Adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue


Adrenal Fatigue Treatment


Your adrenal glands are essential for your everyday health. They produce hormones that help your body to:

  • burn fat and protein
  • regulate sugar
  • regulate blood pressure
  • react to stressors

If your adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones, it can lead to a variety of symptoms and health issues.

Adrenal fatigue vs adrenal insufficiency

Also known as Addison’s disease, adrenal insufficiency is a medical condition that occurs when your adrenal glands aren’t producing adequate amounts of one or more essential hormones.

Adrenal fatigue is a theory that suggests high stress levels can trigger a mild form of adrenal insufficiency.

Read on to learn more about these two conditions.

Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency occurs when your adrenal cortex is damaged. This causes your adrenal glands to not produce enough of the steroid hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol regulates the body’s reaction to stressful situations. Aldosterone helps with sodium and potassium regulation.

People who have adrenal insufficiency may experience the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • low blood pressure
  • loss of body hair

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue

Proponents of the theory of adrenal fatigue believe that when somebody has chronic stress, their adrenal glands can’t keep up and therefore produce less of the hormones needed to feel healthy.

They theorize that current blood testing technologies are not sensitive enough to identify this small decline in adrenal function. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue might include:

  • fatigue
  • difficulty getting to sleep
  • difficulty waking up
  • sugar cravings
  • salt cravings
  • unexplained weight loss
  • lack of motivation
  • brain fog

Even though adrenal fatigue is not a medically recognized condition, it doesn’t mean that the symptoms you’re feeling aren’t real.

Adrenal fatigue diagnosis and treatment

Often, an underlying condition causes your adrenal glands to not produce sufficient amounts of certain hormones.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, your first step should be a thorough evaluation by your doctor. Some of the medical conditions that might cause similar symptoms are:

  • anemia
  • sleep apnea
  • heart problems
  • lung problems
  • infections
  • autoimmune diseases
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If your doctor rules out biological explanations of your symptoms, they may look into possible mental health conditions such as:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • reactions to high stress lifestyle/environment

Talk with your doctor about the possibility that your symptoms could be triggered by multiple causes. Discuss formulating a personalized plan that might involve a combination of counseling, medications, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

If you don’t already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Home remedies for adrenal fatigue

Advocates of natural healing suggest a number of ways to address symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue diet

The adrenal fatigue diet follows the guidelines of many recommended balanced diets, based on increasing your consumption of:

  • high protein foods
  • whole grains
  • vegetables

It also suggests decreasing your consumption of:

  • simple carbohydrates, especially sugar
  • processed foods
  • fried foods
  • caffeine

The diet also suggests proper timing of meals to properly regulate blood sugar.

Decrease stress

The adrenal fatigue theory is based heavily on stress. Some ways to reduce stress include:

  • meditation
  • deep breathing exercises
  • exercise
  • unplugging from electronic devices

Vitamins and minerals

Advocates of the adrenal fatigue theory suggest supplementing your diet with:

  • vitamins B-5, B-6 and B-12
  • vitamin C
  • magnesium

There’s no direct evidence that these supplements will alleviate adrenal fatigue. Before adding vitamins and minerals to your diet, talk with your doctor.

Herbal supplements

Many natural healing practitioners who subscribe to the adrenal fatigue theory recommend treating the condition with herbal supplements such as:

  • licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • maca root (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon)
  • golden root (Rhodiola rosea)
  • Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Since herbal supplements are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration, their claimed benefits are often not proven with research. Talk with your doctor before adding any herbal supplements to your diet