What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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What causes adrenal fatigue? Adrenal fatigue happens when your immune system is under extreme stress. And your adrenal glands are small organs above your kidneys. And how it responds to stress is by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Those hormones are part of your fight or flight response and that is what increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

Examples of what causes adrenal fatigue are:

  • The death of a family member
  • serious illness
  • divorce
  • surgery
  • Lack of sleep
  • diabetes
  • pain
  • food sensitivities
  • poor Diet or lack of exercise
  • exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
  • stress due to financial hardships, relationships, work conditions, etc.

What causes adrenal fatigue? Photo credit: iStock-Good_Stock

An example of the type of long-term stress are the death of a family member or a serious illness. When your adrenal glands burn out that is when adrenal fatigue sets in.

Studies show these are the following symptoms if you have adrenal fatigue.

  • sleeping all day
  • extreme fatigue
  • sleep apnea
  • depression
  • fibromyalgia
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle weakness
  • weight loss,
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • low blood pressure
  • vomiting
  • chronic fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Sweet and salty cravings

There was a study in 2005 where it found that students who were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome were no longer receiving a normal amount of stimulation from their adrenal glands.

Some of the tests that you can do to confirm if you have adrenal fatigue are:

  • ACTH Challenge Test
  • Neurotransmitter Testing
  • Cortisol/DHEA ratio testing
  • Total Thyroxine TT4 Test
  • TSH Test- thyroid stimulating hormone

Some of the natural recommendations in treating adrenal fatigue:

  • Try to reduce any type of environmental stress in your body and mind.
  • Try to eliminate any toxins from your body.
  • Replenish your body with healthy foods, exercise and add some form of meditation. Meditation will help relax your mind and body.

Here are some nutrient dense foods you can add to your diet:

  • Fatty fish like salmon
  • Healthy fats like avocado and unsalted almonds
  • Protein foods like chicken and turkey
  • Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc.
  • Fermented foods that are rich in probiotics
  • Olives

Some of the things you want to avoid can tax your adrenals.

  • Try to minimize caffeine intake like energy drinks or an excessive amount of caffeine.
  • Try to avoid as much as added sugar as possible such as sugary foods such as candies, sweets, fruit drinks, soda, etc. Try to seek raw honey or stevia as a sugar alternative.
  • Avoid vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn oil which is highly inflammatory. This can potentially lead to adrenal inflammation. Some of the replacement good fats are coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter, etc.

There are some research studies that have shown that adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, holy basil, rhodiola rosea, etc. These can help lower cortisol levels and moderate stress levels within the body. Using these herbs can alleviate some of the stress and strain on the adrenal glands.

Magnesium is another known nutrient that can help fight adrenal insufficiency. If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue magnesium can potentially help reduce it. Research studies have shown that Vitamin B and Vitamin C can help minimize the effects of stress on people. B-12 and B5 are great B-vitamins.

“There are some research studies that have shown that adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha can help alleviate stress on your adrenal glands.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is any type of extreme stress that can cause adrenal fatigue. And the best way to reduce adrenal fatigue is eliminate the things that cause you stress.

If you have any interest in trying any of our Ethical Supplement  products to help you heighten your immune system or assist you with your fitness, weight loss or health goals. You can get a discount below at this link. ?utm_source=blog 


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  5. Duan H, Yuan Y, Zhang L, Qin S, Zhang K, Buchanan TW, Wu J. Chronic stress exposure decreases the cortisol awakening response in healthy young men. Stress. 2013 Nov;16(6):630-7. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2013.840579. Epub 2013 Oct 1. PMID: 23992539.
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