Well, I certainly don't want to decrease cortisol too much, seeing as I'm probably too low to begin with. Damn!
That was just an afterthought. I wouldn't worry about it. At most you'll probably feel nothing rather than worse if there is an effect. After all, your cortisol is already low or decreasing because of your circadian rhythms (gets low at night, highest in the morning).
Hormone modulation must be the most complex of all medicine.
So, if my cortisol is low then why would I have problems sleeping assuming this is related to melatonin production? Wouldn't melatonin increase if cortisol is low? I've read some articles from Dr. Lam, and he says that in adrenal fatigue cortisol will go very high, before going very low. I don't have labs drawn for another 3 weeks, but all of my symptoms point to lower cortisol levels instead of higher.
Yeah, it's all definitely complicated. I'm currently having a love affair with cortisol, though, but I'm still learning. My sense is having too low cortisol is bad only because cortisol is what your body uses to "tone down" ACTH and therefore other adrenal hormones (including epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are the real stress-feeling hormones), so low cortisol means your body isn't able to bounce back as quickly or as well if your stress is high, because technically stress involves norepinephrine levels going up in the brain, which leads to the hypothalamus being activated via CRH --> ACTH --> adrenal hormones (e.g., DHEA, preg, prog, most importantly cortisol) --> cortisol sweeps back up to the hypothalamus and based on its level (too high, too low, just right) the hypothalamus in turn releases a response dose of CRH --> ACTH --> adrenal hormones --> etc. HOWEVER, if you have low cortisol, then the degree to which your cortisol is lowered (because of TRT) will determine how much and how long you experience stress and therefore epinephrine/norepinephrine, because these hormones (and others) are more free to "run amuck" because cortisol isn't pulling it down as much through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
IN SHORT, I wouldn't worry about melatonin lowering cortisol, because I would doubt it would lower cortisol significantly more than it's already being lowered given your body is *already* producing its own melatonin and therefore cortisol is already well on its way to being lowered. Also, melatonin, like anything exogenous or endogenous, has a half life, and what's especially helpful about keeping a low dose (like your body needs) is you metabolize the exogenous melatonin (pill form, etc.) faster. Which is why some people who take the usual horse dose 5-10 mg complain of feeling groggy the next morning -- because they still have too much melatonin in their systems! Which is also why bright light therapy, or phototherapy, or just going the hell outside in the morning when you get around 10,000 lux of sunlight can help you wake up: bright light triggers cortisol to increase and shuts down melatonin.
Are you thinking you have adrenal fatigue? Because there are multiple stages involved in that, which Dr. Lam does a fantastic job of explaining on his site. If you're into AF, I'd highly recommend James Wilson's book, Adrenal Fatigue.
Anyways, more rambling below.
What I'm trying to figure out is exactly how
something like an estered testosterone dose (or to a less degree HCG monotherapy, given its vastly shorter half life than cypionate) suppresses cortisol (assuming no preg/prog backfilling). My theory is that cortisol suppression is continuous and proportionate to how much exogenous T is being released in your body at any time
. Which means you have the most cortisol suppression as your T is reaching its peak
(e.g., 24 hours after injection with cypionate, hours with HCG), following which the body is like "hey, we're going in another direction," which means cortisol goes from being suppressed and too low to turning around and starting to go higher. So technically should mean that as your cypionate dose is peaking, your body is producing less and less cortisol which means you're less and less able to bounce back from stress-triggered reactions and/or epinephrine and norepinephrine (and other adrenal hormones) in general -- and this means symptoms such as heartrate changes, blood pressure changes, etc. Other hormones are involved in the adrenal cascade, such as aldosterone (lower cortisol means higher ACTH and therefore higher aldosterone levels), which is probably why we have symptoms such as bloating and water retention. This means it's not "just" estradiol that's responsible or associated for this but rather cortisol suppression, and insofar as higher estradiol correlates with symptoms in any individual user of cypionate (etc. TRT) an individual will have symptoms insofar as estradiol influences cortisol production (and so far I'm unsure about whether estradiol or estrogens in general increase, decrease, or don't affect cortisol at all). Translation: there's more than can go wrong with TRT than just too much or too little estradiol! We have to add cortisol to the picture, and that could be the real culprit in making guys feel crappy, and not
anything intrinsic to estradiol -- given that the water retention, for example, that people experience with higher estradiol (and I also experience with lower estradiol) is a function of aldosterone levels, and aldosterone levels are determined primarily by (you guessed it) cortisol levels.