Adrenal Fatigue: Another Word for Burn Out?

Adrenal Fatigue is a collection of symptoms resulting from inadequate adrenal function or cortisol production. The most common cause of adrenal fatigue is chronic stress. Just like with burnout.

Whether as a result of professional stress or mental stress, but also in the form of a long-lasting, chronic illness such as Candida albicans, untreated food intolerance, HPU / KPU , there is a risk of the adrenal glands being overstrained, which then leads to a functional disorder with drastic can lead to consequences.

First and foremost, the main symptoms of adrenal fatigue are severe exhaustion, weakness and tiredness, followed by allergies, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fears, panic, constant infections, etc.

What is often described as burnout these days is basically nothing more than total adrenal exhaustion. However, in such cases, no attention is paid to the adrenal glands, although nowadays adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed very well and quite inexpensively.

Adrenal insufficiency affects almost all organs

Adrenal insufficiency can affect those affected very severely and literally destroy their lives, because the more the adrenal glands reduce their cortisol production, the more almost all organs are affected, which of course entails very pronounced symptoms.

There are permanent changes at the biochemical as well as at the cellular level, which result in deficits in relation to the cardiovascular system, lipid metabolism, fluid balance and sex life.

This can go so far that the affected person is hardly able to get out of bed at all, let alone lead a normal life.

What exactly are the adrenal glands and what is their function?

The adrenal glands are endocrine glands and are located on the upper poles of the kidneys in humans. They produce sex hormones, glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, which humans need to survive.

Of the most important glucocorticoids, the first to be mentioned is cortisol, which is produced in the adrenal cortex. This hormone regulates our blood sugar, has an anti-inflammatory effect and coordinates stress management.

The mineralocorticoids include the hormone aldosterone, which is responsible for water balance and is also produced in the adrenal cortex. It regulates blood pressure by retaining sodium. Other hormones are also produced in the adrenal medulla, including adrenaline and noradrenaline.

In addition, the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland interact very strongly with each other and influence each other. The adrenal gland must be able to absorb and convert the energy provided by the thyroid. If this is not the case, problems with the thyroid are inevitable.

If both organs are no longer working properly, the thyroid gland must of course also be treated, whereby the adrenal gland treatment should be preferred if necessary, since otherwise a satisfactory thyroid gland setting is hardly possible.

Who is Most Prone to Adrenal Fatigue?

Basically, anyone can get adrenal fatigue. The most common triggers include, for example, classic stress at work, in combination with too few rest breaks, bad,  one- sided nutrition ,  which in turn can lead to intestinal problems and thus stress for the organism.

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But drug abuse, operations, too little sleep, mental crises, job loss and the loss of a loved one also put a lot of strain on the adrenal glands.

Also chronic inflammation in the body, a defective intestinal flora, long-lasting fungal stress in the intestine with  Candida Albicans , heavy metal stress and above all the HPU / KPU, a metabolic disease in which  vitamin B6 ,  zinc  and manganese are excreted to a greater extent, which leads to a significantly reduced detoxification of the body permanently puts a strain on the adrenal glands.

Basically, you can say that everything that causes stress, whether mental or physical, is very harmful in the long run and can cause adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

  • noticeable pallor of the face with dark eye rims
  • collapsing states with low blood pressure and heart rate
  • Getting up in the morning becomes torture
  • Dizziness / foggy feeling in the head
  • Fatigue and weakness are very pronounced
  • absolute lack of energy
  • The ability to remember is greatly reduced
  • poor wound healing
  • constantly ill and susceptible to any kind of infection
  • loss of appetite
  • low body temperature
  • depression and anxiety
  • muscle weakness
  • Muscle tension in the upper back and neck
  • no stress tolerance / tremors when stressed
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • hypoglycaemia
  • loss of libido
  • poor memory performance
  • Weight gain / accumulation of fat around the waist, which is difficult to work off
  • Improvement in symptoms after a meal
  • salt hunger
  • Improvement of symptoms on vacation

This is just a small selection of the symptoms that can occur. Due to the fact that the cortisol deficiency affects many organs, organ-specific symptoms can also occur.

If you find that some of the above symptoms apply to you and the usual, organic causes have already been medically ruled out, you should consider adrenal fatigue.

Especially if you can admit to living under constant pressure and stress, the likelihood of adrenal fatigue is quite high.

How is adrenal fatigue tested and diagnosed

There are several ways to look for adrenal fatigue. Most doctors are still of the opinion that measuring cortisol in the blood is sufficient. In my opinion, this is absolute nonsense, since cortisol is very dependent on the current stress level during blood sampling and, moreover, just one measurement only gives you a snapshot of the cortisol level. So this is not a particularly meaningful possibility.

A much better option is to measure the cortisol content in 24-hour urine. The excretion is collected over 24 hours and then measured. In any case, the significance is higher than with the blood test, but with this test we only get a total amount of cortisol.

Since most people with adrenal insufficiency have a disturbed daily rhythm, this measurement is not very useful and would only reveal if too little cortisol is released throughout the day.

If you want to get a very precise picture of the cortisol level and the course of the day, the only thing left is the cortisol saliva test. A saliva sample is taken five to seven times over a period of 12 hours.

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In this way, a visual curve can be drawn in relation to the actual course of cortisol and unmask adrenal fatigue.

Because cortisol has its absolute highest level in the morning around 6:00 a.m. and falls continuously in the evening.

As you can easily see from my cortisol test, the morning peak is completely absent and the other values ​​throughout the day are too low. I don’t think there is a better way to show the course of cortisol over the course of the day.

How is adrenal fatigue treated?

The good news is: Adrenal Fatigue can be completely reversed! Provided you find your personal cause for the physical or mental stress and are willing to eliminate it over a long distance. Sadly there is no other option.

Basically, all stressors must first be eliminated. By that I mean professional stress, as well as relationship stress, worries about the financial situation and so on. But also physical stress. Inflammation, tooth spots, food intolerance, fast food, excessive sport , heavy metal pollution, e.g. amalgam in the mouth, etc.

Rest and sleep are very important when suffering from adrenal fatigue. However, this is easier done than said, because if cortisol production is disturbed, the quality of sleep also suffers and you may not be able to sleep well and for long, even if you would like to. In such cases, you have to explicitly pay attention to good sleep hygiene.

It is important that you are in bed by 10:00 p.m. at the latest and at most read a little more, but no longer work on the computer or watch TV, as this reduces the quality of sleep enormously. If you then try to stay up longer, the adrenal glands are really challenged again and have to mobilize the last cortisol reserves.

In this way, it is hardly possible to relieve the adrenal glands. If you have trouble falling asleep, you can try taking some magnesium in the evening. If that doesn’t help, melatonin in smaller doses might help.

Alcohol, energy drinks, coffee, sweets and fast carbohydrates should be completely eliminated from the food and drink plan. These foods acidify the gut and stress the adrenal glands by causing blood sugar to spike and the blood sugar to crash. The adrenal gland then has to compensate for this, which also counteracts the relief of the adrenal gland.

Light exercise and a little exercise in the fresh air are very beneficial for adrenal fatigue and reduce all kinds of stress. The body is supplied with oxygen and blood circulation is stimulated. In addition, moderate exercise normalizes insulin and blood sugar levels. So are thyroid hormone and cortisol levels.

Support with the necessary micronutrients, minerals and vitamins is important. Vitamin B5,  vitamin C , vitamin E and vitamin D are essential. However, in higher doses. Vitamin B5 can be taken up to 1500mg without hesitation. Vitamin C even up to 3000mg per day.

Hormonal support in the form of DHEA, progesterone and pregnenolone are also often very helpful. However, the status in the urine or in the saliva should be clarified before an intake is planned.

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Personally, I’m helped by Cytozyme AD ® , a hormone-free adrenal extract and Phytocortal N ® , a homeopathic remedy for adrenal stimulation, and licorice root tea.

Unfortunately, cortisone is prescribed too often and prematurely. Usually in the form of hydrocortisone or prednisolone. Cortisone is supposed to relieve the adrenal glands, but often has the effect that the adrenal glands shut down their function to such an extent that after the cortisone is discontinued, the adrenal glands do not function again and one is then often dependent on artificial cortisone for the rest of their lives.

No form of cortisone helped me. Neither hydrocortisone, nor prednisone or prednisolone. Quite the contrary – all my discomfort only got worse. All other affected people I know have had more problems than benefits with cortisone. I was only able to stop taking the cortisone with a little trick.

During this delicate phase, I replaced Phytocortal N ® with cortisone. In this way, the adrenal glands could be stimulated and, fortunately, have been able to start functioning again.

However  , when it comes to adrenal fatigue  , it’s important to understand that less is usually more and there’s no point in cramming in all the micronutrients and hormones in the hope that adrenal fatigue will go away quickly.

Here, too, the magic word is “patience”! You can only reach your goal with constant treatment and following a harmless lifestyle.

Update on our own behalf: April 2015

Something has happened. After almost 2 1/2 months of a consistent change in diet  and switching to natural thyroid hormones (Acella NP Thyroid ® ), the last saliva test knocked my socks off!

For the first time in eight years of unsuccessful attempts, cortisol levels are finally rising and the adrenal glands are finally starting to work or recovering. And of course just at the moment when I was able to persuade my doctor to write down hydrocortisone again.

Since the profile is now significantly better, but not really good, I will try the hydrocortisone again to support it and then report back.

Update on our own behalf: November 2015

My current cortisol saliva profile just arrived. Taking hydrocortisone for 7 months brought about a small improvement in the values, but only in the minimal range.

During the second and also the last measurement, the cortisol level rose slightly, but unfortunately the hydrocortisone could not do much more.

My maximum hydrocortisone dose was at times 35mg/day. For the last 3 1/2 months I have been experimenting with dosages between 7.5 and 15mg. Towards the end, however, it got worse and worse and I couldn’t really tolerate the HC anymore and therefore crept out afterwards. Fortunately, with the help of Phytocortal N ® , Cytozmye AD ® , Adrenal Caps ® and lots of licorice root tea, this worked.

But I am very pleased that the straight line to zero from the October 2014 cortisol profile has become something. However, the morning cortisol peak is definitely missing in the morning in order to be able to tolerate pig hormones for the thyroid without any problems.

So we continue with alternative means and above all the change in diet (no sugar, any grain, potatoes and rice).

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