Have you found that despite trying everything to get some much needed rest and recuperation you still have that 'wired but tired' feeling. You know the one with low-level anxiety at the same time as feeling lethargic and unmotivated? Are you finding it trickier to focus and concentrate on tasks? Are you less motivated about doing things, which you used to love? Has your sex life taken a nose-dive?
Have you found that despite trying everything to get some much needed rest and recuperation you still have that 'wired but tired' feeling. You know the one with low-level anxiety at the same time as feeling lethargic and unmotivated? Are you finding it trickier to focus and concentrate on tasks? Are you less motivated about doing things, which you used to love? Has your sex life taken a nose-dive?
Thank you for your article! I just received saliva test results showing that I have low cortisol throughout the day. I’m on a supplement plan, but I’m wondering about some of your other recommendations. What is the benefit of going to bed at 10 PM For the adrenals? If I am awake between 7 AM and 9 AM, what do you recommend for being restful for the adrenals? Thank you!!

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.
Interpreting the results correctly can be difficult for a physician without experience of Adrenal Fatigue. The reference ranges supplied by labs are so wide that they only flag up extremely low cortisol levels. So your doctor will need to look at the levels provided and make his or her own judgment. This is where the importance of using an optimal range, rather than the reference range, becomes clear.

Food is medicine. I always ate healthy, other than my favorite “healthy junk foods” of gluten-free pizza and stevia soda. However, I knew that if I was going to rehab my adrenal fatigue, I had to take my food medicine plan to the next level by making sure my diet was on point for hormone health. Here’s the 90-day food plan I used to improve my sleep and energy.
Fawne Hansen is an author and wellness coach specializing in the treatment of chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. This book includes much of the knowledge that Fawne gleaned from research into her own Adrenal Fatigue, in addition to countless discussions with doctors and naturopaths. The eBook also contains many of the strategies that she used to recover her health and vitality, along with the knowledge gained from real-life experiences of other Adrenal Fatigue sufferers that she has helped.
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.
Find somewhere quiet, away from distractions. Sit or lie in a position you can maintain comfortably for at least twenty minutes. Close your eyes to help bring on a sense of calm and allow yourself to focus inwards. Release any tension in your shoulders and face. Begin by breathing naturally, focusing on the movement of air in and out of your lungs. Imagine the air moving into your nose and down through your chest, into your lungs and down into your belly.
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]
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%.”
“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.
Adrenal insufficiency usually suggests that there are long-standing life problems in need of resolution. These issues will loom all the larger when seen with the no-nonsense mental clarity of perimenopause, but not only will adrenal exhaustion make the transition needlessly unpleasant, it also can deprive a woman of the resources she needs to address those issues and to take full advantage of the creative promise of the second half of her life.
In general, if you feel happy and well, have steady energy and emotions, sleep soundly seven to nine hours a night, wake up feeling rested, recover well from stress, and maintain a healthy weight without dieting, then your adrenals are probably doing well. On the other hand, if your energy lags during the day, you feel emotionally unbalanced much of the time, you sleep poorly or less than seven hours a night, can’t lose excess weight even while dieting, use caffeine or carbohydrates as “pick-me-ups” — these are all red flags indicating adrenal insufficiency (stress).
I am sorry, there WAS one other thing i was doing back when i got better from Adrenal Fatigue and that was Hydrocortisone Cream, but at the time i thought NOTHING about it, and was only using it for my Rocesea on my face…i knew Nothing about AF when i started using it, the Pharmacist, told me dont over do it, it is a Steroid, so was careful, but i wonder now if that helped me, EACH time i got better there was HC Cream in my life, but NOW I TRY IT AND I TOTALLY PANIC !!!! go Figure that one out !!
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!
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)
[…] After drinking sole water religiously, eating fat bombs every chance I got, taking liver capsules (where to buy liver capsules), and squeezing dropper after dropper of adaptogenic herb tonics into my water; I can finally say I’m in recovery from adrenal fatigue syndrome. You can read more about how I recovered from severe adrenal fatigue syndrome. […]

You might wonder what the point of a thyroid test is, when we are looking to diagnose Adrenal Fatigue? The complexity of the human body means that one part of the endocrine system (the HPA axis) cannot exist independently of another part (the thyroid). In reality, there are connections and relationships that exist between every system in the body, and a weakness in one area can easily translate into changes in another.


To that, all I can say is that adrenal fatigue is something I’ve seen personally. It is my opinion, through years of healthcare practice and supporting scientific evidence, that hypoadrenia is very real and associated with a number of complications. In addition, adrenal fatigue treatment is relatively non-invasive and is beneficial to your health, no matter the diagnosis. Of course, you should be under the care of a qualified medical professional, such as a functional medicine doctor, you trust and see them about any symptoms you experience (of any disease) so that they can determine appropriate treatment.
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.

To that, all I can say is that adrenal fatigue is something I’ve seen personally. It is my opinion, through years of healthcare practice and supporting scientific evidence, that hypoadrenia is very real and associated with a number of complications. In addition, adrenal fatigue treatment is relatively non-invasive and is beneficial to your health, no matter the diagnosis. Of course, you should be under the care of a qualified medical professional, such as a functional medicine doctor, you trust and see them about any symptoms you experience (of any disease) so that they can determine appropriate treatment.


Every challenge to the mind and body creates a demand on the adrenal glands. And the list of challenges is endless: lack of sleep, a demanding boss, the threat of losing your job, financial pressures, personality conflicts, yo-yo dieting, relationship turmoil, death or illness of a loved one, skipping meals, reliance on stimulants like caffeine and carbs, digestive problems, over-exercise, illness or infection, unresolved emotional issues from our past or present and more. The result is adrenal glands that are constantly on high alert.
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.
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?

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 just can’t take anymore. Adrenal “fatigue” or dysfunction used to be rare, but is now all too common because of our lack of relaxation and other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and excessive caffeine intake, as well as exposure to environmental toxins and allergens.


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)
I have been working in a very high stress environment for the last several months. Within a month of starting this job I started having what felt like heart attacks but which the ER docs told me were panic attacks. I ended up having to take a leave of absence to recover and finally resigned when I realized that I literally dreaded going back to work to that point that every time I thought about returning I felt the anxiety attacks starting. It’s been a month now since I quit and I still feel physically exhausted and unhealthy with frequent heart palpitations and dizzy spells. Drs including cardio can’t find anything physically wrong with me. Does this sound like adrenal fatigue to you? If so, How do I get my health back to normal? FYI I’ve been in perimenopause for about 3 years now I still get my period about once every 3-4 months and they are generally very heavy and last for about 3-5 days.
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.
My biggest qualm with Adrenal Fatigue has to do with the diet section of the book (and perhaps you suspected this). On one hand, Wilson does offer some very valuable advice: eat balanced meals that include fat, protein and carbohydrates; avoid refined sugars and fruit juices; salt is your friend, especially unrefined sea salt; and eat high-quality, natural foods.
An extremely rare condition, Cushing’s disease is an overproduction of cortisol, outside the normal levels, that most often affects women between 25–40. Sometimes, Cushing’s is a result of tumors, while other times it can be idiopathic (no known cause). In these cases, it’s possible that adrenal fatigue and/or diet and lifestyle habits may have contributed to the condition.
Hi Jill, thank you for this. I have been trying to uncover the cause of what ails me, just looking at food culprit vs the underlying cause. I have reason to believe Adrenal fatigue may be an issue. I get to a point at work when stress just feels like it is literally through the roof, like there is so much pressure in my head and throat and chest with no where to go and I just can’t function. Do you have any recommendations for where can I get tested for adrenal fatigue in California? I have Kaiser and don’t want to spend a ton of time and money figuring this out, so any recommendations are much appreciate.
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.
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