what is adrenal fatigue?

What Is Adrenal Fatigue? (And How To Fix It!)

Are you asking the question “what is adrenal fatigue”?

Are you having symptoms like weight gain, hair loss, anxiety, and fatigue that seem to have no cause or relation to any health condition, and find yourself wondering what is going on with your body?

You could be on the right track and asking the right questions.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms above and they are not linked to any known health condition, you could be dealing with adrenal fatigue.

Want to learn more?

In this post we’ll go over:

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

If you’re ready to learn more about adrenal fatigue and find information that can get you started on the road to recovery, keep reading!

Why Am I Writing This? A Quick Intro…

I know exactly where you are and how you feel. I was in the same situation a few years ago. 

If you are looking for information on adrenal fatigue you are probably not feeling well and wondering what in the world is wrong.

Maybe you have gone to the doctor and have been told that everything is fine, but you do not feel fine.  

I understand the frustration, confusion, and worry that goes along with feeling so exhausted you can hardly get out of bed, but being told that according to tests you are healthy.

I went to six different doctors complaining of symptoms and not one of them mentioned adrenal fatigue

Not one.

I was given a diet plan, told to exercise and eat less, that I was depressed, and that I needed to get out more because I was a stay-at-home mom. 

None of those doctors took me seriously, and I made a promise that if I could get better I would share how I did it so that others would not have to struggle and not be taken seriously.

So, I am here to tell you that there is a name (a few actually, depending on who you talk to) for what you are experiencing, you are not alone, and

You can get better!

Related: Vitamin C For Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Depending on which health care professional you are getting information from, this syndrome could be referred to as adrenal fatigue or adrenal fatigue syndrome, Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysregulation, Non-Adrenal Axis Dysfunction Affecting Adrenal Function, or as (one of my favorite doctors to read) Dr. Aviva Romm calls it- Allostatic Load.

For this blog, I will use the name/phrase adrenal fatigue but just be aware that this condition and its symptoms can be known by many names. 

No matter the name used, many people with very similar symptoms are experiencing issues that typically cannot be found using routine tests.

That does not mean that there isn’t something going on that needs attention.

Have You Been Told “Your Tests Are Fine” Or “You’re Depressed”?

If you go to a doctor and mention adrenal fatigue they may somehow show you, either by their words or body language, that they do not believe in such a thing. 

You have symptoms, but the doctor doesn’t recognize what is going on. 

Your labs may come back in the normal range and you may be told it is all in your head, give you an antidepressant for stress and anxiety, and send you on your way. 

But that doesn’t get to the root cause or fix the problem. 

Even if your adrenals are not dysfunctioning (like in the case of Addison’s disease), you still are experiencing symptoms. 

This is not in your head!

No matter what it is called- those of us dealing with it need answers, help, and direction. 

If you are experiencing these symptoms and other causes have been ruled out, you may want to consider adrenal fatigue.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue

11 symptoms of adrenal fatigue

What Is Causing This?

The short answer- stress!

Our bodies really are amazing!  They try hard to stay in a good, healthy balance.  If we are generally healthy, our bodies can handle stress and then return to a somewhat normal state.

But when the stress is extreme or long-term, the body cannot maintain balance and that’s fatigue, anxiety, aches and pains, thyroid problems, or any number of other symptoms begin to appear.

Everyday Our Body Deals With Stress From:


*Toxins in the environment

*Poor diet or unknown food allergies

*Not getting enough restorative sleep

*Not having optimal vitamin and mineral levels

*Unhealthy guts (microbiome)

*Undiagnosed thyroid problems

*Hormone imbalance

And so much more!

Stress Takes A Toll On The Body  

At first, we may feel a little tired, have trouble sleeping, have trouble focusing, maybe have slight anxiety, feel snacky, or possibly lose our appetite. 

All of those symptoms can be considered normal if we are experiencing temporary stress.  When the cause of stress is resolved, typically so are the symptoms.

When stress is long-term or sudden, our body gets to a tipping point it can be a challenge to come back into balance. 

Our body kicks into overdrive and if this happens for an extended period, imbalances are sure to follow.

For some people, it isn’t a stress that is easily identified like divorce, financial troubles, or the death of a loved one. 

Sometimes adrenal fatigue comes from pushing yourself too hard, not taking time to properly care for yourself, and then the last straw is added, in the form of a stressful event or maybe an illness, which is enough to tip the scale of balance.  

Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Inflammation

When the state of exhaustion or burnout is reached, the body increases cortisol and adrenaline production. 

Blood sugar fluctuations are common, weight gain can occur, and sex drive is lessened or non-existent. 

A person may have cravings for certain foods and most certainly will feel fatigued ranging from a little tired to completely exhausted even after sleeping (although sleep is usually disturbed too.)

A few other problems associated with adrenal fatigue are that inflammation increases, immune function decreases, and digestion becomes disturbed. 

As a person craves food and eats it, because it helps them to feel better for a short time, they often gain weight.  But the more you gain, the more your body becomes inflamed.

Extra fat causes inflammation. 

It is a bad cycle.

The body, trying to maintain balance, reroutes hormones from the reproductive system to make more cortisol. 

Along with all of that, the extra adrenaline being produced can cause digestive disturbances such as gas, bloating, irritable bowel, and infla,mmation of the gut lining (which can cause a leaky gut).

The Stress Is Too Much For A Struggling Body

The body then starts to lower cortisol and adrenaline production. 

At this point inflammation in the body may be getting worse.  

Aches and pains are common, along with exhaustion and not being able to get up and going in the morning. 

Many experience a crash in the afternoon and find themselves reaching for sugar, caffeine, or any else that will help them get through the rest of their day.

Digestive trouble, stress, anxiety, and hormonal symptoms continue to worsen. 

If left long-term, a person may find that they have an autoimmune disease, diabetes, infertility, or early or difficult menopause. 

All of these conditions could lead to unwanted, and sometimes unhelpful medications.  

Different people may experience different symptoms and some of that is dependent on which level of adrenal fatigue that they fall into.

The Four Levels of Adrenal Fatigue

According to Dr. Lam, there are four levels of adrenal fatigue.

1. Alarm Reaction 

In this stage, the person experiences stress, the body tries to reduce this stress by calling on the adrenal glands to work harder. 

Most people don’t notice too many symptoms in this stage, they may feel a little more tired but not enough to affect their everyday lives.

2. Resistance Response

If a person experiences stress for a long time the body is not able to keep up with the extra cortisol production that is being called for, so production slows and may go back to a normal level but other hormones, such as ACTH from the pituitary gland may still be high. 

As this continues the body begins making cortisol over other hormones, these hormones decline, but cortisol production continues at a steady pace. 

At this point, cortisol levels may start to become off balance. 

In healthy bodies, cortisol levels are higher in the morning and lower by evening.  This higher level in the morning helps us get out of bed and be ready for our day. 

In the second stage of adrenal fatigue, it is not uncommon for people to complain that they are tired and feel like they need a nap.  And that is exactly what they need! 

A nap, a little time off work, or maybe a relaxing getaway ( along with effective stress management techniques and good self-care) is just what someone in this stage needs.

3. Adrenal Exhaustion

This is where things start to get and feel bad, friends. 

This stage could have been coming on for a few years or it could have come on much more suddenly. It just depends on the person. 

Either way, if you are in the third stage of adrenal fatigue, your hormones are out of sync. You most likely have a feeling of real tiredness most of the time and even rest or sleep isn’t helping. 

If you get to what Dr. Lam calls “Phase C”, you are in a state of extreme exhaustion. 

You are experiencing serious fatigue, blood sugar, and blood pressure issues, heart palpitations, severe anxiety, dizziness, and a feeling that something is seriously wrong.

You may also feel like you can’t make it through your day or can’t get out of bed.

Everyday things can be too difficult to do because you are overwhelmed and can’t get out of bed. 

I know this phase all too well.  If you are here, please know that I understand, and don’t lose hope!! 

Soon we will be getting to how to find help and what you can do to help yourself. 

4. Failure

This stage of adrenal fatigue looks very much like Addison’s disease. 

A person in this stage needs medical attention but since adrenal fatigue is not a recognized condition, it could make it difficult to find a doctor that will consider it.  

If a person reaches this stage there are serious and potentially fatal implications. 

It is not uncommon for people to experience weight loss, nausea, depression, hypoglycemia, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration. 

Testing For Adrenal Fatigue

So, now that we know what adrenal fatigue is, all the symptoms associated with it, and the phases, we should talk about testing. 

There are some easy at-home tests you can do that could be helpful. These tests, along with tests from your doctor may give some great insight.

Self-order tests are also a possibility!

The First Tests For Adrenal Fatigue Are Simple, Easy, and Can Be Done At Home

(Please remember- I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice.  You should always contact a healthcare professional if you feel you need one!)

1.  The Blood Pressure Test

*You will need a blood pressure cuff

First, lay down in a comfortable position and rest for a few minutes. 

Next, take your blood pressure.  After that, stand up and take your blood pressure again.  

Normally, blood pressure should rise by 10-20 points. If this does not happen or your blood pressure drops, it could be that adrenal fatigue is the cause.

2. Sergent’s White Line (named after Dr. Emile Sergent)

*You will need your fingernail or something to lightly scratch yourself with.

On your belly (or the inside of your forearm) lightly make a scratch about six inches long. 

Normally, in a healthy person, this line should begin to turn red within a few seconds.  If it remains white or widens and remains white this could be another indication of a struggling system. 

3. Pupil Contraction

*You will need a dark room, a flashlight (not too bright!), and a mirror.

Stand in the dark room for 10-15 seconds so that your eyes have a chance to adjust. 

Next, stare at the mirror while turning on your flashlight and holding it at eye level but near your ear.

Bring the light about 6-8 inches from the side of your eye and hold it at about a 45-degree angle. (Important:  Don’t point the flashlight directly at your eye!!) 

When you get the light to this point count how many seconds your pupil stays contracted from the light. 

What you are hoping to see is sustained contraction but many people notice pulsing. That can still be somewhat normal. 

If you see a complete release or no contraction, that can be a definite indication of adrenal fatigue.

These three tests are simple and easy, and while you probably can’t have a definitive answer based on these at-home tests, the knowledge you gain along with this questionnaire could help you decide to pursue further testing.

Further Testing

If you have decided that further testing is something that you want to pursue, there are a few that I have found to be helpful.

(You should always consult with your health care professional as to which would be appropriate for your situation).

1.  A Saliva Test 

A saliva test is really easy, non-invasive and so helpful! 

You spit into a vial a few times per day and then send them in. 

Easy peasy! 

You will get the results and be able to see your cortisol patterns throughout the day.  This will help you see if your levels are rising and falling at the appropriate times. 

No matter what, it can help give you a starting point. Dr. Wilson does a great job explaining this test here.

2. A Vitamin D Test

A vitamin D test and information isn’t specific to adrenal fatigue, it goes along with general health, but if your vitamin D levels are low that can cause a list of problems.

Doctors do not always test both vitamin d2 and d3 but I ask for both. 

If you’re interested in an informative read on the topic of Vitamin D check out this post by Chris Kresser. He gives a lot of great information about vitamin D, the ideal range, and safe supplementation.

3. Magnesium 

Since magnesium is involved in hundreds of processes or functions in the body it is important to know your levels, and this test can help you do that.

This is an important mineral and many people have low levels. 

If you are low in magnesium you could experience aches, pains, muscle cramps, constipation, anxiety, and so much more!  An important one to look into.

4. Complete Iron Panel

A full iron panel is essential because if your iron is low, you are not going to feel a pep in your step. 

It is not uncommon for women to have low iron levels, and like Vitamin D, this is usually an easy issue to address and fix.

5. B Vitamins

A comprehensive B vitamin test would be on my list as well. 

These vitamins are very important as well and many have low levels.  If you are vegan, under a great deal of stress, or have digestive trouble, you may be low in B vitamins.  If levels are low this could cause a lack of energy too.

Some find help assessing and optimizing liver function, digestion, elimination, and taking a close look at undiagnosed food intolerances. 

All these issues could be causing stress and lending to a struggling body.

6. A Complete Thyroid Panel

A complete thyroid panel is very important! But it is also one of the more frustrating tests to interpret. Many doctors (including a lot of endocrinologists) do not interpret these tests well which means a lot of people suffer from less than optimal thyroid function.

These are the top six tests that I found helpful but you or your health care professional may want to look into other tests as well.

Next Steps To Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

If you feel that you have adrenal fatigue, or you have gone to a knowledgeable doctor and have been told that you have adrenal fatigue (or any other names that might be used to describe this condition), you might be wondering what your next step should be.

1. Evaluate All Commitments And Responsibilities

Take a little time and evaluate your commitments, responsibilities, and other areas of your life that may be causing stress, and take steps to change (baby steps are perfectly fine!).

Don’t be afraid to say “no”!

Since stress (mental, physical, or both) is usually a huge piece of the adrenal fatigue puzzle, then changing your life will be essential going forward.

2. Start A Journal

This will be helpful to keep track of changes you make, how you feel, and any other information you feel is important.

Keeping a journal will help you to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come, or if specific situations, foods, or supplements make you feel better or worse.

A journal is an invaluable tool!

3. Find Reputable Sources And Read, Read, Read

There is a lot of information out there so be sure to find reputable sources and choose what feels right to you.

Researching information and learning about what you can do for yourself will help you to feel like you are taking action, which can be very empowering!

Try not to get stressed or overwhelmed though, you will find what works for you, just give it time 😉

Helpful Lifestyle Changes

Now that you have my top three suggestions for actionable steps to begin making changes, it is time to talk about lifestyle changes that might be helpful for those of us with adrenal fatigue.

1. Eat Healthy, Healing Foods

We hear this everywhere, right? But what does that mean?

Well, I believe that for most people the best way to eat is to include plenty of veggies, some fruit, clean protein sources, and healthy carbs.

Exactly how much of each can depend on your activity level and personal needs. (If you’re looking for healthy, delicious, and healing recipe ideas be sure to check out my recipe page!)

2. Prioritize Sleep

Getting good, restorative sleep is essential for healing. To accomplish this you may want to consider these tips from Dr. Lam:

  • Going to bed before 10 pm
  • Eating a small, healthy snack to help keep blood sugar stable (avocado, cheese (if tolerated), nuts, an apple and nut butter)
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and not too warm
  • Consider turning off your TV, cellphone, and computer at least a few hours before you go to bed (and keep them out of your bedroom!)
  • Try yoga or gentle stretching and relaxing breathing (stay away from strenuous exercise though!)
  • Meditation is a great way to relax and unwind before bed!

Interested In A Little Yoga Before Bed?
This Short Video from Yoga By Adriene Is One Of My Favorites!

3. Consider A Few Helpful Supplements

While stress management, eating healthy and healing foods, and prioritizing sleep are at the top of the list, supplements can help some people a great deal.

Every person and their needs are different, but here are a few that are commonly recommended and have helped me:

  1. Ashwagandha-This herb is amazing! Ashwagandha is known for lowering cortisol levels, helping balance thyroid hormones, helping maintain homeostasis (balance) in the body, and is also known as a natural stress reliever.
  2. Collagen Found in bone broth or it can be bought separately, collagen is known to help elasticity in the skin, joint health, metabolism, and the gastrointestinal tract, and provides amino acids needed in the body.
  3. Cod Liver Oil- Cod liver oil supplies very usable forms of vitamins A and D, as well as reducing inflammation.
  4. Liver- Liver is packed full of good nutrients! Liver is a great source of iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, trace minerals, and so much more! If you can’t quite get it down, you can always try desiccated liver capsules.
  5. Magnesium- Magnesium is a co-factor in hundreds of enzyme systems in the body which affects: muscle and nerve function, blood pressure and blood sugar control, energy production, and hundreds of others. Because of this, it is important to have optimal levels.
  6. Vitamin C- Vitamin C helps the body deal with stress, enhances mood, is necessary for collagen production and the manufacture of adrenal hormones, and is good for bones, joints, and blood vessels.

Common Questions and Tips for Success

If you are dealing with adrenal fatigue you are most likely exhausted, having trouble dealing with stress, unable to work out like you used to, and feeling not at all like yourself in so many ways.

Believe me, when I say, I hear you, I know exactly what this feels like. You are not alone!

Common Questions About Adrenal Fatigue

1. Is Adrenal Fatigue Common?

Sadly, yes. According to Dr. Lam, over 80% of adults will experience adrenal fatigue at some point in life.

In so many ways our modern life is wonderful, but there is a downside too. If you are always busy, pushing yourself, running kids to every event, working too many long hours, caring for a sick loved one, or dealing with any other serious stress in life, exhaustion, and adrenal fatigue are a real possibility.

2. Can This Happen To Anyone?

Yep, it sure can. Adrenal fatigue can be brought on by chronic or long-term stresses such as an unhappy marriage, job stress, or poor lifestyle.

It can also be triggered by an acute situation like surgery or a traumatic event.

It is believed that women are more prone to this condition, but men can experience it as well.

3. Is It Common For People With Other Health Issues To Have Adrenal Fatigue Too?

Just because a person has IBS, diabetes, autoimmune disease, or other health issues does not mean that they will experience adrenal fatigue, but it is not uncommon for people with health issues to deal with it.

If a person’s body is struggling and they have not been able to change their situation or more stress is added, either in the form of chronic or acute stress, it is very possible adrenal fatigue could occur.

4. Can People With Adrenal Fatigue Recover?

Absolutely! It may take some time though, so be patient with yourself.

Recovery is very individual and can take a few weeks or months to a few years. The most important thing to focus on is you, your health, and learning about what your body needs to thrive.

(Almost) Everything else can wait.

By changing what you can, learning to let go of what you can’t, and taking small steps, you will get there. You may experience setbacks- that’s ok, just keep going!

5. What Is Sole Water And Is It Helpful For Adrenal Fatigue?

Sole (pronounced solay) water can be helpful to some people. It is known for being rich in minerals, helping with energy, and even helping the body detoxify.

In her book, A Mind of Your Own, Dr. Kelly Brogan gives a great recipe and talks about sole water.

If you are interested here is her recipe:

“Fill a 16 oz glass jar a quarter of the way with Himalayan salt, and fill with filtered water. Cover and let sit overnight. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture and mix it into a glass of filtered water. Drink first thing in the morning.”

6. Should I Drink Coffee?

That depends on how you feel when you drink it (or don’t drink it) and what stage of adrenal fatigue you are in.

Coffee, or other drinks with caffeine, can be stimulating for some people and if you are in the later stages it probably won’t help you to feel your best.

Pay attention when you drink it- are you feeling shaky, extra sweaty, or on edge? If so, you may want to consider cutting down or eliminating coffee. When you are dealing with adrenal fatigue your body needs rest, healing foods, and loving care, so it will only speed your progress to cut out anything that overstimulates or irritates you.

If you don’t feel that coffee affects you in that way- enjoy! (In moderation, of course 😉 )

What You Need to Know About Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue (or any of the other names that could be used) is not an accepted condition by some doctors and health care professionals.  There is no definitive test to confirm such a condition. 

This doesn’t mean that the symptoms are in your head or unrelated, as some would lead you to believe. 

This is a very real condition experienced by many.

If you find yourself stressed, exhausted, getting sick more often, having anxiety, digestive issues, sleep problems, brain fog, heat intolerance, or any of the other symptoms (there are over 75!), you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue. 

Your adrenal gland function, along with all other tests, may look normal but medical tests may not show everything that you need to know. 

If you are experiencing similar symptoms try the at-home tests, and take the free quiz, this can give you a starting point. 

From there,  you can find a functional doctor or health professional to help you along on your journey.

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what is adrenal fatigue?

33 thoughts on “What Is Adrenal Fatigue? (And How To Fix It!)”

  1. Hello!
    Thank you for sharing! Since 1 year I (finally!) have the diagnose: adrenal insufficiency…and yes I had to go though all 4 steps to find myself first taking antidepresants, then stay in the hospital when after a lot of tests doctors finally could get into this conclusion. From that day I try to help all people I meet, having symptoms to be properly treated. With me it was to late to deal easilywith this problem. I will have to take Hydrocortison till the end of my life and a lot of supplements, BUT at least I gave up mental treatment, as it turned into light that I am not deppressed and this is not a problem ‘only in my head’. Once again thank you! If I may have a question about sport…my doctors in Poland told me at the beginning that the only sport I can do is walking… :-). I am a bit affraid to end up again with low pressure, sugar, cortisol levels…so I wonder what kind of sports I can do…
    I will appreciate an answer 🙂

    1. It sounds like you have been through a lot, Aleksandra. I’m so sorry it took so long to figure out what was going on 🙁
      If your doctor is telling you to stick to walking for exercise and movement then I would do that. If you are afraid or unable to take slow, easy walks, you could ask is very gentle yoga would be an acceptable option.

      I hope you find what feels good and works best for your body. Best of luck!

  2. Those symptoms are also symptoms of Celiac disease ( I have this) and other illnesses. As you said, see a medical professional, one that will actually listen and work with you to find out what is really wrong. It took me several years, countless doctors and several hospital stays before finding a physician that admitted, I don’t know what is wrong with you but I have medical friends that might be able to help. I’ll help find an answer. He literally saved my life. I’ve been diagnosed since August and have not felt this good in years! Best to everyone suffering from something. You aren’t crazy. You’ve lived with your body for all of your life and you know when something is wrong; you know better than the best doctor in the world. Stay strong. No one is alone.

    1. Em,

      I’m so glad that you were finally able to find a doctor that listened and has helped you! And I totally agree, you live in your body and know it better than anyone. Thank you so much for sharing your story and such an encouraging message 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing this great information! I have suffered for years and exhausted myself physically, mentally and financially. I was finally seeing a functional medicine doc and she gave me several diagnoses including this one, but the cost was stressing me out more which was counterproductive. 🙁 I had to come off most of the supplements recently and my fatigue is back to awful! I am just devastated!! We may have to live on credit and go back to her. I’m so glad you have put this info out there because I am sure there are so many struggling in silence. 🙁

    1. Lori,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with fatigue and other health issues. I know how difficult and frustrating that can be! And I agree, I think there are a lot of women struggling in silence. Hopefully, by speaking out we can help them too!!

  4. Hello. I have a question. What is the difference between adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency? My naturopathic doctor told me I have adrenal insufficiency. I did a urine and saliva test through Dutch and my cortisol was below normal low throughout most of the day until evening. I have also had a cortisol blood test a year ago which was in the normal range.
    Would I require more testing to confirm I have this Or that is a good indication that I do have some adrenal stuff going on. She prescribe me some herbal supplements and then prescribed me a medication that is compounded called Vitacort 2mg bid. I’m assuming it is cortisone.

    1. Hi Jaime,

      A test from a year ago could be much different from today because your body can change quite a bit in a year. Also, blood tests and urine/saliva tests can have different results. If you have been diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency (which is different and more serious than adrenal fatigue) you definitely need to be under the care of a doctor.

  5. What type of doctor is best to help or understand me or this? The last thing I want is a doctor just to prescribe me a common fix and not what’s best for ME…

    1. Hi Treena,

      It’s totally understandable that you don’t want to go to someone that writes a prescription and that’s all they have to offer. I have had the best luck with functional medicine doctors. I will say though, it’s been my personal experience that while my doctor is really good at what she does, finding help in a variety of areas has been the best approach. For instance, I found that my functional medicine doctor was great for running tests, interpreting them, and coming up with a diagnosis, but I also found it really helpful to seek out an HTMA practitioner, a homeopath, and a good counselor for improved mental health. Healing is a whole-body process so you may need to seek out health advice in more than one place.

      I hope you find the best practitioners that can help you feel better!

  6. I have struggled for years with major fatigue, depression, brain fog, VERY low blood pressure and the list goes on. The first thing the Dr.’s do is give an antidepressant which only makes it worse. I’m so happy to have found this article and ecstatic to start trying to get this under control!! Thank you so much for sharing your journey ❤️

    1. Hi Amber,

      I have had a few rounds with doctors suggesting antidepressants too and it’s so frustrating! While I absolutely believe symptoms can be related to mental/emotional causes, going straight to an antidepressant is inappropriate in a lot of cases. Those of us who deal with these symptoms need health care practitioners that are going to listen and help us investigate, not just prescribe a pill and send us on our way.

      Anyway, I’m so glad that you are finding hope in the info here! That just makes my heart happy 🙂

      Good luck on your health journey, I wish you all the best!!

  7. Very hopeful, thank you so much for sharing. How long did it take you to get over your adrenal fatigue? Could you recommend a specialist who deals with adrenal fatigue and can advice over the phone and email? Thank you.

    1. Hi Nadia,

      It took me quite a long time (over a year) to heal and recover. Some of that time was finding the best health care practitioners, appropriate tests and treatments. Once I did that I was able to make slow but consistent progress. I should mention, I am still very careful and intentional about getting enough sleep, taking a rest if I need it, eating well, and managing stress. I don’t feel like I have the same ability to keep pushing through that I used to. I’m not sure if that’s due to just being older, adrenal fatigue, or something else. But the lessons I learned about taking care of myself from having adrenal fatigue still help me, so I guess that’s a silver lining 🙂

      I don’t have a recommendation for an adrenal fatigue specialist that will do phone or email appointments. I know that Dr. Lam offers that service, but I have heard that it is quite expensive.

      If you haven’t already, you could do a search for an integrative or functional medicine doctor. There may be one in your area, and if not, many are starting to offer online consultations.

      1. Thank you for replying. I am glad to hear that you were able to recover touchwood. It gives so much hope. I am in peri menopause. It’s interesting to see that a lot of women suffer with adrenal fatigue. Reducing stress seems to be the key factor. Also dealing with major hormonal fluctuations. Thank you once again. Dr. Lam is an expert I believe and is very expensive also. In my area it will be very difficult as I am in the subcontinent possibly easier to find an Ayurvedic practitioner here.

        1. Nadia,

          So glad to offer any help I can 🙂

          Stress, major hormone fluctuations, and adrenal fatigue are definitely experienced by many during perimenopause. It’s a time of so many changes, both mentally and physically. An Ayurvedic practitioner may be very helpful and I would be very interested to hear about your experience if you go that route.

          Wishing you good luck in your recovery journey!

  8. Now will be the quest to find an Ayurvedic Practitioner who know about adrenal fatigue. Personally, I had heard of it but never really knew what it was until I started experiencing the symptoms myself, low blood sugar, nausea, inability to exercise. Amy, did you only take the supplements you mentioned above, were they enough or did you had to take anything else besides the ones you have mentioned like glandulars or hormones. Thank you for your reply.

    1. I have tried taking herbal remedies based on symptoms and found some relief but would never really feel as well as I knew I could. It wasn’t until I stopped all supplements and found a doctor that helped to pinpoint food allergies/intolerances and an HTMA practitioner that helped discover mineral imbalances that I really started to feel a lot better.

      Supplements are definitely helpful but a targeted approach seems to work best (at least for myself and others I know who have dealt with adrenal fatigue).

      As far as glandulars or hormones, I did try them at first but found they were definitely not going to work for me. They may be appropriate for someone else though. We all have different needs 😉

      1. Hi Amy thank you for your reply. So I have begun a consultation with Dorine, Dr. Lam’s wife. She is a nutritionist herself and to be honest dr. Lam is a lot more expensive. I figured that by now they must have established a program after dealing with so many people suffering from this. I personally believe now that I have come to know more about this is that every one has their own reasons for developing this condition and I feel like you have to untangle each thread bit by bit, in a slow and at many times a painful process. Sometimes I wish it was faster and things would be back to normal or at least from where it began. Mine was triggered by trauma an eye infection and stress that got out of hands. Somewhere in there is a gut brain connection because if you look at it your gut clears most of the toxins and allergies, Dao is produced in the gut. Elevated levels of Cortisol negatively affect brain function. So yes it’s an ordeal, I want it to get over it soon but I am aware that it’s going to be slow. I have to think that something positive will come out pf it in the end. Something like what you said about looking after yourself. Thank you. Ever so grateful for your response.

        1. Thank you for the update, Nadia! So glad to hear from you 🙂

          I wish you all the best with your treatment plan and hope that you are able to make steady progress. Be sure to check in again, I would love to hear about your experience working with Dr. Lam’s wife.

  9. Thank you Amy, I’ve heard that Nutritional Balancing has helped heal a lot of people. Do you feel better now that you are following the recommendations based on the program. Would love to hear more about that. I am currently on vitamin C and glutathione.

    1. Hi Nadia,
      So nice to hear from you! I haven’t worked with Dr. Lam or his associates so I don’t know exactly what they recommend as far as nutritional balancing. I have worked with a different doctor and a few other holistic health care providers and am currently following a personalized eating and supplement plan, and I definitely feel better! Are you noticing a difference in how you feel since starting your program?

      1. Hi Amy,
        I was feeling better and gradually improving. My worst times are the afternoon and evening. Unfortunately I had a respiratory illness (viral infection). It has been going for 2 weeks, finally getting better but now I feel like my old symptoms appearing. I get anxious and feel very low. Do you have any tips on how to recover from a crash? I am stage 3A. I just dread the anxiety more than anything. Do you feel like your old self now before you had your crash?

        1. Hello! Thanks so much for the update 🙂

          So glad to hear that you were seeing improvement, that’s great! I’m sure as you feel better you will start to see those improvements again.

          So, to answer your question, no, I don’t feel like my old self most of the time. I do feel much better, and am able to do so much more than I could even a year ago, but not quite the same. I feel like I’m still improving though, so I have hope!

          As far as tips go, all I can do is tell you what works for me (most of the time). First, rest as much as you can. It always feels like it takes me twice as long to recover from illness, but if I allow myself to rest (and not put a timeline on it of when I “should” expect myself to be up and around) I always do better. Also, eat very healthy and nourishing foods, and then the last thing is to purposely fill my time with positive things like reading a book I have been hoping to start, watching my favorite tv shows, and quiet time meditating and praying (if you don’t meditate or pray you could write in a journal, talk with a friend, spend time in nature- really just some quiet time with no expectations).

          I hope that helps a little. Feel better soon!

      2. Hello Amy. My name is April and on dec 31 st 2020 I was put on a nasal steroid spray and perdisone pills for 7 days along with an antibiotic for a sinus infection . Shortly after stopping the perdisone on Jan 8 2021 I began to have extreme anxiety. I also experienced severe anxiety and panic after the nasal spray which I stopped around 21st of Jan. 2021. I now am experiencing depression along with anxiety but it has improved some. I had to go babe my steroid levels checked and they came back normal but I did just get them checked last week. My hormone levels are extremely high as well. I was told I was in menepose but my OBgyn said I was not since I had I cycle in January. So now I have to go have an ultrasound of my stomach because I have some tenderness there, none of this started until I was put on steroids .

  10. Thank you so much for your candid opinion. I do hope and pray that you are able to completely cure yourself off this thing. I had heard that nutritional balancing and detoxing has helped a lot of people. I just hope that with your perseverance and knowledge, new doors open for you. I sincerely hope that we can find a way out of this.

    1. Thank you, Nadia!

      I truly believe that proper nutrition and helping your body’s natural detox pathways are incredibly important and can help so many health issues. I am definitely working on those areas and have seen great results. I hope you find what works for you too!

  11. I go to a place in Centerville, Ohio called Take 2 Healthcare. You can find them on the web. They do very thorough blood testing and can help you over the phone once you have you bloodwork completed.
    I started a program 3 weeks ago. I’m starting to see small improvements in some areas. I re-test in 4 weeks so I’ll know if things are improving then.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thanks so much for the recommendation, I’ll definitely look them up. It’s great that you’re starting to notice an improvement! Keep us updated on your experience and progress 🙂

  12. Hi! I used dr Kelly brogans book to heal from postpartum depression but I haven’t stayed with it and just found out from my naturopath that I have adrenal fatigue symptoms again. Thanks for the reminder of all the good things that one can do.

    1. Hi Tabitha,

      Postpartum depression can definitely be such a challenge! I’m so glad that you found help in Dr. Brogan’s books, they really do have a lot of good info for all kinds of issues and situations. Sending healing thoughts your way!

  13. I have had several bouts of this annoying endocrine system problem during my life that I think could be described as somewhere between Dr. Lam’s stages 3 and 4! I was definitely sick, but not enough to be hospitalized! When they struck I became totally incapable of any kind of extended effort and suffered from hypoglycemia following almost every meal I had. I’d often be awakened with chills and hypoglycemia symptoms when trying to be “restorative” sleep. Full recovery took months.

    I’m convinced that there is much more going on with severe cases than just the adrenal glands “shutting down” for a while. I’m convinced that the physical stresses that overtaxed the glands and forced them to continuously produce adrenalin and cortisol actually KILLS the cells in the glands! That is why recovery from severed cases takes so long. One has to actually grow NEW cells to replace the ones that died off. Meanwhile, the remaining still living cells have to do their own jobs of producing adrenal hormones plus make extra to compensate for what is not being made by the lost cells.

    During recovery, I have found it helpful to eat SMALL low glycemic means throughout the day…like every two hours or so, take extra vitamin C, E, and magnesium, and avoid any sort of strenuous physical activity. I’m convinced this approach produces the fastest recovery. The hard part is avoiding the strenuous physical activity especially if you are running to a slave driver type job every day or have a family to care for. When you are sick from this problem–which use to be called “Little Addison’s Disease!–it’s time for your friends and family to start giving YOU the support you need to recover and to be patient until you do. Those who have not had this problem cannot really appreciate how disabling it can be and will often minimize a victim’s complaints or accuse him or her of “being lazy”. This is especially depressing when it comes from a medical “doctor” who one would think should know better.

    Anyway, thanks for you long article on the subject which I found had much helpful information in it.

    1. Hi Ken,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and insights. I agree with so much of what you wrote and am glad that you found the information here helpful! And it’s so true that if someone hasn’t had this problem it is difficult to understand and appreciate how serious it is, and how bad someone can feel.
      I also really appreciate hearing a man’s perspective. So many times I hear from women but men absolutely suffer from symptoms of adrenal fatigue too.

      Keep sharing and speaking out, Ken! People need to hear about your experience 🙂

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