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  • Adrenal fatigue fact or fiction

    The symptoms of adrenal fatigue sound like general stress and overwork symptoms.
    Is there any precedent for a gland becoming fatigued?
    Is it not more likely that the body becomes resistant to adrenaline and cortisol (as in insulin resistance)?
    I believe the cure for these symptoms is probably the same regardless (destress, chill out, do nice stuff outside) but I'm keen for the primal community not to get tripped up by something that gets debunked.
    Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
    www.primaljoy.co.uk

  • #2
    Originally posted by MaceyUK View Post
    The symptoms of adrenal fatigue sound like general stress and overwork symptoms.
    Is there any precedent for a gland becoming fatigued?
    Is it not more likely that the body becomes resistant to adrenaline and cortisol (as in insulin resistance)?
    I believe the cure for these symptoms is probably the same regardless (destress, chill out, do nice stuff outside) but I'm keen for the primal community not to get tripped up by something that gets debunked.
    When some one gets insulin resistance the body has to greatly increase its production of insulin to get the same effect as a normal health person, this fatigues the beta cells in the pancreas, which leads to the delayed/ reduced production we see in T2 diabetics.

    I imagine the same effect would happen to the adrenals if your "adrenaline and cortisol resistance" holds true. The production gets ramped up to overcome the reduced sensitivity. This then fatigues the adrenal organs


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    • #3
      Yes but are they capable of becoming fatigued...
      Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
      www.primaljoy.co.uk

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      • #4
        Adrenal Fatigue is very real for me. I am a totally different person than I was 6 to 9 months ago. I am working out every day and have ENERGY!

        I had saliva testing and my cortisol was rock bottom I went on Dr Wilson's adrenal supplements and within a couple of weeks was feeling a million times better. I have had my cortisol tested again, and I'm normal.

        Don't knock it unless you have experienced it. Being a little stressed is not adrenal fatigue.

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        • #5
          I think it's real. I have a hypothesis that caffeine consumption in both tea and coffee masks the problem a great deal. Caffeine might help with artificial highs, but sleep pattern gets eroded. Once I have stopped ingesting caffeine in all forms, after a few weeks, I was confronted with a completely unnatural fatigue, as in "I cannot move for 2 days' fatigue.
          My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
          When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rueben View Post
            Adrenal Fatigue is very real for me. I am a totally different person than I was 6 to 9 months ago. I am working out every day and have ENERGY!

            I had saliva testing and my cortisol was rock bottom I went on Dr Wilson's adrenal supplements and within a couple of weeks was feeling a million times better. I have had my cortisol tested again, and I'm normal.

            Don't knock it unless you have experienced it. Being a little stressed is not adrenal fatigue.
            So who is Dr Wilson then?
            Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
            www.primaljoy.co.uk

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            • #7
              Dr Wilson's site:
              http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/
              I think it is very real. I have had to give up caffeine entirely to rid myself of adrenal fatigue symptoms. Most of his other recommendations correspond well with primal - similar dietary recommendations, get to bed by ten, that sort of thing.

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              • #8
                Unfortunately, there's a lot of interaction between the adrenals, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary gland. That's why I've heard a lot more talk about HPA-axis dysregulation than adrenal fatigue lately. But yeah, minimize stress, get lots of sleep when it's dark (and see some light during daytime), minimize huge blood sugar swings and all that. If you still have symptoms, time to discuss supplementation or consider actually seeing a practitioner. I don't think Chris Kresser is taking on new patients presently, but I'd get on his waiting list if I felt I had this problem.
                The Champagne of Beards

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                • #9
                  Adrenal fatigue (also known as burnout or HPA axis dysfunction) is real. It isn't so much that the gland itself has fatigued, but the whole feedback loop gets messed up. There is chronic stress (mental, lifestyle/diet, or otherwise) which creates a fight, flight, or freeze response in the body. This response is super helpful when running from a bear, but when it doesn't shut off--as in chronic stress--the reaction ends up creating more stress and perpetuating the problem. This creates an imbalance, and if it goes on long enough the imbalance can create changes in how the body works. If that goes on long enough, then you get symptoms of which fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and moodiness are the most common. I use a variation of the primal diet along with mindfulness, supplements, and other approaches to fast-track recovery for my clients.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heather Clark, PharmD View Post
                    Adrenal fatigue (also known as burnout or HPA axis dysfunction) is real. It isn't so much that the gland itself has fatigued, but the whole feedback loop gets messed up. There is chronic stress (mental, lifestyle/diet, or otherwise) which creates a fight, flight, or freeze response in the body. This response is super helpful when running from a bear, but when it doesn't shut off--as in chronic stress--the reaction ends up creating more stress and perpetuating the problem. This creates an imbalance, and if it goes on long enough the imbalance can create changes in how the body works. If that goes on long enough, then you get symptoms of which fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and moodiness are the most common. I use a variation of the primal diet along with mindfulness, supplements, and other approaches to fast-track recovery for my clients.
                    Well damn. We have a real expert here rather than an interwebz dilettante! Tell us more, some of us really like to "geek out" on this stuff.
                    The Champagne of Beards

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                    • #11
                      What he said. I'm particularly interested in this as I have a stressful job 100hrs plus a week. I don't feel like I have adrenal fatigue but I want to optimise my system.
                      Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
                      www.primaljoy.co.uk

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                        Well damn. We have a real expert here rather than an interwebz dilettante! Tell us more, some of us really like to "geek out" on this stuff.
                        Thanks for the welcome! Apologies for not responding sooner; I didn't have my notifications set properly.

                        Careful what you wish for...I can really "geek out" on this stuff!

                        OK, adrenal fatigue results from chronic stress. Again, adrenal fatigue isn't so much glandular fatigue (although the gland often does atrophy) but a break down in the stress response system.

                        There are 3 general types of stress: mental and emotional (job, money, commute, relationships, etc.), dietary and lifestyle (wrong foods, not enough sleep, etc.), and pain and inflammation (chronic conditions, hidden digestive infection, etc.).

                        When you have stress your stress response system (SRS) triggers your body to shut down the 'rest and digest' functions in favor of 'fight, flight, or freeze.' Because who really cares if you digest your lunch if you can't get away from that bear?

                        When the stress is very high and/or over a longer period of time, then the body can't sustain this response. To keep up, at first it steals the building blocks for other hormones to make more stress hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline). During this phase the body is going out of balance but most people don't notice because the body is covering for itself.

                        Over time, these imbalances become more established. For Monty Python lovers: it's like the body is the Black Knight from "The Holy Grail." It endures repeated insults and injury and slowly loses function, but refuses to acknowledge this or give up ('tis but a flesh wound). Finally, once the SRS is out of balance and can't perform like it once did, THEN symptoms develop.

                        Usually the biggest symptom is fatigue. This can range from "I'm often a little tired" to "OMG I actually took a shower today! Must lie down now." There are many reasons for this, but it boils down to imbalance in the SRS, mitochondrial dysfunction (power house of the cells not working right), and greatly reduced stress tolerance. There is a laundry list of other symptoms, but the biggies are anxiety (changes in GABA and GABA receptors), irritability (stress tolerance, neurotransmitter imbalance), and brain fog (fatigue, neurotransmitters, stress-fueled impaired judgement).

                        To add insult to injury, when there is chronic stress you have even more stress. This is in part due to the amygdala. The amygdala processes memory and emotion. It also 'decides' what is a threat (stress) and what isn't. Normally it works just fine. However, it is part of the SRS and gets pulled out of balance along with everything else. So let's say there is a chronic stress--let's go with stress from eating gluten (not the primal eaters, though!!). Eating gluten with a gluten sensitivity is a stress. Your amygdala, in the presence of that stress, begins to 'see' more stress everywhere. So even though your job has nothing to do with gluten sensitivity, you are much more likely to perceive work as a stressful situation if you have the chronic stress of gluten.

                        This is like if the the thermostat on your furnace noticed that it was too hot, so it kicked ON and made it hotter.

                        This is the nutshell-version of what happens in the body with adrenal fatigue. What happens in life with adrenal fatigue can include general dissatisfaction with life, hopelessness, make less money, job loss, damaged relationships, and much, much more.

                        This is but the tip of the iceberg...

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