Kathryn Simpson‘s 2011 book, Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Hormonal Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized, and Stress Free, carries with it the experiences and advice of someone who has suffered adrenal fatigue (and multiple sclerosis), fought against its effects, and secured the victory that only comes with full recovery. Today, she continues her efforts to share her story and the lessons she learned with other patients in similar situations, even as she works to further the scientific community’s understanding of hormones.
Adrenal fatigue is a condition that usually results from a long period of chronic stress. Over time, this stress taxes the adrenal glands and HPA axis, thereby disrupting the production of cortisol and other hormones. The body initially produces large amounts of cortisol to cope with the stressors, but eventually cortisol levels drop. The cortisol cycle can also become dysregulated, with irregular peaks in the evening.
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.
Well that explains it Dr. Northrup! After a difficult winter I was on my way to rejuvination and ran into a road hazard without warning. I have been freaking out ever since. Very concerned someone else will hit it and not be so lucky. I have withdrawn from my usual uplifting activities and feel as if I will emerg reborn. Living by a motto of “Eat right, get plenty of rest and exercise” has worked for decades, menopause is a trip! I will be preparing delicious meals to savor and add Licorice and Ginseng to replace caffine. Practice having more fun while “Celebrating peace and love always”. I was shaken hard enough in the accident that my pinky and ring fingers are numb, it was spreding to my palm and wrist but numbness has receeded to fingers. I was restless and having nightmares too. My hump on the back of my neck flattened. I am doing PT to keep it away. Sleeping with arms straight and down seems to help too. Driving can be stressful as it requires we be more alert. I had taken a side road to get away from a driver who was swerving and driving at inconsistant speeds and a tailgater who had been behind me for sometime on a dangerous two lane road know for head ons and off road accidents. Hummm, getting back to focusing on love and having more fun. . .Now!!!
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.
I’m VERY anxious to read the help we can do for ourselves for adrenal fatigue, as I am a mother of a 20 year old son who has multiple emotional, mental and behavioral disabilities. The last 20 years have been extremely stressful. I took the saliva test and my cortisol levels were off the chart. My doctor prescribed hydro-cortisone which I took for a period of time but I know I need to do more because the stress is ongoing. My physical health has suffered greatly. I’ve learned much on nutrition through webinars, some of which you, Heather have participated in,(thank you).
If you truly have adrenal fatigue syndrome your most definitely going to suffering from some other obvious condition as well. Failure of the adrenal glands To work properly would cause serious side effects in your body that you would notice far sooner then you would notice this so called syndrome. All the symptoms mentioned above can signify multiple different illnesses that are more likely for you to have then an adrenal problem, such as depression for instance or just being tired. Adrenal fatigue syndrome is a fad illness, if you go to any doctor saying you think you have it they will laugh at you. I’ve seen it happen. Try taking a nap and taking care of yourself.
Because so much of adrenal fatigue is really brain-based, most of the natural medicines I use focus on supporting optimal brain health and the brain’s response to stress. Explore blends of adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, eleuthero ginseng, holy basil, and rhodiola rosea to give your adrenal axis some TLC. I also incorporated phosphatidylserine supplements into my routine. (Of course, consult your doctor before implementing any herbs or supplements.)
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.
Once a diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency has been made, a computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen may be taken to see if the adrenal glands are diminished in size, reflecting destruction, or enlarged, reflecting infiltration by some independent disease process. The scan also may show signs of calcium deposits, which may indicate previous exposure to tuberculosis. A tuberculin skin test may be used to address the latter possibility.
From the treatment perspective, there is much to be learned for those who are unfamiliar with the syndrome. The authors delve into lifestyle changes that can positively impact your stress levels, various medications and natural remedies that can be effective in limiting the damage done to your adrenals, and supplements that can help you to improve your immunity and overall health.
I have been in a similar situation regarding pain. Three years of not sitting and feeling like my back and legs are on fire. What is turning my life around is a book I just finished called, “The Great Pain Deception ” by Steve Orzanish. It makes clear how stress and pain work together which alters the entire body chemistry. The supplements can help, The 27years of pain, stress, and suffering that the author of this book experienced is dramatic. He thought he could never heal. He did, and shares his journey out of stress suffering and pain and clearly shows those that are willing how they can find their way to healing. There is a way to get back in balance.
These small but mighty glands also work with other hormones and systems in what Dr. Wilson calls a "symphony." As he points out, when one part of this symphony drops out, such as what happens after menopause for women and andropause for men, the adrenal glands have to pick up the slack by producing larger amounts of sex hormones. Because of this, Wilson claims, good adrenal gland function is linked to longevity.
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.
Are you tired of being told that you need an antidepressant when you feel sick? Or of being told that your fatigue is just part of the aging process ( when you are 30!)? This book will help you to put a finger on the origin of your fatigue, and if you are a thyroid patient, could help you break away from the Stepford Endicrinologist synthetic T4 protocol that has been our only option for years.
There are a number of nutritional approaches for dealing with adrenal issues. Protocols should be devised for each individual accordingly, due to the highly individual nature of the body. Therefore, understanding your own blood test results is essential in order to figure out a clear strategy from improvement. Click here to read more about blood chemistry.
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.
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."
I had an adrenal saliva test done with a functional medicine practitioner at the end of 2015 that showed my adrenals were not functioning highly. I took Adrenal Support supplement (with bovine adrenal cortex), made diet and lifestyle changes and over the course of a year or so my symptoms improved greatly. I am currently 28 weeks pregnant and have not been sleeping well since about 10 weeks into pregnancy due to itching all night. (I’ve had my bile acids/liver function panel run twice and it is not cholestasis). I am now feeling similar symptoms return from before because of the exhaustion/lack of sleep and wonder if you know whether the Adrenal Manager supplement by Xymogen is safe during pregnancy? Or if, there is another supplement with bovine adrenal that you would recommend for pregnancy? The supplement I took previously helped, but it also included some herbs considered unsafe during pregnancy. Thank you so much for any suggestions you can give.
Not included in the above piece by Dr Northrup about adrenal exhaustion is information about the affects of sustained stress on the adrenals leading to elevated aldosterone production. With work/life stress, extreme exercise and chronic dehydration (many people don’t get enough fluids) the adrenals will produce elevated levels of the hormone aldosterone in order to try to maintain a type of homeostasis. Aldosterone will push potassium, zinc and magnesium out of the body resulting in impaired immune function, poor digestion, compromised liver function, poorer iron absorption, and increased risks for oxidative stress.
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)
While adrenal fatigue may not exist, the same can’t be said for the treatments. When you’re treating a fake disease, anything goes. Everything from homeopathy to herbal remedies to hydrotherapy, to traditional Chinese medicine and vitamin supplements are advocated for treatment. The endpoints of treatment are as nonspecific as the criteria for diagnosis. Wilson, conveniently, has his own supplement programs, and there’s no shortage of solutions out there.
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)
Eating right for one’s type of metabolism will help to ensure the proper amounts of sodium and potassium levels as well as raw materials for one’s unique biochemistry. In addition to this, understanding the regulatory effects that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system has with the endocrine system is also a very important part of the picture.
In the book, Dr Wilson examines the history of adrenal fatigue and discusses the reasons why this common problem has become largely overlooked by the allopathic medical profession. Dr Wilson provides a blueprint of the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue. He includes the tests for this dysfunction, their efficacy, specific and key supplementation facts, lifestyle modifications, and other significant strategies for recovering: “I decided to write this book for the person suffering from adrenal fatigue. It is designed to be a self-help book…. I write it with the hope that it will provide you with information, guidance, encouragement and tools you need to recover from this sometimes subtle, yet debilitating, health problem” (p xxii).
Hi Jill. I have suffered from chronic back pain off and on usually low back or near the top of my hips in the back. This has been going on for about the last 6 to 7 years. The only type of Imaging my doctors have done is an x-ray, which only showed very very mild arthritis. I am 36 years old, 5 foot 8 in tall, 135 lb. I feel like I am not taken seriously by my doctors, because I am not elderly or overweight. All they tell me to do is take muscle relaxers or ibuprofen, or do all these different stretches including physical therapy. Nothing helps. I am wondering if adrenal fatigue could be to blame for this. I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning. But I do eat a lot of sugar, and have for years. Do you think it would be beneficial to start taking an adrenal support product? Thank you very much for any help!
If the individual has reached Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue, treatment will likely take much longer. At these stages both the adrenal glands and the rest of the endocrine system are beginning to get severely fatigued, and production of at least a few of our hormones has started to flag. The diurnal cortisol cycle has begun to be disrupted. To rebuild adrenal strength requires lifestyle changes, a nutritious diet and proper supplementation. This takes some time, and you can anticipate the process taking at least 6 months.
First, remember that any new dietary regimen or addition of supplements in your lifestyle should be implemented under the supervision of a physician/naturopath you trust. In general, introducing more plant-based foods into your lifestyle and eliminating stimulants, sugary foods and processed items with a ton of sodium or chemicals added to them is going to help you feel and live better, regardless of conditions you may or may not have.
Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James L. Wilson is considered by many to be an invaluable resource for information about this syndrome, its impact on human life, and the proper way to address it. Wilson’s experience with adrenal function has earned him respect as an expert on the subject. And because he has spent time not only treating patients who suffer from adrenal dysregulation, but researching the science that underlies these problems, his work has helped to revolutionize many people’s understanding of adrenal fatigue’s impact on human 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.
I had a horrifically stressful past two years with job changes and a death in the family and identified with the symptoms described above and more. After seeing regular doctors and a psychiatrist, I finally found a naturopath doctor who had me thoroughly tested. My DHEA-S level was below normal range and the 4x/day saliva test showed my cortisol level dropping over 90% from the mid-range of normal in the morning to the very bottom of the range by noon and lower the rest of the day. She called the pattern “flat lining.” So this is clearly not normal, but it’s also not a “recognized condition”? I’ve been taking two thyroid medications for nearly 30 years – including Armour Thyroid, which most doctors don’t know how to prescribe – and have now added an adrenal supplement. Once we got the right dosage I started to feel better within a few days. I can finally sleep and have more energy throughout the day. I don’t care if you think adrenal fatigue doesn’t exist. I am proof that it does, and that it can be treated.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is a very real condition, but navigating your way through all the treatment options can be difficult. Individuals with Adrenal Fatigue tend to bounce between family doctors, endocrinologists, psychotherapists and more. They are often prescribed drugs like sleeping pills and antidepressants by well-meaning doctors who simply can't figure out what is wrong with them. But the truth is that treating Adrenal Fatigue involves much more than prescribing drugs. It requires a combination of experience and knowledge of both conventional and alternative medicine.
There are other reasons why doctors (and even some naturopaths) are unable to make a diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue. The requisite lab tests are rarely covered by insurance, and are often difficult to interpret for an inexperienced doctor. It takes a skilled and experienced practitioner to determine what your 'optimal' ranges should be, rather than the wide 'normal' ranges suggested by the lab.
Do you feel that your energy levels are just at a permanently lower level than they used to be? Aging is often a factor in this, but chronic stress can be a major contributor to exhaustion too. If you’re one of those people who find themselves drinking more and more coffee just to get through the day, it might be time to look at the underlying cause behind your tiredness.
Hi Dr. Jill – I have a theory that i would love to get your opinion on? I believe that i have adrenal fatigue and also urinary retention. I have puffy eyes, especially on the bottom. I have Hashimotos any many other issues. I am trying to figure out the cause of the urinary retention and have noticed that when i get hyped up, such as when rushing for an important occasion, such as a wedding , funeral or such that i have a great release of my bladder when i am rushing to get ready for the occasion. I am wondering if it is the adrenal fatigue that is causing the retention and then when i am rushing around and using up my reserve energy , that is when my bladder releases the urine. Any input would be much appreciated, thank you!
Unfortunately, the adrenal glands' health is paradoxical. As the manufacturer of adrenaline, they are the "glands of stress," but are also the first glands to fail during prolonged or intense periods of stress. The problem with stressors is that they are "cumulative," in the sense that their impact tends to add up in the body over time until your adrenal glands (and probably your mental state) just can't take anymore. "One more stress is the stress that breaks the camel's back," Dr. Wilson says.
The largest difference between them is that people with adrenal fatigue usually have cortisol levels that fall in “normal” levels but not “optimal,” while adrenal insufficiency patients have cortisol levels consistently outside the normal range. In addition, most conventional doctors would say that stress is not a causative factor in adrenal insufficiency (which is “always caused” by damage from other, unknown sources), which seems unlikely.
Now i’m still currently on some meds but am slowly decreasing. The first things i started out with was eating healthier, fruits, veggies, less processed foods, and using essential oils, (no I’m not a distributor) I buy mine at my local natural food stores, I continued having issues and was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and found out that nightshade vegetables which I love and ate plentiful amounts of aggravated it, within a few days of stopping them I felt better, still had a lot of stomach issues, my doc suggested stopping gluten. around this time I also started drinking and making my own kombucha. During this time I’ve been adding more homemade fermented foods such as milk kefir, homemade yogurt, lacto-fermented lemonade, also things like chia, flax and hemp seeds, coconut oil, cocoa, natural salt, and sugar not refined, also canned and fresh fishes, and I even bought liver the other day. Now I’m sure there are others out there who will tell me other things i should do like eliminate all sugars, and other things, but I listen to my body, and I might get there one day, but there is hope, don’t get overwhelmed take it one little step at a time, and most of all listen to your body what works for one person may not work for you, or you might not be ready to do for one reason or another, As for diet there are so many out there, what I do is investigate them all and chose the parts of them that I can do, do I recommend one over another, the best i can say is I have in some ways a restrictive diet, but not super strict, I like meat, I agree we need more plant based foods in our diets, I try to make things I eat/drink nutrient dense, and I go by the 80/20 rule, since non of us are perfect, but when we go off no big deal, go right back to what you were doing, and if needed make some changes. think, Bad, Good, Better, Best, like fruit and veggies, Bad is none, Good is eating them, Better is fresh and mostly veggies, Best would be all organic, and so on.
The problem here is that if someone does not need florinef, and takes it anyways, it can result in higher blood pressure. But, for some, it can be incredibly helpful. There is also research that shows the benefits of florinef when it comes to speech anxiety. Because it helps with blood pressure, it can help with standing for long periods at a time. When you speak in front of a crowd, and you are standing, this can be a distraction that disappears when your blood pressure is lower.
The term "adrenal fatigue", which was invented in 1998 by James Wilson, a chiropractor, may be applied to a collection of mostly nonspecific symptoms. There is no scientific evidence supporting the concept of adrenal fatigue and it is not recognized as a diagnosis by any scientific or medical community. A systematic review found no evidence for the term adrenal fatigue, confirming the consensus among endocrinological societies that it is a myth.
“Our role is to be good active listeners to determine if there is a true medical disorder lurking among the complaints. It is very important to take the person seriously, not to brush them off and say there is no [such thing as] adrenal fatigue. These people are suffering from something, so we need to take the suffering seriously.” – Lynnette Nieman, MD, president, Endocrine Society; senior investigator, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Md.