Adrenal fatigue or dyregulation is the change in the ability of the adrenal glands to carry out their normal job. The main symptoms is fatigue, or in the case of hyperadrenalism, feeling tired but wired.
In response to chronic stress, many folks suffer from adrenal dysregulation, which can be either low production of adrenal hormones (hypoadrenalism) or high production, or a combo of the two. Many of my patients wake up in the morning with low cortisol, drink a cup of coffee to wake up, and then have high cortisol (coffee raises cortisol) and feel wired. Then they’re exhausted when the caffeine wears off by 2-4pm.
What causes adrenal fatigue? At Gottfried Center for Integrative Medicine, every case is individualized, but there are four common causes as identified by Dr. James Wilson:
- Disease that overwhelm the body such as auto-immune conditions or cancer;
- Physical stress such as poor nutrition, addiction (especially to sugar and/or flour), injury, exhaustion;
- Environmental stress, e.g., toxic chemicals in air, water, clothing or food;
- Emotional stress – usually arising from relationship, work or psychological sources.
Over 80% of people with adrenal dysregulation suffer from some type of decreased thyroid function. We often find that people who have both adrenal dysregulation and hypothyroidism do not get relief from thyroid replacement alone, and need adrenal support to get better. Dr. Marsha Nunley, MD, and Dr. Charlotte Massey, ND, L.Ac., are especially good at addressing both simultaneously. Dr. Nunley is available to coach patients who live outside of California, but you must visit her in Oakland to receive prescriptions.
We recommend saliva or blood testing to check your adrenal function. For your adrenal home test, order a diurnal cortisol test. Alternatively, ask your doctor to order a morning cortisol level in your blood. For your thyroid, we recommend TSH, free T3 and free T4 tests.