Nutritional Deficiencies are a common cause. When under stress, the need for nutrients is much greater. Carbohydrates, when excessive in the diet, stress the adrenals. Diets low in protein may also create deficiencies. Inadequate or poor quality water affects oxygenation of the tissues. Most diets are low in nutrients required by the adrenals. These include B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, manganese, zinc, chromium, selenium and other trace elements. The reasons for this begin with how food is grown. Most food is grown on depleted soils. Processing and refining further deplete nutrients. Habits such as eating in the car or while on the run further diminish the value derived from food. Also, allergic reactions to foods such as wheat and dairy products can damage the intestines and reduce the absorption of nutrients.
This same vague collection of symptoms is called something entirely different in the alternative health world. It’s branded “adrenal fatigue,” an invented condition that’s widely embraced as real among alternative health providers. There’s no evidence that adrenal fatigue actually exists. The public education arm of the Endocrine Society, representing 14,000 endocrinologists, recently updated their advice on a common medical question, noting:
Lori, I loved your entire comment. So hopeful, patient, and wise. This new world of social media… so much great help out there especially for getting involved and doing your own research. But also so much judgment, condemnation, lies and more. Baby steps is so true. Starting where it matters most to you is so important as habits change and hope is born. Thank you for being an encouraging voice! Keep up your good work for your own health.
Chris A. says…"You don't know how much I appreciate your new book, The Adrenal Fatigue Solution. I have been undergoing unrelenting stress for 7 years. I haven't understood why I cry, have so little energy, and am irritable all the time. Now I do, and I know how to cope. Your selfless efforts in gathering this book's information are so generous. Thank you and God bless you. I love you for your help."
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?
Think about it like this: if your body is a car, and it’s run down and needs to get checked – you are most likely going to carefully drive it to the closest garage. What you are not going to do is race there as fast as you can, because you want to take it easy on your car and not cause it to fall apart before it even reaches the garage. That’s what your body is doing in this case, it is lowering your cortisol level because it does not want your body to be “running on empty.”
Think about it like this: if your body is a car, and it’s run down and needs to get checked – you are most likely going to carefully drive it to the closest garage. What you are not going to do is race there as fast as you can, because you want to take it easy on your car and not cause it to fall apart before it even reaches the garage. That’s what your body is doing in this case, it is lowering your cortisol level because it does not want your body to be “running on empty.”
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!
In this book, Simpson covers the necessary basics: how the adrenals work, the nature of stress and the stress response, and the fundamentals of adrenal fatigue. This enables readers to learn about what this fatigue is, why it occurs, and how they can recognize it in their own lives. She then provides her remedy for this ailment, which involves dietary changes, supplementation, and important lifestyle alterations designed to decrease the amount of stress in a patient’s life.

Spending more time outside in the sun also helps boost levels of vitamin D, because your body manufactures this important vitamin/hormone when it senses sun on your skin. Vitamin D, is responsible for regulating over 200 genetic pathways, so make sure your levels are high enough. I recommend an optimal range of around 60 to 80 ng/ml. Ask your doctor about a simple blood test to help you keep track.
Carbohydrates: While carbohydrates aren’t all bad for you, the inflammation they can cause is particularly problematic when experiencing adrenal fatigue. Many people crave carb-heavy foods when they’re stressed, which offer a momentary satisfaction but end up taxing the adrenal glands more. If you’re overwhelmed and stressed out, try kicking the gluten and starchy carbs for a period of time to see if that may regulate your tiredness and energy levels.
However, he doesn’t really emphasize animal foods, which I believe are the foundation of a healthy diet (whether it’s eggs, butter, raw milk, grass-fed meat or otherwise). He doesn’t demonize saturated fats, but instead discusses all fats as if they are equal. It’s a step in the right direction, but I think saturated fats are too beneficial to be lumped in with other fats (and here’s four reasons why).
I just had DUTCH test done that showed both high free cortisol and high metabolized cortisol, indicating overactive HPA axis. In the past had very low cortisol levels via salivary cortisol testing so I am a bit confused by this. I have been eating a fairly clean diet, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, gentle exercise, etc so I can’t imagine why my levels would be so high. What can cause overactive HPA axis? Can tapering an SSRI/SNRI medication cause this?
It wouldn’t surprise me if almost everyone has adrenal fatigue in the day and age we live in. There’s different “levels” and/or severities of adrenal fatigue. I have had professional help in my diaginosis for adrenal fatigue by going to a naturopath doctor and I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Wilson’s book and supplements. They have put me on the road of recovery and I am so thankful. I was so sick with anxiety and insomnia that I had two separate times about 2 months apart where I was literally in bed for a week – which was horrible being a mom of 3 very young children. Thank God for my husband and family – I wouldn’t have been able to recover without their help and support! And thank God for Dr. Wilson!

Mama, it is AS IF we are living parallel lives! 🙂 Minus the third precious child, farm, and homeschooling, this is me, SPOT ON. I am JUST FINISHING this book as well, after getting confirmation from the saliva test that my adrenals are “maladapted” (the calm before full-blown adrenal fatigue) and I’m trying like H-E double hockey sticks to modify my lifestyle (the # culprit – ongoing, compounded stress for YEARS, plus broken sleep for 18 months – nursing babes, and all!) to rebuild those reserves. I’m really looking forward to your series! Thank you for sharing your story! Lots of love! xo


To conduct the test, sit in a darkened room, in front of a mirror. Take a flashlight and shine it across your eye, from the side of your face. In a hypoadrenal state, your pupil will not be able to hold onto its contraction for more than 2 minutes and thus will begin to dilate despite light repeatedly shining on it. In those with healthy adrenals, the contraction should last much longer.
Got this after a friend recently mentioned that she was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. I had no clue about the condition and decided to research. This guide was incredibly informative despite its length. The author was straightforward with his facts that were both scientific and practical. I’m quite convinced to see a specialist now after reading this and realizing that I have a few of the most common symptoms. This just might have saved my life.
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.
Like most books on the topic, Dr. Luther’s guide begins at the beginning: with a discussion of stress, the adrenal system, and the stressful nature of modern life. That leads to an examination of how the various systems of the body communicate with one another, and the way that stress impacts every aspect of health. From there, it moves on to an examination of the stress response, which is the source of all adrenal fatigue issues.

Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is the most effective approach to high adrenaline levels. Many women require eight to ten hours of sleep to function optimally. Try to go to bed by ten P.M. Getting to sleep on the earlier side of midnight is much more restorative to your adrenals than sleep that begins later in the night, even if you sleep late the next morning to get in your full amount of sleep.

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!
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.”
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.
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.
Adrenal fatigue is a deficiency in adrenal gland functioning that can result in debilitating symptoms ranging from lethargy to lowered sex drive to weight gain. James Wilson draws on 24 years of clinical experience and research to help readers determine if they have adrenal fatigue and learn how to treat it. Beginning with a diagnostic questionnaire, he moves through the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the condition through lifestyle and dietary modification.
This not at all how Addison’s is dianosed. Addison’s testing usually entails an 8 am cortisol draw at a lab. They will also usually conduct an ACTH stim test to confirm. I hope you made it to an endo. They will not diagnose you with adrenal fatigue as there is no such diagnosis, and thus, no such diagnosis code. Your insurance company will not recognise adrenal fatigue either.
Treating Adrenal Fatigue requires lifestyle changes, for example an improved diet and exercise routine, along with appropriate supplementation and even some emotional counseling. Even if your MD is willing to go through these steps with you, the limitations of our overcrowded healthcare system make it impossible for him or her to do so. Modern healthcare aims to get patients in and out of the clinic as quickly as possible, and it encourages the use of prescription medicines to treat symptoms, rather than attempting to diagnose and treat the underlying problem.
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!

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.
Everyone comes from different backgrounds and have various experiences that affect their outlook on life; therefore, their view of something might be totally different than someone elses perspective. I like how you responded Heather, because after all we are real people even though we don’t talk face to face we still need to try and understand each other. This is part of life learning from one another.

Adrenal glands play a huge role in stress response. Your brain registers a threat, whether emotional, mental or physical. The adrenal medulla releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones to help you react to the threat (the fight-or-flight response), rushing blood to your brain, heart and muscles. The adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to dampen processes like digestion, immune system response and other functions not necessary for immediate survival.
Hi Ladies…I too have all the symptoms above and can relate to you all…I am only 39 and this is my third year…I too feel like this is never going to end.I eat very clean…no dairy wheat gluten or meat…I exercise yoga twice to three times a week and walk….I have tried every holistic avenue… But am still trying and will not give up…I do believe the way we live today is a massive cause…Being busy has become the new NORM….I wish us all love and luck…love sonia xzz
The light should cause your iris to contract, making your pupils (the dark spot in the center of your eye) smaller.  Normally, they should stay that way, but if you have adrenal gland fatigue, the iris will be weak and will not be able to hold the contraction, it will either waver between contracted and relaxed, or will contract initially, but then open up after 10-30 seconds.

Proponents of the adrenal fatigue diagnosis claim this is a mild form of adrenal insufficiency caused by chronic stress. The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. As a result, they can't produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good. Existing blood tests, according to this theory, aren't sensitive enough to detect such a small decline in adrenal function — but your body is.
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