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.

Stacie Deyglio, ND received her baccalaureate degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from the College of Mt. St. Vincent in New York. Her personal health issues paved the way to discovering naturopathic medicine in 1999. Resonating with the philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Deyglio graduated from the University of Bridgeport, College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2003. As a medical student, she was involved in student government, fundraising, and the generation of two successful student-run health fairs. Dr. Deyglio’s interests include relating integrative therapeutics to the health of pediatric and geriatric populations. Currently residing in New York, Dr. Deyglio is an avid bookworm and is actively practicing.
Dr. Wilson describes the unique progression of adrenal fatigue throughout the day as follows: you wake up and are unable to function without a significant amount of caffeine, finally feel a boost of energy during the early part of the day, then your energy levels crash around 2 p.m., rise around 6 p.m., fall again around 9 p.m. and then finally peak again at 11 in the evening. (3)
If you have very advanced Adrenal Fatigue, this guy gets it. This is the only doctor (besides my doctor) that understands everything involved when you have very advanced Adrenal Fatigue/ Chronic Fatigue/ Fibromyalgia (They are all the same- they just express different symptoms for each of us). For example, no one else really addresses how the liver is involved, or pancreas, or tinnitus, or hormones or what's going on with the muscles as well as Dr Lam. I hate the Wilson work because it doesn't address those of us that are very advanced and have all these issues and many, many more. Dr Lam offers ideas on healing that are gentle enough for people like me to tolerate. Those of us that are advanced usually have oppositional responses to supplements, medication and food and this guy gets it!
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.
Numerous websites mention how to diagnose and treat adrenal fatigue. However, the Endocrinology Society and all the other medical specialties do not recognize this condition. The Endocrinologists are categorical: “no scientific proof exists to support adrenal fatigue as a true medical condition.” This disconnect between conventional and complementary medicine adds to the frustration.
Wondering if any of you have this happening…my symptoms are worse each month around the same day the 20th. Starts out feeling flu like massive headache, body aches slight fever, nausea. And in 2-3 days it starts to dissipate and then moves to my lower back and nerve like radiating pain in my lower back. Usually lasting 2-3 days, this month it came earlier and lasted longer 6 nights to be exact. Happens like this each month. Today, the Endocrinologist told me it’s not hormones/menopausal. What the heck!!

I first learned about cytokines years ago when I was dealing with Lyme. What many of us do not realize is that the stress response triggers inflammatory immune cells called Cytokines. These cytokines perform many jobs and one of them is to make your thyroid receptors less sensitive to thyroid hormones- meaning that you’ll need more thyroid hormone that usual to have the same impact! This is where things get tricky because your thyroid blood work (see Part I for the blood work labs to get), can come out perfect but you’ll still be seeing thyroid symptoms because if you’ve got thyroid resistance, you can have the correct levels of thyroid hormone in your blood but your cells are being deprived. Yikes, right? Your hormone in your blood is not getting into your cells where you need it so you’re not seeing an improvement in your symptoms and your blood work can look perfect.
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.
Dr. Wilson offers great suggestions how to improve our happiness, how to relax and how to reduce our stress triggers. We have become addicted to busyness as well as being overly connected due to our constant phone “notifications”, social media, text messages and emails. We need to take charge of our lives and take power to keep our adrenals healthy! I find this book very informative and a great companion to my new book coming out on Amazon called “Life is Not a Race… It is a Journey”. We need to all slow down and pace ourselves a little more each day if we really are working on our whole health!
Addressing one stressor at a time is generally the best way to approach this. Identifying what makes you happy and what stresses you is the easy part, then begins the difficult part of making the changes that you need to make. This will often require a significant adjustment in outlook. For example, if a high-paying job is damaging your health, can you step off the corporate ladder and return to a simpler, more fulfilling life? And if a relationship has been causing you emotional stress for years, do you have the courage to pull the plug and start again? All these are issues that can hopefully be addressed with the support of family, friends and perhaps even a good therapist too.

A relatively new area of understanding, there are some who make the connection between adrenal fatigue and osteoporosis. It’s well-known that osteoporosis is often a result of imbalanced hormones. However, the sex hormones that are often named as the transgressors aren’t the only problem. Abnormally high or low cortisol levels are also associated with bone loss and osteoporosis risk. (36, 37, 38)
It’s important to emphasize the role of emotional factors. Guilt, pain from past hurts, self-destructive habits, unresolved relationship problems — your past and present emotional experience may serve as an ever-present stressor. Dealing with these problems directly is much more beneficial than trying to compensate for the stress they create, in the same way that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
That discussion leads to a more in-depth explanation of how our understanding of the nature of stress has evolved in recent years, and then an explanation of how the adrenals work to provide the hormones we need for stress response. From there, she quickly moves to a discussion of the circadian rhythm, and how its dysregulation can impact sleep patterns and ultimately lead to a cascading series of system failures that put your health in jeopardy.
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.”
Secondly, this is an EARLY indicator of adrenal fatigue. Pupillary contraction is not nearly as high on the priority list for your adrenals as, say, blood sugar control or blood pressure maintenance. So not doing well on his test doesn’t mean you’re in dire straights and need major intervention. Having reactive hypoglycemia or scoring poorly on a postural hypotension test (blood pressure dropping when you stand up, getting dizzy/tunnel vision when you stand) are better indicators of real hypoadrenia.”
Fish oil (EPA/DHA): There are a large number of benefits of supplementing with fish oil (or, for people on vegan or other plant-based diets, algal oil). Several of these include counteracting a number of adrenal fatigue-related symptoms and complications, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin issues, weight gain and anxiety/depression.
The level of TSH is inversely proportional to the activity of your thyroid. If your thyroid is producing lots of T3 and T4, your pituitary gland produces less TSH (because the thyroid needs to be stimulated less). Conversely, if you are hypothyroid then your TSH is likely to be high, as your brain is telling the thyroid to produce more hormones. This is the same kind of feedback loop that exists for many other hormones in the body, including cortisol.
Loaded with relevant information for any person wanting to know about and heal from adrenal fatigue. There is even a self-assessment in the book to determine if you have AF and to what degree (mild, moderate, severe). This book teaches what AF is, how it occurs and most of all what to do about it. There are also a few case histories, which illustrates how AF can present and that you can recover your health.
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.
However, he doesn’t really emphasize animal foods, which I believe are the foundation of a healthy diet (whether it’s eggs, butter, raw milk, grass-fed meat or otherwise). He doesn’t demonize saturated fats, but instead discusses all fats as if they are equal. It’s a step in the right direction, but I think saturated fats are too beneficial to be lumped in with other fats (and here’s four reasons why).
I have been suffering since two years, due to I guess too much exercise and less carbs. I have the following symptoms, bad sleep, dehydrated and no thirst feeling, thinning hair, cold feet, dandruff, low libido, very bad digestive system almost always bloated, but the most important thing is, there is liquid coming out of my anus. In short, I feel extremely bad during the day.
But can stress cause extreme fatigue? Yes, it absolutely can. One study found that students undergoing chronic, long-term stress when prepping for medical exams at the end of their educational careers impaired the students’ cortisol awakening response. (10) By limiting this surge in cortisol that naturally occurs every morning when you wake up to help you feel alert, stress inhibits your ability to wake up fully, no matter how much sleep you get.
Time pressures and financial constraints are far from the only factors in this modern epidemic. Other triggers for Adrenal Fatigue include our high-sugar diet, the rise of pesticides and chemical pollutants in our foods, the rise in food intolerances, and our sedentary lifestyles. Combine these factors with hormonal decline (which many of us are experiencing earlier and earlier these days), and you have a recipe for fatigue, sickness and loss of vitality.
I too am healing from adrenal fatigue. A good friend of mine referred me to a lady(a good friend of mine now) who practices Applied Kinesiology (muscle testing) and with her help, a well as some changes that I’ve made in my personal life and at home…. I’ve come to have great results! Not 100% but a mark improvement from where I was several months ago.

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.


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.

The result is often relentless, debilitating fatigue that is the hallmark of adrenal insufficiency. Though this fatigue is often accompanied by depressed mood, irritability, and loss of interest in life, this doesn’t mean that the adrenal exhaustion is necessarily the cause of the mood change, any more than similar problems are always caused by thyroid malfunction. That is why these emotional symptoms do not always go away with treatment — the underlying issues remain unresolved until they are specifically addressed by behavior and lifestyle changes.
These stress hormones regulate everything from your mood to your digestion to your blood sugar to your stress response (acute short term and chronic long term stress), your immune response, blood pressure and so much more. Your adrenals are regulated by the hypothalamus and the pituitary glad along the HPA axis (the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis). Now, let’s break this down.

Chronic fatigue affects more than 1 million people in the United States, and those are just the extreme cases. We are a society that works hard, doesn’t sleep enough, and often seems to run on fumes and caffeine. Many of us constantly crave sugary foods and suffer from debilitating exhaustion. That exhaustion can be caused by different things, and chronic fatigue is multifaceted, but in many cases, one common aspect of the condition is something called adrenal fatigue.
I just wanted to send a quick thank you for your time and advice today. I am so appreciative and I feel hopeful that the plan we have can really help me. I’ve been sick for a long time and recently I’ve been rather discouraged with where I’m at with my health. I believe that God has allowed our paths to cross and that He is going to use you help restore my body to health. Thank you for giving me hope. Blessings, Kara

Some lifestyles are apparently more vulnerable to adrenal fatigue, including single parents, shift workers, an “unhappily married person”, and the “person who is all work, no play.” There’s no information provided to substantiate the quiz, qualify the vague terminology, or link to any relevant literature. (Of course there is the usual Quack Miranda warning on every page which makes all of this possible: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration … etc.”)
That discussion leads to a more in-depth explanation of how our understanding of the nature of stress has evolved in recent years, and then an explanation of how the adrenals work to provide the hormones we need for stress response. From there, she quickly moves to a discussion of the circadian rhythm, and how its dysregulation can impact sleep patterns and ultimately lead to a cascading series of system failures that put your health in jeopardy.
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.
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)
I was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency by a progressive doctor. She meant well, but she missed the boat completely. For some people, the adrenal-busting cycle is caused by sleep disorders like sleep apnea. A healthy lifestyle alone (or supplements or other treatments that only target adrenals) can’t fix the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysruption caused by sleep apnea, and many of the systems will overlap. Nocturnal breathing pauses cause a stress response, elevating cortisol, increasing exhaustion, sabotaging sleep quality and all of the regenerative work our bodies are meant to do during sleep. For women, sleep apnea is likely to go undiagnosed, because doctors think it is so rare in women that they don’t usually consider it as a differential diagnosis (even in women with PCOS, who are known to have the same rate of sleep apnea as men). For young and slender women, sleep apnea is unlikely to be diagnosed until it has already caused long-standing biological changes, even if a woman has classic symptoms of sleep apnea like loud snoring, observed pauses in sleep breathing, and significant daytime sleepiness. Sleep dysruption is a form of chronic stress, so it can overlap with adrenal insufficiency, and treating sleep problems can be a big help to solving the adrenal problems.
Also, before anyone decides to fully diagnosis themselves, first, they need to do research into the subject. I know for cortisol, if you have too much, it is bad for you as well, especially if you take a cortisol supplement and get angry with 10 mins, that means you have too much cortisol and need to level it out. You are the only person who knows what type of stress you are under on a daily basis.
The fallacy of this logic is that there is no evidence that the stress of day-to-day life could have any such effect on the adrenals. “Endocrinologists believe — correctly — that under stress your adrenals work harder and make more cortisol, not less,” says Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PhD, chief of the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and molecular medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. Friedman says that the patients may be given the diagnosis by naturopaths, chiropractors, functional medicine doctors, and anti-aging doctors.
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