Does Adrenal Fatigue Really Exist?

Transcription: Does Adrenal Fatigue Really Exist?

Have you been looking in adrenal fatigue as a possible source of your fatigue? Maybe you’re getting confused about whether or not it actually is a real concern. Does Adrenal Fatigue Really Exist?

Hi. I’m Dr Arland Hill, and I’m here today to help shed a little light on whether or not you should be thinking, “Adrenal fatigue might be something I should investigate further.” Now let me give a little quick background just to give you a way of thinking about dysfunction in the adrenal gland.

Adrenal Fatigue – A Medical View Point

From a medical perspective, when adrenal dysfunction is talked about, and this is really what underlies a lot of the confusion around it, is when we think about dysfunction in the adrenal glands it really falls on two extreme ends. Either you have Addison’s disease, or you have Cushing’s disease.

If you have Addison’s Disease, essentially what that means is that your adrenal glands are not producing cortisol. If you have Cushing’s disease, that means that it’s producing too much cortisol. But here’s the question, and this is ultimately where some of the confusion or a lot of the confusion actually manifest from.  What about all the area in between those two? Because unless you have Addison’s disease, a lot of times there’s no acknowledgement that there’s low cortisol function, or unless you have Cushing’s disease, there’s no acknowledgement that there’s high cortisol production.

So we have this middle ground where we have the dysfunction. We’re not at the disease state but we have dysfunction. So, you have normal, you have disease, and then on both ends going towards both directions, you have that dysfunction. That dysfunction is what many times is thought about as adrenal fatigue, and where there’s often lack of acknowledgement around that. So there is definitely adrenal fatigue as an issue.

Does Adrenal Fatigue Really Exist – Clearing Up Confusion

But here’s what we want to understand, and this is probably the second factor that contributes to the confusion.  What does adrenal fatigue actually mean? You realize you don’t have Addison’s and you realize you don’t have Cushing’s disease. You don’t have the disease states on the far end but there is some dysfunction in your adrenal glands and you’re looking to try to figure out what that actually looks like.

Does that mean that the adrenal glands are not producing cortisol sufficiently? Yes, that probably is what it means if you’re trending more towards a low cortisol function. But is that a result of the fact that you don’t have … Your adrenal gland literally is losing its capacity to be able to do that. Or does that mean that you don’t have the necessary precursors to allow your adrenal glands to effectively make enough cortisol as the primary hormone in need.

I would actually argue that it’s probably the latter. This is often what I see with my own patients many times, is that the adrenal glands are still functional. We still see output from the adrenal glands. They just don’t have adequate amounts of the precursors to keep making sufficient amounts of cortisol. For example things like B5, things like adequate cholesterol levels. Many times we see the cholesterol levels fluctuating as a result of the need to support the adrenal glands and try to find answers to what really adrenal fatigue looks like.

Are You Putting Adrenal Fatigue in a Box?

So we can’t take every adrenal fatigue and just put it in this narrow confined box. That doesn’t work. We have to look at adrenal fatigue in a much bigger context. Here’s another aspect that you want to consider. When we often talk about adrenal fatigue, too often that conversation is limited to just whether or not the adrenal glands are producing high or low levels of cortisol.

For fatigue, most of the times we think about that as being low cortisol. However, that limits the conversation to the hormonal activity. We want to think broader than that because when we look at the activity of the adrenal glands, the normal physiology, the normal function of what the adrenal glands do, they aren’t just isolated to producing DHEA and cortisol and some of the other hormones. They’re also going to be producing neuro-chemicals.

So when we think about the central portion of the adrenal glands, kind of the inner part of it if you will, what’s known as the medulla, that is actually the area that’s producing what are known as catecholamines. These are going to be components to your nervous system.

So, Does Adrenal Fatigue Really Exist?

The takeaway point from this is we can’t solely look at hormones. We also have to look at the role the nervous system plays when we start talking about adrenal fatigue. We want to think about the two together. It’s a hormonal component, it’s adrenal. It’s a hormonal component, it’s the nervous system. There’s a nutritional aspect to this.

There’s many facets to adrenal fatigue, and ultimately asking the question, “Does adrenal fatigue really exist?” It does, but we don’t want to take an antiquated viewpoint to that. We want to look at the most up-to-date information we have and really how we should be supporting someone dealing, or needing supporting of the adrenal glands.

Hey listen, if you liked the content, make sure that you share the video. Give me a like down below. I look forward to speaking with you and sharing more with you in the future. I’m Dr Arland Hill.


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