Adrenal fatigue | Typical signs and symptoms

Adrenal fatigue describes a fatigue of the adrenal cortex as a result of chronic stress. In this mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids and sex hormones are produced. The most important hormone of mineralocorticoids is aldosterone, which regulates the water balance in the body.

This hormone keeps the water and sodium back and thus regulates the blood pressure. In adrenal insufficiency, this system fails, causing the affected person to suffer from weakness and low blood pressure. The most important hormone of glucocorticoids is cortisol.

It is one of the stress hormones and serves, among other things, the stress management. With an adrenal fatigue, this system also fails and the sufferer responds to any stress reaction with fatigue and loss of performance.

In addition to the features I mentioned above, cortisol has many other tasks and functions:

  • It regulates and normalizes blood sugar
  • It regulates stress and stress management
  • It has an anti-inflammatory effect on wounds, injuries and insect bites
  • It suppresses the immune system

The thyroid gland and the adrenal gland work closely together and influence each other. The thyroid gland provides the energy and the adrenal gland needs to be strong enough to handle this metabolic energy. If both organs are weakened, the adrenal gland should always be treated first, as otherwise a hormonal thyroid setting is almost impossible.

Incidentally, the well-known Burn-out syndrome is nothing more than a manifested adrenal fatigue. Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue is not recognized or simply ignored by most doctors. The biggest problem is, that even with a massive adrenal fatigue, the cortisol content in the blood usually is still well within the norm. Thus, for most physicians there is no reason for any further action.

If you want to expose the adrenal fatigue, the so-called cortisol-saliva test is recommended. In this case, saliva is collected in a tube at intervals and examined for cortisol content. Thus, a daily progression curve can be created that is significantly more informative and on which an adrenal fatigue can be clearly depicted.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue

    Difficulties with getting up in the morning

  • Low blood pressure with a tendency to collapse
  • Dizziness and foggy brain
  • Diminished memory performance
  • General and pronounced weakness
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Susceptibility to infections
  • Low stress tolerance
  • Lack of energy in the morning and in the afternoon around 3:00 – 5:00 pm
  • Suddenly short term improvement of the symptoms after a meal
  • Frequent fatigue between 21 and 22 o’ clock, but you still keep going on
  • Gain of weight which is difficult to lose again, especially around the waist
  • Tendency to shiver when under pressure
  • Pain in the upper back or neck area with no apparent causes
  • Better health, when the stress wears off, as in a holiday
  • Hypoglycemia / low blood sugar
  • Bad wound healing
  • Depression / mood swings
  • Diminished ability to concentrate and memory
  • Muscular weakness
  • Low body temperature and freezing
  • Salt Hunger
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Loss of Libido

If you do have many of these signs and symptoms, it’s time to think of adrenal fatigue as a possible cause, when other organic causes have been ruled out. None of the symptoms and signs alone lead to the diagnosis of adrenal fatigue.

Taken together, these symptoms produce a specific syndrome or picture – that of a person under stress. These symptoms are the end result of acute, severe or chronic, excessive stress and the inability of the body to shut down such stress.

Stress, once a collective term used by doctors as an explanation for nonspecific symptoms that could not be explained by conventional blood tests, is not a mystery to the body at all.

Reasons and causes of an Adrenal fatigue

Reasons and causes of an Adrenal fatigue

Chronic stress is very common in Western countries. The most common causes of stress, for example, are strong job pressure, the death of a loved one, removals, illness, change of job, and marital problems.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the onset of stress exceeds the capacity of the body to balance the stress and recover.

One of the commonly most ignored reasons for Adrenal fatigue is a chronic or severe infection that causes an inflammatory response.

Such an infection can occur subclinically, without obvious symptoms. Parasitic and bacterial infections, such as “Giardia” or Helicobacter pylori, often are the main culprits. But also heavy metal contamination, infections with the intestinal fungus Candida albicans and undetected food intolerances often play a decisive role in adrenal fatigue, and should always be taken into consideration in the treatment of adrenal fatigue.

Following stress factors can cause Adrenal fatigue:

  • Anger
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic infections
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Excessive Sports
  • Anxiety and guilt
  • Gluten intolerance / Celiac disease
  • Low blood sugar
  • Malabsorption
  • Digestive disorders
  • Poisoning
  • Severe or chronic stress
  • Surgeries
  • Staying up late
  • Sleep deprivation
  • High sugar intake
  • High caffeine consumption from coffee and tea

Diagnose the Adrenal fatigue

The Adrenal fatigue was detected by laboratory studies of the representative markers of adrenal function. Two of these markers that have been used are cortisol and DHEA.

The best way to check the health of the adrenal glands is, to measure the levels of the most important free hormones, such as cortisol and DHEA. Saliva tests are preferred because they measure the amount of free and circulating hormones, rather than the bound ones that commonly are  measured in blood tests.

(Photo: Cortisol saliva test)

Cortisol saliva test
Cortisol saliva test

DHEA can be measured at any time of the day. But Cortisol has its peak in the morning and its lowest in the evening, before bedtime.

The most accurate is to take 4 samples of cortisol (at 8 o’clock in the morning, at noon,  at 5 o’clock, and at bedtime).

With several samples taken throughout the day, we can record the daily course of free cortisol in relation to DHEA levels. This gives us a much more accurate picture of the adrenal function.

If you take hormones such as DHEA orally or use hormone creams, you can immediately measure the increase in the saliva test. In the blood test you can see the increase in hormones as well, but it will be just visible after about 3 months.

Stress also can affect the adrenal hormone levels. If you measure your cortisol level after a quiet and relaxing morning, you will have a significantly different result than if you measure the cortisol under enormous stress.

To rule out subclinical infection as the cause of adrenal fatigue, a special test is needed to measure the immunoglobulin response, as normal tests with bacterial or parasitic cultures are often negative. (Source: Dr. Michael Lam)

Why conventional medicine can not help?

Despite the fact that subclinical adrenal fatigue with its various stages is known as a clear clinical syndrome since the beginning of the 20th century, most physicians are unfamiliar with this condition. For the simple reason that it is difficult to diagnose by the conventional blood test. Usual blood tests have been designed to detect severe and absolute adrenal hormone deficiencies known as Addison’s Disease. This disease affects only 4 out of 100,000 people and often is the result of autoimmune disease or infectious disease. The blood tests are also suitable for detecting extremely high adrenal hormone levels, which are known to occur in Cushing’s disease.

In case of an Adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal hormones have low levels, but are still in a “normal” range and not low enough to confirm the diagnosis of Addison’s disease in the regular blood tests. In fact, your adrenal hormones can be at half the optimum level and still be considered “normal.” That adrenal hormone levels are “normal” does not mean that the patient has no Adrenal insufficiency.

Conventional doctors do not  learn anything about the importance of subclinical adrenal insufficiency. They are misled by blood tests that are not sensitive enough to detect subclinical adrenal insufficiency. This leads to the conclusion that the patients, whose adrenal function is being examined, are said to be “normal”. In fact, the adrenal glands do not work optimally, with clear signs and symptoms, as the body screams for help and attention. Adrenal insufficiency does affect more people than Addison’s disease. It is not recognized and has taken on massive proportions. To diagnose this disease confidently, it requires more sensitive laboratory testing and a very conscientious and accurate record of the full course of the disease.

Simple therapy with great effect

Adrenal Fatigue Therapy

The adrenal function can be restored completely. But the process of recovery may need its time, from 6 months to 2 years.

The following steps are important to rebuild the adrenal glands:

1. Eliminate stress factors

This is one of the most important steps. Emotional stress factors are, for example, marital-, familiary-, relationship- or financial problems and need to be regulated and brought to a normal level.

2. Sleep

The most important thing is to have enough rest periods. It is important to go to bed every night at 10pm. Why? Because our adrenal glands need to get started again to get us over the time from 23.00 to 1.00 o’clock. This brings tremendous stress to the adrenal glands. When we lie down early, our adrenal glands rest completely and a renewed stimulation is avoided.

Between 10 pm and 1 am, our adrenal glands work at hardest to help our body to regenerate. We should also try to sleep until 8.30 or 9.00 in the morning, if possible. This is because our cortisol levels peak between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning with the aim of waking us up and getting us started for the day.

In later stages of the disease, the cortisol level drops and we feel tired. It is harder for us to wake up. Waking up too early increases the stress on the adrenal glands, which need to produce more cortisol even though they are already exhausted.

Sufficient sleep at night therefore is mandatory. Without a healthy sleep, our body cannot regenerate enough to be prepared for the stressful situations of the coming day. We should also sleep in a completely dark room to achieve maximum production of melatonin.

If you can not fall asleep, take melatonin orally 30 minutes before bedtime (0.5 to 3 mg). You can start with a low dose (0.5 mg) and work your way up gradually. If you start taking 3 mg, the usual sold dose, and you do not find it helpful, go for a lower dose. The right dose varies from person to person.

If you tend to wake up at night between 2:00 and 3:00 am and can not fall asleep again, this is a sign of high stress. In this case, you may want to consider taking depot melatonin. You can also think about other sleeping pills, such as the 5-HTP in 100 mg, adrenal extracts and trace elements. Another wonderful relaxant and sleep aid is magnesium. Some known herbs that promote sleep are valerian root, hops (whole plant), and licorice (liquorice root).

3. Avoid Coffee and Caffeinated Beverages

Coffee and tea act as stimulants and disrupt the sleep pattern. Herbal tea is acceptable because it does not contain caffeine.

4. Avoid TV and Computer

Some people can be very sensitive to light. Watching TV or working on the computer can prevent the melatonin level from increasing to induce sleep. If you are one of these people, you should turn off your TV or computer at around 8:00 PM.

5. Fitness Training

This is a wonderful way to reduce stress and to get some oxygen. Sport reduces depression, increases blood circulation, normalizes levels of cortisol, insulin, blood sugar, growth hormone and SD hormone, and makes you feel better in general. You can train for 20-30 minutes a day, splitting each training unit into 10-minute blocks.

Moderate exercises such as walking or climbing stairs are easy and can be done almost anywhere. You should vary the procedure so that the training is fun, too. Plan to burn about 2,000 to 3,000 calories each week. When doing sports, you should cover these three areas:

  • Aerobic sports – such as walking, climbing stairs, Nordic walking, swimming and cycling
  • Anaerobic sports – such as weightlifting, push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups
  • Stretching exercises – such as stretching, yoga and Tai Chi.

6. Supplements

It is wise to optimize the function of the adrenal glands. Supplements, such as DHEA from 15 to 30 mg, pregnenolone from 25 to 50 mg, a low dose of natural cortisol from 25 to 50 mg, natural progesterone of 20 mg or licorice root extract, can be taken.

We should consume a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals to achieve an optimal adrenal function. These are:

  • A. 500 to 3000 mg of vitamin C with bioflavonoids, lysine, proline, pine bark extract
  • B. 100 to 200 mg of fat-soluble vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate
  • C. 900 to 1500 mg of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), as most hormone productions in the Adrenal glands require coenzyme A, a by-product of vitamin B5
  • D. Vitamin E is another important nutrient that is involved in at least 6 different enzymatic responses of the adrenal cascade. Take 400-800 IU of vitamin E daily.
  • E. Take 10,000 to 25,000 IU of beta-carotene and other essential minerals such as selenium (200 mcg), magnesium (500 mg), as important as lysine (1-2 gm), Proline (500 mg-1gm) and glutamine (1-5gm) or more in advanced cases.
  • F. DHEA 15-50 mg, pregnenolone 25-50 mg, adrenal glandular, adrenal extracts, licorice root, may be helpful.

It is very important to understand that desperately trying to eat a lot of nutrients at the same time, rarely works and this shot can even backfire. The use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of adrenal fatigue must be individual, based on everyone’s history, background and personal metabolism. The right nutrient for one patient may be poison for another.

Even if some nutrients appear to help in the beginning, they can fail as the body gets used to it. More is not necessarily better and can even worsen the situation in many cases as the metabolism changes during the regeneration process. Therefore, it is important to consistently adjust the dose to the metabolism on the way to maximum effectiveness.

In case of an  adrenal insufficiency, the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients, often is limited. Often, initial test doses of the are given to see how much reserves the adrenals have before giving any high dose of nutrients. Nutrients at the right dose should be increased stepwise and controlled by a therapist.

7. Supplementing with natural hydrocortisone

or cortisol acetates at strengths of 2.5 to 5 mg, two to four times daily, may be a safe and effective way to regenerate depleted adrenal glands. But this should be done under the supervision of a doctor. Cortisol is available only on prescription.

Caution: Due to enormous individual differences, the intake of supplements should be tailored to your body. The appropriate nutrient for one patient may be poison for the other.

Proper nutrition provides great relief

Adrenal Fatigue Nutrition

8. Meals

When our cortisol levels reach their peak between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning, we maybe do not have any appetite.

Many people skip breakfast because they are “not hungry”. The reason is, that our bodies need sugar to keep working. Also the energy requirement of the body does not change during this phase. Even a small snack is better than nothing at all and will provide the necessary energy, although you might not feel that it is necessary to eat.

To skip breakfast is not a good idea. If your blood sugar level is low, the adrenal glands are encouraged to produce cortisol, as cortisol stimulates gluconeogenesis to raise blood sugar levels for  body function. That is why it is important to have a healthy breakfast soon after waking up and not later than 10 o’clock. This saves the body from having to catch up this for the rest of the day.

The best time to have lunch is between 11:00 and 11:30. Sometimes a nutritious snack is needed between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm to get our body through the cortisol hole between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Dinner should be taken between 17.00 and 18.00.

A later dinner, if necessary, should be eaten in small amounts and be “low glycemic” to avoid a sharp rise in blood sugar, which usually happens after “high glycemic” snacks, such as a piece of cake. Snacks like these will cause an increase in blood sugar and an associated increase in insulin production.

Over time, insulin secretion, resulting from nocturnal hypoglycemia, is disturbed. Characteristic of these symptoms are nightmares, anxiety and night sweats. When this occurs, the body must activate the adrenal glands to release more cortisol to regain normal blood sugar levels. This ultimately can  be a big burden for the already depleted adrenals if it continues from year to year.

9. Nutrition

A nutrient-poor or inappropriate nutrition is one of the main causes of this condition. Without a diet that is biochemically and metabolically adapted to the adrenals, full recovery is not possible.


Glucose is a simple sugar that is found in foods. It is an essential nutrient that supplies the cells with energy so they can function properly. After meals, the food in the intestine is digested and broken down into glucose and other nutrients.

The glucose is taken up by the cells in the intestine and transported with the bloodstream to the cells throughout the body. However, glucose can not enter cells by itself. It needs help from insulin to penetrate the cell walls. So insulin acts as a regulator of glucose transport and metabolism in the body.

Insulin is called the “starvation hormone”. When the blood sugar level rises after a meal, insulin levels increase accordingly, with subsequent drop in blood sugar levels due to the transport of glucose into the cells for energy. When the cell produces energy, the blood sugar level is slowly lowered and the insulin secretion from the pancreas stops. As energy continues to be produced, the drop in blood sugar levels continues. When it falls below a certain level, we feel hungry.

This often happens a few hours after a meal. This drop in blood sugar levels stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. The cortisol increases the blood sugar level by splitting proteins and fats into its building blocks. Thus, the blood sugar level rises again, so that between meals a steady supply of energy is ensured. Cortisol works hand in hand with insulin to maintain a steady blood glucose level 24 hours a day, and  keep it in a tightly controlled area.

When the adrenal glands are stressed, the amount of cortisol produced falls below the normal level and the amount of sugar available to the cells is reduced. With less sugar, the body has less energy what makes you feel tired. If the sugar level drops below a critical point, you may feel dizzy and confused. These are common symptoms of low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia). Most likely, we experience a hypo in between meals at 10-12 o’clock, as well as at 15-16 o’clock.

To make things even worse, as a body’s automatic response, insulin production is increased when more sugar is needed during a stress reaction, as an attempt to get more sugar from the bloodstream into the cells and thus to get more energy. Insulin opens the cell walls to bring in glucose, which in turn results in another drop in blood sugar. This exacerbates the already existing hypoglycaemia.

People with adrenal insufficiency often report symptoms such as dizziness and weakness as soon as the blood sugar level drops below a level, which usually is required for bodily functions. To counteract this, the most common and quick solution is to use foods that are rich in refined sugars, such as cakes or sweets, or drinks containing stimulants to release cortisol, such as coffee or cola. This gives you an energy boost. But this relief of hypoglycemic symptoms only lasts about 1-2 hours. It inevitably leads to a burglary with even lower blood sugar. Those with this condition, are permanently on a rollercoaster, which affects the blood sugar levels during a entire day. The level of sugar tends to increase after each quick meal, but then falls off after a few hours. At the end of the day the body is completely exhausted.

A diet that maintains a constant blood sugar level is a crucial prerequisite for the recovery of adrenal fatigue. This can be achieved by eating a variety of foods that have a low glycemic index and release the sugar slowly, allowing the body to sustain during and between meals. Starchy carbohydrates that are rapidly converted to glucose, such as bread and pasta, should be restricted. Sweet drinks should be avoided completely.


The amount of salt and its regulation in the body heavily depends on a chemical substance called aldosterone. This substance is produced in the adrenal cortex under the guidance of another hormone called ACTH. ACTH is formed in the anterior pituitary gland. ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce a wide range of hormones, including aldosterone and cortisol.

Like the cortisol, the aldosterone secretion follows a daily pattern that has its peak at 8:00 am and its lowest level between midnight and 4:00 am. Aldosterone is a very special compound that is responsible for maintaining the concentration of sodium and potassium inside and outside the cells. In turn this has a direct effect on the fluids in the body. That is why aldosterone plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure.

It is important to note that sodium and water are working hand in hand. Wherever the sodium goes, the the water goes, too. As the concentration of aldosterone in the body increases, so does the concentration of sodium and water, more fluid is retained in the body, and blood pressure rises. Conversely, as the level of aldosterone decreases, the amount of sodium and water in the body is reduced. The blood pressure drops.

Other than cortisol, aldosterone does not have its own negative feedback system when extremely high levels appear. If the level of aldosterone is too high, the receptors are downregulated and the susceptibility to aldosterone decreases. In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, our cortisol and aldosterone levels increase due to stress-induced ACTH stimulation. As a result, sodium and water are retained in the body and we feel bloated. The baroreceptors (receptors that are pressure-sensitive) of the blood vessels are stimulated and the vessels relax automatically, which is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. This self-regulation helps to maintain stable blood pressure when the volume of total fluid increases due to a high aldosterone level caused by stress.

During stress, the adrenal glands release another hormone called adrenaline. This hormone constricts the blood vessels and raises blood pressure to ensure that our brain is supplied with enough blood and oxygen to help us deal with the imminent danger. The sum of the response to aldosterone, adrenaline and automatic vascular relaxation are some of the major factors that ultimately determine the final blood pressure. During the early stages of adrenal fatigue, the resulting blood pressure is often normal when all bodily functions are in balance. If the body is unable to cope with the aldosterone and adrenaline reactions, then the blood pressure is raised. It often happens that stressful experiences end in high blood pressure.

As the adrenal fatigue progresses to more serious stages, the amount of aldosterone produced decreases. The sodium and water retention is impaired. When the amount of fluid in the body is reduced, low blood pressure sets in. The cells dehydrate and have sodium deficiency.

With progressing fatigue of the adrenal glands, we find low blood pressure and that leads to salt hunger. The low blood pressure is due to the reduced amount of fluid in the body. The salt hunger occurs because the body is in an absolute sodium deficiency. Both are due to a lack of aldosterone. To counteract this, potassium leaves the cells, so that the sodium-potassium ratio can remain constant. The loss of potassium is less than that of sodium. This results in an increased potassium-sodium ratio. This imbalance triggers a number of other problems.

Those  who suffering from adrenal hypofunction, often have a low level of body fluid, associated with salt starvation due to sodium deficiency, and normal to high levels of potassium. Although the lack of fluid should be compensated, this should be done carefully. When liquid is added without enough sodium, the amount of sodium in the body is diluted and an even lower sodium level is produced. This is called dilution-induced sodium deficiency. Because of this, it is important that people with this condition add plenty of salt to their drinks.

Electrolyte drinks that are commercially available, such as Gatorade, are made for people who have a normal adrenal function and have suffered a high potassium loss during sports. They can be consumed in case of a slight adrenal fatigue. People with severe adrenal hypofunction usually have low cortisol and sodium levels. You should drink regularly filtered drinking water with half to even a teaspoon of salt added, especially in the morning.

Only a small number of people with this condition do have high blood pressure at the same time. Those to whom this applies should carefully control their blood pressure during fluid intake.

Sea salt is better than table salt because it contains extra trace elements. A suitable cocktail for adrenal glands is vegetable juice diluted with water and a pinch of sea salt and kelp powder (brown algae powder). Kelp contains approximately 90 mg of potassium and over 200 mg of sodium per serving and is easily absorbed.

Carbohydrates weaken the adrenal glands

Adrenal Fatigue Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats

For adrenal gland sufferers it is important to balance the amount of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Compared to normal people, a person with adrenal fatigue immediately needs sugar when hungry.

At the same time, he needs good protein as well as good fats, to keep his energy going until the next meal.

The most important food should be raw foods that have a low glycemic index. Fruit juices should be avoided. Whole fruits should be reduced, especially melons that contain a lot of sugar and cause sugar increases shortly after eating. Good protein quality from meat, fish and eggs is recommended. These provide a constant supply of energy to bring the body through the time between meals.

Vegetarians with adrenal fatigue do have a much bigger problem. Legumes (beans) must be eaten together with whole grain cereals, seeds or nuts to obtain whole grain protein. For vegetarians, it is important to include eggs and miso, as well as to combine beans, seeds and nuts with a small amount of whole grain cereals. About 50-60 percent of the diet should consist of raw food. 6-8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables should also be included.

Seeds and nuts are key ingredients and sources of fatty acids that the adrenals need to produce cholesterol, a precursor to all adrenal steroid hormones. It is important to use nuts and seeds that are raw and free of rancid oil. Rancid oil aggravates the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and should be avoided at all costs.

Raw nuts should be consumed liberally and soaked in water overnight. Nuts such as cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts and chestnuts are very well suited. Peanuts should be avoided. Olive oil should be used for light cooking. The cooking heat should be low to medium. Use coconut oil and butter for more heating or frying.

Vegetables with a high sodium content are kelp (brown algae), black olives, red peppers, spinach, zucchini, celery and Swiss chard. Fruit should only be eaten in moderate amount. If you feel worse after eating, that’s the way your body is telling you that you’re on the wrong track. Fruit such as papaya, mango, apples, grapes and cherries from organic farming are recommended. Bananas, dates, figs, raisins and grapefruit contain a lot of potassium and should be restricted.

Many people with adrenal fatigue also have low levels of hydrochloric acid which is needed to break up the proteins. Symptoms of this problem are, for example, flatulence and bloating, after a protein-rich diet. In this case, the intake of digestive enzymes, probiotic preparations and hydrochloric acid preparations is indicated.

Nutrition Tips:

  1. Always have breakfast and do it before 10.00. The glucose supply must be made up again after the evening. Try to eat your lunch before 12:00, followed by a nutritious snack between 2:00 and 3:00. The dinner should be taken before 18.00. Before going to bed, a few nutritious bites are recommended.
  2. Combine small quantities of wholegrain cereals with a generous part of protein and fat with each meal, except in the late evening. This ensures a sustained energy supply during and between meals.
  3. Eat 20-25% whole grain cereals, 30-40% (aboveground growing) vegetables (50% should be eaten raw), 10-15% beans, nuts and seeds, 10-20% animal food, 10-15% healthy fats and 5-10% fruits (except bananas and melon fruits).
  4. Fruit is allowed at lunch and dinner except bananas, figs and all melon fruits.
  5. Salt your food generouslyso that it tastes good, provided you have normal blood pressure. Foods that contain a lot of potassium, such as bananas and dried figs, can impair adrenal function and should be avoided.
  6. Start in the morning with a full glass of water and half to one teaspoon of sea salt. The typical breakfast consisting of fruit and yoghurt will only aggravate the suffering of the adrenal. Rather, people with adrenal fatigue will feel increasingly wobbly after having breakfast with lots of fruit. A healthy breakfast would be one that is rich in protein and fat, such as eggs and raw nuts. A very small amount of cereal products is acceptable.
  7. Eat 5-6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones.
  8. Eat a small amount of healthy snacks at bedtime that contain plenty of protein and fat, such as cottage cheese or nuts, if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night.
  9. Before you go to sleep, eat a small amount of carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread, if you have difficulty falling asleep.

Example of a diet with 2000 calories a day:

20% whole grains = 400 cal = 2 slices of wholemeal bread, 1 cup of brown rice or half a cup of oatmeal

30% vegetables = 600 cal = 3 cups of salad, 2 cups of green vegetables, 2 cups of mixed vegetables

15 % Fat = 300 cal = 2 teaspoons of olive oil

10% animal food = 200 cal = 70 grams meat (including chicken or fish)

10% fruit = 200 cal = 2.5 medium sized fruits such as apples

Tips for healthy adrenaline

  • Go to bed at 22:00
  • Sleep until 9:00 if possible
  • Do things you like
  • Avoid coffee or caffeinated drinks
  • Eat early in the day
  • Drink a glass of water in the morning with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of seasalt
  • Avoid cereal products such as bread
  • Avoid starchy foods, such as potatoes
  • Avoid modified fats, as in French fries
  • Laugh several times a day
  • Take Vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), Magnesium and Vitamin E
  • Take DHEA as you need it
  • Avoid to overtire
  • Avoid sugary fruits like melons
  • Never miss breakfast *

Source: Dr. med. Michael Lam –

Image source:

  • reasons-and-causes-of-an-Adrenal-fatigue: © Vege –
  • cortisol-august-2014: © Ghazi-Michael Ayed
  • adrenal-fatigue-therapy: © Ghazi-Michael Ayed
  • adrenal-fatigue-nutrition: © Ghazi-Michael Ayed
  • adrenal-fatigue-carbohydrates: © Floydine –
  • adrenal-fatigue: © Gina Sanders –