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Nutritional Aspects of Adrenal Fatigue

by Vivienne Bradshaw-Black(more info)

listed in nutrition, originally published in issue 156 - March 2009

Fatigue is lack of vigour caused by excessive or prolonged stress, straining and pressing to extremes, resulting in distortion of true function

Identifying Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is an increasingly prevalent condition, closely associated with sluggish thyroid function and affecting virtually all bodily processes to some degree, notably cardio-vascular, digestive, muscular, nervous and immune systems.  Where adrenal fatigue carries over into adrenal exhaustion (burnout, breakdown) skin conditions often manifest, including mottled tones and rashes, along with problems in other areas of life where cracks appear, such as in relationship, emotional and motivational issues. 

Many diagnostic labels are, in reality, secondary to adrenal fatigue but are considered separate issues, and therefore the underlying situation of adrenal inadequacy is not appreciated and treated as a foundational issue.  This is much like repairing a cracked wall when the cause of the crack is a faulty foundation.  If the cause of the crack is not corrected as well, then it will recur in due time, usually sooner than later.

Just a few long-term conditions secondary to adrenal fatigue might be labelled as anxiety, nervousness and tension, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), addictions, metabolic disorders, digestive disorders, fungal problems, food cravings, blood-sugar/mood swings, food intolerances/allergies, muscle cramps/tight muscles (especially neck, hip and knee problems), spinal subluxations, myalgic encephalopathy (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia (FM), post viral fatigue syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, circulatory problems, migraine, visual disturbances, panic attacks, concentration/memory problems, hormonal disruptions, lowered immunity (run-down) and insomnia.  These apparently unconnected conditions are much more readily understandable when the wide-ranging effects of adrenal hormones are understood.  Each of the above symptoms can also have other causes, but being able to 'tick several of the above boxes' strongly indicates poor adrenal function.

People rarely go to their doctor or practitioner willing to declare such an extensive list of symptoms.  Not wanting to be labelled a hypochondriac and probably feeling that it is abnormal to have so many diverse symptoms, regardless of severity, only one or two priority symptoms are usually selected to make sure that they are taken seriously.
The above conditions might traditionally be treated with nutrients specifically targeting the symptoms.  For example, serotonin precursors B-vitamins, fatty acids and herbals might be considered for depression and insomnia and, indeed, these choices might well be relevant.  Counselling might also be relevant where depression and insomnia are symptoms of relationship and life crises.  Relevant homeopathic and flower remedies might also be relevant.   However, it is not likely that electrolyte status, especially sodium levels, would be considered top priority.  Sodium is the main mineral for adrenal function, and one of the effects of ingesting toxic industrial-grade sodium chloride instead of replete natural unprocessed sea salt is intra- and extra-cellular electrolyte imbalance affecting the integrity of the cell membrane, the efficiency of the sodium-potassium pump and, therefore, potentially the whole body. 

Sadly, poisons abound in the 21st Century for our moral, mental and physical ingestion.  Sickness is a global industry, and it is necessary to 'swim upstream' to regain as much health as possible in one's own relatively short lifetime.  To avoid wasting time, money, and emotions on only treating symptoms, it is prudent to evaluate problems from a foundational point of view.  This is usually a longer but steadier process.  However, rebuilding health from this stand is the most durable and profitable way.

Cause and Effect

There is a cause for every effect.  There are no magic pills.  Where adrenal fatigue is a foundational issue the cause of it has to be ascertained, correction undertaken, and then if necessary specifics addressed for its ramifications or secondary symptoms.

Human beings are spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions) and body, and the right tools for the job have to be employed in any corrective endeavour.  Although these three aspects make an integrated whole human being, they are also individual avenues to effective treatment.  For example, sleeping in adverse radiation [1] might produce sleep problems, as well as emotional and organic (weakened adrenal glands) problems. Relocation of the bed to a safe place, and detoxification treatment using homeopathics to counter the radiation as well as herbs and supplements to replenish nutrition are bodily treatments.  Emotional issues which might surface under the weakening barrage of adverse radiation could be dealt with by counselling, emotional stress release, examination of childhood coping patterns etc.  These would approach different aspects of the same problem. Both approaches will restore vigour to the adrenal glands and prevent ramifications which would add to the initial problem of exposure to adverse radiation. 

In reality, of course, little is as simple as this example.  The effects of radiation on mercury fillings, fluoride in drinking water, diet, vaccine and drugs history and other multiple considerations would need to be investigated for a clearer picture of relevant issues associated with adrenal inadequacy.  The multiplicity of such things can be uncovered in a complete and thorough history taking. 

Principles of Eventual Recovery

For those who identify with adrenal fatigue or exhaustion, there are certain principles which, if followed, will lay a trail to eventual recovery. The triangle of ill health is a combination of dehydration, malnutrition and toxicity and brain-mediated harmony (b-m harmony) is an interlinking factor.   However, a short article does not provide scope for coverage of this aspect.
Harmony Pyramid
Therefore, all aspects have to be considered together, but before any restorative treatment can be effective any known causal factors, such as mercury dental fillings, should be removed (with proper protocol) and the intake of toxic foods and drinks eliminated.  Negative radiation [2] of all varieties should be considered an essential aspect of investigation in the 21st Century, and with the help of a thorough history, areas suitable for homeopathic, herbal, nutritional, structural and emotional prescription can then be clarified.  If corrective measures are not taken in the right order, results will be poor and then discouragement could be added to the original problem(s).  Owing to today's health problems being so complex, and the importance of taking adrenal inadequacy very serious, it is obligatory to cover all relevant aspects for successful results. 

Importance of Nutrients

The example of adverse radiation being a cause of adrenal inadequacy shows that nutrients specific to adrenal support are only part of the picture, albeit a vitally important part.   Specifics such as vitamins C, B5, B6, zinc and magnesium are only effective in a natural food matrix providing all necessary co-factors and synergistic elements, and so a broad-based multi-nutrient (food-grade, not synthetic) should be a baseline for any nutritional specifics, and adequate pure water and unrefined sea salt should be the baseline for all nutrition be IT from foods, herbs or supplements.  A hydrated state is also necessary for effective homeopathic treatment.

Nutrients for strengthening the adrenals include amino acids, minerals and vitamins, seaweeds and herbs, such as Bladderwrack, Borage, Mate, Echinacea, Liquorice, Meadowsweet, Oats, Chamomile, Olive Leaf, Celery, etc., all readily available from a health store.  Toxicity creates an acid state which these herbs also address.  Herbs have wonderful complex qualities which effect detoxification, balance and nutrition, and combine well with homeopathic remedies, supplements, glandular and structural corrections.  One benefit of a full history is to match treatment specifics to symptom relevance, and both nutrient and herb combining can be effectively confirmed using kinesiology feedback.    Impaired digestion is one aspect of poor adrenal function so regular light eating with digestive enzymes should be considered.  Greenfoods are excellent for recovery, as are light but power-packed nutritious soups, smoothies and milkshakes.  Light eating should embrace all essential amino-acids and fatty acids.


1. Adverse Radiation (ICHC article).
2. Cowan D and Girdlestone R. Safe As Houses? Gateway Books. Bath. UK. ISBN 1-85860-037-5.


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About Vivienne Bradshaw-Black

Vivienne Bradshaw-Black Cert Ed produced a health information course. She believes that the understanding of what causes health and what causes sickness can cut through the maze of confusion which dominates the sickness industry. Her desire is to teach this to those who choose health and offer contacts and support to individuals and groups taking responsibility for their own health choices. She can be contacted initially by email at

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