Conventional medicine is truly wonderful at treating disease-state conditions. Unfortunately its focus on drugs also tends to suppress early-stage symptoms rather than treat their underlying causes. This can have the effect of delaying treatment until a disease state has developed. This is true in the case of adrenal fatigue cortisol testing. In the conventional standard of care, any cortisol level within a very broad range is considered normal, and anything outside that range indicates disease.
The book delves into topics ranging from the fundamental nature of the adrenal fatigue syndrome to its stages, the mind-body connection, and common mistakes made during recovery efforts. It then includes information on nutritional strategies for recovery, herbs and hormone replacement therapies, and an overall diet plan. Allergy issues, sleep disruptions, and juicing theories are also discussed.
In all the articles I’ve read concerning adrenal fatigue and the causes, (and yours was good, by the way) I’ve never seen it addressed when one has been on high doses of prednisone for several months. This may not fall under adrenal fatigue because the adrenal has literally been completely shut down until the dosage falls under 7 or so mgs. I wonder at what point the adrenal will atrophy to the point it never starts back up. The first time I went off prednisone after having been on it for a year and a half, it took a year before I could feel back to normal and start losing the 58 pounds I had gained during that time. I had to go back on it last September and just got off again last month. Just wondering and would love to hear what someone (other than a traditional MD) has to say. (Can’t bash prednisone, don’t ‘cha know, cause it’s a “wonder drug”!)
The pupil normally remains contracted in the increased light. But if you have some form of hypoadrenia [Mommypotamus note: This is the clinical term for adrenal fatigue], the pupil will not be able to hold its contraction and will dilate [open back up] despite the light shining on it. This dilation will take place within 2 minutes and will last for about 30-45 seconds before it recovers and contracts again. Time how long the dilation lasts with the second hand on the watch and record it along with the date. After you do this once, let the eye rest. If you have any difficulty doing this on yourself, do it with a friend. Have a friend shine the light across your eye while both of you watch the pupil size.
Dr James Wilson is the world’s authority on the stress syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. His book Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a commitment to the truth in defining and treating this well-known but poorly understood malady. Adrenal fatigue is not recognized by allopathic medicine or by the insurance or pharmaceutical industries in the United States. There is no International Classification of Diseases coding for adrenal fatigue. Some patients have a diagnosis of the extreme forms of adrenal stress known as Addison disease or Cushing disease. Where allopathic medicine falls short, naturopathic medicine steps up to the plate to shine, outweighing the possibilities for success: “there are no magic pills for adrenal fatigue but there are certainly key lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that will greatly facilitate your recovery” (p 97).
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.
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?
Do you find that the slightest amount of stress leaves you feeling overwhelmed? Adrenal Fatigue sufferers often have a difficult time dealing with physical or emotional stress. This is for exactly the same reasons that are behind that unrelenting feeling of tiredness. It all comes back to the low hormone levels associated with late-stage adrenal exhaustion.

Microbiome labs: The microbiome refers to the community of trillions of bacteria and fungi in your gut. Because gut health is the foundation of total health, especially brain and hormonal health, it is important to discover what is going on and deal with any underlying gut problems such as leaky gut syndrome, candida overgrowth, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in order to recover from adrenal fatigue.


Another oft-quoted piece of evidence against the existence of adrenal fatigue is Todd B. Nippoldt’s interview with Mayo Clinic, stating essentially the same concerns. (6) Again, it is stated that consistent levels of chronic stress have no effect whatsoever on the adrenals and the only true endocrine disorders are those caused by other diseases and direct damage to the adrenal glands.
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.
It is the observation of these scientists that suboptimal health, as an “in-between” status before disease, is a precursor to many health conditions and has been exacerbated by the culture shifts in the last several decades like Western lifestyle habits, pollution, poor diet and tobacco use. This study, intended to expand over subsequent years by large numbers, is an effort to legitimize some of the oft-ignored benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (15)
He also spends a great deal of time targeting the root causes of this fatigue, linking these causes to one common factor: stress. His central premise is one that has been taken up by other authors in other forums, which is just one indication of how influential he has been in this area of health. That premise is simple: adrenal fatigue is the result of massive amounts of stress overwhelming the adrenal glands’ ability to manage and then recover from the effects of the stress response.
After that, she offers the outline for how you can be healed from adrenal dysfunction. This includes advice on diet, blood sugar maintenance, meal plans, and addressing digestive issues. Lifestyle changes are also a big part of this process, with sleep, relaxation, and exercise being major components of the recovery plan. There is even a section on supplements and extracts.
Blood or salivary testing is sometimes offered but there is no evidence that adrenal fatigue exists or can be tested for.[1][3] The concept of adrenal fatigue has given rise to an industry of dietary supplements marketed to treat this condition. These supplements are largely unregulated in the U.S., are ineffective, and in some cases may be dangerous.[3]
Would there be anyway I could talk with you? – I have a 17 year old son, that has SUFFERED for the last 7 years with Adrenal Fatigue… I have tried everything i know to do. – He has NO energy, depressed almost all the time. Has dropped out of school, cries most everyday. —- Can hardly get out of bed in the mornings… The medical system, just dont seem to care. You can only weigh , measure and take ones blood pressure so many times. – There has to be someone that can help us.- I’m a single father and its killing me to see him suffer this way.
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