20 Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue – Part 1

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #1: My fatigue is due to low thyroid function and has nothing to do with the adrenals.

The Truth Behind Common Myths About Adrenal FatigueHypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue can have very similar symptoms. Body temperature, however, is consistently low with Adrenal Fatigue. Regular thyroid laboratory tests can be normal or low in both cases. If you are on thyroid medications and are still symptomatic, or if you continue to require more and more thyroid medications to sustain the same energy level, you should be on the alert for Adrenal Fatigue as the root cause, not hypothyroidism. Restoring adrenal health often leads to improved thyroid health and reduction in thyroid medications. Increasing thyroid medication will only aid primary thyroid dysfunction. If low thyroid function is secondary or due to Adrenal Fatigue, increasing thyroid medication to enhance energy and reduce fatigue only puts the adrenal glands on overdrive at a time when it needs rest. As you will also see in the other common myths about Adrenal Fatigue, this will often lead to worsened adrenal function and increased adrenal crashes.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #2: I will never recover as I have tried everything and nothing works.

This is not true. Many achieve full recovery. The natural progression of Adrenal Fatigue, if nothing is done, is continual worsening of symptoms over time. The majority of self-navigation programs and many professionally guided programs fail due to the lack of training or experience. Your body possesses self-healing properties if given the correct natural tools. The key is not to give up but to continue your search for a qualified physician specializing in Adrenal Fatigue. That is the single most important key to your recovery.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #3: Adrenal Fatigue is psychological.

Adrenal Fatigue represents a mind-body condition where the stress-controlling center of the body is breaking down due to stress. Stress can be physical, emotional, or mental. Emotional stress and toxic relationships are the leading stressors of Adrenal Fatigue. The resulting dysfunction has both a physical dysfunction and a psychological component, both of which are biochemically mediated thought hormones. Recovery needs to incorporate a total mind-body approach. Both emotional healing and body chemistry rebuilding are required. Adrenal Fatigue affects every area of life. However, friends, family and employers are usually unaware of this, thus making the situation worse by their lack of understanding. Educating those who are not aware is the key.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #4: People in Adrenal Fatigue have no energy and cannot work at all.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue and Being Unable to Work

Most in Adrenal Fatigue are holding full time jobs and are very active. While they look good on the outside, they are often stressed on the inside. The majority of those in Adrenal Fatigue are in Stages 1 and 2, where symptoms of low energy are intermittent in nature and can be compensated with a sugar fix, rest, or coffee. Those in advanced Adrenal Fatigue (Stages 3 and 4) are very physically drained of energy, though many are still able to hold down a job. Common symptoms include hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, and insomnia. Only those in late Stages 3 and 4 are generally bedridden.


Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #5: Steroids are a fast and effective way to overcome Adrenal Fatigue.

While the use of steroids (such as hydrocortisone) can be useful under proper circumstances, widespread use of powerful hormones as a way to help Adrenal Fatigue has many drawbacks, including many well-known side effects. Many people recover from Adrenal Fatigue without steroids. They use proper and gentle nutrients to nurture the body, which allows the body to heal itself. This nurturing process should be considered the first line of defense before embarking on steroids, as it is a far gentler approach Those who are sensitive or have weak constitutions may actually do worse on steroids.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #6: Taking herbs and glandulars for a long period has no side effects on Adrenal Fatigue.

While certain herbs and glandulars can be beneficial to help adrenal function during early stages of Adrenal Fatigue, they can backfire and in fact make the condition worse over time if the dosage is not modulated and adjusted professionally. One of the triggers of adrenal crashes is in fact improper use of such natural compounds.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #7: There is no such thing as a bad nutrient as long as it is natural.

Due to individual variations and degrees of Adrenal Fatigue, nutrients that are fitting for one person can actually be toxic for another. The more advanced the Adrenal Fatigue, the more important it is to understand this as the more frequently this occurs. This is applicable even to some of the most basic nutrients such as vitamin C. Inappropriate administering of nutrients without careful consideration of the intrinsic constitution of the body and the stage of Adrenal Fatigue is a common cause of recovery failure.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #8: My primary care physician is the best person to help me with Adrenal Fatigue.

Unfortunately, most conventionally trained western medical physicians are not trained in Adrenal Fatigue. This lack of training results in wide-spread practice of prescribing anti-depressants as well as thyroid hormones as a way to suppress symptoms of fatigue by stimulating the adrenals and increasing energy without consideration of the root cause. This often is a failed strategy and will eventually lead to adrenal crashes once the maximum stimulatory tolerance is reached. A physician who does not understand this is unlikely to help you.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #9: Adrenal Fatigue can be determined by CT scans or blood tests.

Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue and Testing

A CT scan cannot diagnose Adrenal Fatigue. One of the hallmarks of Adrenal Fatigue is a usually normal routine blood test. There are currently no blood tests sensitive enough to detect Adrenal Fatigue. Even saliva tests can be misleading unless done in a series over time. The best way to know if you have Adrenal Fatigue Treatment is to consult a physician trained and experienced in this area.


Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue #10: Vigorous exercise is good for Adrenal Fatigue.

Vigorous exercise can help increase energy and may be beneficial for those with Stages 1 and 2 Adrenal Fatigue when the body’s reserve is still ample. Excessive exercise however is a trigger of adrenal crashes as well, so the intensity of exercise is a double-edged sword in Adrenal Fatigue. Vigorous exercises can drain the body of valuable energy reserves and should be avoided by those in Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue. Exercise can worsen the condition unless under close supervision. Those in adrenal exhaustion need to reduce exercise to a minimum during the initial healing phases. Five to ten minutes of walking every other day may be all that is tolerated for some. Not exercising helps conserve energy and allows the adrenals to rebuild when reserves are low. As the adrenal function improves, gradual scaling of the proper exercise will enhance recovery, including stretching, toning, and strength rebuilding. Due to individual variation, a personalized exercise program specific for adrenal recovery is best. Properly completed adrenal breathing exercises are an exception and beneficial in all stages of Adrenal Fatigue.

Read Part 2 Now!

© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

There is no correlation between soy and the adrenals. But eating soy may affect your ovarian hormones and thyroid hormones, this does affect the OAT axis imbalance.

20 Common Myths About Adrenal Fatigue

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