FREE Shipping & No Sales Tax! *click for more info
Shipping within the continental USA is free on orders of $99 or more. 

HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

Adrenal Exhaustion

Contributing Author: Ross, Steven D.C, F.A.S.B.E, D.A.A.P.M.

Ross StevenDr. Steven Ross, President and Co-Founder of The Institute For Integrative Medicine. The IFIM is an evidence based educational institution focusing on teaching the integrative practitioner the evidence based medicine, business, marketing acumen and personal development needed to succeed in their practices. Dr. Ross has been practicing Integrative and Functional Diagnostic Medicine since 1982. He maintains an active practice in the southern California while consulting with patients and doctors worldwide. He is the author of Curing the Cause and Preventing Disease; a guide not only for patients seeking a new and scientific method of treatment but, also for health care professionals interested in incorporating evidence based treatment plans in helping their patients achieve optimum health without the use of dangerous drugs.

» Website:


Stress is a very common complaint these days. Dealing with deadlines, working long hours, not getting adequate sleep, and environmental and water pollution, leaves us feeling exhausted and depleted of energy every day of the week. Unfortunately, if we fail to pay attention to our bodies, and learn to manage our level of stress, we can create some very devastating effects to our bodies, such as adrenal exhaustion.

Adrenal exhaustion is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a "syndrome," which results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, adrenal exhaustion can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially digestive and respiratory infections such as H. Pylori, influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue or exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep yet is not a readily identifiable entity like measles or a growth on the end of your finger. With adrenal exhaustion, you may look and act relatively normal and you may not have obvious signs of physical illness. Yet, you live with a general sense of sickness, tiredness, or "gray" feelings. People suffering from adrenal exhaustion often have to use coffee, colas, and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.

This syndrome has been known by many other names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison's hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy, and adrenal fatigue. Although it affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.

Adrenal exhaustion can wreak havoc in your life. In more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands becomes diminished to the point that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours a day. With each reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body becomes more profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal exhaustion. Your body does its best to make up for underfunctioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.

What Causes Adrenal Exhaustion?

Adrenal exhaustion is produced when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress. The adrenal glands mobilize your body's response to every kind of stress (whether physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. Whether you go through an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond. If they don't, or if their response is inadequate, you will experience some degree of adrenal exhaustion.

Causes of adrenal exhaustion include:

  • Allergies
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Excessive exercise
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Lack of exercise
  • Late hours
  • Low blood sugar
  • Malabsorption
  • Maldigestion
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Pollution
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Temperature extremes
  • Toxic exposure
  • Trauma or injury

Your adrenal glands function during adrenal exhaustion, but not enough to maintain your normal, healthy homeostasis. Their output of regulatory hormones is diminished by overstimulation. This overstimulation may be the result of a very intense single stress or chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.

Who Gets Adrenal Exhaustion?

Anyone can suffer from adrenal exhaustion at some time in his or her life. An illness, a life crisis, or a continuing difficult situation can drain the adrenal resources of even the healthiest person. However, there are factors that can make you more prone to adrenal exhaustion. These include certain lifestyles (poor diet, substance abuse, too little sleep and rest, or too many pressures), a chronic illness or repeated infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, or a mother who suffered from adrenal exhaustion around the time of your birth.

How Can You Tell if You Have Adrenal Exhaustion?

You may be suffering from adrenal exhaustion if you regularly experience one or more of the following:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Craving salty and/or sweet foods
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating, brain fog
  • Excess hunger
  • Excessive fatigue and exhaustion, chronic fatigue
  • Fearfulness
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
  • Frequent influenza
  • Irritability
  • Irritability, impatience, quick to anger
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS
  • Lack of lust for life and/or food
  • Low appetite
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low immune function
  • Low libido, sexual drive or interest
  • Low stamina and slow to recover from exercise
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Non-refreshing sleep
  • Panic/anxiety attacks
  • Poor digestion
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Reduced memory
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sleep disturbance, insomnia
  • Slow to recover from injury or illness

To determine whether you are suffering the effects of adrenal exhaustion, you can perform a very simple saliva test at home. The test can show how severe your adrenals and associated glands may be depleted of essential hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, melatonin, estrogen, and progesterone. Get your adrenals tested.