I too am healing from adrenal fatigue. A good friend of mine referred me to a lady(a good friend of mine now) who practices Applied Kinesiology (muscle testing) and with her help, a well as some changes that I’ve made in my personal life and at home…. I’ve come to have great results! Not 100% but a mark improvement from where I was several months ago.
Constant foggy feeling. Looking for guidance as to what lab tests I can have my provider order to check for any hormone imbalances that I may have. I am a 36 yo female. In the past 8 months, I have had neck pain that revealed bulged discs, which I feel i have in control, not treat for this. I am working to fix my diet, but exercise of almost any sort causes my neck to flare up. I want to rule out any issues from labs first and start working on my diet and stress level.
The adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce several hormones, among them, cortisol. When under stress, we produce and release short bursts of cortisol into the bloodstream. The adrenal fatigue theory suggests that prolonged exposure to stress could drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state. The adrenal depletion would cause brain fog, low energy, depressive mood, salt and sweet cravings, lightheadedness, and other vague symptoms.
The level of TSH is inversely proportional to the activity of your thyroid. If your thyroid is producing lots of T3 and T4, your pituitary gland produces less TSH (because the thyroid needs to be stimulated less). Conversely, if you are hypothyroid then your TSH is likely to be high, as your brain is telling the thyroid to produce more hormones. This is the same kind of feedback loop that exists for many other hormones in the body, including cortisol.
Dr James Wilson is the world’s authority on the stress syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. His book Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a commitment to the truth in defining and treating this well-known but poorly understood malady. Adrenal fatigue is not recognized by allopathic medicine or by the insurance or pharmaceutical industries in the United States. There is no International Classification of Diseases coding for adrenal fatigue. Some patients have a diagnosis of the extreme forms of adrenal stress known as Addison disease or Cushing disease. Where allopathic medicine falls short, naturopathic medicine steps up to the plate to shine, outweighing the possibilities for success: “there are no magic pills for adrenal fatigue but there are certainly key lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that will greatly facilitate your recovery” (p 97).
Adrenal stress is also commonly known as adrenal fatigue. This term is used to describe a set of symptoms related to the way the body is managing stress. Stress is any type of physical, mental or emotional pressure. The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys. Their role is to manage the flow of hormones in the body that deal with stress. The hormones that these glands create are used by the body to regulate heart rate, mental acuity and physical strength. Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests and special stimulation tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones. Order an online stress and fatigue test today.
The basic 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.
Dr. Will Cole, leading functional-medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam at www.drwillcole.com and locally in Pittsburgh. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders, and brain problems.Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional-medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the author of Ketotarian in which he melds the powerful benefits of the ketogenic and plant-based diets.
Debi please look up General Adaptation Syndrome. Back in 1936 it was entered into the medical literature and encompasses what the chiropractor tried to define and then some – there was no need to reinvent the wheel, but sadly the work is no longer well known. The man (Dr Hans Selye) who did the studies and defined the syndrome also appropriated the word “stress” from physics and it entered into medical vernacular as a result. Most of what we know of the stress response and the effects of stress is based upon the foundation of his work (as is our understanding of adrenal hormones). The bottom line is that by whatever name, adrenal insufficiency is real, it’s been very well defined and mapped and virtually undisputed since 1936, just not called by its proper medical name: General Adaptation Syndrome. It’s a syndrome because it’s a cluster of symptoms; it’s not a disease as is Addison’s.
I started writing these books having worked in hospitals across a wide range of different specialities. Through my experience I found the most common method to treating a wide range of chronic illness is to prescribe a pill. Very early on in my training I became disillusioned with the grip that the pharmaceutical industry had in dictating that pills should be, the, intervention. The very nature of their intent being primarily focused on profit and subsequently, less so, to actually help heal people from disease, led me to search for alternatives.
We have talked so much today about the importance of understanding the state of your adrenals. This is going to inform so much of your health, and is going to keep you away from potentially dangerous adrenal medications – for those who do not need them. Take great care of yourself, and check in on the state of your adrenals by taking the adrenal quiz today.

When Adrenal Fatigue was first diagnosed many of these tests did not even exist. To help provide a diagnosis, doctors developed a series of more physical tests that can be conducted quickly in a doctor’s clinic or at home. These tests are clearly much less accurate than the blood, saliva and urine tests mentioned above, and positive results may reflect other health problems besides Adrenal Fatigue. However they can be a useful diagnostic tool in combination with all the other evidence provided.
Hi Dr. Jill – I have a theory that i would love to get your opinion on? I believe that i have adrenal fatigue and also urinary retention. I have puffy eyes, especially on the bottom. I have Hashimotos any many other issues. I am trying to figure out the cause of the urinary retention and have noticed that when i get hyped up, such as when rushing for an important occasion, such as a wedding , funeral or such that i have a great release of my bladder when i am rushing to get ready for the occasion. I am wondering if it is the adrenal fatigue that is causing the retention and then when i am rushing around and using up my reserve energy , that is when my bladder releases the urine. Any input would be much appreciated, thank you!
Methylation labs: Methylation is a collection of biochemical actions in the body that happen 1 billion times every second. Healthy methylation helps to maintain a healthy brain, gut, hormones, and detox pathways, and also protects your DNA. However, some of us have genetic mutations that impair the methylation process. I have multiple methylation gene mutations, one of which is the MTHFR gene mutation, making me less able to absorb certain essential vitamins. This was useful information because I was then better able to supplement to make up for my nutritional deficiencies.

Abnormal adrenaline and cortisol levels can result in mood disorders, sleep disturbances, reduced resistance to disease, and changes in vital circulation. Because these side effects are not uncomfortable enough to be intolerable, a self-destructive, adrenal-depleting lifestyle often continues. DHEA, which helps the body recover from this sort of chronic abuse, gets revved up full time instead of only episodically.
Hi Kim, Overall getting well from adrenal fatigue requires significant changes in diet and lifestyle combined with a good supplement strategy. The supplement strategy is different for each individual as adrenal dysfunction usually follows a continuum that gets progressively worse. So it depends where you fall along that continuum as to what to take.
But often the naturopaths have recommended supplements or worse. Wilson’s website sells “Dr. Wilson’s Original Formulations” adrenal supplements. The “Adrenal Fatigue Quartet” costs about $200 for a 30-day supply at the minimum recommended doses. The website notes in large print that the products are “formulated by Dr. James L. Wilson for people experiencing stress-related adrenal fatigue.” But the website is dotted with asterisks that lead the determined reader to a small-print notice: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
In the book, Dr Wilson examines the history of adrenal fatigue and discusses the reasons why this common problem has become largely overlooked by the allopathic medical profession. Dr Wilson provides a blueprint of the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue. He includes the tests for this dysfunction, their efficacy, specific and key supplementation facts, lifestyle modifications, and other significant strategies for recovering: “I decided to write this book for the person suffering from adrenal fatigue. It is designed to be a self-help book…. I write it with the hope that it will provide you with information, guidance, encouragement and tools you need to recover from this sometimes subtle, yet debilitating, health problem” (p xxii).
Adrenal Reset: 7 Days to Restart Energy and Cure Adrenal Fatigue is the 2015 book by Heather Leiman that offers her one-week plan to launch your fatigue recovery plan. It’s one of the shorter books on our list, coming in at only thirty pages. So, if you’re looking for an in-depth, meticulous examination of adrenal fatigue and its various treatment options, this is not the book for you. If, however, you want a concise guide to jumpstarting your recovery plan, with a minimal amount of background exposition, Leiman’s work is exactly what you’re looking for!
Hi Jill! I feel like I have just found gold after reading your site about adrenal fatigue. I have been doing so much testing the last year and a half as endocrinologist has been concerned about my symptoms. After the onset on some very serious stress 4 years ago I started noticing light headedness throughout day esp upon rising, crawling sensation across back and what I would call back spasms at my rhomboids that would make it difficult to breath, itching in the location, of what I know now are the adrenals, hair loss, fatigue around 3 every morning, up late at night , hard to rise or even have a functioning brain til at least 10, test resulting in inflammation, increased blood pressure (being managed), irritable bowel, Random weight gain, then lost and now sudden weight gain again and on and on and on. Every single symptom you listed. Just saw derm (referred by endocrinologist) and she said I have paresthesia. I am so thankful you have posted this information in the easiest way to understand as Ive been so concerned with what has been going on in my body and just to know that I may have an answer is such a relief (I think). I have recently started upping my vitamins worries I was deficient including ashwaganda, and starting rhodiola. I am very concerned about damage that has been done over these few years and want to immediately try to fix this. How can this affect my organs and health? And has there been remarkable damage to my body? I just was ordered to take a calcium screening and heart was great, lungs great etc. just worried. I will start following you advice and hope to get back to normal. Thank you, thank you for your education and advice.
BOTH Dr. Lam and Dr. Wilson have discovered the hypoglycemia - adrenal fatigue link, and they both offer an extended-release vitamin C as part of their supplement regimens, which is a critical component of adrenal fatigue. The blood sugar roller coaster of hypoglycemia is one of the prime reasons for adrenal-related fatigue and depression. These two doctors have made me aware of that. Dr. Lam also explores psychological aspects of adrenal fatigue syndrome, and advocates simplifying one's life as a part of recovery, as well as diet modification, reduction of chemicals, and other critical life modifications. Dr. Lam points out that stress reduction may include eliminating stressful relationships from your life (when possible).
Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia Test: The insulin-induced hypoglycemia test is used to determine how the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands respond to stress. During this test, blood is drawn to measure the blood glucose and cortisol levels, followed by an injection of fast-acting insulin. Blood glucose and cortisol levels are measured again 30, 45 and 90 minutes after the insulin injection. The normal response is for blood glucose levels to fall (this represents the stress) and cortisol levels to rise.

After that, the focus turns to and remains on the brain. The author spends just the right amount of time discussing the importance of the brain’s various parts on the regulation of adrenal function. Part of her discussion centers on how even small mishaps in the brain’s reaction to stress can lead to dysregulation of the adrenal system, and points out one indisputable fact: that the adrenals simply do what the brain tells them to do. Thus, when the hypothalamus -which is located in the brain - starts the signaling process that ends with the adrenal release of higher levels of cortisol, it is the brain’s stress response initiation that is ultimately responsible for any lingering fatigue or other ill effects.
Are you tired of being told that you need an antidepressant when you feel sick? Or of being told that your fatigue is just part of the aging process ( when you are 30!)? This book will help you to put a finger on the origin of your fatigue, and if you are a thyroid patient, could help you break away from the Stepford Endicrinologist synthetic T4 protocol that has been our only option for years.

This group of vitamins is the first step in getting your mind and body back into gear. B vitamins work together in helping the body create energy from the food you eat, while also supporting brain function and healthy skin, hair and muscles. Although the role of each B vitamin differs slightly, they’re all vital for a healthy metabolism and energy production.
Misdiagnosed: The Adrenal Fatigue Link was released in 2014 by Dr. Steven Zodkoy, a nutritionist and chiropractor who has spent years treating patients who had been told that their conditions were either unexplainable or untreatable using conventional medicine. In this book, written with the average patient in mind, Dr. Zodkoy attempts to better explain the phenomenon of adrenal fatigue in layman’s terms, and offer a recovery regimen to aid in overcoming this syndrome.
I also promote quality sleep by turning off the TV, computer, and smartphone a few hours before bed (they can overstimulate the brain, block melatonin production, and hurt your quality of sleep). And I often eat an ounce or two of clean protein like organic turkey and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil before bed to balance out my blood sugar throughout the night.
Less obvious but no less important stimulants may include anger, rage, arguing, hatred, loud music, fearful news and even movies full of suspense or violence. Other activities that may act as stimulants and must not be overlooked include vigorous exercise, sexual preoccupations, recreational drug use or other thrills. These often provide a temporary “high”, which is caused in part by the secretion of high amounts of adrenal hormones. However, over time, this weakens the adrenals and can eventually lead to adrenal depletion and insufficiency.
While adrenal fatigue is not accepted by most doctors, adrenal insufficiency is a real medical condition that occurs when our adrenal glands cannot produce enough hormones. Adrenal insufficiency is caused by damage to the adrenal glands or a problem with the pituitary gland—a pea-sized gland in the brain that tells the adrenals to produce cortisol.
Conventional blood tests, taken at whatever time your doctor has scheduled your appointment, might indicate that your adrenals are normal. However, a better diagnostic approach will test your levels at different times of the day, which is much more likely to reveal an out-of-whack pattern of cortisol or DHEA secretion. Adrenal fatigue is characterized by cortisol levels that are too high at night and not high enough in the morning.
I just wanted to send a quick thank you for your time and advice today. I am so appreciative and I feel hopeful that the plan we have can really help me. I’ve been sick for a long time and recently I’ve been rather discouraged with where I’m at with my health. I believe that God has allowed our paths to cross and that He is going to use you help restore my body to health. Thank you for giving me hope. Blessings, Kara
This voluminous work on the subject of adrenal fatigue covers the issue like few others. Peppered throughout with the lessons he’s learned from a lifetime spent working with fatigued patients, the book explores the full range of issues related to this debilitating syndrome. He goes out of his way to refute the modern medical consensus that holds that there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue by presenting all of the scientific evidence that supports its existence. More importantly, he offers a sound strategy for addressing the syndrome, utilizing nutrition, supplements, and hormonal support when necessary.
Although a concept that is sometimes uncomfortable and foreign to traditional medical styles of thinking, the need for multiple interventions is required for effective treatment of such complex illnesses like CFS and adrenal fatigue. The HPA axis works as the body’s energy and hormone regulator. An imbalance between any part of the axis can affect the entire body system and treatment for such disorders requires a well-rounded approach to restore function. Therefore, adrenal and pituitary dysfunction often require treatment with several hormones. When treatment is received, individuals with devastating syndromes like CFS, adrenal fatigue and fibromylagia can “get their lives back” despite the fact that they were previously told, “there is nothing that can be done.”
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.
Regardless of what we call it, there are millions of people suffering from similar symptoms, and a personalized plan that involves counseling, medications, supplements, lifestyle change, among others could work for many. Improvement following these programs is slow, and the evidence is weak, but I hope advances in big data, genomics, and its relationship with the environment and the microbiome, may shine a light on how to better help people who suffer from these ailments.

Anyway, I’ve been eating a vegan diet lately (McDougall/Esselstyn style) as there is heart disease and diabetes in my family, but seem to be be gaining weight on it, even though my calories aren’t that high. I am desperate to lose weight – I gained about 50 pounds with this adrenal thing!! I’ve tried everything and every diet out there. I found low carb dieting very difficult as my energy plummeted. I’m so confused as to what diet to follow. Any diet suggestions would be immensely appreciated!


In the early stages of adrenal dysfunction, cortisol levels are too high during the day and continue rising in the evening. This is called “hyperadrenia.” In the middle stages, cortisol may rise and fall unevenly as the body struggles to balance itself despite the disruptions of caffeine, carbs and other factors, but levels are not normal and are typically too high at night. In advanced stages, when the adrenals are exhausted from overwork, cortisol will never reach normal levels (“hypoadrenia”).

Less obvious but no less important stimulants may include anger, rage, arguments, hatred, unforgiveness, loud music, tragic news, and even movies with suspense or excessive violence. Other activities that may act as stimulants  include vigorous exercise or recreational drug use.  Even high risk sports, like surfing, diving, or extreme climbing if done in excess may deplete the adrenals.  Most of these activities provide a temporary “high”, which is caused in part by the secretion of high amounts of adrenal hormones. Over time, however, this weakens the adrenals and can eventually lead to adrenal depletion and insufficiency.  
There are numerous supplements you can use for adrenal fatigue but remember, you have to get to the root cause of WHY you have adrenal fatigue before you start your adrenal fatigue treatment. If you don’t, the supplements will just be a waste of money! Talk to your Functional MD about the following supplements to support your adrenals. But please know that anything that supports your adrenals will increase your estrogen so this may lead to worse PMS, acne, weight gain or mood swings- something NO ONE told me about until recently. Probably because no doctor understood this!
The first question to ask is what stage the individual has reached. If he or she is still on Stage 1 or 2 Adrenal Fatigue, where cortisol levels are still high, then a recovery may take very little time. If the condition is caused by temporary stress at work or bereavement, we can reasonably expect cortisol levels to return to normal once the stress has passed. In fact, many of us enter Stage 1 or 2 Adrenal Fatigue multiple times during our lives, only to pass out of it within a few months as the underlying cause disappears.
This books needs a good editor! I read it cover to cover, but I recommend scanning the table of contents and index and jumping around based on interest. I'm grateful to my copy's previous owner, as the best bits are already highlighted. A lot of the material is over my head and I still can't precisely describe adrenal fatigue, but I understand that we all experience adrenal fatigue at some point. What's important is how we recover from stressful situations, be it from predator attacks (ancestral ...more
My hope is that you find the advice below unique and not entirely repetitive of what you have read to date. My hope is also that you realize the seriousness of the destruction adrenal fatigue can and will play in your life if you do not start early via treatment. I also hope you gain the knowledge quickly — if you do in fact suffer from adrenal fatigue — that you are most certainly dealing with more than one another health issue.
One of the most difficult aspects of adrenal fatigue is the fact that medical science continues to avoid the subject. Despite their inability to diagnose many cases of extreme exhaustion without referencing adrenal function, there are many doctors who still stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the existence of this problem. That leaves patients with little choice other than to manage their own recovery program. The good news is that there is a wealth of information to be found in the many books on adrenal fatigue in the marketplace today.
Because so much of adrenal fatigue is really brain-based, most of the natural medicines I use focus on supporting optimal brain health and the brain’s response to stress. Explore blends of adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, eleuthero ginseng, holy basil, and rhodiola rosea to give your adrenal axis some TLC. I also incorporated phosphatidylserine supplements into my routine. (Of course, consult your doctor before implementing any herbs or supplements.)

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that usually results from a long period of chronic stress. Over time, this stress taxes the adrenal glands and HPA axis, thereby disrupting the production of cortisol and other hormones. The body initially produces large amounts of cortisol to cope with the stressors, but eventually cortisol levels drop. The cortisol cycle can also become dysregulated, with irregular peaks in the evening.
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?
As an NTP Practitioner for over 5 years this is taught to us as Certified Practitioners. Firstly it must be done by another person preferably a Professional who knows what to look for and is experienced. Do not shine directly in your eyes and the photo is misleading, it implies you can do it yourself, not recommended Secondly, this quite honestly not the way to fully assess your adrenal function. It gives a starting point but the best way is to have an ASI adrenal panel done called a Salvary panel. This is basic information and yes the book is a bit out dated with much more new reliable information out! Nora Gegedous has a new Adrenal e book out and I fully believe working with Practitioners who deal with this topic. The other Newly graduated NTP had very valuable information above consening the actual procedure. This is very individual and complicated. I have taken many advanced seminars on this subject and work with many clients very specifically.
You described exactly what I was experiencing this past Fall, and I developed POTS in February… it was terrifying to feel this way… and I only got worse overy the winter. I feel for you. Have you joined the Adrenal Fatigue Recovery group on Facebook? I’ve learned a lot on there. I found I was waking up at 4am due to low blood sugar, which caused my body to go into a stress state, which spiked my cortisol and caused me to wake up. I’d cook eggs and bacon and go back to bed. I found that eating a high protein snack just before bed would help, and eating a big high protein breakfast first thing in the AM kept my blood sugar more stable throughout the day. My blood sugar is under control now. Best of luck!

Food is medicine. I always ate healthy, other than my favorite "healthy junk foods" of gluten-free pizza and stevia soda. But I knew that if I was going to rehab my adrenal fatigue, I had to take my food medicine plan to the next level. I had to make sure my diet was on point for hormone health. Here's the 90-day food plan I used to improve my sleep and energy.


Oysters are packed with zinc, and having a balanced trace mineral ratio between copper and zinc can help with healthy neurotransmitter function and adaptogen to stress. Increased copper and decreased zinc has been shown to contribute to brain stress and anxiety. Oysters – superfood of the sea – are a great way to achieve this balance to help ease your stress levels.

I was diagnosed with severe adrenal fatigue and have been under a naturopathic dr’s treatment for months and have improved somewhat. in the beginning when I crashed, my blood pressure was very low. Now that I am on the road to healing (and its such a long road), the bottom number of my blood pressure continues to rise until now it is almost always in the upper ’90’s. The top number has remained great. Have you heard of this before? I’m wondering what is causing my bottom number to rise and what I can do about it?
The adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce several hormones, among them, cortisol. When under stress, we produce and release short bursts of cortisol into the bloodstream. The adrenal fatigue theory suggests that prolonged exposure to stress could drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state. The adrenal depletion would cause brain fog, low energy, depressive mood, salt and sweet cravings, lightheadedness, and other vague symptoms.
×