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Adrenal Fatigue & Energy

Aug 12, 2020

Are you struggling with low energy? A common underlying physiological imbalance of fatigue links back to your stress hormones: cortisol & DHEA. When you're under stress, the brain tells the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, which causes your body to respond to stress. When there is enough cortisol flooded in the blood, DHEA then jumps in to switch the brain off from 'stressing', which then brings cortisol levels (and you!) back down to a relaxed state. 

Overtime, when there is TOO MUCH cortisol being secreted (this will happen if you've been under a lot of chronic emotional or physical stress), DHEA levels will start depleting, as it can no longer keep up with its crazy, hyperactive counterpart.

What happens then, when DHEA is no longer being secreted efficiently?


It is absolutely CRAZY how common this hormonal dysfunction is happening - I'd say 80-90% of our clients tested for adrenal fatigue, come back as positive.

The adrenal glands are responsible for not just dealing with stress, however, but also for resiliency, energy and endurance. When your adrenal stress hormones burn-out, your entire body feels it and suffers from exhaustion. 

Adrenal fatigue occurs in stages:

Stage 1 Adrenal Fatigue.

Stage 1 Adrenal Fatigue is when cortisol is running high, and DHEA has depleted. You might not feel ‘exhausted’ in this stage, but rather ‘wired’, as your neuroendocrine system is struggling to keep up with the excessive secretion of cortisol.

Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue

Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue is when DHEA is still depleted, and cortisol begins to deplete. On a test result such as in the image above, the cortisol rhythm may look 'fine', but if DHEA levels have depleted, this is a sign of Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue.  In this stage, fatigue often starts to kick in, and you struggle to make it through work without a nap, or multiple cups of coffee, coke or energy drinks. In this stage, you’re likely waking up unrefreshed, even after a full night’s sleep.

Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue

Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue is when both DHEA and cortisol have depleted. This often shows up as extreme fatigue, where you struggle to get out of bed, and feel utterly exhausted all day. In the most serious of cases, you might not even be able to get out of bed for more than a few hours a day.

In order to treat get you up and running with lots of energy again, it's important to 1) diagnose if you have adrenal fatigue, and 2) what stage of adrenal fatigue you are in. We use functional medicine saliva testing to do just this! Each stage will require a different type of holistic program combining mindset coaching, nutrition & lifestyle modifications and nutraceutical supplements to get you up and running again. And sometimes, we do get adrenal test results back and the adrenals are actually fine, in which case the fatigue is coming from some other body system - the gut? The liver? The brain? We keep digging until we get to the root cause of your health issues!



Author: Filipa Bellette, Functional Medicine Practitioner & Clinical Nutritionist

Chris & Filly Functional Medicine

If you would like more information about our functional medicine system and to see if this is something that could help you, click this link to Apply For Free Discovery Call.

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