The Real Deal on Adrenal Fatigue

Hey guys! Diane from Balanced Bites here to talk a bit about a really, really common topic in our stressed-out world. We’ve covered this a bunch in TWO Balanced Bites podcast episodes, which you can listen to for free via iTunes – Adrenal Fatigue – Part 1 (Episode #15) and Adrenal Fatigue – Part 2, listener questions (Episode #39).

Adrenal fatigue

You hear the expression thrown around a lot if you’re in the health and fitness community or reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts on health-related topics. It’s very common that we, as everyday Americans and athletes/CrossFitters even moreso, experience varying levels of restful sleep, energy, digestive function, immunity and the ability to recover from exercise. With so many stressors in our daily lives, not to mention the things we add on top as pleasure that are actually stressors, it’s no wonder we’re in a bit of a pickle when it comes to achieving healthy endocrine balance.

Adrenal FatigueI have a close relationship with the condition of adrenal fatigue as I have suffered from it, at varying levels, over the last four years. While training for my first half-marathon here in San Francisco in July of 2007, I was experiencing what seemed to be very mysterious changes in my energy and moods. I was following a low-fat diet for the duration of my training under the nutrition advice of a Registered Dietitian who specialized in sports nutrition. The program included plenty of whole grains, dairy, some nut butter, very lean meats, vegetables and fruit – and would add up to as much as around 2,500 calories per day. Without eating much fat, that’s a LOT of food. I was eating at least six times a day. At the time, I was training anywhere from 60-120 minutes, primarily performing steady-state cardio exercise or sometimes interval training with minimal strength training included. This was a pretty far departure from the training I had done most of my life prior to beginning the half-marathon training. Needless to say, this was not a smart choice for my body.

While completing training runs adding up to around 20-25 miles per week, I would also attend three or four cardio kickboxing classes per week on top of that.  I distinctly remember attending a couple of those classes, which I had always done for the fun of it, and not being able to smile. My energy was just flat. It was like the air in my tires was gone and I couldn’t even muster up the gusto to finish the classes anymore. And these were classes I was even certified to teach, that’s how much I loved them. As if that wasn’t enough, I would frequently pick up a second cup of coffee for the day either before or after the kickboxing class (we’re talking 6/7pm here folks) to go home after the gym and work late into the evening on side-projects from my day job. Talk about burning the candle at both ends! I was very lean and felt amazing when I looked in the mirror and saw 6-pack abs for the first (and possibly only) time in my life, but my body was telling me that it wasn’t happy. And I wasn’t listening. I didn’t know that what I was experiencing was something real that was a direct result of the diet and lifestyle I was choosing to lead – thinking it was making me healthier!

What I finally learned after my exhaustion:

  1. People who train hard and look lean are not always healthy.
  2. Eating fat will not make me fat
  3. Working out smarter, not harder is often the way to achieve performance and aesthetic goals.
  4. Sleep is the cornerstone of being able to eat well, train well and to allow the body to re-set stress levels and lose body fat.

I felt like I had discovered The Holy Grail. Creating a lean healthy body actually required a lot less effort than I thought. 

What is stress?

Stress is a specific response by the body to a stimulus, such as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with normal physiological equilibrium. Stress can be physical, mental or emotional strain or tension and can be an occurrence (chronic or acute) or a causative factor in a state of dis-ease.

Key players in the endocrine game of stress & adrenal function:


Adrenal glands:

Two, triangular shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys, consisting of an inner medulla and an outer cortex. The adrenal medulla produces and secretes epinephrine (adrenaline, a fast-acting hormone), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and a small amount of dopamine in response to stimulation by sympathetic preganglionic neurons. The adrenal cortex mediates the stress response through the production of steroid hormones: mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, including aldosterone and cortisol respectively as well as DHEA and sex hormone precursors.


The hormone released in response to any kind of systemic stress. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. (Wiki)

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA Axis):

The system of communication between the neuro-endocrine glands that dictates our responses to stress as well as our circadian rhythm.

Neurotransmitters, Excitatory & Inhibitory:

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals from neurons to their target cells across synapses. The way each neurotransmitter is classified is based upon which receptors they activate. Some typically excitatory neurotransmitters include glutamate, dopamine, acetylcholine, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and histamine. Some typically inhibitory neurotransmitters include serotonin (95% of which is made in the gut, according to Elizabeth Lipski), GABA, glycine and adenosine.

Read more:

Hippocampus & Circadian Rhythm:

The gland that regulates circadian rhythm, our bodies’ roughly 24-hour cycle in biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes.

When the neuro-endocrine pathways are well-balanced…

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have extreme imbalances in this system of messages at all. We might experience acute bouts of an imbalance, but we’d quickly come back to a homeostasis and appropriate cortisol levels and rhythm throughout the day (high in the morning, tapering off to low in the evening). In balance, we have adequate amounts of serotonin in a healthy gut to promote the production of melatonin at night – the counter regulatory hormone to cortisol that manages our sleep cycle while cortisol manages our wake cycle. When we are able to fall asleep at night easily, wake up in the morning easily and feeling rested and have good energy throughout the daytime, we are in good balance. When stress takes over, that’s when the balance is lost.

How stress affects your system.

The diagram below illustrates a stress response we might have that we are aware of, such as a traffic jam when we’re on our way to an important meeting. It’s important to note that similar stressors can affect different people in different ways depending on the constitution of the person as well as that person’s state of mental, emotional and physical well-being at the time the stressor is introduced. For example, two people may be in the same traffic jam, but one is perfectly happy to sit and listen to his Paleo Solution Podcast for an extra 20 minutes, while the other is about to be late for an important job interview. The chain of events that happens in reaction to the traffic jam in each person’s system will be very different as a result. Additionally, this response can be happening on a systemic level on a daily basis if you are eating food that you don’t tolerate – your weekly gluten-bomb cheats that you think aren’t so bad… they are. and your body is trying to recover from the inflammation in your gut without reprieve.


A repeatedly excitatory response to this kind of stressor, or even a chronic internal stress such as malnutrition or gut irritation/leaky gut, can push your immuno-endocrine system completely off balance. It should become apparent just how critical our nutrition, proper doses of exercise, gut health, thoughts, emotions, perceptions and reactions to life stressors really are when we’re talking about keeping the messages being sent to our adrenal glands in check.

A Look at the Problem: It’s Not Your Adrenal Glands’ Fault

The single biggest contributing factor to adrenal fatigue (or an altered adrenal profile, as I like to call it) is stress. It sounds simple enough, but the reality is that stress comes in so many varieties and forms that it’s impossible to avoid all together. What we must do is identify the forms that we can best control in our lives and work on making diet and lifestyle modifications to work on lowering the stress-load on our systems. We can also work on finding better ways to help our bodies to manage the stressors that we do experience that we cannot eliminate.

Contributors to the stress that leads to adrenal fatigue can be lifestyle stressors including but not limited to: lack of sleep, poor food choices, use of stimulants, pulling “all-nighters” or “pushing through” a day despite being tired, perfectionism, staying in no-win situations for too long, over training, lack of fun or stress-relieving practices. Those who are: students, medical professionals, single parents, unhappily married, unhappy or unsatisfied at work, are self-employed or starting a new business, abuse drugs or alcohol, have alternating shift schedules or who are the “all work and no play” types have lifestyles that lead to adrenal fatigue. Furthermore, life events that can lead to adrenal fatigue include: unrelieved pressure or stress at work, any crisis or severe emotional trauma, death of a loved one, major surgery, extended or chronic illness, sudden change in life situations such as loss of a job or moving without much friend or family support in a new location and repeated or extended chemical exposure. (Wilson, 17-18) The problem of stress might not be such an issue if we weren’t compounding many stressors over the course of days, weeks, months and years without much downtime for our systems. So, while the condition of adrenal fatigue can come on suddenly as triggered by a traumatic or severe life event, most commonly it is experienced after a gradual, cumulative effect of multiple stressors.

If the adrenal glands ability to make cortisol is not to blame, then what is?

If a person has completed an Adrenal Salivary Index (sometimes called and Adrenal Stress Index or ASI) test and there is output of cortisol over the course of the day that is not simply low at each measured time, then the adrenals are capable of producing cortisol, they are just “off” in how they are releasing it in response to the messages they receive from the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA Axis). It’s pretty uncommon to see a test result that’s simply low across the board, typically there’s at least one spike in a person’s levels. So, what does that mean? The adrenals are doing what they’re asked to do by the higher order functions of our bodies, but that may not be the desired action in terms of a healthy volume and balance for our cortisol throughout the day.

This brings us back to the HPA Axis and our good friend, Balance.

The way we can bring our adrenal health back in line is to balance out the types of messages our Hypothalamus is sending to our adrenal glands via the HPA Axis. Imagine this action is a bit like a teeter totter… 

Symptoms of an Altered Adrenal Profile

  • fatigue
  • inability to recover appropriately from exercise (you should feel tired post-workout for MAYBE 20-30 minutes, then you should feel just fine – if you are dragging for hours or the rest of the day, you overdid it!)
  • headaches with physical or mental stress
  • weak immune system & allergies
  • slow to start in the morning
  • gastric ulcers
  • afternoon headaches
  • feeling full or bloated
  • craving sweets, caffeine or cigarettes
  • blurred vision
  • unstable behavior
  • becoming shaky or light-headed if meals are missed or delayed
  • cannot stay asleep or cannot fall asleep
  • dizziness when moving from sitting to standing or lying to standing
  • transient spells of dizziness
  • asthma
  • hemorrhoids, varicose veins
    (source: Kharrazian)

What can you do about it?


  • SLEEP!
  • Avoid draining people or situations. Learn to say NO to things!
  • Do not over-train: (training vs draining, working out vs working IN, READ: Paul Chek’s book “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” for more on this)
  • Do restorative exercises: see Paul Chek’s book – listed above – Qigong, meditation, restorative breathing, walking, very light/restorative yoga. Depending on your status, if you are going to lift weights, keep it moderate weight and low reps- not high intensity over long periods of time.
  • Whenever you are not enjoying your life, assess whether you can:
    • 1. change the situation
    • 2. change yourself to fit the situation
    • 3. leave the situation


  • A well-balanced (for you!) Paleo diet – focus on quality proteins and fats, add starch pre and/or post workout as-needed for energy and recovery
  • A variety of organic vegetables and fruit
  • EFAs (omega 3 fatty acids) to manage inflammation and quiet the loop that feeds into higher cortisol production
  • Add mineral sea salt to food / water
  • Balanced meals – judge your “success” by how you feel entering your next meal (starving, shaky, low blood sugar?!)

Supplements & Nutrients in your food on which to focus:

Vitamin CCitrus, strawberries, kiwi, cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables are good food sources. This potent antioxidant has been shown to induce an anti-inflammatory response to prolonged exercise and stress and mitigates the rise of cortisol and subjective response to physiological stress in human studies. Generally a high-dose supplementation is recommended short-term and to bowel-tolerance. (Life Extension, 17)

Vitamin B5 (or only a complex as noted below) – Helps to activate the adrenal glands and deficiency results in adrenal insufficiencies characterized by “fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances, nausea and abdominal discomfort.” (Life Extension, 17)

Vitamin B Complex– Liver, meat, seafood (wild/pasture raised, grass-fed sources), seeds, mushrooms are good food sources. All B vitamins are critical for the entire adrenal cascade – lower your dosage with recovery and focus only on foods. (Bauman, 2010) (Wilson, 199)

Magnesium Glycinate or Malate  – Green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (also tahihi) salmon and halibut are good food sources. Magnesium is “essential to the production of the enzymes and the energy necessary for the adrenal cascade.

Omega 3Fatty cold water fish: salmon, mackeral, herring, some tunas, etc. are good food sources. In supplemental form, fermented cod liver oil from is the one that I recommend.

Herbal Support:

Licorice root extract  (DGL) – no more than 1000mg of glycyrrhizin/day – when cortisol is lower than normal rhythm or output should be. (Life Extension, 17) This is also easily taken via licorice root tea before 3pm.

Acetylcholine – To support poor circadian rhythm function (tired & wired/can’t sleep), supporting brain and neurotransmitter function. (Walsh, T-nation)

L-theanine – As a calming amino acid, works by increasing GABA which is a relaxer and creates a sense of well-being in the brain. (Life Extension, 16)

Seriphos (Phosphorylated Serine) at bedtime. Short-term to re-regulate sleep cycles.

Ashwaganda root & leaf, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng,Ginger root –  adaptogenic herbs that can help to modulate cortisol levels, normalize blood pressure, heart rate and increase metabolic rate by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes for protein and fat.

Ginkgo biloba – a powerful antioxidant that helps to calm free-radical production and thereby protect the adrenals from the imbalance of inputs to the hypothalamus that the free-radical damage would create. (Wilson, 193-207)

If you are curious about your own adrenal health status…

Contact a naturopath, chiropractor, certified nutrition consultant or other practitioner in your area to find out if they can run an adrenal salivary index test for you.

Sources:, “The Truth About Adrenal Fatigue,” Bryan Walsh

Kharrazian, Datis. Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal. Garden City, NY. Morgan Jame Publishing. 2010.

Life Extension: Disease Prevention and Treatment. Hollywood, FL. Life Extension Media. 2003.

Murray, Michael. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements: The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally. Roseville, CA. 1996.

Sapolsky, Robert M. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping. New York, NY. St. Martin’s Press. 2004.

Walsh, Bryan and Sean Croxton. The Truth About Adrenal Fatigue. Blog Talk Radio. 2010

Wilson, James L., N.D., D.C. Ph.D.. Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. Petaluma, CA. Smart Publications. 2001.

Categories: Anti inflammatory diet, CrossFit, Fitness, Sleep, Weight Loss


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. says

    You mention that it’s rare to be low across the board on the ASI – well, you got one right here :)

    I’m working with a holistic internist. Smart guy, not “paleo”, but close. He has me on pregnenolone and DHEA to support the adrenals, and eventually get me back to where I need to be on my own.

    Thanks for the article on a very close topic to me.

    • says

      Pregnenolone & DHEA are very standard as a protocol for a clinician to use, and perfectly safe and effective. I’d not necessarily recommend that stuff to people “over the counter” but they work well and I use them in my practice. Keep us posted on how you do.

    • says

      DHEA can have some negative side-effects. I know it sounds a little strange, but if you boil eggs and just consume the egg yolks you can easily consume enough cholesterol that will to be naturally converted to DHEA. Of course, conventional wisdom would see this a sheer lunacy. Intentionally trying to consume cholesterol… craziness right?

      • says

        The problem is that not everyone who has sufficient cholesterol levels (and dietary cholesterol isn’t going to affect serum cholesterol as much as we think- only .05% according to Uffe Ravnskov!) is able to convert the hormones into DHEA and subsequent sex hormones due to the Pregnenolone steal. So, it’s sort of like trying to drive omega 3 up in the body via something like flax oil (though not a perfect analogy), which is not the end-usable form of EPA/DHA omega 3.

  2. Alice Corbett says

    The Paleo Diet has been credited with improving MS as experienced by Dr. T. Wahls. It is my intention to follow the diet for MS as well as chronic fatigue. It is unclear if any rice products are acceptable such as rice milk, and rice pasta. Is corn pasta also problematic?

    • Amy Kubal says

      Alice – yes, definitely avoid all grains as per the autoimmune protocol. Try spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute! :)

        • Julie says

          I recently tried oat bran, after reading the great benefits from this complex carb, It is still a grain, may stimulate insulin, and appratite. I tried and made me hungrier.

          Everyone is different. But some people are very sentive to carbs. When healing the adrenals, it maybe wise to try more protein , low carb vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein. Fruit can be an issue because of sugars. Berries are best to try but not on their own or as only a breakfast option . Combine fruit with protein weather with nuts or meat.

  3. TP says

    As part of my job a few years ago, I physically conditioned classes in a law enforcement setting. The classes were about 1.5 hours of activity each to include running and calisthenics. I would do about 2-3 per day five days/week. On top of these, I would do a heavy lift and some met con 5 days/week and post workout nutrition included a couple of red bulls. It is 5 years later now and I slowed considerably (Wendler 531 plus accessory work 3 days/week and paleo) and I still feel like I have trouble recovering. Can permanent damage be done?

  4. olesya says

    Great article, i just want to clarify few things, its it best to eat more carbs while trying to recover ? i just feel so tired all the time. Also has anyone tried taking drenantrophin for it? any good results. I started taking it and don’t see any improvement yet.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Olesya! Yes, some additional starchy vegetable sourced carb will help stimulate the adrenals. It will likely not require large amounts and it may be especially helpful if eaten in the morning and definitely post workout! Let me know if I can help you!

  5. says

    The stress response is so important for people to understand. I am a DC and do lots of lay lectures and once people get a grasp of the stress response, how it affects them and what sets it off, they begin to make changes and notice the results. This one concept is one the most important things that anyone needs to know about how their body works so they can get and stay healthy for a lifetime. Thanks for getting it out the so well and maybe build on it and apply it to autoimmune conditions, depression, allergies like asthma, neuro degenerative conditions, chronic pain, cardiovascular issues…

  6. Rita says

    What if your saliva test results show your cortisol is a flat line all 4 times in the day it is measured? What type of exercise should I be doing if that is the case?

    • says

      I would stick to light walking and a non-taxing, restorative types of movement- esp. Qigong or Tai Chi (both of these can really help heal the adrenals). Anything harder and you’ll only delay healing.
      When your cortisol is low across the board, you don’t have as much inflammation control, so you won’t have proper muscle recovery if you tax your muscles and you’ll end up feeling worse (I know this from personal experience!)

      I highly recommend the following DVDs: “Chi Kung: The Healing Workout” by Jerry Alan Johnson (it has a great extra feature on posture) and “Qigong For Cleansing” by Francesco and Daisy Lee Garripoli.

  7. J says

    Good article; I learned quite a bit, but it’s missing the most important part – actionable steps about what to do about it.
    i.e. – as someone who has a close relationship to Adrenal Fatigue, what did you do about it?

  8. Lori says

    I’ve been doing very low carb (30 grams/day) paleo without fruit for the past six years to control Type 1 diabetes. I feel fatigued and have trouble sleeping. ASI shows low cortisol in the morning, high at bedtime. Also, tyroid is low normal. Could this be caused by a very low carb diet? I don’t want to sacrafice blood sugar control, A1c is 5.6. But, I would like to have energy during the day and get some sleep at night!

    • says

      That’s tough…you just need to tinker. I’d stick more sweet potateos than fruit…and just start by adding carbs post workout and or earlier in the day. Keep me posted!

      • Rachel says

        I experienced a similar thing starting a few years ago- I’m on a paleo diet to regulate blood sugar, but, started having trouble sleeping. But what I did with sweet potatoes was to eat them AT DINNER to promote that sleepy feeling and it seemed to help a lot .. you suggest here eating them earlier in the day/morning- can you share your logic about that and give me your opinion on my method? Thanks! (also, I take Magnesium Glycinate and GABA before bed, and see an acupuncturist regularly…it took a long time to get back on track with sleep, the sweet potatoes was just one little part, I had to change my life to change my sleep!)

        • Neal says

          Not sure why to consume carbs in AM. If you’re diabetic Type 1 or 2 carb intake is harder to manage blood sugars due to cortisol and stress hormones being higher in morning. You’ll need more insulin in the AM. Ok to consume carbs in morning but keep lower and package with protein/fat to blunt glycemic response. Carbs later in day once you’ve been active much easier to control blood sugars.

      • says

        Careful there though Matt! Insulin resistance during ketosis is NOT insulin resistance as we see it in type2 diabetes. Thsi si an attempt to spare glucoe for the brain.

      • Jeff Dege says

        I started low-carb dieting, back in June 2012, I took a glucose tolerance test. My blood sugar peaked at 177. Not diabetic, but well above normal. I was clearly very insulin resistant.

        A couple of days ago (Jan 2013), I took one again. This time, my blood sugar peaked at 131. Within normal range.

        For me, at least, six months of low-carb eating has significantly improved my insulin sensitivity.

        My feeling is that most of the studies that attempt to measure the effects of dietary changes on metabolic factors like insulin sensitivity are too short-term. They reflect only temporary adaptations, not long-term effects.

    • maria says

      I have type 1 (juvenile) also & same diet. (Dr. Richard Bernstien’s The Diabetes Solution- 6 grams carb breakfast, 12 lunch, 12 dinner).
      Getting the thyroid up made the bigger diff. for me- make sure they check your T 3 & what helped me the most was getting on natural thyroid.
      Hope that helps,
      I also like the on line support “Tu Diabetes”.

      • Neal says

        Maria – just curious how are your energy levels with respect to exercise etc on the Bernstein Diet? Dr Bernstein claims that most Type 1s will have clinical or subclinical thyroid issues. I think this is true but high carb diets likely keep thyroid high but once switching to Bernstein Diet the low carb approach warrants thyroid replacement as thyroid issues become more apparent for some.

  9. Michelle J says

    Great info thank you! My ASI test revealed flatline adrenal function and I have tested low thyroid as well. Another complicating factor is hereditary hemochromatosis which lowers my glucose intolerance. Finding the balance has been a trick to say the least! I added more carbs and lowered fat as per Robb’s recommendation but I can add only a little at a time.

    My questions:
    Would you please address the food rotation idea to lower the stress on the immune system? I have been rotating proteins and am about to begin rotating vegetables see if that has any more impact.

    What is your experience in balancing sodium/potassium with nutrition? I tend to be on the low bp side of things and have been adding sea salt per James Wilson’s suggestions. Aside from watching bp, swelling fingers, etc, are there any other markers I should be watching?

    Thank you so much for your input!

    • says

      Food rotation, especially proteins, is a good idea in general. Most folks do this naturally simply via variety in their food, but a lot of people do get stuck eating one type of animal all the time. It’s natural to eat one kind for a few meals in a row, then change it up entirely to another.

      I don’t have more for you on the Na/K balancing, sorry… I think hydration status might be a good sign overall though. And overall energy. If your sodium/potassium pump internally isn’t working well, ATP/energy production will likely be low.

  10. Jessica Jane says

    Would it also be healthy for the adrenals to put carbs PRE-workout? I find that I have much more energy during my lifting sessions if I fuel up with a banana or something beforehand, but rarely do much for post-workout (just a hunk of meat and loads of leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, peas!) Does this affect the system in a similiar way? Otherwise I might get lightheaded, hungry, weak.

    I also read that B5 helps the adrenal glands. I used “mega doses” to “cure” my breakouts and it work shockingly well. I’m now wondering if the two are related (healing my adrenal fatigue=healing my acne, not necessarily the vitamin itself.) Do you have any insight on this/experience? Does adrenal fatigue also cause low stomach acid? I think I’ve got about zilch right now. 😉

    Also .. I enjoy a cup of my (home-brewed) coffee in the morning, and I only use a tablespoon of grounds. Do you think that’s detrimental? Thank you! Great article. :-)

    • says

      Jessica- yes, and yes re: starches and B5- I updated/completed the post! … but the coffee isn’t helping 😉

      Adrenal fatigue & stomach acid– likely yes. Low B12 especially can decrease your stomach acid production (actually intrinsic factor, which works with HCl)… work on supplementing in the meantime but getting stress DOWN will get HCl UP.

      • Lan says

        Do you have accurate information regarding the baking soda test for low stomach acid? Some sources say (you should belch after) 3 minutes, but I’ve found at least one source that says (you’re likely fine belching within) 10 minutes.
        My ND thinks I have low stomach acid because I took the baking soda test on 5 different days and on 4 of them only burped after about 7-8 minutes even though on the other one I burped after 1 minute (!) I also started having *constant* (not just after meals) bloating about a week ago, which I’d never had before (I wasn’t prone to bloating after meals before that). I’ve never taken antacids (extremely few drugs in general, and none the past 4 years), am only 31, and eat very clean. I don’t understand why I should have low stomach acid EXCEPT if adrenal fatigue (which I probably have, , since I work a lot and stay up late every night) caused it.
        I’d MUCH appreciate any insight! Is it a good idea for me to take HCl supplement? I’ve taken 2 capsules with every meals for 4 meals now. I couldn’t tell if I was aggravated because I’ve been bloated the whole time anyway, plus my menses started yesterday and the cramps are bad. :(

  11. Amy B. says

    So glad to see Robert Sapolsky’s book Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers in your list of sources. I picked it up a while back but have just gotten into it in the last few days.

    I thought I knew a fair amount about all this, but he’s opening my eyes to a ton of stuff that I never realized. I already knew how bad stress is for physical and mental/emotional health, but it turns out it’s SO MUCH WORSE than I thought! Eek! His chapter on stress and depression is fantastic.

    There are some slow spots, but if anyone’s at all interested in really learning this stuff, I highly recommend this book. Sapolsky is half brilliant scientist and half Dave Barry — that should give you some idea of how well-researched and well explained the book is, and how DAMN FUNNY! (For those of you who know Dave Barry’s work…) Don’t be skeer’d — it’s written for lay people. He gets into the biology a bit but it’s all very accessible.

  12. April says

    Great article, Diane! I am actually going to seen an endocrinologist in a few weeks to get all my hormones checked out. I’ll be sure to ask about doing the Adrenal Stress Index test, is there anything else I should ask to get tested for? Thanks!

      • Amy Kubal says

        Also, it may be a good idea to have your Vitamin D level checked and run a thyroid panel – when you’re off in these areas you can feel downright yucky too!!

        • Maria A. says

          Dear Amy,

          My Hashimotos was only discovered when a Doctor finally ran a T3 free.

          For over a decade,I was told I did not have a Thyroid problem.

  13. Jenny says

    I just got my test results back a week ago, and my cortisol is low in the morning, then drops and flatlines the remainder of the day : ( I’m excited though that I now know why I’m so damn tired all the time! I have been Paleo for one year, and it helped me recover from daily digestive malaise. Now I’ve buttoned up my diet a bit (removed caffeine, being diligent about eating/snacking well to regulate blood sugar) and was put on pregnenalone, an adaptogen mix (ginseng, ashwaghanda, etc), a mutli-vitamin with bovine glands as well as an adrenal stimulating topical cream. I have no idea how long it might take to start feeling better and getting my cortisol up but am hopeful that I’m on the right path now. Trying to stay off the hooch too, and generally remove any stressors (physical, emotional, whatevs). Thinking acupuncture could really help but cannot afford it right now. Thanks for such a great article, I really appreciated the visual aids too.

    • says

      Jenny- sounds like a good protocol. I would expect you to be feeling some change within a week or two but the protocol may last 3 or 6 months, possibly longer (though not too likely) but it depends on your case. You should get re-tested in about 3 months (at most) to see how/if the supplements are supporting your recovery properly.

      • Jenny says

        Just wanted to report I am feeling a lot better, and have not had caffeine in over 30 days! Within the last week, however, I suddenly developed psoriasis or eczema or something… rashy, itchy skin, mainly the back of one knee and on my stomach. Calendula gel, coconut oil, nothing seems to help. I’m wondering if it’s a symptom of detox, or a Herxheimer reaction? Not sure how long to suffer with it before going to a dermatologist. Would following this protocol be enough to have detox symptoms like this?

        • says

          Detox symptoms can be many. One of which is an itchy rash. Your body is pushing out toxins. From reading detox sites, to help with detox, you should be taking magnesium, milk thistle and zinc, as well as a pro-biotic. There are many websites devoted to help with detox. DO NOT go see a dermatologist. If anything, visit a naturopath. I’ve seen dermatologists b/c of my psoriasis, and they only prescribe drugs that have horrible side effects. I’m currently on my own detox diet and it’s working great for me, after living with P for 15 years, with no good answers. Please do more research, as I have not provided all of the information I have obtained over the years.

          • stephanie descoteaux says

            Hi Nicole.
            I had a boyfriend who had psoriasis.(scaly, crusty elbows, raw dry skin, burgundy calves…)He had P for 20 years. I started to give him massages of about 10-20 min. everyday before bed.No special method.Suddenly he realized that it was going away! He couldn’t believe it, especially because it was the dead of winter and that indoor dry heating always made his P worse. There goes my 2 cents.

        • says

          My daughter had horrible eczema on her ankles that wouldn’t go away. for a few nights I patted on a thin layer of a calendula salve and clay powder before bed and covered with socks. It vanished quickly and hasn’t returned. You could just add a touch of clay powder to some of your calendula gel if you like (redmond’s, frontier, or now brands are some good choices). I used some Earth Mama Angel Baby butt balm and frontier green clay powder because I had it on hand.

  14. says

    Diane, great stuff. I haven’t revisited this information in a while and a refresher course was much needed.
    Diane or Robb, I’m pretty sure that after having 2 kids within 3 years my adrenals need some serious help. I’ve got pretty much everything else under control (paleo food, love my work, love my life) but my sleep is a mess, not because I can’t fall asleep, but because an 8 month old and a 2 1/2 year old like to keep it exciting at night…hahaha. Do you think I should wait until I’m done nursing my little guy to get these tests done and move forward with any adrenal protocol? I will nurse him for 4 more months and then I was going to begin to work with a practitioner. Just thought I’d get your insight on the matter.
    Thank you both for all you wonderful info!

    • says

      Hey Isabel-

      If you’re up nursing at night, there’s almost no way around the sleep deprivation unless you can pump enough to keep them quiet and let your husband do some feedings overnight for you.

      I would wait until you’re done nursing mostly because you may not want to be on a supplement protocol while nursing. That said, I would recommend contacting Mary Vance ( as she specializes in women’s health and may have more insights on that for you.

      Thanks for being an inspiration to me – it’s funny how our worlds have collided almost 20 years later, right?!

  15. Kevin Cann says

    I am a huge proponent of stress being the major underlying problem we face as an obese society. Gut irritating foods, and chronic stressors leading to extended amounts of gluccocorticoids in the bloodstream, which increase appetite. We then reach for palatable foods and continue to overeat and it becomes a vicious cycle. Robert Saporsky is a great resource as well for stress related illnesses. Stress needs to be managed along with dietary and lifestyle changes in order for someone to ultimately be successful. This was an awesome article!

  16. Margaret says

    I was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency/Addison’s disease shortly after beginning my paleo journey. It’s been a year, but my labs get better and better every time I have bloodwork done. I am on hydrocort, fludrocort, dhea, pregnenolone, and bioidentical progest and testos. I’ve grown used to taking this abundant amount of meds daily. Will I ever be able to get off the steroids or decrease my amount? There are no paleo doctors here and my endocrinologist loves that I eat this way and recommends me to continue. I tried to decrease my hydrocort myself and had and adrenal crisis, landing myself in hospital. I don’t want to do that again, but wonder if there is really a necessity for all these meds the rest of my life.

    • Amy Kubal says


      There is good news! YES, it is highly likely that you will be able to discontinue taking at least some of these meds! The steroids should only be used for a short time – due to side effects, etc. Healing is the important first step to get you off the meds – prioritize recovery. Eat well, sleep lots, be smart about exercise and minimize stress. There is hope!! :)

    • says

      I would guess that any adrenal or thyroid hormones that you are no longer producing due to the autoimmunity MAY need to stick around even once all your ducks are in a row, so to speak. It’s possible the dosages may change, but while going Paleo and cleaning up your lifestyle will certainly help to halt further progression of the issues, it’s not the only cause of the problem and therefore the dietary change alone may not be enough to say you no longer need those hormones. I would not mess with your hydrocort or synthroid at all on your own. Removing essential hormones from the mix isn’t the same as removing a medication that is up or down-regulating a body system. This is a hard one for people to grasp sometimes. Replacing hormones like adrenal or thyroid hormones that your body can’t make properly from the autoimmunity is something that may likely need to happen forever. Don’t feel badly or like you are “on medication.” It’s not the same thing at all.

  17. Michelle J says


    Thank you so much for your input. Finding the balance in nutrition, work, rest, play, sleep is tricky and your recommendations are spot on. I’ve tapered my workouts but will watch my post workout energy closely and add more qigong.

    I also find that post acupuncture/massage or ART I tend to crash if I don’t rest or hydrate or get the right percentage of this or that. Would you have any suggestions for recovery?

    • says

      Recovery from what exactly? And how often?

      It’s funny this post went up this week since I’m actually sort of back into this fatigue battle myself here trying to get my book done!

      • Michelle J says


        I’m finding that (apparently) I need to treat any physical treatment such as acupuncture, massage, or ART just like a workout. I have an acupuncture/massage treatment once a week as well as a visit to my ART doc. I found I was crashing on Mondays and Wednesdays and, bingo, those are my treatment days. It makes sense when I sit down and think about it–what are your thoughts?

        Exciting news about your book–I’m looking forward to it! I truly appreciate you sharing your experience coming through these issues. I definitely have a new respect for my limits after reading your article.

        I worked out today and instead of doing all my errands afterwards I took a nap and feel shockingly great. Thanks to all who write and talk about adrenal fatigue it’s helped a ton!

  18. Margaret says

    Thank you SO much, Diane. It’s very isolating knowing that there is not alot of info on Adrenal Insufficiency, much less a person that’s paleo with the disease. I appreciate your detailed article and responding so quickly. Your response has made me feel better. Thank you.

  19. Ed says

    I workout at my CrossFit box at 6am, four times a week. All other life aspects such as food, job and sleep are in check. Are there any proven ways in limiting the impact of adrenal fatigue due to morning workouts?

      • Christopher says

        Licorice can help increase cortisol levels, and is used sometimes in the morning or early part of the day to help the natural increase in cortisol during that time if it’s low for some reason.

  20. Shannon says

    I want to thank you for writing this because google returns a lot of the “adrenal fatigue is not real” articles from places like Mayo Clinic and other such “authorities”. I have recently been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, my dhea and estrogen levels are in the dirt, a myriad of food allergies via an antibody test, and something is wrong with my fatty acid metabolism. I don’t understand the fatty acid metabolism, but she said that is most likely why I have not been able to lose weight.

    Over the last 2 years I went from running marathons and 50ks to not being able to run .5 mile. I have put on quite a bit of weight, serious fatigue, digestive issues, migrains, and the list goes on. The naturopath I am seeing has me on some supplements now as well as following a low carb paleo diet, even though she doesn’t refer to it as paleo, the concept is similar.

    As I look back, I have been dealing with a lot of these issues since I was very young. They took my gall bladder out when I was 14 and diagnosed me with narcolepsy around the same time.

    I have not had the “life changing all at once within a few days of starting paleo” experience that I see in a lot of the testimonials, but I am slowly seeing changes. No, I have not lost weight yet, but I am no longer gaining. My skin is not clearing up yet, but I am no longer wondering if I can make it to the bathroom on time, migrains are few and far between, my nails are no longer peeling, my hair is starting to shine a little and is not so brittle, and my sex drive is returning (yay for my husband!).

    Is it hard? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Definately.

  21. Christopher says

    Speaking of adaptogenic herbs, I’ve had some good results from Himalaya Stress Care (also known as Geriforte). It’s fairly cheap, has a good mix of adaptogens, and seems to work pretty well.

  22. says

    This is a really good article about adrenal fatigue and how the adrenal stress response can overstrain your adrenals into burnout. I also agree with the paleo diet of low carbs and grains for the treatment of adrenal fatigue, however many people with adrenal burnout will have hypoglycemia because they aren’t able to produce enough cortisol to stabilize their blood sugar. Also environmental toxins such as toxic heavy metals can also cause stress that leads to adrenal burnout, especially Copper (a powerful adrenal stimulant found in coffee and chocolate).

    In response to a question about Na/K balancing through nutrition, this can be done primarily with the aid of a Hair Mineral analysis which measures the levels of macro and trace minerals, as well as toxic heavy metals. The Sodium and Potassium levels, and the ratio to one another (2.5 Na/K is optimal) is directly tied to adrenal function and hormone function, at the cellular level.

    I would also like to add that using adrenal stimulants such as Vitamin C, Pantothenic acid, ginseng, licorice, and ashwaghanda may actually worsen many people with adrenal burnout since rest and SLEEP are the primary healers of adrenal fatigue. Stopping the adrenal stress response should be primary in this type of treatment which can be assisted by taking high doses of Ca/Mg, Zinc, and other relaxing herbs and minerals, amino acids while B complex may be too stimulating. I would also recommend a gentle form of Liver cleansing of toxins and internal stressors that block normal enzyme acitivity which can block hormone function at the cellular level. This should be done under the supervision of a professional health provider as liver detoxification can also worsen adrenal fatigue if done too strongly.

    • says

      Absolutely each person’s needs will vary in terms of supplementation. That’s why I lead with food and lifestyle modifications and recommend that people get tested before grabbing a bunch of pills. Thanks for the comment.

  23. Sarah says

    Great article. In addition I’d add adrenal glandulars (treat like with like) to the list for people who are feeling really low. I like Ortho Adapt by AOR as it not only contains adrenal tissue, B5, vit C (but you still need to supplement on top of this), licorice, and the adaptogens Siberien Ginseng, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha.

    • says

      I like glandulars as well, but I hesitate to recommend them on a mass-basis to the public as they may be a bit strong for people and, as we know, people tend to think more = better. Ya know? I tend to use a similar product to the Ortho Adapt but just from a different company, Designs For Health- called Adrenal Complex- same kind of blend.

      • Judith says

        I bought some Ortho-Adapt to give it a try, but when I showed my endocrinologist the bottle yesterday, she didn’t think it was a good idea for me to take it b/c of the pig adrenal tissue/cortex ingredients (she was okay with the rest of the ingredients listed on the bottle). She said it could possibly lead to some nasty side effects – facial hair and the inability of my adrenals to work on their own. Thoughts???

        • Elenor says

          So, this doc thinks the thousands of folks using Armor (pig thyroid) and Naturthroid (pig thyroid)and (Canadian) Erfa Thyroid (pig thyroid) are all growing beards?!?! {sigh} Unless your doc has a *specific personal-to-YOU* reason why s/he thinks YOU *specifically* will grow a beard — then s/he is just responding to the economic lies put out by Big Pharma!

          About 5-6 years ago (by age 50-ish) I had pretty much destroyed my adrenals; had all the symptoms, did a lot of the testing… It took me more than a year on (physiological-replacement, not “treatment” doses) of hydrocortisone and natural dessicated thyroid first (Armor, then Erfa, when they reformulated and ‘trashed’ Armor); then, after a year, and further tests, T3-only. (NOT NOT NOT T4-only like Synthcrap, but T3-only, like Cynomel or Cytomel. If your body can’t or doesn’t convert T4 (storage form) to T3 (active form you’re NOT treating your hypo!) And wow, I came SO far back toward recovered! What a difference! (When I first tried to wean off the hydocortisone, I failed. After a further six months or so, I was able to titrate down and finally get off it.)

          Then my husband died, and I’ve been in survival mode for two years. I am nowhere NEAR as debilitated as I was, but I am finding some hypo symptoms,and esp. adrenal fatigue symptoms are back. Please, let me recommend the website Stop the Thyroid Madness. Janie Bowthorpe has put together an amazing resource. I am not affiliated in any way — except she and the folks on STTM saved my life! (You DO, like some many paleo/health things, have to educate yourself. Your docs can’t or don’t or won’t know it all!)

          • Martha says

            Hi Elenor,
            I read with interest your comments here and would love to have a chat. What you said rang some bells.
            Am currently in the throes of it. I havelng suspected I have low thyroid but TSH always tests normal range.
            I realize this post is a couple of years old but if you still hang out here please let me know.

            How are you doing now?
            Hope you are blessed with renewed vitality – my prayer for myself. No one understands this level of tired except someone who has fallen so far down the energetic scale you need a pair of stilts to walk under a garden hose.

            Thanks for what you wrote.

  24. says

    In the case of low cortisol production, unaltered licorice should be used NOT DGL. DGL removes Glycyrrhiza which is the active constituent that inhibits cortisol degradation.

    • says

      Can you explain this is more detail? My internist has prescribed the Licorice Root Extract alongside the DHEA and Pregnenolone, so clearly your response has me interested.

      • Jason says

        DGL is de-glycyrrhizinated licorice. Glycyrrhizin is the stuff that makes your blood pressure go up. If you want the adrenal support, you need the glycyrrhizin which you can get in pretty much any licorice tea or licorice root capsule. If you struggle with ulcers, you chew DGL tablets (saliva is a necessary component) and don’t necessarily want the blood pressure boost so glycyrrhizin is removed.

  25. P Moore says

    I wonder how much of a role sexual activity plays in adrenal fatigue. Production of sex hormones is central to the endocrine system, but doesn’t get mentioned here. Over a period of 20 years I have observed a worsening of flu-like symptoms after sex, at one point even wondering if I could possibly be allergic to something about my wife. Based purely on personal observation, if I am struggling with fatigue, sex will put me over the edge. Virtually any sexual activity in the afternoon will do the same. Anybody else notice this?

    • says

      I suggest going to Dr. and finding his articles on adrenals. Somewhere in there it’s mentioned. Please note: the ‘site’ can be overwhelming for those with adrenal ‘fatigue’-lots of info

      I have experienced what you describe-an awful feeling upon orgasm, especially in afternoon. I believe that Cortisol levels are lowest around 4pm. See Dr. Lam’s mention of such.

  26. says

    Great article, i have been meaning to brush up on my adrenal fatigue info so thank you!
    My question is on Holy Basil. I know Robb has recommended it before on the podcast to combat stress but i notice you didn’t include it. Can you give some general info on holy basil and what kind of use you would recommend, if at all? Im 22, i do cross fit 4-5 times a week, eat strict paleo, and i also take natural calm before bed. I have some holy basil and i find that when i take it every day i feel pretty good and my energy level is usually more balanced but i’m not sure if it’s something you would need on a daily basis. I’ve pretty much stuck to just taking it on days when i get bad sleep or have a particularly taxing workout. Thanks for this article and for any help you might offer!


  27. Janeway says

    Hi Diane — Thank you for this excellent explanation. I’m hoping you might have some thoughts/suggestions for me regarding what I think is a stress-related symptom.

    After years of tremendous stress involving the illness and death of my parents, about 3 years ago I started to eat Paleo, exercise and meditate. It’s helped a lot. I’m post-menopause and completely depleted of hormones so my osteopath put me on DHEA. I also take a natural estrogen-progesterone supplement called Phyto-B which has mercifully eliminated the hot flashes. Other supplements are fish oil, Vit. D and calcium/magnesium.

    My problem is that I wake up every morning with a racing heartbeat. I have to take lots of deep breaths in an effort to calm down my system, but it doesn’t really work, and I spend most of the day in a state of physical anxiety. I don’t feel emotionally anxious, but my body is. I often wake up in the middle of the night, still physically tired but unable to go back to sleep. My pulse rate is normal. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning. I’m starting to think I have a heart condition or some neurological issue, but I also know about cortisol and stress. I’m not ready to get hooked up to a Holter monitor for three days. But I also don’t want to get a stroke. Anything I might try before I call to the doctor?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Kerri says

      Hi there. In respons to you symptoms. I would like to suggest you maybe try the ‘Candida diet’ I had sever anxiety and many other symptoms recently and worked out it was from a sever amount of candida/yeast throughout my body. Please visit this website it has been my saviour the past few weeks.

      I wake up with heart racing from anxiety and have my third week on the diet, my anxiety levels have dropped increasingly, and my adrenal symptoms are slowly going back to normal as well…

      good luck

  28. says

    I love the article and am working on getting adrenaline fatigue under control. This is very important for people to understand. I see so many people start out in a gym that probably have adrenaline fatigue and they are in the gym for hours on end which sets them up for failure because they drain the body even mroe.

  29. Bonnie says

    I’ve been dealing with adrenal fatigue for years now. It’s getting much better and I can do crossfit workouts now, and I recover ok. I still have terrible hypoglycemia, and have gained 15lbs in the last 3 years. I found that eating before bed really helps my sleep. I don’t have the cortisol to stabilize my blood sugars to last through the night. ( I used to wake up around 3-4am hungry with adrenaline pumping! my ASI test at that time is 14! should be 1-4)I’ve been eating nuts before bed, and sleep much better, but I’m gaining weight from it!! I’m eating mostly paleo, and eating more fat than I’m used to, to help with sugar cravings. Any advice to help lose weight with this issue? I’m 4’9 and 133 lbs. it’s a lot for my size…

  30. J.D. says

    I’ve been suffering from adrenal fatigue for a couple years now.. I’m 21 and initially got it from overtraining pretty bad (alot of sports whilst cutting calories). I rested for a while and can train fine now.. i.e. my adrenals produce enough cortisol. I went to my doctor the other day and he said my adrenals were the best he has seen in a while, but I still had some mild fatigue. I lift weights about five days a week now.. but recently something has started where if I lift around five, I’ll get to sleep around eleven (with the aid of melatonin) but then I’ll wake up around five or six in the morning and can’t get back to sleep for another hour or so..
    So my overall complaint is that I think I am producing too much cortisol. I have a pretty clean diet.. except I do eat ezekiel bread, sweet potatoes, and the occasional plain greek yogurt. Instead of lifting for an hour.. should I try doing crossfit in the morning (i.e. doing more short/intense workouts earlier in the day?)
    Thanks alot. I really appreciate your time.
    John Dorian

  31. J.D. says

    Also, I forgot to mention. I’ve had lowish testosterone for the past couple years as well. (free was just above the bottom third of the accepted range and total bounces around 300-400 on 250-1100 scale (I apologize I forgot the units)). Would I benefit from any supplementation?
    John Dorian

  32. says

    When I worked as a nutritional therapist a few years back I was referred a number of people who seemed to suffering with adrenal burnout.

    The big giveaway for me was them falling asleep like a log, then waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep; when the adrenals have had a bit of recovery and start dumping adrenaline into the bloodstream again.

    The mixed approach always worked best, and those people who were willing to address the psychological/emotional side of things got better results than those who were only interested in the nutritional side. In fact, I had a couple of people who left the clinic and slept well that very night, simply because we’d taken them out of emergency mode/high alert!

    Keep up the good work folks,

  33. says

    Great article, and thanks for the information about stress.

    May I suggest adding Phosphatidylserine to your supplements list for reducing stress?

    I used to commute 3+ hours per day and was only able to keep my stress levels low with the help of about 3g of phosphatidylserine per day.

    Best of luck to everyone reducing stress!

    Austin Wagoner

    • says


      The recommendation I made for Seriphos covers that and is a form that’s a bit more bio-available- phosphorylated serine.

      “Seriphos (Phosphorylated Serine) at bedtime. Short-term to re-regulate sleep cycles.”

      • Rhonda says

        Won’t seriphos lower the output of overnight cortisol? This was my experience.. years ago I was high cortisol at night and seriphos was the only thing in the world (i tried everything) that got me to sleep through the night.. then all of a sudden it stopped working and I had low cortisol over night. Now it’s been two years off seriphos and I”m still low cortisol at night and cannot sleep past 1:30am. I have the typical symptoms of low cortisol at night.. wake up then heart starts pumping, mind races, a little over heated.. eating something use to help but not it seems to keep me up longer, although it will keep me from having that hypoglycemic hangover feeling when I get up in the morning.. so my theory is that Seriphos lowers cortisol or inhibits it and is wonderful for people with high cortisol.. is this your understanding? or do you thing it is good for all exhausted adrenal people..

        • Darlene says

          Yes, Seriphos lowers cortisol. After my ASI, the results suggested taking Seriphos two hours prior to high cortisol levels. For me that was about 8-9pm. It made a huge difference in my sleep patterns. However, it is not a long-term solution, and I’m due for another ASI, because I think my high cortisol times have changed.

  34. says

    it is so enlightening to see that other people struggle with adrenal fatigue. after finding out my adrenals were completely shot 2 months ago, i have gone through so many emotions.
    it is nice to know other people understand and that i am not crazy.
    a combination of stress and a strict vegan diet put me over the edge. i could barely get out of bed. (mad at myself for not realizing this earlier.)

    anyways, i just want to say thank you for all of the information and support.
    i look forward to following and hopefully healing myself.

    praying for patience. (always have been the fix it now type, this whole rest rest rest is killing me!)
    i would love to connect with anyone on twitter. @elyserenae
    support is crucial!

    thank you!

  35. Hal Brown says

    Great advice everyone. It’s so important to know that there are natural alternatives for adrenal fatigue. As a former adrenal fatigue sufferer, it’s so important to know that others are going through this and have found a way to get better. One thing that really helped me was taking 2,000-5,000 mg of vitamin C. Here’s another site with good info:

  36. Chris D says

    Good article! Wow, I think when you were describing your lot fat diet, weren’t your calories really low for someone doing as much as your were, 2500/cal?? That seems like a really low number for someone training a lot. I think anyone’s energy would be flat in that circumstance, you weren’t getting enough calories to supply energy!

  37. susan says

    Great article! I highly recommend the book, “Are You Tired and Wired,” by Marcelle Pick to learn more about adrenal fatigue. The author also devotes a lot of time to lifestyle and diet changes to help restore balance.

  38. says

    Does anyone know how to find a good naturopath?

    Do I just ask around among acquaintaninces? Is their a good listing w/ reviews?

    I’d like to know for myself, as I’d like to try a naturopath. And I’d also like to know so I can post any resources on my blog.

    Please email me at greysonjames37 at yahoo dot com

  39. Erik says

    According to Wikipedia, there’s no such thing as adrenal fatigue. It’s basically an alternative health conspiracy theory. What emperical evidence exists to prove the condition is genuine?

    • Bobby says

      Eric- look up Addison’s Disease, and think of adrenal fatigue as the precurser to that disease. I know someone with adrenal fatigue and they have had an incredibly tough time getting any help from doctors and even specialists. It took a full out crisis to get anyone to take the situation seriously and get the Addison’s diagnosis. Doctors have no advise other than taking more steroids, which doctors also acknowledge can destroy endocrine balance. Very frustrating.

      PS- this has a lot to do with insurance billing. Until a condition is given a billing code (diagnosis), you are not going to be taken seriously.

      • rachel says

        yes…but still how to fix it….without taking doctor’s meds??? doctors’ don’t believe me (by the weight, in addition to info. on my comment below, i am very low weight)…

        i can’t afford natural practitioners either.

        • Elenor says

          Rachel, please go check out the website Stop the Thyroid Madness — that’s where I got educated and healed. (Well, mostly; not done yet but about a million miles closer than I was!) There are so many things you can do — as shown in this excellent entry. And I had no insurance and had to scape up money for the tests and occasional doc visits. In most U.S. states, you CAN get most tests without a doctor… Self-treating is NOT a good thing — but for those of us without the resources to pay for lots of doctor-supervised care, it’s better than continuing to watch our health fail!

  40. Stephanie says

    I know I’m late to the discussion on this one, but does anyone know anything about the supplements from Neuroscience? My functional medicine doc has put me on Kavinace, Calm PRT, and NorLox for adrenal fatigue. I’m a bit skeptical about reviews I read online in general, and I’ve never heard them recommended by any paleo person. Except, I see they make a 5-HTP supplement, which I have seen recommended by paleo ppl.

  41. says

    Diane/Robb thanks for the great read. Recent sults from ASI show a not-quite-flatline, very low AM cortisol, small bump in evening. I do nearly zero conditioning, mostly powerlifting, with a small amt of weightifting.

    I do believe my results are so bad due to a close family member’s rapid degenerative disease, not from my strength training, or am I misled? I am following a modified Texas Method program (1 day intensity, 1 day volume, 1 day light) with squat and press. In your opinion, would continuing training hamper my recovery? Also, *timing* of strength training? I generally train in afternoons. Should I switch to AM in hopes of bumping up some much needed cortisol? I always feel extremely tired (like near dead) before I lift, I am coming from my day job, I need to actually lay down on the gym’s office floor when I get there and just kinda of close my eyes and daydream before I feel like I have enough energy. Post training I feel very good, and uplifted.

    Stop? Continue but modify freq or time of training?

    Thanks to both of you for your continued work and support

    PS Diane, my gym members LOVE PP, thank you. And I have made your bone broth every week for over a year, I think since you posted it last April! Crucial to healing my gut thanks xoxoxo

  42. Kathleene Parker says

    I have, literally, been at the edge of death for years with what I always knew was an adrenal problem. I inherited weak adrenals from a dying mother; I had a childhood of, I now know, adrenal-related problems. As an adult “back in the day,” I got by by living on coffee to have some semblance of a normal life. Then, after the late-in-my-life birth of my daughter I went into a rapid downward spiral marked by rising food intolerances, headaches and fatigue like none I can describe, followed by an almost endless struggle against a duodenal ulcer. As this worsened, after a hospitalization during which medical doctors only took a bad situation to a near-fatal one, I dropped 60 pounds, or 1/3 my body weight. That was 3 years ago and I continue to struggle as practitioners look for a pathology, an infection, when I am convinced that my problem is absolute and complete adrenal exhaustion. I am on hydrocortisone,which helps but for every step forward I am pulled back 2 by my now multiple food reactions and that eating, for me, “hurts”. My daughter has been researching and turning up info on intrinsic factors, B-12, imitators of parnecious and other forms anemia and how the stomach loses its ability to digest resulting in food “allergies.” It all seems to point, as I knew in the past, to adrenal exhaustion. I urge anyone reading this post to heed my experience and think about it every time you are tempted to live on sugar, sugar and caffeine, caffeine or to say “Oh, I’m tired, but I can do that.” Cherish your bodies, cherish your health and realize that modern medicine will be of little use in a deep, hidden adrenal “cycle.” As for me, I meet with my marvelous health practitioner, based on info from this website, and we’re regrouping on my recovery plan. For now, I’m heeding its advice and will try to nap this afternoon.

  43. rachel says

    I firmly believe I have this problem, but cannot afford a ND or anyone like that. I’ve also been very vvery anxious and depressed. I just picked up some 5-HTP (hopefully to help with the depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep).
    I am
    – gut issues, lack of digestion, constipated or mushy stool , smelly
    – fatigue, heavy legs, tired
    – no motivation or concentration for meditating or yoga
    – VERY irritated all the time (at traffic, construction next door, my LOUD landlords)
    – can’t sleep, low mood, on “edge”

    Doc keeps pushing remeron and zoloft on me…I’ve resisted thus far.

    I am so burnt out and tired of this. I am not paleo, no…but do eat lot of good fats ( a ton of fats) and proteins as above, etc…I doubt just a paleo diet is the answer and I can’t figure out how to fix it all :(

    I’m so on a wire. I would like to try that L-theanine mentioned above. But just forked out money for 5-HTP….so one step at a time I guess.

    If you have ANYTHING to guide me a good way, please email me. So tired of this ..only 31 and just not right at all.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Start eating a paleo diet!! Cut the grains, gluten, dairy, soy, etc. Be smart about your exercise – don’t overdo it, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and do what you can to minimize your stress. These things don’t cost anything and may help considerably!!

  44. Jill says

    First, I was wondering why jiaogulan rarely makes the adrenal recovery herbal list? It is a great non-stimulaing adaptogen.

    Second, I did a low-carb paleo-type diet and felt better than I ever had in my life. But, the extra fat raised my estrogen levels and caused my breast imaging results to change. I lowered the fat and added back in some grains and legumes- imaging looks stable again, but I feel lousy. How can I have lower fat, lower carb, and still be healthy? The only carbs that I feel good with is a couple of fruit servings a day and good Greek yogurt.

  45. sonu says

    Have been diagnosed with addisons 13 years ago ,need some advice on diet ,suffering from severe indigestion and muscle loss.Yoga has personally helped me a lot

  46. Allan B says

    I’m glad to see there are still a few posts coming in to this thread. It sucks to feel lousy but somehow its a bit better knowing others are going through the same, or worse, issues.

    I’m 46 and have been going to xfit for almost 2 years. My ND said I had adrenal fatigue in Sept ’11. She prescribed Isocort which I took faithfully for 7 months. Then I went off the Isocort when I realized some of my misery was caused by allergies and asthma, neither of which I’d ever experienced. I didn’t realize that adrenal fatigue is the top of my problem pyramid and unless I figure out how to deal with that first, I’m unlikely to overcome the allergies and asthma.

    I’m not strict paleo, but I completely gave up gluten and eggs 14 months ago and dairy a couple months ago. Gluten and eggs turned up as allergens on a blood test and although dairy showed up as fine, I began to feel nauseous after drinking cream in my coffee. I’ve been very surprised over the past few weeks when I did my first bit of cheating and WHAM, have been hit with significant adrenal issues again. Hence my internet search and discovery of this thread.

    I have been reluctant to convert to paleo 100% because it just doesn’t make sense to me that I have to give up so much of what I have always taken for granted, just to feel normal. I’ve already made very significant dietary improvements and changes and yet I feel like I’m sliding backwards. I’m not trying to be a finalist at the crossfit games, I’d just like to be able to finish a workout in a reasonable time without losing the rest of my day to exhaustion.

    Anyway, I will keep watching this thread and pondering a switch to complete paleo. My MD has recommended an ND, so I’m headed in for another set of tests and discussions this week.

  47. says

    Great article! Love the comprehensiveness of the info. One suggestion, I think you may want to double check the section where you mention “hippocampus and circadian rhythm”. I don’t believe the hippocampus is involved with the circadian rhythm. Maybe you meant hypothalamus? Thanks again for this valuable info!

  48. Lindsay says

    Great info! My Dheas ha been high for over a year but has come down quite a bit. Have low progesterone and am on cream for few months so far. Tend to feel exhausted during day and have energy after 6pm. Cortisol is now normalized. It was high throughout day. How can I get sleep? I sleep maybe an hour or so a week. I feel tired and wired. If sleep heals adrenals how can I get sleep? Thanks

  49. Emm says

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been feeling rather bad for years now and no one has been able to help me figure out what’s causing it. A while ago I started researching and found out my health problems could be adrenal or cortisol related and everything started making sense.

    I have a question about L-theanine. Supposedly it reduces blood pressure, is that accurate? My blood pressure is usually quite low, so I’m a bit apprehensive about taking something that lowers it even further.
    Thanks again.

  50. says

    I have another layer to add to this discussion in regard to how autoimmune and hormone levels can be involved in this as well. Here’s a fantastic link from Datis Kharrazian that explains it really well.

    I have a question. I have adrenal issues and symptoms of an imbalance in my adreanl, pituitary, hippocampus axis. I have autoimmune and I’m managing it with a paleo diet and supplements. (emulsified D3, Omega 3 EPA DHA, nitric balance, resvero active, and turmero active). I can’t tolerate the adaptogenic herbs to support my adrenals. They make my sleep more disturbed and make me irritable. I also can’t tolerated acetyl choline. It gives me a 3 day headache. That pathway seems very sensitive in me. Are there other ways I can get at these layers?

  51. Haleigh says

    Great article! :) I have read numerous articles on adrenal fatigue and this one has been the best and most supportive. you are all so positive and I love it! that is really the only way to be.
    I have not been diagnosed with an adrenal problem, but I am almost certain that is what I have been dealing with for nearly a year. I had a rash that broke out all over my body on and off for a few years then I went to a dermatologist and they have me a course of prednisone… I had no idea what it was or the effects and they didn’t tell me any of that or how important it was to taper. The rash went away, but the side effects were awful so we didn’t go back because I decided it would be easier to just deal with the rash. So I stopped the dose at 60mg after a month and thought everything would be normal. I literally thought I was dying then I did some research and realized what had happened. It’s been nearly a year and I am still struggling a great deal, but I believe it had gotten better. I’ve only recently started eating much healthier incorporating more vegetables and whole foods and cutting out sugar. I will see how that goes for 2 months and if my symptoms don’t improve, I’ll swallow my pride and go see an endocrinologist. My family doctor and psychiatrist think its all in my head since my blood work was normal. I am only 18 years old.
    Anyway, I am curious, could taking adderall, and lamictal hinder my recovery? I was diagnosed ADHD and bipolar disorder years ago and my meds really help me stay stable. My next question is what are some natural sleeping aids? I take melatonin, vistiral, and over the counter sleeping aids each night, otherwise I cannot sleep and i still wake up in the middle of the night. I realize this can be harmful to my body, so any natural solutions would be wonderful. I generally sleep 4-7 hours each night which really isn’t going to help my body recover at all. Thanks in advanced and god bless you all :)

  52. Alex says

    I feel like i have adrenal fatigue. But one problem i checked plasma kortisol level which was 25 at the mourning. Is it too much for adrenal defficiency?

  53. Stuart says

    As a simple solution to some adrenal fatigues i would suggest,
    before sleeping spend 5 minutes self massaging the tan den point
    2 finger widths below the navel, just use some baby oil or just
    start massaging in a clockwise direction take it easy
    and then slightly increase pressure as you go.
    Breath in through nose then out through the mouth in gradual way.

    If you feel like adjusting diet and can muster up the discipline then Combine this with a strict no coffein and no sugar diet for a week,
    this will help you (will make the people around you freak out but who gives a s…howser, its you that needs attention if you are taking responsibility for yourself and your loved ones), keep off all processed foods just eat some proteins,
    and vegetables(warm all food up to ease the load on your adrenals, also
    warm up water ,anything you can do to reduce load on adrenals, try it)
    no fruit sugar, drink luke warm water, +avoid cold food drink out of fridge.

  54. Vicente says

    I am doing all the above recommendations (conscious breathing, relaxation, avoiding stressors, autoimmune diet > only cooked greens, onions, meat/fish and egg yolks and loads of fat, salt, enough warm water, stretching,…) for about one year and it seems that if I did go back to the same lifestyle I would feel the same way, so this should be called management not cure or whatever…

    Therefore and because I see no point in keeping it > I am selling the whole package of my Adrenal Fatigue + autoimmune diseases AND soon to happen heart attack for only TEN CENTS (tax free) to the first lucky person answering this post! I had to use my marketing skills in something! 😛

  55. Ashley says

    Any thoughts on why ginseng and ginkgo would make me sleepy? I’ve been taking them with breakfast and get tired shortly after.

  56. says

    Adrenal Fatigue basically comes down to 1) Over-stressing the body while 2) Not allowing the body to heal.

    Matt Damon, the of Good Will Hunting fame, is the perfect example. For the role of a movie he dropped 40lbs by extreme dieting and extreme exercise.

    He ended up feeling like death for years because of what he did for just a few months.

    I wrote about this more at my blog:

  57. Craig says

    Excellent article – thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    I am not sure how closely a Paleo diet and a Candida diet mirror but the candida diet really helped my digestive symptoms and evened out my energy levels.

    The site I use is:

    Thanks again for info and support!

  58. Cindy Smith says

    I’m 3 yrs. post-menopausal and have been having many symptoms and have been to many medical doctors. I finally found a naturopathic doctor who did the proper blood-spot thyroid and saliva/adrenal tests as well as hormone levels. All signs point to low hormone levels,DHEAS=1.5, cortisol =morning 10.3,noon 1.4, evening 0.6 and night 1.8. My Free T4= 1.4, Free T3=3.2, TSH=4.1 and TPO=163.
    The symptoms I’ve been plagued with especially since last Nov.(I was extremely stressed ),was a lot of inner shakiness (this has subsided). But I do have almost constant feelings of being woozy, lightheaded. And come evening, I become totally exhausted every night at about 9-9:30. I do not allow myself to stay awake past 10:30. My Q. is ….are my symptoms in line with or typical for a person with adrenal/thyroid and hormone issues ? I haven’t felt “normal” for the past 6 yrs. My doctor says yes….I trust her , just wanted to hear your thoughts. I’m so tired of not living a full life !

  59. traci bowman says

    I have severe adrenal fatigue. i can barely do anything. I take Nutri Meds Whole Adrenal (bovine) Started out with 1/4 tablet for 6 weeks, then went to 1/2 tab for 6 weeks, 3/4 table for 6 weeks and now i’m on a whole tablet. not sure how long I’ve been here and not sure if i should go up again or not. I’m not a whole lot better but yet I do notice some improvements during stressful times. It doesn’t take me down so for and for so long. So that is a plus but yet I still get aggravated very quickly, horrible moods and all….can’t stand noises or chemical smells like perfume. Makes me sick. I hope what i’m taking is good. I go back and forth on my supplements as i can afford them. I want to be well. i’ve been sick for too long. i’m 53 and i have a 2 yr old grandson I want to be able to enjoy. My 17 yr old daughter doesn’t even live with me and hasn’t for 3 years when i was my sickest some friends took her in. I’m certainly not ready to be a full time mom yet though but i certainly want to be. does anyone have any suggestions as to what else i should take. The licorice root stuff i can’t, i hear it works against high blood pressure and mine is high. I also take Armour thyroid for my hypothyroidism/hashimotos disease. So any suggestions will be appreciated. if you can make it to the end of this long post! sorry…have an awesome day!!

    • says

      Traci, I am 75 years old and adrenal fatigue has been a life long problem and I use 2 different sources of supplements. The best one is a company called, Dr. Wilson wrote the book Adrenal Fatigue 21st. century stress syndrome. He only deals in supplements for adrenal fatigue. The web site has a lot of information that should help you. The second company is Standard Process. This company has been in business forever. They distribute product through chiropractors, naturepaths, and MD’s. Their two adrenal products are Adrenal Desiccated and Drenamin. These two supplements have a lower cost than what you will find at Dr. Wilson’s company.

      I am not trying to be obscene by a couple of years ago after I lost my company and I was close giving up a doctor told me have sex as often as possible. Fortunatly my wife agreed. It was amazing. It relieved the stress better than any pill.

      I hope I have helped.

      • Sean Dattoli says

        Traci you may actually have a more serious medical issue called adrenal insufficiency. I have it. I don’t make enough cortisone. You can have this tested with a cortisol stim test. You may also have possible sleep apnea based on those symptoms (it impacts blood pressure also). It breaks my heart if you do have a medical condition, you wouldn’t go a very good internist or board certified endocrinologist to ensure your labs etc. are where they need to be. You can go natural to a point but there are cases when hormones (bio-identical or not) are needed. Good luck with your journey.

  60. Vicente says

    I feel for all the young and old people suffering in this sick world, I have also been “living” with adrenal burnout, hypoadrenia, kidney yang/qi deficiency, call it whatever you want… but what goes through my head everyday when I am deep breathing just to be alive is:

    – In old cultures before religion dogma as we know it was part of our daily life, what would they do with sick and weak people? Leave them to death? Help them die?

    I ask this because I have to take supplements to digest, to sleep, to have my nails growing, to keep my brain working, it is just a huge effort, wouldn’t this be a burden to natural societies? What do you think?

  61. Debra says

    Great stuff as always.

    I also suffer from adrenal Fatigue, low Vit D, DHEA,low Sex Drive, low Iron and my thyroid has been acting up. I’m wondering if a Ketosis diet with loads of fat could help my burnout issue but allow me to still lean out?

    I’m already working on my sleep, cutting caffine/sugar, cutting back on my workouts and sticking to a fairly primal diet. Does adrenal fatigue always mean weight gain? I ask because I see it more often than not.



    • Pat says

      If you have had low thyroid for a few years then there is a chance you could have furred up arteries due to the sluggish circulation a slow thyroid causes, so it might be wise to have a cardio check before taking a high fat diet. You could also take supplements to help keep the arteries supple and unblocked such as omega 3s. Garlic and spices also help the circulation. Spices also help boost metabolism albeit only temporarily.

  62. Vivian says

    Exercising and keeping fit is crucial for my general well-being. I try to visit gym regularly but sometimes my work makes me completely exhausted. What really helps is taking nutritional supplements. For me Military Grade Nutritionals work best. They quickly bring me up. I feel energized when I exercise and throughout the day.

  63. Greg says

    Hi everyone,

    I am 100% cured of my ‘adrenal fatigue’. I’ve been very unwell for over 7 months now (bed bound in July) and been diagnosed with AF by naturopaths and via self diagnosis. Allopathic doctors either didn’t know what to say or suggested the possibility of CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).

    My cure? Cutting out gluten. Yes that’s right. All of my AF symptoms such as extreme fatigue, foggy brain, balance issues, low stress threshold, irritability are also symptoms of gluten intolerance! I had no idea. Check out various celiac websites.

    I figured this out while travelling in China where they don’t eat a lot of wheat based food. All of sudden I was feeling good until I had a big bowl of wheat noodles one day.

    Three weeks has passed and I feel amazing. 100% in every way. All symptoms gone. I haven’t been tested for gluten intolerance but the drastic health rebound is just too convincing to ignore. I got my life back!!!!! Now within 15 minutes of ingesting gluten I’m back to AF symptoms and the rest of the day is shot.

    If even a handful of you suffering these challenging symptoms are secretly gluten intolerant, I urge everyone to try cutting it out of your diet for a month and seeing what happens. It’s no risk for the possibility of getting healthy again. I know how bad you’re feeling. Will you try?

    Same goes for CFS folks as the symptoms are so similar and I, for one, do not accept what the CFS societies say about, “start lowering expectations for your life” when they also acknowledge they don’t know what causes CFS or how to do anything more than manage symptoms.

    I’m with you. Good luck.


    • Cynthia Smith says

      Greg, yes a person with thyroid/adrenal issues should stay clear of gluten ! It sounds like you are gluten intolerant or allergic to gluten. A lot of the women posting are experiencing peri/menopausal symptoms. And while avoiding gluten will most definitely be a positive, it is not the only change we need to make at this time in our lives. Our hormones change, our thyroids and adrenals are stressed and this can go on for 15 or more years ! What we need is a medical community who are taught that we are not just crazy aging broods, that should all be on nasty synthetic thyroid meds and depression drugs! I speak from personal experience…it’s maddening!

  64. jaime says

    I´m a little bit interested in this since I was suffering from adrenal fatigue.

    Anyway I´ll add my 2 cents:

    first of all there´s a book from Julia Ross “the mood cure” and in this all of this fuzz from paleo and blah blah blah was very well explained (more than 10 years ago) along with the type of foods one should be eaten and of course she doesn´t call that “paleo”–Today/dp/0142003646/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361070573&sr=8-1&keywords=julia+ross+the+mood+cure

    On the other hand there´s an alternative in the medicine not to be confused with alternative medicine.

    This is homo toxicology medicine and biological medicine which came from germany and it has super fast wonderful results.

    Combined with Voll electroacupunture, neural therapy and Ozone therapy (read Ed McCabe) you get wonderful results in no time.

    Since I´m latin american and I live in a country that has been using corn and beans for centuries I don´t really think beans and corn are that bad! We eat them all the time along with bananas. But we eat seafood, meat and chicken too!

    On a side note chinese and japanese eat rice all the time but of course they eat meat and seafood too.

    Read those books too and get your own conclusions.

    I´d like you to know spanish because there are a lot of documents out there from biological medicine but this PDF documents are in spanish lenguage.

    Kind Regards,


    • Pat says

      If the adrenal glands are stressed the chances are you have low progesterone because progesterone is needed to manufacture cortisol. If your progesterone is too low then your oestrogen levels, while not necessarily higher than average are unopposed by progesterone, which is needed to balance the oestrogen, therefore oestrogen dominance results. As licorice helps boost adrenal function and therefore progesterone levels it sounds a good supplement to take for oestrogen dominance. Another reason why licorice is good is that excess oestrogen burdens the liver and licorice helps repair an overloaded liver.

  65. Rob says

    Anyone ever heard of chronic cubical syndrome? Lets just take a massive list of random symptoms and blame it on Adrenal fatigue lol Why not just blame the whole human experience on it? If you change the name to Chronic Cubical Adrenal fatigue Syndrome maybe you will be able to convince more brain dead zombies with your lies lol

    • Pat says

      Slight underactivity of the endocrine glands is difficult to diagnose with the limited tests that are available to most people e.g. a cortisol test in the morning but not at other times. A T4 test but not a reverse T3 test. They are also difficult to diagnose because they share some of the symptoms with other illnesses. Since adrenal exhaustion and lack of conversion of the thyroid hormones are not something that is talked about in your average medical article in a popular publication, the vast majority of people haven’t even heard of such a thing and would not be the first thing that people would think of when they start to have symptoms of those disorders. The majority of people have suffered for years trying medications that don’t work after being told they are suffering from low iron or IBS or stress or whatever and only in desperation after their illnesses are disabling them in their ability to work or study do they start researching their illness. Often finding out one or two facts at a time over a period of a few years and finding increasingly more pointers to an adrenal problem. They then go back to the GP and of course the tests are inadequate, or at least they are if you live in the UK where the important tests are not available on the national health service and most people can’t afford to go private. At best a person here could expect a diagnosis of ME/CFS and even that is not easily diagnosed. The pharmaceutical lobby is very strong and medical associations are influenced into steering doctors towards diagnosing psychiatric disorders, or treating some of the superficial physical symptoms, not causes, through patented drugs and even then not effectively e.g. many people with digestive disorders are told they have too much stomach acid when it is in fact the opposite and patients faithfully take the antacids for months or years wondering why if anything it seems to make them more, not less nauseous. Their adrenal glands are suppressing digestion, the lack of acid is causing food not to be broken down and various pathogens to pass into the intestines causing bloatedness and acid reflux from the pressure of the gas, causing doctors and intially the patients as well to think that they have a problem with excess acid. Women with low adrenal and thyroid function will also tend to suffer from menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea caused by low progesterone resulting from the adrenal problem but will be given various treatments that don’t work including the pill and painkillers containing paracetamol despite the fact that women with low progesterone and correspondingly high oestrogen will have poorer liver function. They may also be given medication to clot the blood although their thyroid problem makes them prone to clots and atherosclerosis, whereas blood-thinning painkillers like simple aspirin act better on the pain due to its reducing pelvic congestion and is less toxic to the liver than paracetamol or opiates. There are too many symptoms to address here in detail but most sufferers of adrenal exhaustion will have several seemingly unrelated disorders that GPs unsuccessfully attempt to treat with prescribed drugs for single symptoms and it is only when people after several years of suffering and no adequate diagnosis or cure have researched several of their symptoms and found pointers towards an adrenal problem then done more searches and further refined the searches and found more indicators of the condition, including in herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, superfood diets and also find mention of seemingly unrelated and unimportant minor symptoms that don’t actually cause them any suffering but which further indicate an adrenal problem and help add to the weight of evidence for having the condition.

      If anyone is lying it is likely to be those medical bodies who suppress useful information and therefore treatment of the root causes of a collection of related symptoms which together can be disabling especially when the knock-on effect of non-treatment on other organs begins to kick in and eventually results in earlier mortality if the condition has never been treated correctly. Privately owned pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the early deaths and misery of many people with subtle and complicated conditions like endocrine disorders due to their pushing drugs for psychiatric disorders which is a lucrative trade and other drugs that treat the symptoms but not the cause, or not the root cause e.g. statins might help unfur the arteries but it will deplete the co-enzyme Q10 in the heart which is needed for conducting the electrical impulses of the heart and the patient may end up needing a pacemaker if they are lucky enough not to have died before an electrical problem with the heart is diagnosed.

      • Bro says

        Your response above is truly outstanding & absolutely correct.
        You should get your message out there, as I am constantly disappointed in people believing doctors advise to be inherently true.
        Doctors are ridiculously clueless regarding the mind/body/spirit/nutrition/stress concerns.
        And I absolutely concur with your opinion of them prescribing “drugs” needlessly to the detriment of thousands of people.
        After a lifetime of great health, now in my late 30’s with too much energy expended, years of fractured sleep, stress, overeating,exercising,travel, too much wine (sometimes too much of The Good Life!!)etc etc-I am now in an awful cycle of every 4/6 weeks for the last 18 months of being exhausted/side pains/raw throat/no energy….it is only the last few months I have realised a viral thing I thought I had must be adrenal fatigue or both?
        No energy for gym in 6 months…though when I go away, I find I have more energy after good Accupuncture sessions.
        I have spent thousands on Accupuncture/doctor/private clinic/health supplements scans etc…& still this continues…I am now seeing a naturopath & hopefully can get some results-this article & your feedback has been very helpful.
        And yes-my doctor did prescribe anti reflux tablets…I refused to take them-(I am very anti pills from doctors) as believed-No I didn’t have reflux problems-a year later still with red throat, bloating/low digestion-I let her prescribe them again-took them no affect.
        So reading your response reinforces my belief!
        Thank You & am hoping with all the right factors can get over this debilitating situation.

  66. Chris says

    Im sure this could be due to adrenal fatigue but wondering if anyone else had similar symptoms. The first thing that caught my eye with the article was when i read about your experience of symptoms and your workout schedule. I was 225. started exercise and eating better and lost ~25lbs. I had a pain in my xyphoid area and left side of chest which made me worry. Went in for check up, blood and ask to be referred to cardiologist. all normal but K was slighly high ~5.2 or so. sent me back for K test and came back 4.9. Cardiologist said stress test and everything was good. Total cholestrerol (235) was high but said ratio was real good. I started a vigorous exercise plan, sometimes running twice a day 5-7 days/week mixed at times with BC and or kickboxing 2-3 times per week followed by moderate lifting. 6 months later i had a horrible experience driving down interstate. nearly passed out, double vision, dizzy etc..thought i was having heart attack or stroke. At the end of the exit ramp i came 90% back to normal and havent been 100% since. Wound up in ER that Frday since i could not tough it out any longer. CAT scan, MRi, blood etc fine. Had 3 doctors verify MRI findings. Once back, went to my family doc and he said all was good with blood except WBC was slightly elevated, total cholesterol was now 185. During the 6 months between cardiologist and the “event” i had lost ~60lbs, i was now around 165. Family doc referred me to Nuerologist. All normal except 3 hour glucose went low ~54. I bought a tester and it was always fine during the couple months i tracked it. he said eat a snack between meals and go live my life, im all good. BP was high when at dr so i bought a home BP machine, even took in with me to verify its accuracy since it was normal at home (115/60s – 130/80). At this point all drs say stress/anxiety or inner ear. Insomnia was brought up since i have awakened ~3-4a.m. and cant go back to sleep, been this way for several years. accupuncturist said it was fatigue. Since this ocurred i have went to get glasses since my vision seems to be blurry. SOmetimes its worse than others. TSH, T3, T4, ultrasound of thyroid all normal, MRI of neck all normal. After MRI etc.. was all good i figured i would exercise alot since it would help with stress. sometimes it made me feel better sometimes it seemed worse. Sometimes after a night out drinking on weekend id wake up fine, other times i felt bad. It seems that i couldnt put my finger on anything for sure. Usually i wake up and feel ok and by the time i get to work (or on my way) it starts coming on stronger. Its like foggy head, lightheaded feeling. Its like when you have the flu (the way your kinda foggy headed and just not there mentally and feel a little off) but no aches, fever, room spinning sensation lunch i feel a little better and usually after lunch its stronger and sometimes keeps getting worse but its more like a sleepy feeling/eye strain until night time ~6-7p.m. I have experimented with varying what i eat, vitamins and minerals, Sea salt etc..Magnesium seemed to aleviate at first but think that may have been helping the anxiety side of it. Xanax works very well but makes me drowsy and over time it doesnt work so well, plus i dont like taking it b/c i know its not a long term solution. I have decided to cut back on my runs to 3x per week and moderate lifting 3 separate days with one day off completely. Is this still too much? cant expect an onlind diagnosis but at this point im at a loss. what supplements should i try? Thanks for your time.

    • says

      Sounds like perhaps you jumped in a bit too aggressively?

      An interesting feature of adrenal fatigue, or cortisol resistance, is whne the adrenals “fire” they release a number of chemicals. Cortisol, epinephrine, norepi. If the body is resistant to the cortisol and or not producing much, the main hormones released are STRESS inducing. Adrenaline, fight/flight. Cortisol is actually somewhat relaxing and balances things a bit in normal situations. this MIGHT be why you are seeing the benefit of the Xanax.

  67. Andrea says

    Ok, I haven’t found the definitive answer yet, so I’m posing my question whereever I can in the hopes that someone can answer….

    INFO: I normally run or swing the kettlebell and drink 2 cups coffee every day.

    Q1: When I take my 4x spit test for cortisol, how should the day’s habits be adjusted from normal, if at all? Should I NOT do the stuff above so that I know what my current ‘default’ cortisol levels are?
    Q2: If I should adjust for test day, wouldn’t there be a reactionary response that is not quite accurate because the change in activity was abrupt? Put another way, if I am artificially raising my cortisol through coffee and exercise, would stopping for one day make it abnormally LOW relative to what the measurements would be after a week of abstaining?
    Q3: If I follow my normal routine, how does one interpret results that are influenced by external inputs?

    Thank you so much!!!

  68. Jayla says

    I have been managing adrenal fatigue for years, diagnosed by a naturopath. I’m confused why it is not classified as chronic fatigue at some point? I feel like I have all the listed symptoms, the only difference is that my naturopath takes the right tests that identify some origin of fatigue of my fatigue–but even when these levels are normal on the same tests, I’m living half a life on the edge of not getting run down. That’s why I say some origin of fatigue–I still have it when my hormone levels are normal. And living on half the energy I had before year after year even after making positive changes that improve my quality of life but do not cure me–how is that not chronic fatigue? I guess, what is the difference? Is there such a thing as chronic adrenal fatigue?

  69. Jayla says

    I want to qualify my comment about my naturopath taking the right tests: My other doctors adhering to western medicine take the traditional workups giving a shallow picture of my health. They don’t test for cortisol, vitamin deficiency, hormone deficiency, etc. And then they told me just to rest. If I had listened to them, I’d have rested the last 10 years of my life away–on my back in bed! The right tests helped me to address some sources of my fatigue with supplements, etc.

  70. says

    Hi Diane and Rob
    Adrenal fatigue is something I’m coming across more and more in my practice and especially from the crossfit community. I’ve found acupuncture to be a very effective way to switch off the adrenal response and allow rejuvenation to start taking place. Combine this with the right herbs, a diet that’s easy to digest, supplements and relaxation techniques the body starts to feel good again. Even some simple lifestyle suggestions such as laying down for 10min after a workout can help protect the adrenals rather than getting another coffee and racing off. Thanks for your nice article.

  71. mike says

    I have been dealing with adrenal fatigue for years, couple of things helped me alot. First large doses of vitc with bioflavanoids 2000-3000 mg a day. Second I like hymalin sea salt into my water , seems lots of athletes have this problem of not enough salt in their diet and end up with this fatigue. last but not least cordycepts mushrooms. This is a find from a eastern medical store. but you can get them in the states from a company called onnit follow link

  72. Jane Morris says

    Great article. I was diagnosed via saliva testing 7 years ago. I’m lucky to have a gynecologist who’s aware of this condition. After years of living with a husband who had an abusive mental illness, working 50 hours a week, and raising 2 children (basically on my own), my final straw was having a parent being diagnosed and passing with terminal cancer(and I continued to finish grad school all the while). Looking back, I know I lived off of adrenaline for so many years until I probably had no more. Three doctors told me I had to get rid of something in my life ( I chose the abusive marriage) , and then I began to take care of myself, grieve, sleep, and listen to my body. I’m an elementary educator so 10 months out of the year is fast paced, but I’ve learned not to be such a perfectionist. Lately I’ve tried “adrenal balance” and seem to have more energy. I also take B12 shots. Both help, but when my body says “sleep” , I take a nap. I really don’t think it is something you can ” get over”, but just try to improve upon and be aware of. Sometimes we can not control the things that life throws our way. Others call us ” strong ” people, but just don’t realize the toll things take on the body. I’m glad to see more awareness about Adrenal Fatigue lately. It truly is difficulty deal with. Thank you for writing such a thorough article!

    • Elenor says

      Jane you CAN ‘get over’ adrenal fatigue, but it takes time and effort. (And effort doing the RIGHT things!) You will always need to look out for them after. I’ve been SO close to “normal” after several years treating and caring for my adrenals (and thyroid). And I will, once again, get back to “normal” (after recovering my life from my husband’s (SO-unexpected!) death). Hang in there, educate yourself (cause your docs will never know or care as much about YOUR body as you will!), and keep going!

    • Violet59 says

      Jane, I had to reply to your mention of people thinking of you as “strong” while you were drowning in the midst so much life trauma.

      It describes me perfectly as well – 3 kids with special needs including autism, a husband who works out of town and has for 20 odd years and who is, I suspect, also autistic, parents who have passed recently (one with esophageal cancer – an absolute nightmare), a needy drug and alcohol-dependent friend who constantly demands “help”… I could go on and on. We are the “strong” ones, whom everyone thinks of to go to for support and help. When we say we are struggling, we get the “Oh, you’re a strong person! It’s fine!” remarks.

      Well, there IS an end to our physical and mental resources. I’ve been finally diagnosed with extreme adrenal burnout with flat-lined saliva cortisol levels. After years of languishing alone, barely able to pull myself out of bed each day, I’m finally starting to feel somewhat “me” again. I’m now under the care of Dr. Kalish and have seen a HUGE improvement in a matter of a couple of months, with a protocol of supplements and self care. I’ve still got a long way to go and a whole lot of weight to get off too.

      Something I’ve learned from this is that we all need to pull back and set limits to protect our health. If we don’t make it a priority, our wellbeing will eventually cease and desist. I learned it the hard way.

  73. Charlotte says


    I have adrenal fatigue with really low morning cortisol, low T3, low DHEA og low progesterone. I have tried SO many things, and still it isn’t good, my doctor wants me on natural hydrocortisone and some natural for me thyroid….hmmm. Don’t know what to do these days…..

    I can’t loose weight, no fat will com off my body no matter what I do.

    I eat a kind of paleo diet, but my digestion is always troubled (it slows down or goes totally dead all the time). I do not eat sugar or anything with sugar (I eat vegetables), fruit, starches, gluten, bread, dairy products – and still no weightloss.

    Is high protein low carb diet better than high fat low carb diet?

  74. Jack says

    How can you say for sure if you have Adrenal Fatigue? I’ve had just dreadful exhaustion for 10 years now, non-restorative sleep, and I can’t recover from any exertion, GI issues, and laundry list of other symptoms. After 40 yrs of excellent health and very active fitness, now I can’t exercise, work, or do much of anything. I saw an Endo who did an ATCH stimulation test, said I was fine, and that was it. What is the best test to determine adrenal issues?

  75. Tiffiny says

    I was overtraining about 2 years ago and leaned down to 103lbs at 5’5. My average body weight was usually 109 so I’ve always been quite petite which I liked. Within a month of stepping my exercise up (I also added training for a half marathon in to the mix) my weight ballooned up 25lbs. I had a bunch of bizarre symptoms and was seriously depressed. I went to see my doc who brushed me off and tried to put me on the pill. I went to see a hormone specialist who found that I was now hypothyroid, low DHEA, low test, low progesterone. After working w him and bio-identical hormones I felt better but my weight climbed to 150!!!! Without changing diet it eventually went Down to 137lbs where I am today. I’ve recently found out I am now w adrenal fatigue yet still have energy. My DHEA is still low but cortisol has now come down. I have my thyroid under control but my menses comes and goes…sometimes I don’t have one for a year and then it reappears. I’m taking vit c, GABA, a bunch of stress related herbs and vitamins, I’m on B vitamins, progesterone cream, desiccated thyroid, cenitol, femagen, magnesium, zinc…the list goes on…but I still can’t lose a pound and I really need to drop 10lbs to be at a comfortable size (I’m aiming for 120lbs)
    Can I do cardio? I love running and have been keeping it under 30mins. Any weight loss advice? Please help!

  76. says

    There is a typographic error in the article, on Licorice root extract (DGL). “DGL” means “deglycyrrhizinated licorice”, the form that has the “glycyrrhizin” removed; this is the active component neede for Cortisol (by slowing the breakdown and extending the duration of Cortisol). The DGL form is a good soothing agent for the stomach but will not affect adrenal function, so you need the straight “licorice root extract” for the adrenals, not DGL. These are 2 different products for 2 different problems. — Dr Bradford (Functional Medicine)

  77. says

    This is a well thought out, broad selection of information. A study of Nutrition, and its effects on the body would help many doctors diagnose and treat their patients more effectively. It is 5 years later, that I am now understanding the gravity of Adrenal Fatigue. I am not on any medication. I am trying a diet of exercise, mild; raw fruits and vegetables, juiced every day; lots of rest and sleep; minimal stress exposure. I would say my diet is 70% raw, and 30% cooked. I take Calm, a Magnesium supplement and B12. My symptoms have improved. Thanks for this excellent article. I am sure this information has helped many people.

  78. Dragan says

    If someone has adrenal fatigue than intermittent fasting is not good idea, I guess?
    So how long I should before I introduce IF? ecause I think I have AF(at least moderately) so how long will be it enough to heal?

    • Amy Kubal says

      Be REALLY cautious with this! Make sure your adrenals are HEALTHY and have been for a good length of time. Also it’s going to be important that your diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc. are all dialed in before beginning the IF protocol. How long it takes depends on you and how much you overhaul your lifestyle and how bad the damage is. There’s not a textbook answer for this one.

  79. Meggan says

    If and when all western medical Dr.s have told you “you’re fine” – can you still treat yourself for Adrenal Fatigue. I am completely fed up with all of my doctors. My health, energy levels, ability to reap the benefits (including enjoyment) from my workouts, etc has just deteriorated steadily over the last 6 years. I do have Hashimoto’s and my Endo simply raises my synthroid to ridiculous levels and tells me the weight gain and fatigue are a result of my age and not being honest about my exercise and eating habits. Excuse me? I work my tail off! Only to spend the better part of my day after a work out dying for sleep. And, I’m 37. Please. I don’t think my body is processing the synthetic hormone anymore. I recently turned to acupuncture for a back injury – and of course, my acupuncturist noted the extreme imbalance within my body. He is now trying to help me, but keeps telling me my body is TIRED. At least, he says, my attitude is a happy one, but that my body doesn’t match. I am wondering if there is any risk in acting as if I DO have adrenal fatigue in terms of treatment. I hate to think I’d be risking further damage. But I have to do something. I know I am late to this thread – but I welcome any input. Would a paleo diet help with Hashi’s?

    • margaret says

      hi meggan! i have hashimotos as well diagnosed 9 years ago.. struggled for 5 years to get diagnosis. i was on synthroid for 7.5 years and it didnt help much. added cytomel 2 years ago helped some. switched to paleo diet and dropped the syntroid rx in half. now on nature throid and feel like a new person. a new skinny person! correct meds and and paleo diet is the answer!!!!!

  80. James says

    Really useful information, and I especially love the image for the HPA Axis – it does a really nice job of summarizing the basics. I thought the article was lacking slightly in detail on Adrenal Fatigue (which is perfectly understandable for a 1-pager!). Dr Wilson’s site is also very useful (although he pushes his supplements pretty hard!) and this site has a bunch of info too –

  81. Lori White says

    I’ve been diagnosed with low cortisol levels and I would like to start taking licorice root. Is it something to take daily long term or should one stop after 4-6 weeks? Also, what is the lowest yet safest dose to take if I wanted to take it long term? I know everyone is different but when the warnings talk about high doses and long term, what quantity do they mean? Are there any adverse reactions with medications such as Nexium or Klonopin? can you take it at the same time as other vitamins/minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium?
    Thank you!

  82. says

    Great article! I’m glad to see other people advocating eating healthy to prevent and overcome health problems. It’s such a huge problem in society to think medication will solve everything, when it usually makes things worse. Thank you! I learned a lot in your article.

  83. Nell says

    Hi Diane,

    I am pretty stuck. I’ve been on hydrocortisone 30mg daily for approx 8 years. I know there’s not a lot of hope of getting off it and thought I’d be on it for at most 6 months – bad advice from a private dr (uk) who’s speciality was hypo-T. I really would like to give weaning another go and have just read about rhodiola. I wondered if this would make things worse or help when trying to wean. My worst symptoms are that I become highly stressed and irrational after approx 1 week of attempting to reduce.

    I feel an idiot for having taken this guy’s advice and more of an idiot for not seeking professional help as soon as I realised what I’d got myself in to.

  84. Laurie says

    Hi. I have adrenal fatigue and believe me I feel it daily. I feel horrible. I can not afford to go to the doctor at this time. But he has me on all the above mentioned supplements. But again I can not afford to have them refilled (I am not working due to depression). It’s horrible. I really need to know what I can and can not eat. I have 70lbs to lose (that’s enough to be depressed about). Please can you suggest something? I have thinking about going Paleo. Is that the right thing for me to do? I really need to start feeling healthy again and get this weight off. Please please advise. Thank you so much for your time.

  85. Vicki says

    I just have to laugh “in disgust” at Web MD. I just looked up Adrenal Fatigue today and Candidia AKA Yeast Overgrowth the other day on Web MD about both medical conditions, and on both subjects, stated that there was not enough medical evidence to agree with these being diagnosable conditions.
    My response to this ridiculousness is “Why is there no testing being conducted.”
    Especially, since there is such a growing body of andedotle evidence. Dr. William Crook says it so well in his book the Yeast connection. What does the patient have to loose by changing their diet.

  86. says

    I know this thread is old, but if anyone could hook me up with some insight that would be awesome! I had a fasting blood sugar of 109 about a year ago and started getting symptoms of PCOS, mainly thinning hair. My DHEA was a bit elevated as well. I am thin, 98 pounds and 5’2. I began and paleo diet (already ate GF and DF) but cut out a lot fruit, grains, and white potatoes. Digestively I feel great, but Since going so low carb (around 30 grams a day) I am constantly hungry and have moments of hypoglycemia like symptoms. I have in the last few days started eating more carbs and the symptoms have worsened. Any insight or advice? Thanks!

  87. Candice says

    I am in the process of trying to correct Adrenal issues. I started taking Crystal Star’s Adrenal Energy and about died! I was in the bathroom for 2 days, it was awful! Is there something else wrong with me? I am a fairly healthy eater. I garden, can my own food, and make most meals from scratch. I am however, overweight by a lot, only 33 and feel like I am 70. I started light cardio, 3-4 times a week, but have had no weight loss :(. My Chiropractor has mentioned getting my Progesterone levels tested. I did a home test for Adrenal issues and the test results were HORRIBLE. I am in a state of stress at almost all times. I am a 911 dispatcher, have to switch my shifts from graveyard to days every 3 months. It sucks.

  88. saman says

    If someone has adrenal fatigue with copper overload, then which directions for recovery will be different? what will be the order of treatment? first adrenal, or both together and what will be the directions?

  89. Bubba says

    Not sure if if have adrenal issues, but due to the fatigue I have to work from home. Being mostly sedentary is a recipe for weight gain, plus the associated ills that come with this.

    I’ve found eliminating all carbs, sugar, wheat, really helped. I lost several pounds in a single week, due to a diet mostly high in fat.

  90. stevie-123 says

    Hi everyone, i also suffer from adrenal fatique, but i recently found out that i also suffer from heavy metal poisoning. I currently follow Cutler detox for the last 5 months and WOW!! What a changes. The problem still is that detoxing is hard on the body and when i detox for a while my adrenals get weak again. I am in the proces of giving more support to my adrenals, i am in the proces of bying some supplements, does this supplement seems good to you? :

    Also which vitamin C is recommended, please do not recommend the most expansive :)

    I wish everybody a good recovery!

  91. Kara says

    Great article! So if I’m doing a 16 day anti yeast protocol with stage 3 adrenal fatigue, is that a bad idea? I’m off fruits and starches and am worried about not getting enough carbs. But a gut full of yeast can’t be helping my adrenals either. Do you have any advice?

  92. Leslie says

    A wonderful article. I just began a regime of DHEA and Pregnenalone recommended by my naturopath. I am nervous about taking new things. I hope that it works without side effects. Is this something that you prescribe often to your patients? Worth noting I have Stage 3 adrenal fatigue with very low cortisol levels.


  93. RobinTowle says

    I really hope you are still replying to this article! I am having some terrible symptoms!! I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and blood rushing to my head. This happens over and over again. I thought it was due to a hysterectomy where my ovaries were left .The weird thing is that it is set off by winter months. I had it last year Dec to June then it went away and came back again in Dec. my insurance is in a different state due to my son having a cochlear implant with Kiaser so running tests is hard because of the system. I prefer to do it naturally. Is this adrenal fatigue?would menopause play a part? There is so much information I don’t know where to start besides sleeping. What would you say are the first five most important supplements?

    • says

      I would recommend working with a good functional medicine doctor to get it figured out. Getting testing done is the best way to see what’s going on, so you can actually see what your cortisol levels, hormone levels, etc are at.

  94. MIchele says

    Thank you for writing this. I recently got diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, I also have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which has wreaked havoc on my body for the past 9 years. I feel like this is a good starting point for me, but if you have any other book suggestions I am open to researching this more. The Adrenal Fatigue has hit me after 40 weeks of intense training in a ‘Biggest Loser’ competition in my gym. Although I lost 65 pounds incredibly quick, I also got my body out of whack with my thyroid and autoimmune meds and have been in an uphill battle ever since, gaining all but 30 pounds back. My doc hasn’t given me much help on how to battle AF, besides lower my stress and sleep more. This article has been perfect timing for me! Thank you!

  95. Eileen Pedersen says

    Great article! I have a question though…
    I have been treated for Adrenal Fatigue for almost a year now, and now that things are stable I am trying to train again to lose the 40lbs I gained when the adrenal fatigue started. Can I still do weight lifting and crossfit while seeing progression when I am prone to adrenal fatigue? Or do I have to kiss my dreams of being lean and strong good bye? Please help!

    • says

      This can be a bit individual, but I would start off progressively, and make sure you stay on the more minimal side, leave some in the tank, and don’t overdo it. Stick with more weightlifting and less metcon type work. Keep workouts on the shorter side, make sure you’re getting plenty of recovery, etc. Basically make sure you’re not doing too much.

  96. says

    This is a brilliant article!
    I have been suffering from adrenal fatigue for quite a while now but slowly starting to get back on track, it can really take a long time! I am sleeping better and also much more mindful of my diet however, I am still not working out much yet, which is frustrating but I will still feel tired for a few days after. Hopefully I can get back to where I was in time. Thanks!

  97. says

    This is really great info. I suffered from adrenal fatigue for many years and this is the type of advice that really helped me to overcome my problem. So, to all you sufferers, YES! There is hope! Just don’t lose faith and know that your body can heal itself. I was lucky to find some great advice that helped me overcome my adrenal fatigue and get better.

    Here is one of the resources that helped me a lot:

  98. says

    Thank you for such an informative article. I’ve hit the point of adrenal fatigue/exhaustion over and over due to PTSD and a stuck sympathetic nervous system. I have tried diets, acupuncture, naturopathic supplements, massage, chiropractic work, and every alternative treatment out there to still the anxiety that resides non-stop in my chest and body.

    It’s not a negative-thinking/worry sort of anxiety – it’s like a permanent, physiological state. Right now, I’m in a state of adrenal exhaustion. My usual constant-high cortisol levels have crashed, and it’s flat-line during the day and high at night. Melatonin and Seriphos are giving me the sleep I need, but how do I break this cycle???

    How can I reset my nervous system? If I don’t, I will never see relief from this cycle of high cortisol leading to adrenal exhaustion. I’ve been experiencing this cycle over and over for ten years.

    Any suggestions on resetting the nervous system? Thanks again!!

  99. Sean Dattoli says

    There are several problems here. Adrenal Fatigue has not been proven despite many trying to prove it. That said, I actually believe it exists but not to the extent people think. Sadly, some of the posters here may actually have other problems such a hypothyroidism which will go undiagnosed for years due to misinformation. I have dear friends this has happened to…but sadly in the world of natural health…there is no accountability. Equally important, there is a very real condition called ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY where one does not make enough cortisol. It can be measured and treated in most cases but it’s also very dangerous if undiagnosed. The 2 are not interchangeable. Not feeling well and having a real adrenal crises are 2 very different things. Its drives me insane when I hear people self-diagnosing everything involving fatigue as “adrenal fatigue” just like everyone on the planet suddenly developed Celiac Disease.

    You have an obligation to ensure people understand these differences. Looking at the comments, I can tell some of these folks likely have other medical issues that are not being addressed by diet alone. Having a very low thyroid number or adrenal insufficiency are not in the same league as those suffering from various levels of adrenal fatigue which is more of a nuisance.

  100. Alex M says

    I’m 25 years old, and I am delving into the world of nutrition. Since my older brothers background is a Paleo and Ketogenic based, I decided two weeks ago to start a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet that consists of intermittent fasting from dawn through noon. I consume two “fatty” coffee’s through my fasting period followed by a high fat/protein based meals. I am struggling, as I stride into my third week. My sleep cycle, for one, is not consistent. I wake up a few times throughout the night, but I am able to fall asleep easily after each time I wake. Moreover, I suffer from low energy, mood swings, high stress life with work/school, cravings, sleep interruptions, cognitive issues, and some bowel issues that I have yet to discover. These are few symptoms that I’ve noticed. I’ve listened to what Chris Kresser has to said about adrenal fatigue, and after reading this definitive post I can’t comprehend why, at such a young age, I am experiencing these symptoms?

    Please help guide me in the right direction.

    • says

      You might want to cut out the intermittent fasting and try eating three meals and day and see how you do on that. You might also want to play around with carb intake to see what works best for you now.
      I don’t know much about you, but if you say you have high stress and sleep interruptions, but aren’t sure why you might have adrenal fatigue type issues, I would start by looking at your stress, sleep, and how you’re intermittent fasting.

    • Dasha says

      low energy, mood swings, high stress life, cravings, sleep interruptions, cognitive issues, and some bowel issues

      You are not eating enough carbs. The human body is designed to run on starches, hence the cravings and energy/cognitive issues – your brain and body need sugar. Right now you’re torturing yourself.

Join the Discussion