Adrenal fatigue

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history

Adrenal fatigue is a "term that is applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms,"[1] including body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances, and digestive problems, but it is not accepted as a medical diagnosis.[1] A naturopathic (holistic) practitioner or complementary (non-mainstream) medicine doctor may say a person has adrenal fatigue.[2]

The term was first used by James Wilson, PhD, a naturopath who practiced alternative medicine. He believed it was "usually associated with intense stress and often follows chronic infections like bronchitis, flu, or pneumonia",[2] but at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Todd B. Nippoldt notes these purported effects are not detectable in blood tests for adrenal function.[1] This is in contrast to the recognized diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency, i.e. Addison's disease, which is diagnosable through blood and hormones tests and has its own set of symptoms.[1]

Both Dr. Nippoldt and endocrinologist Dr. Betul Hatipoglu of the Cleveland Clinic note the risks of accepting the medically unrecognized diagnosis of adrenal fatigue: it may lead patients to pursue treatments that may prove harmful, while continuing to suffer from the undiagnosed condition causing the symptoms.[3]

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Digestive problems[2]
  • Craving salty foods.[2]

Potential treatment[edit | edit source]

A diet low in sugar, caffeine, and junk food and supplementation of vitamins B5, B6, B12, C, and magnesium as well as probiotics and herbal supplements are sometimes recommended, but these recommendations are not supported by science.[2]

Adrenal fatigue vs ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

Because fatigue is among the symptoms the term adrenal fatigue encompasses, this term could be misinterpreted by some that they have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Additionally, one may be suffering from ME/CFS and not have a diagnosis as it often takes years to receive a diagnosis of ME/CFS. The Endocrine Society, the world's largest organization of endocrinologists, says "the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are so general, they can apply to many diseases or conditions (depression, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia) or stem from everyday life."[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Nippoldt, Todd B. (April 12, 2017). "Adrenal fatigue: What causes it?". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Real?". WebMD. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  3. "The Truth About 'Adrenal Fatigue'". Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. July 24, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2019.