Tag Archives: natural remedies for adrenal fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue, Cortisol, and That Overwhelmed Feeling.

While everyone knows about adrenaline and the ‘fight or flight’ response, not so many know much about the hormone cortisol, the other stress hormone, and how it contributes to Adrenal Fatigue. Both adrenaline and cortisol are produced in the adrenal glands but each performs a very different role.


Adrenalin is the hormone released when the body is in danger, It promotes quick reaction, throwing you into the best response to get you out of the dangerous situation. It is meant to be released, used quickly and then switched off.

Cortisol also plays a part in the stress response. It is essential for maintaining homeostasis in your body and actually regulates many of the changes in your body that are related to stress. It is released in high levels during periods of stress alongside adrenaline. As with adrenaline it is vital that the cortisol response then shuts off so levels can return to normal.

It is only when stress is ongoing and cortisol continues to be released into the body for prolonged periods that it becomes problematic. Under constant stress cortisol release never gets turned off and this has a negative effect on many body functions.



Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle which is relentlessly stressful produces the perfect platform for the Stress Scenario.

Stress itself can be very addictive. It’s not uncommon for people to even be proud of the fact that they can juggle a high-power job, family and relationship on caffeine, nicotine and very little sleep. Often we actually applaud people who are able to do it all, and pull off the seemingly impossible.

But stress burns you out, it comes at a cost. And that cost is chronic illness. – diabetes, cancer, a whole gamut of autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or a host of others

When someone lives their life in a constant state of prolonged stress where stress hormones are continually released into the bloodstream, never getting switched off, further symptoms continue to develop until eventually the Adrenal glands themselves are affected.

Your adrenal glands simply can’t keep up with the amount of stress. They become overworked and can no longer match hormone production with demand. The production of cortisol plummets and that’s when Adrenal Fatigue kicks in. The Adrenal glands are no longer able to produce sufficient cortisol to release that extra boost of cortisol when an emergency situation arises.

stressed6 overwhelm18876841_s



Adrenal Fatigue is the umbrella term for the group of symptoms caused by this deficiency.

The primary symptom of Adrenal Fatigue is fatigue that is not improved by sleep. Those who suffer with this syndrome wake feeling exhausted, drag their feet with tiredness all day, only to find they get a second wind and wake up right at the time they should be going to sleep at night.

You can read more about Adrenal Fatigue at “Are You Suffering From 21st Century Syndrome?”



It’s really important to understand that stress does not just refer to a state of anxiety. Living with a feeling of overwhelm, insufficient or poor quality sleep, eating a poor diet, worrying (about anything), unhappiness, or living with pain, are all situations that create a state of stress within the cells of your body, without you ever feeling anxious at all.

Stressful experiences like the death of a loved one or a divorce, undergoing surgery, financial hardship or job stress, bullying, even negative thinking can create adrenal fatigue just as easily as poor diet, lack of exercise or pollution and environmental toxins.

Many, many people spend their entire life in this state, and so live with raised levels of cortisol in their body all the time.



The effects of a cortisol imbalance fall into two groups.

The first group of symptoms occurs when circulating cortisol levels are too high and happens during prolonged stress. The second group of symptoms occurs later, once the Adrenal glands are no longer able to produce enough cortisol and circulating levels have dropped significantly, as happens with Adrenal Fatigue.

The negative effects of higher levels of circulating cortisol:

Suppressed or weakened immune system
Raised blood pressure
Increased blood sugar levels
Impaired cognitive performance
Disrupted sleep
Hardening of the arteries
Increased fat storage, especially around the abdomen which is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels,
Lower growth hormone and testerone production
Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugars) and other blood sugar imbalances
Lowered thyroid function
Decreased bone density and osteoporosis
Muscle loss
Inhibited protein synthesis
Loss of collagen in the skin and inhibition of the formation of more

Long periods of raised cortisol levels can also damage the brain and memory, reducing the ability to learn.

The negative effects of lower levels of circulating cortisol:

Low energy
Brain fog, fuzzy-headedness
Mild depression
Blood sugar imbalances, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars)
Fatigue, especially in the morning
Disrupted sleep
Low blood pressure
Lowered immune function
Cravings for salty or sweet foods
Difficulty recovering from illness or stress
A feeling of being run down or unable to cope
Feeling awake and alert in the evening in spite of being tired all day
Body aches
Decreased libido
Increased allergies
Hair loss

Overworked Life Plan
Overworked Life Plan



Natural Health modalities can help speed up your journey back from Adrenal Fatigue, which can otherwise be slow. But if you are also deficient in simple vitamins and minerals you lack the basic building blocks your body requires to build your health. Consulting a Natural Health practitioner will provide you with the advice and treatment you need, and replacing some of the deficiencies will also help.

These are just some of the vitamins and minerals that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers tend to lack, although not every person will need all these. Your Natural Health Practitioner can guide you best.

B Vitamins

B5 contributes to cellular respiration and the breakdown of nutrients. Start with 100mg a day.
B6 helps create adrenal hormones. Take 50 mg a day to begin.
B12 helps with energy production, cell repair and red blood cell maintenance. Start with 100mcg a day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant directly involved with the production of cortisol, and in addition offers many other benefits to your immune system and more. Start with 100mg of buffered Vitamin C a day and increase this gradually.


When Adrenal Fatigue affects the digestion, which it frequently does, probiotics play an important role as they contribute towards a better uptake of nutrients to assist the body on its healing journey.


As most of the population is thought to be deficient in magnesium supplementing is a great benefit. As well as causing depression and sleep problems deficiency can also lead to muscle cramps and stiffness. Start with 400mg a day.

There are a number of other supplements that I often like to include in the treatment of Adrenal Fatigue such as CoQ10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Spirulina (although it is not strictly a supplement) and the herb Tulsi (Holy Basil).




In my clinic Homeopathic remedies and Herbal Essences help with recovery from Adrenal Fatigue. Both these forms of Natural Medicine are effective on their own without the use of additional supplements. Best sustained results occur when Homeopathic medicines are individually prescribed according to Homeopathic prescribing guidelines, by a qualified practitioner.



Lifestyle changes that help reduce the impact of Adrenal Fatigue are helpful.  After strenuous exercise you often get an initial burst of energy but then crash with adrenal fatigue.  Walking, yoga, meditation, tai chai, and qi gong are all gentle forms of exercise that won’t result in you crashing.

Controlled breathing exercises and techniques are excellent and can be done through the day wherever you happen to be.

Modifying your sleep preparation rituals can help reduce insomnia and the impact caused by adrenal fatigue, to improve your sleep.




Help support your recovery by reducing sugars, caffeine, and alcohol at the very least.

If you must drink coffee or cola do it in the morning and then steer clear of it through the day as it interferes with sleep and adrenal recovery.

Watch for hidden sugars and replace sugar with stevia where you can

Alcohol contains sugar and creates a boost and crash scenario, interfering with the sleep cycle and causing insomnia later in the night.

Hydrogenated oils lead to adrenal inflammation, Use good fats like coconut oil instead.

Processed foods or microwave foods contain many difficult to digest preservatives and fillers.


Have you experienced Adrenal Fatigue? Leave a reply below.

For more information and advice about how best to treat your symptoms contact your Natural Medicine Practitioner.




All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.


Source Articles



Are You Suffering From 21st Century Syndrome?

With Adrenal Fatigue you can feel tired even after a good sleep and not really feel awake until 10am
With Adrenal Fatigue you can feel tired even after a good sleep and not really feel awake until 10am

Adrenal Fatigue? “What’s that” I hear you ask.

Adrenal fatigue, sometimes called the ‘21st Century Stress Syndrome’ occurs when your adrenal glands cannot meet the hormone demands of your life and is a problem that is becoming more frequently recognized.

If you are living a high-stress lifestyle, eating lots of chemical laden foods, need to drink lots of coffee or cola to keep you going, and getting way too little sleep than the chances are that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.

Unfortunately for us, our lifestyle has changed but our bodies haven’t – they still operate as if they are living in the stone age. We can no longer live a simple, relaxed lifestyle and instead we all live a life under constant stress. (Anyone who is able to live a relaxed life these days is not going to be reading this on a computer!) Sometimes, we become so used to the full-on lifestyle that we stop even realizing that it is actually pretty stressful. Sometimes we don’t even realize that so many different components from worry, anxiety or grief, to the air we breathe, the toxic homes we live in, the foods we eat, or the exercise routine we do, are all mounting up stress on our body each and every minute of each and every day.

Our adrenal glands are responsible for the production of a host of hormones including adrenalin (epinephrine), DHEA, progesterone and testosterone, and cortisol. Adrenals play an important role in the stress response as they release adrenaline and cortisol which initiate the ‘fight or flight’ response and help us deal with acute stress.

Cortisol is the hormone particularly important for keeping our bodies balanced and it plays a big part in regulating the immune system, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It is also very important in helping us deal with stress. When the levels of cortisol rise too high the immune system becomes weak and susceptible to cancer and infection; if the levels are too low it becomes overactive and then autoimmune disease develops.

When an acute stress is ongoing the adrenals become overworked and unable to match the demand for continued hormone production. When they just can’t take any more they fail and you get what was called a ‘nervous breakdown’ in the past but we now call Adrenal Fatigue.

Our problem is that in an ever-stressed fast-paced life our bodies are pumping out cortisol all the time. When we maintain that lifestyle, with long work hours, sleep deprivation, poor diet, smoking, high intake of caffeine, low relaxation, lots of allergies, we overload our adrenal glands until they can’t take any more. Then the next stress simply becomes the straw to break the camel’s back and we fall apart.


  • Generally tired but wired: You feel really tired until about mid-morning, then again in the middle of the afternoon when you feel like a snooze. Tired again in the evening until about 11pm when you get a ‘second wind’ and then are wide awake until late
  • You perspire a lot even with little activity
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Low blood sugar
  • General lack of energy and muscle weakness
  • Cravings for foods high in salt, sweets and carbs, fats
  • Difficulty handling alcohol; difficulty with potassium rich or high carb foods unless combined with fats and protein
  • Low blood pressure, lightheadedness on standing up, dizziness or heart palpitations
  • Low libido
  • Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Chronic infections
  • Increased allergies
  • Mild depression, lots of sighing
  • Startle easily
  • Less ability to handle stress
  • Low back pain, knee pain and weakness
  • Dry unhealthy skin


  • Blood sugar balance and diabetes – cortisol causes elevated blood sugar levels and leads to insulin resistance
  • Weight gain and obesity – cortisol mobilizes triglycerides into fat cells and changes appetite with a craving for high kilojoule foods
  • Immune system suppression – a higher susceptibility to all diseases
  • Gastrointestinal problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, ulcers, indigestion
  • Cardiovascular disease from blood vessel damage
  • Fertility problems – erectile dysfunction and disrupted ovulation and menstrual cycles

Even though adrenal fatigue is very common in these days of stressful living many doctors don’t pick it up easily. It is one of those things that is often just not diagnosed because doctors are only taught to recognize excess, not inadequate levels of cortisol in their training.

Eating a nice clean diet of largely organic whole foods, with an emphasis on lots of vegetables is just one way you can start to turn around adrenal stress
Eating a nice clean diet of largely organic whole foods, with an emphasis on lots of vegetables is just one way you can start to turn around adrenal stress


If you really want to turn around Adrenal Fatigue then you really do have to reduce the stressors in your life, and first up you need to recognize and acknowledge what the stressors actually are. This might mean changing your job or aspects of it, organizing some child care, changing your diet, your activity, your sleep behaviour, recreation, or the people you mix with. It is also vital to address the associated emotional or psychological issues. Sometimes changing your outlook can make a big difference.

But even introducing certain stress reducing measures would help. You could try these:

  • Minimize stress – this almost goes without saying
  • Laugh more – even join a laughing club if you need to
  • Eat a nice clean diet of largely organic whole foods, with an emphasis on lots of vegetables. Include nuts, seeds legumes and whole grains. Eat regular meals. Chew your food well.
  • Avoid junk foods and sugar
  • Get rid of coffee and cola. If you need some caffeine drink green tea. If you can’t remove coffee totally have one quality coffee on the weekend. Peppermint, dandelion or rooibosteas are all good choices. Tulsi Tea (Holy Basil) is awesome for adrenal fatigue because it helps bring cortisol levels back to normal.
  • Do something fun every day
  • Get negative people out of your life
  • Get some exercise – Yoga, Qi Gong or T’ai Chi are all great de-stressors
  • Meditation and relaxation exercises
  • Get good sleep – seven to eight hours a night, get to bed before midnight as that’s when your body heals itself the most, take a rest (lying down) during work breaks

Take supplements

  • 3,000-5,000 mg Vitamin C each day, Vitamin B complex high in B6 and pantothenic acid, Vitamin E
  • Calcium and magnesium
  • Licorice root extract

Homeopathy, Flower Essences and EFT are all very effective at relieving stress and healing some of the emotional issues. Homeopathy can also redress the hormone imbalances in your body.

With adrenal fatigue having such a huge impact on many of our body functions as well as our quality of life it is worth finding out if you have adrenal fatigue so you can begin to redress it. Contact your Natural Therapy practitioner for more information.

But don’t expect a quick fix as it can take anywhere from 6 months to up to two years to reverse adrenal fatigue.

It can take anywhere from 6 months to up to two years to get back your zing after adrenal fatigue
It can take anywhere from 6 months to up to two years to get back your zing after adrenal fatigue


All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 


Source articles: