Are you concerned that you may have adrenal fatigue? We offer complete laboratory testing to identify and diagnose adrenal fatigue and other stress syndromes. Our treatment options are designed to correct any chemical, hormonal, and neurotransmitter imbalances, restore proper function, and promote better overall health.
Because of the overlap among the terms adrenal fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, and adrenal burnout, we will use them interchangeably in this section.
Please be aware that there is no substitute for salivary cortisol/DHEA and urinary neurotransmitter testing to determine how your adrenals are functioning and to guide treatment recommendations. That said, you may for many quite appropriate reasons opt to forge ahead with treatment of your tired adrenal glands without getting tested. As such, we have added this new content – The Four Faces of Adrenal Burnout – to help you identify the state of your adrenals and to get started replenishing them immediately.
Also, and for the first time, we have in this section bundled together several of our most popular adrenal and neurotransmitter support supplements. Each bundle corresponds to a specific stage of adrenal fatigue as detailed below. We hope this makes it easier for you to figure out exactly which supplements are most likely to address your individual stage of adrenal output. Otherwise you and we are just guessing.
This next graphic serves to summarize the Four Faces (Stages) of Adrenal Burnout along with clickable pictures linking to each corresponding product bundle. That is followed by a detailed description of each of the four stages and bundles. Beyond that we have still included our very popular background information on adrenal fatigue for your reference.
But enough already.
We now present our original opus magpie: The Four Faces of Adrenal Burnout.
The Four Faces of Adrenal Burnout
Stress is not what happens to us. Rather, stress comprises our conscious and unconscious responses to external or internal stimuli (stressors).
This brilliant set of ancient and automatic responses has been fine-tuned over millions of years to ensure the survival of the species.
But if your fight/flight mechanism does not return to baseline, and remains chronically activated, you are setting yourself up for burnout and other stress-related disorders.
Stress, and your capacity to cope with it, is the most important influence on your overall health and pursuit of happiness. Stress exerts powerful effects on normal, and as it turns out, pathological, physiology of nearly every organ in your body.
A key point to emphasize here is that not all stress syndromes are the same. That said, stress syndromes have one thing in common: they start with the adrenal glands. For a more thorough review of adrenal glands and stress please [link] see our webpage.
These adrenal/stress syndromes can be divided into four distinct but overlapping categories. Each of these stages is associated with specific symptoms and measurable biochemical imbalances.
Moreover, each of these stress syndromes requires its own treatment approach.
The graphic below summarizes these overlapping but biochemically and clinically distinct stages of adrenal burnout:
Below each stage is a clickable link to a hand-picked bundle of adrenal supplements appropriate to that stage. This is the closest we can get to customizing your treatment without you obtaining a personal consultation with us.
This approach is most appropriate under the following circumstances: if
Please remember that you can consult with us before, during, or after you start nourishing and rebuilding your adrenals (and thereby your health).
Even if you have already decided which adrenal-related bundle of products you need, please read the following sections for more details.
#1 - “Wired for Sound” or SuperNova Diva
The first stage is where you are “Wired for Sound.” You are in action mode because all of your stress chemicals are cranked. If you are in this category, you are a high flier, a racehorse, a shooting star. Your body and mind are constantly on the go. You’re going full throttle, putting everything into every moment of every day. You're accomplishing so much, but at the expense of borrowing from tomorrow, next week, and next month.
You are carrying so much responsibility. You do a great job without whimpering for years. You’re high-wired and operating at full tilt. You feel pretty good most days, particularly if you act in ways that are socially acceptable and productive.
This approach can work for a time.
But remember, the shooting star shines brightest just before it burns out.
The problem is that this high adrenal output is designed to last approximately 15 minutes NOT 15 months or 15 years. For further details on your stress-response system, please see Dr. Dave’s article “An Epidemic of Stress.”
When you stay so stressed for so long your adrenal glands become overtaxed. If you continue to crank your cortisol levels you run the risk of experiencing increasing damage to your adrenal glands unless your stress goes away (ha ha, good one) or unless you - ASAP (i.e. today) - begin to safely and gently support your adrenals with nutrition, sleep, stress management, and strategic use of vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and herbal supplements.
If you do not, you are likely to go on to develop a condition known as adrenal burnout (also called adrenal fatigue) which in turn can trigger an escalating cascade of modern diseases including fatigue, obesity, diabetes, depression, and leaky gut.
Our “Wired for Sound” Bundle
You’re under a great deal of stress. But you’re holding your own, taking care of business. In fact, you’re looking good and feeling fine. That’s because your stress hormones (cortisol and DHEA) and neurotransmitters (adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine) are soaring.
But unless your stress soon goes away – and when does it ever? – you cannot continue to run full throttle forever. The longer you stay stressed, the faster you burn through your stress hormones and neurotransmitters. And unless you enjoy a near perfect health-related life style – and who does? – your adrenals will soon start to falter.
That’s why we created the “Wired for Sound” adrenal support bundle of products. These supplements were hand-picked to keep you functioning at your best even during times of sustained stress.
More specifically, they provide the requisite vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and botanicals to ensure you replenish your stress hormones and neurotransmitters as fast as you are using them up. Moreover, this bundle will help “right-size” your immune response to your stressful life and ensure you get enough high quality sleep.
Perhaps most importantly, however, our “Wired for Sound” adrenal bundle will help prevent your chronic intense stress from leading to the ravages of adrenal burnout.
Don’t Burnout. Support Your Adrenals Now.
#2: “Wired and Tired”
Unfortunately, if you are like most of us, you have taken your ample adrenal output for granted. And because you have not been regularly providing your body with the proper nutrients to continually replenish your adrenals, you have absolutely no reserves.
At a physiological level, your over-active alarm system has been pumping out more and more cortisol until your bodily organs and tissues have become immune or resistant to ever-increasing levels of this all important stress hormone. This “cortisol resistance” is similar to the Insulin Resistance seen in Type 2 Diabetes.
When you’re under stress for a long time, cortisol, your main stress hormone, remaines elevated. Your cortisol receptors become less sensitive, and require more and more cortisol to keep you going, until your overworked and underpaid adrenals can no longer keep up with demand.
That’s when you experience adrenal fatigue and exhaustion.
This remarkably common progression is not at first intuitive. It is caused by the strain on your adrenals from a prolonged intense demand for cortisol. Because your adrenals cranked out high levels of cortisol for so many months or even years, they have started to wear out and will in time partially or totally burn out.
Prolonged Stress and Increased Demand For Cortisol Leads to Adrenal Burnout
As your adrenal glands start to fail, you may find that some of your old symptoms will go away, others will worsen, and new ones will emerge.
As an aside, it is important to note that your adrenal glands – which consist of three main layers – do not fail all at once. In some people, the cortex (that section of your adrenals that manufacture cortisol, aldosterone, and certain sex hormones) fails first; in others, the medulla (that section of the adrenals that makes adrenaline and norepinephrine) collapses first.
This state of mixed adrenal output – high cortisol with low neurotransmitters or low cortisol with high neurotransmitters – can look the same superficially but require different treatments.
Because these two mixed states share so many symptoms – particularly the combination of fatigue with anxiousness bordering on agitation – it is particularly important for you if experiencing this tandem to have your cortisol and neurotransmitters tested.
Are there symptoms unique to these two very similar mixed states of adrenal burnout? In my clinical experience the answer is yes: allergic and infected versus inflamed and in pain.
“Wired and Tired” – Allergic and Infected
If you fall into a "Wired and Tired" profile and suffer with recurrent infections and frequent allergies, then you are more likely to be in a high cortisol low neurotransmitter state. In that case our bundle of adrenal support products below is your best choice.
Our "Wired and Tired" - Allertic and Infected Bundle
The “Wired and Tired” – Allergic and Infected profile is associated with fatigue, anxiousness, tension, insomnia and increased frequency of infections and allergies. During this stage, your cortisol is elevated while your adrenaline and norepinephrine are low. This bundle focuses on lowering cortisol, restoring sleep, supporting neurotransmitter tone, improving your mood and general outlook, and bolstering your immune activity.
“Wired and Tired” – Inflamed and In Pain
If on the other hand you have the hallmark mixed adrenal state duo of fatigue and anxiousness with inflammation and pain, then your adrenal needs would be better served with our “Wired and Tired” – Inflamed and in pain bundle below.
Our "Wired and Tired" - Inflamed and in Pain Bundle
The “Wired and Tired” – Inflamed and in Pain profile implies that your adrenal cortex (that part of your adrenal gland that makes cortisol and DHEA) is failing earlier and faster than your adrenal medulla (where adrenalin and norepinephrine are made). As such, your cortisol is low and your adrenaline and norepinephrine are still cranked. This is the most common mixed adrenal state we see in our clinics. As the name suggests, this state is most prominently associated with fatigue, anxiousness and tension, multiple physical aches and pains, and evidence of other illnesses of inflammation. This bundle, as you would expect, among other things, aggressively supports your adrenal cortex, right-sizes your overactive immune response, decreases pain, and soothes your frazzled ‘nerves.’
#3 – “Just Plain Tired”
As your stressful life continues to bombard your adrenal glands, they falter faster and you finally collapse into exhaustion. Your cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine are all low. In addition, even your dopamine – associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation – has plummeted. You may find you develop a few new symptoms, while other may improve, while still others may seem to go away all together. Even though these could provide clues as to the true nature of your problems, many if not most doctors will miss them because few have been educated about these tell-tale signs of adrenal burnout.
You have trouble dragging yourself out of bed and once up want to go right back to the sack. You might experience “leaden paralysis” where your limbs feel so heavy that simple movement becomes overwhelming. When you force yourself to be active the pain both during and after any exertion makes you wonder if the effort is really worth it. You avoid others, are increasingly sensitive to the scrutiny and rejection of others, and run a very serious risk of feeling and looking depressed.
Our "Just Plain Tired" Bundle
The goal of treatment in this end stage of adrenal burnout is to start low and go slow. This bundle combines key adrenal vitamins, minerals, herbal adaptogens as well as amino acid building blocks to manufacture your depleted neurotransmitters. In addition, this bundle powerfully addresses your ongoing state of heightened inflammation and pain. Moreover, this bundle adds aggressive support for one additional neurotransmitter: dopamine.
Order a laboratory test today and browse our adrenal fatigue treatment options to determine what stage of adrenal health you are in, whether you already have adrenal fatigue and what you should do today to support or restore optimal adrenal function. Find out more about our specific laboratory tests and individual (unbundled) adrenal fatigue supplements below.
The History and the Future of this Condition: Further Background
Adrenal Fatigue is a condition that was first described in medical texts in the 1800's. However, over most of the last one hundred years, doctors argued as to whether it was a legitimate medical condition or not. The main stumbling block to the recognition of Adrenal Fatigue as a scientifically valid medical condition was that science had yet to determine a way to test for its existence.
The medical science community has set a baseline for the determination as to whether a condition exists or not. Doctors need to know what is normal and what is abnormal in the human body, before the conventional medical community will recognize a condition as a real medical condition. Just as Hyperglycemia can be diagnosed when blood sugar levels are too high, and Hypoglycemia can be diagnosed when blood sugar levels are too low, doctors need to be able to do laboratory tests to make measurements, in order to make a diagnosis.
This is one of the main challenges that the alternative medicine community faces. In order to get official recognition for a treatment from the conventional medical community, scientists must show empirically, what is normal and abnormal in the human body, to trigger a condition. Alternative medicine providers typically recognize a condition, well before the mainstream medical community is willing to accept it as fact, because mainstream medicine is waiting on proof of concept before it is willing to embrace a diagnosis or treatment.
Where Adrenal Fatigue is concerned, a laboratory test has recently been developed to make a proper diagnosis of this condition, although your doctor may not yet be aware of this fact.
To diagnose adrenal fatigue and correct the symptoms associated with the condition, order a laboratory test or browse our adrenal fatigue treatment options below.
Understanding the Adrenal Gland and How it Functions
The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit atop the kidneys. Each adrenal gland has two compartments. The inner compartment, or medulla, affects the sympathetic nervous system and is responsible for producing two hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine. They play a role in helping to cope with physical and emotional stress and are responsible for the fight or flight response. The outer compartment, or adrenal cortex, is responsible for producing more than 50 different hormones in three major classes - glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and androgens. The most important glucocorticoid hormone is cortisol. When cortisol output is too low, then the body is unable to appropriately deal with stress.
The adrenal cortex produces all sex hormones, with the exception of DHEA, which is a weak androgenic hormone that both males and females receive in large doses. DHEA is important to the production of cortisol, in that DHEA, in conjunction with testosterone and estrogen, is made from pregnenolone, a substance derived from cholesterol. Prolonged deficiencies in pregnenolone will reduce glucocorticoids such as cortisol and mineralocorticoids like aldosterone.
The most important anti-stress hormone in the body is cortisol. When the adrenal gland is working correctly and producing the proper amount of cortisol, then the body will be able to handle stress appropriately. Cortisol works to normalize blood sugar and to suppress the immune system to keep white blood cells from attacking healthy cells. Cortisol also serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and vasoconstrictor - helping to normalize blood pressure.
In summary, cortisol is the primary regulator of the body's defenses. It controls the start of the defense response, and it prevents the body's defenses from overreacting to a perceived threat.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. It is best to have your hormone levels evaluated with a laboratory test to identify whether you have this condition and to begin proper adrenal fatigue treatment.
Order one of our adrenal fatigue treatment tests or our adrenal fatigue supplements today to promote better health and restore optimal adrenal gland function. See the list of products below to determine which option is right for you.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
None of these given symptoms can definitively prove Adrenal Fatigue, and should only be considered when all other organic pathologies have been ruled out.
One of the most commonly overlooked causes of Adrenal Fatigue is a chronic or severe infection that gives rise to an inflammatory response. Frequently, these infections can reside within the body with no obvious signs. The most common type of infections that can cause adrenal fatigue include parasitic and bacterial infections, including Giardia and H. pylori.
Adrenal Fatigue is the result of acute, severe, or chronic excessive stress that a person's body is unable to properly combat. The ability of the human body to handle physical and emotional stress is essential to human survival, and we have been given a full set of tools to combat stress in the adrenal glands. But when the adrenal glands are not operating efficiently or correctly, the body will begin to handle stress less effectively and symptoms will begin to make their presence known.
Common causes of adrenal fatigue include:
Laboratory Testing For Adrenal Fatigue
In adrenal fatigue testing, clinicians seek the markers cortisol and DHEA. Tests can be performed using a blood test or a saliva test, but the saliva test is preferential because it measures the amount of free and circulating hormones instead of the binded hormones commonly measured in blood tests.
DHEA can be measured anytime during the day. Cortisol is higher in the morning and lower in the evening before bed, so the adrenal fatigue test should be given in the morning.
As previously mentioned, testing should also be done to rule out sub-clinical infections as the cause for adrenal fatigue. So, as a companion to the cortisol and DHEA measure, the lab should couple a specialized test measuring the immunoglobulin response to the process, searching for bacteria and parasites in the culture.
Proper Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue
First and foremost, an individual diagnosed with adrenal fatigue should take steps to reduce stress in their lives. That is the best way to cure adrenal fatigue. Getting a good night sleep is also important to recovery, since the adrenal glands do their best repair work between 10pm and 1am. One should avoid caffeine altogether and stay away from computers and televisions after 8pm.
As with most every health situation, exercise is always a good recipe for a healthy outlook. Exercise reduces stress and depression, increases blood flow and oxygenation, helps normalize levels of cortisol, insulin, blood glucose, growth hormones and thyroid hormones, and helps you feel better overall. You don't need to go to the gym everyday to get good exercise - even a brisk walk or climbing stairs can provide it. You should set aside 20-30 minutes per day for exercise, and that exercise can be broken down into ten-minute blocks.
Adrenal fatigue supplements are the final piece to the treatment puzzle to optimize adrenal gland function. The basic recommendations for adrenal fatigue suggest 15 to 30 mg of DHEA, 25 to 50 mg of pregnenolone, 25 to 50 mg of low-dose natural cortisone (Isocort), and 20 mg of natural progesterone. Alternatively, one could consume a cortisol-enhancing herb such as licorice root extract.
The use of adrenal fatigue supplements and herbs for adrenal fatigue should be individualized, based on each individual's history, adrenal stress test results, adrenal background, and body metabolic system. Keep in mind that one person's nutrient may be another person's toxin. As always, it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare practitioner to help you find the proper balance of vitamins and minerals. Your practitioner will be able to help you to find that balance.
If you think that you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue or simply want to have your adrenal function checked, order an at-home laboratory test kit.
Our kits are safe, convenient, and comprehensive. Once you receive your kit, all that you will need to do is collect a sample, send it to the laboratory, and your results will be delivered to you promptly. Testing also includes a 15-minute phone consultation with a nurse practitioner to discuss your results and adrenal fatigue treatment options.
We also offer several supplements that will help to improve adrenal function and your overall health!