Adrenal fatigue - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Published: 14th July 2008
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Adrenal fatigue is a label applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. The term often shows up in popular health books and on alternative medicine Web sites, but it isn't an accepted medical diagnosis.

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

As mentioned earlier, sugar and refined carbohydrates are the main cause of adrenal fatigue. Sugar includes honey, maple syrup, fructose, dried fruit, fruit juice and just about anything that is sweet. Refined carbohydrates are grains that have been ground up or have had the bran removed. This include products like bread even whole wheat bread, noodles, corn chips, white rice and pretty much anything that comes in a package. Refined foods are broken down by grinding and concentration.

Proponents of the adrenal fatigue diagnosis claim this is a mild form of adrenal insufficiency caused by chronic stress. The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. As a result, they can't produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

People with adrenal fatigue experience extreme physical exhaustion and they don't have an explanation as to why (such as a strenuous workout). This isn't just everyday tiredness it is extreme exhaustion.

You Gain Weight Easily - Especially Around the Middle

People with adrenal fatigue often notice they gain weight very easily. They especially notice the extra weight around the middle - and it's very hard to lose it.

You Have Difficulty Rising In The Morning

Those with adrenal fatigue often find they feel tired when getting up in the morning - even with a full night's sleep. They often need stimulants like caffeine and sugar to 'get going' both in the morning and throughout the day.

Physically - The physical symptoms of adrenal fatigue are exhaustion not relieved by rest, food cravings, lethargy and longer recovery times for illnesses. Healing begins by strengthening our body especially the adrenal glands. Build yourself back up physically with healthy eating, vitamin and minerals supplements (especially vitamin C, B complex and fish oil), rest and relaxation, light exercise, DHEA and adrenal glandular supplementation.

Emotionally - Loss of self esteem, depression and denial are the emotional signs of adrenal exhaustion. Building self-esteem, relieving depression and dealing with buried negative emotions can revive your positive feelings.

Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue


L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that produces a calming effect in the brain. It works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that is a relaxer and creates a sense of well-being. L-theanine may be taken to help modulate mood and relieve stress in many health conditions (Abe et al. 1995; Kobayashi et al. 1998; Juneja et al. 1999).


Licorice (Glycyrrhiza) works by blocking the breakdown of hydrocortisone in the liver. the hydrocortisone level then becomes higher, and this slows down the production of ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) from the pituitary gland, giving the adrenals a much-needed rest. Licorice is a highly prized medicinal in Chinese medicine. Glycyrrhiza may be taken in a variety of ways, including as a tea. Licorice can the be tapered off when adrenal gland function is restored.

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