Adrenals. Ahhhhhhh, how I wish I knew about these guys a decade ago before my doctor put me on steroids in my 20’s, which took away my pain but also destroyed my adrenals!!! It’s taken me over 10 years to build back my adrenals. So much fun. Let me tell you. This has become part of my life so I love learning new ways to heal myself and my adrenals have been anything but easy to heal. They’re tricky and they’re exhausting and you end up feeling depleted, tired and fed up most of the time. When I learned about adrenal fatigue treatment from my Functional/Integrative M.D.’s I was amazed at all the knowledge I found on how I could start to heal these babies, which were KEY for my thyroid health. You’ll never have an optimal thyroid if your adrenals are out of whack. So, let’s talk about what adrenals are and how you can make sure they’re in tip-top shape. As Susan Blum, M.D. (she was my 1st Functional MD) mentions in this article for Well&Good, 8 Signs You Have Adrenal Fatigue, “When there’s severe, chronic stress, the adrenal glands can stay in the ‘on’ position, making extra amounts of these stress hormones.”
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.
This can be extremely fast and effective at treating the symptoms of allergies, asthma, skin problems, arthritis, and other illnesses. However, since many of these type medications contain a hormone that is synthetic and is often 17 times more in strength than what is needed by the body, they may repress and in some cases shut down adrenal function – creating an even larger hormonal inequality than prior to treatment. Additionally, the side effects may be severe, ranging from kidney failure to dizziness and in some cases death. Some of the more common corticosteroids are prednisone (brand names of Cortan, Deltasone, Prednisone). These medications have lots of side effects.
Healthy adrenal glands secrete appropriate amounts of cortisol, a hormone fundamental to optimal health. When released in normal levels, cortisol is essential to helping our bodies respond in healthy ways to stress and supporting a healthy immune response—without cortisol, the body cannot sustain life! Cortisol levels affect every tissue, organ and gland in the body. Balance is crucial.

If stress is causing your cortisol levels to be elevated, this anti-inflammatory effect becomes too strong. This effectively stops your immune system from working as it should, and this weakened state can last for the duration of whatever is causing the stress. Without a properly functioning immune system, you become vulnerable to disease. Conversely, a lower level of cortisol allows your immune system to over-react to pathogens. This can lead to chronic inflammation and a number of respiratory or auto-immune diseases.


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.

Oysters are packed with zinc! The trace mineral ratio between copper and zinc can help with healthy neurotransmitter function and adaptation to stress. Increased copper and decreased zinc has been shown to contribute to brain stress and anxiety. This superfood of the sea is a great way to balance the proper trace mineral ratio and your stress levels.


This books needs a good editor! I read it cover to cover, but I recommend scanning the table of contents and index and jumping around based on interest. I'm grateful to my copy's previous owner, as the best bits are already highlighted. A lot of the material is over my head and I still can't precisely describe adrenal fatigue, but I understand that we all experience adrenal fatigue at some point. What's important is how we recover from stressful situations, be it from predator attacks (ancestral ...more
I was found to have adrenal fatigue a year ago via salivary 4 point testing — showed low salivary cortisol in the morning and throughout the day – 4, 2, 2, 1. total 9nM). Also mildly elevated DHEA (11 ng/mL). I am doing all the lifestyle/dietary things you list and in the past tried both adaptogenic herbs (Thorne Phytisone) and adrenal glandulars for about 6 months with little improvement. My doctor wants me to try an adaptogen again and I am wondering if either of the formulas you recommended would be worth trying. Thank you for your time.
An integrative approach, combining conventional and alternative medicine, is ideal for a condition like Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Integrative medicine combines the best of these two disciplines, emphasizing holistic treatment rather than just zeroing in on a single symptom. This means focusing more on things like prevention, diet and lifestyle choices, and less on prescription drugs that simply act as 'band-aids' for your condition.
Adrenal fatigue shouldn’t be confused with adrenal insufficiency, a legitimate medical condition that can be diagnosed with laboratory tests and has a defined symptomatology. Addison’s disease causes primary adrenal insufficiency and usually has an autoimmune cause, with symptoms appearing when most of the adrenal cortex has been destroyed. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is cause by pituitary disorder that gives insufficient hormonal stimulation to the adrenals. Some liken adrenal fatigue to a milder form of adrenal insufficiency — but there’s no underlying pathology that has been associated with adrenal fatigue.

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
I have had anxiety/panic attacks for years and recently been through a lot of stress and have developed low blood pressure, dizziness and increased heart rate especially when walking around, and weakness, and sometimes episodes of dizziness where my blood pressure is high. I’m pretty sure this is adrenal insufficiency and I started taking 5,000mg vitamin C and started with 1tsp sole water and multi vitamin, and adrenal response supplement. I also follow a gluten free, soy free, dairy free with the exception of goat cheese. Is there anything else I can do to help?
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.
So during my healing journey, I started practicing mindfulness meditation and other strategies to bring mindfulness into my day. Even just taking some time throughout the day to become aware of your breath is a simple way to defuse stress levels and calm your brain-adrenal axis. I'm also a big fan of listening to Eckhart Tolle audiobooks when I'm in the car.
The skin darkening that concerns endocrinologists most often occurs in Addison’s disease, but not secondary adrenal insufficiency. The latter of these conditions is often not diagnosed quickly because people ignore symptoms until they are drastically obvious. People with adrenal insufficiency do experience severe fatigue, often not reflected by salivary cortisol levels. (40)
Under certain circumstances, stress can fatigue your adrenals. It is estimated that most North Americans experience some form of stress-related adrenal fatigue at some time. Although many people realize that stress is a problem in their lives, few understand the actual physical ways stress acts on the body and mind through the adrenal glands – or more importantly, what to do about it. Unfortunately, even most doctors still do not recognize the common health picture produced by adrenal fatigue. This leaves a lot of people suffering without anywhere to turn for help. Thats where Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome comes in.
Licorice root: This spice is available in extract form and helps to increase the DHEA in your body. (21) Licorice root is associated with some side effects and may sometimes be avoided by taking DGL licorice. (22) Pregnant women and those with heart, liver or kidney problems should avoid licorice root. Don’t take it for more than four weeks at a time. (23)
Hi heather, thank you for all the time and energy you put into your blog. I always enjoy your posts while nursing my little ones to bed. I never leave a comment on anything but this time I had to. We had a very stressful move during my fourth pregnancy and I felt like a different person after that. A friend of mine gave me dr. Wilson’s book and his advice along with taking vitamin c, magnesium, and his own supplement, Adrenal Rebuilder, restored me. It was a very difficult time for me and I am so grateful for that book. I hope get the rest you need but I know how hard it is when your children are young.
Blood or salivary testing is sometimes offered but there is no evidence that adrenal fatigue exists or can be tested for.[1][3] The concept of adrenal fatigue has given rise to an industry of dietary supplements marketed to treat this condition. These supplements are largely unregulated in the U.S., are ineffective, and in some cases may be dangerous.[3]
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.

From his introduction: "Part I gives you an overview of adrenal fatigue: what it is; who suffers from it, what causes it, how it progresses and why medicine has not recognized it as a syndrome.....Part II guides you through a questionnaire and some other simple processes to determine if you have adrenal fatigue, and if you do, what may be causing it......Part III provides a very comprehensive guide to recovering from adrenal fatigue. It contains specific info about which therapies work and exactly what you can do to help yourself feel energized and well again.......Part IV explains in relatively plain English what your adrenal glands do and how and why they are so important to just about every process that occurs in your body and mind. It will help you understand why you feel so bad when they are not functioning adequately." Sometimes, you don't even realize you feel bad because feeling bad becomes normal and you don't realize how bad you felt until you start to feel better. I am to that point now, I feel better.
Adrenal Fatigue is a stress-related condition that occurs when your adrenal glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland are functioning below their optimal level. It is typically the result of chronic physical or emotional stress. Adrenal Fatigue results in symptoms like a weakened immune system, low energy levels, an inability to handle stressful situations, and cravings for salty or sugary foods.

The main purpose of your adrenals is to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationship problems. Adrenal function is of paramount importance because these small glands play a pivotal role in determining the way your body responds to every change in your internal and external environment


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.
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)
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.
Her brain felt foggy, she was irritable, and she was drinking three cups of coffee a day to get through her afternoon slump. At night she became super mom, cooking and taking care of the kids. Usually she was at her laptop until about midnight, which is when she physically couldn't keep her eyes open. Everything she described was classic for adrenal fatigue, but I wanted to make sure we were on the right track.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstance or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.
Adrenal fatigue is not recognized by the Endocrine Society or any other endocrinology society, but adrenal insufficiency is. One glaring problem for the adrenal fatigue concept is that the reported symptoms don’t match those from adrenal insufficiency, although there is some overlap. The adrenal fatigue symptoms are “mostly nonspecific” including being tired or fatigued to the point of having trouble getting out of bed; experiencing poor sleep; feeling anxious, nervous, or rundown; craving salty and sweet snacks; and having “gut problems,” says Nieman. For the most part, these do not match symptoms of chronic adrenal insufficiency, which is characterized by weight loss, joint pain, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry skin, low blood pressure, and fatigue.
×