Asthma and the Adrenal Glands

Adrenal suppression may be an issue in asthmatic patients. A study published in Thorax (1993;48:599-602) looked at children who were taking 400 micrograms of steroids per day. The subjects of the study were 49 children who had a mean age of 9.2 years, taking budesonide and 28 children with a mean age of 10.2 years taking beclomethasone dipropionate. They were compared to 23 children without asthma, who had a mean age of 8.9 years. Cortisol concentrations were lower in the children using the steroids than they were in the non-asthmatic controls.

Another study, published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (March, 1996;76:234-238) looked at 39 asthmatic patients, 24 of whom received beclomethasone dipropionate by a metered dose inhaler. The inhaler created adrenal suppression in 47% of the patients using the inhaler directly. Those patients showed a low 24-hour urinary free cortisol excretion (seen in primary adrenal insufficiency). Those utilizing the spacer experienced less cortisol excretion (8%).

In the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (1998;102;699-700), there is a review of four cases of patients treated with fluticasone propionate. These patients all had clinical or laboratory evidence of adrenal suppression.  This, and the previous research suggest that asthma patients using inhaled glucocorticoids may also experience adrenal suppression.

Adrenal hyperfunction: A person in the resistance stage may feel keyed up. The person may have cold, clammy hands; a rapid pulse or reduced appetite, but hasn’t begun to feel any of the more serious symptoms of the next stage.

  • ADHS: This product contains vitamins, minerals and herbs (product contains no glandular material), known to support normal adrenal function.
  • Phosphatidylserine supplies a supplemental source of this important phospholipid, which is a structural part of biological membranes. Phosphatidylserine is involved in signal transduction activity and may positively impact cognition. It can also help reduce cortisol levels

Adrenal hypofunction: These patients often feel dizzy when standing up suddenly. They fall asleep quickly, but often wake up unable to fall back asleep. Strong light bothers them. Often there is immune system problems, fatigue, depression, digestive problems or pain. Supplementation can include:

  • Cytozyme ADTM: Source of neonatal bovine adrenal
  • ABD5: Two capsules contain 75 mg of vitamin C, 5 mg of B-1, B-6 and B-2 (phosphorylated forms), 25 mg of niacinamide, 200 mcg of folic acid, 6 mcg of vitamin B-12, 75 mg of pantothenic acid, 500 mcg of iron, 35 mg of magnesium malate, 2.5 mg of zinc, 1 mg of manganese and a 635 mg proprietary blend of malic acid, porcine adrenal concentrate, citrus bioflavonoids, choline, SOD and catalase, N-acetyl-cysteine, ovine pituitary/hypothalamus, bovine parotid and copper (less than 2 percent of the blend).
  • 7-Keto-Zyme™: Supplies 7-oxo-DHEA Acetate, combined with SOD and catalase, both important anti-oxidant enzymes. 7-oxo-DHEA Acetate has demonstrated a thermogenic effect. Although it is a metabolite of DHEA, it differs in that it does not convert to androgens or estrogens (sex hormones).

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