Medical Doctors describe adrenal fatigue as a pseudo-scientific term used by alternative medicine providers to suggest that the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones.
Andrew is an 18-year-old college student that is consistently tired. His parents, teachers, and friends think that he is just lazy, and he is creating excuses for his bad grades. Andrew states that he gets 8 hours of sleep every night and eats healthy. Andrew says he has tried Adderall which has minimal effectiveness and is willing to try anything to change his energy levels and get his life back on track.
Before quickly dismissing adrenal fatigue lets investigate where the adrenal organs are located and what the purpose of the adrenals are. The adrenal glands are located in the posterior abdomen positioned right on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands directly receive information from the pituitary gland located in the brain.
When the body needs an energy boost the pituitary gland (located in the brain) signals to the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone and secretion of cortisol is defined by the “Goldilocks Effect”, just the right amount of cortisol is needed, meaning that too much is bad and too little can also be bad.
Adrenal Fatigue Myth or Fact?
Now that we know where the adrenal glands are located and what the purpose of the adrenal glands are we now can assess whether Adrenal Fatigue is a myth or not. At Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center the Doctors use laboratory testing to numerically assess the output of the pituitary gland and the output of the adrenal glands. Lets hypothesis two clinical case scenarios in which both patients have fatigue:
- Patient #1 has fatigue and the Doctors at Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center want to assess if Pt #1 has adrenal fatigue. The lab values show that the output of the pituitary gland is within normal limits but the cortisol value of the adrenal glands are low throughout the day. It can be assumed that the patient has adrenal fatigue and that the adrenal glands are not producing cortisol even though the signaling from the pituitary gland is activated.
- Patient #2 has fatigue and the Doctors at Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center want to assess if Pt #2 has adrenal fatigue. The lab values show that the output of the pituitary gland is not within normal limits and the cortisol value of the adrenal glands are also low throughout the day. The Doctors then assess the lab value of aldosterone which is also produced in the adrenal glands and that lab value is within normal limits. So we can assume the adrenal glands are functioning appropriately and there is an output problem cortically. This patient does not have adrenal fatigue and the problem is elsewhere.
Although this post provides a general overview of what is Adrenal Fatigue? It is important to consult with an expert if you believe you are suffering from this condition. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please call us at 610 544 9800.
We are located in Chadds Ford, PA and we would be happy to help you get back on the path to health and wellness. We promise to provide you with the best neurological healthcare possible in accordance with our capabilities, training, education and experience. We’re dedicated to doing absolutely everything we can to help you recover from neuropathy, concussions, strokes, ADHD, dementia, Parkinson’s, autism, chronic pain an other neurologically-based health conditions.
Dr. Joseph Schneider, the founder of Hope Brain & Body Recovery Center, isn’t just another doctor. Dr. “Joe” is also a patient! He continues to miraculously recover from a severe stroke in 2017 thanks to the support of his family, his colleagues in Chiropractic Functional Neurology and his decades of experience treating thousands of neurological cases.