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Adrenal Fatigue : Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Diet, Diagnosis

Fatigue is something you must be aware off. However, Adrenal fatigue is pretty different from normal fatigue. Though, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms in Adrenal fatigue; there are a lot of other symptoms that are experienced in a person suffering from adrenal fatigue. In this current article of ours, we will talk about some of the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatments for adrenal fatigue. Hope this would be a beneficial read for you.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

“I fight each and every day to just be able to participate in the life”. People suffering from adrenal fatigue do struggle each day of their life. Adrenal fatigue is something which not only gets fatigue conditions in the patient but also lowers all the hormone levels of the body and thus affects every part of the body.

Adrenal fatigue affects millions of people in the United States of America. Patients with adrenal fatigue usually experience symptoms which can be divided in to two; one which are the common symptoms and experienced by most patients and other is the less common set of symptoms which are confined only to some patients and not to others.

Now, what exactly adrenal fatigue is? Well! It can be said that a group of signs and symptoms together cause adrenal fatigue which is the condition when the adrenal gland of the body does not function at a optimal level or at a level that is necessary. Such a condition is known to mostly be associated with prolonged or intense stress, acute or chronic infections like pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis etc.

It might happen that patients with adrenal fatigue may not look ill or show any physical illness; they may be unwell or have feelings of tiredness. Usually patients with adrenal fatigue depend on tea, or coffee so as to prop themselves well throughout the day.

Non- Addison’s hypoadrenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy, neurasthenia etc are some other names to adrenal fatigue. We will know more about the condition in our following arrays.

Some Facts to Know About Adrenal Fatigue:

Let us take a look at some of the facts about adrenal fatigue.

  • Adrenal fatigue has existed since the time we have come in to existence. However; it has only reached epidemic proportions over last hundred years. And, the reason behind this is that the average person’s stress levels, toxic load, diet etc. are extremely worse today than they were earlier.
  • Adrenal fatigue is caused by the inability of the adrenal glands to cope up with stress.
  • Adrenal fatigue is not something which emerges all of a sudden. It usually takes a long time, even many years for your adrenal glands to get exhausted. So, when you are looking to identify the reasons for the symptoms of your adrenal fatigue, also keep a note to remember your state or conditions few years of your past. Any kind of traumatic emotional or physical event happened with you years ago might have also been the root cause of your adrenal fatigue after years of the event.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:

It is very tough for a person to participate in daily life, who has been suffering from adrenal fatigue. Here below we have mentioned some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue which would make you more aware about the condition.

  1. Difficulty to get up early in the morning each day even after sleeping for a long time.
  2. Experiencing high fatigue level each day
  3. Not able to handle stress; physical and emotional stress
  4. Having higher energy levels during the evening hours.
  5. Cravings for salty foods.
  6. Having a weak immune system function
  7. Asthma, allergies or respiratory complaints can be symptoms of adrenal fatigue
  8. Dry skin, dark circles under eyes
  9. Dizziness and extreme tiredness after exercise
  10. Loss of muscle tone
  11. Joint pain, numbness in fingers can be some symptoms of adrenal fatigue
  12. Low blood pressure, low blood sugar level can be symptoms
  13. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may also include low sex drive
  14. Lower back pain
  15. Weight gain etc.

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue:

Below we will know about some of the causes leading to adrenal fatigue.

  1. Adrenal Fatigue Caused as a Result of Emotional Stress:

    Stress is the prime most cause for adrenal fatigue. Stress can be from anywhere; maybe from relationships, maybe from work or maybe from anything else. Though sometimes stress may look very low and may not hamper daily life activities in short term; in a long term, such low grade stress may cause harmful effects to health. Emotional stress is necessary to be controlled and every individual must try the best to cope up from such stressful situations or events.

  2. Inappropriate Diet Can Cause Adrenal Fatigue

    Improper diet may also cause adrenal fatigue. In busy life, most of the times, we do not pay attention on what we eat. We now eat more of sugar in our daily life and that in turn is linked with adrenal fatigue. Eating more sugar produces extra level of insulin and cortisol which in turn puts stress on the pancreas as well as the adrenal glands. Apart from this, sugar contributes to weight gain and weight gain is known to be associated with adrenal fatigue.

  3. Adrenal Fatigue Caused Due to Insufficient Sleep:

    “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” This quote from Thomas Dekker tells about how important sleep is for every individual. Insufficient sleep can cause various problems and diseases; one being adrenal fatigue. It is essential for us to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours in the night. But, with hectic life in current world, our sleep gets reduced due to various reasons. This in turn leads to adrenal fatigue.

  4. Chemicals and Pollutants as a Cause for Adrenal Fatigue:

    Toxins in the current times’ food, pollutants in the air, antibiotics in the meat, chlorine in drinking water, pesticides in the vegetables etc. today have all contributed to toxic load condition which can lead to adrenal fatigue in long term. These toxic chemicals directly disrupts the function of adrenal gland which leads to adrenal fatigue.

  5. Adrenal Fatigue Caused Due to Chronic Disease:

    Chronic diseases in individuals may cause adrenal fatigue in long term. Maybe diabetes, asthma or arthritis etc; they all put stress on adrenal glands causing adrenal fatigue. It is essential to get diagnosed and get treated from the chronic diseased conditions at the earliest.

  6. Physical Trauma

    It is also known that any kind of physical trauma like car accidents, work place accidents, sudden fall; etc. can be one of the causes for adrenal fatigue. It is essential for every individual to note that in case he or she is experiencing any of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue after any trauma then do strictly consult with doctor and take necessary treatments to keep away from the fatigue condition going worse.

Treatments for Adrenal Fatigue:

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement:

This is the most appropriate way to treat adrenal fatigue; especially the conditions where the patient is in stage 3 or stage 4 of Adrenal fatigue condition. In such severe cases, bioidentical hormone replacement under an expert doctor; can be useful treatment procedure. Using Bioidentical hormones aids us in replacing the action of the hormones our body produce. This is the reason most hormones available in the market are known to be bioidentical. Such a mode of treatment aids in reversing adrenal fatigue and also helps in restoring energy levels.

Chemicals extracted from natural substances like horse urine, soy etc. are used to synthesize bioidentical hormones. It must be noted that these hormones at molecular level are identical to the hormones produced by our body. This is the reason such hormones can be used in hormone replacement procedure to treat symptoms of Adrenal fatigue.

Hormones like bioidentical cortisol, biodentical testosterone, bioidentical prognenolone, bioidentical DHEA, bioidentical progesterone, bioidentical oesterone etc. are the bioidentical hormones which are required to treat symptoms of Adrenal fatigue and aids in restoring the energy level and quality of life in an individual.

However, it is essential for every individual to undergo the tests and know the appropriate hormone readings, before starting any treatment. Your doctor would prescribe you with the essential blood tests for diagnosing the condition and then may go for a hormone replacement treatment. We must keep you informed that hormone treatment must also involve ongoing blood tests so as to measure the effect of hormones replacement and make appropriate adjustments to your regimen.

Appropriate Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue:

It is essential to note that for treating the symptoms of adrenal fatigue it is essential for an individual to have appropriate supplements. Deficiency in several vitamins, minerals and other essential compounds in body may cause fatigue conditions. So, it is essential for our body to have optimal levels of vitamins and minerals just like it is essential to have optimum levels of hormones for efficient body functions.

Vitamin B5, B6 and B12 are most important vitamins that can help you treat adrenal fatigue. The excellent source of taking vitamin B is taking a combination of Vitamin B5, B6 and B12. All these vitamins help in improving body functions and fade the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

Apart from these vitamins, Vitamin C is also important as it recovers the adrenal functions. Liposomal or buffered vitamin C is the best form of vitamin you can take. Start taking 1000 mg of vitamin c at first and then gradually increase the dose with time for treating adrenal fatigue.

Lack of minerals can cause fatigue conditions in an individual. Magnesium is one such mineral which is highly essential to keep away from fatigue and depression. However taking more of magnesium can cause side effects like digestive issues. So, it is good to begin with lower doses of magnesium, like 400 mg.

You can additionally also take probiotics, herbs and other supplements that play valuable roles in treating the condition of adrenal fatigue. Taking the appropriate supplements along with healthy diet and lifestyle can help you reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue to a greater extent.

Herbal Supplements to Treat Adrenal Fatigue:

Herbs play an important role in recovering from adrenal fatigue. One can take herbs as herbal supplements for treating typical symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Below we have listed down some of the high quality herbal supplements you can use for treating or reducing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

  • Licorice Root: This herb is known to stimulate production of hormones and maintain energy levels along with enhance endurance of the body. So, it is a great choice to treat adrenal fatigue. It aids the cortisol hormone to circulate for a longer period. However, this herb may increase your Blood pressure so you need not take adequate amount of the licorice root.
  • Adaptogenic Herb/Ashwagandha:This is one more herb that can be an excellent herbal supplement for your body to fight against adrenal fatigue. It acts in lowering cortisol level in case the level is extremely high and it helps in increasing the level of cortisol in case there is a lower level of cortisol in the body.
  • Rhodiola Rosea: This herb helps in improving the blood circulation and thus enabling an individual to increase the cortisol production when required. Thus it is an essential herbal supplement for treating adrenal fatigue. It is an herb that can help in treating various other conditions like muscle tension, depression, poor blood circulation etc.
  • Maca Root: Maca root has been beneficial in treating adrenal fatigue as it is known to be important in cortisol regulation and blood sugar. It helps in making most of the hormones that are in low levels in the body.
  • Siberian Ginseng: One more herbal supplement for adrenal fatigue could be Siberian ginseng. It also aids in improving stamina, mental awareness and enhances energy levels in the body. However it can increase the blood pressure in those individual who have hypertension.

Other Supplements for Treating Adrenal Fatigue:

Apart from vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements; there are also some other supplements which can be used in treating Adrenal fatigue. Such supplements include Omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, D-Ribose etc.

  • Omega- 3 supplements aids in reducing inflammation throughout the body and relieves the stress placed on the adrenal glands.
  • CoQ10 supplements are useful in producing energy for growing and maintaining your cells. Beef, some organ meats, etc are some good food sources that contain CoQ10.
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine is useful in enhancing metabolism and improving energy levels.
  • One more way to sustain higher energy levels throughout the day without putting much stress son the adrenals is to use D-Ribose supplement. This is a form of sugar that helps in enhancing the energy levels in a patient with Adrenal fatigue.

Diet for Adrenal Fatigue: What to Eat and What to Avoid?

It is important to note that diet is highly important to pay attention in case of patients with Adrenal fatigue. One must be very much aware about the diets which he or she must take and the ones which he or she must avoid. Keeping a proper check on Adrenal fatigue diet and the diet principles can help you in a great way to treat the condition. Below we will talk about the foods to eat and foods to avoid in adrenal fatigue.

Foods to Eat for Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Vegetables, beans and whole, sprouted grains are good sources of carbohydrates you can take in Adrenal fatigue.
  • Low sugar containing fruits can be taken.
  • Take enough of protein in order to keep good energy levels, even in adrenal fatigue condition. Beef, eggs, wild fish, free-range chicken and good quality protein powders can be taken.
  • Consider taking coconut, nuts, avocado, seeds, butter, cheese and other dairy products for fat sources in Adrenal fatigue. You get lot of energy from fat rich foods.

Foods to Avoid for Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Avoid taking much sugar. It must be noted that when you eat more sugar you are indirectly taxing your adrenals.
  • Be aware to keep away from more of sugary snacks and fast foods.
  • Fruit juices are also high in sugar content. So keep away from it.
  • Do not take more of caffeinated drinks.

Simple Dietary Principles To Follow In Adrenal Fatigue Condition:

  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Avoid the foods that may be unhealthy for you and take those which are beneficial in treating or reducing symptoms in Adrenal fatigue.
  • Eat at the right time and do not skip your meals. Have a health pattern of eating habits.

Some Tips to Follow for Getting Rid of Adrenal Fatigue:

Below are some of the tips you can keep a note on so as to get rid of adrenal fatigue.

  1. Have appropriate amount of sleep.
  2. Take the essential supplements and diets and avoid the toxic diets.
  3. Concentrate on your breathing. Practice deep breathing that can help you reduce stress and adrenal fatigue.
  4. Take green tea that contain high levels of nutritive phytochemicals which aids in proper functioning of adrenal glands and this helps prevent adrenal fatigue
  5. Try your best to remove stress from your life. Practice yoga, meditation etc.
  6. Do not over train at the gym; as excessive cardio or endurance exercises can be actually hard on the adrenals.
  7. Connect to the ground with bare foot. That gives a relaxation.
  8. Cut short taking stimulants like coffee.

Diagnosis for Adrenal Fatigue:

Before we talk about the diagnosis of adrenal fatigue; we must inform that this condition cannot be diagnosed from a single test or from the symptoms. For accurate diagnosis of the condition, a series of tests, and at times tests for multiple times may require.

Below we have mentioned some of the diagnosis tests and procedures which are used for diagnosing adrenal fatigue condition.

  1. Cortisol Test. This is one of the major diagnosis test procedure for adrenal fatigue. As the name suggest it is done to know the cortisol level in the patient. Blood, saliva or urine may be taken as test samples for cortisol testing.
  2. Thyroid Test. A weakening in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and other parts of the HPA axis, can cause a reduced function of thyroid gland. This has been seen in cases of Adrenal fatigue. So, if a person’s blood tests suggest mild hypothyroidism then possibilities are that there may be underlying problem of adrenal fatigue.
  3. TSH Test. TSH test is one more test which can be used in diagnosing adrenal fatigue condition in an individual. TSH or thyroid stimulating hormones are produced by the pituitary glands in response to the signals and instructions provided by the hypothalamus. Thyroid is being stimulated by the TSH to produce thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
    In case of adrenal fatigue patients, the TSH reading notes more than 2.0. Lab tests can determine if the patient is suspected to have adrenal fatigue or not.
  4. ACTH Test. One more diagnosis procedure for adrenal fatigue is ACTH test. This is another cortisol testing procedure where at first the baseline level of cortisol in the patient is measured and then the cortisol level is measured after giving a dose of ACTH or adrenal corticotrophic hormone injection.
  5. FT3 Test, FT4 Test and TT4 Test. This is also known as Free T3 testing which is rarely conducted by the doctors for knowing about adrenal fatigue condition. Similarly Free T4 and TT4 or Total thyroxine test is one more test used to diagnose adrenal fatigue condition.
  6. Neurotransmitter Testing.
  7. Postural Low Blood Pressure Test.This is absolutely a simple test which can be done at home. Here you need to take your regular blood pressure monitor and check your BP while lying down and again when standing. In case you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, you will see no change in the BP level even after you stand up. However in case you are at good health, there will be almost an immediate rise in the BP after standing up. Again, it must be remembered that if you are seeing a larger drop in the blood pressure with standing then you are with a more serious case of adrenal fatigue.
  8. Iris Contraction Test. In order to conduct the test; you need to sit in a dark room in front of a mirror. Then you need to take a flashlight and shine it across your eye; from the side of your face. If you have adrenal fatigue, your pupil will not be able to hold into its contraction for more than 120 seconds and will start to dilate, despite light repeatedly shinning on it. However, in case of healthy adrenals, there will be a long lasting contraction.


Now, we are well known to the condition of adrenal fatigue; we know about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and appropriate diets and supplements for adrenal fatigue. It is essential for you to take a strict note on visiting an expert medical professional in case you or any known one is experiencing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatments can help you reduce the symptoms at a quick rate.

A quote from Rae smith; “Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.”


  1. Medical News Today – Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Real?
  2. Healthline – Adrenal Fatigue: Real or Fake?

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 24, 2023

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