Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that occurs when the adrenal glands produce less cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels and mood. It can cause fatigue, weight gain, dizziness, and insomnia.


Did you know that persistent stress may make it harder for your body to recover from physical, mental, or emotional Stress? This is probably why the majority of individuals have experienced adrenal exhaustion at some time in their life.

Many proponents of this disease believe that virtually everyone, at some time in their lives, may suffer adrenal exhaustion, also known as hypoadrenia, to some degree.

Because the adrenal glands affect so many areas of the body, symptoms of adrenal exhaustion may be confused with a variety of diseases and aren’t always obvious.

Symptoms of adrenal exhaustion, such as brain fog, moodiness, and difficulty sleeping, maybe symptomatic of various diseases and are often ignored by physicians. However, an increasing number of individuals realize that a combination of these health problems may signal the beginning of adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal exhaustion may have a significant negative impact on your overall health. Fortunately, you may naturally address this frequent problem by concentrating on your nutritional intake and lifestyle choices.

What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

Dr. James L. Wilson, a naturopath, and chiropractor suggested the name “adrenal exhaustion” as a new disease in 1998. He hypothesized that long-term Stress might overstimulate the adrenal glands (or “adrenals”), resulting in an inconsistency in cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in the circulation.

In addition to this excess or abnormal stress hormone levels, individuals with adrenal exhaustion often lack DHEA, the “parent hormone” responsible for producing various essential hormones in the body.

The following is how Dr. Wilson explains the distinct development of adrenal exhaustion throughout the day:

  • You wake up unable to function without a large quantity of caffeine in your system.
  • During the early hours of the day, you finally feel a surge of energy.
  • Then, at 2 p.m., your energy levels plummet, rebound about 6 p.m., and plummet again around 9 p.m.
  • At 11 p.m., your energy level reaches a new high.

Is Adrenal Fatigue a Real Condition?

The difficulty in differentiating adrenal fatigue symptoms and patterns from other diseases is a significant problem in detecting or diagnosing it. Moreover, the criteria for this illness are nonspecific, which has regrettably led to a lot of debate on the subject, even though cortisol other body hormones have far-reaching impacts by their very nature.

Because stress hormone levels are usually “within the normal range” in traditional medicine, diagnosing this disease is challenging, even if the symptoms are evident to individuals who suffer from it.

People who think that adrenal fatigue isn’t a severe health problem frequently claim that chronic Stress has no impact on the adrenals. The only genuine endocrine problems are those caused by other diseases or direct injury to the adrenal glands.

However, many natural medicine practitioners are aware that hypoadrenia is extremely real and linked with a variety of problems based on their clinical experience and scientific data.

Furthermore, regardless of the diagnosis, adrenal fatigue therapy is generally non-invasive and helpful to your health. Of course, you should visit a competent medical expert you trust, such as a functional medicine doctor, and tell them about any symptoms you’re having (from any illness) so the doctor can decide the best course of action.

What Kind of Adrenal Glands Do You Have?

The endocrine system includes your adrenal glands (adrenals), two thumb-sized structures that lie atop your kidneys. In addition, the suprarenal glands, often known as the adrenal glands, are responsible for producing over 50 hormones that control virtually every physiological function, many of which are life-sustaining.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is a system in which the adrenal glands interact closely with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland (HPA axis).

The adrenal glands are crucial in the stress response. The following is how it works:

  • A danger, whether emotional, mental, or physical, is recognized by your brain.
  • To help you respond to danger (the fight-or-flight reaction), the adrenal medulla produces cortisol and adrenaline chemicals, which rush blood to your brain, heart, and muscles.
  • The adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to suppress digestion, immunological response, and other functions that aren’t critical for immediate life.

Your adrenal glands are also in charge of hormone regulation.

Adrenal dysfunction

It’s essential to distinguish between adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, or Cushing’s syndrome/disease Cushing’s when addressing issues with adrenal function.

Here’s a brief rundown of these ailments and how they vary from adrenal fatigue:

Addison’s Disease and Adrenal Insufficiency:

  • Major digestive problems, weight loss, low blood sugar, headache, and sweating are all symptoms of adrenal insufficiency that are not present in adrenal fatigue.
  • Addison’s disease is a form of primary adrenal insufficiency that develops when the adrenal glands are injured by trauma and cannot generate adequate cortisol or aldosterone.
  • The pituitary gland ceases releasing adrenocorticotropin, resulting in secondary adrenal insufficiency (which is more frequent) (ACTH). ACTH is the hormone that causes the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
  • What is this illness distinct from adrenal fatigue? Adrenal exhaustion is characterized by an excess of stress hormones at the “wrong” periods, while adrenal insufficiency is characterized by a persistent failure to generate cortisol.
  • The most significant distinction is that individuals with adrenal fatigue often have cortisol levels that are “normal” but not “optimal.” In contrast, patients with adrenal insufficiency have cortisol levels that are persistently beyond the normal range.

Cushing’s Disease/Syndrome:

  • Cushing’s illness is an exceedingly uncommon condition characterized by excessive cortisol production beyond normal levels, which often affects women between 25 and 40.
  • Tumors may cause this disease in certain instances, while in others, there is no recognized reason.
  • Cushing’s disease is reversible, and the National Institute of Health considers it a “curable” illness.
  • Abdominal/facial weight gain, male impotence, inability to menstruate, increased chance of miscarriage, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure are all signs of Cushing’s syndrome (also known as Cushing’s disease when caused by a pituitary tumor).


When the adrenal glands cease releasing hormones effectively, what happens?

Every physiological function is impacted, and when adrenal hormone levels fluctuate, even the usual “get-up-and-go” you receive from them vanishes.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue, according to studies, include:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Exhaustion that lasts a long time (constantly feeling tired)
  • Fog in the head
  • Hair loss is a common problem
  • Unbalanced hormones
  • The stress response is weakened
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lightheadedness
  • Reduced sexual desire/libido
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Depression
  • Loss of muscle or bone
  • Ailments of the skin
  • Sleep apnea/disordered sleep
  • Gaining weight
  • Cravings for sweet and salty foods
  • Appetite loss

As you can see, various symptoms may indicate the presence of various underlying diseases, including some highly typical women’s health concerns.

Fortunately, the solutions to these problems are comparable and beneficial to your general health. So take comfort if you’ve suffered from any of these adrenal fatigue symptoms; there are now numerous natural methods to treat and maintain your adrenal system.


Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which the body and adrenal glands cannot cope with the high levels of Stress that many individuals face daily. Adrenal exhaustion may mirror some of the symptoms of other prevalent illnesses and disorders and is often misdiagnosed as an autoimmune condition.

According to wellness physicians and practitioners, acute Stress or long-term (over a year) continuous Stress may cause adrenal glands to become overwhelmed and inefficient, causing cortisol to be released incorrectly. Hypoadrenia, they think, is caused by:

  • For example, the death of a loved one, divorce, or surgery is all stressful events.
  • Toxic exposure and pollution in the environment
  • Long-term Stress caused by financial difficulties, poor relationships or a hostile work environment, and other circumstances that make you feel powerless
  • Emotional trauma and negative thinking
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Lack of activity with a poor diet (including crash diets and irregular nutrition)
  • Pain
  • Sensitivities to foods
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Surgery
  • Using stimulants such as coffee or energy drinks as a source of energy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of arthritis that affects the joints.
  • Diabetes/glucose levels that are out of whack

Is it possible for Stress to produce severe exhaustion? Unfortunately, yes, it very certainly can.

According to one research, students who were under chronic, long-term Stress while studying for medical examinations after their school careers had their cortisol awakening response compromised.

Stress limits your capacity to awaken completely, no matter how much sleep you receive, by reducing the cortisol surge that happens naturally when you get up in the morning to help you feel aware.

Another research from 2005 discovered that students with chronic fatigue syndrome showed “alterations in adrenal function,” especially in females, indicating that their adrenal glands were no longer getting the proper level of stimulation.

Depression may have a role in the onset or progression of adrenal exhaustion. In addition, according to research, cortisol responses may not readily return to normal levels after a severe depressive episode, and this may be partly responsible for a recurrence of depression.

Hypothalamic dysfunction seems to be prevalent in multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune illness, according to studies. According to researchers, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction is overall in multiple sclerosis, and it’s thought to be related to aberrant cortisol production.


Adrenal exhaustion may be treated with both conventional and natural methods. The first step is to identify the issue, which may be challenging since most individuals spend too much time focusing on their symptoms.

Tests for Adrenal Fatigue and Diagnosis

Many individuals spend a long time without seeking treatment for some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue from their primary care doctors or endocrinologists. This is one of the main reasons why this disease is so difficult to diagnose.

On the other hand, elevated cortisol symptoms over an extended length of time may be pretty damaging. Furthermore, specific symptoms may indicate the presence of more severe diseases.

If you’ve been experiencing one or more of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue for a long time and they’ve started interfering with your regular life, relationships, or activities — such as work, family time, or school — it’s time to see your doctor and inquire about adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Fatigue Tests

Adrenal fatigue tests, regrettably, are another cause of concern for many people. However, you should be aware that these tests must be performed by someone familiar with the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion and that adrenal fatigue testing is seldom conclusive.

The most frequent of these procedures is cortisol testing in body fluid. A 24-hour salivary panel may help your doctor identify aberrant cortisol patterns, such as a lack or excess of the stress response. Blood tests are virtually never helpful in this respect.

Because of the interconnection of both hormonal systems, many physicians evaluate thyroid function in combination with cortisol levels.

The following tests may be performed to help diagnose or confirm adrenal fatigue:

  • The ACTH Test
  • TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test (thyroid-stimulating hormone)
  • T3 is available for free (FT3)
  • Thyroxine (total) (TT4)
  • DHEA/Cortisol Ratio
  • Cortisol/17-HP ratio
  • Testing for neurotransmitters

You may also try the following two safe at-home tests:

  • The Iris Contraction Test: The idea behind this test is that in individuals with impaired adrenal function, the iris will not contract correctly when exposed to light. The test is sitting in a dark room and repeatedly flashing a spotlight over the eyes. It’s conceivable that if you have adrenal exhaustion, the eye contraction may last no more than two minutes, and your eyes will dilate even if you’re still indirect light.
  • Blood pressure increases in healthy people when they stand up from a lying posture. You may check your blood pressure while lying down and then standing up using a blood pressure monitor. It’s conceivable that your adrenals have been weakened if you don’t notice an increase or a decrease in your levels.


Because of the contentious nature of this disease, you may need to see a naturopath who can help you treat it with a mix of food and supplement suggestions, as well as any hormonal or other medicines that are needed.

According to studies, a 20-milligram oral dosage of hydrocortisone is suggested by some for common cortisol control. In contrast, a 50-milligram dose may be given occasionally but should not be used daily or in larger quantities.

Natural Remedies

The following is a list of treatments for adrenal fatigue:

  • lowering stress levels in your body and mind
  • getting rid of toxins
  • staying away from negative thoughts
  • refilling your body with nutritious meals, vitamins, and mental attitudes

If you’re wondering, “How can I assist my adrenal glands,” you’ve come to the right place. Adrenal fatigue therapy may be closer than you think – it resembles the healthy, healing diets used to address the underlying problems that cause various illnesses.

1. Adhere to the Adrenal Fatigue Diet

Diet plays a significant role in all cases of adrenal healing. A variety of nutrients provide adrenal support, assisting in replenishing adrenal energy so that your system may return to total health.

To begin, eliminate any difficult-to-digest meals as well as any poisons or chemicals in your surroundings.

The goal of the adrenal fatigue diet is to eliminate everything that puts your adrenals under Stress.

Foods to stay away from include:

  • Caffeine may disrupt your sleep pattern and make it difficult for your adrenal glands to recuperate. Therefore, if you must have coffee or a caffeinated beverage, restrict yourself to a bit of quantity before midday.
  • Sugar and sweeteners: Try to limit your intake of added sugar as much as possible. Avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners is also essential. In addition, sugary meals, cereals, candies, and sweets should be avoided. Sugar is an ingredient in a lot of bread, sauces, and salad dressings. As an alternative, try raw honey or stevia, and always use sweets in moderation.
  • Carbs: While carbohydrates aren’t always harmful to you, the inflammation they may create can be especially troublesome if you’re suffering from adrenal exhaustion. When individuals are anxious, they often desire carb-heavy meals, which provide temporary relief but put more strain on the adrenal glands. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and worried, try cutting out gluten and starchy carbohydrates for a while to see if your fatigue and energy levels improve.
  • Processed and microwaved meals: To begin with, the microwave has its own set of risks, but most microwaveable, ultra-processed foods include a slew of preservatives and fillers that are difficult to digest and deplete your body’s energy and digestive cycle. Whenever feasible, purchase food from the outside walls of your grocery store and cook it yourself.
  • Processed foods: An excess of protein may stress your hormones more than you would realize, and the additional hormones and lack of nutrients in traditional, processed meats (especially red meats like beef and steak) can quickly put your system out of sync. When purchasing meats for adrenal support, stick to grass-fed beef and free-range chicken or turkey, and consume these protein-rich meats in moderation.
  • Hydrogenated oils: Inflammatory vegetable oils such as soybean, canola, and maize oil may cause adrenal inflammation. Use only healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter, or ghee in your cooking.

Then, nutrient-dense meals that are simple to digest and have healing properties should be included.

Include the following foods in your diet:

  • Coconut
  • Olives
  • Avocado and other fats that are good for you
  • Cruciferous veggies are cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • Fatty fish (e.g., wild-caught salmon)
  • Chicken and turkey from a free-range environment
  • Broth made from bones
  • Walnuts and almonds are examples of nuts.
  • Pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds are examples of seeds.
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
  • Probiotic-rich fermented foods
  • Medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga and cordyceps

Because they’re nutrient-dense, low in sugar, and high in healthy fat and fiber, these foods may help you overcome adrenal exhaustion.

2. Herbs and Supplements

Taking the appropriate vitamins and utilizing supportive herbs is another crucial step in combating adrenal exhaustion. Because getting enough of each nutrient you need every day may be difficult, supplements can be used to guarantee that you receive the vitamins and minerals you need for adrenal support.

In addition, some herbs, spices, and essential oils may aid in the battle against adrenal fatigue and promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

  • Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra, and holy basil may decrease cortisol levels and regulate stress reactions in the body, according to research. Therefore, you may relieve some of the stress on your adrenal glands by utilizing these herbs in meal preparation.
  • Licorice root is a spice that comes in extract form and has been proven to help your body produce more DHEA. However, licorice root has specific adverse side effects, which may be prevented by ingesting DGL licorice. According to research, pregnant people and individuals with heart, liver, or renal issues should avoid licorice roots. In addition, it should not be taken for more than four weeks at a time. Also, keep an eye on your blood pressure since it may rise in specific individuals.
  • Fish oil (EPA/DHA): There are many advantages to using fish oil supplements (or algal oil for people on vegan or other plant-based diets). A variety of adrenal fatigue-related symptoms and consequences, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin disorders, weight gain, and anxiety/depression, are among them.
  • Magnesium is a crucial component in the battle against adrenal insufficiency. While the processes aren’t entirely known, you may benefit from taking magnesium supplements if you have adrenal exhaustion.
  • According to research, B-complex vitamins: Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to stress on the adrenal cortex in certain animals. Another frequent vitamin deficiency in individuals with adrenal Stress is vitamin B5. So it’s essential to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin supplement if you’re decreasing or eliminating meat from your diet to combat adrenal exhaustion.
  • Vitamin C: Known as a “stress-busting” nutrient, vitamin C seems to help individuals cope with Stress by reducing its time to recover from stressful situations.
  • Vitamin D: In addition to maintaining magnesium and phosphorus balance in the body and supporting healthy bones, vitamin D can influence other diseases, such as adrenal dysfunction and illness.
  • Selenium deficiency has been shown in at least one animal research to affect adrenal function negatively.
  • The lavender essential oil has been shown in human and animal tests to have a soothing impact that may help decrease Stress. When breathed, it may also help to reduce elevated cortisol levels, according to research.
  • Rosemary essential oil (together with lavender) has been shown to lower cortisol levels and reduce oxidative stress in cells.

Use only 100 percent therapeutic-grade, USDA Certified Organic essential oils and whole-food-based supplements from trustworthy providers. Make sure you’re buying something you can trust.

3. Decrease Stress

The essential factor in regaining adrenal function is to pay attention to your mind and stress requirements. Pay attention to your body and try the natural stress relievers listed below:

  1. Rest as much as possible when you’re weary.
  2. 8–10 hours of sleep each night is recommended.
  3. Staying up late is bad for your health, so try to go to bed by 10 p.m.
  4. Every day, laugh and do something enjoyable.
  5. Job to reduce work and relationship stress as much as possible.
  6. Reduce your caffeine and sugar addiction by eating on a regular meal cycle.
  7. Workout (even moderate exercise and walking can help). Yoga, in particular, may aid in improving one’s quality of life and lowering stress levels. It’s occasionally helpful to merely walk until your adrenals are fully recovered if you feel fatigued after exercise.
  8. Negative individuals and self-talk should be avoided.
  9. Set aside some time for yourself (do something relaxing).
  10. If you’ve had any traumatic events, seek counseling or assistance.

Let’s take a moment to discuss “self-talk.” Of course, our bodies are designed to repair themselves. But, on the other hand, our words have a significant effect on our bodies and our capacity to recover.

Your surroundings are one of the essential components, regardless of what diet and supplements you take.

As a result, be nice to yourself. Try to keep unpleasant remarks about yourself and others to a minimum. It’s essential to surround oneself with good individuals and have a positive attitude.

Many people scoff at such counsel, yet it’s been scientifically shown that practicing “thought substitution,” a positive self-talk technique that includes vocally repeating optimistic outcomes to stressful circumstances, may decrease pathological anxiety.

4. Return to health

How long does it take to get back on your feet? Unfortunately, adrenal exhaustion recovery time has never been researched. Therefore it’s a complex issue to answer.

However, recovering from adrenal exhaustion may take some time. After all, it took months, if not years, to wear down your adrenals, so regaining their power will take some time.

It will need the following to heal your adrenals fully:

  • For mild adrenal exhaustion, 6–9 months is recommended.
  • For moderate tiredness, 12–18 months is recommended.
  • For severe adrenal fatigue, you may need to wait up to 24 months.

For long-term outcomes, the best strategy is to make significant lifestyle changes. For example, after only a few weeks of eating healthier foods that help bodily detoxification and using adrenal fatigue supplements, some individuals feel a difference in their general well-being.

If you strive for a balanced lifestyle that includes enough sleep, exercise, enjoyment, and a pleasant atmosphere, your adrenal system will likely remain healthy.

Side Effects and Risks

To begin, keep in mind that any new dietary regimen or supplement addition to your lifestyle should be done under the guidance of a physician or naturopath you trust.

In general, eating more plant-based foods and avoiding stimulants, sugary foods, and processed meals with a lot of salt or chemicals added to them will make you feel and live better, regardless of the problems you may or may not have.

When it comes to herbs, spices, vitamins, and essential oils used to treat adrenal exhaustion, there is more cause for worry. Don’t use them blindly without medical supervision or appropriate instruction on how, how much, how frequently, and for how long to take new vitamins, herbs, or essential oils.

When you’re pregnant or nursing, there are a few plants you shouldn’t take. Medicinal mushrooms, adaptogenic plants, and certain essential oils fall under this category.

Last Thoughts

  • Adrenal fatigue is a contentious illness thought to be an “in-between” state of health before a disease is diagnosed.
  • High levels of chronic stress are thought to be the reason since they strain the adrenal glands, causing them to overproduce or underproduce cortisol, the stress hormone, at inopportune periods.
  • Severe exhaustion, cognitive fog, reduced sexual desire, hair loss, insulin resistance, and other symptoms of adrenal fatigue are common.
  • Remove inflammatory items from your diets, such as sugar and excess carbs, and replace them with colorful, plant-based foods, free-range lean meats like chicken or turkey, and plenty of healthy fats to naturally combat adrenal fatigue.
  • Adrenal exhaustion may be treated with several herbs, spices, vitamins, and essential oils. However, these should only be used under the guidance of a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is adrenal fatigue?

A: Adrenal fatigue is a condition that can occur when the adrenal glands are unable to produce enough cortisol and other hormones. This may result in symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and mood changes.

How do you detox your adrenal glands?

A: There are a few ways to detox your adrenal glands. The most common way is through herbs and supplements, such as ashwagandha, milk thistle, and licorice root.

What is the best vitamin for adrenal fatigue?

A: Many different vitamins can be used for this. The best vitamin to use would depend on the severity of your symptoms and what you have tried in the past.

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