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Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a illness that is often talked about in alternative medicine. It is a somewhat controversial diagnosis and some traditional doctors might question it’s legitimacy. But, the theory of this illness states that “Adrenal Fatigue” is something a person experiences when the adrenal glands are not functioning properly.


Signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue may not be noticed easy to notice because the standard battery of blood tests form a traditional doctor’s office would not show any abnormalities. Doctor’s that subscribe to this theory take more into account how a person feels than the results of standard testing.


Adrenal problems can cause a person to suffer from increased stress and lack of energy. There may be an incessant feeling of fatigue and co-morbid depression. People experiencing this type of fatigue do not recover after extra hours of rest. The fatigue you experience will be the same at night as when you wake up adrenal fatigue treatmentin the morning. If you experience a cold or flu, people with adrenal fatigue tend to have a more difficult time recovering from it.

Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue may include the craving of salty and sweet food, sensitivity to cold temperature, low stamina and difficulty in concentrating. This group of symptoms can also be caused pre-menstrual syndrome, low blood pressure and poor digestion.

This fatigue may be relived temporarily by the use of coffee, cola or energy drinks. But in the long run it is best to avoid these short lived solutions and focus on improving adrenal gland function with the use of supplements like DHEA, B vitamins, and desiccated adrenal gland.



What are the adrenal glands?

Lower than normal levels of certain adrenal hormones are what is believed to be the cause adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands themselves are two endocrine glands which can be found right above the kidney. adrenal glandThey are 3 inches wide and 0.5 in height. These glands have two basic parts which are the outer cortex and inner medulla, both of which secrete hormones like cortisol, dhea, adrenaline, aldosterone, and noradrenaline.

The adrenal cortex is further divided to three different regions and each one releases a certain type of hormone. The outermost part releases mineralocorticoid which preserves the sodium ions and water in our bodies. The middle adrenal cortex produces glucocorticoids for blood sugar elevation. The third part of the adrenal cortex is responsible for secretion of gonadocorticoids.

On the other hand, the adrenal medulla is at the center of the adrenal gland and surrounded by the cortex. It secretes two different hormones known as epinephrine and norepinephrine. When a person experiences a stressful situation, the sympathetic nerves react and it triggers the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine. This sympathetic reaction to stress is known as the “Fight or Flight” response. It is responsible for kicking in when our bodies are in the middle of a dangerous or life threatening situation.

Treatments for Adrenal Fatigue

If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, doing certain adjustments with your lifestyle can improve symptoms. The first thing that should be avoided are stimulants like coffee, soda, and energy drinks. These will push the adrenal glands to its limit and further cause it to become depleted of it’s energy providing hormones. Regulating the blood sugar through proper diet will also help to improve this problem. It is best to focus on food that are low in sugar and increase intake of foods that are rich in protein and essential fat.

Other herbal supplements that may help are adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, Triphala (glandular tonic), black cohosh root (glandular tonic) and Fo-ti root (Chinese herb). Herbal teas and mate can substitute the intake of coffee.

Is it accepted my mainstream medicine?

A doctor that subscribes to traditional western medicine, but also has interest in proven ideas that exist outside of the mainstream is one that you might seek out to treat adrenal fatigue. Mainstream medicine currently does not perform the sensitive testing that may be required to give a diagnosis. One of the tests that doctors are using to search for this problem is a day long cortisol + DHEAS saliva test. It checks the total amounts of adrenal hormones that are given off throughout the day, instead of a one time spot check that may miss subtle hormonal changes. Mainstream medicine only considers extreme adrenal in a case like Addison’s disease which causes the glands to shut down.



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4 Responses to “Adrenal Fatigue”

  1. Joyce Bunch says:

    I think I have extreme adrenal fatigue. I can put a check mark on all the systems. I have been to many different types of doctors over the years and any and all test results are normal/good except twice my cortisol levels were way off the charts. That was about 5 years ago. I live in the San Francisco bay area in California. I was hoping someone could direct in the right direction for help. I’m only 55 years old and my life is and has been on hold due to not having any energy. I can barely make it through the day and then I start to get energy around 6:00 p.m. and stay awake till 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning (yikes!!!) Any way I would love to get some help with the changes I need to make as far as diet and the foods I should be eating. Along with what vitamins I should be taking ect. I have put on 70 lbs in the last year and it’s all in my middle. I’ve always been a slender woman. I’m 5′11″ and usually weight around 165 to 175. Now I weight 240. I try to exercise but I can’t even get off the couch. I’m fustrated with doctors putting me on anti-deppressants and extremely high doses of HRT for my severe menopause systoms. Any information you can send my way would be much appreciated. Joyce Bunch :-)

  2. Melissa says:

    I am going through testing right now, looking at my adrenal function. what I know so far is that my 24 hour test came back 5 times higher than it should have been.

    trying to be patient with whatever tests are to come. I just want to feel better!!!

  3. Patty says:

    Hi. I cannot find a doctor to even discuss adrenal fatigue. Seems they are all focused on extreme cases way outside tests ranges. Anyway, this happened to me 15 years ago and it went on for about 4 years.

    2007 same symptoms started all over again. Anxiety, insomnia, illnesses, gogogogo….then hit a wall and can barely get basic chores done for the day. Then severe muscle pain, pain that feels like it’s going through the bone.

    I read and read and through self medicating………found that high doses of magnesium, Vitamin C, B-complex got rid of the pain in 6 weeks where steroid shots could not.

    High doses – meaning – 500-1000 mg magnesium broken up through out later part of the day. 2000-4000 mg Vitamin C throughout the day. B- complex and multi vitamin in the morning.

    As for no energy, which really sucks and makes you wonder what quality does your life really have……….

    I’ve noticed improvement with taking 500 tyrosine and guggel in the morning. I carry an extra tablet of each to take with my vitamin C at lunchtime.

    And Ashwangandha at nighttime. This can be rough on the tummy, so caution. I actually found ashwagandha in a grocery store (H.E.B. chain in Texas).

    Recently I added licorice and there may be some improvement. Too early to tell. But I have cut out sugar and a lot of caffeine. I’m trying to eat better and every 3 hours. Cutting out bread and pasta has helped tremendously.

  4. Lori says:

    Count me in on this frustrating doctor merry-go-round. This is my second go around with adrenal fatigue/stress. It happened last year but I managed to see a naturopath soon enough and got it resolved. But I didn’t listen to my dr. I stopped taking the supplements about 5 months when I started feeling better. I was ok for several months, then it came back in August. I had a schedule change with my sleep and began worrying about the insomnia I had the previous year and then everything snowballed. Now I think I have adrenal fatigue again but no doctor near where I live (the naturopath was a pretty far drive) will even acknowledge adrenal fatigue. All the offer is the one shot blood draw for cortisol, which I’ve read isn’t reliable. I could get a saliva test kit but will need to pay for that out of pocket. And then I still don’t have a doctor to interpret the result and suggest a plan for me.

    I can’t sleep. I lay in bed and my brain just won’t tip over to sleep. I’m not even anxious or revved up laying there, I feel tired, relaxed by my brain will not go to sleep for some reason. I could lay in bed for hours in the morning, not really sleeping, just laying, resting and not doing anything. And I get the same thing from countless doctors, I’m anxious and I’m handed a RX for anti-depressants, which I’ve filled none. Because despite my lack of sleep and energy, I don’t feel depressed. I still can feel happy and optimistic – so that tells me, I’m not depressed clinically.

    There seems like so much hope when searching the internet about this, yet it amazes me how hard it is to find a doctor to help you navigate your way through adrenal fatigue. So frustrating!!

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