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
Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you share in your blogs and follow-up comments. What stage of adrenal/HPA-axis dysregulation would you consider a patient with the following results? Symptoms are consistent with abnormal cortisol levels and hypothyroidism; current treatment protocol from primary includes Armour thyroid 30mg. Could Hashimoto’s (or autoimmunity) be a possible cause? Or are lifestyle factors (sleep, glucose regulation and diet, stress, etc.) more likely for the following patterns?
The Everything Guide to Adrenal Fatigue: Revive Energy, Boost Immunity, and Improve Concentration for a Happy, Stress-free Life promises that you can regain optimal health by reorienting your diet and lifestyle. The book’s author, Dr. Maggie Luther, is a naturopathic doctor and holistic practitioner who has spend more than a decade treating the fatigue that occurs due to distressed adrenals. Dr. Luther’s focus is on helping patient to care for themselves using balanced lifestyle techniques.
Adrenal insufficiency usually suggests that there are long-standing life problems in need of resolution. These issues will loom all the larger when seen with the no-nonsense mental clarity of perimenopause, but not only will adrenal exhaustion make the transition needlessly unpleasant, it also can deprive a woman of the resources she needs to address those issues and to take full advantage of the creative promise of the second half of her life.
The basic task of your adrenal glands is to rush all your body’s resources into “fight or flight” mode by increasing production of adrenaline and other hormones. When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and other secondary functions, and sharpen your senses.
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.
The ACTH has the effect of stimulating your adrenal hormone output, just like it would if you were placed in a stressful situation. This test allows you to see the response of your adrenals to stress. If your cortisol exhibits a healthy spike higher (at least double in a blood test), your adrenals are probably in reasonably good shape. If the spike in cortisol is not so large, this suggests adrenal insufficiency.
A study published in the journal Psychiatry Research compared people in two different stress-management programs: one which involved meditation, one which didn’t. Those who meditated regularly were found to produce fewer stress hormones and low levels of stress-induced inflammation. Those who didn’t meditate, however, suffered much higher levels of stress hormones and inflammation. Follow this link for some of the scientifically proven benefits of meditation.
While it’d be great if we could get all of our daily nutritional requirements from food alone, it’s rarely possible. The way in which food is grown, stored, processed and cooked destroys much of its nutritional value. Although most whole foods still harbor plenty of health benefits, they may not have enough of the vitamins and minerals you need to recover from adrenal fatigue.
The problem starts when cortisol stays high when it shouldn’t, often due to chronic stress. The result can be adrenal fatigue, which is not actually an adrenal problem but rather a brain problem. Typically, adrenal fatigue is when the brain-adrenal (HPA) axis isn’t working, so that the brain is not communicating appropriately with the adrenal glands to regulate cortisol. Symptoms include:
Medicinal Mushrooms: Because of the way mushrooms such as cordyceps and chaga interact with the body and various medications, it is recommended that pregnant or nursing mothers never use them. In addition, anyone with autoimmune conditions, diabetes or a bleeding disorder should not use medicinal chaga or cordyceps. These is one case report of chaga supplementation causing kidney damage in a woman with liver disease who took chaga every day for six months. This mushroom also contains oxalates and may inhibit some nutrient absorption in large doses. (45)
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.