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I was just diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and am feeling rather sceptical about the whole thing. I adore my doctor and she hasn't steared me wrong in the past but I'm concerned because I can't find any solid medical writing about adrenal fatigue, nothing that appears in any peer reviewed journals, that is. I've got the book by James Wilson and I've found plenty of websites and short articles written by chiropractors (why would they be writing about gland problems?) and naturopathic sites wanting to sell me supplements for hypoadrenia but nothing I can hang my hat on.

I'm going along with my doctor's supplement protocol for the time being because I don't know what else to do. I've been on anti-depressants for about 7 years for symptoms that seem to match with hypoadrenia and my doctor feels hopeful that with this treatment we might be able to ween me off of those since the adrenal fatigue might be the underlying cause. Recently even the anti-depressants can't keep away the fatigue, brain fog, loss of sexual appetite and general malaise.

I know it would just be anecdotal evidence but I'd love to hear that a real person actually recovered from this by following a protocol of supplements and diet modification. It would make me feel a little bit better about spending so much money on oversized, stinky pills.

Thanks :)

The one thing I've read that somewhat explains adrenal fatigue's being underdiagnosed by mainstream doctors is that in the past it USED to be diagnosed and treated, but they used large doses of steroids, which were more harmful than helpful, so they became afraid to fool with anything but actual adrenal failure. This is dubious, but what I've read which COULD be a viable explanation.

May I ask what your doctor wanted you to do for your condition? We could compare notes. My son was tentatively diagnosed (after being ill since Nov. 2003) with adrenal insufficiency and hypothyroidism. The doctor who diagnosed him used to be a pediatrician (still IS, I guess you'd say), but went back to school to become an environmental doctor, which is along the lines of the naturopath, I believe. He was recommended to us by a dear friend, whom we considered to be knowledgable, since he suffers similar problems, due to pituitary problems.

This doctor has issued us Cortef, and wants us to work up to 20 mg. per day. In addition, he prescribed Armour thyroid pills, to be increased by 1/4 grain per week until we reached 1 grain. How does this compare to what you have been given, with perhaps the omission of the Armour? Were you asked to take Dessimated Adrenal glandulars, too? I've heard that this can be of some help. I guess I'm in the same boat as you, as I don't want to turn off my son's adrenal glands by giving him cortisol (Cortef), if it isn't proven that he needs it (didn't fail the ACTH stim test). Did YOU ever have the ACTH stim test? It seems like it would be a great idea to have it done. This is the conclusive test for adrenal FAILURE, though can't diagnose adrenal fatigue as well.

Hope this has been helpful at least in letting you know there are others of us out here with similar quandries and symptoms. ~ :wave: Tracy
I was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. I see an MD who is also a homeopathic doctor. She suggested that I take some basic supplements first (a good whole foods multi-vitamin, B-complex, fish oil, etc) because my diet has been so bad for so long. We are hoping that adding the proper nutrition to my diet (and changing what I eat to reflect healthy habits) will go a long way towards helping my adrenal problem. She also mentioned a couple of different kinds of ginseng as well as licorice root. We'll see if this stuff works. I am emphatically against taking any form of steroid unless it's a matter of life and death.

I bought the Adrenal Fatigue book as well. It was the only book I could find specifically about adrenal fatigue. I like the cartoons, and the author's ideas aren't bad either ;) However, I am always a little bit untrusting when someone writes a book and then makes his own supplements to go along with it... makes me wonder where his motives are. That doesn't mean his motives are not pure... only that I am quite cynical! I think his program could be done without buying a lot of supplements, though, as a lot of it involves lifestyle and diet changes that most of us would probably benefit from.

Good luck!
Dear Catherine,

Thanks for explaining your circumstance and views! I am also leary of the steroids, because I'm told that they can sometimes turn off the adrenal glands and cause adrenal failure! But we are a bit desperate to help our son, since he has been ill since November, 2003, and is missing a lot of what a teen should not miss out on. So I have cut the dose in hopes to just crutch his adrenals. I have heard much good about taking adrenal glandulars, too (Health store). I, too, have bought what some friends of our seem to feel are good quality supplements (through an outside marketing network), and have been giving these to Travis, whose diet has not been very good, either. He tends to like high carb things like pizza, etc. Does not eat fruit (except in drinks and yogurt) and does not prefer veggies. I hope you will get some answers. I also have the book you speak of, but trying to turn a teen's habits around is not the easiest thing to do. His sleep is terribly messed up, circadian rhythm seems upside down for a few days, then back to normal. He has low aldosterone, something that has made him dizzy and caused orthostatic hypotension. I have since read that some of these same things can be present with CFS, an illness I don't want to contend with, since it has no clear "cure" or AGREED UPON treatment program. Hoping that's not it.
Best wishes to you on your recovery, ~ :wave: Tracy

My doctor is also fairly progressive and she seems to have become very convinced by what James Wilson says in his book. She's got me started on just the supplements at the moment (various vitamins and somthing with the ingredients of "a proprietary blend containing adrenal, gonadal, hypothalmus, pituitary and thyroid concentrates from porcine source" and if I'm not mistaken Porcine is latin for it's not vegetarian I guess). I've also got an appointment with a dietician to review my eating habits as well.

Regardless of Wilson's support of his own products, the book really seems to advocate healthy eating, healthy excercise and stress control as the ultimate source of "cure". But...I can't imagine implementing much of what he's advocating and I can't imagine telling your son to try and cut out the stressful activities in his life. It kind of seems impractical.

Both my mom and my brother were taking thyroid for quite a while which helped them dramatically but my tests never showed that I was any worse than just suboptimal...but apparently that can be caused by fatigued adrenals...if this guy is right. I'd love to believe it and I figure I'll give the supplement "cure" a try and see how it goes.

I was hoping to hear of someone's success but I guess, once you are all better you might not be visiting the boards quite so much. I sincerely hope that you can find a solution for your son that will help. It's hard enough trying to cope with this as an adult but I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be for a teenage boy whose got enough on his hands trying to deal with the normal hormonal changes.

If I hear of anything promising, I'll post it :)
I will post a message to one very educated mother who DID help her daughter back to adrenal optimum functioning by self medicating or with health supplements. Don't know the details anymore. But she seems well grounded and very well studied. I'll ask her if she will look on here and answer your post to give you a bit more hope and some details that may be helpful! ~ Trace
My daughter was also on anti depressants for 3 years, and has her days and nights mixed up still. She was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, not Adrenal Failure. Her Endocrinologist (holistic) placed her on many supplements, plus DHEA, which she could not tolerate. She became very hyper on it. He then put her on Cortisol (5 mg.) morning and nighttime. Her original symptoms were sudden weight gain, and all the symptoms of depression - fatigue, unenthused about life, and she stopped having a period for several months. She also has all the signs of metabolic syndrome. Very low HDL, thick midsection, didn't tolerate sugar - it was making her sick and she didn't know what was causing it until she cut sugar out of her diet. She ate very poorly. I took her to a GYN and they did all the tests looking for something in that direction. She was scanned, etc. and all was well. I finally got to the Endocrinologist. It is a slow process back, but feel she is going in the right direction. I also had my doubts about all this. Like you, I had never heard of it nor read about it. I also read James Wilson's book.
What I wanted to ask is if you had the sudden weight gain with most of it in the abdomen - along with the fatigue. Her Cortisol level was low (around 2) so she definitely was running out of Cortisol.

Sorry I didn't remember to look back to all my messages! Just saw this reply! I hope you will find a way to help your daughter get well soon! No, Trav has not gained weight. He is skinny by nature, and has not grown since he turned 14, and started with these current issues. His appetite is not very good, and he has gained no weight on the Cortef, but is only on 5 mg./day. Now the doctor is suggesting POTS or disautonomia for him, or secondary adrenal insufficiency, stemming from pituitary or Hypothalamus problems. Hope this answers your questions. Thanks for answering MY post! ~ Trace
what foods are recommended to assist in recovering from adrenal fatigue? what foods/ substances should one avoid?
From what I've read, you should have plenty of the right vitamins (a good multi) and avoid high carb, large meals. It is best to eat plenty of fruits and veggies and make sure you are getting your amino acids and fatty acids. Hope this helps. Mostly avoid caffeine, sugar and high carb foods for a more stable blood sugar, etc. Best of health to you! ~ :wave: Tracy
I have been suffering with the symptoms of hypoadrenia for over three years and I feel so relieved to finally know what's wrong! ....although I guessed this. I kept telling people that I "used up all my cortisol for the first six months" of my traumatic separation (which was followed---and continues--with extreme stress)--and I was right! I knew that I was under enormous amounts of stress and actually afraid I would get something serious, like cancer. I knew the body just couldn't take this much stress continually. My biggest problems, aside from getting sick all the time, is that it has wreaked habit with my menstrual symptoms. I used to get PMS but now it's debilitating. The more stress, the worse and longer it is. I have been on SSRI's with no luck for two years, except the Prozac moderately helped (all the other SSRI's except Wellbutrin made me more depressed!). A gynecologist has put me on Lybrel to stop my periods; I had three great weeks when first taking it and then the PMS started lasting an entire week! I think I am going to give up all of the drugs and start fresh, while taking sick leave from work (which I've barely held on to). One of things that I wondered about affecting me was nutrition. Part of the stress was financial and I started eating much worse then, buying more processed, easy and non-organic foods, which might have also played a big role. I used to cook up myself good meals, but then money was tight and then it was being overworked and tired; and then, depression.

The thing is that NONE of my doctors suggested Adrenal problems, which seems amazing to me because they knew about all the stress I was going through!

Seems as if I am always having to diagnose myself. The Internet has so much research from real people experiencing real problems.
Hi there- i feel like i know just where you are coming from-
i was so anxious last year- due to having to travel- that i am certain i used up my last supply of adrenal supplies....have had awful anxiety and panic attacks and i feel that lastyears events were the final straw. In Nov things became awful with weakness, low blood sugars, can't cope with any stress, tingling and on and on- is this like you?
I so want to have my cortisol tested but too embarassed to ask my long suffering GP- i feel like he has had enough of me asking for tests for diseases i usually don't have. what are you planning to do??

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