(Chronic) fatigue due to adrenal fatigue

Are you always tired? Then there is a good chance that you suffer from adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are an important organ because, among other things, they have a major influence on the production of hormones. Due to physical or psychological stress, the adrenal glands eventually become overloaded and therefore exhausted. They can then no longer perform their tasks properly, resulting in, among other things, (extreme) fatigue. The adrenal glands are located like two caps on the kidneys and play a major role in the endocrine (hormonal) system. They produce a multitude of hormones. They are therefore responsible for, among other things, our energy production, water and salt balance, blood pressure, minerals, metabolism, heart rate, liver function, the immune system, blood sugar levels, fat storage and how we deal with stress.

  • Functions of the adrenal glands
  • Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
  • Adrenal glands and thyroid gland
  • Addressing adrenal fatigue
  • Nutrition for adrenal fatigue
  • Supplements for adrenal fatigue

Functions of the adrenal glands

The main functions of the adrenal glands are:

  • production of cortisol, which protects against stress. Cortisol is mainly regulated by the brain and is responsible for many life-sustaining functions. It interacts with the building up insulin. Furthermore, it regulates blood pressure, sodium, potassium and fluid levels, normalizes blood sugar and acts on the brain of the central nervous system
  • proper functioning of the immune system
  • DHEA, Pregnenolone and DHEA-S. Low levels of DHEA make you tired
  • Estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and (nor)adrenaline. With a decrease in testosterone, loss of libido
  • Aldosterone, for the right amount of water, sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride in the blood


The adrenal glands first increase their production of cortisol in response to a stress response or, for example, an operation virus or busy time in your life. Cortisol raises blood sugars and often blood pressure. The longer the stress lasts, the adrenal gland becomes more exhausted and therefore produces less cortisol. This makes you tired and causes all kinds of other vague complaints. You can suddenly suffer from food intolerances, insulin resistance and you are much more sensitive to stress. Low levels of cortisol can cause adrenal fatigue. Low DHEA levels make you feel tired.

Estrogen and testosterone are made in the adrenal glands, in the fallopian tubes in women and in the testis in men. It is advisable to also have these hormones tested.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

A distinction can be made, among others:

  • fatigue due to an underactive thyroid gland
  • hypersensitive to light and heat – do not avoid sunlight, build up exposure slowly –
  • nervous behavior, quickly experiencing stress, palpitations and moodiness
  • blood sugar level is not stable, hypoglycemia, abnormal blood pressure
  • reduced memory, ultimately high cortisol and low insulin levels
  • epilepsy, poor digestion of proteins due to less bile and stomach acid
  • depression and often short-term infections, vaginal dryness
  • allergies or intolerances
  • muscle complaints, poor sleep and lying awake
  • dizziness especially when getting up from a lying position
  • often feel cold

As adrenal gland exhaustion progresses, blood glucose levels will continue to fall. The body responds to hypoglycemia by craving anything that raises blood sugar levels, i.e. sugars. Due to exhausted adrenal glands, aldosterone production decreases, which causes salt wasting. So you get more cravings for savory things to replenish salt in the body.

Adrenal glands and thyroid gland

If your adrenal glands are under too much pressure for too long, the body will slow down its metabolism, including the thyroid gland , to protect the adrenal glands. Once there is adrenal fatigue, you may have an overactive thyroid gland because it is now trying to get the metabolism going again. Many people, especially women, take medication for an underactive thyroid, while the cause of all problems lies with the adrenal glands! Thyroid complaints and adrenal fatigue can easily go together, with the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland ultimately being regulated by the hypothalamus. The fatigue can be explained by both adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems. It is often important to first detoxify the liver and adrenal glands and then see whether the thyroid gland is still necessary.

Addressing adrenal fatigue

Recovering your adrenal glands requires a combination of things. Adjusting your lifestyle is very important. How you use your energy and how you conserve energy is also very important. Also try to find out which things or people cost you energy and try to avoid these situations. Be sure to go to bed on time to get a good rest. The adrenal glands can also rest this way, which gives your cortisol levels a chance to rise again. Unfortunately, both low and high levels of cortisol can cause you to have sleep problems. To sleep better, you can do relaxation exercises (such as yoga). Also avoid coffee, chocolate and other caffeinated substances because they have a stimulating effect. Taking a bath in the evening or a foot bath with magnesium oil can also help you sleep better. Magnesium (oil) has a relaxing effect. There are also numerous nutritional supplements that can help you sleep better, such as melatonin. Or a herbal tea that helps you sleep better. Gentle exercise is also very good for the adrenal glands. However, the movement should not be grueling or debilitating. Then move at your own pace and if you get tired, rest for a while. If you are too tired after the exercises, do less the next day.

Nutrition for adrenal fatigue

Combine proteins, fats and carbohydrates with every meal. Try to reduce carbohydrates, so don’t eat too much bread and pasta. After all, these products contain a lot of sugar and disrupt your blood sugar level. Nowadays there is also bread without gluten/carbohydrates for sale, or you can make it yourself. Also make sure that you get enough essential fatty acids. Eat the highest quality food possible. Try not to eat (too many) ready-made products, but, for example, make your own soup with healthy ingredients. So avoid junk food and fried food. And also take the time to eat and chew well.

Supplements for adrenal fatigue

There are also some supplements that can help the adrenal glands recover.
Among other things, very important are:

  • vitamins C and E, both of which are also blood thinners
  • B vitamins: lower amounts are required with natural vitamins
  • Rhodiola
  • Magnesium and calcium
  • Adrenal cortex extracts

Vitamin C supports the adrenal glands and also stimulates the immune system. If you know in advance that you will stay up later, or that you will experience more stress, take more vitamin C! You can find out for yourself how much vitamin C your body can handle. Vitamin C is usually synthesized from corn syrup, cane or beet sugar. If you are hypersensitive to corn, take vitamin C based on sago palm or beets. Take a dose of, for example, 500 mg vitamin C every half hour or hour, until your stool becomes softer or you experience diarrhea. Then the next day, reduce your vitamin C dosage slightly. Some people can only tolerate 3 grams of vitamin C, while other people may be able to take as much as 25 grams per day without experiencing any problems. Signs of vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums and easy bruising. Vitamin E ensures that free radicals in the adrenal glands and other places in the body disappear. The B vitamins are important for energy production. The different B vitamins all work together and reinforce each other. B vitamins are also considered an anti-stress remedy. Very good for people with adrenal fatigue.

Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that can reduce stress. As a result, it can support the adrenal glands.
Magnesium and calcium work together to tighten and then relax the body. Magnesium works together with vitamin C and also with vitamins B5 and B6 to repair the adrenal glands. The most important supplements for adrenal fatigue are the adrenal cortex extracts , made from the adrenal glands of cattle. These support, strengthen and repair the adrenal glands. This allows a faster recovery of the adrenal glands. Some people experience heart palpitations when they take this supplement. This is because cortisol is also influenced by the adrenal gland extracts. For these people it is wiser to take an adrenal gland supplement that only acts on the cortex of the adrenal glands. How much of this supplement you should take depends very much on the person. Always start carefully with one capsule per day and listen carefully to your body. Some people take up to twelve capsules per day, but that is not always necessary.

Your body will often need a longer time to recover. Keep in mind that adrenal fatigue does not just occur in a few months and therefore needs more time to heal. There will probably also be periods of relapse, but don’t let that discourage you!

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