Adrenal Fatigue – How Does It All Begin?

Woman Leaning on Table

Feeling worn out? Already tired when you wake up? Seems like no amount of energy drink and health restorative supplements can get you through the day? It all can seems too familiar when you have adrenal fatigue.

Tiredness (fatigue) is temporary loss of strength and energy resulting from hard physical or mental work from which the body recovers after a period of rest. If you miss out on the rest, the recovery stays incomplete. On a prolonged basis, fatigue eats up the body.

The reason behind is: To run an already worn-down system, the body starts obtaining extra energy by breaking (catabolising) lean body mass (muscles, bone, blood and finally, the organs) and converting it to fat and resulting in an unhealthy weight gain. Metobolism nosedives in absence of lean muscle mass and tiredness takes over. In the process, the body makes the body components run overtime and fatigue sets upon them as well, gradually burning them out. The first set of organs to face the blow are the adrenal glands (the white fatty mass above kidneys), bringing hormonal imbalances into the picture and the whole process starts resembling a serpent eating its own tail. The adrenals when tired (adrenal fatigue), stop producing the hormones adrenalin and cortisol, which is actually why you feel tired or fatigued. These two are primarily energy-giving hormones; the adrenalin providing for short spans and cortisol for prolonged spans.

But then again, the adrenals have their limits to produce it; non-stop cortisol production eventually steals the glands from their power to produce cortisol. This also affects the hypothalamus (the controlling center of the autonomous nervous system) and the pituitary (the master gland of our hormonal system); the three forming the HPA axis. They are always exchanging information among themselves and one feedback from one gland drive the actions of the other. This way they adjust according to needs and revs up, sustains or slows down complex metabolical processes. Even digestion, the immune system and your libido! It also controls how much energy to spend, to store and to make; if you have noticed too much of physical or mental stress not allowing you to sleep at night, it could be a tell-tale symbol of adrenal fatigue. The condition is called sleep onset insomnia (SOI), which may later extend to SMI or sleep maintenance insomnia, where you somehow manage to fall asleep but can’t hold onto it for long.


  • Lesson number 1 – Don’t think wearing yourself out through the day will always earn you a good night sleep.
  • Lesson number 2 – Extra stress brings insomnia and that’s medically proven.

The changes inside

That’s hormonal changes (in both the body and the brain) we are talking about. You go low on critical neurotransmitters like Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA; stops the flow of certain chemicals to help you sleep) and serotonin (controls sleep and memory) and bodily hormones (other than cortisol and adrenalin) like norepinephrine, DHEA and other steroid hormones. This makes your fight-or-flight reflex go wrong. You prepare no more instantaneously when in a crisis or in an adverse situation, you lose appetite and energy and immune strength but gain a lot on allergic and inflammatory responses.

That’s basically what adrenal fatigue does to you, in its simplest form. That it branches out to high blood pressure, cholesterol and type-2 Diabetes is another story. But all in good time. As of now, let’s see if you can reverse such a condition and become Mr. ‘Healthy’ Prime.

Getting over an adrenal fatigue is bit more complex than you think. It’s not a pop-a-pill-then-go-and-chill kinda business but you need a whole lot of patience and perseverance if you want to cure it completely.

Restoring adrenal health and function is also about reshaping your mindset. Covert mental anxiety being one of the reasons, it’s essential that you learn to focus more on thoughts involving pleasant memories (not just the people you love but also your favorite pet or food). This is short-circuiting the brain to cut out the body’s physiological reactions to stress. Thinking with your heart is tough for men, but it works wonders. Sensing joy and fulfillment is essential to fix a broken HPA (not just adrenals alone), for the HPA also triggers follicle stimulating hormones to keep you potent and virile. The biochemical changes will start recharging your adrenal batteries. Whatever herbs and lifestyle changes you bring in after that will just boost the recovery process and reinforce the body to withstand better in the future.

  • Try to go Paleo for the first month; if you can’t, cut down your carb and caffeine intake (whips the adrenals to pull on), and fill the empty space with organic animal-source protein and good fat.
  • Add vitamin C to your diet first.
  • Great multivitamin is a great addition too.
  • The first 14 days, Licorice root and Siberian ginseng will tone you up (mimics the effects of cortisol and DHEA) enough for optimum absorption and utilisation of the supplements. You should also get plenty of sleep (8 to 9 hours) and moderate exercise a few days a week.

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