Adrenal Fatigue! True or False?

Nov 23, 2020

You may know by now, that I only deal in facts and evidence; using my own non conformist approach to delivering those to you.

I often hear about ‘Adrenal Fatigue’ when my clients or those in my community have been told that the reason for their symptoms can be attributed to this problem. I like to dig a bit deeper however, as I’m sceptical until shown evidence to the contrary.

(very annoying for many people!)

So! are you one of the many women who feel exhausted and worn out all the time and you’re craving salty foods; but the doctor has no idea what might be wrong?

If you visit a non medical therapist, he/she may work on the theory that diseases can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of any medicine; but solely by controlling diet, exercise, and adding in complementary therapies.

He/she might also say that you have adrenal fatigue.

What Is Adrenal Fatigue Anyway?

Until 1998 the term didn’t exist. It was brought into our language by James Wilson, PhD, (a naturopath and expert in alternative medicine)

His description was as follows:

“A group of related signs and symptoms (a syndrome) that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level.”

He said “it’s usually associated with intense stress and often follows chronic infections like bronchitis, flu or pneumonia”

Wilson also said that people with adrenal fatigue, may not have any physical signs of illness but still may feel tired, “grey,”.. “have fatigue that doesn’t get better with sleep and crave salty snacks”

What Does it do?

You probably already know that your body reacts when you’re stressed. The adrenal glands are tiny little organs just above your kidneys which release cortisol and adrenaline when you feel stressed.

You will know this as your ‘fight or flight’ hormones.

Peri menopausal women feel anxiety and stress more than many due to the imbalance of hormones which also results in fight or flight responses.

This manifests itself as a pounding heart and increased blood pressure.

Adrenal fatigue is assumed to be a reaction to long term stress as above, where it’s said that the glands are overworked from producing the hormones for too long.

There’s no approved test for adrenal fatigue. 

As with other health advice it is suggested that the sufferer reduces the amount of sugar, caffeine and processed foods they eat, whilst adding in certain supplements which may include:

B Vitamins, Vitamin C and Magnesium.

So.. Is it real or not?!

My problem with this ‘condition’ is that there is no scientific evidence of its existence.

The Endocrine Society, is the world’s largest organisation of endocrinologists (these are people who research and treat patients with diseases related to glands and hormones)

These key experts categorically deny that adrenal fatigue is real!

The main reason for this is that the symptoms are so wide that they could apply to so many other problems… including peri menopause!

Safe Diagnosis?

Some apparent remedies can be unsafe!

I always recommend only supplementing with what you REALLY need and to only take supplements you have bought from a verified and regulated source.

If you take something to increase your cortisol for example; you may seriously harm your adrenal glands.

You may also be covering up or ignoring some serious problems like clinical depression or more serious health issues.

It’s not the same as Adrenal Insufficiency!

Adrenal Insufficiency is a widely recognised disease.

There are two forms of this condition, and both are caused by damage or problems with your adrenal glands that result in them not making enough of the hormone cortisol.

Adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed with a blood test that checks to see if your cortisol levels are too low.

Jane Pangbourne is an HRT educator, accredited nutritionist & women’s health practitioner.

When you need more help with your hormones, your symptoms, or your HRT choice, you can book a consultation via the services page HERE

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