The effectiveness of this multi-system treatment was further confirmed through the analysis of the cumulative findings of over 40 independent physicians and over 5,000 patients. Prior to the treatment at the Holtorf Medical Group, the patients had seen an average of 7.2 different physicians for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia without significant improvement.
Dr. Eric Wood is a licensed Naturopathic doctor with extensive clinical and teaching experience. He graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine with additional post graduate studies at the Benson Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at Harvard. Dr. Wood has worked in both private practice and consulting work, with experience in many different areas of Integrative and Mind Body Medicine. He has specialty training and expertise in the areas of oncology, infectious disease, Adrenal Fatigue and anti-aging medicine.
The term "adrenal fatigue", which was invented in 1998 by James Wilson, a chiropractor, may be applied to a collection of mostly nonspecific symptoms. There is no scientific evidence supporting the concept of adrenal fatigue and it is not recognized as a diagnosis by any scientific or medical community. A systematic review found no evidence for the term adrenal fatigue, confirming the consensus among endocrinological societies that it is a myth.
Conventional medicine will detect only the extremes of these conditions, when damage to the adrenals has already occurred (Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease). Within those extremes, you can feel miserable and still be told your cortisol levels are normal. But by responding to early-stage symptoms of adrenal fatigue, we can reverse the developing dysfunction.
As most books in the “Dummies” series do, this one covers the full range of issues involving the adrenals and their impact on patient energy. It explains, in simple and easy-to-understand language, how the adrenals work and why they become fatigued. It details the symptoms associated with this type of low energy, and tests that can be administered to detect adrenal dysfunction. There is also a large amount of insight into the types of stressors that can trigger the stress response that contributes to adrenal overload and fatigue.
Well, any form of stress involves your nervous system. Specifically your sympathetic nervous system, a part of your autonomic nervous system. This system takes care of your blood pressure, digestion, breathing, heartbeat and sexual response. When these things need to increase because of a threat, your sympathetic nervous system is in charge and when they need to be relaxed, your parasympathetic nervous system cools them off.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Simply becoming more mindful of your caffeine and sugar consumption will often help to reduce it. Limit yourself to one or two coffees each day at first, then try to give it up entirely. Eat a nutritious, healthy diet, and try some of these low sugar recipes. Look for low glycemic fruits instead of sugary dried fruits or fruit juices. Learn how to improve your sleep hygiene so you won’t feel the need for those stimulants. And identify ways to work more efficiently during the day, so you take rests when needed.
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.
Meditation involves using the diaphragm to draw oxygen into your body, allowing for full oxygen exchange in the lungs. This causes your body to deactivate the ‘fight or flight’ response because it suddenly realizes you’re not facing a threat. Your brain is effectively ‘tricked’ into thinking, “Hey, I can relax.” This allows for a change in the brain’s chemistry. Neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for “rest and digest” mode are activated, and a sense of physical and mental calm is induced. Cortisol production ceases and you will begin to feel more relaxed and at peace.
Adrenal hyperfunction indicates an excess of cortisol and adrenal activity. Adrenal hyperfunction is indicative of a loss of certain mineralcorticoid hormones, and consequently a loss in potassium through the urine. Adrenal hyperfunction can be a primary cause of hypertension (which quite often involves a loss of potassium and an increase in sodium in the blood and cells) as well as anxiety, irritability and headaches.
First, I want to talk about the concept of adrenal fatigue really quickly. When we think about the body being fatigued, sometimes we immediately assume that our bodies are unable to do something. In the case of adrenal fatigue, that’s not really how it works. It is not that our bodies cannot produce cortisol, it is just that they do not want to. So, the adrenals actually are not “fatigued” at all.
I was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency by a progressive doctor. She meant well, but she missed the boat completely. For some people, the adrenal-busting cycle is caused by sleep disorders like sleep apnea. A healthy lifestyle alone (or supplements or other treatments that only target adrenals) can’t fix the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysruption caused by sleep apnea, and many of the systems will overlap. Nocturnal breathing pauses cause a stress response, elevating cortisol, increasing exhaustion, sabotaging sleep quality and all of the regenerative work our bodies are meant to do during sleep. For women, sleep apnea is likely to go undiagnosed, because doctors think it is so rare in women that they don’t usually consider it as a differential diagnosis (even in women with PCOS, who are known to have the same rate of sleep apnea as men). For young and slender women, sleep apnea is unlikely to be diagnosed until it has already caused long-standing biological changes, even if a woman has classic symptoms of sleep apnea like loud snoring, observed pauses in sleep breathing, and significant daytime sleepiness. Sleep dysruption is a form of chronic stress, so it can overlap with adrenal insufficiency, and treating sleep problems can be a big help to solving the adrenal problems.
Hey girls, I too am in the same boat at you. I am 49 and sure I have been Perimenopausal for several years. This year has been the worst. I am one giant hot flash 24/7, heat Palps, panic attacks, missing periods, edema all over, hair falling out (all comprehensive thyroid tests are normal), depression, out of control weight gain even from eating almost nothing, horrible sleep, digestive problems, gas and bloating all day, choaking on mucus 24/7 despite eating gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, Lyme disease, bad, I mean really bad adrenal fatigue which worsened after my mom’s death two years ago, pain all over the body, severe fatigue, and about 30 other symptoms. I have been sick for over 20 years with Lyme, Epstein-Barr, mycoplasma, mold toxicity, Candida, hidden bio-unavailable copper toxicity, a clotting disorder from the Lyme, and sporadic HHV-6 and Cytomegalovirus, with no help. I live in Southern California. If anyone knows of a naturopath or integrative medical doctor who measures up to Dr. Northrop’s calibur, please, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much.
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.
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!
Adaptogens are unusual because they modulate your cortisol in both directions: if your cortisol is low, adaptogens bring it up, and if your cortisol is high, they bring it down. This makes adaptogens particularly valuable for treating adrenal fatigue, where you often deal with both highs and lows. Ashwagandha is my favorite. Be warned, though: ashwagandha is Sanskrit for “smell of horse,” and it lives up to its name — don’t chew it, and get it in capsule form if you can.