Is Adrenal Exhaustion and Adrenal Fatigue a Real Thing?

“When it comes to adrenal fatigue, conventional medicine insists it doesn’t exist. However, adrenal fatigue is essentially a stress reaction, and stress is very well understood as a cause of illness.” - Saul Marcus, Naturopathic Doctor in Connecticut

Are you worn out all the time, even though you're getting plenty of sleep? Do you crave salty foods? Maybe you've been to several doctors and none of them can say what's wrong with you.

Other common signs of adrenal fatigue include:

  1. A weakened immune system
  2. Inability to handle stress or to focus
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Upset stomach
  5. Loss of body hair
  6. Dizziness when standing up
  7. Joint aches and pains
  8. Food cravings for salty foods
  9. Low blood pressure
  10. Decreased libido
  11. Skin hyper-pigmentation (discoloration)
  12. Difficulty getting up in the morning
  13. Mild depression
  14. Overuse of stimulants (ex: caffeine or energy drinks)

If you see a naturopathic (a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of drugs, by techniques such as control of diet, exercise, and massage) or a complementary (non-mainstream) medicine doctor, they might say you have adrenal fatigue.


What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

The term "adrenal fatigue" was coined in 1998 by James Wilson, PhD, a naturopath and expert in alternative medicine. He describes it as a "group of related signs and symptoms (a syndrome) that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level." He says it’s usually associated with intense stress and often follows chronic infections like bronchitis, flu, or pneumonia.

Wilson says people with it may not have any physical signs of illness but still may feel tired, "gray," and have fatigue that doesn’t get better with sleep. They also crave salty snacks.


The Theory Behind It

Your body's immune system responds by revving up when you’re under stress. Your adrenal glands, which are small organs above your kidneys, respond to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are part of your "fight or flight" response. They increase your blood pressure and your heart rate.

According to the theory, if you have long-term stress (like the death of a family member or a serious illness), your adrenal glands burn out from prolonged production of cortisol. So adrenal fatigue sets in.

There’s no approved test for adrenal fatigue. Blood tests can't detect a small drop in adrenal production.

The suggested treatments for healthy adrenal function are a diet low in sugar, caffeine, and junk food, and “targeted nutritional supplementation” that includes vitamins and minerals.

5 key strategies to combating adrenal fatigue:

  1. Get serious about good nutrition & watch your caffeine intake
  2. Aim for daily exercise and moderate physical activity
  3. Improve your sleep habits
  4. Get comfortable with guided meditation
  5. Take adrenal support supplements

Many natural healing practitioners who subscribe to the adrenal fatigue theory recommend treating the condition with herbal supplements such as:

  • Licorice root ( Glycyrrhiza glabra )
  • Maca root ( Lepidium peruvianum Chacon )
  • Golden root ( Rhodiola rosea )
  • Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)


For people who do not produce enough cortisol, licorice root can help. Licorice root has been found to:

  • Work with cortisol to improve energy levels.
  • Regulate cortisol. A study conducted at the Queen Margaret University Edinburg found licorice root aids the body in regulating cortisol.


Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb known for its capacity to alter hormones and has been found to:

  • Improve mental performance and energy levels. A 2000 study showed that Rhodiola improves mental performance and fatigue levels of students around exam periods.
  • Decrease cortisol levels. In one double-blind, randomized controlled trial, subjects with stress-related fatigue were given two daily doses for 28 days of Rhodiola Rosea.


Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been scientifically found to:

  • Improve the quality of life. Studies suggest that a high-concentration and full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract can be taken safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress.
  • Counteract symptoms of stress.
  • Decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.


Holy basil leaf is not your typical basil plant. Native to Southeast Asia, holy basil leaf, also known as Ocimum sanctum L. and tulsi (in tea form), acts as an adaptogen. It has been found to:

Improve cognitive function and salivary cortisol levels. In one 2015 study where participants were given 300 milligrams of Tulsi for thirty consecutive days, researchers concluded holy basil leaf has cognition-enhancing properties in humans.

Holy basil leaf supplements: Holy basil is most effective as a supplement when taken in tincture or pill form.

There's no approved test for adrenal fatigue. Blood tests can't detect a small drop in adrenal production. The suggested treatments for healthy adrenal function are a diet low in sugar, caffeine, and junk food, and “targeted nutritional supplementation” that includes vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B5, B6, and B12. (Feb 8, 2019). Naturopathic practitioners also suggest Vitamin C, magnesium, and Vitamin D.

Are you anxious or depressed? Are you lacking energy? Are you seeking to reduce the effects of stress, while balancing cortisol and hormone levels? If so, try out Nature Gal Naturals Adrenal Support herbal extract to help reduce the effects of stress and balance your cortisol levels.


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Benefits: Adrenal Support features a combination of herbs which may:

  • Reduce the effects of stress
  • Balance cortisol levels
  • Soothe the digestive tract
  • Support symptoms associated with anxiety and depression
  • Balance hormones
  • Support Energy

1. Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Real?
2. 5 Key Strategies & Best Natural Supplements For Adrenal Support: