adrenal fatigue


In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. They didn’t realize how stressful it would become. Planning. Travel. Shopping. Cooking. Eating. More eating. Company. More company. Finding things for the company to do, which is more difficult to do in these pandemic times than ever. Who wouldn’t feel somewhat wound down?


Probably the last thing you’d expect is that the real cause of your exhaustion is adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue? Few people actually know what adrenal fatigue is, although 66% of the population exhibit some signs of it, 1 in 6, often severe. Adrenal fatigue is a disorder, not a disease. Hundreds of years ago we spent most of our time picking berries, not multi-tasking, checking social media non-stop, and dealing with Covid and its worries about work, finances, your kids, and endless activities including Olympic online shopping. And returns. One of the problems at the heart of our 21st-century living is our stress response rarely ever “turns off” unless we practice doing it intentionally. We were not built for this.


Small organs above your kidneys, the adrenal glands respond to stress by releasing a cascade of different hormones that affect different parts of your body. Cortisol is one of what are often called our stress hormones. Why should you care about cortisol? Along with adrenaline and norepinephrine, it is responsible for the “fight or flight” response that happens in dangerous or stressful situations. Like life seems to be right now. This excess stress dumps cortisol and other stress hormones into your system, again and again, all day long. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands have become overtaxed by excess cortisol release and can no longer produce levels of cortisol necessary for optimal body function. This is when burnout sets in.


The adrenal glands are the first glands that respond to stress, but also the first to suffer as a result of stress. Which makes your body suffer a cornucopia of ills, much worse than the food coma you fall into after hours of creamed this, buttered that, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and sweet potato casserole with all those frickin’ fabulous mini melted marshmallows on it. All of which, by the way, isn’t so great if you have adrenal fatigue. But we’ll get to that. Adrenal fatigue can also be a reason you fall on the couch watching football until you’re blind.

One of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue is difficulty waking up. Regardless of how many hours a person with adrenal fatigue manages to sleep during the night, in the morning it will very hard to drag your butt out of bed, and once awake, you feel overly tired and foggy at the same time. Intermittent “crashes” follow all day.

Then there are the non-stop cravings for salt. And when it’s not something with enough sodium to give an elephant water retention, it’s craving for anything sweet. Like those leftover pumpkin and pecan pies in the fridge. Oh, and high cortisol levels are directly related to weight gain and can make it impossible to lose weight. And if that isn’t stressful…of course, it’s stressful. For anyone.

With adrenal fatigue, you can feel the kind of body aches and soreness of someone who has Tik Tok danced with Olympian intensity.

Adrenal fatigue can also cause your face to go into oasis mode. Beyond dry, it can lead to other skin problems as well, such as skin discoloration, acne, dark circles under the eyes. Not a good look for anyone. And a serious bummer for any skincare influencers.

Grouchy? Grumpy? Cranky? Snappy? Adrenal fatigue. Brain fog?  Adrenal fatigue. A compromised immune system? Ditto.

Having any or all of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you do have adrenal fatigue. But they are something to look out for.


Although a cross-fit challenge may be the workout of choice for the average athlete, over-training can actually have the opposite effect of what most people go to the gym for, especially when you have adrenal fatigue. If you are trying to recover from adrenal fatigue it’s best to stay away from high intensity or long exercises and heavy cardio. Things like running, cross-fit, HIIT, sprints, and intense training can increase cortisol and drive you deeper into adrenal dysregulation. Excess cortisol can be problematic for bodybuilders, too, because along with some of the symptoms mentioned above, it can break down muscle tissue, instead of facilitating muscle growth. In every way, it is essential to try and keep cortisol release in control. So what can you do? You might not be happy with it, but you’re going to have to change your routine. For a while. Walk. Walk? Going for long, slow walks for one hour or more in duration once per week is the key to reprogramming your body to start burning fat again. This form of exercise allows cortisol to do the right job of using sugar for energy instead of storing it as fat. Your workouts should be more along the lines of traditional strength training with plenty of rest, big lifts (like squats, bench press, deadlifts, rows, and overhead presses), full-body movements, heavy but low intensity, and volume. Weight training also increases growth hormone which can offset hormone release.


With adrenal fatigue, band-aids such as prescription medications can be addictive, have dangerous side effects, and just won’t change things and help you recover. Advice for those who suffer from adrenal fatigue can be summarized in one word: SculptedMD. The symptoms of adrenal fatigue are so general, many doctors can overlook the real root of the problems. Adrenal fatigue requires proper diagnosis and personalized treatment. Exactly what you get when you see one of the hormone specialists at SculptedMD. It takes a highly educated hormone professional experienced in treating adrenal fatigue, to understand its complexities. And someone who understands the feelings of frustration you’re going through. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, SculptedMD is the least stressful place to go and get help. Adrenal fatigue doesn’t have to be forever. Call SculpedMD for an appointment now.


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