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What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is characterized by chronic fatigue resulting from when the Aadrenal gland functions are off balance. Adrenal glands are the small glands sit on top of the kidney.

Adrenal glands easily secrete hormones including cortisol and adrenaline in response to acute stress. However, when we are under long-term stress, this can cause these glands to work so hard that they are not able to keep up with the demands of the body.

There are 4 stages of adrenal fatigue:

Stage 1: Over-stimulation of the adrenal glands

Overall cortisol hormone secretion has increased resulting in over stimulation of the body

Signs and symptoms:

  • Sleeping problem
  • Easily agitated
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome such as abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation
  • Function normally but peak performance cannot be achieved

Stage 2: Exertion response

The disrupted cortisol, stress hormone, biological rhythm has become the new norm. Normal functions can still be carried out, but the sense of fatigue is pronounced at the end of each day as the body needs more rest that usual to recover

Signs and symptoms:

  • Sleeping problem, restless sleep
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome such as abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation

Stage 3: Adrenal exhaustion

The adrenal glands are not able to keep up with the increasing demand for cortisol production needed to overcome the stress and they become exhausted.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Weakened immune system
  • Brain fog, cognitive decline
  • Decrease in blood pressure

Stage 4: Chronic fatigue syndrome

The adrenals fail to respond to stimulation and become totally exhausted. Burnout at cellular level in other organs

Signs and symptoms:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Muscle pain and weakness

How to deal with it?

Lifestyle changes

  • Exercise regularly in the morning or afternoon 3 to 4 times weekly
  • Establish good sleeping hygiene
    • Go to bed and wake up at the same time
    • Avoid napping more than 30-45 minutes long
    • Keep the room dark
  • Positive thinking
  • Quit smoking cigarettes
  • Reduce stress
    • Practice yoga or meditation

Healthy diet is essential for overall welling to promote adrenal health

  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol
  • Eat wholesome foods like greens, colored veggies
  • Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals like magnesium, selenium and zinc
  • Avoid eating processed foods, fried foods and foods containing gluten or dairy (can trigger sensitivity)
  • Healthy fats (e.g. fish, coconut oil) and good protein are beneficial to the adrenal glands
  • Keep yourself well hydrated

In additional to healthy diet and changing lifestyle, supplementation can also help to support adrenal glands:

Achieving an optimal level of nutrients in our body will help with overall well being and also improving the adrenal health. Healthy gut also is essential. A comprehensive vitamins and minerals would be good choice to add on especially for those hard to eat a well balanced diet. Nutrifii Optimals is a good quality option.

Magnesium (Mg)

  • Mg act as a relaxant in stage 1 and 2 when the adrenal glands are over stimulated
  • Mg helps in the energy production process inside the cell during stage 4 (chronic fatigue syndrome)

B vitamins (B5, B6, B9, B12, B1, B3)

Can be added at stage 2 to 4 (exertion and exhaustion stages) where B5 and other b vitamins that help to restore body’s depleted energy, support the adrenal function and increase the body’s ability to cope with stress


  • Helpful in adrenal fatigue when you experience poor digestion and gut health that can be common in adrenal fatigue syndrome

Some herbal supplement is shown to help improving adrenal fatigue:

Ashwagandha, Cordiceps, Rhodiola

  • Help to balance and support the adrenal glands
  • Suitable for stage 1 and 2 when people function normally but peak performance cannot be achieved or the sense of fatigue is very obvious at the end of the day. They tonify and normalize the adrenal function
  • E.g. VitaAid Adrenergyn, Dr Mercola Rhodiola

Licorice root, Panax ginseng

  • Helps to maintain energy levels and increase endurance
  • Tonify the depleted adrenals and give the body a kick start to restore its physiological functions in stage 3 when the adrenal glands are exhausted and not able to keep up with to overcome the stress
  • E.g VitaAid Adrenoforte DP

Consult a practitioner like naturopath doctor is suggested to further assess and the need of management of adrenal fatigue especially in severe cases.

Be positive and proactive to cope with adrenal fatigue!


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