Adrenal Burnout: Signs, Symptoms, and Correction

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Do you relate to any of the following?

  • you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  • you are tired all the time, even after getting 8, 9, or 10 hours of sleep
  • you need coffee, sugar, chocolate, or other stimulants to make it through the day
  • you have an active mind but your body feels exhausted

If so, you likely have some degree of adrenal burnout—a common condition today.

What is Adrenal Burnout?

Adrenal burnout refers to the inadequate production of adrenal hormones (aldosterone, cortisol, etc.). Similar terms that describe this condition are adrenal insufficiency, adrenal exhaustion, and adrenal fatigue.

Function of the Adrenal Glands. The adrenal glands are central to the body’s stress response. They secrete at least a dozen hormones that have many functions, including to keep blood sugar stable and regulate the body’s stress response.

Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Burnout

Perhaps the most prominent sign of adrenal insufficiency is fatigue that is not relieved by rest or sleep. Other common symptoms include the following, which may vary from mild to extreme:

  • irritability
  • inability to concentrate
  • sweet cravings
  • allergies
  • weakness
  • nervousness
  • constipation
  • aches and pains
  • need for excessive amounts of sleep
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • low blood pressure 
  • dizziness when standing 
  • decreased tolerance to cold and lower body temperature

Emotional symptoms often include apathy, depression, despair, low self-esteem and fears (due to low energy), and irritability.

Secondary symptoms. Adrenal burnout leads to the accumulation of copper and other heavy metals, which can trigger additional symptoms. In women, diminished adrenal gland activity may contribute to PMS or menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. This is because the adrenal glands are the sole source of female hormones after menopause.

Adrenal burnout often causes problems with schoolwork, job performance, relationships, and more. It affects all aspects of life.

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue or Burnout

Most people have some degree of adrenal insufficiency due to excessive stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, toxin accumulation, too much exercise, trauma, and other factors.

The medical profession only recognizes adrenal burnout in the most extreme case—Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is a nearly total adrenal failure and requires cortisol therapy. President John F. Kennedy suffered from this condition. However, the truth is that there is a wide range of adrenal dysfunction.

Once the adrenal glands “burnout,” many people turn to stimulants for energy. Coffee and sugar are the most popular. However, worry, fear, anger, and vigorous exercise are also potent adrenal stimulants. Many people consciously and subconsciously seek stressful situations to provide external stimulation. These behaviors only worsen the problem and lead to more significant health issues.

Burnout Patterns on a Hair Mineral Analysis

Adrenal insufficiency or burnout is one of the most common findings on a hair mineral analysis. Several hair analysis patterns are associated with adrenal insufficiency.

For example, a low sodium level is a primary adrenal burnout indicator. This is because the adrenal hormone aldosterone regulates the sodium level in the tissues.

Sometimes a person will have multiple burnout patterns. I’ve tested people who’ve had 9 or 10 indicators of adrenal burnout.

Correction of Adrenal Burnout

Most therapies used to treat adrenal problems are superficial and often prevent the deeper healing of the adrenal glands. This applies to hormone therapy, such as low doses of cortisol and DHEA, and the use of various herbs and vitamins.

Full recovery from adrenal burnout is a long-term process and usually involves major lifestyle changes. It involves replenishing dozens of nutrients, resting the adrenal glands, avoiding heavy exercise, and thorough detoxification of the body.

The healing program that I offer is excellent for all cases of adrenal burnout. It involves doing a hair analysis to assess your body chemistry and to determine your unique nutritional needs. It is a holistic approach that addresses the cause of adrenal burnout from multiple angles. To learn more about this approach, click here.

Burnout Can Be a Catalyst for Positive Change

Dr. Lawrence Wilson often talks about the blessing of burnout. He says that burnout can help you transition quickly from a more superficial, stressful, and frantic life to a calmer, and eventually more satisfying one.

Indeed, this was my experience. The effects of burnout caused me to re-examine my life and start living differently. I consider it one of the best things that have happened to me, and I am grateful for Dr. Wilson’s guidance.

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Brian Brezinski is a nutrition consultant, health researcher, and advocate for medical freedom. He has a private nutrition practice that helps people resolve chronic fatigue, low energy, and other common health problems. Call Brian for a free introductory consultation today: 703 485 8245

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