One of the hallmarks of alternative medicine is the “fake disease”. Fake diseases don’t actually exist – they are invented without any objective evidence showing that they are real. Fake diseases tend to emerge from vague symptoms which can’t be attributed to a specific medical diagnosis. This is not to say what patients are experiencing isn’t real – the issue is the diagnosis, and the practitioner making the call. As has been pointed out by other SBM contributors, it’s understandable to want reasons and answers when you have debilitating symptoms. But symptoms need to be studied in rational and objective ways in order to understand the underlying illness – call it the “root cause” if you prefer. The diagnosis guides the treatment plan, so getting a diagnosis right is essential. While a group of vague symptoms might lead a medical doctor to run tests to rule out serious illness, alternative medicine providers seem to jump to the diagnosis and techniques they prefer, even if they’re completely unvalidated, or made up out of thin air. It’s your Chi. Your energy fields. It’s wifi. It’s gluten. In this case, it’s your adrenals. Rather than offer a guide to proper care, a fake disease is a distraction from the truth.
To assess adrenal function, we conduct a one-hour ACTH stimulation test, which is very safe and reliable. We also look for thyroid issues and diabetes. After checking for a variety of endocrine disorders using testing and symptom assessment, we start working with a multidisciplinary team of doctors to figure out the root cause of the patient’s problem.
For those of us deep into Stage 4, where levels of both the sex hormones and stress hormones have dropped substantially, treatment will take even longer. You should expect a treatment period of at least 12 months, possibly involving bio-identical hormone replacement as well as the dietary changes, lifestyle changes and supplementation mentioned above.
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.
If you have, or think you have, Adrenal Fatigue - this is the book to read! I've been diagnosed with it and my Dr told me to go and get myself the book and everything I need for my treatment will be in there! (Lazy? Maybe! Truthful? Yes!) This book will be your go-to-guide to tell you signs and symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, dietary changes to help recovery, herbal medication (and dosage) required plus ideas on how to reduce the stress in your life.
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.
i remember the Adrenal crashes i had in the past Decades and they were ALL Hormone related, either i had gotten off the Pill or had a baby, or now……..Peri-Menopause, now come to think of it, i always thought i was overweight due to bad habits but now i know, that is NOT TRUE, it was Always an Hormonal Imbalance of some kind (not my thyroid, that is fine) now i look like i have Cushings….the “Moon Face” but my tests come back okay, so TOOO much Cortisol, now not enough? what the HECK am i supposed to do?
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.
So during my healing journey, I started practicing mindfulness meditation and other strategies to bring mindfulness into my day. Even just taking some time throughout the day to become aware of your breath is a simple way to defuse stress levels and calm your brain-adrenal axis. I'm also a big fan of listening to Eckhart Tolle audiobooks when I'm in the car.
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.
I’m in my early 20’s and have severe adrenal fatigue. It’s so bad that it has caused weight gain in the belly area, fluid retention everywhere, and severe hypoglycemia. I don’t understand how I have adrenal fatigue this bad when I’m so young. I’ve been on a third shift sleep schedule for about 6 years (going to bed anywhere from 3am-6am) but despite doing that, I sleep in late so I still get plenty of sleep. But I know people who have worked third shift for decades. So I’m assuming it couldn’t have caused severe adrenal fatigue after just 6 years, especially considering I’m still getting plenty of sleep? I’m guessing there are other factors at play here?

Particular emphasis is given to chronic stress, and its long-term, cyclical effect on fatigue. Oxygen, free radical damage to cells, and cortisol’s importance are also examined. And all of that is before the serious discussion about adrenal fatigue begins! That discussion involves a close look at adrenal fatigue, its causes, symptoms, and diagnosis.
I just took dr Wilson’s test and scored in the “severe” range. Not really news to me… I’ve been depressed and burnt out for a whole now, although I find it interesting that there may be a physical reason why I’m feeling this way. Not sure what to really do about it though, since I’m already doing a lot of the things to “be kind”. What do I do now? Do you have a link to other posts that talk about how you recovered?
Can’t believe what I just read! ‘Adrenal insufficiency usually means there are long standing life problems’ and ‘because these side effects are not uncomfortable enough to be intolerable’ Is this a joke?! Adrenal insufficiency is a condition, usually autoimmune where the adrenal glands are destroyed. This is in no way because of any life problems! The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency aka Addison’s disease are so severe they greatly alter life and can be life threatening. A person with Addison’s disease needs medicine or they will die from this condition. They are also at risk of an adrenal crisis, this is life threatening and can be brought on by illness or extreme stress. If your adrenal glands are not working properly trust me you will know about it and an ACTH test will clinically prove low levels of cortisol. Please remind me of the tests for adrenal fatigue? Oh that’s right there aren’t any. Just pick a few symptoms out of the 75 listed, many of which contradict themselves greatly. Make sure to ignore any medical tests which have shown you to be in range and just like that you have adrenal fatigue – a condition which has no medical standing, no scientific evidence and was made up by a chiropractor! Let me do you all a favour – none of you have adrenal fatigue. This is a fact

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.
A relatively new area of understanding, there are some who make the connection between adrenal fatigue and osteoporosis. It’s well-known that osteoporosis is often a result of imbalanced hormones. However, the sex hormones that are often named as the transgressors aren’t the only problem. Abnormally high or low cortisol levels are also associated with bone loss and osteoporosis risk. (36, 37, 38)
From the treatment perspective, there is much to be learned for those who are unfamiliar with the syndrome. The authors delve into lifestyle changes that can positively impact your stress levels, various medications and natural remedies that can be effective in limiting the damage done to your adrenals, and supplements that can help you to improve your immunity and overall health.
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.
According to the Mayo Clinic, severe adrenal fatigue symptoms may actually be Addison’s disease. This disease occurs when your adrenal glands stop producing sufficient amounts of cortisol permanently, due to autoimmune disease or damage to the adrenal glands or pituitary glands. Unlike adrenal fatigue, Addison’s disease is marked by unexplained weight loss, rather than gain. The Mayo Clinic urges anyone with symptoms such as hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin), severe fatigue, unexplained weight loss, major gastrointestinal issues, lightheadedness/fainting, salt cravings and muscle or joint pain to see a physician immediately.
Within the book’s more than 360 pages, the author covers virtually aspect of this dread ailment. He explains in great detail how the adrenals work in combination with other key systems in the body to maintain homeostasis and ensure sound health. He examines the symptoms that accompany this disorder, as well as how to differentiate normal momentary tiredness from the type of chronic exhaustion these patients must endure.
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.
Traditional health practitioners have known for centuries that mindfulness-based exercises such as meditation and yoga help to relieve stress and anxiety. Regular practice improves your ability to respond to stress in the future. Being in a meditative state allows certain thoughts or feelings to pass by without causing stress or anxiety, which means you spend less time focusing on negative thoughts.

This can be extremely fast and effective at treating the symptoms of allergies, asthma, skin problems, arthritis, and other illnesses. However, since many of these type medications contain a hormone that is synthetic and is often 17 times more in strength than what is needed by the body, they may repress and in some cases shut down adrenal function – creating an even larger hormonal inequality than prior to treatment. Additionally, the side effects may be severe, ranging from kidney failure to dizziness and in some cases death. Some of the more common corticosteroids are prednisone (brand names of Cortan, Deltasone, Prednisone). These medications have lots of side effects.
Dr. Wilson is the author of the “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” and coined the term “Adrenal Fatigue” based on years working with patients that he could not figure out how to help their symptoms improve. Dr. Wilson found with his research and work with clients that adrenal fatigue is more of a syndrome. His patients drove him to do the research to help find the right solutions to improve their adrenal function. Around 80% of patients go to their doctor to complain of fatigue but they don’t get the improvements they need as most doctors do not recognize adrenal dysfunction.
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!

Karin B. says…"Before I read The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, I was pretty depressed—I was still sluggish and still struggling with this weight gain and still needing my supplements. Now I'm hopeful—I see how I've been exercising wrong for my energy level, and how my diet has been fighting against my supplements. Not all of these changes are going to be easy, but now I know how I can start to improve my own health. It's so encouraging to know that I have more control than I realized!"
The Adrenal Fatigue Solution contains everything you need to start treating your Adrenal Fatigue. We have included lots of information on the lifestyle changes that you should be making, along with complete lists of the vitamins, minerals and supplements that you should be discussing with your doctor. The eBook is written in simple, easy-to-understand terms, and is the perfect starting point for your treatment.
We now know that HPA axis dysfunction is a more appropriate description of the fatigue that comes with adrenal dysfunction. Shift work has long been associated with increased health risks, including risk of insulin resistance, weight gain, cardiovascular disease and brain dysfunction. Many people do not have a choice but it is not a good idea to consistently lose sleep or upset your body’s circadian rhythm.
Robin Berzin MD is a functional medicine physician and the founder of Parsley Health. Her mission is to make functional medicine affordable and modern, so that more people can access this holistic, root-cause approach to health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin went to medical school at Columbia University and later trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also a certified yoga instructor and a meditation teacher, and has formally studied Ayurveda. Robin writes for a number of leading wellness sites, and speaks regularly for organizations including the Clinton Foundation, Health 2.0, Summit, and the Functional Forum, on how we can reinvent health care. She's also an mindbodygreen courses instructor, teaching her Stress Solution program designed to help you tune down the stress in your life and tune up your energy and happiness.

I think adrenal fatigue is real and could be the symptom of other illnesses. When your cortisol level is low for whatever reasons your blood pressure is bound to be low resulting in lethargy and general weakness. People who complain of tiredness should be checked thoroughly by endocrinologists to ensure that they are not suffering from serious illnesses such as Addison ‘s disease for example.
Not included in the above piece by Dr Northrup about adrenal exhaustion is information about the affects of sustained stress on the adrenals leading to elevated aldosterone production. With work/life stress, extreme exercise and chronic dehydration (many people don’t get enough fluids) the adrenals will produce elevated levels of the hormone aldosterone in order to try to maintain a type of homeostasis. Aldosterone will push potassium, zinc and magnesium out of the body resulting in impaired immune function, poor digestion, compromised liver function, poorer iron absorption, and increased risks for oxidative stress.
Adrenal insufficiency usually suggests that there are long-standing life problems in need of resolution. These issues will loom all the larger when seen with the no-nonsense mental clarity of perimenopause, but not only will adrenal exhaustion make the transition needlessly unpleasant, it also can deprive a woman of the resources she needs to address those issues and to take full advantage of the creative promise of the second half of her life.
Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with another medical condition called Addison’s disease where the adrenal glands are not functioning at all. While Addison’s disease is often caused by autoimmunity, Adrenal Fatigue is largely caused by stress along with a host of other factors, like accumulation of toxic exposures, hidden infections, hormone imbalance, or even nutritional deficiencies.
This book was instrumental in understanding how one's life and specific stressors can indeed result in adrenal fatigue. It's practical in nature and helped to decipher how to heal from adrenal fatigue and make lifestyle changes in all areas in life. My passion is authentic living and purpose and at the core of this book it is about living one's life authentically. When we are out of congruence with our authentic self we experience stress which ultimately will manifest on a physical level. Having ...more
Eating right for one’s type of metabolism will help to ensure the proper amounts of sodium and potassium levels as well as raw materials for one’s unique biochemistry. In addition to this, understanding the regulatory effects that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system has with the endocrine system is also a very important part of the picture.
Located near the top of each kidney, your adrenal glands release hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) that help your body respond to stressful situations (by briefly pumping up your energy levels, for instance). Research suggests that when you're constantly suffering physical, mental, or emotional stress, your stress-hormone system may become "worn out" and actually produce fewer stress hormones. This state of exhaustion — commonly known as adrenal fatigue — is associated with chronic tiredness, food cravings, mood swings, and weight gain.
To assess adrenal function, we conduct a one-hour ACTH stimulation test, which is very safe and reliable. We also look for thyroid issues and diabetes. After checking for a variety of endocrine disorders using testing and symptom assessment, we start working with a multidisciplinary team of doctors to figure out the root cause of the patient’s problem.

For a little over two years I have been suffering from erectile dysfunction, I have tried different medications such as Viagra to no avail. Also, recently I have donated blood after which time my symptoms of ED seemed to disappear, however, recently, they came back. Also, I do feel tired throughout the day and had liquid come out the anus many times. My main concern is that it feels like my sex drives almost disappeared. Lastly, this condition started in late 2015 as I was taking Allopurinol prescribed by my doctor for the treatment of gout. Surprisingly, I have not had a gout attack since these problems started and had discontinued Allopurinol and still to this day have not had an attack. Is the Allopurinol partially or all to blame for this condition? Prior to me starting the gout medication I never had any such problems. Thank you for your help!
A relatively new area of understanding, there are some who make the connection between adrenal fatigue and osteoporosis. It’s well-known that osteoporosis is often a result of imbalanced hormones. However, the sex hormones that are often named as the transgressors aren’t the only problem. Abnormally high or low cortisol levels are also associated with bone loss and osteoporosis risk. (36, 37, 38)
I am lucky to have lived now for 12 years with a heart transplant, requiring that I take myriad drugs to suppress my immune system and manage inflammation, as is the normal course. With a suppressed immune system, one is vulnerable to infections and I have been no exception. Every winter I am sick sick sick with colds and bronchial infections verging on pneumonia. But not this year. My PCP wondered if my adrenals had become “lazy” from prednisone doing their work for them. This fall we tried a daily dose of 1,000 mg of B12. The boost of energy was immediately noticeable. Most importantly, I fought off a cold, unheard of for the past 12 years—even during a very stressful period over Christmas in which my husband was suddenly diagnosed with cancer (in remission already!). Despite all the stress of caring for him and being with him in the hospital, exposed to pathogens for weeks during flu season, I remain astonishingly vigorous and well. I would recommend that heart transplant patients and others with suppressed immune systems explore this solution with their clinicians. I am only a short-term case-study of one, but the difference has been astonishing—and right at the moment I needed the wellness to save my husband’s life.

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)
Until the adrenal fatigue controversy is teased out, focus on engaging in healthy habits like seeing your doctor for regular checkups, getting enough sleep, avoiding or moderating caffeine intake, and eating a nutritious diet. Some people opt for a low-glycemic diet (for its anti-inflammatory effect), but talk with your doctor first before embarking on this.

Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you share in your blogs and follow-up comments. What stage of adrenal/HPA-axis dysregulation would you consider a patient with the following results? Symptoms are consistent with abnormal cortisol levels and hypothyroidism; current treatment protocol from primary includes Armour thyroid 30mg. Could Hashimoto’s (or autoimmunity) be a possible cause? Or are lifestyle factors (sleep, glucose regulation and diet, stress, etc.) more likely for the following patterns?
Other factors can come into play too. A poor diet means that your body has fewer reserves and less capacity to deal with stress. Chronic or latent disease can be a factor, as can regular exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants. And don’t forget sleep – one of the most important requirements for your body to function properly. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, consider that a lack of sleep might be damaging your long-term health.
Sorry this was so long but I felt I needed to offer some hope for you, as when I first started things seemed so overwhelming, expensive, hard to do, but I came along some good blogs that said, start with babysteps, I’ve been at this for about 9 months now, I still have a ways to go i’m sure, there are still times I have problems and issues, and I ask for advise that so many will offer readily especially if they have something to gain, and much of it’ll be contradictory. read it with some skepticism, and do the AA motto take what you want and leave the rest. My biggest things is I now try to get the things I need from foods, not supplements. start slow especially with things like ferments and detoxes/cleanses, as your body can go into what is called a healing crisis, basically all the bad stuff in your body is killed off to quickly and overwhelms your body as it tries to get rid of it. So time, patience, babysteps, and most of all listen to your body and yourself, and forgive yourself. Good luck hope you feel better I know it is an uphill battle sometimes, but worth it in the end, Oh and one thing I forgot is get some exercise everyday even if it’s in small bursts, I personally like yoga.
More and more research says quite the opposite about liver. Most healthier cultures eat mainly organ meats and throw out lean meats unlike us incredibly unhealthy Americans. Liver is a super food. But big Pharma and modernized doctors are about putting band-aids on problems, fixing issues would take away money they want. Liver is also an excellent source of iron. It also doesn’t keep what toxins it filters thru the body, it removes them. especially ethically raised grass fed animals.
Hello, It all started about 8 months ago when my symptoms first started appearing. My first symptom was unexplained paresthesia through my body, usually around the neck area and extremities. After a while, it got the point where my legs would start hurting (burning sensation) on the inside after standing up for a while. After driving home from work at night, I felt wired, as if I had consumed 2-3 cups of black coffee in one sitting. I had to leave my job because of this. There was a period in where these symptoms were beginning to subside but gradually came back so I also stopped exercising and lifting. In the past 5-6 months I have changed my diet drastically, experimenting with different things such as gluten-free paleo, vegan, and even raw foodist at some point. My symptoms remain the same. I constantly battle with fatigue, I have trouble waking up in the morning(cold hands and feet and shivers upon waking up), extremely low libido, loose stool, and brain fog. I have an appointment tomorrow with an endocrinologist but would like to hear from you first. What can I do in the meanwhile to alleviate these symptoms? What might be the root cause of all this? Thank you!
When the body is stressed – from infection, disease, or illness and/or emotional stress – the adrenal glands will respond by amplifying cortisol production. Cortisol helps the body deal with stress and curbs inflammation. But once the body is in a steady state of stress, these glands grow to be tired out from this constant need for added cortisol and stops creating quantities that are sufficient.
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.
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