Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a treasure trove of information and help for everyone who regularly experiences any of the above, or the many other signs of stress described in the book. Dr. Wilson explains that healthy functioning of your adrenal glands is essential to virtually all aspects of your health as well as to your ability to handle stress. For this reason, stress and adrenal function often also play a role in many health conditions, such as frequent infections, chemical sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, menopause and PMS, thyroid function imbalances, chronic fatigue syndrome, low libido, chronic anxiety, and mild depression. All of these problems and more may be aggravated by the effects stress can have on your adrenal glands.
Abnormal adrenaline and cortisol levels can result in mood disorders, sleep disturbances, reduced resistance to disease, and changes in vital circulation. Because these side effects are not uncomfortable enough to be intolerable, a self-destructive, adrenal-depleting lifestyle often continues. DHEA, which helps the body recover from this sort of chronic abuse, gets revved up full time instead of only episodically.
As an NTP Practitioner for over 5 years this is taught to us as Certified Practitioners. Firstly it must be done by another person preferably a Professional who knows what to look for and is experienced. Do not shine directly in your eyes and the photo is misleading, it implies you can do it yourself, not recommended Secondly, this quite honestly not the way to fully assess your adrenal function. It gives a starting point but the best way is to have an ASI adrenal panel done called a Salvary panel. This is basic information and yes the book is a bit out dated with much more new reliable information out! Nora Gegedous has a new Adrenal e book out and I fully believe working with Practitioners who deal with this topic. The other Newly graduated NTP had very valuable information above consening the actual procedure. This is very individual and complicated. I have taken many advanced seminars on this subject and work with many clients very specifically.
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.)

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.
Unfortunately, some types of stress are hard to spot. In his book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, Dr. James Wilson mentions a study which measured the stress hormones of a group of nurses working in a pediatric unit. They weren’t aware of any particular stress in their lives, but their lab tests told a different story. According to Dr. Wilson, they “were totally unaware of being under stress, but their cortisol levels were elevated by 200-300%.”

Hi Jill! I feel like I have just found gold after reading your site about adrenal fatigue. I have been doing so much testing the last year and a half as endocrinologist has been concerned about my symptoms. After the onset on some very serious stress 4 years ago I started noticing light headedness throughout day esp upon rising, crawling sensation across back and what I would call back spasms at my rhomboids that would make it difficult to breath, itching in the location, of what I know now are the adrenals, hair loss, fatigue around 3 every morning, up late at night , hard to rise or even have a functioning brain til at least 10, test resulting in inflammation, increased blood pressure (being managed), irritable bowel, Random weight gain, then lost and now sudden weight gain again and on and on and on. Every single symptom you listed. Just saw derm (referred by endocrinologist) and she said I have paresthesia. I am so thankful you have posted this information in the easiest way to understand as Ive been so concerned with what has been going on in my body and just to know that I may have an answer is such a relief (I think). I have recently started upping my vitamins worries I was deficient including ashwaganda, and starting rhodiola. I am very concerned about damage that has been done over these few years and want to immediately try to fix this. How can this affect my organs and health? And has there been remarkable damage to my body? I just was ordered to take a calcium screening and heart was great, lungs great etc. just worried. I will start following you advice and hope to get back to normal. Thank you, thank you for your education and advice.
Because of the vast influence of the adrenals on the body, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of disorders and isn’t always easily recognizable. Most sources agree that adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, insulin resistance and others (more on that below). While the mere fact you feel fatigued is not necessarily indicative of adrenal fatigue, and adrenal fatigue tests aren’t always straightforward, there is evidence that high cortisol levels found in saliva are associated with reduced immune function, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and delayed growth in children. (1)
A Practical Guide To Addison's & Adrenal Fatigue: Advice For Dealing With Addison's/Adrenal Fatigue From A Female Over-Achiever Diagnosed At 31 is the work of Regan J. Heineken, an adrenal fatigue sufferer whose chronicling of her own healing journey became a treatment guide that she decided to share with the world. At fewer than 70 pages, it’s another easily-accessible work on the subject of the adrenals and varying levels of fatigue.

Unlike other endocrine disorders that are caused by physical damage to parts of the adrenal glands, hypoadrenia is seen by many in the natural health world as a “middle ground” syndrome with simple and easy-to-implement solutions. Currently, no official diagnosis exists for adrenal fatigue and people are either considered to have normal endocrine function or total endocrine failure, like that seen in Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency/Addison’s disease. Some postulate that this occurred in the 1950s when doctors over-prescribed adrenal steroids and saw dire consequences, leading to an overcorrection and generalization of endocrine issues. (2)
Written as one part case study and one part treatment guide, Heineken’s book covers such topics as the different aspects of Addison’s disease when compared to adrenal fatigue, basic details about the adrenals, symptoms that can help you recognize your ailment, and testing methodologies. There is also information detailing her experiences with a variety of recovery options presented as practical advice to aid in the development of your own treatment plan.
1- It says repeatedly that salt is good for you and potassium is to be avoided. But salt is toxic. I know this from my own experience. Salt gives me nasty headaches. Charlotte Gerson said that salt promotes cancer. Dr. Albert Schweitzer said the same. So did Dr. Birger Jansson. Dr. Max Gerson put all his patients on salt-free diets and gave them potassium supplements; he said that on this regimen sodium deficiency was rare, and his patients did very well. He c ...more

Think about it like this: if your body is a car, and it’s run down and needs to get checked – you are most likely going to carefully drive it to the closest garage. What you are not going to do is race there as fast as you can, because you want to take it easy on your car and not cause it to fall apart before it even reaches the garage. That’s what your body is doing in this case, it is lowering your cortisol level because it does not want your body to be “running on empty.”
Regardless, this topic remains a heated one in the medical community. The Hormone Health Network released a scathing piece on the issue of adrenal fatigue, essentially warning patients that it is a false diagnosis, peddled by those who profit from the “expensive” treatment methods they suggest when diagnosing the disease, with no thought for the serious dangers they may put someone in by telling them adrenal fatigue is their problem.  They also (incorrectly) remind people that supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. (5)

I have below optimal cortisol, high DHEA, low epinephrine and low dopamine, hypothyroid and POTS. I wake up every morning around 4 am feeling panicky with my heart racing and can’t get back to sleep. I’m very tired on and off through the day, head feels floaty and at times I have symptoms of depersonalization. I feel like I’m losing my mind alot of the time. Anyone have any ideas of what can help? I have a 9 year old and I’m so depressed, I want to be there for him and this is so difficult.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an androgen that is produced by both the adrenal glands and the ovaries. DHEA helps to neutralize cortisol’s immune-suppressant effect, thereby improving resistance to disease. (Cortisol and DHEA are inversely proportional to each other. When one is up, the other goes down.) DHEA also helps to protect and increase bone density, guards cardiovascular health by keeping “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels under control, provides vitality and energy, sharpens the mind, and helps maintain normal sleep patterns.

Naturally, there is a good deal of advice on caring for your brain with nutrition and supplements. There are also a few sections on cortisol’s impact on health at both high and low levels of the hormone. As you might expect from someone who is an expert on neurofeedback, there is also a chapter devoted to that therapy, as well as other holistic and technology-based therapies that can help to reorient your brain to improve your natural stress response. Finally, there is a section offering insight into mitochondrial function that can help many patients to understand just how energy conversion actually happens within the body.
Oysters are packed with zinc, and having a balanced trace mineral ratio between copper and zinc can help with healthy neurotransmitter function and adaptogen to stress. Increased copper and decreased zinc has been shown to contribute to brain stress and anxiety. Oysters – superfood of the sea – are a great way to achieve this balance to help ease your stress levels.
A saliva cortisol test is taken at home using a simple kit. Basically, you spit into a vial several times a day, then send the samples in for analysis. The lab will review how your cortisol levels ebb and flow. I’ll explain more in future posts, but for now what you need to know is that an abnormal pattern suggests HPA axis dysfunction, which suggests adrenal dysfunction. (HPA stands for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal.)
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.

We now know that HPA axis dysfunction is a more appropriate description of the fatigue that comes with adrenal dysfunction. Shift work has long been associated with increased health risks, including risk of insulin resistance, weight gain, cardiovascular disease and brain dysfunction. Many people do not have a choice but it is not a good idea to consistently lose sleep or upset your body’s circadian rhythm.

Abnormal adrenaline and cortisol levels can result in mood disorders, sleep disturbances, reduced resistance to disease, and changes in vital circulation. Because these side effects are not uncomfortable enough to be intolerable, a self-destructive, adrenal-depleting lifestyle often continues. DHEA, which helps the body recover from this sort of chronic abuse, gets revved up full time instead of only episodically.
As you can see, there are a number of symptoms that might be related to other underlying disorders. Fortunately, the ways to combat these issues are very similar and will benefit your overall health. If you’ve experienced any of these adrenal fatigue side effects, take heart, for there are now many natural ways to treat and support your adrenal system.
Dr. Michael Lam is a western-trained physician and nutritional medicine pioneer. In this landmark textbook, he presents the scientific, neuroendocrine evidence in great detail behind this condition. Dr Lam also shares his clinical pearls that he uses to help countless individuals around the world recover from this condition through his nutritional coaching. He utilizes both conventional and alternative approaches. By separating the myths from facts with natural, safe, and effective solutions, anyone can follow this step-by-step approach to regain energy and lost vitality.

The problem is that stimulants tend to lose their effectiveness over time. As chronic stress takes its toll on your endocrine system, each cup of coffee or sugary snack gives you less of an energy boost. Caffeine can prevent you from getting a good sleep too. The more stressed and tired you become, the more stimulants you need. This vicious cycle is how many people unwittingly accelerate their decline into hormonal dysregulation and extreme fatigue.


No ground is left uncovered in this book, as Dr. Wilson brings all of his experience and knowledge to bear in a Herculean effort to bring some semblance of ordered understanding to what had previously been a chaotic stew of confusing and sometimes contradictory assumptions. Everything is methodically explained, referenced, and indexed so that curious readers can do further research on their own to confirm the author’s premise and findings. He even includes a Glycemic Index table, a glossary of terms, and a host of illustrations scattered throughout the book’s various pages.
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.
Depending on his or her preference, your doctor may order a saliva, blood or urine test to measure your cortisol. These days it is generally accepted that saliva cortisol testing is the most accurate, as it gives a better estimate of the cortisol levels within your cells, where the hormone reactions are actually taking place. Remember that it is important to be well-hydrated before you do your saliva test – dehydration can skew the results.
Low adrenal hormone levels may also be linked to low blood sugar. Normally, cortisol works to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day, but low cortisol levels may not be sufficient to sustain blood glucose. When blood sugar levels drop, sleep is disrupted, which can cause you to wake earlier than normal – for example, between 1-3am. Eating a small, healthy snack before bedtime may help to combat this. Choose foods that are low in sugar and high in protein and/or healthy fats in order to help stabilize blood sugar without spiking it.
Hi Ladies…I too have all the symptoms above and can relate to you all…I am only 39 and this is my third year…I too feel like this is never going to end.I eat very clean…no dairy wheat gluten or meat…I exercise yoga twice to three times a week and walk….I have tried every holistic avenue… But am still trying and will not give up…I do believe the way we live today is a massive cause…Being busy has become the new NORM….I wish us all love and luck…love sonia xzz
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.

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