This is a very informative book with information on everything from symptoms to how to find relief and better health. Unlike other "health" books I've read, this one gives very complete information. An example is that many books will suggest you add or take away certain types of foods from your diet. This one gives lists of not just a category of foods - but the actual food items themselves AND tell you the best ways to prepare them.
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?
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.
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.
Like norepinephrine and cortisol, DHEA also improves your ability to recover from episodes of stress and trauma, overwork, temperature extremes, etc. And if a woman is experiencing a decline in libido due to falling testosterone levels, often it is declining DHEA levels that are at the root of the testosterone deficiency, as DHEA is the main ingredient the body uses to manufacture testosterone.
A: Real adrenal insufficiency describes adrenal glands that are sick and unable to function properly. Adrenal insufficiency can be caused by Addison’s disease, a pituitary disorder or another disorder. Symptoms of this life-threatening dysfunction include extreme exhaustion, lack of appetite (leading to weight loss), diarrhea, nausea and low blood pressure.
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 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.

While this may be discouraging to some, one issue I have with this assessment is that the main issue seemed to be study design, rather than hard results. The failure of scientists to conduct adequate tests does not immediately equate to the falsity of adrenal fatigue as a whole. In addition, a diagnosis for this condition is difficult because these cortisol levels fall in what conventional medicine would call “inside the normal range,” although the symptoms are clear to those suffering from the condition. Lastly, treatment for adrenal fatigue consists mainly of diet and lifestyle adjustments, which traditional doctors do not see as legitimate medicine. (That’s okay; we know that food is medicine, no matter how often the medical community fails to recognize this fact.)
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?

There is no test that can detect adrenal fatigue. Many times, a person will be told he or she has adrenal fatigue based on symptoms alone. Sometimes, a blood or saliva test may be offered, but tests for adrenal fatigue are not based on scientific facts or supported by good scientific studies, so the results and analysis of these tests may not be correct.
Exercise gently at least 5 days per week, preferably morning and not late in the day.  Try swimming, gentle bike rides, walking, yoga, stretching, or any restorative activity that incorporates breathing.  Avoid high adrenaline activities, like kayaking, competitive sports, running, cross fit or high intensity training until you are well on your way to healing.

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.


Adrenal fatigue can affect blood sugar and sugar metabolism as stress normally causes the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol, which helps raise blood sugar levels so the cells can more glucose to generate energy for your response to the stressor. The elevated blood sugar, in turn, requires higher levels of insulin to get the glucose from the blood into the cells. When this cycle is repeated frequently, the cells may become insulin resistant to protect themselves from too much glucose, especially when no energy-consuming physical action is taken in response to the stress. The greater the insulin resistance, the more insulin it takes to get glucose into the cells. In this way, chronic or repeated stress can contribute to persistent insulin resistance, and the resulting high levels of glucose (hyperglycemia) and insulin circulating in the blood that are likely precursors to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
What are my qualifications to direct any of you to better health? I am a girl who suffers from adrenal insufficiency and I'm healing after a maze of wrong and right turns. I have worked with over 40 physicians since getting ill a couple of years ago with a rare health condition called POTS Syndrome and have learned so much about adrenal fatigue through trial, error, research, and physician consults that I feel it is my duty to share with all of you what I am learning.
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?
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?
I have been suffering from rocking vertigo for 7 months now with no known cause. It was brought on by a period of high anxiety/panic attacks. The feeling hasen’t left me since this happened to me in June. I have been researching adrenals as a cause because of how it started although im not seeing rocking vertigo as a normal symptom. I would say I experience fatigue too but the vertigo is the main problem.
The two little glands above the kidneys the size of a walnut are the adrenal glands. They help keep the body in balance and respond to stress. Our way of life constantly demands too much of our adrenal glands and the adrenal glands eventually start to get exhausted. When the adrenal is not performing as well then we are more fatigued, have trouble sleeping, gain weight and even feel depressed. Dr. Wilson has excellent visual aids to help identify causes of adrenal fatigue and how stress looks different for everyone.
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.
While CFS and adrenal fatigue are not the same, adrenal function may play a role in it. Those with CFS are often found to produce a low amount of the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. Furthermore, CFS is a malfunction of the pituitary, a pea-sized gland at the base of the skull, which regulates all our hormones. The pituitary, hypothalamus and adrenals all work together as part of the HPA axis to regulate our health and hormones. Analysis of the data in over 50 studies that assessed adrenal function in CFS and fibromyalgia patients demonstrates that the majority of these patients have abnormal adrenal function due to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction.
Every woman who comes to our clinic with these symptoms gets an adrenal fatigue test, which consists of a series of tests of cortisol levels. And the results — in over thousands of cases — are remarkably consistent: only 1% have cortisol levels indicating healthy adrenal function, while 99% suffer impaired function, ranging from significant adrenal stress to complete adrenal exhaustion.
Uncontrolled emotions are another cause of adrenal burnout. These include habits of worrying, or becoming angry or afraid. Don’t worry, be happy is a great prescription for adrenal burnout. This applies particularly to high strung, Type A, nervous individuals as they are especially prone to adrenal burnout.  Prayer and meditation release calming neurotransmitters and take the body from a state of fight and flight into the parasympathetic mode of relaxation and can be extremely helpful in healing adrenal fatigue.  In addition, cultivating an attitude of gratitude can do wonders for you adrenals.
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.
A: After ruling out possible endocrine disorders, your endocrinologist can refer you to other specialists, including urologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, allergists/immunologists and infectious disease physicians. If you’re diagnosed with POTS or another disorder, these specialists will work together to manage your health and develop a targeted treatment plan — putting you on the path to symptom relief.
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.

I think adrenal fatigue is real and could be the symptom of other illnesses. When your cortisol level is low for whatever reasons your blood pressure is bound to be low resulting in lethargy and general weakness. People who complain of tiredness should be checked thoroughly by endocrinologists to ensure that they are not suffering from serious illnesses such as Addison ‘s disease for example.
Interesting article. I was diagnosed by my MD (endocrinologist) with Adrenal Insufficiency about 18 months ago. I am also a type 1 diabetic with other high-risk chronic diseases. He put me on a low dose of Cortisol twice a day. I have been hospitalized in ICU due to Adrenal Failure, which can be fatal if not treated. If you suspect adrenal issues, see your doctor.
These symptoms are mostly related to the changing hormone and neurotransmitter levels that come with Adrenal Fatigue. There are a number of other, less common, symptoms that can also appear. These might include vertical lines on the fingertips, frequent urination, and low blood pressure. Again, these are all related to the dysregulation of the HPA axis and the various hormone levels that depend on it.
To diagnose Adrenal Fatigue correctly requires using a combination of lab testing and feedback from the patient (questionnaires can also play a useful role). On this page I will give a brief summary of the major tests that can be used in an Adrenal Fatigue diagnosis. Dr Wood and I discuss these tests in more detail in The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, along with some revealing tests used by integrative doctors.
Chronic infections play a critical role in some cases of adrenal exhaustion. Chronic infections may originate in infected teeth or gums, though they can be located anywhere in the body. They contribute greatly to the toxic load of the body. Infections also cause inflammation and stress that must be countered using the adrenal hormones such as cortisol and cortisone.
Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with another medical condition called Addison’s disease where the adrenal glands are not functioning at all. While Addison’s disease is often caused by autoimmunity, Adrenal Fatigue is largely caused by stress along with a host of other factors, like accumulation of toxic exposures, hidden infections, hormone imbalance, or even nutritional deficiencies.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome comes from a failure of the adrenal glands to efficiently produce hormones. The adrenal glands secrete cortisol, a hormone fundamental to optimal health. An excess of cortisol in the body can lead to severe problems, including Cushing’s syndrome. However, when released in normal levels by the adrenal gland, cortisol is essential to helping our bodies cope with stress and to fight infection – without cortisol the body cannot sustain life! Balance is crucial. Cortisol affects every tissue, organ, and gland in the body. When the adrenal glands are fatigued, they do not supply the body with enough cortisol. The body does what it can to get by, but it is not without consequences. As such, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome generally precedes other chronic conditions.
Because I have a job that’s indoors, I need to make it a point to get outside more often. I believe there is something coded in our DNA that gives each of us an affinity with the sun and fresh air, so that we seek out these health-boosting influences. I also like to practice earthing, or walking barefoot outside, as much as I can to help de-stress. Something about that skin-on-earth connection feels literally grounding and refreshing.

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep but it is not a readily identifiable entity like measles or a growth on the end of your finger.
×