6 Little Known Signs of Adrenal Fatigue

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 233

exhausted from adrenal fatigueYou’d have to be living under a rock not to notice that adrenal fatigue and adrenal problems in general are at epidemic proportions in our modern culture.  The fact that a Starbucks or some other coffee shop is on practically every corner and that the average American now consumes a whopping 180 lbs per year of refined sugars is surely evidence enough.     By the way, the 180 lbs of sugar per year figure is a shocking 27% increase just since 2003 when sugar consumption was 142 lbs per person per year!

Caffeine and sugar consumed in excess amounts will sucker punch your adrenal glands faster than just about anything else, no doubt about it.

I’ve read a lot of articles about the adrenal glands and adrenal fatigue over the years.  Most of them focus on the symptoms which include excessive fatigue, hair loss, sleep problems, difficulty getting going in the morning etc.    You know the drill.

What I haven’t seen as much written about  is why it is so critical to keep these two walnut sized glands at the top of your kidneys happy and healthy and how to spot the freight train of adrenal fatigue coming full speed down the tracks and about to smack your life upside the head.

Fact is, once you are losing your hair, can’t sleep at night or get off the couch during the day, adrenal fatigue has already sucked the “life” out of your life.   At that point, mustering the strength and courage to reverse course can be quite daunting indeed.

Why Adrenal Health is So Important

A few years ago, I attended the Wise Traditions Conference hosted annually by the Weston A. Price Foundation.   One of the most interesting lectures I attended during that information packed weekend was given by Dr. Bruce Rind MD, a holistic endocrinologist whose talk focused on spotting and reversing thyroid and adrenal problems.

I learned from Dr. Rind that the health of the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands is inextricably linked.   If one goes south, the other one probably will too and in very short order.

Adrenal problems can frequently masquerade as thyroid problems.  As a result, if the adrenal glands are being stressed day in and day out by lack of sleep, too much sugar and caffeine in the diet and a rush rush lifestyle loaded with carbohydrate heavy processed foods, thyroid gland problems will eventually manifest along with the adrenal problems.

Why is this such a big problem?

Because thyroid problems often end up going hand in hand with insulin resistance problems.  Development of insulin resistance is a BIG problem as this has a direct effect on longevity.

Once insulin resistance and blood sugar problems enter the picture, the domino effect to Metabolic Syndrome takes place, a fancy name for a group of risk factors which includes heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

sunglasses girl from adrenal fatigueNow that we know why we need to keep the adrenal glands in ship shape and why ignoring this problem will only lead to more serious and imbalanced endocrine problems in the future, let’s explore the early signs of adrenal problems.As you can see, a person’s overall hormonal balance is extremely intricate and one endocrine disorder frequently portends another then another.  Hence, keeping ones adrenal glands from becoming overly fatigued is extremely important as the seemingly insignificant signs of early adrenal dysfunction and insufficiency can rapidly start a person into a downward spiral to Metabolic Syndrome.

When does one cup of coffee in the morning or that afternoon pick me up candy bar suddenly indicate a major problem on the horizon?

Here are a few lesser known signs as described by Dr. Rind in his Wise Traditions lecture and as written in my notes:

Dependence on Sunglasses

Are you one of those people who can’t stand to be out in the bright, midday sun without your shades?   Oversensitivity of the eyes to bright sunlight is a sign of adrenal problems from a chronic sodium-potassium imbalance which prevents the pupils from properly constricting in response to bright light.

The good news is that being out in the midday sun with no sunglasses is a way to strengthen the adrenals.    When I do errands, I try to leave my sunglasses in the car and walk to and from the stores so that my eyes get a good dose of unobstructed sunlight.

I’ve noticed that my eyes have become significantly less sensitive to sunlight over the years as my diet has improved with the general banishment of refined sugars and carbohydrates in my home.   While I still wear sunnies for safety reasons to reduce the glare while driving, I frequently find myself forgetting to put them on at all on very sunny days.

adrenal fatigue cheeks

Hollow Cheeks

This young person shown in the picture to the left has some serious adrenal fatigue!   My bet is that there is a lot of sugar and caffeine going on in that diet. Being young is no protection from the ravages of hormonal disruption. If you find your cheeks hollowing out, take a look at your diet pronto.

Skip the collagen injections and lose the sugar, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates instead!

Lines in the Fingertips

Turn your hand over and examine the skin of the fingertips.   Do you see nice, plump fingertips or is the skin covered with vertical lines?    If they are nice and plump, that is a good sign for your adrenals.    Lots of vertical lines in your fingertips indicate adrenal stress.

My own fingertips used to be quite lined years ago, but getting off refined sugar plumped them out nicely within a few months.

Pale Lips

I have a friend who once told me that after about age 30, a woman’s lips disappear into the back of her head!   This was a colorful way of saying that lipstick was mandatory after a certain age.   I don’t agree!   Lips that have no color whatsoever is not an age thing – it is a sign of weak adrenals.   Chances are, if grains/starches are limited (and grains that are eaten are properly prepared) and refined sugar and caffeine eliminated from the diet, most women would be delighted to see a hint of youthful pink return to their lips once again!

One of the most striking things I noticed when I went on the GAPS Diet back in March of this year was how the color flooded into my face and lips.   Clearly, my adrenals were on the mend!

Even now, I can tell within an hour or two if my adrenals have been stressed by the meal I just ate .. my lips go pale almost immediately.    Watch this yourself.   You will be amazed how quickly the amount of color in your lips will indicate how your adrenals are feeling at that moment.

Balding Lower Legs

Do you have bald patches on your lower arms and legs or sparser hair in those areas than you used to (particularly men)?  This could be a sign of adrenal fatigue.

Boys entering puberty with sparser beards and leg/arm hair than their peers are frequently those with low adrenal function and an overall lower drive to achieve.

Unexplained Back or Knee Pain

Muscle weakness is a frequent sign of adrenal insufficiency.   Unexplained back or knee pain with no accompanying structural defect may indicate weakness of the muscles supporting the pelvis and/or knees.

In the case of lower back pain, chronic adrenal stress leads to weakness in the muscles which support the pelvis causing the pelvis to subluxate in a posterior direction.  In other words, the lower back pain has nothing to do with the lower back and everything to do with muscular instability in the pelvis.

QUICKLY Get Relief From Adrenal Fatigue

If you suspect that you have adrenal fatigue, it would be a good idea to get a holistic physician to do a thorough examination and consultation.    Hormone problems are incredibly intractable conditions to reverse and professional advice is warranted in most cases.

In the meantime, you can quickly provide your adrenals relief if you do the following:

Get to bed no later than 10:30pm

This piece of advice was given to me by an Ayurvedic MD over 15 years ago.  It is still one of the best pieces of advice any doctor has ever given me.   She explained how the hormone system cleanses between 11pm and 1am (generally speaking) and if you are not asleep during this time, the flushing process will not take place, essentially backing up the hormone system with toxins.

Throw out the white, processed salt and replace with a colorful sea salt

The adrenals need GOOD salt.   Use sea salt to taste in your dishes at home and your adrenals will thank you!

Eliminate coffee and refined sugar from your diet

This is a simple piece of advice, but easily ignored in our crazy modern lives.   Continue with the daily caffeine/sugar fixes, and you WILL have serious hormonal issues down the road if you don’t already.    Coffee has been linked to blood sugar issues and combine this with a sugar filled diet and the Metabolic Syndrome freight train has left the station.

Is it really that hard to replace the coffee with green tea and the white sugar/high fructose corn syrup with natural alternatives like raw honey?  Do it today!

Reduce dependence on grains in the diet to a bare minimum

The Western diet is overly heavy in grains and starches which tax the adrenals when consumed to excess.   Focus the diet on clean meats, organic and biodynamic vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts, eggs, and grassfed dairy.   You will very soon feel the energy that comes with a significantly reduced digestive burden and begin to regain more youthful vitality that comes with healthy adrenals!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

Dr. Bruce Rind MD, Lecture at Wise Traditions Conference 2004

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency Most People Miss

How Bulletproof Coffee Shoots You in the Foot

Rethinking Fatigue: What Your Adrenals are REALLY Telling You

Adrenal Fatigue: A National Epidemic

Comments (233)

  • Robert Gibbs

    I wanted comment on this as i have been dealing with adrenal issues since i lost my mother back last yr after christmas…..it hit me 2 weeks after…..the stress….then i got sick with strep throat and the panic attacks and lots of other things started…..even later developed a kind of POTS sydrome….which has now went away after doing my own bloodtests healthonelabs.com…..i was trying everything……idk bout u guys but sometimes one of my hands will be very red and one pale…..depending on if its hanging low or up in the air…..its an adrenal thing….have been tested for high cortisol not very high but somewhat elevated….and it sucks…..one thing i will say is to CHECK UR VITAMIN MINERALS……i was low on vitamin D…..on 50,000iu once a week…..so my immune system is not the greatest……so i take vitamin d, magnesium and now calcium as well u can bet if ur vitamin D is low the other minerals could be off…..magnesium has alot to do with stress u get depleted and eating sugar i hear…..i did my own blood tests dont bother with regular doctors they dont kno nothing and think ur crazy and put u on anxiety

    when i had the pots symptoms like [fast heart rate when standing or walking,chest pains,pounding heart blochy hands tiredness etc]
    i became cautious and did a few test that were related such as iron[ferratin] a protein that binds to iron or sumthing but i was in the normal range also did a free t3 thyroid cuz i have heard many things of how doctors wont test it but i was also in the good range and my thyroid tests the doctors did do were normal so i let the thyroid issue and possible low iron ferritin go…..as of now i know i have low vitamin d…..im going to do a RBC magnesium test soon…..not the serum test….i need to see where my electrolytes are i also read that stress blocks vitamin D?…..to sum this up i think you all need to get a comprehensive look on ur nutrients…..cuz we already low in this country its impossible to get them all…..and stress added is bad bad news….i take a high quality multi by IRWIN….liquid form screw the tablets mostly…..liquid better absorb…..i take that and a magnesium citrate and coral calcium and vitamin D….that vitamin d and magnesium for sure i still to this day have this stronger heart pulse especially when i lay down im trying to rid it….have had so many heart tests it cant be that….x rays 24 holter thousands of ekgs…i think its the cortisol!! email me if u have any questions or wanna share anything

    July 20th, 2016 12:11 am Reply
  • Mary

    In January this year I was not very well. Blood pressure was high I was unable to bring it down which gave me a throbbing head. My heart seemed to be racing, whole body was shaking inside, I would get very hot, face would go bright red (never suffered like this with the menopause) and the worst thing I lost the ability to sleep, lying in bed till 3,4,5 am is no joke. If I was lucky I got 4 hours normally 3 which was leaving me unable to function. I was going to go to the doctors but, my friend went and she was diagnosed with low thyroid and came away with blood pressure, thyroid tabs and statins.

    I check out if I had the same and my symptoms fitted adrenal fatigue. I took some magnesium and blood pressure dropped immediately to normal range, about a month for the inner shaking to stop. I know it is going to take time to get better I now take magnesium, siberian ginseng and cod liver oil capsules. I sleep better most night 7 hours I wake once or twice but am able to go back to sleep. I eat a clean diet anyway and cook everything from scratch. I think my friend has adrenal fatigue as she also has a lot of worry bug she prefers listening to her doctor.

    July 13th, 2016 7:46 am Reply
  • Jake

    Pretty sure Mr. Hollow Cheeks has a little more than caffeine and sugar going on in their lifestyle: *cough* crystal meth *cough*

    May 12th, 2016 9:57 am Reply
    • Hadassah Geraci

      No, sad to say I had this as well when I lost 50 pounds a couple of years ago. I thought it was due to age or genetics. Now that I had another baby at the age of 45 and gained back my weight again, my cheeks look good again. I just found I have low cortisol levels and they will be testing further… I now know why my face looked so terrible a couple of years ago.

      May 20th, 2016 12:40 am Reply
  • Eva Storm

    Thank you so much for pointing out these conditions when dealing with Adrenal Fatigue. I’m also dealing lately with low blood pressure and an increased level of stress. My sleeping habits have been so poor and eating healthy is out of the question. I found your posts very interesting, hopefully they help me soon in my situation. I also found this great article about adrenal fatigue that i wanted to share.

    October 23rd, 2015 10:59 am Reply
  • Robert

    Salt is Salt…. other than considering the quantity we intake, the body knows no difference only the wallet does. (only possible benefits would be any trace minerals and it’s pretty colors)

    August 28th, 2015 1:14 pm Reply
    • Jeanne

      Salt is not salt, any more than a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Even the medical profession is starting to admit that calories from fat, carbs and protein react differently with the body. Sea salt has minerals that the body needs to utilize the NaCl. Processed salt can be harmful to the body.

      October 8th, 2015 5:43 pm Reply
    • Peter

      Every salt is sea salt…It just one is not in sea anymore ,does not mean is not from sea.It is ,just millions years ago.

      February 20th, 2016 6:53 am Reply
      • helen

        Table salt is processed and so needs to be eliminated or restricted in the diet. Natural salts are non processed and contain 85 other chemicals including potassium and magnesium and are so healthy they need not be limited in the diet. I add a half teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt to 2 litres of water and find my body is very happy with it. I have adrenal stress so find eliminating coffee and taking the salted water has gotten rid of my wrinkly fingers.

        March 3rd, 2016 9:23 am Reply
  • Darlene

    Overall, interesting. What, though, about the phytic acid in nuts and seeds? They are said to be anti-mineral.

    June 29th, 2015 7:18 pm Reply
  • Galoahad


    I’m a bit sceptical about that 180 pounds per year figure.

    Half a pound per day?

    December 12th, 2014 7:49 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That would be 8 oz (1 cup) or 16 TBL. Doesn’t surprise me at all! One Big Gulp has 8 TBL of sugar alone (91 grams and 1 tsp of sugar has 4 grams).

      December 12th, 2014 8:41 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    I do not consume caffeine, coffee, refined sugar, everything you mentioned and have hollow cheeks, pale lips?

    December 10th, 2014 8:12 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You can still have adrenal fatigue without consuming these things. Perhaps you were born with weak adrenals or are living a very stressed lifestyle in general? Lack of sleep and a low salt diet will contribute as well.

      December 11th, 2014 7:03 am Reply
      • DeAne

        Or, perhaps, just perhaps, this is the way she is made!

        December 9th, 2015 4:34 pm Reply
  • Barbara H.

    This is wonderful information, but, I would ask to respectfully consider not posting pictures of “real people.” It is clear that some of these pictures are actors who have agreed to pose for pictures. But, I do not believe that pictures such a the young man with “hollow cheeks” are professionals. Please consider how you or your family would feel if your picture were being used to illustrate a deficiency.
    Think about hiring a struggling artist to illustrate your point. Please.

    December 6th, 2014 10:27 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You can’t even identify who this person is as it is only the lower half of the face.

      December 6th, 2014 10:42 pm Reply
      • Kathy

        Barbara H. Really? An article as informative and helpful as this and you are concerned that someones photo being used is in somehow detrimental to the person? If I thought that having my picture posted may possibly illustrate a specific symptom and help others identify an illness or disorder I would unselfishly say “Yes, by all means use it”. And I wouldn’t care if ALL of my face were showing but as has been stated previously it is nearly impossible to know exactly who this person is. Keep up the great work Sarah!

        December 11th, 2014 1:06 pm Reply
    • Colin

      Oooo barbers get a grip you silly woman it’s an example if you don’t like it don’t look at it..

      September 22nd, 2015 3:41 pm Reply
  • susan

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    November 27th, 2014 2:38 pm Reply
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  • Shanan

    Oh WOW! I have just discovered your blog today because of this post! I am really enjoying everything you have posted. I decided two weeks ago that I am dealing with Adrenal Fatigue. These little known signs were the first I’ve seen of these but they fit me too. I don’t like being in the the direct sunlight (but love the warmth on my back) I have these lines in my fingers at certain times of the day. I also no longer need to shave my legs because I really don’t have that much hair left on them. I also have knee, hip issues with not explanation. And I’ve wondered for years why I get this heaviness or sometimes just weariness in my lower back. I’ve been off caffeine for nearly 2 weeks now. I have been so much more exhausted. It makes me realize how much I was depending on the caffeine to keep me going.

    October 14th, 2014 6:49 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    I don’t understand the finger lines. I do understand the high cortisol spikes at night because that is what happens to me.

    I also have sensitivity to bright light.

    But adrenal fatigue wasn’t diagnosed in me until AFTER I stopped process sugar and AFTER I became gluten free, and I only eat Himalayan Pink Salt or Real Salt or Celtic salt. And no processed foods. So, even months after I stopped gluten and sugar I finally was diagnosed. I either was worse before, or the same once diagnosed.

    But I think the MOST important thing is to learn to not stress, to meditate and to learn to say no. By far, that is the most important thing. I have tried these other “things” you talk about and quite honestly, they don’t work. Sorry.

    But I cannot stop stressing and piling on more things on my to do list. So THAT is the #1 thing I recommend. for folks suffering from adrenal fatigue.

    October 13th, 2014 12:13 pm Reply
  • Johnd811

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    September 1st, 2014 11:21 am Reply
  • Jay Robbins via Facebook

    Thanks for the interest information

    August 2nd, 2014 5:05 pm Reply
  • Summer Cloninger via Facebook

    Thanks. That was a really good article.

    August 1st, 2014 10:40 pm Reply
  • Nance Demattos via Facebook

    Don’t mention “adrenal fatigue” to just any doctor. In the main stream world you’re either healthy or you have Addison’s disease. PERIOD. There is nothing in between. If you do use the term to the wrong person, get ready to be treated like a hypochondriac and with a lot of condescension. Buy the book and self medicate. It’s cheaper and less humiliating.

    August 1st, 2014 7:35 pm Reply
    • Marleen

      oh my, you said it…I have been to two endocrine doctors, plus my GP and they look at you like you have two heads when you mention adrenal fatigue…..” it’s your thyroid they say”,….and the last one is willing to do adrenal test…no, not the more reliable spit cortisol test, but another one just to humor me and rule out that so she can concentrate on the thyroid…which I have been on thyroid meds over ten years and I know it’s a dual problem. I Think you are totally right and I am going to do it myself…they don’t listen in the US…

      November 3rd, 2014 6:28 pm Reply
  • Laura Bennett via Facebook

    Great advice but this won’t provide immediate releif. Healing the adrenals takes time and consistency!!

    July 31st, 2014 11:07 am Reply
  • Robin Mohr Janz via Facebook

    Very interesting. My eyes used to be very sensitive to light, but after drastically reducing grains and restricting heavy carb foods, the sensitivity is gone.

    July 31st, 2014 10:55 am Reply
  • Emily Louise via Facebook

    I love this Sarah– thank you so much!

    July 31st, 2014 9:09 am Reply
  • Richard Cali via Facebook

    Okay, I’m in this camp, too.

    July 31st, 2014 8:53 am Reply
  • Richard Cali via Facebook

    Debbie Doty Cali is the poster child.

    July 31st, 2014 8:50 am Reply
  • Holly Hull via Facebook

    Absolutely agree!!! ^^^ it’s not worth the damage, the extent of the effects

    July 31st, 2014 8:29 am Reply
  • Barbara Julia via Facebook

    I always wanted to know about the bald patches on my legs. I really need to make MORE changes.

    July 31st, 2014 6:38 am Reply
  • Vernah Fleming via Facebook

    I have had inexplicable lower back pain my whole life. And I always put down my eye/sun sensitivity to contacts. Thank you.

    July 31st, 2014 6:35 am Reply
  • Yvonne Marie via Facebook

    It’s disconcerting to read articles like this and have not one or a couple, but ALL of the symptoms listed. I’ve made most of the changes recommended already and can’t afford at this time to go see a holistic doctor as suggested. I may have to be more strict with myself as far as grains go. I only eat soaked or sprouted grains but do eat some. Maybe too many, I’m not sure. I really don’t know what to do next.

    July 31st, 2014 6:13 am Reply
  • Vicki Ingram via Facebook

    Thanks for posting!! This is me!

    July 31st, 2014 2:38 am Reply
  • Kim Fabian via Facebook

    I don’t understand the 10:30 pm bedtime thing? I’ve always been a 3rd shifter night person, I can’t keep myself on a normal schedule ever. This is my “normal”. So does my body go along with cleansing on my own time, or does somehow something magic only happens between 11:30-1am?

    July 31st, 2014 2:18 am Reply
    • Icanread

      The best explanation of the 10:30 pm thing is in a book about Adrenal Fatigue by a doctor. It is sold in health food stores. By all means, get a copy. The gist of that item is that human adrenal glands reset at that time of day and you need to be lying flat then so they get maximum blood flow and will then refresh themselves. If not, then they think you’re in danger and continue to work until they crank out another batch of adrenal hormones–the famous “second wind.” Adrenals deprived of this rest (best in sleep) won’t heal. Hope this helps. Read more in book!

      December 11th, 2014 2:15 pm Reply
      • Elaine

        What is the name of the book you are mentioning???? And, the author, please.

        April 4th, 2015 1:09 pm Reply
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  • hitokirihoshi

    thank you for your tips! I think I know now why I’m sensitive to brightness and hair fall. so it’s me against myself, I need to sleep early and say goodbye to coffee.

    June 26th, 2014 6:12 pm Reply
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    April 16th, 2014 11:56 pm Reply
  • Kelly Schuler via Facebook

    Doreen interesting read.

    February 15th, 2014 12:44 am Reply
  • Anita

    For most of my life I’ve been a night owl and never get to bed by 10:30, usually not by midnight either. I love coffee but I rarely drink it. Buzzes me too much. We were drinking green tea but after hearing about the fluoride issues, we stopped. We are drinking herbal teas now. One of my husband’s favorites here lately is cinnamon/cranberry/honey tea I make for him. I steep cinnamon bark (real stuff) in one cup. Steep home dried cranberries in another cup. Pour some of the cinnamon tea into the cranberries when full steeped/rehydrated. Let it cool to about body temp, then add raw honey to taste. I don’t drink this. I tend to hit the plain cinnamon or rooibos tea. We’re buying the Numi brand teas, too, due to their attention to the tea bags as well as the tea. My husband is an early to bed person, sometimes as early as 8:00. He is very active at 60 – between two very physical businesses and a small farm, he’s always moving. He grew up that way on a ranch. For the last four years though, he’s developed problems out of the blue with nasal/sinus polyps. Bad ones. We finally figured it out last summer but by then he was completely plugged up and the things were growing out both of his nostrils. The ENT doc put him on steroids/antibiotics and hubby was responding within FOUR HOURS! After a week, he was breathing again. But when they tried to stop the steroids last fall, they started growing back. He’s back on the steroids again and they are shrinking. !!?? They are talking surgery. He says he won’t do surgery. I know that after four years of not sleeping well at all due to not being able to breathe correctly that he’s got to be having a lot of adrenal fatigue going on despite his early to bed habit. He thinks he’s sleeping but he’s not really. He’s snoring bad now, too, and constantly waking himself. I sleep in another room now. Oy! And he’s reaching for sunglasses and he didn’t used to do that, either. I was the one who used the sunglasses but the sun isn’t bothering me like it used to anymore. Last Aug. I started getting into green smoothies (buying a Vitamix now) and that’s my breakfast or lunch. Try to have a big green organic salad with supper and sometimes that’s all I eat is the salad. Neither of us eat much processed sugar. For many years I’ve used real maple syrup or raw honey if I have need to sweeten something but that’s not very often (I prefer my tea/coffee plain). These sweeteners are expensive (and we ship our maple syrup straight from the farm in Maine) so that’s another incentive to use them sparingly. I don’t use potatoes/rice/etc. very much, either. We don’t buy store meats (raise our own). We do have to eat out on a regular basis (due to our one business), but we try to pick “healthy” as much as possible. We carry our own water so we aren’t drinking the water in town with the chemicals/fluoride/chlorine. Our rule is: never leave home without water with us. A few times we’ve had to pour it into our overheating radiator so we were thankful we had it! LOL! So we are trying to get the hubby back on his normally very-healthy feet and I’m sure the adrenals are an issue but how do we get it all straightened out? The doc is telling us they don’t know what causes the polyps, that they are extremely common (??!!), and treatment doesn’t necessarily keep them from coming back. We want to kill the root, not hack at the branches for the rest of our lives…

    February 14th, 2014 1:52 pm Reply
  • Michelle Rowton James via Facebook

    I noticed once I finally lifted from having adrenal exhaustion that my eyes are soooo much less sensitive than before!!

    February 14th, 2014 10:18 am Reply
  • Rochelle Marshall via Facebook


    February 14th, 2014 7:31 am Reply
  • Lauren Bretz via Facebook

    Challis and Rochelle, this is just excellent.

    February 14th, 2014 7:27 am Reply
  • Miriam Jacob Cohen via Facebook

    Now I understand why several years ago I had to buy sunglasses while on a long road trip because I was blinded by the light. Now, I don’t need them at all.

    February 14th, 2014 2:27 am Reply
  • Andy Igneczi via Facebook

    Eat more FATS!!!

    February 14th, 2014 2:18 am Reply
  • Rogan Fantastic via Facebook

    Candace S. Snow Candace Graham

    February 14th, 2014 1:25 am Reply
  • Amy Littleford via Facebook

    I also have adrenal fatigue and it seems the more I read/hear about it, the more confused I get. I am seeing a naturpath and on a couple things, but who knows if it’s enough and I really need to start working on the getting more sleep part and learning how to deal with stress, etc. What is everyone doing for exercise with adrenal fatigue? I really need to lose this weight I’ve gained, plus do a lot of toning!!!

    February 14th, 2014 12:26 am Reply
  • Monica

    Thank you so much for this article – and all your articles and videos. I’m learning a lot. This article was super helpful. I’ve been aware of an adrenal issue for a long time. I love coffee! I think you convinced me to give it up. My hormones are a MESS and I probably have metabolic syndrome. I’m not in good shape. Pretty sure coffee is a big trigger for me, but I have needed a push to give it up. Thanks. I appreciate it.

    February 13th, 2014 11:33 pm Reply
  • Chris Kopec via Facebook

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    February 13th, 2014 11:21 pm Reply
  • Sarah Callsen via Facebook

    The thing at the end about making grains as minimum as possible- Don’t moderate amounts of carbs in the form of properly prepared grains and tubers and such raise your body temperature, which keeps your metabolism (and body temperature) up which is good for a low body temperature caused by hypothyroidism which goes hand in hand with adrenal fatigue???? *sorry for such a run on sentance

    February 13th, 2014 10:08 pm Reply
    • Graham Ansell

      I feel better on carbohydrates than I do on heavy protein such as meat and nuts,, which make every worse.

      June 23rd, 2014 1:53 pm Reply
    • Melissa

      I have hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I eat a paleo diet for the most part never any grains, corn or soy products and I can tell. My numbers tsh, T3, and T4 are all not only in range but optimal. I get 8 hours sleep a night and don’t drag all day the next day. I’m able to garden, run errands, and most importantly take care of my mother without dragging thru the day.
      Look into The Auto Immune Protocol diet. It’s a form of Paleo made for people with Autoimmune diseases such as Hypothyroidism. It doesn’t work for everyone but it can’t hurt to try for a month to see how you do on it.

      December 11th, 2014 2:47 pm Reply
  • Krista Barnes via Facebook

    Why the finger lines?

    February 13th, 2014 10:04 pm Reply
  • Samantha Jane Smith via Facebook

    Thx ! Great info

    February 13th, 2014 10:00 pm Reply
  • Carli Reynolds via Facebook

    Been battling this one for years… goes hand in hand with hashimotos. Good info..most people dont recognize it.

    February 13th, 2014 9:52 pm Reply
    • linda

      You are VERY blesses to have an ND, much less, a good one. In FL ND’s are not recognized and cannot practice as one!!! Oh, how I long for one to help me through this journey.What was the name of the test he gave you?

      May 8th, 2015 5:40 am Reply
  • Patricia Crozier Bennett via Facebook

    This was really interesting!

    February 13th, 2014 9:45 pm Reply
  • Juliana Oushana via Facebook

    Jeez. I have all the symptoms!

    February 13th, 2014 9:34 pm Reply
  • Rachael Milne via Facebook

    Very helpful info thank you! The thing about the lips was fascinating!

    February 13th, 2014 9:13 pm Reply
  • Kristin Cusamano via Facebook

    This is great info thanks!!!

    February 13th, 2014 9:08 pm Reply
  • Wind Lakotah-Lolli Sammisjay via Facebook

    I know this well, HPA-Axis totaled out in 2003. It is not fun.

    February 13th, 2014 8:50 pm Reply
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  • Daniel

    Sounds like I have adrenal fatigue, I’m sleepy all the time ;<

    I'll start with eliminating out the black coffee and minimizing grains.

    Hope this helps

    December 15th, 2013 7:15 am Reply
  • Angelique


    since September, I have led a new, stressful work routine. I can’t avoid it, because it’s my studies (I’m 21), but since then, I have begun to lose a lot of hair. My hair had been a bit scarse for the past 4 years but now it’s really showing. Also, my lips are colorless, as you said. I’m quite tired, but it is also because during the week I sleep 7 to 8 hours, often getting up at 6:30, and on weekends, I sleep for 12 hours straight !
    I’ve seen a doctor, I’ve had my blood analysed, everything is okay, except cortisol which is very high (maximum normal level is 19 and I was at 29) and testosterone quite low (it is destroyed by cortisol).
    Would it mean I have adrenal fatigue ? Because I don’t have all the symptoms (back or knee pain, hollow cheeks, lines on the fingertips, balding legs).
    I never drink coffee and I try my best to avoid sugar.
    I know you’re not a doctor but does it look like adrenal fatigue ?

    December 14th, 2013 1:36 pm Reply
  • Amy L

    Recently went to an ND because I did not want to take thyroid meds for recent low thyroid diagnosis. I did some OTC supplements. Some were okay but had been on a month and did not notice too much difference. He put me through his test and it did show a thyroid condition although I did not tell him why I was there. However, he believed that underneath it all was adrenal fatigue as all the points on his screen went there. The test also picked up exposure to pesticides and fungicide. So he recommended TMI for the thyroid and Bridged Phenyl Group which I can tell a difference after a week with decreased pain. My hair is still breaking off but not as bad as it was. He had also showed low levels of vitamin B3

    I have had chronic swelling of tissues most noticeably since 29. It usually starts inside my cheeks. It is possible that this has gone on prior to that age. Another ND stated in a seminar I went to that cravings for chocolate are associated with adrenal fatigue. I found that interesting as I have been eating chocolate a lot. With the thyroid issue I had been eating a lot of cruciferous veggies which according to other websites, you should avoid. I have had bouts of tinitus over the last several years which wake me up repeatedly in the wee hours. Tinitus issues are also associated with Thyroid. I have interrupted sleep for the last year very severe–always like clock work 1 am – 3am, awake for a couple hours, back to sleep, and then awake again. IT is also a struggle to lose weight since 29. I used to be grossly underweight and then it started packing on along with the swelling.

    The vertical lines on the fingers–Interesting to see that. I thought I was dehydrated Now I know otherwise. It is refreshing to have an ND who is willing to help me get to the root of this swelling issue as after living with it for 17 years, probably longer and will work on diet needs as well

    October 31st, 2013 9:59 pm Reply
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  • H.Sabir

    Adrenal fatigue is a term apparently used by naturopath’s ,it is not a medical diagnosis but from the symptoms you described lit matches the clinical picture of stress.
    Efficient ways of stress management including healthy eating,regular planned activities,regular meditations or relaxations is a sure ways of avoiding adrenal burnt out.

    October 3rd, 2013 2:01 am Reply
    • Beth

      I disagree, in my case ANY medications make issues worse!

      March 25th, 2015 4:19 pm Reply
      • linda

        He said meditations. :-)

        May 8th, 2015 5:42 am Reply
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  • ACretens

    OMG… this is everything that is going on with me to a “T”! It’s so scary. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid awhile ago, I am only 29. My mother, aunt and cousin on my maternal side all have thyroid issues.
    I drink Coffee all day long, have hollowed out cheeks, stay up way too late, tired all day, can’t sleep at night and today noticed the wrinkly fingers, which prompted me to do a search online, and I found this article!
    I’m also a carboholic! Love pasta, and breads!
    I’ve also been shedding more hair than normal lately, which is scary in itself, I have waist length hair, so as you can imagine, there are a lot of stray hairs everywhere!
    This has definitely been a wake up call, this is a life saving article! I will definitly share this with my mother and my husband! thank you!

    September 16th, 2013 6:09 am Reply
  • KarenLA

    Just found a whole new philosophy on adrenal fatgue, thyroids and weight gain that is blowing my mind. Look up Dr.Ray Peat, Matt Stone, Danny Roddy. Raise your temperature, raise your metabolism and heal your thyroid. Can’t sleep? Drink warm milk with unheated organic honey and sea salt before bed…it knocks you out. The basic premise is that after yo-yo dieting you have wrecked your metabolism and can’t lose weight. If you have cold feet or hands, hair thinning, your thyroid is off. Want to check it? Put a thermometer under your arm pit in the morning for starters.

    August 24th, 2013 10:32 pm Reply
  • fozt

    Hi, im 27years old. I have acanthosis nigrican when i was 17 years old .At that time i was fat and had no idea about this problem. At age 21 idecided to lose weight. I lost wight about 20 kg but brown discoloration did not change alot.right niw i am struggling with my brown discolourarion which is all over my body and become more. I am taking metformin also. I dont have sugar problem. Recently new brown discolouration has appeared on my hands and palm which is rough. i am so worry about my condition. Also i did CBT and my chooestrol was high and my cortisole was low. More over, i always have blood in my urine. I went doctor.. .. also i have PCO but my hormones all came out normal except low cirtisol. My period is also regular. Plz let me know what ever you think can help me……Could my problem ( acanthosis nigricsn)
    be related to low cortisol and kidney or bladder problem????

    August 18th, 2013 6:43 pm Reply
  • Tweet

    Hi everyone,
    I think you all have just saved my sanity and possibly my life. I had an extreamly bad accident where I broke my back but when it had all healed my life plummeted my docs kept saying depression and yes maybe a bit . I would be mid- sentence and would loose my train off thought ,I could sleep 24 hours and never feel rested. I started having foggy heads, forgetting alot of stuff really weird body jerking and if I did get overtired I would appear drunk although I’m tee- total . I’ve been searching for an answer for along time because all the doctor wanted to do was treat my depression. My family think I’m the laziest person and that I’m a liar if I don’t remember something. I face everyday ridicule name calling shouting at me to pull myself together . They used to threaten to put my kids in care ( they didn’t offer to take them for a night to help) but I’ve known something was wrong I just couldn’t find it . I’ve closed the chapter on my family temporarily until I get tested and can get myself in really good shape.by the way my kids are 20 so I don’t know why they thought this would “shake” the depression out of me. Thank you all for posting I’m almost positive I’ve found out what is wrong with me . Thank you thank you all.

    August 15th, 2013 10:07 pm Reply
    • Tulasi

      Tweet, I had similar symptoms that you describe, and the life-saver for me were products from E3Live Company called BrainOn and RenewMe. It is green-blue algae from the Klamath Lake in Oregon. It balanced my hormones to the point that my depression and fatigue just disappeared. I also lost 30 pound over the period of 6 months, and it has been staying off for two years now. My blood pressure and cholesterol went back to normal. It worth a try. I encountered many people that report the same results. I first heard of it from Dr. Bryant Clement of the Hippocrates Institute in Palm Beach, Florida. They treat people with severe depression, cancers, and many chronic illnesses and have amazing results.

      April 10th, 2015 10:20 am Reply
  • Brenda Hamby

    Please explain to me how I know I am getting to bed @ 10:30 PM. Is this EST; CST : PST or
    is it Daylight Savings Time? I really need to know this I am Central Standard Time and we are on Daylight Saving time presently.
    I try to do things healthy for my body , have most of my life, I am a 65 year old female who raised all my children(6) to try and think healthy. I do have lateral lines on the inside palm side of my hands.
    I also have many health problems including Spinal Stenosis osteoartritis, hypertnsion, fibromyalgia..as you can imagine I am always researching on the Net for health info. Please help me to understand this correctly.Sincerely, Brenda Hamby

    June 18th, 2013 8:47 pm Reply
    • ACretens

      it probably means 10:30pm in whatever time zone you are living in and in accordance with your regular schedule, as in, make 10:30 pm your new bedtime. not as in , all of us have to be synchronized and sleeping at the same time across the entire U.S.! =P

      September 16th, 2013 6:15 am Reply
  • Cindi

    I’m so glad to have come across your blog post! You know, when you have doctors who won’t listen to you and who look at you as though you’ve got three heads when you say to them, “I’ve been doing some looking into things on my own, and I think I might have adrenal fatigue.”, and then they tell you they’ve never heard of such a thing, as though you’re an idiot, you start to feel a little bit as though you’re crazy, and start wondering if maybe you’re just making things up after all, because the doctors can’t find anything wrong with you, even though there patently IS something wrong. :(

    I’ve been experiencing this for years and years now, from the sounds of things. I didn’t know about the lines on the fingers, etc, before, but I’ve got them. Most of the more commonly known symptoms as well. :( I “accidentally” stopped eating bread for a period of about a month last year, and when I started eating it again, realized that I felt quite “off” when I ate it. So I experimented with NOT eating it some more and found that I felt quite a bit better when I didn’t eat bread and didn’t eat pasta. After some looking into things online, I came across the Paleo diet and figured I’d give that a try. Things have improved quite a bit since then, some health issues have decreased or gone away, I lost the extra 30 pounds I had put on, etc, BUT….I still don’t have the stamina or resiliency I remember once having, and it takes VERY little to empty my tank, so to speak. I have to be very careful about how long I spend around other people (it depletes me), how many tasks I try to accomplish, and make sure there is enough time in between. I’ve become very, very sensitive to the sun and to heat…not just my eyes, but my whole body. It’s as though the sun/heat just sucks any energy I have right out of me. I don’t know if this is a common/not common thing, or if it’s from something else entirely..?

    I do know I’ve sustained damage to my gut from all the years of wheat/grains/sugar, and I’m sure this is not helping my adrenals to recover at all, as there is a cycle of inflammation going on and nutrients are not being absorbed properly. I’ve just learned about how gelatin can help though, and have bought some from Great Lakes. I’m really hoping that I can slowly get back to how I used to be, a long time ago.

    Thanks so much for your blog post, and everyone else for sharing all of your experiences and comments – it’s been so helpful and also helps me to feel like I’m NOT losing my mind, that there IS a name for what is wrong, and that it CAN be fixed! :’-)

    June 15th, 2013 6:13 pm Reply
    • Cindi

      Also, so many of the symptoms listed by other commenters I have been experiencing myself! The sciatica, brain fog/very poor memory, cysts, hypoglycemia (better now without the grains though), etc.

      June 15th, 2013 6:17 pm Reply
  • Troi

    Hi, I’ve been following the adrenal fatigue diet / lifestyle closely for about 3 months (since saliva testing showed extremely low adrenal hormones and cortisol) but am still losing so much hair. Any tricks? I’m 33, F. Thanks for any suggestions, the thinning is obvious after a year and very discouraging.

    June 8th, 2013 11:54 pm Reply
    • Anjali

      I highly recommend anyone with adrenal fatigue to visit an acupuncturist. Mine has been a life saver.. he figured out that the root cause of my adrenal fatigue had to do with an allergic reaction to sugar, it had caused a huge amount of strain on my kidney’s, gall bladder, and pancreas, which was in turn throwing off my thyroid/adrenal glands. My heart palpitations and insomnia were gone 2 days after my initial treatment. I feel so lucky to have come across him.

      June 9th, 2013 2:51 pm Reply
      • Kim

        Can I ask if you experienced any other symptoms aside from the palpitations and insomnia?
        I have palpitations, insomnia, extreme fatigue and my hair is falling out drastically. My Vitamin D level was low a few months ago, but has recently gone up to a normal level after supplementing it. My Vitamin B12 and iron are low and I’m currently taking supplements for them.

        My endocrinologist is currently checking my cortisol, hemoglobin, T3 and for celiac disease. We’re just waiting on the results.

        In the interim, I feel absolutely horrible. I eliminated all sugar and carbs from my diet years ago due to experiencing a rapid heartbeat after I ate. So I eat extremely healthy with leans meats, vegetables, minimal fruit and some nut butters. I do however, eat a lot of oat bran muffins made with oat bran and rye flour. And just a few months ago I started having rice protein powder with my smoothies. So it’s hard for me to understand why I am experiencing any of this when my diet is very good.

        It’s so hard to function most days with the fatigue, weakness, palpitations, little bits of 4-5 hours of sleep, hair coming out in globs, and just feeling completely drained.

        Are there any foods/supplements you would recommend adding or deleting. Also, does anyone know of a natural physician in Southern California?

        September 16th, 2013 9:34 pm Reply
        • DAR

          It is hard to breathe when u have pernicious anemia injections of b12 needed
          this is very serious some times I went by ambulance……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          No one would listen to me……
          I received a blood transfusion

          September 30th, 2013 5:56 pm Reply
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  • Jesse Aguilar

    I have been sick for 1 year and we could not figure out what happened to me. I went to different doctors and they did not help me. I really thought I was going to die. I was 180 I got to 132. I play soccer basketball softball and I love running. I have not been active since last year. My new doctor is the only one that listened to me. He is Dr. Otto he saved my life. I also have low thyroid and adrenal gland problems. I am 135 but I feel stronger everyday. I feel really happy reading everyone’s comments because I am not alone. I feel the support. I will post any new cures that worked for me. Never give up I am counting all yaw.

    April 13th, 2013 2:29 am Reply
  • Laura

    Dr. Rind is my doctor! When I became gravely sick around 2 years ago, he saved my life. My antibodies for Thyroid Disease are now down 90% and my food allergies are gone thanks to his advice and support. I am so happy to hear that now even more people will hear and benefit from his advice. Thanks, Sarah! :)

    March 22nd, 2013 2:35 pm Reply
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  • John Carter

    Dem cheeks dare boy…

    January 24th, 2013 5:37 pm Reply
  • John Carter

    Dem Cheeks…

    January 24th, 2013 5:36 pm Reply
  • Tammy Fuller

    Great article. I have felt so much better since I have cut most sugar and refined foods out of my diet.

    January 19th, 2013 9:18 pm Reply
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  • virajs

    Is rocksalt, which is available here in a pink shade, any good? Its supposed to have a laxative effect, and is not reccommended in large quantities.

    December 28th, 2012 12:44 pm Reply
  • Kath

    Just couldn’t help noticing the sunken cheeks and was immediately reminded of pictures of Adam Lanza, the young man responsible for the Newtown shootings. I can not help but wonder what if any factor, foods have in events like these. A very touchy subject, but I hope it is one of the many things we observe and can learn from.

    December 27th, 2012 5:59 pm Reply
  • Jenni

    Hey, it was nice to find this site. I’ve been self diagnosed because here in Finland at least I haven’t found any doctor who would recogn my condition. I came sick 1,5 years ago. It was after one night, first I felt really anxious and had breathing difficoulties. I started panicing whats going on and went outside to have a few deep breathes and it went away. Next morning it came back more severe and I thought I were dying and having a heart attack. I went to ER and everything was fine. I went home and just cryied whats happening and want my old life back. I lost a lot of weight nearly 10kg, I had a feeling of a clumb in my throat all the time and couldnt eat. I couldnt think straight and my heart was pouncing like crazy all the time. I were on sick leave nearly 2weeks. Doctors thought I’m just depressed and tried to offer me drugs for that. I declined. I wasn’t depressed but sure felt that way after nobody could tell me whats wrong. I only wanted to sleep and indeed I did. I slept 12 hours night sleep and sleep was so bad, next morning I just waited when I could sleep again. I began to have delayed food allergies. I werent interested of anything. After two weeks I started to find out myself whats wrong with me. It took me six months to find out adrenal fatigue. I’m sure I have it. It just annoying to be all alone with this. I always get little bit better and then again it’s few steps back, I just hope I finally get better once and for all. At the moment I’m having panic attacks once again after many months but I’m also suffering from severe sleepyness and I’ve started to gain some weight. I even had my thyroid testes done and it looks I have a hypofunction of thyroid (?! When it’s not functioning good enough and is slow). Doctor wanted to look them for another year because they still were in line but not very good, TSH 3,8 and T4V was 11.
    Maybe adrenal fatigue infects to thyroid as well and another way around. But yes I’m working my way through sickness were doctors didn’t helped but found the help myself. I’m just looking forward to the time were I’m well again as I were before. Sure now afterwoards I realise I had this coming for a long time I just didn’t realise to listen my over stressed body (I were stressed all the times, suffered from insomnia and raicy heart). Now I would give just about anything to feel normal again. But I know I can have it back. It just takes some time. Hugs to everyone suffering from this! After recovery we just become stronger and can manage pretty much everything, yeah? 😉

    November 19th, 2012 1:40 pm Reply
    • Jesse Aguilar

      I love reading your blog. I felt the same way. Your not alone. Don’t know if I will be the old me but I have to start liking the new me. I am by your side.

      April 13th, 2013 2:34 am Reply
  • Tracey

    I found out that not only do I have adrenal fatigue, my thyroid was also being attacked by body. The doc said the two come hand in hand. When one starts to fail, then others will follow. And being tested for Gluten allergy should be done. I have Ceiliac disease which over the years not knowing it, eating flours made of wheat, barley, rye or oats. They have a binder in them that destroys the villi in the small bowel that moves your food through. Over time, if I would have kept eating the breads, pies, cakes etc; I eventually would have gotten colon cancer. Thank God I found out before that had a chance to happen. It will take about 2 years for my body to heal itself and the villi start growing back. Soooo, Gluten-Free, Thyroid and Adrenal medicines along with vitamins such as B12, D, Centrum Silver, Magnesium and Iron. Some days are better than others, but at least with meds and my new diet, I will live to a good old age with all my faculties in place. I thank God for helping get all these things fixed so I can be here to help others. :)

    November 13th, 2012 6:32 am Reply
  • Sara

    Hi Sarah and everybody reading my words. I found your article just now because I have many problems to solve and do not know where to start. I know that you are busy with other articles (after all you posted this in 2010) but I have some hope that you can answer me.
    Here is a list with some of the problems I am facing:
    1. I have been battling with lack of appetite for years (over 30 years);
    2. I am unable to go to bed early (if I do, I am unable to sleep). So, 2 o’clock in the morning or 3 is my time (I tried lots of things to reverse this but somehow I cannot do it which gives me a lot of frustration). Especially when I have a 10 month old baby to take care of;
    3. Six years ago I had a stupid accident: I was on top of a heavy wooden chair and I fell on it… my coccyx hit very hard on one of its tops. It was probably the most hurtful experience I have ever had – that and labor). I was in pain for 2 weeks when I managed an appointment with a homeopath. He said that my coccyx dislocated and had to go to its rightful position (his words were – your coccyx just went up). He did some acupuncture to my palms and ear lobes and told me that he could not do much more and that I could age prematurely due to what happened. He sent me to a couple of osteopaths but they were unable to fix me completely… only 3 osteopaths later could I find someone who did something to help me. Even today I have coccydynia sometimes, depending on how I sit down;
    4. I have been fighting depression for 5 years now, with many ups and downs (and I am taking 5HTP);
    5. I have two cysts on my left breast;
    6. I found out that I have a myoma in my uterus (left side too);
    7. Whenever the weather is humid or foggy I have this terrible pain in my left hip. It goes down my leg like electricity… that reminds me of sciatica…
    8. In these last days I have been feeling a strange pain on top on my (more on my) left kidney. I never felt such pain before.
    9. It’s been more than 10 years since the last time I had coffee. However I enjoy my tea. I try to have herbal tea instead of Lipton or any other brand.
    10. I have a hollow cheecks (which worsens my depression as I am unable to gain weight due to my poor appetite). People just say that I am thinner and thinner when I struggle to gain appetite and gain weight. A couple of days ago a friend who I did not see for many months told me I was shrinking. Depression got worse.
    11. I have thin vertical lines in all my fingertips.
    12. It seems that I don’t have enough energy to do my household chores and I think that maybe I am lazy. I also have trouble in concentrating, fuzzy thinking. I also cannot see the bright side of things like I used to. Depression gets worse.
    13. Yes, I have strong sensitivity to lights… even light bulbs.
    14. My body reacts whenever I eat carbs (grains).

    The list could go on indefinitely… after reading your article (and thank you so much for that Sarah!) my hunch is that all of these symptoms are linked together and that I suffer from adrenal fatigue (thyroid + adrenals and something else?) but I don’t know what to do. In my hometown there is no such thing as a holistic physician… and no such thing as a holistic endocrinologist.

    I am so lost…I want to fix myself but I don’t know how. Can anyone help me, please?

    Thank you…

    November 4th, 2012 9:50 pm Reply
    • Sara

      Sarah, I am so sorry for the big message :(

      November 4th, 2012 9:51 pm Reply
      • Laurie

        You are in a good place here. Just keep reading everything you can on this site.

        I myself just started the Gaps Intro diet a month ago, while doing a fair bit of Full Gaps before that since July. My sleeping has improved so drastically. And I am maintaining a weight of 110 lbs which is very good for me. Before that I was chronically 95 – 105 lbs. Not enough. I am never hungry on this diet. I also didn’t have much appetite, but I make sure I always eat.

        Even if this diet seems overwhelming just make one little change each day or week or month, whatever you can handle. You will slowly see results. You are so worth it and so is your family.

        Sorry about your accident. May there be complete recovery of that in your future.

        November 8th, 2012 12:20 pm Reply
      • DAR


        Your adrenals sit right on top of your kidneys
        The pain is probably from adrenal problems

        September 30th, 2013 5:48 pm Reply
    • Lara d

      Hi Sara,

      Your symptoms are indicative of Coeliac Disease which is an autoimmune condition which needs to be treated by lifetime abstinence of gluten and supplements as needed. Contact a GP and request a blood test and a gastroenterologist if you want further more invasive testing. There are over 300 symptoms of coeliac disease the most common include gastroenterology upsets (stomach pain etc), failure to put on weight/ thrive, fatigue and vitamin deficiencies. There are some good websites online if you want to do some research, see WebMD.com; coeliaccentral.org or google for other websites. Make sure that the websites/ books you read are reputable, there is a lot of misinformation out there.

      May 7th, 2013 10:08 am Reply
    • nata

      hi Sara,
      sorry to hear about all your issues :( if you still haven’t gone to the doctor, I’d recommend you to go and see a naturopath kind of doctor. I find these doctors very helpful in understanding the real issues and their goal is to help you recover naturally, whereas regular doctors will simply prescribe you some meds to reduce your symptoms. Also, try going to this website, and it might be helpful: http://www.adrenalfatigue.org. But again, if I were you, with so many unanswered questions, I’d seek for doctor’s guidance, preferably a naturopath doctor :)

      May 11th, 2013 3:08 am Reply
      • Sara

        I hope you can all read (I posted on November 4th 2012)

        Thank you all for your help!

        I went to a specialist in Coeliac Disease who told me I didn’t have Coeliac Disease (no testing done). She didn’t even know what spelt was. I probably looked at her as if she had three heads… really!

        My husband decided to book an appointment for a Naturopath who told me that I most probably have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and definitely Adrenal Fatigue. I am waiting to make some tests (saliva, etc). Let’s see what happens now.

        Thank you all once again!


        May 19th, 2015 7:06 pm Reply
  • Samantha Rhodes

    Thank you so much to Sarah and everyone for leaving their comments to try to help others who have adrenal issues. I also suffer from quite severe adrenal fatigue and have done for many years. I have tried practically every supplement under the sun, I find that if your adrenals are weak you have to start very slowly with supplements and build up until your body is able to cope with them. In fact, I have only found one supplement that works for me which is stress ease adrenal support (licorice, tyrosine, winter cherry, rhodiola, rehamania) by an Australian brand called herbs of gold – I am in no way affiliated with this product or company but just want to share what I have found successful for me – this is the only product that makes me feel halfway normal again, and gives me hope for recovering in the future. I only share this in the genuine hope that it can help someone else the way it has helped me :)

    October 10th, 2012 1:30 am Reply
  • Beth

    I have adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid because of it. I started the Adrenal Diet and felt better, but I was not improving as much as I wanted to, and thought something else was in the way. I knew there was some digestive issues going on, and I came across Leaky Gut Syndrome as a culprit for adrenal fatigue. I was on a heavy dose of antibiotics a month or so before I felt adrenal fatigue symptoms, and lo and behold, I feel amazing! I “healed” my leaky gut by following the Leaky Gut Cure (google it), taking the supplements, and have been on the diet ever since. It’s very similar to a Paleo diet, but with a few modifications based on what our adrenals like. After being on the supplements for four weeks, I felt amazing, and haven’t looked back. I don’t plan on incorporating caffeine/chocolate back into my diet for at least another year, as it takes up to 3 years for your adrenals to fully recover.

    The key is that slow and steady wins the race. I’m also doing yoga/meditation and coffee enemas, kombucha, natural sweeteners (maple syrup, cocounut sugar is a godsend), and taking B12 and tanning for the Vitamin D. I feel good as long as I don’t stray away.

    I highly urge anyone dealing with adrenal fatigue to treat themselves for leaky gut first, or in conjunction with their adrenal fatigue. Leaky Gut is the basis for many many pathologies!

    October 9th, 2012 1:19 pm Reply
    • Sarah

      Hi Beth,
      I have just started on the road to healing my adrenal issues. I was diagnosed with them about a month ago, I have high cortisol and high estrogen. I think that I also have thyroid issue but they have not been diagnosed yet. I also experiencing a lot of heartburn, stomach issues, and constipation. I was wondering how you knew that you had a leaky gut. And what kind results did you get from tanning. I had thought of this earlier today because of the vitamin d and the stimulation to the thyroid but couldn’t find any information to support that. Did it help with weight loss and fatigue? My muscles hurt and joints hurt all the time I thought it might help with that too. I am currently taking about 5000 mg a day of vit C and adapten-all. Please let me know what you think?

      March 27th, 2013 4:16 pm Reply
    • Lois

      Sarah – great post and Beth, thanks for commenting this.

      I’ve been searching for guidelines as to what kind of diet is optimal with adrenal burnout. (I’m just waiting for my hair analysis results and my consultation with Dr. Wilson, but I’m convinced I am have moderate-to-severe adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism :P) I’ll definitely look into the diets mentioned.

      And – I wonder if Swiss-water decaf coffee would be a decent alternative to coffee and green tea. I love my coffee and hate to think I would have to give it up forever! Thoughts?

      Interesting to note, as well, how there are a few on here who also are parents of special needs kids. I’m pretty sure being one myself was the trigger for my trip down the rabbit hole with my health. My husband has worked out of town for the last 20 years, so raising my autistic son has been on my shoulders all that time.

      It would be interesting to see the stats re: adrenal burnout and special needs parenting. I bet there are a ton of these parents who are dragging themselves around trying to get through the day dealing with the stresses of these kids and don’t know why they can’t cope anymore.

      Anyway, I look forward to having pinker lips and hairier lower legs as I get better – oh, wait… :)

      May 19th, 2013 8:29 pm Reply
      • Bill

        My wife and I have severe adrenal fatigue, and she has Hashimoto’s. We have a special needs child and there has been a lot of stress trying (and mostly failing) to seek services for him.

        June 14th, 2013 1:10 pm Reply
  • MNoe

    A note: green tea is high in naturally occurring fluoride which is damaging to the thyroid gland, so green tea may not be the best replacement for coffee.

    October 8th, 2012 7:53 pm Reply
  • Viv A

    I am finding it so interesting to learn the symptoms. Of adrenalin fatigue. A few years ago it was discovered that I have a calcified adrenalin gland. I was told it may have calcified from a childhood illness, but no doctor could tell me exactly when or why it happened or how this affects. my health now. I am diabetic, which may very well be related to this problem. I wish doctors would or could tell me more.

    September 30th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Huh!

    Replace coffee with green tea and sugar with honey?!?

    Green tea has caffeine, less than coffee, but you can just drink more of it. And honey IS sugar. This suggestion in the article is contradictory to the whole point of ditching caffeine and sugar.

    September 27th, 2012 11:22 am Reply
    • Ben

      Green tea has relaxing properties thought to be derived from L-theanine. I can speak from experience here: coffee ruins my energy levels (after the short burst of energy) while green tea keeps me steady all day. I’m not sure if it’s solely from the L-theanine but there is a clear difference that can be felt.

      As for honey – honey HAS sugar but it is not sugar. There’s a difference in what it does to your system. Similarly, apples HAVE sugar but are not sugar. A pound of apples would be healthy but a pound of sugar would send you into shock… if you didn’t puke first.

      I have found that foods are complex with many properties working in harmony together to make them what they are. Singling out and ingesting the “effective ingredient” of a food (like caffeine, sugar, or L-theanine) doesn’t always bring the expected results. It can be harmful in one way and helpful in another.

      I’m not a doctor but I play one on the internet.

      December 28th, 2012 1:02 pm Reply
      • KarenLA

        Green tea often has fluoride in it, which can block the up take of iodine to the thyroid. So, check out your tea. Even organic tea can have it. Honey can have a different impsct on your blood sugar depending on how it is processed. It should be organic and cold pressed. If it is heated, then the impact on blood sugar will be higher. As for coffee, check out bulletproofcoffee.com If you add butter and MCT oil, you will not crash or get jittery and there is nutritional benefits to this as well.

        August 9th, 2013 8:50 am Reply
  • Patricia

    I have adrenal fatigue and it’s consuming me…I am 41 years old & I’m hypothyroid for the past two decades. I confused all my symptoms with thyroid because they are very similar. After visiting many different doctors, i finally found a doctor that discovered I have severe adrenal fatigue. My fingertips are very creased, I can’t lose weight, I feel I’m in a fog, my upper back feels sore, I’m unmotivated, my skin is very dry, I’m losing my hair, and I’m very irritable all the time. I do love my coffee but I have only one cup a day now. After reading your article and all the comments above I realize I must divorce coffee for good! It will be the hardest breakup ever. At this point I just want to get up and feel alive again. I am curious to know how long is the recovery from severe adreanal fatigue? I’m taking cortisol 5mg 1x a day…my doctor started me low. Thanks for listening!

    September 20th, 2012 8:40 pm Reply
  • jen

    I have a strong history of kidney stones and I was told to limit my meats and salts (which I consume less than average of to begin with). However, I believe I have adrenal issues as well. I was wondering if using “real” salt in a drink with lemon and honey would be harmful for me in that I would get more kidney stones? I also am pregnant with baby #5 and have osteopenia (due to inability to exercise from bone malformation and joint problems).

    August 19th, 2012 1:31 pm Reply
    • roxanne

      Im on #9 and am curious how u feel now. I’ve read that real salt or pink himalayan salt is best and for adrenals to drink a bit of salt water in mornings. But not sure if that’s your problem.

      October 30th, 2013 3:23 pm Reply
  • Bebe

    One thing I notice repeatedly about the call to give up caffeine: green tea is regularly touted as an alternative to coffee. When I posed that question to an integrative medicine doc I was seeing at the time, and then again to my long time nurse practitioner they both said the same thing: caffeine is caffeine, whether in coffee or tea. Green tea is viewed as a health enhancing beverage but for those with adrenal issues it’s a no-no as well.

    August 2nd, 2012 10:54 pm Reply
  • Lisa Wilcox

    I have noticed that since I have cleaned up my diet by eliminating refined processed carbs/wheat, I must have helped my adrenals. I have light blue eyes, and being out in bright light is easy now. I think it is healthy to have a little bit of sun exposure into the eyes. I was wondering if you can find any examples of images that show the lines on the back of the finger tips?

    July 20th, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
  • tammy carter

    Eveything you said is REAL! I am beyond all the above now and in Adreanal failure. This process does not happen over night folks, so we have to hope and rebuild slowly. Have your saliva checked. I cannot express the lack of knowledge my state has with this. I educated myself and now cannot get the proper help I need. I was told I am dying. No kidding. Check your Cortisol levels. All your hormones. Women who have had a hysterectomy , like me, you still have hormones-believe me. An extra, get your fecal matter checked. You better believe when stage 2 or 3 begins, Most traditional doctors will try to treat your symptoms rather than listening to you. Your entire body will be effected on a daily basis leading you to even believe you need a psychiatrist. Try looking up Dr. Lam. That’s where i first began. Now, a wonderful place called ENHANCED WELLNESS here in Mississippi listened to me. However, I am almost too late. Yes, a ENDOCRINOLOGIST can be helpful, but they too many times go the route of unnecessary tests and time is wasted. I literally do not know how I have the strength to even write at the moment. Forgive any misspelled wording. I have so many other health problems it was very difficult for me t even believe this was possible. IT IS! I am only 42. Please eliminate your stress..I am the winner of that.ha. This is no joke anymore. My life is passing me by with every breath I take. I have 1 hope- God will prevail for me on Monday June 18th, 2012. Otherwise, I have little time left. I am in the final stage of this and I’m dying. How do you eat fruits and Vegs when I cannot even get up to shop, cook, or even eat. People say, ” Go to the ER.” Yeah! I have over 50 times, 19 surgeries, 47 outpatients, heart attack, type 1 diabetes, PAD, RA, Fibro, and so much more. How am I typing? I’m not, someone is doing it for me as I tell them to. God Help me. With God, if I go or if I stay, I’m a winner either way….Good luck everyone. Remember, email me if you have ANY answers before its too late. spiritfinder32178@yahoo.com…God Bless you all!!!!

    June 16th, 2012 10:27 pm Reply
    • Lymie

      Tammy, given your symptoms, have you ever considered you may have tick borne infections? Many Lyme patients are misdiagnosed as RA and fibro, to name a few. Combine that with the fatigue, you may want to consider it. For a doctor referral, go to http://www.ilads.org.

      August 2nd, 2012 3:38 pm Reply
  • Bea

    Interesting food for thought. One question about the sunglasses… Ophthalmologists and Optometrists are finding Cataracts in people at younger and younger ages (early lens changes are being seen more frequently in 30 and 40-year olds. These are NON-congenital Cataracts). UV exposure is thought to accelerate cataract formation…

    Perhaps your recommendation to ditch the sunglasses isn’t taking all factors into consideration?

    June 16th, 2012 12:43 am Reply
    • Bebe

      Perhaps the common link is the modern nutrient deficient diet? The absence of traditional fats (butter, lard, coconut, etc…) along with the inclusion of unnatural fats (canola, soy, etc…).
      Or maybe it’s pasteurization and the antibacterial craze: the “let’s kill everything!” mania. The loss of gut-friendly bacteria is a staggering blow to health throughout the body, as is the over-dependence on improperly prepared wheat and other grains.
      I know people (personally) whose skin used to burn easily with sun exposure but with the addition of fermented cod liver oil to their pretty traditional diet they can now stay out all day without sunscreen or burning.
      Maybe it has something to do with screen time: tv, computer and cell phone screens are ever present.
      It’s important to consider what has stayed the same and what has changed. The sun is a steady constant so my money is on something else besides the sun causing damage to both skin AND eyes.

      August 2nd, 2012 11:22 pm Reply
  • Dave Watson

    Thanks sarah, You really have hit the nail on the head here with adrenal fatigue. This is extremely overlooked but these glands are extremely important to health and our metabolism. Thank you for sharing such in depth information on this here. We all have much to learn from you. I have also noticed cleaning up my diet more has restored the color of my lips to a more natural healthy shade of red. Who knew adrenal glands could be so important hey?!

    June 7th, 2012 5:36 pm Reply
  • Pooja

    Hi Linda! Thanx for the article.I also have problems with adrenals
    But I want to know wht are the best superfoods I can take that
    Gives the same Amt of energy as caffeine.

    May 31st, 2012 6:57 pm Reply
  • Recca

    Thank you very much for doing this article about adrenal fatigue. This is a great and informative site that really gives you insights what is the cause and effect of adrenal fatigue. I have experienced this before and it really took a toll on my personal life and even job. I really had fun in reading your article.

    March 6th, 2012 11:58 pm Reply
  • Kaymer

    After my last pregnancy 18 years ago (coupled with many major life stresses) I was wiped out and stayed wiped out for 8 or more years. I finally gave up on regular MDs who really came up with nothing other than thyroid pills. They helped a little. A Naturopath doctor did the saliva test for cortisol and found my adrenals were bottomed out. She gave me Isocort tablets (available on line) which helped tremendously. But. . . . I still struggled for another 8 to 10 years with extreme fatigue. Until a second test for gluten sensitivity revealed that I was indeed sensitive to gluten. Previous test(s) had indicated that I was not. Lesson: gluten tests are notorious for showing false negative. Going off gluten has made a huge difference in my energy levels.

    I understand that thyroid disease, type I diabetes (which I have), adrenal fatigue, and Celiac disease all have a genetic link and are not that unusual to have together. So, if you are dealing with these issues, think about being checked for the others in the group.

    I was not aware that the GAPS diet would help with adrenal issues. I am happy to hear this since I am two weeks into GAPS intro diet which I started to heal my intestinal issuses, dairy allergy and depression (always figured who wouldn’t be depressed after feeling like crap for 18 years, but perhaps there is more to it).

    I STRONGLY RECOMMEND finding a good Naturopathic doctor to help with these issues. The hormonal system is very complex and there are lots of things to do to help, but you need professional input to know what your body needs. My hormone levels are ALL very low, which contributes to the fatigue. I can’t take estrogen related hormones because I had an estrogen-receptive ovarian cancer tumor. So, I hope getting healthier in general will help restore my hormones (I’m 54).

    Another lesson to take from my mistakes: I got the cancer during a time when my Vitamin D levels were low. I didn’t know of the importance of Vitamin D. So take your vit D supplements or get tested to see if you need them. If you feel lousy, you are probably indoors a lot and probably do need them.

    The naturopathic doctors I have been to have been very understanding in letting me pay my bill a little at a time, so please don’t let money issues keep you from getting better. If you feel better, you will be in a better position to make more money. . . .so think of it as an investment in your future earnings potential.

    Sorry this is so long. I hope to give you some insight to keep others from suffering for as long as I have. Not fun, being sick for years on end. And its true, people don’t understand and think you “just need to get out more or get some exercise” which in some cases is the worst thing you can do. Okay, I’ll shut up now. . . . .

    January 26th, 2012 4:05 pm Reply
  • susan

    A friend of mine sees Marcelle Pick at her Women to Women clinic in Yarmouth, Maine for help with adrenal fatigue. She’s radically changed her diet – no gluten, dairy, or sugar – and made a number of other healthy life changes. Not only does she feel a whole lot better these days, she looks terrific! A great resource for learning more about the condition is Pick’s latest book, “Are You Tired and Wired?”

    January 19th, 2012 12:14 pm Reply
  • William Thompson

    What an awesome article. Lays out the plight of the Standard American Diet. Taking things one step deeper…adrenal fatigue is a major sign of a condition called Unintentional Chronic Dehydration (UCD). This is the most overlooked state that is always overlooked. Water and salt go a long way for treating UCD. Obviously lifestyle plays a huge role in this. Thanks for the great information.

    January 18th, 2012 10:22 pm Reply
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  • D.

    Doesn’t TCM indicate that when we have glandular problems (like adrenal, liver, kidney, etc.) we should treat “like with like”? When I was having liver issues a few years ago I took dessicated liver because I couldn’t find any grass-fed beef liver around, and I didn’t want to eat the store-bought stuff. Can’t stand chicken liver, sorry, so that wasn’t an option for me! Worked like a charm in about a month I could tell the difference. Do they even make an adrenal formulation? I would check that, too, if I thought I had adrenal/thyroid issues. Years ago when I had severe panic attacks I definitely had compromised multi-glandular function and honestly just starting on good quality grey sea salt helped me out a lot. But learning to calm down with proper breathing techniques helped too, and each day that I didn’t have an attack, I felt stronger and stronger. Now, I can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack.

    January 13th, 2012 10:00 pm Reply
  • Joyce

    I just replied to Lisa, but thought others might get something from this post–Multiple miscarriages, the birth of my daughter at 44, and huge amounts of stress; job loss, moving, etc completely burned out my adrenals. You should have a 4 panel saliva Cortisol level test done. These can be purchased at most Compounding pharmacies for about $100. (It is well worth it.) Also, have you had your DHEA levels checked? My adrenal fatigue is so bad that I have to take 30 mgs of bio-indentical cortisol in 4 divided doses a day. If you feel that bad you may need an MD’s help; check out the Stop the Thyroid Madness Website and their Adrenal Fatigue info. (No matter how much thyroid medication you take, it will NOT work if your Adrenals are not working.) I wlll be glad to provide you with more information if you need it. Take care, Joyce


    January 2nd, 2012 4:00 pm Reply
    • Audra

      I really need help finding a doctor to phoenix, i know I have adrenal fatigue but all the holistic docs say i dont, i had my thyroid removed and tey keep going back and forth from 1-1/2 grains. I have had 2 saliva tests

      June 5th, 2012 10:34 am Reply
      • anita

        Audra you are not taking enough NDT! nobody can live on 1 and 1/2 grains, you need at least 3 grains this is a well known medical fact! at your dose , you are not able to function as this is not adequate replacement hormone.

        May 2nd, 2013 5:58 pm Reply
  • Cheska

    Oh no, I think I was one of those people who puts so much stress on my thyroid. I worked more than my body could. I mean I can work twenty hours a day even though I’m already tired but I just think of things that I must do to earn a living for my two kids since no one will do it for us I am more stressed thinking about this thing. But what I must do? I need to deal with it for the sake of providing my two kids a comfortable life.

    December 16th, 2011 2:52 am Reply
  • jo

    I have never liked sunglasses–specially since I wear prescription lenses. Didn’t like switching back and forth between regular glasses and sunglasses, didn’t like clip ons, and didn’t like the fact that everything looked so dark. For the last ten years I’ve been wearing a sun visor and it works perfect for me. Still all the bright sunshine without the sun shining in my eyes. My granddaughter thinks it looks dorky, but that’s ok.

    November 28th, 2011 2:51 pm Reply
  • Yukenna

    You said to get rid of coffee because of the caffiene, but is tea ok? I’m pregnant now, so I don’t drink nearly as much as I used to (1, sometimes 2 cups of green or oolong). I realize that tea has less caffeine, but is there a threshold for too much in the diet?

    November 9th, 2011 1:45 pm Reply
  • Ben

    I’ve been off caffeine for about 3.5 months because my adrenals were shot. Sadly, I’m now a bit too mellow, demotivated and boring.
    As an experiment I had a Red Bull yesterday (less caffeine than coffee) and it brought me back to life. How can I be lively without caffeine? I’m still searching. Let me know if you’ve figured this out.


    October 8th, 2011 6:47 am Reply
    • Ben

      To follow up my own post – the answer is possibly Wilson’s Syndrome. The name sounds like it could be a horrific disease but really it is just a poor conversion ratio that is occurring when my body converts T4 (thyroid hormone) into T3 and RT3. When the RT3 (reverse T3) is high then it outweighs and negates the T3, causing the symptoms to be like hypothyroid. Truly, it’s not hypothyroid, but the symptoms look the same. The treatment is to take prescription T3 (Liothyronine).

      I took it for about a month and a half and it has made a difference in my brain-fog and energy levels.

      There are a lot of sites explaining how it works so I won’t drone on in a blog comment about it. :)

      November 30th, 2012 11:54 am Reply
  • Grace

    The only symptom I have out of the above 5 is dependence on sunglasses. I didn’t have it as much when I lived in the midwest though. The sun is a lot brighter in south Texas. I do have a lot of other symptoms of adrenal fatigue, though. I’m waiting on some test results, I’ll find out next week.

    A question about the green tea-I thought it contained a lot of fluoride? Does coffee also contain fluoride? Of the coffee drinkers and tea drinks I now, seems like the coffee drinkers are healthier. Also, tea quite a bit of copper. Seems like copper toxicity often goes along with adrenal fatigue.

    September 22nd, 2011 11:45 am Reply
  • T.

    I was just recently told that I have adrenal fatigue. After twenty years of a vegetarian diet which included mostly processed meat substitutes, cheap oils and sugar, I have radically changed and now eat organic meats, coconut oils and vegetables. I am off coffee completely. Every day I am trying to repair the damage I did to my body. Thank you for this post. Your writing is always succinct and motivating.

    July 14th, 2011 9:34 am Reply
  • veronica cardozo

    by the way the way thank you for posting your article on adrenal fatigue. God Bless You.

    July 9th, 2011 5:24 am Reply
  • veronica cardozo

    hi , im veronica. yes i do have adrenal fatigue and of course hypothroidism. yeah, ive been having a problem with not using sunglasses. im planning on going on the gaps diet with cheeseslave. and by the way ive noticed green tea helps a great deal. cause the patches that ive on my face around my mouth have reduced a lot with green tea.

    July 9th, 2011 5:21 am Reply
  • amy@BreadandCircuses

    Thanks for this. I have suspected I might suffer from adrenal fatigue for a while since I am tired all of the time, I eat way too many sugary foods, and all other tests (for thyroid, etc) come back normal. This has been the message I have needed for some time! I have the funny lines on my fingers, pale lips, and hate the sun in my eyes.

    I am breastfeeding, however, and do not want to take any drastic measures to detox or remove grains, etc. So I will go it slowly removing sugar (and the very occasional coffee) I consume. I would love any further advice on this. (I have changed the fats in our house, added cod liver oil, and already eat high quality meats. We have no access to raw dairy where I live in the UK, but we now use non-homogenised organic dairy.)

    July 8th, 2011 4:27 pm Reply
  • Dorothy

    I believe that I have some symptoms of adrenal fatigue as well…hair loss, difficulty getting to sleep, and vertical lines in the nails. I’ve eaten “healthy” for many years, or so I thought. That included at times a lot of bread, later soaked or sprouted or sourdough bread, along with many other gluten-free grains, soaked, and other starches. I was mostly vegan until recently and am now adding as many good meats as we can afford.( I’m still “afraid” of pork b/c of the parasite issues). Recently I’ve begun eliminating grains and only had gluten-free soaked grains a few weeks ago since I read Cure Tooth Decay and have been reading on websites like yours. I’ve also cut way back on fruit. But I’m already underweight and have to figure out how not to lose weight, like you mentioned. I’m eating sweet potatos to try to help keep the weight on and eating coconut bread because it’s hard not to have something bread-like, along with lots of veggies and eggs, some avocado, taking cod liver oil, drinking kefir, etc. I can’t afford to see a doctor so I’m needing to solve these issues on my own. I try to remember to take kelp(and take another seaweed in capsule form) as I used to be hypothyroid… I hope that’s resolved, but don’t want to spend huge sums on blood work. Thanks for any feedback.

    June 27th, 2011 3:06 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Can you recommend any holistic MD’s in the Phoenix, AZ area to treat adrenal problems?
    Thank you

    June 5th, 2011 3:31 pm Reply
  • Cee

    I fear I have some symptoms of adrenal fatigue – lately my knees have been unusually weak, and I had weird pains in my left pelvis/leg joint that came on suddenly. Is adrenal fatigue reversible? Please tell me what I have to do to reverse it…


    May 28th, 2011 1:31 am Reply
  • Jennie@ Pure Homemaking

    This is very interesting! I have noticed that since changing my diet a while back that I had a lot more energy and but I haven’t experienced most of the things that you mentioned except for the sleeping and lack of energy at times. I would love to learn more about this though. Do you remember where you read about all this? I would love to dig a little deeper on the topic. I know my Mother has nearly all of the symptoms that you talked about and she is just now at 56 trying to change her diet. She is still trying to wrap her brain around cholesterol as she comes from a family with heart disease and has had high blood pressure/cholesterol her whole life.

    May 22nd, 2011 11:16 pm Reply
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  • H. T.

    This is amazing! Thank you so much for posting this. I read Dr. Wilsons’s “Adrenal Fatigue” and discovered that I was having adrenal issues, but the book didn’t mention all of these.

    It’s a funny feeling to read a list and think “Yeah, I do have that. I thought I was going crazy.” :-) I’ve been noticing full-on vertical creases in my fingertips and figured it was related to my new nail growth. I used to have such strong nails that I would grow them long and instead of chipping they would simply snap off if I whacked them. Nowadays they chip–or rather, peel. I’m off to see if that’s related. :-)

    March 29th, 2011 5:35 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      HI HT, not vertical lines in the nails .. vertical lines in the skin on the fingertip on the underside of the nail.

      March 29th, 2011 5:59 pm Reply
      • tina

        Oh, this is good to know. :) I have vertical lines on my nails but definitely not under the nails. I don’t seem to have any major adrenal gland symptoms.

        January 1st, 2012 11:40 pm Reply
        • Lauren

          Not the nail bed, the fingertips – the part you touch the keys with when you type. Medscape says that lines on the fingernails themselves indicate diabetes, thyroid disorders, vitamin B deficiency, arthritis, poor circulation, iron deficiency, folate deficiency or protein deficiency. Frequent hangnails indicate vitamin C deficiency. Nails tha break easily woul dbe worth googling about. A lot can be inferred by the health of your nails and tongue!

          January 23rd, 2012 10:30 am Reply
  • RM

    Alicia, I went through the same thing recently. I found that I was really sensitive to sulfites, so cut those out of my diet, started eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and as much clean meats and eggs as possible. I also supplemented with high doses of B12 and some magnesium. The panic attacks only come back when I go back to drinking caffeine and eating the processed foods. Also, take some probiotics and natural anti-fungals to wipe out yeast issues. This also helped me alot

    March 23rd, 2011 1:59 am Reply
  • Alicia

    I have been trying to figure out what is wrong with me and considered the possiblity that my adrenal glands may be malfunctioning. I do have some of the signs you mentioned above, the loss of hair, lines on the fingertips, and loss of color in my lips. However, the bigger issues I have been experiencing are Heart problems, such as palpations, fluttering, and occassionally anxiety attack symptoms that accompany the palpations and fluttering that can be so severe that I feel like I can’t breath and I feel like something very heavy is pressing down on my chest. I went to a cardiologist and he wanted to run a stress test which turned out fine. No blockages or other problems were detected, so I don’t know if these symptoms can be related to adrenal problems or not. It , of course, costs alot to have these kinds of tests run, even with my insurance, that until this bill is paid I won’t be returning to any doctors. It would help to know which direction I need to go and where I need to begin searching for answers, so I don’t end up with having to have alot of tests run because the doctor is grasping at straws to try and figure out what is wrong with me, and end up with even more unwanted medical bills. Please let me know if this is a possibility and worth searching into further or if it is unlikely adrenal gland problems. Thanks

    March 4th, 2011 6:50 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Alicia, I used to have panic attacks when my adrenals were particularly weak. Here’s how I beat mine .. haven’t had one in many many years:


      March 4th, 2011 7:15 pm Reply
    • Lauren

      I have this too. I did the stress test: nothing. Ultrasound (happened during the test!): nothing. 24-hour look-like-a-borg monitoring (happened so often I stopped recording the times): nothing. Pat on the head and a prescription for iodide. GR!
      The only trigger I’ve found is sugar, but it’s not the culprit every time. Thyroid problems can do it, and I’ve just seen that Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride has a book called Heart in your Mouth, which would be about gut flora and cardiac health – might be worth checking out.
      Good luck. If you find out anything else, let us know!

      January 23rd, 2012 10:21 am Reply
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  • Carrie Shepard, CCI

    Great Article! I had a special needs child and lived on caffeine and sugar for 6 yrs, ended up with exhausted adrenals, systemic candida, low thyroid (though from this list of symptoms I think my thyroid was low already from childhood illnesses, too many medications, immunizations). Weston Price foundation diet helped tremendously, but adding YLEO gave me back my life (heart, mind, and soul healing). We have so many environmental toxins suppressing our immune system and cultural negativity that we have to promote healing the emotions and spiritual health to really heal.

    Emotional roots to adrenal problems: feels defeated, feels like a victim, no belief in self, “don’t care what happens to me” attitude, lack of courage, feelings of anxiety, misusing the will, subconscious belief that life must have burdens, being disloyal to self, unresolved jealousies & fears, feels that one must struggle for success, power or position.

    February 20th, 2011 11:10 am Reply
  • bianca

    sensitive eyes are a reflection of what’s going on in the body… A nice addition would be
    high quality cod liver oil which contains Vit D and Vit A… vitamin A is crucial for eye health.
    Yes, it’s all connected. The hypothalmus feeds the pituitary which feeds the thyroid (queen
    of the endocrine system), etc. Once again, a nutrient dense diet is the bottom line.
    good health to all ~

    February 13th, 2011 1:31 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    Excess bromine can also cause light sensitivity (and depression, impotence, delirium and exhaustion). All the more reason to drop SAD bread!

    February 7th, 2011 9:27 pm Reply
    • Dana

      Bromine’s also in the halogen group along with iodine. If you get too much in your diet and not enough iodine you can wind up with your thyroid uptaking the bromine instead. Bad scene.

      May 12th, 2011 5:26 pm Reply
  • Katherine Jenson

    Thanks so much for this information. I did the tummy test and failed. Every symptom you mentioned I have. I also have Type II Diabetes and low level carbs really mess with my blood sugars. I am going to take your suggestions and see how I feel. I am so tired I can’t see straight and am a slug all day….NO ENERGY. How long do you think before I should see some improvement?

    January 2nd, 2011 7:39 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Katherine, I am so sorry to hear of your adrenal struggles. While my tips will definitely help and probably improvement will be noticeable pretty quickly, you may need professional help as well to examine the situation as extreme cases such as you describe may need a bit more of a healing boost if you know what I mean. The suggestions in this blog will defnitely help and put you on the path to recovery no doubt – just may need a little more tweaking by a holistic healthcare professional trained in this area of specialty. Good luck!

      January 2nd, 2011 9:56 am Reply
      • Merryl

        I am a severe case of adrenal fatigue, the kind is discussed here that you dont want to get to – thats me!!! December of last year I had a saliva test done. When it came back, the Doctor said “I dont know how you even make it through an hour of Zumba your adrenal glands are so fatigued” ( This was before I wound up with permanent nerve damage in my lowerback and now can not walk without a cane!) No cortisol at all, no iodine, no vitamin D, DHEA messed up, NO Progesterone at all, had not had a period in monhts!!the list went on and on. I have been tested every 3-6 months since then. DHEA levels are better thats about it. I am on disability now because of my back. I have been eating NT, raw milk, organic veges, grass fed chicken and beef. Even gave up my love for coffee, I still LOVE a quarter cup at the most in the am.
        I have finally had a period the last two months. I know this means my body is getting better – oh and hair loss yes I had it thats why I finally went to the doctor and spent a fortune.
        Anyway, I have been taking Wilsons supplements for adrenal fatigue, with all that I read I am not sure the supplements are absorped by my body. I have made the Dr.Connelys soup for the NT book and am going to start drinking a cup each day.
        I am a severe case of the adrenal fatigue. I used diet pills to keep me going during the day, and coffee then took sleeping pills or Xanax to help me relax, and yes I had panic attacks, no progesterone so my body could not calm down. I had lost weight finally was a size 10, now i have gained it all back but am slowly getting better. It took me years to get like this I am sure it is going to take years to undone and learn to heal myself. Any other good suggestions on foods for the adrenal glands? Or any other good tips? Oh and I am not a patient person!!! I think God is trying to teach me a lesson with all this and my back:)

        May 30th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
        • Julia

          Hi Merryl, can you please give me your email adress? I’m in the same situation as you, I have panic attacks, and I would like to ask for your advice! Thank you very much!
          My one is: schumi03 @ mailbox . hu without spaces. Thanks!!!

          August 20th, 2012 7:52 am Reply
        • Purplefireweed

          Here’s an excellent article on adrenal fatigue.

          Light sensitivity is related to pyroluria, a condition that clusters in families. Here’s a very long but related article on how metal toxicity, adrenal fatigue and its many associated symptoms can create mental health issues.

          August 27th, 2012 12:51 am Reply
          • Julia

            Thanks you!
            My biggest problem, that I cannot handle stress situations well, or at least as others do. When I need to call somebody, or when I see my best friend coming, or I visit her, or when I watch an exciting sports event. I don’t know, but I think it is something to do with the hormones, maybe cortisol, maybe progresteron, don’t know yet. And surely, if this is a long situation, that leads to panics. What do you think?
            What I know is that I do not want to take anti-depressant pills aor anything like that, because I would like to CURE and not just COVER my illnes. I belive the panic attacks are a sign of someting went wrong in my body, or the balance is missing.
            So, head up people in the illness, and keep researching until you find the root of the problem! Do not give up!! I know how bad is it, believe me. But I keep going…

            August 27th, 2012 9:27 am
        • avis

          To merryl n julia n others….I also suffer from adrenal fatigue n hypothyroid….my naturopath has said n u can google this. .most cases indicate a magnesium deficiency…its common in western diets now. ..magnesium destresses u..calms u down n puts u right to rest….also candida n low stomach acid…this is all from hypo n adrenal fatigue…therefore I could not absorb my nutrition n suplements….fix ur diet… then u won’t b anemic or deficient in anything!!!

          August 24th, 2013 9:53 pm Reply
  • Dori

    Thanks Sarah for this great information. I have suspected this in my own body for a number of years and have been taking steps to help heal. Do you know of any holistically minded Drs in the Clearwater or even Tampa area that have a strong background in helping heal adrenal fatigue/hormonal imbalance? Thanks so much.

    December 6th, 2010 11:53 am Reply
    • Megan

      Hi Dori, you may try Dr. Saxena at <SevaMed Institute in Lutz, FL, or Dr. Ron Shemesh at <Mind, Body Spirit Care in the Carrollwood Area or South Tampa. At the latter location, they also have an acupuncturist who does ayurvedic medicine, and he’s currently contracting with a kinesiologist/nutritionist person for the time being too.

      January 6th, 2011 10:46 pm Reply
      • Dori

        Thanks so much for the information.

        June 17th, 2011 4:45 pm Reply
  • Cindy

    I would just like to say something about not wearing sunglasses. I too live in Florida where the sun can be pretty brutal. I discovered several years ago that I have an optical nevus (mole) in my right eye. I had no way of knowing this since I can’t see into the back of my eye. The nevus is now on my optical nerve which means it now has the potential of turning into a melanoma. Since I don’t want my eye removed any time in the future it is imperative that as little sun as possible gets in my eyes. If you don’t get regular eye exams like some people with 20/20 vision do, you would never know you had this condition. I think you should wear sunglasses in the sun. Plus it helps you to not get wrinkles from squinting around your eyes. Just my humble opinion.

    November 30th, 2010 7:28 pm Reply
    • Dana

      I know this is an old comment but I’m adding my two cents anyway: melanoma is known for showing up in places on the body that get no sun exposure. I’ve heard conflicting info about it over the years but a lot of info pointing in the direction of poor nutrition contributing to its incidence. It makes no sense that human beings would have evolved that sensitive to the sun (or “were created” if that’s what you believe)–we began our species existence close to the equator and we thrive in sunlight. If I were in a position to give medical advice I’d tell people with a family history of melanoma to watch their vitamin D status and get their skin and eyes checked regularly–but for most people I’d say get more sun, not less. If you’re not used to a lot of sun exposure then increase it gradually, not because of fear of skin cancer but because you’ll feel it if you overdose. I’ve had that experience a few times and it’s not terribly pleasant. :(

      May 12th, 2011 5:25 pm Reply
  • Lisa Leigh

    Sarah, I have suffered from Adrenal Fatigue for about years now – awhile back I was fairly successful taking pro-active measures in repairing my body, until I had a miscarriage, which overnight set me back. We did manage to get pregnant again w/in four months, but that didn't give my adrenals much time to rebuild.

    Here I am four YEARS after that – my son is three, and I am now nursing another newborn who is seven weeks old. Translation: my body is SHOT. I am 41 years old, baby is still not sleeping at night, and it takes an act of God for me to get out of bed in the morning.

    I was just reading about the GAPS diet – wondering if that might help someone w/ my symptoms? Eczema and constant fatigue plague me. I am addicted to sugar, even though I try to eat "healthy" sweets (raw honey, sucanat, etc.).

    I was also an exercise fanatic before getting pregnant but just can't find the energy to make it back to the gym, and the sad state of this postpartum body is enough to depress anyone! I am 35 pounds heavier than I was last Christmas when we got pregnant.

    November 6th, 2010 5:16 am Reply
    • Joyce

      Hi Lisa, multiple miscarriages, the birth of my daughter at 44, and huge amounts of stress; job loss, moving, etc completely burned out my adrenals. You should have a 4 panel saliva Cortisol level test done. These can be purchased at most Compounding pharmacies for about $100. (It is well worth it.) Also, have you had your DHEA levels checked? My adrenal fatigue is so bad that I have to take 30 mgs of bio-indentical cortisol in 4 divided doses a day. If you feel that bad you may need an MD’s help; check out the Stop the Thyroid Madness Website and their Adrenal Fatigue info. (No matter how much thyroid medication you take, it will NOT work if your Adrenals are not working.) I wlll be glad to provide you with more information if you need it. Take care, Joyce

      January 2nd, 2012 3:58 pm Reply
      • Kelsey

        Hi Joyce, Just curious – how are DHEA levels tied into adrenal fatigue? I’m wondering because when I had a hormone panel done last year it showed that my estrogen levels were low, but my DHEA levels were very high, which my naturopath said is a precursor to estrogen, and that my body just isn’t converting it into estrogen for some reason. I do have adrenal issues, so I was just curious how the two are related. I’m not going to the naturopath right now because we don’t have health insurance currently, so I don’t know how much progress I’ve made in the past year, but I sure don’t feel that great, and I’m still not pregnant, so obviously I’ve still got my work cut out for me!

        January 19th, 2012 7:03 pm Reply
        • KarenLA

          You might consider looking into Dr. Sara Gottfried’s new book and also looking her up on youtube for her pod casts. In her book, The Hormone Cure, she talks about balancing your hormones naturally, and gives specific supplements and doses. She also provides talking points on dealing with a practitioner and places you can order your own tests, without a doctor and are less costly. The biggest problem with adrenals is too much cortisol, and she tells you what to take to reduce it, thereby taking a load off of the adrenals.

          June 18th, 2013 1:10 pm Reply
          • jj

            adrenal fatigue is not caused by too much cortisol, it’s caused by adrenal glands’ inability to produce enough cortisol

            August 9th, 2013 2:21 am
          • KarenLA

            You can have both high and low cortisol at the same time. Usually, when adrenal fatigue is present, your cortisol becomes high at night, when it should be low, so you can sleep.However, because it is high, a person is wired and can’t sleep. In the morning, when it should be high to get you out of bed, it is low and a person feels exhausted, not only because of the lack of sleep, but the lack of cortisol.

            August 9th, 2013 8:59 am
          • jj

            interesting…so did you ever cure your adrenal fatigue? If you recommend any supplements post it here

            August 9th, 2013 2:23 pm
          • KarenLA


            I am on my way to over coming my adrenal fatigue. While I like Dr. Gotfried’s protocol, I needed someone to work with. I also like Dr. Bob Marshall. He has fantastic products and they are quite reasonable. There are consultants who study under him and use his products. I am working with Radiant Light Nutrition. Their prices are very competitive, you do it over the internet and phone. They use a machine called a zygot. It is cutting edge and what I was told after getting the information from it was impressive. I was told what I had just eaten and that I had a slight infection in my lungs, and it was right on. She gave me various products and it has been about two weeks and I’m not longer fatigued. In fact, I have gone to 3 yoga classes this week, which is unheard of for me. Afterwards, I feel great, instead of tired or exhausted. Sleeping much, much better. I do recommend that you NOT go overboard with the supplements because it could be overwhelming. I don’t believe you can take just one supplement, though, you need several because there are other things impacting the adrenals.

            August 9th, 2013 4:12 pm
      • Jim K.

        Sorry for the late reply but I agree 100% if. you have adrenal fatigue no amount of Thyroid meds will help and is actually the very worse thing you could take. Taking only 50 mcgms. of Synthroid for 5 weeks sent me into Thyroid Storm with the most horrific depression and anxiety you could imagine. I also lost 45 lbs. in only 2 months. The worse part was the attitude of doctors whose response was pretty much (yawn) just temp side effects bla bla bla. They didn’t have a clue what was happening and didn’t care. If I would have listened to doctors I would be dead. I was told (by endo) about the thyroid storm months later and the low percentage who survive it untreated. Even the emergency room missed it and actually advised to continue the thyroid meds !

        August 21st, 2015 9:31 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Lisa, you may wish to consider a grain hiatus for a period of time. Not forever, just a few months. This rests the adrenals considerably and the weight will fall off. I went off grains for 5 months or so back in Feb and lost 8 lbs even though I am already slim and tried very hard not to lose a single pound. Even lots of homemade ice cream wouldn't keep the weight on! Grains and sugars (even natural ones) keep the weight on more than anything. I am back on grains now but I only eat small amounts a few times a week. You do need more veggies in there too but overall you are SO on the right track! If you drink coffee or tea, try to get off of it as caffeine really stresses the adrenals out. You may wish to consider a very strong probiotic like BioKult since your gut seems a bit out of whack from the constipation issues.

    September 24th, 2010 2:40 am Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi, I LOVE your blog and videos! I am a 40 year old mom. I just started applying the principles of WAP and also struggle with stubborn fat (been trying to lose unsuccessfully for over a year the "normal" way), extreme fatigue, adrenal and thyroid issues, heartburn, and constipation… I know…TMI! Anyway, I don't eat processed (store-bought) grains anymore, but I do make my own bread out of organic sprouted spelt and wheat berries in my bread machine. I love it and it makes me feel much better. I would think this is much better to eat than any store-bought bread, right? I try to keep it to no more than three slices a day, or less. Other grains I sometimes eat is quinoa, steel cut oats (rarely), occassional NT pancakes, rice, and potatoes (all in small amounts). I'm drinking raw milk, eating organic local pasteured eggs, butter, bone broths and coconut products. I know I need to increase my vegetable load per day. I'm not eating grass-fed meats all the time, but I am eating beef, pork, chicken, and fish as well. I intend to start buying grass-fed beef soon. Any feedback? -Lisa

    September 24th, 2010 2:11 am Reply
  • April@The 21st Century Housewife

    This is a very interesting and timely article! Although I have none of the symptoms, it is a great reminder of ways to take care of myself so I don't develop them!

    September 20th, 2010 9:24 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Linda, if you only drink coffee once in awhile because you truly enjoy it and it is a simple life pleasure, of course that is no big deal. Coffee for the majority of people though is a daily crutch to get going in the morning and sometimes to get through the day. And that habit is a warning sign of flagging adrenal health.

    September 15th, 2010 11:50 pm Reply
  • Linda

    Just an added note, I have no problem functioning without coffee(I occasionally just don't ever get it made). I drink so little of it that it makes no difference. I've tried herbal teas, but they make me feel sick. I can drink cold green tea though.

    September 15th, 2010 8:38 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Kristin, you are RIGHT ON, my friend! Adrenal fatigue is the first hole in the boat for many people that begins the sinking of the whole ship of health.

    September 15th, 2010 7:30 pm Reply
  • kristin konvolinka

    Through my almost obsessive need to learn about what ailes us I can honestly say, so many problems lead right back to the adrenals. All of my female clients have adrenal fatigue to some degree. Personally, since I quit my biotech job those little guys of mine are pretty happy! The good side of the story is this…we can do something about it! I know it's hard to give up caffeine and sugar, they feel temporarily good. Once you feel real health you won't want those stimulants. Believe me!

    September 15th, 2010 5:59 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great blog today Sarah. I didn't know much about adrenal fatigue but this has really been eye-opening.

    September 15th, 2010 4:30 am Reply
  • Melissa

    I can attest to the coffee issue… it wasn't too long ago that I NEEDED my morning coffee to get going. Now, I have switched to green tea/herbal teas and I wake up refreshed! If I skip my morning tea, I can still function normally- I could never have done that while drinking coffee! Thanks for the great tips.

    September 15th, 2010 2:53 am Reply
  • Barb @ My Daily Round

    I've always worn sunglasses because I thought I was sensitive because of my contact lens. However, within the last year, I've been working on getting the sugar out of my diet, not that I eat much, rather I focus on eating a lot more veggies. And, I have noticed that the sun doesn't bother my eyes as much.

    To be honest, I do have a really hard time giving up my one cup of coffee daily. I tried it during one of my pregnancies and was absolutely miserable for a month. It was not a pretty sight! I will try the green tea and see how that works, but keep the coffee for now.

    I think Modern Alternative Mama talked about drinking sea salt in water daily which I've been doing. I feel very refreshed when I do it.

    September 14th, 2010 5:35 pm Reply
    • krissy

      Green tea has caffeine, don’t know why everyone here is saying it’s okay including the author of the article…

      March 2nd, 2014 11:39 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Shelli, you are very brave to share this story. Hopefully, your experiences can help many others who are reading these comments. You are very right .. fixing the problem before the adrenals get completely wiped out is so very important. Once you are into a severe adrenal fatigue situation, it is much more difficult to rectify.

    September 14th, 2010 5:22 pm Reply
  • Shelli

    Another good indication of adrenal fatigue is to take the tip of pen or other similarly blunt object and draw it across the stomach from one side to the other, with only slight pressure (this shouldn't hurt). In normal people a red line will appear and fade in a few minutes. If the adrenals are fatigued, the red line will develop white lines on either side which will continue to spread out away from the red line.

    I've been suffering from severe adrenal fatigue for about 7 years now. When I tried the line trick I failed it miserably. My fatigued adrenals have lead to hypothyroidism. I also have instances of insulin resistance, but I can control it with diet. I went 5 years sleeping 4 hours or less each night.

    Diet plays a huge role in how I feel. Drinking a cup of coffee causes me to feel like someone has punched a hole in my "gas tank." A lot of carbohydrates makes me feel miserable – I do much better with higher protein and some fat. Exercise is very difficult because even small amounts literally makes me feel like I've been hit by a bus.

    It messes with every function of your body. It has been very hard for me to begin recovery because there aren't many doctors around me that understand it, and none have been successful in treating me for it.

    It's difficult to cope with adrenal fatigue because people generally cannot see anything wrong with you, they just think you're being lazy. And the worse it gets, the less you're able to do, the more lazy they think you are.

    It's really been an uphill battle for me. I think people need to be made more aware of this condition so they can take steps to avoid it.

    September 14th, 2010 5:12 pm Reply
    • Fonda LaShay

      oh my goodness, i did not know that line trick! I have asked my doctor many times why if i scratch my arm ect why it spreads and gets so red. They never know. I always demonstrate by doing such with a pen or my finger nail on my arm.. it gets huge and stays for a long time. They just tell me it will pass.

      I was diagnosed a few years back with hypo, I am now trying to fix it .. but it is good to know to look at my adreals too.. I am only 23 and do not want to have this issue all my life!

      June 5th, 2011 11:23 am Reply
      • nata

        try going to http://www.adrenalfatigue.org and you will find a lot of good info about treating this condition and even some products to help you recover!

        May 11th, 2013 2:59 am Reply
    • Christy

      Dr. Brouse in Oregon has been helping me since May of last year. He is a chiropractor. You can google him. I feel much better, but still have episodes here and there, but 90% better. 100% for a month or two at a time. But then I revert back to old diet, minus the caffeine and things eventually come back in a milder way without some sypmtoms. Hope that helps.

      February 1st, 2012 11:14 pm Reply
      • Eric

        Hi…I too suffer with Adrenal Fatigue for many years…Asthma/Croup as a kid.
        I treat my patients with great, wholefood supplements.
        Re the excercises…SLOW AND STEADY! walk,walk,walk…no stenuous exercises for a while, it’ll burn you out. LESS is MORE.
        Get checked for HEAVY METAL toxicity too. :)
        GREENS in meal plan, best thing.

        July 29th, 2012 8:25 am Reply
    • Julie

      Thanks for your comment. I noticed that you wrote about how exercising wipes you out. I started regular exercise the past 4 weeks and I always feel like I’ve been hit by a truck! I wonder If I should stop for a while and just walk??? I need to start GAPS. I am pretty sure of that.

      February 22nd, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
      • Bebe

        Julie you should definitely stop any hard workouts if your adrenals are tapped. I had a doctor tell me that I just needed to keep working out when I told him the exact thing you just said. What I did instead was I went and found a new provider, a nurse practitioner with experience that enabled her to tell me that working out should always, in the end, make you feel better, not worse. If your adrenals are in need of rest and repair, intense exercise will only add to their burden. Gentle walking should be fine as long as you are not feeling fatigued from it.
        Even drinking plain water becomes difficult when your adrenals are fatigued. Try a homemade electrolyte drink: the juice of one lemon, 1-2 T honey and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt per quart of pure water (non-chlorinated/fluoridated preferably) and drink liberally. Just be sure you are using real salt, NOT table salt. Redmond’s Real salt, Himalayan Pink salt, Celtic gray salt, something with it’s minerals still intact.

        April 10th, 2012 5:10 pm Reply
        • Eric

          Great advice!

          July 29th, 2012 8:29 am Reply
    • Anjali

      I have been treated by an acupuncturist (who is highly recommended among so many of my friends). He told me in my first visit that my problem was with my gall bladder, pancreas, and kidneys.. and that my inability to process sugar correctly was throwing off my hormones. His treatment has been amazing. He said I should stop feeling my heart palpitations with the first few days after my first session.. and they have reduced greatly. I should be on the road to recovery in 3 sessions. I’ll let you know how it goes!

      June 7th, 2013 1:56 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Megan, part of it could be that, but I think you will notice over time that you forget to even put them on as your eyes will be adjusting much more quickly to bright light.

    September 14th, 2010 4:43 pm Reply
  • Megan

    I've definitely noticed in a difference in how I feel now that I've avoided carbs, refined sugars, and the caffeine. I do love coffee though, so when I'm "allowed" to have these things again, it will be interesting to see if that gets put back into the diet.
    Question: could the sun sensitivity also just be an over-reliance on sunglasses? I've worn mine religiously for the past 6 years and so when I am out in the sun without them, it just takes some getting used to again, but initially the brightness is quite challenging.

    September 14th, 2010 4:36 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Linda, drinking coffee is of course your personal choice. I can say though that if I drank even a half a cup of coffee a day, my hormones would be a complete mess. You should try going off it and see how much better you will feel.

    September 14th, 2010 3:39 pm Reply
    • Sharon

      Sarah, what about drinking organic decaf? Same issues? Is it the coffee that is the problem or the caffeine?

      March 23rd, 2013 10:26 am Reply
      • Kathrine

        Great info! Thank you! When coffee beans are roasted they produce some major by products that are not good. Cafestol and carcinogens to name a few. I have severe adrenal fatigue. I found a product that gives me energy by helping my body produce it naturally instead of pushing me like caffeine. I love it because it comes with all these super fruits too. We need products like these since they have NO artificial anything which to me is so important when my body is already taxed with detoxing. Plus since taking it I have lost a lot of weight due to the increased energy maybe?? If anyone wants some info on this I can send you some info I guess. My phone is 509-795-0378. I hope everyone gets better soon. Blessings to ALL

        July 9th, 2013 1:56 pm Reply
        • jj

          post the name of the product here please

          August 9th, 2013 2:17 am Reply
        • J

          So… I take it that you mean decaf is still not good? Sorry to be asking but you didn’t really answer Sharon’s question directly.

          March 27th, 2014 1:10 pm Reply
  • Linda

    I don't have any of these symptoms. Sorry, not giving up my little bit of coffee I drink in the morning. I never put sugar or any of the crazy things people load their coffee with and I don't buy coffee at coffee shops or restaurants. I make my own at home.

    Sometimes I think people go to far to extremes with issues like this. A little coffee once a day isn't going to hurt you.

    September 14th, 2010 3:05 pm Reply
    • Jenni

      I agree with this. I keep it very simple and to a minimum. I have had adrenal fatigue in the past, but now I simply do not feel like I did back then (hypoglycemic, poor sleep, shaky, MAJOR salt cravings). I am so much better. I’ve been off coffee for a long time and honestly, I just don’t notice that much difference.

      January 2nd, 2012 1:25 am Reply
    • TLB

      Linda, you should be very thankful you don’t have any of these symptoms!! But for those of us that do this is awesome advice! Keep drinking your coffee and enjoy your health…something that many of us don’t have. A little coffee might not hurt you but it will certainly do damage to some of us.

      June 7th, 2012 12:32 pm Reply
      • GNR

        @Linda: I suffer from adrenal fatigue brought on by an overload of corticosteroid injections and any caffeine aggravates the condition. It’s good to hear that you are so healthy but I’m not sure that you are in the position to give medical guidance to those of us who suffer from this often debilitating condition. In fact, why you are weighing in on this at all is odd.

        July 16th, 2012 4:39 pm Reply
        • CLG

          I have to agree with the others — I have spent the last two 1/2 years getting back my health after some sever adrenal fatigue. Drinking just one cup of coffee would have caused me to feel weak, shaky and bad for an entire day. Believe me, I love coffee, and I tried multiple times to add it back to my diet but just felt too bad every time I drank it. Healthy people who do not suffer from this have no idea what it is like to be in the shoes of someone with adrenal fatigue.

          August 1st, 2012 11:49 pm Reply
          • Rachel

            Me,’too! I love love love coffee! But I pay dearly for every cup. I had a small cup of iced coffee earlier this week, and all the next day I had to rest and detox before I was able to function normally again.

            March 22nd, 2013 3:00 pm
    • KarenLA

      An interesting site regarding coffee is called bulletproof coffee. The creator is a bio hacker. Hr recommends Kerrygold grassfed butter mixed with MCT oil. Froth it in a blender or a hand held Aerolatte gadget. The coffee tastes wonderful and he talks about the nutritional value of the concoction. His biggest concern is mycotoxins in coffee, which can make a huge difference in how you feel, even if you use expensive coffee. The coffee makes you mentally alert without the jitters.You are not hungry for hours. He takes adrenal supplements with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of Himalayan salt in a glass of water upon arising.

      Adrenals love salt and I have found when I’m fatigued, I take the salt in the water and feel much better. Dr. David Brownstein has a book out regarding it.

      June 18th, 2013 12:57 pm Reply
      • jj

        what adrenal supplements does he take?

        August 9th, 2013 2:16 am Reply
        • KarenLA

          If you are talking about the founder and bio hacker of bullet proof coffee go to his website from the same name and do a search. He has mentioned it. I don’t use them.

          August 9th, 2013 3:58 pm Reply
      • s

        How do yout hink the coffee manages to make you alert? Because it isnt the coffee or caffeine thats doing it, it’s what they are doing to the adrenals; stimulating them to make more cortisol than usual. That extra cortisol helps maintain blood sugar, hence the so called, not hu gry for hours. eventually, tje adrenals cant make that extra cortisol if you are not fueling them with the proper nutrients amd tou get low cortisol. So, drinking any kind of coffee is not a good idea, ever. Try stabilising blood sugar with protein/good fat foods, eat every couple hours. If youre adrenals are healthy, you are eating enough, then you shouldnt need coffee.

        December 15th, 2013 6:15 pm Reply
    • Katie

      Yes a little can do more than hurt, it can land someone in the hospital and lead them to serious spells of rage, suicidal tendencies, and other things. Why are you writing if you dnt have an adrenal problem? This advice is for those who do. I hope you never have to experience what just a little caffeine can do to someone with adrenal fatigue.

      September 20th, 2013 2:43 pm Reply
    • nina

      Totally agree

      April 17th, 2014 8:41 pm Reply
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I would also add that you can replace coffee with kombucha or other fermented drinks. This is a source of natural energy AND will promote healing. This is what we have done and it really helps us.

    September 14th, 2010 2:48 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great article….I think I have almost all of these symptoms. I knew I had thyroid and pituitary problems, but I never considered my adrenals. I guess they all tie in!

    September 14th, 2010 2:42 pm Reply

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