Adrenal Burnout: Causes, Symptoms and Natural Cures (According to a Physician)

Adrenal Burnout - Causes, Symptoms and Natural Cures

You may not have heard of Adrenal Burnout – the stress disease, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve experienced the symptoms and may even be suffering from stress disease as you read this.

If you are tired most of the time; if you feel intensely irritated when you’re hungry; if every problem drains your energy levels leaving you feeling overwhelmed, then you are suffering from some of the symptoms of adrenal burnout, also called The Stress Disease. Read on to find out more about the symptoms of adrenal burnout and how to treat and prevent it.

This article is based on a chapter in the book Real Cause, Real Cure written by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D, an internal medicine physician. Dr. Teitelbaum is passionate about complementary health care and is widely recognized as an innovator and leader in complementary health care.

Dr. Teitelbaum has written various books, after applying various theories and therapies in his practice, including the book Real Cause, Real Cure.

Adrenal Burnout – The Cycle of Stress

Adrenal burnout is in effect a natural process that has gone awry. As we evolved, our bodies developed ways to ensure we could survive.

When saber-toothed tigers jumped out of the jungle trying to consume us as their next meal, we evolved ways to ensure that we were full of energy in order to run away, or to kill the threat. This system is often referred to as the fight or flight system.

The fight or flight system, simply put, is a process in the body that is triggered by stress.

When you experience stress in the form of fear, your hypothalamus pumps out a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol, which tells the pancreas to release glucagon, which raises your blood sugar giving your body energy to run away or to stay and fight and to cope with extended stress.

The process sounds good right? You have more energy and you achieve more.

The biggest problem with the fight or flight process is that the process was only designed to keep us safe for short periods of time.

Sadly, your body did not develop a way to distinguish between real threats like the modern day saber-toothed tiger—a mugger, and perceived threats like being late for work or the stress of modern day existence.

If you are under constant stress then the fight or flight process depletes the body of the vital resources needed for long-term survival.  The adrenal cortex becomes exhausted. Chronically high cortisol levels (bad for you) give way to chronically low ones (worse for you). Chronically high cortisol levels can also cause aches and pains such as joint pain, sleep problems, severe depression and may even cause anxiety.

This condition is called adrenal burnout or adrenal exhaustion. Some people refer to that condition as an extreme adrenal fatigue.

The Main Symptoms of Adrenal Burnout

If you are struggling with the issues mentioned below, then you may be suffering from the effects of adrenal burnout. Do you answer “yes” to the following questions?

  • Are you tired all the time especially and you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning? Cortisol is a must for energy – when levels are low you are tired.
  • Do stressful situations make you feel good because they make you feel energetic?
  • Are you constantly struggling with infections? Adrenal burnout compromises your immune system and exacerbates allergies; it leaves you open to infections so you get sick more often and it takes longer to heal.
  • Do you sometimes feel dizzy when you stand up? Cortisol controls blood pressure and a shortfall can cause this symptom.
  • Do you have chronic health problems? Cortisol interferes with insulin, the hormone that helps control blood sugar level. After a while your cells develop insulin resistance which can cause chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You need to make sure you are aware of the 13 early warning signs of diabetes as well as the 10 warning signs of a heart attack.

If the above questions and symptoms describe you, then you most likely need to take action to support your body.

Adrenal Burnout and Sugar

According to Dr. Teitelbaum, in his book Beat Sugar Addiction Now, adrenal burnout is one of the most important underlying causes of sugar addiction.

Since adrenal burnout depletes the body of glucose, eating sweets or foods high in refined sugars makes you feel better. However, sugar highs are followed by sugar lows causing you to crave more sweets (and coffee as stimulants).

If you want to quit sugar, read my article about the 13 effective ways to quit sugar.

The Real Causes of Adrenal Fatigue and the Real Cure

According to Dr. Teitelbaum, the real cure consists of three parts:

According to Dr. Teitelbaum’s the approach to treating adrenal fatigue involves a multifaceted approach. His therapies include diet as well as emotional and mental strategies to help you reduce the stress in your life.

Dr. Teitelbaum recommends an adrenal strengthening diet to eliminate the deficiencies in your diet and is designed to limit the foods that promote adrenal fatigue. The diet also includes suggestions for herbs and supplements that help your adrenal glands to recover.

The Adrenal Strengthening Diet

The adrenal strengthening diet starts by listing the foods you should consider eliminating from your diet—foods like refined sugar and caffeine.

Sugar fuels the adrenal fatigue process. When your blood sugar levels are low, you crave sugar. When you eat large amounts of sugar, the body must produce insulin and other compounds designed to lower high blood sugar. This vicious cycle ultimately drains the adrenal glands.

Dr. Teitelbaum suggests that if you are craving sugar, instead of eating large amounts of refined sugar like a grabbing a candy bar, you should rather place half a teaspoon of sugar under your tongue. This amount of sugar is sufficient to satisfy the craving and to raise blood sugar levels without causing your blood sugar levels to spike. Here are 6 things that happen to your body when you quit sugar.

Caffeine also fuels adrenal fatigue, so limit your coffee to one cup a day and replace your normal coffee intake with a beverage like green tea (while green tea and coffee both have caffeine, coffee has a significantly greater amount per cup) that contains theanine that promote calmness, relaxation, and concentration. Green tea has other amazing health benefits.

Proteins are also a vital part of Dr. Teitelbaum’s adrenal diet. Proteins stabilize the blood sugar levels and this helps to fight and reverse adrenal fatigue.  Consume protein rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, cheese, nut and eggs.

Eggs are one of the most balanced proteins available in nature, and starting the day with eggs is a great way to help reduce the effects of adrenal fatigue and blood sugar spikes.

If you are looking for a clean sources of protein, read my article about the 13 surprising sources of protein that are meat free. Eating more proteins is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

For those suffering from prolonged stress and adrenal burnout, eating small meals that include proteins throughout the day, rather than three larger meals, can also help to normalize blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol and adrenaline, and fight adrenal fatigue.

Drink water, eat more salt – your adrenal glands regulate blood volume and blood pressure – tasks that require plenty of water and salt. Dr. Teitelbaum’s diet therefore recommends drinking as much water as you need and suggests adding salt to your diet if you are craving salt – but don’t overdo it. If you crave salt, add a dash of it to your foods and let your body tell you what’s good for you. Make sure you are aware of the 7 warning signs your body lacks water.

Adrenal Supporting Supplements

The diet, according Dr. Teitelbaum, includes a number of helpful supplements that can help to alleviate adrenal burnout. The purpose of supplementation is to support the organs, like the adrenal glands, in order to ensure they work efficiently and to help regulate certain systems that are under pressure due to adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal extracts or “Glandular supplements” are a great way to support your adrenal glands by providing your body with a combination of the nutrients found in healthy adrenal glands.  They are formulated using the nutrient-rich portions of healthy glands (of a cow or a pig) and they therefore contain the building blocks necessary to support the building or repair of damaged organs or tissues. According Dr. Teitelbaum you should take 200-500 milligrams daily.

Licorice – If you are struggling with adrenal fatigue, then adding a licorice supplement to your diet can help the adrenal glands by slowing the breaking down of some of the adrenal hormones such as cortisol—this takes the pressure off the adrenal glands in terms of how much they have to produce. According to Dr. Teitelbaum you should take 200-400 milligrams daily.

Chromium – The addition of 200 mcg of chromium to your daily diet can help to regulate blood sugar levels to help you cope with the effects of stress.

Vitamin C – The adrenal glands contain more vitamin C than any other organ in the body, so Dr. Teitelbaum suggests taking at least 300 to 1000 mg of vitamin C daily to support the production of cortisol and to promote adrenal health and function.

Vitamin B5 – To support and boost adrenal function, you should consume between 100 to 300 mg of vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, daily. Deficiencies in pantothenic acid have been linked to adrenal shrinkage.

Tyrosine – To support the production of noradrenaline, you should consider investing in a tyrosine supplement that provides between 500 and 1000 mg of tyrosine on a daily basis.

Bioidentical Adrenal Hormones – If you can’t resolve your adrenal fatigue by any other way then you need to discuss the option of taking bioidentical hormones with a holistic minded doctor.

Don’t Ignore Fatigue

Stress is one of the biggest killers in modern times. We tend to ignore fatigue or to chalk fatigue up to the fact that we are busy, or we’re under pressure, but the health consequences of ignoring fatigue can be devastating and deadly. Stress affects every system in the body.

Learn about the consequences of prolonged stress and the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. When you are experiencing prolonged stress, take action to support your body.

For more related information, read my other articles:

Healthy and Natural World