Foggy thinking, low energy, difficulty handling stress, mild depression, lightheadedness and increased effort to perform daily tasks are just some of the symptoms that integrative and alternative health practitioners are associating with what they frequently label “adrenal fatigue”.

Are any of these symptoms part of your daily experience? You’re not alone if they are.

And while someone may have told you that you have adrenal fatigue, in reality there is no medical diagnosis for adrenal fatigue. It’s not like there is something called stomach fatigue…or pancreatic fatigue or any other organ or glandular “fatigue” disorder.

There is something called diabetes which is related to dysfunction of the pancreas and there is something called acid reflux which is often related to stomach dysfunction but none of these has been given the moniker of “fatigue”.

So why the need to blame the adrenals for running out of gas or feel bad for them when you are tired, depressed and foggy minded? Or say, “Well you clearly need adrenal support because they are fatigued?”

Maybe though you’ve had some lab testing done to determine your sum cortisol and it turns out that it truly is low. So you must clearly have adrenal fatigue then right? No, there’s still no such thing as adrenal fatigue. The correct term is adrenal insufficiency when a lab test shows low cortisol but what is the cause for the adrenal insufficiency?

In rare cases it may be an actual condition known as Addison’s Disease. With this disease there could be an actual need to replace the corticosteroids with oral or injected corticosteroids. But most of the time there is a deeper underlying issue with a low cortisol reading which extends beyond the adrenal glands themselves.

For The Love of Labels

Those rare cases of Addison’s Disease aside, there is a dramatically high number of people who are either labeling themselves or practitioners who are labeling them as having adrenal fatigue. Whether it is based on lab testing or not, this label falls short of the truth and often times just gives people another reason to live in self pity.

Labeling can of course be helpful in medicine in order to key in on a set of symptoms and how to best treat them but we have a culture that far too often is looking to slap a label on what is wrong with them and simply put a band-aid on the boo-boo. True health restoration only occurs when you take ownership of your health and build it from the ground up.

Same Symptoms Different Causes

Let’s start with the assumption that you have not had any lab testing done but you are experiencing those primary symptoms we mentioned at the beginning. Each one of those symptoms can and most often does simply come down to inadequate cellular energy production. The cells in your brain and your entire body require the proper fuel and if you aren’t getting that fuel then it’s guaranteed that before too long you’ll feel all of those symptoms. So eating real whole foods for your Metabolic Type® is always a key starting point to resolving those symptoms.

But maybe you are fueling yourself properly for your Metabolic Type® and those symptoms still exist. Foggy thinking, depression and feeling tired can also all come from toxicity which we spoke about in a previous article. The existence of toxins in the body can affect mitochondrial function and have a resultant affect on energy production.

But there’s more…those same symptoms could also be coming from a candida infection, whose toxic waste products are again affecting your cells and whose overabundant presence is requiring constant energy from your body to manage. This list could easily continue with the various scenarios of underlying causes that could cause these same symptoms.

So you see the broad symptoms that are at times given the label of adrenal fatigue could have a number of different underlying causes, the least of which are your adrenal glands themselves.

The Problem or Your Body’s Response To The Problem?

Suppose that you have had testing done and you indeed had low total cortisol. In most cases your low cortisol is not the actual problem but instead your body’s response to a problem.  Cortisol has an immunosuppressive effect and so if your body is dealing with an acute infection then it could be intelligently suppressing cortisol so that your immune system can handle the infection.

Too often we take our body for granted and don’t give it the credit that its due for its incredible degree of intelligence. You may find a similar situation with cholesterol levels from a single lab test. Is the high cholesterol the problem or just your body’s response to the problem?  Most of the time it is your body’s response to the problem and the root cause is where you need to take action.

The Real Causes of Your Complaints

The real cause of your complaints of fatigue, depression, foggy thinking and low stress threshold is an energy problem, a toxicity problem, a gut problem and so on.  Treating the adrenals with adaptogenic herbs when the adrenals are not really the problem is an incomplete solution to a complex problem. This isn’t to say that those herbal supports are not helpful but that by only taking those and not looking deeper you are effectively putting a band-aid on the boo-boo and not addressing the cause.

We have found that in order to overcome complaints like these it is necessary to take a step-by-step approach and build health from within so that there is no more room for symptoms.

Our approach is simple:

  1. Full spectrum light (sunlight), clean water, clean air
  2. Eat right for your Metabolic Type® so that you have optimal fuel for the production, control and maintenance of energy in your cells
  3. Eat in the right macronutrient ratios for your cells so that you have the ideal fuel mix for energy production
  4. Consume the right kinds and amounts of micronutrients for your Metabolic Type® at the right timing so that you further facilitate optimal cellular energy in the various metabolic cycles
  5. Sufficient rest
  6. Sufficient exercise in the right dose at the right time for the right person.
  7. Optimize digestion, absorption, assimilation, utilization, circulation, elimination, hydration and detoxification
  8. Minimize toxins, EMF’s and other blocking factors that are affecting your body’s ability to express it’s innate health and vitality.
  9. Additional lab testing is often helpful to uncover the underlying causes affecting the previous two considerations.

Stand strong in the knowledge that you can get healthy and that your body is trying every minute of every day to get you feeling and functioning at your best. Once you know your Metabolic Type® all you have to do is listen to the language of your body and start building health one day at a time. When you do this you’ll finally be able to let go of all of those labels and simply be.