Adrenal Fatigue

I have always been very lucky with my health, played football into my late forties and ran distance for many years without any serious injury, completing two marathons in 2013 at the age of 52. At that time, I was very busy with work and also renovating our bungalow. A few weeks after my last marathon I started to feel woozy, had a constant head cold/fever with an annoying hissing in my head, I felt a little weak but not tired and had a lot of uncomfortable muscle aches and pains. My NHS GP put it down to stress and effectively fobbed me off. I have pursued answers via private medical assessment/treatment and I have had many examinations, an ECG, numerous blood tests, head and thoracic CT scans, all revealing no serious illness. My physio initially treated me for T4 syndrome as the epicentre of my pain was in the thoracic region of my spine. Over the past two years I have also seen a Rheumatologist, a Chiropractor, an Osteopath and an Acupuncturist all without any real improvement in my condition. Recently, a friend of a friend revealed that she was also suffering from similar symptoms and suggested 'adrenal fatigue'. I visited a local Nutritionist for a food intolerance test, which was very interesting and she advised her diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. In parallel, I also sent of a sample of hair for a mineral analysis, which again confirmed adrenal fatigue. My recovery plan now is to remove the foods that I am currently intolerant to, eating more vegetables, taking prescribed daily Vitamin A and Multivitamins, getting as much rest as I can, taking moderate exercise (3 mile walks every day or so) and learning to meditate. I am 6 weeks into the recovery plan and on some days I don't feel too bad, but there may be a long way to go yet. I only wish that someone could have diagnosed my condition two and half years ago and I might be in much better shape by now. I would very much appreciate any tips from fellow sufferers or those experienced in treating sufferers to aid/speed recovery.

11 Replies

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  • Do you have any thyroid test results with ranges ?  Lots of exercise uses up the active thyroid hormone T3 - which in turn can stress the adrenals .....

  • Hi Marz, I have not had any thyroid tests, but will look into this..many thanks.

  • drrind.com/therapies/metabo...

    You can have them done privately through Thyroid UK should your GP be unwilling to test the full Profile - TSH - FT4 - FT3 - Anti-TP0 and Anti-Tg.  Also Ferritin - Folate - B12 - VitD .....

  • Hello JeffMo, 

    Welcome to our forum and sorry to hear that you are not feeling well.

    Many members suffer A.F. as a struggling thyroid will compromise adrenal glands causing excess cortisol to be excreted and eventually leaving only a depleted supply. As DHEA becomes low it causes a hormonal deficiency in other adrenal hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  

    Excessive strenuous exercise can cause both low thyroid hormone and/or A.F. so ask your GP to test TSH & T4. T3 is the all important active thyroid hormone but many GP's will not test this but refer you to an endo. Many members perform their own blood tests using the link below.

    Also ask for Vit B12, Vit D, folate and ferritin to be tested as these are commonly deficient in people with low thyroid hormone.

    Adaptogens are compounds that help to normalize the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.  They will help adrenals that are in a state of fatigue, high stress or a combination of both.  The feedback loop of the HPA axis is key in balancing adrenal hormones, and adaptogens are vital in healing this process. Dr James Wilson advocates adaptogenic herbs that help the body to normalise after times of stress. (use with caution.)

    Liquorice Root (not to be used with high blood pressure)

    Siberian Ginseng Root 

    Ashwagandha Root

    Ginkgo Biloba

    I also supplement 3g Vitamin C (taken as Mixed Ascorbate Powder) and keep all nutrient levels optimal. I have just successfully introduced adrenal glandulars after being totally intolerant of them for over a year.

    Unbalanced cortisol levels can create sugar imbalances but eating three meals day each with low GI carb, protein & healthy fats will keep insulin from spiking.

    A good read is "Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome" by Dr James Wilson and "Your Thyroid & How To Keep It Healthy" by Dr Barry Durrant Peatfield. 

    To get a clear picture of cortisol output and adrenal gland behaviour members use a saliva test that measures the active cortisol (& DHEA) secreted at set times over a 24 hours period. The results will allow you to see any imbalances in the daily circadian pattern so enabling use of correcting supplements to aid your adrenal health. Unfortunately this test is not generally used or recognised by GP's.

    The cost is £77.00 which is a discounted price for ThyroidUK when code A42AQ is used.  Saliva Stress Test (test ref END01)

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    gdx.net/uk/product/27

    .

    Private labs testing   

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    .

    Getting a diagnosis for Hypothyroidism

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/m/gett...

  • Many thanks radd, very informative. 

  • When getting a test for your thyroid hormones the blood test should be the very earliest possible and don't eat before it although you can drink water. If you were on thyroid hormone replacement (usually levothyroxine) you'd allow 24 hours between your last dose and the test and take it afterwards.

    Some people have taken years to be diagnosed due to the reliance upon the TSH only.

  • I ordered books by Diana Schwarzbein  to learn about adrenal fatigue.  She is a doctor who had af too. 

    I found her diet very good to help my adrenal fatigue.  Unfortunately it only helped my adrenal glands and I am otherwise still unwell but some symptoms never came back which is a huge relief. 

    I don't feel dizzy getting up anymore.  My blood pressure got better and sleeping got better.  

    She explains everything so well, I had to read them in English and did not struggle at all.  

    I can't underline enough her advice about avoiding stress which also means avoiding negative people.  To me raising my hands and telling people that I am not going to sit here and listen to this s*hit was very important factor.  

    I don't argue anymore.  I just say that sorry my time is far more valuable than arguing over nothing.  I walk away from these situations.  

    I forced myself to laugh everyday watching silly videos or something.  If I needed to rest , I did. No excuse.  Didn't apologise.  I could lay down in the kitchen floor if I had company and continue talking. 

    Based on cortisol saliva test it worked. 

  • Hi Justina, I like the 'no sh*t' policy. Thanks for the advice.

    I might be wrong here, so apologize in advance if so, but is AF more prevalent in women, judging by responses to my post so far?

  • Well AF goes hand in hand with hypothyroidism and oh well most hypo people are women and this is thyroid forum, that's why it looks like it! 

    But on other forums there seem to be as many men than women.  

    Stress,  viruses,  poor habits and so on causes AF so it can hit anyone.

    AF is very common,  there are many different stages.  Stage one happens to many people as it is sort of normal after any type of stress.  But most people bounce back and that can happen many times until something worse happens.  

    That's how it happened thousands of years ago but then people did rest. Life we have now does not support rest like that.  AF is sort of a natural thing.  It is forcing us to stop.  It is genius system, unfortunately it doesn't work in modern world!  

    Our hormonal system is fascinating and so clever, but most people have lost their ability to listen to their bodies. 

    Unfortunately we are not taught to understand our hormones and how they work.  That we have to do by ourselves. 

  • I have read quite a lot about AF recently and all what you say is true. I suspect that I (and other AF suffers) have been bouncing back for years without realizing it. In my case, I think I just put too much physical stress on my body over s short period and it could no longer cope.

  • Yeah.  Being physically active ain't always so healthy.  Tho I say it ain't the amount of physical stress itself.  It is that combined with lack of proper nutrients as food these days is very poor. 

    We are told just eating well is enough and not to worry.  

    I read a book about vitamins written 1980.  There was copies of documents of how poor the soil over here in Finland has been that time.  People were tested and found deficient to for example magnesium and selenium when around 1960 the amount of magnesium and selenium levels has been good!

    So I say that is one reason why AF is so common these days.  We don't have enough building blocks without supplementing. 

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