Thanks for sharing your experiences Brian, really informative post!
My high evening cortisol is down to gut yeast overgrowth just as you suspect yours to be. Since the gut is now recognised as the 'Second Brain' it's easy to see how a "messed up" gut ecology can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and other effects of endocrine and nervous system imbalance. Gut yeast overgrowth plays havoc with hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis and regulation and cortisol production being out of sync is just one result. I've been diagnosed with severe gut yeast overgrowth (or fungal-type dysbiosis, auto-brewery syndrome etc etc) by multiple medical doctors following various lab tests and a few years back a neurologist diagnosed 'circadian dysrhythmia' - my body clock is shifted approximately 4-6 hours forwards - so I don't get going until midday and feel wide awake mentally at midnight! This all ties in with Adrenal Stress Profile results showing my cortisol low in the mornings and climbing in the evenings - when it should be dropping right down to signal help send the "sleep signal" to my body. Poor gut ecology really does have a lot to answer for and will in future be considered as important as DNA in determining likely health outcomes in my view!
It's great to read you've had success with Rhodiola in particular and some promising signs with ashwagandha. Thanks for sharing what you use and further reading for the benefit of other readers, Life Extension make high quality nutritional supplements but also have one of the best websites on the subject to back them up; their articles are always as thorough and balanced as can be and cite all the latest research. I'd highly recommend everyone spend some time reading over there.
I'd say your friend is absolutely right since both Rhodiola and Ashwagandha are classed as adaptogens i.e. they promote vitality, stamina and well-being, most often by supporting adrenal health and restoring a degree of homeostasis (balance) to the body's physiology. I personally gave Rhodiola a good try on a few separate occasions but unfortunately didn't notice a benefit. Ashwagandha I've never really given a fair trial. My protocol for dealing with high nighttime cortisol generally involves some combination of phosphatidylserine, melatonin, Relora and LifeWave Aeon patches (designed for adrenal fatigue but have me asleep within 5 minutes without fail - I do also feel more recharged the next day too).
Thanks again for sharing and I hope you get that long vacation and find the right balance with Ashwagandha. Please do come back and let us know if you get it working for you or find anything else that helps with this particular issue!
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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