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Adrenal Dysfunction / Adrenal Fatigue

Is persistent and disabling fatigue a major part of your daily life? Do you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep and need coffee to get going?

You could be suffering from adrenal dysfunction or more popularly adrenal fatigue

While mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize adrenal fatigue as a distinct syndrome, it’s a very real and very exhausting condition for people that live through it.

Symptoms of Adrenal Dysfunction / Adrenal Fatigue

The most prominent symptom is a persistent and relentless fatigue. Even a night’s sleep does not make you feel rested or refreshed. The fatigue may be debilitating, impacting your ability to function in their daily activities.

Other common symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning. You may feel groggy and unrefreshed
  • Persistent tiredness that impacts every aspect of your daily life and living.
  • Salt and sugar cravings as the body attempts to restore energy and balance.
  • Dependence on caffeine or other stimulants to make it through the day.
  • Frequent colds and infections due to reduced immunity.
  • PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Being overwhelmed by stress and prolonged time required to recover.
  • Mild depression or anxiety which can further cause stress.

Causes of adrenal dysfunction

Adrenal dysfunction or fatigue is caused by chronic stress or overactivation of the sympathetic autonomous nervous for a prolonged period of time. The adrenal glands fails to  keep up with the body’s demands during prolonged periods of stress.

Other potential triggers may be involved:

  • Sugars, carbs and processed foods further stresses the adrenal glands
  • Sleep disorders prevent the body from getting adequate rest to recover and regenerate further increasing the demand on the adrenals to meet the demand of increased stress without sufficient recovery.
  • Alcohol and drugs can increase the burden on the adrenal glands.
  • Fibromyalgia, insulin resistance, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autoimmune diseases along with other conditions can challenge the adrenal glands.
  • Lingering, long-term, low grade persistent infections, such as Lyme disease and others also triggers an adrenal response.
  • Exposure to chemicals and pollution can activate the adrenal increasing the demand for higher output.


Conventional medicine typically uses the ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) stimulation test to diagnose adrenal insufficiency.

However, adrenal fatigue can occur even with normal ACTH levels. At DMH Functional Medicine, we use a comprehensive approach to diagnose adrenal fatigue.

The patient’s medical patient history, lifestyle, diet, stressors and symptoms can all provide valuable information about the patient’s health, including the possibility of adrenal dysfunction or fatigue

However, specific laboratory tests can add valuable information. For instance, a 4-point cortisol test that measures the development of cortisol through the day, may be required.


Chronic adrenal dysfunction can be devastating and considerably reduce quality of life for the patients and have wide ranging consequences for themselves, their family and network. Complications may include:

  • Decreased productivity and quality of life. Difficulty to meet the demands of work, family and social network.
  • A weakened immune response can make individuals more prone to colds, flu, other infections and autoimmune diseases.
  • Development of more serious conditions, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • The adrenal gland is a key player in the overall hormonal health of the body. Adrenal dysfunction can cause imbalances of other hormones and partially contribute to the development of thyroid disorders, insulin resistance, and other hormonal disturbances


At DMH Functional Medicine our focus is on identifying and modifying underlying causes of any chronic condition. Of course, adrenal dysfunction is no exception. While control of the symptoms may be required in the initial stages, it’s the long-term removal and modification of root causes that is important.

DMH Functional Medicine offers a personalized treatment plan which may include:

  • Limiting caffeine, reducing sugar intake and other inflammatory foods may reduce the demand on the adrenal gland. Our dietitian can guide you in this regard.
  • Adding more real, whole foods, healthy fats and sufficient proteins
  • Ensuring sufficient micronutrients, preferably through an improved diet
  • Prioritizing sleep, including better sleep hygiene is often helpful.
  • Exercise only if it does not add further stress. Initially, this may not be possible and the patient may need to ensure sufficient rest and sleep in the initial stages.
  • Stress management through meditation, yoga or prayer can support adrenal health.
  • Nutritional supplementation: Specific herbs known as adaptogens, along with vitamins and minerals, can support adrenal health. These may include ashwagandha, rhodiola, vitamin C, and magnesium. Adaptogens should be used under medical supervision.
  • Hormone balancing: If necessary, we may use bioidentical hormones to restore balance. This must be done under proper medical supervision.

How DMH Functional Medicine Can Help?

Our team of professionals will work with you to identify the causes of your symptoms and create a tailored plan to help you regain your vitality and health.

Once we have a comprehensive understanding of your health, we’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment journey. The key focus is on addressing the underlying cause(s) of your adrenal dysfunction.

This may involve lifestyle and dietary changes as mentioned above.

Importantly, we provide ongoing support and monitoring to ensure that the treatment plan is working and to make any relevant changes to the treatment if required.

We aim at helping you regain your health and vitality so that you can enjoy life to the fullest.


Adrenal fatigue is a complex condition and requires a great overall understanding of the body’s complex interconnectedness.

If you think you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, we invite you to reach out to our team to begin your journey to better health.


  • Wilson, J. L. (2001). Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. Smart Publications.
  • Romm, A. (2018). The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. HarperOne.
  • Teitelbaum, J. (2007). From Fatigued to Fantastic. Avery.
  • Kaltsas, G. A., et al. (2010). A patient’s guide to adrenal fatigue. Hormone Health Network.
  • Wentz, I. (2015). Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back. HarperOne.
  • Please consult a healthcare professional before starting any treatment. Information provided should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem.