I’m currently taking a supplement that contains bovine adrenals and bovine spleen. I have adrenal fatigue, IBS, and insomnia, and my naturopath follows the four pillars of world cuisine plan. Is it dangerous to takes glandular supplements? The product is from Standard Process and they are very reputable. Still, I have my concerns. Should I trust my naturopath on this?
You may also be told to buy special supplements or vitamins. These supplements claim to be made just for adrenal health. While regular vitamins and minerals may be good for your health, doctors are concerned that supplements or vitamins sold as a treatment for adrenal fatigue could hurt you. Many of these supplements have not been tested for safety.

Dr. John Tinterra, a medical doctor who specialized in low adrenal function, said in 1969 that he estimated that approximately 16% of the public could be classified as severe, but that if all indications of low cortisol were included, the percentage would be more like 66%. This was before the extreme stress of 21st century living, 9/11, and the severe economic recession we are experiencing.

I was put on HC by my integrative hormonal doctor but after getting the results in early October of a very low cortisol level in the morning, then a very high cortisol level at noon, then a bit low in the evening and then slightly high at night. I was told to take adaptogens by those in the know but I listened to my doctor and now I dread the decision. did I really need to take HC? no amount of HC made me feel better and in fact only raised my blood sugar and pressure. he says I have a maladapted HPA axis from chemotherapy I had in 2009. I have a very high DHEAS and testosterone level too. I want to get off HC but finding it quite difficult. my doctor said the low doses I am on now are only shutting down my own production and I might as well just stop but others have told me just stopping would be very dangerous. I am currently down to 7.5mg (sometimes take 10mg) I am full of anxiety, suffering from shakes/jitters everyday. I was given buspar and klonopin by a shrink who thinks I am nuts. I don’t know what to do but get off and retest cortisol to see if things have changed since October. I have been under enormous stress this past year due to the constant excruciating pain I have to endure from severe sciatica/Spondy from a fall on ice last winter. I also lost my smell and taste (anosmia) that a virus caused and the two created a very stressful period in my life where my adrenals took a huge hit. I don’t know how to get passed this and what to do. I feel AWFUL!!!!! Please HELP!!!!


If stress is causing your cortisol levels to be elevated, this anti-inflammatory effect becomes too strong. This effectively stops your immune system from working as it should, and this weakened state can last for the duration of whatever is causing the stress. Without a properly functioning immune system, you become vulnerable to disease. Conversely, a lower level of cortisol allows your immune system to over-react to pathogens. This can lead to chronic inflammation and a number of respiratory or auto-immune diseases.

What type of specialist (i.e., doctor, naturopath, etc.) is the most effective to help with this treatment? I have had thyroid issues since my 20s (I’m now in my 50s), including the periodic loss of hair in large spots on my head, weight gain (now to include the lovely layer of fat around my midsection), exhaustion after workouts, and on and on. I have also been told I have adrenal exhaustion. I would really appreciate some guidance.
Spending more time outside in the sun also helps boost levels of vitamin D, because your body manufactures this important vitamin/hormone when it senses sun on your skin. Vitamin D, is responsible for regulating over 200 genetic pathways, so make sure your levels are high enough. I recommend an optimal range of around 60 to 80 ng/ml. Ask your doctor about a simple blood test to help you keep track.
Dr. Michael Lam is a western-trained physician and nutritional medicine pioneer. In this landmark textbook, he presents the scientific, neuroendocrine evidence in great detail behind this condition. Dr Lam also shares his clinical pearls that he uses to help countless individuals around the world recover from this condition through his nutritional coaching. He utilizes both conventional and alternative approaches. By separating the myths from facts with natural, safe, and effective solutions, anyone can follow this step-by-step approach to regain energy and lost vitality.
He also spends a great deal of time targeting the root causes of this fatigue, linking these causes to one common factor: stress. His central premise is one that has been taken up by other authors in other forums, which is just one indication of how influential he has been in this area of health. That premise is simple: adrenal fatigue is the result of massive amounts of stress overwhelming the adrenal glands’ ability to manage and then recover from the effects of the stress response.
The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) sit atop the kidneys and are chiefly responsible for regulating the body’s stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamines, including cortisol and adrenaline. In other words, the task of your adrenal glands is to rush all your body’s resources into “fight or flight” mode by increasing production of adrenaline and other hormones. When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and other secondary functions, and sharpen your senses.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the government agency that oversees most food and medical products) does not oversee nutritional supplements and vitamins. This means there is no guarantee that what's on the label of a supplement is really what's inside the bottle. In some cases, supplements have very few, if any, active ingredients. In other cases, the dose of a particular ingredient may be too high. This is true if you purchase supplements from your local drug store or a specialty pharmacy (sometimes called a compounding pharmacy) where supplements are made directly by the pharmacist.
Stress is not a bad thing. We all have stress in many forms but the key is to be able to handle it and to balance your life in a way so that you do not stay in the fight/flight mode all the time. When that happens, you’ll have insomnia, belly issues/digestion issues, exhaustion, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, thyroid issues and many other symptoms. Your immune system will also be very suppressed so you’re susceptible to getting infections and viruses/colds or even catching something like Lyme disease. Sound familiar? I’m pretty much telling you what happened to me. My nervous system was knocked out of balance so much that my body couldn’t perform it’s regular duties and everything started to shut down because of emotional, physical and mental stressors that I was put under when I was younger, which is why I was a prime case for Adrenal Fatigue Treatment.
Hi Dr. Jill. I’m in my 60s, and about 5 years ago I was diagnosed through testing with adrenal fatigue. I have high toxic metals, very low cortisol, but thyroid is normal. I understand that more sleep is restorative, but for the last 10 years I’ve been lucky to get 4 hours per night. I can go to sleep, but I can’t stay asleep. I’ve tried prescription meds, singly and in combinations (under a doc’s care), supplements of all kinds, and I just can’t stay asleep. My latest strategy is to go to sleep around 10 pm. Then when I wake up, I take Ambien to go back to sleep. Usually I can only sleep for another 2 hours, if that. I always feel sleep deprived and fall asleep at my computer or in meetings. My questions are:
While adrenal fatigue may not exist, this doesn’t mean the symptoms people experience aren’t real. These same symptoms could be caused by true medical conditions such as sleep apnea, adrenal insufficiency, or depression. Accepting a fake disease diagnosis from an unqualified practitioner is arguably worse. Patients don’t receive a science-based evaluation of their symptoms, and they may be sold unnecessary treatments that are probably ineffective and potentially harmful. The Endocrine Society’s guidance is entirely appropriate:
Hi Ladies…I too have all the symptoms above and can relate to you all…I am only 39 and this is my third year…I too feel like this is never going to end.I eat very clean…no dairy wheat gluten or meat…I exercise yoga twice to three times a week and walk….I have tried every holistic avenue… But am still trying and will not give up…I do believe the way we live today is a massive cause…Being busy has become the new NORM….I wish us all love and luck…love sonia xzz

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