Adrenal Fatigue: What is it? and 3 Steps to Overcome It Naturally

It is based on the unproven belief that the adrenal glands become depleted and unable to produce enough hormones.

It’s time to do something about adrenal fatigue because you are probably dealing with it. (Or maybe it can happen to you at some point).

Many advocates of this condition estimate that almost everyone can experience adrenal fatigue, also known as hyponatremia, to some degree at a particularly stressful time in their life.

Due to the significant influence of the adrenal glands in the body, the symptoms of adrenal fatigue can simulate several disorders and are not always easily recognizable.

Most sources agree that symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mental confusion.
  • Weight gain.
  • Insulin resistance and others.

Although the mere fact that you feel fatigued is not necessarily indicative of adrenal fatigue and adrenal fatigue tests are not always straightforward, there is evidence that high cortisol levels are found in saliva.

These high levels of cortisol found in saliva are associated with:


  • A reduced immune function.
  • Elevation of blood pressure.
  • Acceleration of the heart rate.
  • Delayed growth in children.

These symptoms can indicate a few different disorders and are often overlooked by doctors. Still, more and more people realize that a combination of these could indicate the onset of adrenal fatigue.

Some people at high risk for symptoms of adrenal fatigue include busy new parents, students in college or graduate school, and caregivers, such as nurses or family members caring for disabled relatives.

Another consequence of adrenal fatigue can cause excess fat accumulation and lower energy levels.

Fortunately, you can cure adrenal fatigue in three simple steps:

  • Start an adrenal fatigue diet.
  • Take supplements.
  • Reduce stress .

So, let’s talk about what your adrenal glands do and how you can overcome adrenal fatigue in these three easy steps.

What is adrenal fatigue?

A relatively new term, “adrenal fatigue,” was proposed as an unused condition in 1998 by Dr. James L. Wilson, a naturopath, and chiropractor.

They assumed that overstimulation of the adrenal glands (or ‘adrenal glands’) by chronic stress could, over time, lead to a varying level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the bloodstream, sometimes much more than usual. And at other times, too low.

In addition to this overload or inadequate cortisol level, people with adrenal fatigue often do not have enough DHEA, the “parent hormone” responsible for creating many necessary hormones in the body.

Unlike other endocrine disorders caused by physical damage to parts of the adrenal glands, hypoadrenia is viewed by many in the natural health world as a “middle ground” syndrome with simple, easy-to-implement solutions.

Currently, there is no official diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. People have a normal endocrine function or total endocrine insufficiency, as seen in Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency / Addison’s disease.

Some posit that this occurred in the 1950s when doctors overprescribed adrenal steroids and saw dire consequences, leading to overcorrection and generalizing endocrine problems.

Dr. Wilson describes the unique progression of adrenal fatigue throughout the day: You wake up and cannot function without a significant amount of caffeine, and you finally feel a surge of energy for the first part of the day.

Then your energy levels drop around 2 pm, get up around 6 pm, drop again around 9 pm, and finally peak at 11 pm.

Is adrenal fatigue an actual condition?

As you can see, this presents several problems, namely the inability to distinguish this pattern and its symptoms resulting from other disorders.

The parameters for this condition are nonspecific, which has led to a great deal of controversy surrounding this issue, even though the very nature of cortisol and body hormones is that their effects are far-reaching.

Another article from a São Paulo university was launched in 2016: «Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review.»

According to this review, the results of the acceptable studies available to them at that time had ‘conflicting results.’ They could not provide definitive evidence of disease or diagnostic or treatment criteria for adrenal fatigue.

While this may be daunting for some, a problem with this evaluation is that the main problem seemed to be the study design rather than the problematic results.

The failure of scientists to conduct proper testing does not immediately equate to the falsehood of adrenal fatigue in general.

Furthermore, diagnosing this condition is difficult because cortisol levels are lowered to what conventional medicine would call “within the normal range.” However, the symptoms are apparent to those with this condition.

Lastly, treatment for adrenal fatigue consists primarily of diet and lifestyle adjustments, which are not considered legitimate medicine by traditional practitioners. (Okay, we know that food is medicine, no matter how often the medical community doesn’t recognize this fact.)

Regardless, this topic is still a hot topic in the medical community.

A scathing article on adrenal fatigue was also published, essentially warning patients that it is a false diagnosis.

It is explained in this article that it is a topic distributed by those who benefit from the “expensive” treatment methods that they suggest when diagnosing the disease, without thinking about the grave dangers that can put someone by telling them adrenal fatigue is their problem.

They also (incorrectly) remind people that the FDA does not regulate supplements.

In reality, the FDA closely monitors dietary supplement producers, ensuring that they do not make false claims about their products, have the scientific evidence to back up their claims, and correctly label the exact ingredients included in each supplement.

Other specialists claim that constant levels of chronic stress do not affect the adrenal glands. The only actual endocrine disorders are those caused by other diseases and directly damage the adrenal glands.

Hypoadrenia is very real and is associated with several complications. Additionally, treatment for adrenal fatigue is relatively non-invasive and beneficial to your health, regardless of the diagnosis.

Of course, you should be under the care of a qualified medical professional, such as a functional medicine physician, who you trust and consult with you about any symptoms you are experiencing (of any disease) to determine the appropriate treatment.

What are the adrenal glands?

The adrenal glands are two triangle-shaped endocrine glands. One is located above each kidney. They are part of the body’s hormonal system. They produce several hormones involved in controlling blood pressure, metabolism, and your body’s response to stress.

Hormones influence all functions, organs, and tissues of the body directly or indirectly. They react with each other and respond to body conditions in an intricate and compassionate balancing act.

The adrenal glands work closely with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the system known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).

Usually, the adrenal glands release cortisol in a daily rhythm, referring to increasing cortisol throughout the day that helps us wake up, with a decrease in this level of hormone at night to help the body sleep.

This rhythm, however, does not always apply when external stress occurs.

The adrenal glands play a vital role in responding to stress.

When your brain registers a grim situation, be it emotional, mental, or physical, the adrenal medulla releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones to help you react against the intimidating or threatening situation (the fight or flight response), sending blood to your brain, heart, and muscles.

The adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to slow processes such as digestion, immune system response, and other functions not necessary for immediate survival.

These glands are responsible for balancing hormones, such as:

  • Glucocorticoids or GC are hormones that maintain average blood glucose concentrations by increasing gluconeogenesis and converting amino acids and fatty acids into glucose. They also help maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Mineralocorticoids: These are the hormones that promote sodium reabsorption in the transport of the epithelium of the kidneys, salivary glands, and large intestine. Sodium reabsorption is followed by passive water reabsorption. (for example, aldosterone)
  • Sex hormones: estrogen and testosterone.
  • Adrenaline/epinephrine: more commonly known as epinephrine, it is a hormone secreted by the medulla of the adrenal glands.

Strong emotions such as fear or anger cause adrenaline to be released into the bloodstream, causing an increase in heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism.

This reaction, known as the “Flight or Fight Response,” prepares the body for strenuous activity.

How does adrenal fatigue occur?

Adrenal fatigue is a stress-related condition that occurs when the adrenal glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands function below their optimal level.

It is usually the result of chronic physical or emotional stress. Adrenal fatigue produces symptoms such as a weakened immune system, low energy levels, and the inability to handle any type of stress.

Doctors and wellness professionals believe that an episode of acute stress or prolonged and chronic stress can cause the adrenal glands to become overloaded and ineffective and release cortisol inappropriately.

Hypoadrenia can be caused by:

  • Stressful situations such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or surgery.
  • Overexposure to toxins and environmental pollution.
  • Prolonged stress due to financial difficulties, interpersonal relationships or toxic work environment, and other conditions that involve emotions, feelings of frustration, and helplessness.
  • Negative thinking and emotional trauma.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Poor eating (including crash diets and conflicting nutrition) and lack of exercise.
  • Ailments
  • Food allergy
  • Dependence on stimulants such as caffeine or energy drinks.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis .

Can stress cause extreme fatigue?

Yes, it absolutely can. One study found that students subjected to long-term chronic stress when preparing for medical exams at the end of their educational careers impaired students cortisol arousal response.

By limiting this naturally occurring surge in cortisol each morning when you wake up and helping you feel alert, stress inhibits your ability to wake up, no matter how long you sleep fully.

Another study, published in 2005, found that students diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome had “impaired adrenal function,” particularly in women, suggesting that their adrenal glands were no longer receiving an average amount of stimulation.

And it’s not just about the amount of sleep you sleep. Researchers at Brandeis University found that the quality, rather than the amount of sleep, affects the body’s normal cortisol responses when exposed to stress.

Depression can also play a role in the developing or effects of adrenal fatigue. After a major depressive episode, cortisol responses do not quickly readjust to normal levels and could be in some way responsible for the recurrence of depression.

Patients with symptoms of diabetes may be at increased risk for adrenal fatigue. Research from the University of Delhi found that diabetes patients “show significantly higher chronic stress and stress responses when compared to subjects with normal glucose tolerance.”

This suggests that impaired glucose tolerance could be related to the burden of the adrenal glands.

Scientists in China have designed a cohort study to examine the interaction of genetics, biomarkers, and environmental exposures with health metrics that lead to chronic disease.

A validated questionnaire, along with a large battery of tests, has led them to develop a classification called ‘suboptimal health.’ This phase is essentially a step between optimal health and a diagnosable disease or illness characterized by “perceived health problems.”

These scientists observe that suboptimal health, as an “intermediate” state before illness, is a precursor to many conditions and has been exacerbated by cultural changes, such as Western lifestyle habits, pollution, diet poverty, and tobacco use.

This study, destined to be expanded in the following years by large numbers, is an effort to legitimize some of the often-overlooked benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

I find it curious that suboptimal health status (SHS) has many of the same principles as what we refer to as adrenal fatigue.

People classified as SHS have “significantly higher plasma cortisol levels” and confirm the correlation between stress and suboptimal health.

This has led those studying SHS to realize that reducing stress in the work environment can help prevent chronic diseases.

According to a prestigious clinic, the symptoms of severe adrenal fatigue maybe Addison’s disease.

This disease occurs when the adrenal glands permanently stop producing sufficient amounts of cortisol due to an autoimmune disease or damage to the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland.

Addison’s disease is marked by unexplained weight loss rather than gain, unlike adrenal fatigue.

Specialists urge anyone with the following symptoms to see a doctor immediately:

  • Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin).
  • Severe fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Major gastrointestinal problems.
  • Daze.
  • Fainting.
  • Salt cravings.
  • Muscle or joint pain

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

What happens when the adrenal glands stop making hormones efficiently? Every bodily function is affected, and as the levels of adrenal hormones drop and flow abnormally, even the standard “jump-start” you get from them disappears.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include: 

  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Chronic fatigue (you always feel tired).
  • Brain fog.
  • Hair loss.
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • It weakened stress response.
  • Insulin resistance
  • Daze.
  • It decreased sex drive/libido.
  • Irritability and bad mood.
  • Depression .
  • Muscle or bone loss.
  • Skin ailments.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Weight gain.
  • Desires for sweet and salty food.

As you can see, several symptoms could be related to other underlying disorders.

Fortunately, the ways to combat these problems are very similar and will benefit your overall health. These side effects can be treated to improve your adrenal condition.

Three steps to overcome adrenal fatigue

The management and treatment of adrenal fatigue involve reducing stress on your body and mind, eliminating excess toxins, avoiding negative thoughts, and replenishing your body with healthy foods, supplements, and mindsets.

If you ask yourself: How can I help my adrenal glands? The answer may be closer than you think: Adrenal fatigue treatment is like healthy, healing diets to help combat the underlying problems that cause several conditions.

  1. Follow the adrenal fatigue diet.

In all cases of adrenal recovery, diet is an essential factor. Several foods offer adrenal support, helping to replenish your adrenal energy so your system can regain its health.

But first, you need to start by eliminating hard-to-digest foods and toxins or chemicals in your environment.

The idea is to eliminate everything that burdens your adrenal glands.

Foods to avoid include:

Caffeine is a stimulant that can block your proper sleep cycle and make it harder for your adrenal glands to heal. If you want to drink coffee or a caffeinated drink, a minimum amount is recommended in the morning hours.

Sugar and sweeteners

You should avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners as well. Avoid very sugary foods, cereals, sweets, sweets, etc. Remember that sugar is contained in many pieces of bread, condiments, and dressings.

Try to avoid as much extra sugar as possible. Look for the benefits of raw honey or stevia as an alternative, and always moderate the use of sweeteners.

The carbohydrates

Not all bad carbohydrates; however, the inflammation they can cause is particularly troublesome when you experience adrenal fatigue.

Many people crave carbohydrate-heavy foods when stressed, which offer momentary satisfaction but tax the adrenal glands more.

If you’re overwhelmed and stressed, try kicking in the gluten and starchy carbs for some time to see if that can regulate your tiredness and energy levels.

Microwave-heated and processed foods

The use of the microwave has implicit dangers. Still, most ultra-processed foods for microwaves contain an excess of preservatives and other substances that are difficult to digest, which causes a waste of energy and deterioration in the digestive process.

Try to buy fresh food and prepare your food whenever possible.

Processed meats

A protein overload can stress your hormones more than you think, and the added hormones and lack of nutrition in conventionally processed meats (particularly red meats like beef and steak) can cause your system to slow down quickly.

When buying meats for adrenal support, stick to grass-fed beef and free-range chicken or turkey, and eat these high-protein meats only in moderation.

Hydrogenated oils

Oils like soybean, canola, and corn oil are highly inflammatory and lead to adrenal inflammation. Try to use only good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter, or ghee.

Here is a list of nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest and have healing qualities.

Some of the best superfoods for adrenal health include:

  • Coco.
  • Olives
  • Avocado and other healthy fats.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc).
  • Fatty fish (e.g., wild salmon).
  • Farm chicken and turkey.
  • Bone broth
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds.
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia, and flax.
  • Kelp and seaweed.
  • Celtic or Himalayan sea salt.
  • Fermented foods are rich in probiotics.
  • Chaga and cordyceps: medicinal mushrooms.

These foods help overcome adrenal fatigue because they are rich in nutrients, low in sugar, and have healthy fat and fiber.

  1. Take supplements for adrenal fatigue and herbs.

A significant key to overcoming adrenal fatigue is taking the correct supplements using supporting herbs.

I always recommend eating the right foods to heal your body. However, it can still be a challenge to get enough of all the nutrients you need every day.

Therefore, it may be helpful to use dietary supplements wisely for vitamins and minerals, particularly vital for adrenal support.

Additionally, there are certain herbs, spices, and essential oils that can help fight adrenal fatigue and support an active and vibrant life.

Adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra, and holy basil

Research indicates that adaptogenic herbs can help reduce cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body.

Using these herbs in food preparation can relieve some of the strain on your adrenal glands.

Licorice root

This spice is available in extract form and helps increase DHEA in your body. Licorice root is associated with some side effects and can sometimes be avoided by taking DGL licorice.

Pregnant women and people with heart, liver, or kidney problems should avoid licorice roots. Please do not take it for more than four weeks at a time.

Fish oil (EPA / DHA)

There are many benefits to supplementing with fish oil (or, for people on vegetarian or other plant-based diets, seaweed oil).

Several of these include counteracting several symptoms and complications related to adrenal fatigue, such as:

  • Diabetes.
  • Mental dysfunction
  • Arthritis.
  • Immune system function.
  • Skin problems
  • Weight gain.
  • Anxiety Depression.


Magnesium has been understood as one of the nutrients necessary to combat adrenal insufficiency, a medical condition that I will dive into next.

While this mechanism is not fully understood, you may benefit from magnesium supplementation if you suffer from adrenal fatigue.

Vitamin B complex

Research has found that vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with stress on the adrenal cortex in some animals. Vitamin B5 is another vitamin commonly deficient in people with adrenal stress.

Significantly, if you reduce or eliminate meat from your diet to combat adrenal fatigue, it may help to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin supplement.

C vitamin 

Known as a “stress-busting” nutrient, vitamin C has been found to minimize the effects of stress on people and reduce the time it takes to recover from stressful events.

Vitamin D

In addition to maintaining homeostasis between magnesium and phosphorus in the body and supporting strong bones, vitamin D has also recently been seen to impact other conditions, including adrenal dysfunction and disease.


At least one animal study has found that selenium deficiency can negatively affect adrenal function.

Lavender oil

Studies in humans and animals show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress. Research also suggests that it can reduce high levels of cortisol when inhaled.

Rosemary oil

Rosemary essential oil (along with lavender) can help lower cortisol levels and reduce oxidative stress in cells.

I always recommend using whole-food-based supplements from reputable companies and the use of 100% certified organic essential oils by recognized and specialized centers. Make sure you trust what you are buying.

  1. Reduces stress from adrenal fatigue

The last and most important key to restoring your adrenal function is paying attention to your mind and stress needs. Pay attention to your body!

  • Rest when you feel tired as much as possible.
  • Get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
  • Avoid staying up late and sticking to a regular sleep cycle, ideally in bed before 10 pm M.
  • Laugh and do something fun every day.
  • Minimize work and relational stress, however possible.
  • Eat on a regular food cycle and cut down on your addiction to caffeine and sugar.
  • Get some exercise (even moderate exercise and walking can help). Yoga, in particular, can help improve quality of life and reduce responses to stress.
  • Avoid negative people and speak for yourself.
  • Take some time for yourself (do something relaxing).
  • Seek counseling or support for any traumatic experience.
  • Take care of the environment and the words.

Our bodies are made to heal. However, the words we say have a significant impact on our body and our ability to heal. Regardless of the diet and supplements you take, your environment is one of the most critical components.

So, be kind to yourself. Try to avoid saying negative things about yourself and others. It is essential to choose to be around positive people and be positive with yourself.

Many people turn their eyes to such advice. Still, it is scientifically proven that pathological worry can be reduced by practicing “thought replacement,” a positive self-talk practice that involves verbally reciting positive results in stressful situations.

Signs of When to See an Endocrinologist for Adrenal Fatigue

Many people go for a while without consulting their general practitioner or endocrinologist about some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

However, experiencing high cortisol symptoms over a long period can take its toll. Also, some symptoms may be indicative of more severe conditions.

It’s probably time to visit the endocrinologist if:

  • You experience one or a combination of adrenal fatigue symptoms for an extended period.
  • Your symptoms have started interfering with normal relationships and life activities, such as work, family, or school.
  • Diet and lifestyle judgments have not significantly improved her symptoms.
  • His sleeping patterns have changed to insomnia, and he can no longer sleep soundly, no matter how long he is in bed.
  • You experience hyperpigmentation or patches of darker skin on your body.
  • You are a woman who has stopped menstruating.
  • You experience dizziness and general weakness for several days with no explainable cause (such as the flu, concussion, or excessive exercise).
  • You are not sure how or not you can study adrenal fatigue supplements to take them safely, or you are not sure how to structure an adrenal fatigue diet.

Due to the controversial nature of this condition, you may need to seek out a naturopath to help you treat adrenal fatigue with a combination of dietary advice and supplement recommendations and any other hormonal or other necessary medications.

A 20-milligram oral dose of hydrocortisone is recommended for routine cortisol treatment, while an occasional 50-milligram dose may be prescribed but should not be taken regularly or in higher doses.

Your doctor or endocrinologist should help you understand the possible side effects of this and any other medications they recommend.

Adrenal fatigue tests

Adrenal fatigue tests are sadly another source of confusion for many. You should know that these tests should be performed by someone who understands the nature of adrenal fatigue and that adrenal fatigue tests are rarely definitive.

The most common of these tests include fluid body tests for cortisol. Blood tests are rarely helpful, but a 24-hour salivary panel can help your doctor recognize abnormal cortisol patterns, including a lack or overload of the stress response.

Many doctors also evaluate thyroid function and cortisol levels due to how these hormonal systems are interconnected.

Other tests that can be used to help diagnose or confirm adrenal fatigue include:

  1. Desafío ACTH.
  2. TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test.
  3. Free T3 (FT3).
  4. Total thyroxine (TT4).
  5. Cortisol / DHEA ratio.
  6. 17-HP / Cortisol ratio.
  7. Neurotransmitter test.

There are also two safe home tests you can try.

The first is known as the iris contraction test and was developed in 1924 by a Dr. named Arroyo.

His theory was that the iris would not be able to contract correctly when exposed to light in people with weakened adrenal function. Hence, the test involves sitting in a dark room and briefly shining a flashlight on the eyes.

If you have adrenal fatigue, the eye twitch may not last more than two minutes, and the eyes will dilate even when exposed to direct light.

You can also try the low postural blood pressure test. In healthy individuals, blood pressure rises when rising from a lying position.

You can test your pressure when sitting and after standing using a blood pressure monitor. If you don’t see a rise or fall in blood pressure, your adrenal glands may have weakened.

Are adrenal fatigue and osteoporosis-related to each other

In a relatively new area of ​​understanding, some connect adrenal fatigue and osteoporosis.

It is well known that osteoporosis is often the result of unbalanced hormones. However, the sex hormones that are often referred to as transgressors are not the only problem.

Abnormally high or low cortisol levels are also associated with bone loss and the risk of osteoporosis.

One possible reason for this is the mineralocorticoids regulated by cortisol and aldosterone during your body’s response to stress. Bone loss can occur when these hormones do not manage mineral balance through these mineralocorticoid hormones.

Nutritional deficiencies can also exacerbate or accelerate the development of osteoporosis, so improving your diet to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods can improve your risk factors for these two disorders.

While there is no evidence yet that adrenal fatigue directly causes osteoporosis, the proof of the connection between abnormal cortisol levels and osteoporosis should make you stop loading up on non-nutritious foods and ignore the symptoms of hyponatremia.

Adrenal fatigue vs. Adrenal insufficiency vs. Addison’s disease vs. Cushing’s Syndrome / Disease

When discussing problems with adrenal function, it is essential to understand that adrenal fatigue is not the same as adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, or Cushing’s syndrome / Cushing’s disease.

Adrenal insufficiency and Addison’s disease

Symptoms found in adrenal insufficiency that is not found in adrenal fatigue include:

  • Significant digestive problems.
  • Weight loss.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Headache.
  • Sweating (as well as most of the common symptoms in hyponatremia, except weight gain).

Primary adrenal insufficiency is known as Addison’s disease, and it occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged by some trauma and cannot produce enough cortisol or aldosterone.

The much more common type of adrenal insufficiency is secondary adrenal insufficiency which occurs when the pituitary gland stops producing adrenocorticotropin (ACTH).

ACTH is what stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, thus preventing this process from progressing.

The darkening of the skin that affects endocrinologists occurs more frequently in Addison’s disease but not in secondary adrenal insufficiency.

The last of these conditions is often not quickly diagnosed because people ignore the symptoms until they are drastically apparent.

People with adrenal insufficiency experience severe fatigue, often not reflected by salivary cortisol levels.

People with adrenal insufficiency can have an adrenal crisis if the symptoms of the adrenal disease are ignored. An adrenal crisis (sometimes known as an Addison crisis in those with Addison’s disease) is marked by signs such as:

  • Sudden severe pain in the legs.
  • Pain in the back or abdomen
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood pressure .
  • Loss of consciousness
What is the difference between adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue?

Often, adrenal fatigue is modeled by an overabundance of cortisol, often at the “wrong” times, while adrenal insufficiency is a constant inability to produce cortisol.

However, they have related: Many natural medicine professionals see adrenal fatigue as a precursor to adrenal insufficiency.

The most significant difference between them is that people with adrenal fatigue generally have cortisol levels that fall into “normal” but not “optimal” levels. In contrast, patients with adrenal insufficiency have cortisol levels consistently outside the normal range.

Furthermore, most mainstream physicians would say that stress is not a causative factor for adrenal insufficiency (which is “always caused” by damage from other unknown sources), which seems unlikely.

Immune responses are limited in people suffering from adrenal insufficiency, who cannot respond physiologically to pathogens as healthy individuals.

Cushing’s syndrome

A low condition, Cushing’s disease is an overproduction of cortisol outside of normal levels that most often affects women between 25 and 40.

Sometimes Cushing’s syndrome results from tumors, while other times, it can be idiopathic (with no known cause). In these cases, adrenal fatigue and eating and lifestyle habits may have contributed to the condition.

Cushing syndrome can be reversed and is defined as a ‘curable’ condition. However, those with previous tumors need regular checkups to assess any future tumor growth, and those who have had Cushing syndrome in the past are at increased risk of diabetes. , high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

The unique symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome (called Cushing’s disease when caused by a pituitary tumor) include:

  • Abdominal/facial weight gain.
  • Male impotence.
  • Lack of menstruation.
  • Increased risk of miscarriage.
  • High blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure.

How long does it take to recover from adrenal fatigue?

It’s not an easy question because the recovery time for adrenal fatigue has never been studied.

However, recovery from adrenal fatigue can take a while. After all, it took months, maybe years, to wear down his adrenal glands; therefore, it takes a little time to build up your forces again.

For full adrenal recovery, you can expect to take:

  • 6-9 months for minor adrenal fatigue.
  • 12-18 months for moderate fatigue.
  • Up to 24 months for severe adrenal fatigue.

The best approach is to make substantial changes to your lifestyle for long-lasting results. After just a few weeks of better body detoxifying foods and adrenal fatigue supplements, some people notice a difference in their overall well-being.

If you seek a balanced lifestyle with a healthy level of sleep, exercise, fun, and a positive environment, you are more likely to keep your adrenal system strong.


Many clinicians are concerned about adrenal fatigue diagnoses and their legitimacy because they don’t want people to be “unduly treated” for a condition and end up worse than they should have started.

First, remember that any new dietary regimen or supplement additions to your lifestyle should be implemented under the supervision of a trusted physician/naturopath.

In general, introducing more plant-based foods into your lifestyle and eliminating stimulants, sugary foods, and processed products with a ton of sodium or chemicals added to them will help you feel and live better, regardless of the conditions. have or not.

The most significant concern arises when referring to herbs, spices, supplements, and essential oils to combat adrenal fatigue.

Be aware of these precautions and do not use them blindly without proper medical supervision or education on how, how much, how often, and how long to use these supplements.

Medicinal Mushrooms – Due to the way mushrooms like cordyceps and Chaga interact with the body and various medications, it is recommended that pregnant or nursing mothers never use them.

Also, anyone with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or a bleeding disorder should not use medicinal chaga or cordyceps.

This is a report of Chaga supplements causing kidney damage in a woman with liver disease who took chaga every day for six months.

This mushroom also contains oxalates and can inhibit the absorption of nutrients in large doses.

Adaptogenic herbs: Many people recommend using only one adaptogenic herb at a time (and not every day) and then switching to a different one. Due to the lack of evidence on their safety during pregnancy, pregnant or nursing herbs should never use adaptogenic herbs.

Rhodiola Rosea is known to (rarely) cause allergies, insomnia, irritability, increased blood pressure, and chest pain.

It can interfere with psychotropic medications, birth control pills, diabetes, and thyroid medications and increase the stimulating effects of caffeine and affect platelet aggregation.

Although it is considered relatively safe when taken short-term, ashwagandha has not been studied for long-term use.

Doses that are too large can cause digestive symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. People with diabetes, irregular blood pressure, stomach ulcers, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, or upcoming/recent surgery should not use ashwagandha.

Holy basil, an Ayurvedic medicine goldmine, is known to be safe for up to six weeks, while the long-term effects are unknown. Also, you should not take holy basil before or after surgery because it could increase your risk of bleeding.

Essential Oils: Understanding the ins and outs of essential oils can be a big task, but the two generally recommended for adrenal support, lavender and rosemary, are somewhat straightforward.

Neither has been tested on pregnant women and therefore should not be used while carrying a baby or breastfeeding.

Lavender oil should not be used in conjunction with other sedatives. Lavender oil is also generally recognized as safe for oral use (when three drops are seen at a time diluted in water).

Rosemary oil should never be used internally, as it can cause vomiting and spasms. You can inhale it or use it topically at a 50:50 dilution of a transport oil.

Final thoughts

Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease coined by Dr. James L. Wilson in the late 1990s.

Before reaching a diagnosable disease state, this condition is considered an “intermediate” health state, characterized by several general symptoms affecting various body systems, similar to China’s classification of suboptimal health symptoms.

Adrenal fatigue is caused by chronic high levels of stress that lead to depletion of the adrenal glands, forcing them to overproduce or underproduce stress hormone cortisol at the wrong time.

Many believe that adrenal fatigue can lead to more severe adrenal diseases, such as adrenal insufficiency or Cushing’s syndrome.

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include severe tiredness, mental confusion, decreased sex drive, hair loss, insulin resistance, and others.

To naturally fight adrenal fatigue, cut inflammatory foods from your diet, like sugar and excess carbohydrates, and eat many colorful plant-based foods, lean farm meats like chicken or turkey, and lots of healthy fats.

There are a variety of herbs, spices, supplements, and essential oils that can be used to combat adrenal fatigue. These should be used under medical supervision.

If you experience symptoms for an extended period or have specific problems, such as patches of dark skin, see an endocrinologist right away for help.