What Is The Outlook
Most people with adrenal fatigue will recover quite quickly but severe symptoms may take some months to recover, or even longer. The time for recovery will vary enormously from person to person and will also depend on the cause of stress and the severity of symptoms. Following a good treatment plan, as described above, will help you to recover more quickly.
Further reading and references
Cadegiani FA, Kater CE; Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review. BMC Endocr Disord. 2016 Aug 2416:48. doi: 10.1186/s12902-016-0128-4.
Ross IL, Jones J, Blockman M; We are tired of ‘adrenal fatigue’. S Afr Med J. 2018 Aug 28108:724-725. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i9.13292.
- Next Review 27 November 2023
- Document ID 29210
Spin Class As A Metaphor For Adrenal Fatigue
Spin class is a great example of what is happening in your body. A party atmosphere full of high-intensity, high-speed and high cortisol pushing yourself to complete exhaustion. Ironically, people who are already spun out are attracted to spin class. Unfortunately, the adrenal party ends with a long hangover.
There is a mentality in our society to push ourselves past limitations for both the mind and body. It starts early in life that the busier you are and harder you push yourself, the more successful you must be. The message with physical training is that more is better and to push past the pain. There is always a way to be stronger, look better and reach new heights. The body is resilient, and for a while, it will keep up with the demand. However, if you dont find time to properly rest, your body will make you rest for much longer.
Problems Caused By The Prolonged Stress Response
With a normal, short-term stress response, your body slows the thyroid to conserve resources to deal with the stress via the adrenals. When the stress is over, the body shifts out of the stress response, the adrenals slow down, and the stress hormones diminish.
But what if the stress response never shuts off? What if you are under chronic, perpetual stress over an extended period of time?
If this happens, the key surface problem becomes: Your thyroid is chronically slowed down, which leads you to develop symptoms of hypothyroidism that become problematic enough that you go to the doctor and/or Google your symptoms.
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A Combination Of Factors Determined My Likelihood Of Developing Hashimotos:
This is true: Type A people will ultimately burn out, and experience some degree of Adrenal Fatigue.
And, when your adrenals are constantly stressed, this can set off an autoimmune, inflammatory response in your entire body, eventually prompting an autoimmune crisis.
Its a vicious cycle.
So, Hashimotos may make you more susceptible to that burn out. Or burning the candle at both ends for too long might have been a trigger for your Hashimotos.
So, stress and adrenal dysfunction can trigger Hashimotos, OK?
Assess And Restore Your Iron Levels
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common causes of fatigue. Your doctor can test your iron levels with a simple iron or ferritin blood test. If you are low in iron, taking an iron supplement may help improve your fatigue .
Avoid taking iron unless you know you are deficient, as excess iron can cause other problems.
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Natural Thyroid Remedies And Adrenal Fatigue
The statistics are staggering. According to the American Thyroid Association, over 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disease, and up to 60% of them are unaware of it. Most conventional methods for addressing thyroid issues involve lifelong medications. Many people are put on thyroid medication as soon as they complain about fatigue, even if their tests come back normal or marginally showing some kind of low thyroid issue. But something to keep in mind is that thyroid medications can be a double-edged sword, and there are actually many different kinds of natural thyroid remedies that could be just as helpful.
Adrenal Fatigue And Thyroid Issues
This is important if you have thyroid issues, because taking medications right off the bat without first checking if your adrenals are a causal factor overlooks the possibility of a weakening in the adrenals. This may eventually cause more and more problems and an inability to feel better no matter what kind of medication or other natural thyroid remedies you follow.
If your thyroid is in a weak state, make sure you support your adrenal glands as well. You can do this by implementing a dietary program, practicing adrenal exercises appropriate for your current state, using select vitamins and supplements, and getting better sleep. Youll be surprised how well this can give your thyroid the gentle, nurturing support it needs. This is where to begin.
As with any natural thyroid remedies or medical health plans in general, you should talk to your doctor first. Trying to figure out how to balance adrenal and thyroid hormones alone is not a good idea. Malfunctions of one gland affects the other, and a vicious cycle may ensue.
The recommendations here are to be used with care.
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What Are The Adrenal Glands And What Do They Do
You have two small adrenal glands that lie just above each kidney. Each adrenal gland has an outer part and an inner part . Cells in the adrenal glands make various hormones. A hormone is a chemical which is made in one part of the body but passes into the bloodstream and has effects on other parts of the body.
Cells in the outer part of the adrenal glands make the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The amount of cortisol that is made is controlled by another hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone . ACTH is made in a small gland that lies just under the brain . This in turn is stimulated by another hormone which is produced by another part of the brain called the hypothalamus. ACTH passes into the bloodstream, is carried to the adrenal glands and stimulates the adrenal glands to make cortisol.
- Cortisol is a hormone that is vital for health. It has many functions which include:
- Helping to regulate blood pressure.
- Helping to regulate the immune system.
- Helping to balance the effect of insulin in regulating the blood sugar level.
- Helping the body to respond to stress.
Cells in the inner part of the adrenal glands make the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline . These have various actions throughout the body.
Are Your Adrenals Sabotaging Your Health
Medically reviewed and written by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP on March 17, 2021
Those of us with Hashimotos often blame our thyroid for the many signs and symptoms we experience.
Hair loss? Thyroid!
Weight gain? THYROID!
Fatigue? Its gotta be the THYROID!
While the thyroid plays a crucial role in these symptoms and our wellbeing, theres another link thats often underestimated: the adrenal glands. Treating hypothyroidism without treating the adrenals, is one of the biggest reasons people continue to feel exhausted despite receiving treatment with thyroid hormones.
Patients may initially report feeling more energetic after starting thyroid hormones, but this is usually followed by feeling worse and worse until they are right back to where they were before they started the thyroid medications. At this point, they will likely go back to their physicians to check blood work, and will be told that everything is normal.
The patient begins to feel crazy but thats when another layer of the complex pathology of Hashimotos becomes unraveled. Many symptoms of hypothyroidism overlap with symptoms of underactive adrenals. However, physicians dont routinely check adrenal function in those with Hashimotos.
In this article, Ill discuss:
- What are the adrenals?
- How to test your adrenal function
- The Root Cause approach to recovering from adrenal fatigue
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Connecting Adrenal Fatigue And Low Thyroid Gland Function
Even in the best of hands, many find thyroid replacement a challenging exercise that often ends with stagnant or worsening thyroid gland function and symptoms over time. When this happens, one needs to look outside the box. Various other conditions can present with symptoms very similar to low thyroid gland function or hypothyroidism. The most common of which is Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome .
Let us look at this in more detail.
A Holistic Approachto Thyroid Adrenal And Hormone Correctionto Regain Energy And Balance
Proper evaluation of the thyroid, adrenals and female/male hormones and treatment using prescription, natural hormone therapy or bioidentical hormone replacement and supplements is essential to address the root cause of the problem, restore physiologic balance, and restore normal healthy function.*Metabolic Scorecard: A method for looking at symptoms to provide guidance on whether there are adrenal, thyroid, or a mixture of problems.* Thyroid Scale: A method of evaluating thyroid lab data relating them to optimal values as well as each other. This provides a clearer picture of what is going on as opposed to the old, ‘your lab values are all normal’, answer.
* Estrogen Dominance Questionnaire: A method of looking at symptoms to determine if an estrogen / progesterone imbalance might be causing metabolic problems.
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Laboratory Tests Specific For Adrenal Fatigue
Routine serum-based laboratory tests can be useful in the setting of confirming disease, measuring disease burden, and explaining unusual findings in a particular patient. Its use in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is severely limited though due to the lack of sensitivity to detect subtle adrenal dysfunction.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is therefore difficult to evaluate with traditional blood tests; those available are designed to detect the severe, absolute deficiencies of adrenal hormones that characterizes Addison’s disease. Blood testing also is useful to detect extreme, excessive levels of adrenal hormones associated with Cushing’s disease. In other words, available blood tests measure adrenal hormones only at the extremes.
What this tells us is that a test result showing so-called normal levels of adrenal hormones does not mean that the patient is free from adrenal imbalance. As long as conventional doctors are not taught the significance of this sub-clinical state of Non-Addison’s Hypoadrenia that is characteristic of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, these blood tests lead to misguided interpretations. Patients tested for adrenal function are told the results are well within the normal range, but in reality, their adrenal glands are performing sub-optimally. Meanwhile, clear signs and symptoms continue as the body cries out for help and attention.
Hashimotos Can Trigger Recurrent Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
So, was it being Type A + stress + my Hashimotos triggers all lined up which lead to Hashimotos?
Or, was is having undiagnosed Hashimotos as one of my triggers for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome?
I will never know. But, they are cousins of the same dysfunctional family.
I am certain AFS was part of the picture of my poor health at the time of my Hashimotos diagnosis in my early 20s, even though it was not discussed with me at the time.
I have since had a pattern of concurrent thyroid and adrenal ups and downs in the 20 or so years that have followed.
My most challenging period of AFS was last year
The most severe case was last year, when an unknown adult congenital heart condition disrupted my healthy balance.
The toll my heart condition took on my body had a direct negative impact on both my thyroid and adrenals.
It was a BIG new stressor, to say the least.
My thyroid levels changed for the worse for the first time in years.
My thyroid replacement medication dosage changed for the first time in years.
Many of my Hashimotos symptoms returned.
And, with all this, Adrenal Fatigue hit hard and fast.
I was actually caught off guard with the symptoms of stage 3 AFS, because they were pretty severe.
The reality is: I am probably always heading towards AFS because of my Hashimotos. It doesnt take much to go all the way.
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Supplements To Help Thyroid Gland Function
Fortunately there are certain factors that help increase the conversion of T4 to T3. Supplementation is one. Studies have found that supplementation with selenium, potassium, iodine, iron, or zinc, shows an increase in T4 to T3 conversion. The same applies to vitamin supplementation . Supplementation, however, ought only to be considered where a deficiency is indicated by means of a test.
Other means of increasing the conversion is by following a high protein diet or increasing your fat intake.
Hormone treatments may also prove effective, e.g. growth hormone or testosterone. However, hormones should ideally only be considered where needed. This means in cases where there is a proven deficiency.
The herb ashwagandha shows great promise, according to trials. Studies indicate that not only does it have a positive effect on thyroid gland function, but may help improve memory and play a role in normalizing cortisol levels.
Melatonin may also help if the hypothalamus is indeed the problem. It not only aids with T4 to T3 conversion but also plays a role in heart function and the immune system. Too much melatonin, however, could result in a serotonin decrease, so should be taken under strict supervision by a healthcare professional.
Stress Statistics In The Us
In the U.S., 75% of all Americans have moderate to severe stress and;almost half suffer adverse stress-related health effects. In all stress-related statistics, women are at the top of every study. The internalization of stress is higher in women and therefore certain habits go up causing more physical symptoms to arise as a result of stress. Stress will deplete selenium and magnesium, two major minerals needed for proper thyroid function.
The top four;;of stress include money, work, family and health concerns in that order. Health concerns are last. As you can see, the problem here is that people neglect their health because of financial concerns, with 1 and 5 thinking of skipping seeing a practitioner due to the cost. I tell my Nutrition Genome clients that the cost of diet and lifestyle prevention will always save you thousands of dollars compared to the cost of treatment.
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What Is The Hpa Axis
The HPA axis stands for the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, regulating the stress response and adrenal function. It is responsible for fight or flight; useful for survival and is overactivated in our modern way of life from numerous activation signals every day.
The axis is connected to the brain, nervous system, immune system, digestive system and circulatory system. So you can see how;damaging the chronic stress response is to all of these systems via the HPA axis. What happens is that blood sugar and insulin stay elevated, you get easily irritated and overwhelmed, and the immune system stays activated leading to dysfunction.
Meanwhile, all other requirements in your body get put on hold and eventually also get depleted. A systemic shutdown. The reason pregnancy can be so hard on some women is because there are not enough reserves to give, causing higher deficiency post-pregnancy and potentially harder struggle to shed excess weight gain.
Build Resilience With Supplements
While supplements often need to be individualized for people depending on their level of adrenal dysfunction , I have found that most people with Hashimotos feel better when they utilize the ABCs of adrenal supplements.
The ABCs are: Adrenal Adaptogens, B Vitamins, and Vitamin C.
Adaptogenic herbs;are any natural herb products that supplement the bodys ability to deal with stressors. In order to be considered an adaptogen, an herb must possess three main qualities. First, the herb must be non-toxic to the patient at normal doses. Secondly, the herb should help the entire body to cope with stress. Finally, the herb should help the body to return to normal regardless of how stress is currently affecting the persons functioning. In other words, an adaptogenic herb needs to be able to both tone down overactive systems and boost underactive systems in the body. Adaptogens are thought to normalize the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Adaptogenic herbs include: Ashwagandha, astragalus, reishi mushroom, dang shen, eleuthero, ginseng, jiaogulan, licorice, maca, schizandra, spikenard, and suma. These are examples of herbs that may increase the bodys ability to resist stress, and have been helpful in relieving adrenal dysfunction when used in combination with vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C and B vitamins become depleted during high cortisol production.
Rootcology Adrenal Support
Alternative ABC Blend
Additional Supportive Nutrients
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The Hpa Axis: Your Innate Alarm System
When you experience stress, or any threat to your well-being, your brain goes into high alert, activating an ancient system designed to protect you from a wide variety of threats and dangers. It largely does this by rapidly mobilizing the energy you need to evade, escape, over overpower the immediate hazard. In the extreme, it’s what gives the super powers you hear in those rescue stories where some lifts a car off of someone. In the more day to day, it’s what makes your heart race, causes you to feel like fleeing a stressful environment, or makes you suspicious of someone in the elevator with you if there vibe’ feels off.
This warning system is activated in two small parts of the your brain called your amygdala they are like a surveillance camera scanning your house perimeter for danger, If danger is perceived, a message goes to your Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal .
Your hypothalamus which acts like your alarm system, calls 911, your pituitary gland .with a chemical alert that there seems to be a threat. which then relays that message out to your adrenal glands, where your adrenaline and cortisol act like the police, fire department, and an ambulance service ready to respond by getting you away from the danger , and getting your body ready to deal with possible inflammation, infection, injury, hemorrhage, and shock.
These are just a handful of the situations that keep us in chronic survival mode. Im sure you can probably relate to one or more: