If you suspect you have low cortisol, test adrenal function at home. You might be inspired to (finally) make some life changes if your test results are not optimal.
The value of testing adrenal function is to confirm you’re exhausting yourself with work and worry. And not enough sleep.
If testing will help you change this, then test.
Don’t self-diagnose and try to treat the adrenals if sleep and the Paleo Diet will resolve your fatigue. If you do begin herbs and lifestyle support, retest every few months to record progress.
One caution from my years in the clinic with hundreds of adrenal fatigue clients: many adrenal glandulars are too stimulating. Whole Glandulars contain Cortex and Medulla – the two parts of the Adrenal. The Medulla releases Adrenaline, so many glandulars can make you speedy or anxious. I have a Cortex-Only Glandular in the Online Store that helps feed the adrenals without the stimulating effect. Excellent on its own or with Ga – Adrenal.
Observe if a glandular (or any other supplement) makes you anxious or speedy. Rest and repair is what you’re after – not just “energy” which makes you ignore your fatigue.
How to test your adrenal function at home
Here’s two free tests I use in my clinic, and one you’ll need to buy online or from your health provider. You’ll get great data on the state of your adrenals and can monitor improvements over time.
If you find your cortisol is low, I have several “Primal Diet – Modern Health” podcasts on the adrenals (such as this one on iTunes), and several articles (such as this one and this one) to give you more help.
ONE: Saliva testing for cortisol and other hormones
The only way to quantify the amount of cortisol produced and the time at which you produce it is a Salivary Test. Collect 4 samples of saliva over the course of a day, and you’ll get an easy to read report on cortisol amount and timing.
Cortisol is highest in the morning and lowest at bedtime when it allows melatonin to put us to sleep. This circadian rhythm is essential to many body functions.
A Functional Health provider such as myself can order this for you and there are online sellers as well.
TWO: Test Blood Pressure on Standing
The Ragland’s Test measures your adrenals’ capacity to maintain blood pressure when you stand up.
Lie down, relax for a few minutes, then take and record your blood pressure, leaving the cuff attached to your arm. Now stand up and immediately retake your pressure. If the top number (your Systolic pressure) rises 6 points or more, you’re good!
If it stays the same, or falls, you have “fair” adrenal function.
Drops 2 to 10 points? That’s “poor” adrenal function.
Drops more than 10 points? Your adrenals may be exhausted. Order a Salivary Test and work with an experienced practitioner who knows more than to just put you on those “whole glandulars” I spoke of. It’s really important now to understand how stress is affecting you and what you need to do to repair your endocrine system.
THREE: The Pupil Reflex Test
You can do this alone, but it’s helpful to have a partner. You’ll need a small flashlight (not too bright) and a dark room with a mirror you can get close to (or a friend who can observe you). Your cell phone light is too bright so try to filter it some.
Stand in the dark for 60 seconds to let your pupils dilate. Then shine a light from the side onto one eye. Immediately start counting seconds.
The pupil should strongly constrict and HOLD while the light shines for at least 20 seconds.
If the pupil pulses open and closed, count the timing. Holds steady for 10 seconds and then starts pulsing? Mild adrenal fatigue. Pulsing after 5 to 10 seconds? Definite adrenal fatigue.
If the pupil cannot constrict and hold even 5 seconds before dilating, you may be in adrenal exhaustion. Time to run a saliva test and quantify where you’re at!
Author’s note: I shared this article with Delicious Obsessions website so more readers can learn how to test Adrenal Function at home. Thanks for reading.