Adrenal Fatigue and a Holistic
Approach to Recovery.
By Gonzzo Watson, D.C.
all heard the term and many of us feel we experience too much of it.
When a patient comes to my office, often excessive stress caused or
exacerbated their lack of health. When we experience stress of any
kind, the adrenal glands become activated. Prolonged stress enlarges
the glands and eventually after continued stress they become fatigued
and loose their ability to function properly.
Adrenal fatigue is common in
today’s society and is caused by prolonged stress activating the
glands too often. Almost any type of physical or mental stress can
activate the glands to secrete hormones and/or neurotransmitter
substances. In addition, substances that are stimulants (ex. caffeine,
nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine, ephedra a.k.a. MaHung, and guarana)
can cause the glands to become over stimulated.
When our body is stressed in times
of fright, fear, or extreme pain, the hypothalamus (the master gland
of the body) stimulates other glands and tissues to release a massive
discharge of sympathetic nervous system activity. This is called the
alarm response, a.k.a. flight or fight response.
The alarm response stimulates the
adrenal medulla to release the neurotransmitters adrenalin and
Increased blood flow to
muscles and increased muscle strength.
Increased mental acuity.
Decreased blood flow to
the organs that are not needed for rapid motor activity, such as the
gastrointestinal tract and the kidneys.
Increased glucose in the
blood, and increased glycolysis in the liver and in the muscle.
The alarm response also
triggers the steroid hormones, cortisol and aldosterone, to be
released from the adrenal cortex causing:
Suppression of the immune
system. Prolonged immune suppression greatly increases susceptibility
transformation of protein into glucose).
Changes in potassium ion
concentration of extracellular fluids which controls blood pressure.
and steroids allow a person to perform physical activity with much
more speed, strength, and agility. These increased abilities can seem
superhuman and enable a person to fight for their life or retreat
rapidly from danger. This system is good for actual life threatening
this system is often activated with continual physical, chemical, and
emotional stresses of daily life leading to eventual fatigue of the
adrenal glands. Physical stresses resulting from excessively laborious
work, extreme exercise training, and spinal subluxation can cause over
stimulation of the adrenal gland. Chemical stresses, such as caffeine,
nicotine and other stimulants stimulate the glands. Over indulgence of
coffee is a very common problem. An average of over 500mg a day of
caffeine (about 16 ounces of coffee) can lead to adrenal fatigue. More
than a few cigarettes daily can often stress the gland to fatigue as
well. In addition, adrenal fatigue leads to the desire for more
caffeine/nicotine and is part of the addiction problem of these
stimulating drugs. Chemical stressors may also include food allergens,
environmental allergens, heavy metal toxicity, and pesticides.
Emotional stresses like getting upset at work over an unmet deadline,
having trouble paying the bills, arguing with family members, etc. can
cause stimulation of the adrenal glands.
Fatigue is dangerous because it greatly increases your susceptibility
to the following various physical and emotional symptoms, and disease
processes: Lack of consistent energy throughout the day, mood swings,
depression, irritability, joint pain, achy muscles, sugar cravings,
digestion problems, heart problems, psychological disorders, bone
demineralization, cell insensitivity to insulin, ulcers, dehydration,
skin rashes, weight gain, inability to loose excess bodyfat, chronic
fatigue, common colds, asthma, allergic bronchitis, gastric hepatitis,
cholecyctitis, pancreatitis, renal hematuria, anemia, osteoarthritis,
rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis, herpes syndrome, toxemia of
pregnancy, ocular neuritis, glaucoma, ottis media, tinnitis,
sinusitis. These illness, and many more, should be considered possible
consequences of adrenal fatigue.
for adrenal fatigue can be done several ways: Postural hypoadrenia can
be evaluated by taking the blood pressure while lying down and then
again while standing up. The blood pressure should rise, up to 10mmhg
systolic, or remain the same after standing up. A drop in the systolic
pressure while standing indicates adrenal fatigue. Rogoff’s Sign can
be tested by shining light into the eye and evaluating pupil size. The
pupil normally will constrict and remain smaller. Pupil wavering,
dilation, or no constriction at all indicates adrenal fatigue. The
adrenal stretch reflex can be tested with Applied Kinesiology (muscle
testing). Muscle strength is tested before and after stretching a
joint capsule. Muscle weakness after a capsule stretch indicates
adrenal fatigue due to a drop in the steroid cortisol.
for adrenal fatigue with traditional chiropractic care involving only
spinal adjustments is most often ineffective unless the cause of
adrenal fatigue is directly related to a spinal subluxation. Medical
doctors often fail to correctly diagnose adrenal fatigue.
Unfortunately, many people with adrenal fatigue are treated for the
associated symptoms/diseases (depression, low blood pressure, anxiety,
sinusitis, eczema, allergies, etc.) that result from adrenal fatigue
and not for the fatigue itself. Proper treatment of adrenal fatigue
requires a holistic approach to healing. The intent with the holistic
approach is to remove or reduce stress, replenish the system, and
allow time for rest and repair.
chemical, and/or physical stresses need to be removed or reduced to
allow sufficient rest and repair of the adrenal gland. Often emotional
stresses embed themselves into the tissues of our body. Various
chiropractic techniques can facilitate the release of these stored
emotions. Emotional stress can also be released through counseling.
Chemical stresses may need to be removed or reduced. Obviously it can
be difficult to remove chemical stimulants (nicotine, caffeine, or
other stimulants) due to addiction. However, proper nutrition will
greatly help support the glands and systems that are taxed from
addiction and will alleviate many side effects of stimulant
withdrawal. Food allergies, heavy metal toxicity, environmental
pollutants, and pesticides can also stimulate the adrenal gland. It
may be necessary to begin a detoxifying
diet/program to remove agents that are an irritant. Physical
stresses may also need to be removed or decreased. Overexertion at
work or even at play can over stimulate the system and cause fatigue
of the adrenal glands. Spinal adjustments may be necessary to
eliminate physical stress where spinal subluxation is causing improper
neurological stimulus to the adrenal glands. In addition, spinal
adjustments provide tremendous relief from the aches, pains, and
difficulties of removing these stressors.
nutritional supplementation of the adrenal gland and the entire
glandular system is beneficial as well. Adrenal
glandular concentrates are very effective at replenishing
nutrients lost from stress and fatigue of the adrenal glands. In
addition, nutritional support of other depleted organs, tissues, and
systems may be necessary. Applied Kinesiology testing, blood testing,
and hair or stool analysis can provide details as to what specifically
needs nutritional support on a case-by-case basis.
removing stimulants will give your body rest. But there is more you
can do. Massage therapy is very beneficial in reducing tension,
increasing lymphatic flow, and increasing blood flow. More than 500
scientific studies on Transcendental Meditation (TM) have shown it
effective in reducing stress at many levels, including decreasing the
release of cortisol, lowering blood pressure, decreasing anxiety,
increasing immunity, along with many other benefits. Also, Yoga has
been shown to reduce the effects of chronic fatigue, increase
flexibility and reduce mental stress.
the body needs time to repair the organs and systems of the body. By
now you understand that prolonged stimulation eventually fatigues a
system, but it does not happen immediately. Adrenal fatigue happens
over time and is insidious in its’ onset. A person may not be aware
of loss of energy or poor emotional states because of the slow
deterioration over time. It is important to continue with a treatment
plan long enough to allow complete healing and not stop as soon as
you think you have adrenal fatigue, I can test you at my office. If
adrenal fatigue is indicated, I will create a specific holistic
structural, nutritional and/or emotional plan of action for you to
follow to help you regain health. Some of the more common methods I
use to treat adrenal fatigue are listed below.
Remove spinal subluxation
with manual chiropractic adjustments and/or the Arthrostim.
Remove facial adhesions
with percussion and/or trigger
Stretching and breathing
Recommend Yoga or TM
techniques for reduction in structural stress.
Evaluate and treat bio
Kinesiology, hair analysis, stool, or blood analysis) to evaluate for
nutritional imbalances and/or heavy metal toxicity in systems and/or
organs of the body.
concentrates. De-Stress formula DSF by Nutriwest
Evaluation for allergies.
diet program. A diet plan designed by myself to remove allergens
and toxicity from the diet and greatly improve digestion and
designed to treat the emotional body and release inner tensions and
Recommend Yoga or TM
techniques for emotional stress reduction.
Positive results are often experienced within the first
day or two and, in many cases, are dramatic. Do not hesitate to
telephone me at 503/697-7463 with any questions you may have regarding
adrenal fatigue or this article. Together we can make a tremendous
difference in your health. If you believe you have signs or symptoms
related to adrenal fatigue, please call the office for an appointment
as soon as possible.