One particular question I have is, can large amounts of coffee skew the results of a cortisol saliva test? My doctor wanted me to do what I normally do in a day and the results were normal, but journal for me is 3-5 of extremely strong black coffee a day ( my most awake moments are about an 1 hour long after each cup, expect the one at the end of the night and then I crash hard). The fatigue has gotten do bad that I’m crash after doing the simplest things like cooking for my family.


If you want to get your energy levels back to where they were, there are a few things that you need to do. Adopting an adrenal fatigue diet will give your adrenals and HPA axis the raw materials they need to recover. Removing sources of stress from your life will eliminate one of the causes of your adrenal exhaustion. And changing your lifestyle will have a measurable impact on your ability to handle stress.

Hi Dr. Jill. I’m in my 60s, and about 5 years ago I was diagnosed through testing with adrenal fatigue. I have high toxic metals, very low cortisol, but thyroid is normal. I understand that more sleep is restorative, but for the last 10 years I’ve been lucky to get 4 hours per night. I can go to sleep, but I can’t stay asleep. I’ve tried prescription meds, singly and in combinations (under a doc’s care), supplements of all kinds, and I just can’t stay asleep. My latest strategy is to go to sleep around 10 pm. Then when I wake up, I take Ambien to go back to sleep. Usually I can only sleep for another 2 hours, if that. I always feel sleep deprived and fall asleep at my computer or in meetings. My questions are:
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Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia Test: The insulin-induced hypoglycemia test is used to determine how the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands respond to stress. During this test, blood is drawn to measure the blood glucose and cortisol levels, followed by an injection of fast-acting insulin. Blood glucose and cortisol levels are measured again 30, 45 and 90 minutes after the insulin injection. The normal response is for blood glucose levels to fall (this represents the stress) and cortisol levels to rise.
Those with adrenal insufficiency may suffer an adrenal crisis if symptoms of adrenal disease are ignored. An adrenal crisis (known sometimes as an Addisonian crisis in those with Addison’s disease) is marked by symptoms like severe, sudden pain in the legs, back or abdomen, severe vomiting/diarrhea, dehydration, low blood pressure and loss of consciousness.
The nervous system is also a delicate balance- where we need to keep the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system in check with our parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system. If we live life as a constant race filled speeding through daily activities, functions and appointments then we are putting our entire health and body systems at risk. Stress can create damage to our internal health- not just a headache! We can improve our response to stressful situations as well as reduce the stress triggers in our life. Often we need more time spent in the “rest and digest” nervous systems and less time in the “fight or flight” nervous system. More is not better!
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If you’re healthy, your body will fall back into the relaxed state it was in before the threat and your body calms down. Everything shifts back to helping you digest, etc and your thyroid and reproductive organs go back to work. This relaxation response is spear headed by your parasympathetic nervous system, the other part of your autonomic nervous system. If you’re like many people, your stress will be high at work and your sympathetic nervous system will be in full gear helping you tackle everything that comes your way, then you shift into the parasympathetic nervous system at night when you’re with your lover or family or children and you can relax, watch TV, read, eat a nice dinner, cuddle, get ready for bed and perhaps have sex. All of which are quite relaxing to your nervous system. This is ideal.

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]


For herbal relief of adrenal fatigue, look to adaptogens. This class of herbs (which includes ginseng, ashwaghandha, and rhodiola) is thought to build your resistance to physical, chemical, and biological stress, as well as boost your energy and vitality. In a 2009 study, for instance, researchers found that taking 576 mg of a standardized rhodiola extract in supplement form daily reduced stress and increased mental performance (without producing adverse effects) in a group of adults suffering from stress-related fatigue.
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!
The lack of a biological explanation can be disappointing. To make things worse, it’s not unusual for doctors to say “there is nothing wrong with you” or “this is all in your head.” The overwhelming amount of information on the Internet that recommends many types of treatment causes even more stress. Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, may have symptoms similar to adrenal fatigue and may not respond well to antidepressants and counseling. And some patients do not believe that a mental health concern is the primary cause of their symptoms and many refuse medications due to concerns about their side effects.

I found Dr. Lam's book overall more comprehensive in addressing all aspects of a person's life in recovering from adrenal fatigue syndrome. I have only been using Dr. Wilson's adrenal protocol for 36 days. Dr. Wilson's web site says it could take up to three months to see a difference, or even two years, depending on the state of the person's health. I am very encouraged in how much better I feel after 36 days.


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)
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 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.
While this may be discouraging to some, one issue I have with this assessment is that the main issue seemed to be study design, rather than hard results. The failure of scientists to conduct adequate tests does not immediately equate to the falsity of adrenal fatigue as a whole. In addition, a diagnosis for this condition is difficult because these cortisol levels fall in what conventional medicine would call “inside the normal range,” although the symptoms are clear to those suffering from the condition. Lastly, treatment for adrenal fatigue consists mainly of diet and lifestyle adjustments, which traditional doctors do not see as legitimate medicine. (That’s okay; we know that food is medicine, no matter how often the medical community fails to recognize this fact.)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the government agency that oversees most food and medical products) does not oversee nutritional supplements and vitamins. This means there is no guarantee that what's on the label of a supplement is really what's inside the bottle. In some cases, supplements have very few, if any, active ingredients. In other cases, the dose of a particular ingredient may be too high. This is true if you purchase supplements from your local drug store or a specialty pharmacy (sometimes called a compounding pharmacy) where supplements are made directly by the pharmacist.
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.
utter and complete exhaustion having no idea that adrenal fatigue is part and parcel of FMS and CFS. In addition, I had no idea that we can now test for the infectious organism(s) and get treatment. Why I have to read this info in a book is maddening! But I'm glad at least to now know. It is interesting that drinking salt water is one of the treatments for the adrenals as it is also a treatment for POTS. In the week I have implemented the eating, resti ...more
Women with more severe symptoms, or those who have reached complete exhaustion, usually need greater intervention.  We personalize the therapy to each woman’s symptoms and test results. We look into the cumulative stressors and other causes of fatigue (We urge you not to self-prescribe herbal supplementation and over the counter substances, as they can have adverse health effects).
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.
I’m here to share my story of healing with you. I know what it’s like to suffer and not know what’s going on with your body. I’ve been there. I was lost, searching for answers and alone for 10 years until I learned how to get my body working for me, not against me—to address the underlying symptoms instead of using a Band-aid approach to reclaim my vitality. I want to show you that eating and living clean feels incredible. Once you see life this way, you’ll never go back. Ever. Come play along with me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. I’m here for you. xo

This syndrome has been known by many other names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy and adrenal fatigue. Although it affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.
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