Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend any natural remedy for adrenal fatigue. If you're considering using alternative medicine, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen. Keep in mind that natural remedies should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of a chronic health condition.
Dr. Wilson also delves into the types of people and personalities who are commonly afflicted with this syndrome. He explains how different professions can leave certain people vulnerable to the type of stress that can overload their adrenals and result in this syndrome. Included also are examinations of how certain diseases have an adrenal component that can lead to adrenal exhaustion.
To understand how adrenal fatigue develops, it is important to understand the original, evolutionary function of the adrenal glands. The adrenals are walnut-sized glands located on top of each kidney, and are important control centers for many of the body’s hormones. The outer layer of the gland, called the adrenal cortex, produces hormones including cortisol, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone. The centers of the glands produce adrenaline, the hormone named after them.
Studies in mice have shown that magnesium modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), helping to reduce anxiety and stress. In this way, it’s believed that magnesium can regulate the production of cortisol and prevent excess cortisol from being created. This ultimately helps to keep the nervous system in check, allowing the mind and body to feel more relaxed.
If you take adrenal hormone supplements when you don’t need them, your adrenal glands may stop working and become unable to make the hormones you need when you are under physical stress. When these supplements are stopped, a person's adrenal glands can remain “asleep” for months. People with this problem may be in danger of developing a life-threatening condition called adrenal crisis.
Under certain circumstances, stress can fatigue your adrenals. It is estimated that most North Americans experience some form of stress-related adrenal fatigue at some time. Although many people realize that stress is a problem in their lives, few understand the actual physical ways stress acts on the body and mind through the adrenal glands – or more importantly, what to do about it. Unfortunately, even most doctors still do not recognize the common health picture produced by adrenal fatigue. This leaves a lot of people suffering without anywhere to turn for help. Thats where Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome comes in.
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.
The book includes a number of questionnaires – self-evaluations that can help you determine the nature of your exhaustion – as well as treatment protocols and other sound advice that can help you to nurse yourself back to health. Many have compared Simpson’s approach to this ailment to that advocated by Dr. James Wilson in his seminal work on adrenal fatigue, Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome. For many patients, however, her work may be even more accessible, as it is 200 pages shorter than that important treatise. That fact - along with its clear and understandable approach to the subject - makes it a nice addition to any reader’s collection of fatigue recovery books.
Adrenal fatigue shouldn’t be confused with adrenal insufficiency, a legitimate medical condition that can be diagnosed with laboratory tests and has a defined symptomatology. Addison’s disease causes primary adrenal insufficiency and usually has an autoimmune cause, with symptoms appearing when most of the adrenal cortex has been destroyed. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is cause by pituitary disorder that gives insufficient hormonal stimulation to the adrenals. Some liken adrenal fatigue to a milder form of adrenal insufficiency — but there’s no underlying pathology that has been associated with adrenal fatigue.
This is an excellent introduction to hormone imbalances of all kinds. All hormones are interrelated, and this book will help you sort out your symptoms so that you can determine which symptoms are adrenal, which are thyroid, and which are sex hormone related (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone). They have great diagnostic quizzes, and then outline treatment strategies for each hormone group. This is an easy read, and a great starting place if you're new to learning about health related topics.
The diagnosis of Cushing syndrome (CS) requires evidence of cortisol hypersecretion. While serum cortisol levels fluctuate unpredictably and are strongly dependent on concurrent cortisol-binding globulin (CBG) levels, a 24-hour urine specimen integrates the cortisol production for an entire day and is not affected by CBG. Urinary cortisol reflects the portion of serum-free cortisol filtered by the kidney, and correlates well with cortisol secretion rate.
I had a bilateral adrenalectomy 30 years ago. I take Prednisone and Flourinef replacement steroids. But I’m tired and depressed all the time. I’ve never taken DHEA and wondering if would help me? I’m menopausal. I’m 57 years old. I don’t have osteoporosis. My adrenal glands were removed when I was 17 – I was diagnosed with Cushings Disease. Later on I had a pituitary adenoma removed. I still have my pituitary gland. It’s functioning properly. My fatigue interferes with my life.
I first learned about cytokines years ago when I was dealing with Lyme. What many of us do not realize is that the stress response triggers inflammatory immune cells called Cytokines. These cytokines perform many jobs and one of them is to make your thyroid receptors less sensitive to thyroid hormones- meaning that you’ll need more thyroid hormone that usual to have the same impact! This is where things get tricky because your thyroid blood work (see Part I for the blood work labs to get), can come out perfect but you’ll still be seeing thyroid symptoms because if you’ve got thyroid resistance, you can have the correct levels of thyroid hormone in your blood but your cells are being deprived. Yikes, right? Your hormone in your blood is not getting into your cells where you need it so you’re not seeing an improvement in your symptoms and your blood work can look perfect.
The problem is that stimulants tend to lose their effectiveness over time. As chronic stress takes its toll on your endocrine system, each cup of coffee or sugary snack gives you less of an energy boost. Caffeine can prevent you from getting a good sleep too. The more stressed and tired you become, the more stimulants you need. This vicious cycle is how many people unwittingly accelerate their decline into hormonal dysregulation and extreme fatigue.
The nervous system is also a delicate balance- where we need to keep the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system in check with our parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system. If we live life as a constant race filled speeding through daily activities, functions and appointments then we are putting our entire health and body systems at risk. Stress can create damage to our internal health- not just a headache! We can improve our response to stressful situations as well as reduce the stress triggers in our life. Often we need more time spent in the “rest and digest” nervous systems and less time in the “fight or flight” nervous system. More is not better!
Adrenal Fatigue for Dummies is a book written by Dr. Richard Snyder and nutritionist Wendy Jo Peterson. As the title suggests, this is another in that series of “Dummies” books that are not really written for “dummies” at all. Like others of its kind, this book is written for those who currently have little understanding about the nature of adrenal fatigue – which would include most patients suffering from exhaustion, as well as their attending physicians!
If you think you may suffer from adrenal fatigue, read this book now. I thought I might have it, and have gone though tons of tests to see what’s going on. This book helped me rule adrenal fatigue out, thankfully. But it helped my friend find answers to nagging questions and issues she has faced for years with her body. This book is great and very informational.
Nieman recommends taking a careful history and investigating the causes of each symptom or group of symptoms. “I suggest that we work with the patient’s primary-care person to exclude potential disorders such as anemia, obstructive sleep apnea, irritable bowel syndrome, depression or anxiety, diabetes, other systemic illness, poor diet, stress at work or home, or overtraining.”
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.
Then read on – I have good news! My husband and I recently took the kids on a much needed trip to the shore, and I managed to read up on adrenal fatigue and create a plan for my recovery. I was expecting to feel overwhelmed, but just the opposite happened. I discovered several simple things I can do to care for tired adrenals, which I’ll be sharing with in future posts. But first, I’ll bet you’re wondering if your low energy levels could really be related to adrenal fatigue.
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.”
Unfortunately, many individuals and physicians continue to deny that this syndrome is a legitimate disease. The medical literature is, however, very clear in proving the opposite; individuals with this disorder have measurable hypothalamic, pituitary, immune and coagulation dysfunction. These abnormalities then result in a cascade of further abnormalities, in which stress plays a role by suppressing immunity and hypothalamic-pituitary function.
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.
I didn't find any other book that explained what I was experiencing so spot on. I think Dr. Lam truly understands the deep levels and complexity of Adrenal Fatigue. HOWEVER, I think there is another business agenda going on here. His book also has a pervasive theme of "You won't get better without my help" when he states over and over: "it is needed to find a good practitioner experienced in natural healing in your area to guide you through this step"...it both validated me and increased my anxiety to read the book because I felt like unless I paid the enormous fee per phone call to get his help I wouldn't get better.
I have a question. I experienced quite severe adrenal weakness symptoms after gradually increasing DHEA until I was taking 30 mg. a day. I couldn’t even exercise like I always have . I know now that I should have not taken it as I have a history of low blood sugar. I stopped the DHEA entirely and started takiing licorice root caps, 3 caps 3x a day with meals. I feel so much better! My blood pressure was not too low when I started, 120 over 72, but yesterday, it was 137 over 92 with a resting pulse of 66. I am afraid to cut out the licorice, because every time I cut it out entirely in the past, I don’t feel well. Even though I also take a good Adrenal glandular too. Maybe if I cut it down to 2 caps 2 times a day? i wonder if that would lower my blood pressure enough. Btw, I am a 62 year old female in good health otherwise and on no meds.
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.
Chronic stress is very common in western society. The most common causes of stress are work pressure, changing jobs, death of a loved one, moving homes, illness, and marital disruption. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress overextends the capacity of the body to compensate and recover. But there is hope… stay tuned for my next article on how to treat adrenal fatigue
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.
The easy, relaxed lifestyle experienced by our ancestors no longer exists, and we're not even aware of how much stress we're under. The problem? "Our lifestyles have changed, but our bodies haven't," Dr. James Wilson said in his November lecture at the First Arizona Choices Exposition in Tucson, Ariz. A large portion of our population is feeling tired and stressed out, and we want to know why.
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?
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 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!
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.
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 you experience some sort of stress (physical, mental or emotional), your hypothalamus lets go of a chemical that sends a signal to your pituitary gland and then your pituitary releases an alert to your adrenals, which then let a whole bunch of stress hormones out into your body. Your body makes adrenaline and noradrenaline, cortisol and dopamine and they’re there to help you when you’re experiencing stress. Stress can be a good thing or a bad thing. And also a very bad thing! Stress can also be emotional, mental and physical. I went under HUGE amounts of emotional stress as a child. I was highly sensitive and remember being yelled at and crying all the time because some of the people around me were very intense and angry and so I took all that on myself and it suppressed my immune system and my adrenals. Now that I look back, it all makes sense. I could feel myself being suppressed. I’m highly sensitive to what’s going on in my body, as well and so when I’m being suppressed, I notice it right away. Anything that your body must do to exert effort on these levels such as an exam, carrying heavy luggage or crying because you got in a fight with your father, is a form of stress. For example, planning a wedding can be stressful but fun. Planning a party can be stressful but fun. So, you see, stress can be fun but also have negative effects. Not all stress is bad stress. But dealing with a mean woman at work, like my days in fashion, can be a huge stress on your body. Getting let go from a job can be a huge amount of stress. Fighting with your in-laws or a customer service person can be forms of stress for your body, as well. So, what does all of this have to do with your health?
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.