Doctors urge you not to waste precious time accepting an unproven diagnosis such as “adrenal fatigue” if you feel tired, weak, or depressed. If you have these symptoms, you may have adrenal insufficiency, depression, obstructive sleep apnea, or other health problems. Getting a real diagnosis is very important to help you feel better and overcome your health problem.


Is It Me or My Adrenals? Your Proven 30-Day Program for Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue and Feeling Fantastic comes to us courtesy of Marcelle Pick, Nurse Practitioner and author of The Core Balance Diet. In this book, she addresses the subject of the adrenals and their impact on fatigue, but does from the perspective of a woman speaking to other women. And while some men might find that less inviting than a treatise that addresses both genders, there is no arguing the fact that much of its information and advice is applicable to both men and women.
utter and complete exhaustion having no idea that adrenal fatigue is part and parcel of FMS and CFS. In addition, I had no idea that we can now test for the infectious organism(s) and get treatment. Why I have to read this info in a book is maddening! But I'm glad at least to now know. It is interesting that drinking salt water is one of the treatments for the adrenals as it is also a treatment for POTS. In the week I have implemented the eating, resti ...more
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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’m so frustrated. Been sick since 2008. Serious adrenal fatigue. I had unintended weight loss allergies can’t eat much of anything just had a root canal and I feel 100x worse now. Constant runny nose tired can’t sleep. Hate lights noise TV. For years now. I have reason to believe I have sibo. Omg I’m a mess. Crying fighting with my husband. I need help. Don’t know where to get it. Thx


Now, when your cortisol gets too high, your pituitary and hypothalamus slow down and so they don’t let go of any stress hormones and your thyroid begins to slow down. Now your thyroid stops producing as much thyroid hormone, which causes your metabolism to slow down and you all of a sudden start gaining weight, even though you haven’t changed anything about what you eat or workout. You start to feel fatigued, foggy and unmotivated. Also, when your stress is high, you convert more T3 into Part III (read Part III to learn more about Reverse T3), which slows things down and halts your metabolism even more.
There are other reasons why doctors (and even some naturopaths) are unable to make a diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue. The requisite lab tests are rarely covered by insurance, and are often difficult to interpret for an inexperienced doctor. It takes a skilled and experienced practitioner to determine what your 'optimal' ranges should be, rather than the wide 'normal' ranges suggested by the lab.
Your adrenals produce your stress hormones, which are super important for your metabolism and they totally effect your thyroid so it’s key to look at these glands when you’re dealing with any sort of thyroid issue. If you’re in that amped-up mode that causes you to feel stressed all the time (and you feel like you can’t turn it off), you’re headed for some degree of Adrenal Fatigue. In this state, your cortisol is chronically elevated or it’s high when it should be low (at night). Adrenal Fatigue is when your cortisol is chronically low when it should actually be elevated. Your production of stress hormones declines and leaves you with low adrenaline and low cortisol–feeling depleted.
Adrenal Fatigue is a syndrome, meaning that it encompasses multiple systems and aspects of your health. This also makes it a very difficult condition to diagnose for a typical MD, whose training is typically focused on more acute conditions. In other words, MDs are great when you have an acute condition that sends you to hospital, but they're not so helpful when faced with multiple symptoms and general complaints of feeling 'tired and unwell'.
Dr. Wilson created adrenalfatigue.org specifically to help you and the many others experiencing this very common problem caused by too much stress. Take the Adrenal Fatigue Questionnaire to see if low adrenal function may be your problem. Learn more about adrenal fatigue and how stress and adrenal function can affect your health and other related health conditions. Follow the guidelines for adrenal recovery Dr. Wilson developed over decades of clinical practice and research. Find a health professional familiar with adrenal fatigue to help you. Best of all, discover that you can reclaim your vitality and thrive in a stressful world!
We tested her cortisol levels using a saliva test, and found that not only did she have the symptoms of stage 3 adrenal fatigue, the test confirmed it. Instead of following a curve that starts high on waking in the morning and trends down to its lowest point at night, her cortisol curve was a flat line. Her DHEA, another adrenal hormone, was also low, as were her free T3 — the active thyroid hormone — and her levels of B12, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
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).
In his introduction, the author explains how the adrenals were designed to function, and how ideal that function was for the needs of early man. He then points out how ill-suited that design is for the stress-response needs of modern man. That, naturally, leads to a discussion about the failure of modern medicine to account for the obvious prevalence of adrenal-related fatigue in the modern era. As he reminds us, the medical community only officially recognizes problem with the adrenals when those glands are suffering disease. There seems to be an almost conscious refusal to even consider the evidence that strongly supports the contrary view.
When a threat happens, your sympathetic nervous system stops digesting your food, it stops worrying about producing babies so your reproduction stops and it takes away the priority from worrying about your immune system and your thyroid (because your body thinks it’s in survival fight/flight mode getting chased by a tiger) and your blood rushes out of those areas and into your legs and arms so that you can flee from the tiger your body thinks is chasing you. Your sympathetic nervous system was deigned to deal with physical challenges, so that’s why this reaction occurs. So, what is really happening is that your body doesn’t care about the long-term focus of your health right now. It’s focused on how to keep you alive right now in this moment through the fight/flight mode. THIS is called the stress response (fight/flight mode). Your blood pressure increases, your palms sweat and you feel pumped up and ready to fight or flee from danger. Sound familiar?
To address some above comments, in having tested quite a few people this year in NTP school, I find most people’s pupils pulse (release, contract, release, contract, rather quickly), rather than completely releasing for a prolonged period of time. What you’re looking for is a sustained, non-pulsing contraction for 30 seconds. The longer the sustained contraction, the better. Pulsing is better than fully releasing, and some people don’t contract at all, which would be a big indicator.
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 offers great suggestions how to improve our happiness, how to relax and how to reduce our stress triggers. We have become addicted to busyness as well as being overly connected due to our constant phone “notifications”, social media, text messages and emails. We need to take charge of our lives and take power to keep our adrenals healthy! I find this book very informative and a great companion to my new book coming out on Amazon called “Life is Not a Race… It is a Journey”. We need to all slow down and pace ourselves a little more each day if we really are working on our whole health!
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?
A part of the adrenal glands named the cortex is responsible for producing aldosterone, a mineralocorticoid which works with the kidney to regulate our fluid and mineral excretion. When the adrenals become fatigued, we produce less aldosterone and tend to excrete large amounts of important minerals in our urine. Individuals with depleted endocrine systems often report frequent urination, which is often attributed to age but may actually be caused by depleted adrenals.
The effects of adrenal dysfunction can be profound: fatigue and weakness, suppression of the immune system, muscle and bone loss, moodiness or depression, hormonal imbalance, skin problems, autoimmune disorders, and dozens of other symptoms. The good news is that adrenal fatigue can almost always be relieved. Let’s look at the relationships between stress, high cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue, and then we’ll look at how you can give your adrenals more support.
My lingering issue is urinating frequently. Sometimes every hour (no infection gng on either- been gng on for abt 3 yrs. I’ve asked many Dr’s. and they have no idea- along with having hot flashes when my bladder wld get full. This goes on day & night-so to say I am sleeping soundly wld be a major stretch. I recently read an article that said the adrenals cold be the culprit. Can’t wait to get results from the labs this new Dr will draw. I’m soon to be 55 if the matters.Wondering if anybody else has experienced the freq urination/hot flash combination?
There are also a number of recipes designed to improve both your overall nutrition and your energy levels. For most people, however, the real value of this book – as is true with most “Dummies” books – can be found in its usefulness as a reference guide. Within its pages, there are specific sections on every critical vitamin and mineral, all of the major hormones involved in the adrenal cascade, cellular energy production, exercise fundamentals, and even depression.
Another study, released in 2005, found that students diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome had “alterations in adrenal function,” particularly in females, suggesting that their adrenal glands were no longer receiving a normal amount of stimulation. (11) And it’s not just about the amount of sleep you get — researchers at Brandeis University discovered that the quality, rather than the quantity of sleep, affects the body’s normal cortisol responses when exposed to stress. (12)
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.

Hormones affect every function, organ and tissue in the body directly or indirectly. They react to each other as well as respond to conditions in the body in an intricate and highly sensitive balancing act. The adrenal glands work closely with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in a system known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). (7)
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 syndrome develops due to the malfunction of the adrenal glands in producing hormone competently. The adrenal gland secretes cortisol which is a hormone essential to optimal health. Cortisol in the body in excessive amounts may lead to problems that are severe such as Cushing’s syndrome. But, if released in amounts that are common by the gland, cortisol is a hormone that is vital to helping the body fight infection and deal with stress – without cortisol the body is not able to sustain life. Balance is crucial as well. Cortisol has an effect on every tissue, gland and organ in the body. When these glands are tired, they don’t provide the body with adequate cortisol. The body does what is necessary to get by but it is not without penalties. As such, this syndrome normally precedes other chronic situations.
Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a treasure trove of information and help for everyone who regularly experiences any of the above, or the many other signs of stress described in the book. Dr. Wilson explains that healthy functioning of your adrenal glands is essential to virtually all aspects of your health as well as to your ability to handle stress. For this reason, stress and adrenal function often also play a role in many health conditions, such as frequent infections, chemical sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, menopause and PMS, thyroid function imbalances, chronic fatigue syndrome, low libido, chronic anxiety, and mild depression. All of these problems and more may be aggravated by the effects stress can have on your adrenal glands.
I'm pretty sure we're all walking around with some degree of adrenal fatigue. Long commutes, work deadlines, little sleep—such is modern life! But as a 26-year-old who needs a nap or caffeine to simply function every afternoon (WTF IS WRONG WITH ME?), I was relieved to learn that there is not only a physiological cause for the sudden sluggishness that can sneak up on us at any age, but also a snappy solution to getting back to our optimistic, energetic selves. (You'll have to read the book to fi ...more
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.

This comment comes from a place of concern. This blog post scares me because I have adrenal insufficiency, which is a real endocrine condition characterized by dangerously low or non existent cortisol production. What scares me is the thought of people diagnosing themselves with adrenal fatigue, when they are actually experiencing early warning signs of adrenal insufficiency. I have seen naturopaths and holistic doctors make this mistake, and don’t find out until their patient is in a dangerous emergency state called Arenal Crisis, which is where you slip into shock and die from lack of cortisol. It is also why I am sitting in the hospital right now sharing my concerns with you.
Testing for Adrenal Fatigue can take several forms. First we have the standard hormone tests, which include testing for cortisol and various thyroid hormones. These are the tests that your medical doctor will likely give you. Then we have the tests more frequently used by integrative doctors or naturopaths – these tend to look at the ratios of various hormones and neurotransmitters, in order to get a better idea of how a patient is feeling. And lastly we have a set of more subjective physical tests, which were mostly developed in the early days of Adrenal Fatigue diagnosis.
Addressing one stressor at a time is generally the best way to approach this. Identifying what makes you happy and what stresses you is the easy part, then begins the difficult part of making the changes that you need to make. This will often require a significant adjustment in outlook. For example, if a high-paying job is damaging your health, can you step off the corporate ladder and return to a simpler, more fulfilling life? And if a relationship has been causing you emotional stress for years, do you have the courage to pull the plug and start again? All these are issues that can hopefully be addressed with the support of family, friends and perhaps even a good therapist too.
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?
Hi heather, thank you for all the time and energy you put into your blog. I always enjoy your posts while nursing my little ones to bed. I never leave a comment on anything but this time I had to. We had a very stressful move during my fourth pregnancy and I felt like a different person after that. A friend of mine gave me dr. Wilson’s book and his advice along with taking vitamin c, magnesium, and his own supplement, Adrenal Rebuilder, restored me. It was a very difficult time for me and I am so grateful for that book. I hope get the rest you need but I know how hard it is when your children are young.
I’m so frustrated. Been sick since 2008. Serious adrenal fatigue. I had unintended weight loss allergies can’t eat much of anything just had a root canal and I feel 100x worse now. Constant runny nose tired can’t sleep. Hate lights noise TV. For years now. I have reason to believe I have sibo. Omg I’m a mess. Crying fighting with my husband. I need help. Don’t know where to get it. Thx
Indeed, an article from a São Paulo university was released in 2016 with the title: “Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review.” According to this review, results of acceptable studies available to them at the time had “conflicting results” and could provide no definitive proof of the disease, nor diagnostic criteria or adrenal fatigue treatment. (4)
In his introduction, the author explains how the adrenals were designed to function, and how ideal that function was for the needs of early man. He then points out how ill-suited that design is for the stress-response needs of modern man. That, naturally, leads to a discussion about the failure of modern medicine to account for the obvious prevalence of adrenal-related fatigue in the modern era. As he reminds us, the medical community only officially recognizes problem with the adrenals when those glands are suffering disease. There seems to be an almost conscious refusal to even consider the evidence that strongly supports the contrary view.
Methylation labs: Methylation is a massive biochemical superhighway that happens 1 billion times every second in the human body. It makes a healthy brain, gut, hormones, and detox pathways and protects your DNA. All super important stuff. Genes that make methylation happen can be mutated in some of us. This decreases methylation and can cause a variety of health issues. I had multiple methylation gene mutations, one of which is the MTHFR gene.
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.
Another study, released in 2005, found that students diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome had “alterations in adrenal function,” particularly in females, suggesting that their adrenal glands were no longer receiving a normal amount of stimulation. (11) And it’s not just about the amount of sleep you get — researchers at Brandeis University discovered that the quality, rather than the quantity of sleep, affects the body’s normal cortisol responses when exposed to stress. (12)
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.
Although primary adrenal insufficiency is considered a rare disease, understanding the connection it has with autoimmune thyroid disease is worthwhile, especially for a select (but small) group of people. In fact, one study suggests that primary adrenal insufficiency may be the culprit behind some people's persistent symptoms, despite treatment of their thyroid disease. 
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.
And to make things even MORE complicated “Experts” say that when you crave Salt, that is a sign of Low Aldosterone, but then others say that the Swelling before the Period is not just low Progesterone, but High Aldosterone as well, so how can i have “High Aldosterone” in the final stages of Adrenal Fatigue..i say Final because the Panic attacks, Heart Palps and Insomnia are over, i am just having Low Blood Sugar sometimes and Salt Cravings always. IS it possible to have alternating Aldosterone levels EVEN in AF?
Nieman adds that even when patients come in “hell bent on having this diagnosis, when I listen to everything they have to say and validate the symptoms, but tell them, ‘I really don’t think your adrenal is actually failing, but I think some of your problems are reversible,’ I find that they accept [my point of view], and can give up on this adrenal fatigue diagnosis.”
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