Adrenal fatigue or ferritin deficiency?

I'm sure adrenal fatigue exists - it's not plausible that your adrenal glands either work or they don't, despite that being a view held by many endonobs and GPs.

But it seems that often when I read here about someone having adrenal fatigue they also have ferritin deficiency. So... Is it possible adrenal fatigue is caused by ferritin deficiency?

We know that low ferritin means people have a hard time converting T4 to T3. We also know that when ferritin deficient people try to take T3 or NDT instead they find it hard to tolerate and have odd side effects. Adrenal fatigue is often blamed then. But if the ferritin deficiency is addressed, do those folk then find they can tolerate T3/NDT? Is there anyone here who has adrenal fatigue but good levels of ferritin?

Just curious really. :)

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15 Replies

  • LilyMay, I'm just n=1, but my ferritin was 120 (I was eating a lot of liver and kidney so it's not inflammation) Cortisol was 230, 215, 250. Now I just found out because of someone posting information from Dr. Chandy (? sp) that morning cortisol should be about 550. Dealing with the endo is a whole 'nother story.

  • This is dissouraging for me, since i have low ferritin, and am stuck with it for years, no matter what i do, and am hoping for t3/t4 to solve my problem, now you saying i will feel even worse:-( doc told me some patients did feel worse, and my t3 is lower then when i started medications for hypo.......this means there is no hope for me and this is how i must feel for the rest of my life? Slightly depressive...and low energy......thank zyou

  • Hi Ivy. Don't be discouraged. I started taking Armour a year ago and it has been wonderful. I only had my ferritin checked in April and it was low so I'm working on that now. I can positively say that in my case low ferritin did not impact the wonderful benefits of NDT.

  • Thank you so much!!!!:-) :-)

  • hi ivy, i've had low ferritin for years and not been able to raise it mainly because i couldn't tolerate the iron pills for long enough. i'm now on hema-plex which is really good, i took it for 10 days before i felt it was hard on my stomach. then i was recommended to take 2 tablespoons ground flax (i have it on my cereal) per day plus optibac probiotic (with fibre) just so that i could continue taking the iron. it's gone up now for the first time ever and i am aiming for ferritin of 70. good luck. a.

  • Have you had ferrous fumerate prescribed ivy77? I was faffing around on my own supplementing, but the prescribed iron has made a huge difference for me.

  • I don't believe in adrenal fatigue. I think that what people call adrenal fatigue is more the starts of adrenal insufficiency, a word gps and endos use. I believe that you can fix your adrenal insufficiency as it's only just started.

    Slight adrenal insufficieny not adrenal fatigue then!

  • Sorry ukangell, "adrenal fatigue" means the adrenals are struggling, that they have been working too hard and hence they are fatigued, but as this term was coined for Addison's diease, the medical profession did not want people confusing matters and using a term that only THEY use for a single medical issue.

    So THEY adopted the term of "adrenal insufficiency", this is however, very much the same to the extent both terms refer to poor adrenal production, but removes the implication of being diagnosed with Addisons.

  • The term "adrenal fatigue" only occurs eight times in the whole of PubMed. That rather suggests that the medical and scientific communities basically don't use it at all.

    In my experience, "adrenal fatigue" is used in generally alternative areas such as National College of Naturopathic Medicine where this (below) paper comes from - and it is the only one which s available for free access.

    The term "adrenal insufficiency" seems widely accepted to express any form of inability of the adrenals to produce sufficient of their products regardless of cause and so, I think, would include pre-Addison's. After all, the term Addison's does not say anything about the cause and applies equally to the tubercular disease, which was the original identified by Addison, as well as non-tubercular, which are the majority of cases in the UK these days.

    Please note, I absolutely believe that people suffer from inadequate adrenal performance.


  • What advise would you give for this helvella if you felt that this was the case. The Endo would only do short synthesan test a few years ago (not spelt correctly). What are the actual signs and how can we self help?

  • Whilst at this moment it is as you say more in the Naturopathic society, however, more in the medical community are starting to look deeper at this, which then begs the question, as it does for Thyroid problems, have they managed to fully understand all that is going on with this organ?

    I know IMHO the answer is no, as there are plenty of articles that lead to more questions and very few answers - to date.

  • There are 3 types of adrenal insufficiency. I don't believe fatigue is recognised by medical professionals only alternative medicine therefore describing adrenal fatigue you should look at it more as slight adrenal insufficiency. I've got secondary adrenal insufficiency but with medicine support (liquorice root etc) I'm feeling better.

  • So i think its just the names we are confused about, but symptoms stay the same, i know i had adrenal fatigue or insufficency, it made me a different person from what i was before!!! Driving a car was huge stress for me, i took nothing, it went away with feeling better overall...but its not perfect i can not tolerate stress like before, it exhaust me too much....and driving still an issue:-) i lost a lot of spontaneuty becue i must envisage in the future what can trigger stress for me.....not an easy thing....and all made worse if i dont sleep enough, and sleep can be an issue! More and more etc

  • Best research i have is from my grandaughter who has been coeliac from birth and always on perfect gluten free diet

    age 8 and in a professional trampolining team her TSH rose to over 5 and she had thyroid antibodies but no treatment was started because she was exhibiting no hypo symptoms

    6 months later she was exhausted and with horrendous joint pains still they would not treat because her

    TSH was only 3.6 but her ferritin was low (and she is not menstruating anyway not even in puberty )

    So what does that say about ferritin and hupothyroid/hashimotos

    They did give her iron plus Vit C for 1 year by which time her ferritin increased and her TSH was again over 5

    At this they gave her levothyroxine and within weeks she bounced back and was again trampolining

    she is now 13 and the only one in our familiy to be OK on levothyroxine

  • Mainly because doctors don't know the difference between adrenal FATIGUE and adrenal FAILURE.

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