What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and secrete adrenaline and cortisol in response to stress. Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress anymore. Stress hormones regulate energy production and fat storage, sugar metabolisim, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to maintain health. Physical, emotional, or psychological stress is all the same to the body-in fact psycological stress could be even worse. Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress-which leaves you in a “post traumatic state”, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as death, divorce, continued confrontation, sleep deprivation, a busy job, a physical crisis such as major surgery or injury, your adrenals will have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is required on a regular basis you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.

1. You feel tired all the time and have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
2. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed, emotional and irritated.
3. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness or get sick a lot.
4. You crave salty and sweet snacks.
5. You are tired after lunch to the point you need caffeine or a nap.
6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM and in the evening than you do all day.
7. You have gained weight around your belly despite diet and exercise.
8. Extremely low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting.
9. Dark circles under the eyes. Low back pain.


Anyone can experience adrenal fatigue at some time in his or her life.
However, there are factors that can make you more susceptible to adrenal fatigue. These include things in your control and those out of your control:
Dehydration, low blood sugar, too much sugar, protein deficiency, poor nutrition and diet, substance abuse, too little sleep and rest, mineral deficiency, not eating right for your blood type.
Chronic illness, repeated infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia, taking too many antibiotics, prolonged situations that you feel trapped or helpless in (bad relationships, stressful jobs, poverty, imprisonment), or maternal adrenal fatigue during gestation or postpartum.

One of the major dietary mistakes made by people with low adrenal output is not eating soon enough after waking and or just having a cup of caffeine. If you have adrenal fatigue, it is very important that you eat before 10:00 AM and have some kind of protein with the meal. This is vital in helping to replenish the waning stored blood sugar supply after the previous night’s energy needs.
An early lunch, preferably before noon, is better than a late lunch because your body quickly uses up the morning nourishment and is ready for more. Between 11 and 11:30 AM is usually the best time for lunch. You should also eat a nutritious snack between 2 and 3 PM to sustain yourself for the cortisol dip that typically occurs between 3 and 4 PM. Your evening meal should be eaten between 5 and 6 PM.
A high quality snack before bed can help get through insomnia because this is often due to low sugar storage in the liver. Also taking a mineral supplement in the evening helps to combat insomnia and calm the nerves. There is an ideal combo for your blood type that I will recommend.

If you are experiencing adrenal fatigue, you will do best combining fat, protein and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) at every meal and snack. This combination helps provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day. It is important to remember that foods that are converted too quickly into energy (like sugary snacks or highly processed foods) will make matters worse.

In most cases of adrenal fatigue, salt (in moderation) benefits those who add it to their diet. Unless you are one of the rare people with adrenal fatigue and high blood pressure, add some salt to your food. A sea salt or Celtic salt is preferred, as these are the kinds containing the valuable nutrients.

Some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are actually caused by your body’s needs for salt. If you crave salt this can be another sign of adrenal fatigue.
1. Eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods. Eat red, purple and green fruits and vegies.
2. Combine a healthy fat, protein and carbohydrate source with every meal.
3. Salt your food to a pleasant taste
4. Eat mainly whole grains for your blood type as your source of carbohydrate
5. Combine grains with legumes (beans), or legumes with seeds or nuts to form a complete protein
6. Avoid fruit in the morning.
7. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of fresh cold pressed olive, grape seed, safflower, flax, etc. into grains, vegetables and meats daily
8. Eat high quality food; it becomes you.

Often after taking the supplements and herbs for even a few days you will have more energy and feel better. Rebuilding your adrenals may take several weeks to months. It is important to stay on a regime so that you are nourishing the root of the problem and making a lasting change in the state of your hormonal picture. A combination of nutritional supplements and herbs as well as bodywork, CranioSacral therapy and treatments that help calm and relax the nervous system will be a valuable addition to your program. Knowing how to deeply breathe is a key factor in changing the fight or flight response and relaxing the diaphrams so that the body doesn’t feel physically under attack, which is something you can do no matter the moment. But giving you specific nutrients and glandular supplements will be the quickest safest way to build the glands on a physical level.  If you believe you may have adrenal fatigue contact Dr. Deanine.

1 Comments on “What is Adrenal Fatigue?

  1. Dear Dr. Deanine:
    The description of adrenal fatigue sure does sound like me in many ways. My blood type is O neg. I would like to schedule an appointment this coming week if possible. I will call your office Monday morning, or you can have someone call me during the day at 941-567-4628. Thank you. You have already given me new hope! Nancy