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.


Just to add to my comment above. After taking Siberian Ginseng for about 8 weeks, I had a break for 2 weeks and started back on it again. Yes, taking it in the afternoon has left me with insomnia for a couple of nights and also an upset/colicky stomach so this is quite powerful stuff. I’m sure it’s brought on my next period a couple of days early too.
As you can see, this presents a number of issues, namely, the inability to distinguish this pattern and its resulting symptoms from other disorders. Wilson’s parameters for this condition are nonspecific which, unfortunately, has led to a great controversy around this topic, even though the very nature of cortisol and bodily hormones is that their effects are far-reaching.
Dr. George Springer has practiced alternative medicine for 31 years with an emphasis on treating chronic disease conditions. He received his undergraduate BA from the University of Missouri in St. Louis and his Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) from Logan University where he graduated magna cum laude. He went on to receive his Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.M.D.) from the American Naturopathic Medical Institute a division of Breyer State University in Los Angeles, California.
I read about adrenal fatigue in another book and as they described the syndrome I was baffled because I thought they were describing normal every day life. The idea that it might be possible for me to have a day where I was not tired and cloudy headed definitely peaked my interest. This book was fascinating to me because it explained what causes these kinds of symptoms and what it would take to put things back in balance. The regimen of supplements suggested by this book was overwhelming and jus ...more
If you have adrenal fatigue, it can also be a major cause of excess fat storage and low energy levels. Luckily, you can heal adrenal fatigue with three simple steps: start an adrenal fatigue diet, take supplements and reduce stress. So, let’s talk about exactly what your adrenal glands do and how you can overcome adrenal fatigue in these three simple steps.

Adrenal stress is also commonly known as adrenal fatigue. This term is used to describe a set of symptoms related to the way the body is managing stress. Stress is any type of physical, mental or emotional pressure. The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys. Their role is to manage the flow of hormones in the body that deal with stress. The hormones that these glands create are used by the body to regulate heart rate, mental acuity and physical strength. Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests and special stimulation tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones. Order an online stress and fatigue test today.


To make matters worse, doctors often don't diagnose this problem. Dr. Wilson offers the example of a woman who has been to 37 doctors before finally receiving proper diagnosis and a renewed sense of hope. So, why don't doctors recognize adrenal fatigue? In medical school, they are only taught to look for extreme adrenal malfunction (Addison's Disease, which occurs when the glands produce far too little cortisol, and Cushing's Syndrome, which stems from excessive cortisol production) and dont know how to measure cumulative adrenal fatigue.
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.
If you don't have a doctor that is your partner in regaining your health and healing your supposedly "incurable" condition, please find a doctor that does "integrative medicine" or "functional medicine" that understands your conditions and can meet you where you are at. This book can also help you on your path to healing. It has really helped me. I refer to it all the time.
Wilson is very clear which lifestyle habits can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can include lack of sleep, poor diet, constantly driving yourself, unhappy relationships, a stressful work environment, emotional trauma, undesired unemployment, divorce, lack of downtime, and physical trauma (to name a few). Wilson also explains the signs of adrenal fatigue (such as fatigue, depression, inability to handle normal stresses, salt cravings, poor memory and concentration, and decreased productivity) and how it progresses, and why mainstream medicine is slow to recognize adrenal fatigue as a real condition.
I am lucky to have lived now for 12 years with a heart transplant, requiring that I take myriad drugs to suppress my immune system and manage inflammation, as is the normal course. With a suppressed immune system, one is vulnerable to infections and I have been no exception. Every winter I am sick sick sick with colds and bronchial infections verging on pneumonia. But not this year. My PCP wondered if my adrenals had become “lazy” from prednisone doing their work for them. This fall we tried a daily dose of 1,000 mg of B12. The boost of energy was immediately noticeable. Most importantly, I fought off a cold, unheard of for the past 12 years—even during a very stressful period over Christmas in which my husband was suddenly diagnosed with cancer (in remission already!). Despite all the stress of caring for him and being with him in the hospital, exposed to pathogens for weeks during flu season, I remain astonishingly vigorous and well. I would recommend that heart transplant patients and others with suppressed immune systems explore this solution with their clinicians. I am only a short-term case-study of one, but the difference has been astonishing—and right at the moment I needed the wellness to save my husband’s life.
Microbiome labs: The microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria in your gut. You may be thinking, "Why would you look in the gut when considering adrenal fatigue?" Our gut health is the foundation of our total health, especially brain and hormonal health. Dealing with underlying leaky gut syndrome, candida overgrowth, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is essential for recovering from adrenal fatigue.
Christine R. says…"If you are interested in learning about adrenal fatigue and to find out if you have it, I highly recommend The Adrenal Fatigue Solution by Fawne Hansen and Dr. Eric Wood. It is an excellent, thorough book about this widespread condition that doctors just aren't treating. This book shows you how to heal your adrenal fatigue for good."
CoQ10 plays a vital role in helping the body to manage stress. Research has shown that supplementation with CoQ10 helps to reduce signs of inflammation in the blood and fight oxidative stress. Stress is a significant cause of inflammation, which – on top of adrenal fatigue – is linked to chronic health problems of the brain and cardiovascular system. Your stress-coping mechanisms become weaker with age, and are particularly vulnerable when cortisol is running low.
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.
Hi Dr. Jill. I’m in my 60s, and about 5 years ago I was diagnosed through testing with adrenal fatigue. I have high toxic metals, very low cortisol, but thyroid is normal. I understand that more sleep is restorative, but for the last 10 years I’ve been lucky to get 4 hours per night. I can go to sleep, but I can’t stay asleep. I’ve tried prescription meds, singly and in combinations (under a doc’s care), supplements of all kinds, and I just can’t stay asleep. My latest strategy is to go to sleep around 10 pm. Then when I wake up, I take Ambien to go back to sleep. Usually I can only sleep for another 2 hours, if that. I always feel sleep deprived and fall asleep at my computer or in meetings. My questions are:

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.
And I still feel that way, except maybe I will do it tomorrow . . . after a long siesta. . . or later, like when the cows come home. Because frankly, my “Need To Do” list (go to the grocery store) and my “Want To Do” list ( take a NAP) have not been getting along lately. Yes, I love life and want to do ALL THE THINGS, but maybe I shouldn’t try to do them all at once, you know?
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?
There are also two safe home tests you can try. The first is known as the Iris Contraction Test and was developed in 1924 by a Dr. Arroyo. His theory was that the iris would not be able to properly contract when exposed to light in people with weakened adrenal function, so the test involves sitting in a dark room and shining a flashlight briefly across the eyes repeatedly. If you have adrenal fatigue, it’s possible that the eye contraction will last no more than two minutes and the eyes will dilate even when still exposed to direct light.
This test should be used along with the Free T4 test. While Free T4 measures the amount of unbound and available T4 in your blood, Total Thyroxine also includes the amount of T4 that is bound to carrier proteins (essentially held ‘in reserve’). Using this test together with the Free T4 test will tell you how much T4 is available for your body to use, and how much is being held in reserve.
Your diet will play a huge role in your healing from Adrenal Fatigue. If your physician does not recognize that diet plays a huge role, get another doctor immediately. If your doctor does recognize the importance of diet in healing your adrenals but does not work with a nutritionis, find one that he or she will team with. Please take your diet as seriously as you are taking your fatigue!

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. 

Can’t believe what I just read! ‘Adrenal insufficiency usually means there are long standing life problems’ and ‘because these side effects are not uncomfortable enough to be intolerable’ Is this a joke?! Adrenal insufficiency is a condition, usually autoimmune where the adrenal glands are destroyed. This is in no way because of any life problems! The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency aka Addison’s disease are so severe they greatly alter life and can be life threatening. A person with Addison’s disease needs medicine or they will die from this condition. They are also at risk of an adrenal crisis, this is life threatening and can be brought on by illness or extreme stress. If your adrenal glands are not working properly trust me you will know about it and an ACTH test will clinically prove low levels of cortisol. Please remind me of the tests for adrenal fatigue? Oh that’s right there aren’t any. Just pick a few symptoms out of the 75 listed, many of which contradict themselves greatly. Make sure to ignore any medical tests which have shown you to be in range and just like that you have adrenal fatigue – a condition which has no medical standing, no scientific evidence and was made up by a chiropractor! Let me do you all a favour – none of you have adrenal fatigue. This is a fact


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.
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.

Those Adrenal Fatigue sufferers who are at a later stage of the condition will have consistently lower levels of cortisol. However, their blood sugar will tend to be much lower during the early morning (cortisol regulates blood sugar too). Your body realizes it’s hungry and forces you to wake up. Many Adrenal Fatigue sufferers are chronic late-night snackers for exactly this reason. You can get a better night’s sleep by improving your sleep hygiene.
I dealt with adrenal fatigue before I developed Bulletproof. It was hard to figure out what was wrong because a lot of doctors didn’t (and still don’t) recognize adrenal fatigue as real. One big reason is that when your stress response is messed up, it affects so many parts of your biology that it’s hard to identify as adrenal fatigue, and even harder to study.
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