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Are You Going Through A Paradoxical Reaction? The Risks of Supplementation

Adrenal supplements and paradoxical reactionSupplements. The right one at the right time in the right dosage can be exactly what your body needs to get over that hump when recovering from a health condition. Even if you are eating healthy, nutritional gaps are bound to happen once in a while, and if you’re not in shape these little gaps can add up. So what better way to ensure you’re on track than by taking a few supplements? The only problem, though, is that you might end up with a paradoxical reaction, even if you’re doing everything right.

What are Paradoxical Reactions?

Paradoxical reactions are basically reactions that are the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve through the use of a supplement or treatment… the opposite of what is usually expected. Of course, you already understand that some medications and treatments have side-effects, but you probably didn’t pay much attention to the risk of taking supplements, especially those labeled as all-natural and organic.

Supplements can take many different forms, from vitamins and minerals to herbs and glandulars. They can be used to fill in the nutritional gaps, as stated before, but they can also be used in therapeutic doses. These are doses that are higher than the usual recommended dosage and are designed to boost a certain function. Whether you’re taking the regular dose or a therepeutic dose, you may experience paradoxical reactions. Anything used medicinally or therapeutically, including all-natural and organic supplements, can cause a paradoxical reaction in any dose, high or low. The weaker the person , the greater the risk. Examples of paradoxical reactions can include:

  • Feeling anxious when taking magnesium instead of calming
  • Unable to sleep when taking melatonin, a sleep aid
  • Experiencing constipation when taking bowel tolerance level of vitamin C
  • Feeling jittery with heavy menses when taking progesterone

A group of supplements that may cause a paradoxical reaction affectParadoxical reactions can occur at any dose. For example, taking an adrenal glandular in the beginning stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) can help give you more energy and reduce anxiety. However, it also carries a high risk for paradoxical reactions because the weaker the person, the greater the risk. A paradoxical reaction, in this case, could look like even more fatigue and anxiety.

The Link Between AFS and Paradoxical Reactions

Adrenal fatigue occurs when your body is undergoing chronic stress, whether due to psychological or physical issues. In the beginning stages of AFS, your adrenals produce more cortisol than average in order to meet the growing demand for its stress-reducing activity. As the condition advances, however, your adrenals weaken to the point of not being able to produce enough cortisol.

Symptoms of AFS include fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, mild depression, anxiety, hair loss, brain fog, PMS, infertility, low libido, frequent colds and touches of flu, salt and sugar cravings, hypoglycemia, heart palpitations, intolerance to stress, and many others.When you experience this kind of ill health, it might be natural for you to think of taking supplements. But your poor health will put you at higher risk of paradoxical reactions, which will worsen your adrenal fatigue and your overall condition.

The adrenal glands are part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) hormonal axis, which is part of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response’s hormone circuit. The NEM is your body’s global response to stress, and its other five circuits are the bioenergetic, the neuroaffect, the cardionomic, the inflammation, and the detoxification circuits.

Though all of these circuits are engaged in some way when you experience paradoxical reactions, the one that is most pertinent to understand is the detoxification circuit.

How Paradoxical Reactions are Affected by the Detoxification Circuit

The NEM’s detoxification circuit involves the interstitium, the liver and the immune system. There are also other systems that play a role in detox such as the lymphatic system, the extracellular matrix, and the kidneys. The detoxification circuit is designed to remove toxins and metabolites from your body before they can accumulate and raise your toxicity levels. When your body’s toxicity is elevated, it can create a state of inflammation, premature cell death, and cellular debris.

Toxins create congestion in the interstitium, the fluid space that connects all cells, and they can also enter the intracellular space where they damage mitochondria and other organelles. Mitochondria are your cells’ energy factories, so damage to them will decrease your cells’ energy levels and create a state of fatigue. When you have AFS the liver, which is your body’s main clearinghouse, can become overloaded with toxins and metabolites. And a congested liver will affect every other organ and system in the body.

Paradoxical reaction feeling badIf the liver is not in optimal health, your detoxification circuit will slow down and its burden will increase. You’ll experience a range of different signs and symptoms when this occurs. One of the most common symptoms is an increase in sensitivity and eventual intolerance to supplements, medications, and chemicals. This is when you are most at risk for paradoxical reactions, because instead of a supplement actually supporting your health, it will add to the toxic load and stress out your detoxification circuit even more.

Common Symptoms of Detoxification Circuit Dysfunction

Other signs of a dysfunctional detoxification circuit include insomnia, gastric bloating, food sensitivities, constipation, pain of unknown origin that keeps moving from place to place, dizziness, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, anxiety, tingling, acute flare-ups of autoimmune symptoms, psoriasis, burning sensation in the mouth, heart palpitations and intolerance to stress.

As you can see, some of these symptoms are similar to those of adrenal fatigue, as well as other conditions, and so congestion of the NEM’s detoxification circuit is not so easy to spot. Usually, one of the clearest and most obvious signs is a paradoxical reaction to a supplement that you used to be able to handle before.

But, if you are in advanced stages of AFS, you can be sure that your detoxification circuit will slow down at some point. And this problem won’t abate until your adrenals are back to full strength and your energy levels are back to normal. This occurs naturally when you’re low on energy, which makes the body shuts down or slows down many functions in order to conserve energy. The liver and the extracellular matrix, as well as other housekeeping organs and systems, need energy to be active at full capacity. When there isn’t enough energy, they slow down.

Another common paradoxical reaction that can occur at this point is a worsening of the symptoms of toxicity when doing a detox. Instead of feeling clearer and healthier, the release of built-up toxins makes your health decline further. Although it’s normal to experience a few symptoms when doing a detox, a trend towards decline is not a good sign.

This is why you shouldn’t do a detox if you’re in one of the advanced stages of AFS or have other chronic conditions. You need your adrenals to be functioning and to have enough energy to handle the stress of a detox.

What Causes Paradoxical Reactions?

A few frequently used nutritional, herbal and glandular adrenal fatigue supplements can trigger paradoxical reactions. Whether you have AFS or if your system is just generally sensitive, you need to be cautious when considering these supplements.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Make sure you understand how supplements relate to paradoxical reaction

  • Vitamin B12 – This is one of the most dangerous deficiencies nowadays, and is especially important for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Just be aware that very high doses can be too stimulating for your system if you have AFS. And if you decide to stop taking the supplement, it should be tapered off gradually.
  • Vitamin C – This supplement can cause paradoxical reactions in congested systems, resulting in anxiety, fatigue, diarrhea, and joint pain. It’s not safe for those with kidney problems or hemochromatosis, the elderly, or anyone taking high doses of calcium.
  • Vitamin E – like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and can be very useful for those with AFS. However, this supplement is metabolized in the liver, so if your detoxification circuit is not working properly and your liver is already overloaded, you may need to avoid this supplement.
  • Coenzyme 1 (NADH) – This supplement helps make dopamine, which is a precursor to adrenaline and norepinephrine. Too much of it can create an exaggerated reaction in your body to stress if you are in a very sensitive or weak state.
  • Collagen – Loss of muscle mass is a common symptom of very advanced cases of AFS. Collagen can help restore the lost muscle mass, and it is a generally safe supplement. However, too high of a dose can cause discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Inositol – Although this is a good supplement for mood, sleep and relaxation, it can sometimes mess with blood sugar levels. So if you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or just have blood sugar control issues because of AFS, then you need to be careful with it.
  • D-ribose – This supplement is sometimes helpful for those with AFS because it can increase energy levels. However, it is not recommended for those with blood sugar imbalances, pregnant women, young children, or nursing mothers.
  • Magnesium – Another common deficiency right now is magnesium deficiency, and it is also a very dangerous deficiency. It carries a risk of paradoxical reactions for those with AFS and may cause increased anxiety, irritation, constipation and fatigue.

Herbs and Glandulars:

  • Ashwagandha – This adaptogenic herb can help your body adapt better to stress, but if you are in more advanced stages of AFS, you need to be careful as it may cause paradoxical reactions.
  • Ginseng – Korean and Siberian ginseng can help boost energy for those with AFS. Siberian ginseng can be useful for men and women, while Korean ginseng should be used only by men as it can give women acne and facial hair.
  • Thyroid glandular – This glandular can help with hypothyroidism, but be aware that if you take both a glandular and thyroid medication, you may end up with a hyperactive thyroid.
  • Adrenal glandular – if your adrenal glands are weak, taking an adrenal glandular may trigger paradoxical reactions. It will also slow down the natural healing process of your adrenals if taken for too long.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t shun all supplements just because there’s a risk for negative effects. The trick is to take the right supplements for your specific condition, in the right doses and at the time in your recovery journey. And if you have AFS, then make sure that the supplements you take support your detoxification circuit and don’t add to your body’s toxic load.

Better Support for Your Detoxification Circuit

The first thing to accept when you’re working towards rebalancing your detoxification circuit is that it takes time and patience. The second thing to understand is that every person is different, and so you will need to follow an individualized plan. And finally, your approach has to be holistic – tackling diet, exercise, stress, sleep and supplements altogether.

A paradoxical reaction can occur when attempting to detoxify the body

When you’re working on your AFS recovery, you need to get guidance from an experienced medical professional. This will help you avoid harsh strategies such as detox plans which will cause your body additional stress and may worsen your overall condition. Here’s what to do to avoid this problem:

  1. Talk to your doctor about the supplements you should be taking.
  2. Try the adrenal fatigue diet and eat more fruits and vegetables and less fats and simple sugars.
  3. Make sure you keep your doctor informed about any reactions you have to supplements or changes to your routine.

If you’re concerned about paradoxical reactions then contact Dr. Lam’s team today on +1-626-571-123 to learn about them and how to recognize them. You can also ask us a question through the Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2016-2020 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam's Key Question

The billion-dollar supplement industry is counting on labels like natural and organic to make you think taking supplements is totally safe. But without proper research, you might take the wrong supplements at the wrong time in the wrong dosage and end up with a paradoxical reaction.

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