The adrenals help the body deal with any kind of stress – from emotional stress, to financial problems, to physical threats and relationship problems. They also play a major role in the body’s response to danger – the “fight or flight” response which mobilizes the body’s resources to react to threat.
In this video you will learn:
- What is adrenal fatigue?
- What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
- What are the causes of adrenal fatigue?
- Treatment for adrenal fatigue
Hi, this is Dr. David Minkoff, LifeWorks Wellness Center, Clearwater, Florida.
I want to talk to you about adrenal fatigue.
Now this term is thrown
around all over the place
and patients come in and say they have adrenal fatigue
or they have weak adrenals
and I want to kind of flesh this out and explain at least how I look at it.
Your typical patient with adrenal fatigue
has severe fatigue,
like they have exhaustion, they may haven’t been able to stay in bed or have to stay in bed all day long.
Walking from the bed to
the bathroom is a chore,
it’s usually accompanied
by mental symptoms of lack of initiative, of brain fog, of can’t think straight, of can’t compute a problem.
Like try to do a crossword puzzle or follow a movie or read a book, very difficult.
Now your adrenal gland is, a lot of people also have low blood pressure or when they stand up
they feel dizzy.
These are all
signs and symptoms.
Some people with adrenal
problems also get coloration,
like in here and
in the groin.
So if their skin is normally
a certain shade of of color it darkens and this can be a sign of adrenal fatigue too.
Now, so someone comes
in with this symptom and I’m looking at
what caused this or
why do they have this.
Now the adrenal gland is made up of two parts, there’s an inside part and an outside part.
The inside part makes a hormone or mainly makes hormones that have to do with adrenaline.
These are sort of the fight or flight hormones.
It’s like a tiger walked in the room, what reaction would you get?
Well, it would be run or fight and that’s from adrenaline.
It’s, it’s a, it’s a everything
gets turned up,
your heartbeat, your
It’s, you’re going to run away
as fast as you can
or you’re going to stay
there and fight it out.
The other part of the adrenal gland
is the outside part
and it produces hormones
Now, cortisol is
a protective hormone.
It reduces inflammation
and it helps people
deal with stress.
So, when adrenal glands get tired
or when the levels of
adrenaline or hydrocortisone
get where the adrenal gland is
too tired, where they
can’t even be produced in enough
amounts to protect the body,
then the person starts to feel the symptoms
of what we call adrenal fatigue.
The most hallmark sign that I can ask a patient and then I know whether they have
adrenal fatigue or not is
when you wake up
in the morning,
do you feel more
dead than alive
or more alive than dead?
In almost all the adrenal
patients the answer is,
I feel more dead than alive.
Like, I wake up,
I might have slept
but I don’t feel like
I can even move
and that’s a very
Now if they stand up
and they get dizzy,
if they do something for an hour and then they have to go back to bed,
this can be a sign
of adrenal fatigue.
These are usually caused by a mixture of other things, okay.
Now, it could just
be pure stress.
A boss, job deadlines,
problems with spouse or children
or just pressure that one
puts upon oneself.
So, this can cause the same thing, as if there was a tiger in the room, the person is chronically stressed, these hormones are pouring out 24 hours a day.
Some people, if they
get no sleep
or get restful sleep,
they have these hormones
coming out all day.
Like many people have sleep apnea, they don’t even know it
but they’re not actually
getting good deep sleep, so that their body doesn’t come out
of a fight or flight
at night where it should.
It should come way down where everything is really turned off that gives the adrenal glands
a chance to heal
and make new hormones and get ready for the next day.
But if a person is having episodes where their blood oxygen is going down
many times per minute when they’re supposedly sleeping, they don’t actually sleep.
They might feel like they slept but they don’t wake up refreshed and they’re
still feeling exhausted.
So, I’m always checking
for that kind of thing.
Sleep hygiene may be a problem. They’ve got electronics in their room, they sleep next to the phone, they keep their tv on all night, this person needs help to reorganize their life so they can actually get good sleep.
Sometimes chronic infection
can do the same thing.
They have chronic Epstein-Barr or Cytomegalovirus or Herpes Type 6 or Lyme disease and they have a chronic infection which produces inflammation which also can cause chronic adrenal fatigue because the adrenals are on all the time trying to fight the thing.
So these are the things that we generally look for.
Sometimes nutritional deficiency. The person isn’t getting enough vitamin c or they’re not getting enough iodine or they don’t have enough amino acids and then their adrenal gland can’t work right either and they can’t heal and recuperate.
So our general approach to someone who has adrenal fatigue is number one,
what are the things
that are causing it? Is it some kind of chronic infection, some kind of sleep problem,
could it be a medication that they’re taking that’s causing them to be in
a fight or flight state,
how is the status of their intestine and their digestion?
These are all things
that we can look at.
Do they have a
To see what is underlying this.
We can measure the adrenal hormones
in a saliva test or in a blood
test and we can see
sometimes a person’s hydrocortisone level, the cortisol, the main sort of protective
hormone in the body,
where it should be somewhere between 8 and 20, is like four.
Like there’s, in the morning there is no cortisol .
The gland never recovered enough to be able to make it.
So sometimes we have to
add in adrenal hormones,
DHEA or cortisol
in order to help them
just from the outside provide the hormone so that they can function
and this can work very well in people and usually they may need to do this for a number of months, maybe even a number of years until their adrenal gland recovers
and then they can go
back to their regular life.
So adrenal fatigue is a real problem.
There is an underlying reason.
It can be treated and people with this problem can get better.
But you have to figure out, what were the preceding antecedent things
that led to their body
to be in that condition and if we find that out and help them with that, they can get better.
Okay, hope this helps.