deplete your “reserves,” which eventually results in adrenal fatigue.
So managing your stress levels is crucial. There is another page on this website all about stress and how to manage it. This is so important, as continued stress will not only make matters worse, but can result in a cascade of worsening symptoms.
Other Supplements can also help, such as those listed below. You can find adrenal support supplements that have all or most of these combined in health food stores and on Amazon, so that you aren’t trying to take a ton of pills in addition to other meds, vitamins, and supplements you may already be taking.
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- Maca root (Lepidium peruvianum)
- Golden root (Rhodiola rosea)
- Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
With some lifestyle changes and a few extra vitamins/supplements, we could see some symptom relief and improved quality of life.