Another big key to overcoming adrenal fatigue is taking the right supplements using supporting herbs. I always recommend eating the right foods to heal your body. However, it can still be a challenge to get enough of every nutrient you need every day. Therefore, it can be useful to wisely use dietary supplements for vitamins and minerals particularly vital for adrenal support.
The fallacy of this logic is that there is no evidence that the stress of day-to-day life could have any such effect on the adrenals. “Endocrinologists believe — correctly — that under stress your adrenals work harder and make more cortisol, not less,” says Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PhD, chief of the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and molecular medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. Friedman says that the patients may be given the diagnosis by naturopaths, chiropractors, functional medicine doctors, and anti-aging doctors.
Ideally, cortisol is released into the system only on an occasional basis, rather than in response to chronic stress. If cortisol levels become too high for too long, they may have undesirable side effects, including loss of bone density, muscle wasting, thinning of the skin, decreased ability to build protein, kidney damage, fluid retention, spiking blood sugar levels, weight gain, and increased vulnerability to bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, allergies, parasites, and even cancer.
Because I have a job that’s indoors, I need to make it a point to get outside more often. I believe there is something coded in our DNA that gives each of us an affinity with the sun and fresh air, so that we seek out these health-boosting influences. I also like to practice earthing, or walking barefoot outside, as much as I can to help de-stress. Something about that skin-on-earth connection feels literally grounding and refreshing.
I am interested in reading the protocol your practitioner put you on for recovery of Adrenal Fatigue. I did the saliva test along with hormones. The Dr called me and said most people tell me they are tired but their test results are negative for Adrenal Fatigue. He was fascinated with my results being ghastly and the fact I was functioning. Well barely but according to him they thought I would be bed bound. Waiting on follow up appointment to begin the journey to recovery.
To make matters worse, doctors often don't diagnose this problem. Dr. Wilson offers the example of a woman who has been to 37 doctors before finally receiving proper diagnosis and a renewed sense of hope. So, why don't doctors recognize adrenal fatigue? In medical school, they are only taught to look for extreme adrenal malfunction (Addison's Disease, which occurs when the glands produce far too little cortisol, and Cushing's Syndrome, which stems from excessive cortisol production) and dont know how to measure cumulative adrenal fatigue.
Exercise gently at least 5 days per week, preferably morning and not late in the day. Try swimming, gentle bike rides, walking, yoga, stretching, or any restorative activity that incorporates breathing. Avoid high adrenaline activities, like kayaking, competitive sports, running, cross fit or high intensity training until you are well on your way to healing.
Unlike other endocrine disorders that are caused by physical damage to parts of the adrenal glands, hypoadrenia is seen by many in the natural health world as a “middle ground” syndrome with simple and easy-to-implement solutions. Currently, no official diagnosis exists for adrenal fatigue and people are either considered to have normal endocrine function or total endocrine failure, like that seen in Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency/Addison’s disease. Some postulate that this occurred in the 1950s when doctors over-prescribed adrenal steroids and saw dire consequences, leading to an overcorrection and generalization of endocrine issues. (2)
I find it curious that suboptimal health status (SHS) has many of the same tenets as what we refer to as adrenal fatigue. Actually, people classified as having SHS have “significantly higher levels of plasma cortisol,” and confirm the correlation between stress and suboptimal health. This has led those studying SHS to realize that reducing the stress in work environments may help to prevent chronic diseases in the future. (16)
The adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys like little kidney baseball caps, release several important hormones one of which is cortisol. Cortisol is one of your primary stress-related hormones and regulates your energy. Normally, it rises in the morning to help you wake up, then slowly goes down throughout the day, sinking at night so you can sleep well. Cortisol also helps regulate your blood sugar and pressure.
Hi there! I am so glad that you are discussing this important topic. I suffered from adrenal fatigue for years (unknowingly), which in turn blessed me with premature brain degeneration at the tender age of 31. I was lucky to had found the right holistic doctor (his name is Steve Tashiro, and he is located in Denver, CO), who diagnosed me and enabled my healing. It took a long time to get to him – in the meantime I had been recommended lithium (for symptoms of bipolar disorder), sent home “to relax,” told to find a husband, and even named a hypochondriac by a reputable NYC doctor (!?). If you feel tired allllll the time, chances are more than great that your adrenals are off the wall. Get a doctor, GET THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS (company named Apex produces Adaptocrine, a supplement creates to support adrenal function, for example), and be ready to handle a very strict diet. It is so worth it in the end.
I’m trying to find info for treating during pregnancy the adrenal hpa axis dysfunction. I’m very concerned because I am 8 weeks pregnant and I just found out about a month before i got pregnant, through a saliva test ,showing flattened cortisol levels, and the lab doctors that reviewed my hormone test said it looks like I have the hpa axis adrenal dysfunction. There is so little info I have been able to find on suppliments safe during pregnancy to help this. This condition is causing low progesterone even with being on progesterone prescription and topical pro-gest emerita, and i got one progesterone shot,levels only went from a 15 to 18.5 in 3 weeks on supplimenting. I’ve been doing a lot of research and found out how dangerous this can be if not corrected during pregnancy. If you can help in anyway I will be so thankful!
The largest difference between them is that people with adrenal fatigue usually have cortisol levels that fall in “normal” levels but not “optimal,” while adrenal insufficiency patients have cortisol levels consistently outside the normal range. In addition, most conventional doctors would say that stress is not a causative factor in adrenal insufficiency (which is “always caused” by damage from other, unknown sources), which seems unlikely.
When you live in the fight/flight mode all the time and you’re constantly stressed out, you’re setting yourself up for adrenal fatigue because they’ve been in overdrive for a long period of time and they’re been flooding your body with cortisol until they can’t keep up with the constant demand for more stress hormones. Now, your adrenals cannot produce enough stress hormones and/or they’re producing the wrong types of hormones at the incorrect times.
The term "adrenal fatigue" was coined in 1998 by James Wilson, PhD, a naturopath and expert in alternative medicine. He describes it as a "group of related signs and symptoms (a syndrome) that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level." He says it’s usually associated with intense stress and often follows chronic infections like bronchitis, flu, or pneumonia.